Apple’s got a new MacBook Pro.
That in and of itself isn’t really big news. Almost every year their iconic notebook computer gets a speed boost, minor cosmetic changes, and a nip and tuck here and there.
But this year, Apple is making BIG, newsworthy changes.
There’s plenty to rave about, but before you scream, “take my money”, here’s what’s new, what’s changed, and how these changes will affect you.
The Apple logo glows no more
From now till I upgrade, I’m going to use my now obsolete MacBook Pro facing a mirror; that way I can occasionally glance at the glowing Apple on the back of my machine. I recognize that all these years, I’ve hardly ever looked at it, and it has no effect whatsoever on productivity, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one who’ll be sad to see the glowing Apple go.
The new MacBook Pros that ship in two weeks will have a shiny black Apple logo on their lids instead of the iconic illuminated one.
There are more significant design changes too. These new MacBook Pros are not just thinner and lighter, but smaller as well. The screen sizes stay the same – 13 and 15 inches – but take up 20% less space.
They’re still formed from a single slab of aluminum, but now come in two colors: the original silver and space gray.
Despite the reduction in size, these new portable Macs are still as powerful as ever, with the latest Intel processors and graphics improvements. Apple says the new MacBook Pros have a Retina display that is 67% brighter, speakers that are 52% louder, and a trackpad that is twice the size of the original.
You’ll either love or hate the new keyboard
To get everything thinner, sacrifices must be made. One way Apple saves space is with a new keyboard, similar to the one found on the impossibly thin MacBook. This second-generation “butterfly switch” keyboard isn’t going to be as clickety as that on the older MacBook Pro – which arguably has the best keyboard experience on a laptop in the world.
Expect this new keyboard to be a bit polarizing. You’ll either love it or hate it. But like all things Apple, we’ll get used to it, maybe even love it.
There’s a new game-changing touch bar
Nope, the Mac is still not getting a touchscreen. Instead, depending on how you see it, Apple gives you the next best thing, or something even better.
The Touch Bar is a multi-touch OLED glass strip on top of the new MacBook Pro’s keyboard. It works just like any touchscreen; you can tap and slide your fingers on the color display just as you would on your smartphone.
The Touch Bar works with open apps, providing you with a set of tools and new ways to do things. For example: If you’re chatting with friends, you can use the Touch Bar to find the perfect emoji. If you’re editing a photo, you can use the Touch Bar to preview and swipe through filters. And if you’re watching a video, the playback controls on the Touch Bar let you play, pause, and scrub through the video.
You will only be able to make the most out of the Touch Bar when your favorite apps support the new feature. But apps like Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and Microsoft Office have already been updated to work with it.
To make room for it, Apple is taking away the top-most row of your keyboard where the function keys, escape, and power buttons used to be. Those buttons are still available as touch buttons.
Just like on the iPhone, you can now log in to your MacBook Pro using your fingerprint. Located on the right-most edge of the Touch Bar, Touch ID on the new Mac laptops lets you power on and sign into your device with a quick tap. You can also use your fingerprint to authenticate website logins or online payments.
The headphone jack survived the cut, but other ports weren’t as lucky
No other tech company is a fan of killing off ports more than Apple.
Not too long ago, they decided to take away the headphone jack from iPhones, and we were almost certain the MacBook Pro would lose it too.
Thankfully, the new MacBook Pros got to keep their headphone jack.
Sadly though, everything else has been removed. There are no standard-sized USB ports, no SD card reader, and not even the MagSafe adapter that saves your laptop from falls when someone trips on your power brick.
Instead, users get four Thunderbolt 3 ports. They’re USB Type-C-shaped and support USB, HDMI, VGA, and even power, meaning you can charge using any of the four ports.
Some day in the not-too-distant future, you won’t even miss any of these ports, but in the interim, the transition will be painful and expensive. For now, you’ll need new flash drives, new cables, and new adapters to get your other accessories to work with your new Mac.
The new features cost more $$$ than usual
Normally when Apple refreshes its MacBook Pro line, Apple retains the previous year’s pricing – if not dropping them altogether. This year’s 13-inch and 15-inch base models are $500 and $400 more expensive compared to previous models, respectively.
While there are many possible build combinations. Apple is selling 3 main models – a 13-inch MacBook Pro without the new Touch Bar which starts at $1499; a 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar starting at $1799; and a 15-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar starting at $2399.
Apart from all the new improvements, the new base models now have twice the amount of storage space (256GB solid state drives up from 128GB from a year ago), so that could also be a reason behind the price increase.
OPPO drops the F9, Motorola copy-pastes: Weekend Rewind
Why innovate when you can recreate, right?
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. OPPO F9 (water)drops!
We were getting teasers of this phone two weeks ago and now it’s finally here! The OPPO F9 is official and it comes with a notch that the company is essentially calling a “waterdrop.” That aside, it’s looking like a lean, mean, midrange machine with its 6GB RAM and 64GB of storage, an AI-enhanced 16MP main shooter with a secondary 2MP depth sensor for portraits, and a 3500 mAh battery.
Our hands-on and unboxing is up on YouTube so make sure you watch it!
Notches and gradients are all the rage in 2019, so we guess it makes sense that Motorola opted to fuse both the iPhone X and the Huawei P20 Pro. The result is the Motorola P30 because Moto probably couldn’t be bothered to think of another name. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 636 chip with 6GB memory. It will come in both a 64GB and a 128GB variant. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they say. Moto must really want to butter up Apple and Huawei.
Xiaomi’s been cooking something but since this is the Internet and tech leaks are totally a thing, we already know what it is. Coming our way officially next week is the Pocophone F1. A leaked video pretty much already told us a lot of what we want to know: 5.99-inch display, Snapdragon 845, and 6GB of memory.
We’ll have our own video on this soon so definitely stay tuned for it.
Google is being generous in handing out pies. Android Go, a less data-hungry version of the mobile operating system, will also get Android Pie. The Go edition of the newest Android OS only needs half the storage space and can run fluidly, even with just a gigabyte of memory.
Not ready for the responsibility of raising a child? There’s an app for that! The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved Natural Cycles. It’s the very first app to be marketed as a method of contraception. It determines whether a woman is fertile or not then advises which days you should “abstain” or “use protection.”
However, the FDA warns that “no form of contraception works perfectly, so an unplanned pregnancy could still result from correct usage of this device.”
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
7 best affordable flagship smartphones of 2018
Best specs, lower prices
Putting the words “affordable” and “flagship” seems like an oxymoron at first, but manufacturers have reached a point wherein this magical combination is actually possible.
Yes, affordable flagships are a thing now, and they’re taking away some of the premium segment’s long-standing thunder. Why wouldn’t you want the best specs and features in a cheaper package?
This year has been kind to us with all the affordable flagships launched thus far. Here are the best ones to date:
Let’s begin with the brand that started it all. Originally called the “flagship killer,” the OnePlus line is synonymous with high-end power without the extravagant pricing. The OnePlus 6 is the latest entry, and it’s an absolute stunner from its gorgeous display to the fluid Android interface.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
This is the one time Xiaomi likes to go a little more premium, and we support it a hundred percent. The Mi Mix 2S combines a ceramic body with a massive, notch-free display and incredible hardware for the price. Each generation improves on the predecessor — this is no exception.
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This month has been nothing short of crazy for us at GadgetMatch, what with leaks and teasers of upcoming devices, back-to-back smartphone launches, and Android Pie’s release. Here are some of the things that have kept us sane the last few weeks!
Games to play
Fortnite on Android
Chay: You read that right. The highly successful battle royale game is finally coming to Android. At Samsung Unpacked, Epic Games announced that Galaxy devices will get exclusive early access to the game through the Game Launcher app. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes available in even more devices, and if we’re being honest, we can’t wait to see more memes (and dances!) as more people get to play it.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Android
Rodneil: If you’re itching for a Spider-Man game to help tide you over until the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4, then this mobile game released back in 2014 should tide you over. It looks good, the controls are simple, and the game also gives you the satisfaction of swinging around New York City as you please.
Movies to see
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Marvin: It’s tough to believe, but Mission: Impossible is on its sixth installment, and the latest may be the most death-defying one yet. Tom Cruise is once again Ethan Hunt, an agent who needs to track down a terrorist group before they blow the world up. His stunts are jaw-dropping to say the least, and the twists are surprising enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen. My advice: Watch this in a cinema with great seats — it’s a long ride!
TV shows to binge watch
Kevin: Having been released back in 2016 and now waiting on its third season, Kim’s Convenience is a Canadian TV sitcom that focuses on a Korean family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. The show centers on everyday happenings and mishaps of the family. It presents characters who fit, and at the same time, break certain stereotypes while injecting a hint of moral in different (mostly funny) ways.
Orange is the New Black (Season 6)
Chay: Is there hope for the inmates of Litchfield? Will there ever be justice? These are always the questions you have after watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black. The longer the series goes on, the more invested you become in these women’s stories. This season, the spotlight is even brighter on my all-time favorite OINTB character: Taystee goes on trial to clear her name and fight the injustice she and fellow inmates have been suffering behind bars.
Kevin: If you’re into Rick and Morty’s tandem and outer space adventures, Final Space might be something you’d want to check out. The story follows a smart-mouthed prisoner who works on a space station, meets a cute alien life form, and immediately becomes friends with it, not knowing that it’s a valuable entity to the menacing Lord Commander. I’m just a few episodes in but it’s been entertaining and funny — something I would expect from Conan O’Brien producing the show.
Meteor Garden (2018)
Rodneil: If you loved the Taiwanese version that first aired in the early 2000s, then I suggest you give the 2018 version a chance. It’s great to see how the setting has been updated to modern times with some of the bullying part of the story happening in social media. There are cool tidbits too about how transactions are mostly made through QR codes and how the phones of the less privileged are OPPO while the elite F4 carry Vivo phones. It’s a nice glimpse to the current state of technology in China. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the cast actually looks like they’re still students versus the already adult-looking cast of the original adaptation.
Mob Psycho 100
Rodneil: I held out for quite a bit before watching this anime but when I found out that season two is already arriving at the start of 2019, I knew I had to binge the 12-episode first season. From the same creator as One-Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 features Shigeo Kageyama — a young, overpowered psychic who’s trying his best to live life without taking advantage of his psychic ability. If you loved the over-the-top action and the ridiculously overpowered lead in One-Punch Man, there’s plenty for you to enjoy in Mob Psycho 100.
Terrace House: Opening New Doors (Part 3)
Marvin: It’s been a grueling couple of months, but Part 3 of Terrace House: Opening New Doors is finally available on Netflix outside Japan, and it’s certainly worth the wait. The cast gets a near overhaul, and with the new members come much more drama and the awkward first dates we’ve grown to love. But the real highlight of Part 3 are the commentators, who are able to turn any sad moment into a laughing fit for both the viewers and themselves. Part 4 can’t come soon enough!
Music and podcasts to listen to
Honey by Scandal
Rodneil: My fascination for Asian girl groups continues. Scandal has had plenty of their songs appear on several animé, and this album gives you plenty of those types of tracks. My favorites are “platformsyndrome,” “OVER,” “Koisuru Universe,” and “Short Short.”
“Long Gone” and “Lover Boy” by Phum Viphurit
Kevin: Thai-born, but New Zealand-raised, indie artist Phum Viphurit’s “Long Gone” is a mellow tune with just the right soul to make you groove and nod your head to the rhythm. “Lover Boy,” on the other hand, has more funk to its bass lines which is then overlayed with Viphurit’s smooth vocals — almost reminiscent of how John Legend made “P.D.A.” a chill, sexy track.
“Sana” by I Belong To The Zoo
Rodneil: “Sana” is a gut-wrenching Filipino track that tells the story of a romance that has gone stale. While that sounds like a run-of-the-mill heartbreak song, singer Argee Guerrero delivers each line with so much conviction that it’s hard not to imagine yourself in the shoes of the aggrieved party.
Psychobabble with Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl
Chay: In their first episode back after an eight-month hiatus, #TeamTylerandKorey discusses the top trends of the year, Bernie Mac, and how hotels are homophobic. Korey also reveals he had a vocal box replacement and was on vocal rest during the hiatus. It’s not clear whether that’s the only reason the podcast was MIA for a while, but it’s possible the Fullscreen shut down, which picked up Psychobabble for a video version in early 2017, is also a culprit. That’s bad news for anyone who paid for a subscription on the streaming service, but good news is all episodes are now available on Spotify, as well.
Cities to visit
Rodneil: Madrid is a beautiful city filled with mid-rise buildings that feature stunning European architecture. For some street entertainment, check out Plaza del Sol at night. If you’re looking for a place to eat, the cochinillo (suckling pig) in Las Cuevas De Luis Candelas, located just right outside Plaza Mayor is to die for. There’s also the restaurant Mr. Frank which seems like a nice date place. Definitely order the Provoleta con chorizo and Presa Ibérica con frutos rojos. The restaurant is located near the Congreso de los Diputados which is a great backdrop for your touristy photo.
Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!
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