Choosing Between the 2019 MacBook Air and Entry-level MacBook Pro

The latest update to the MacBook line simplifies things nicely, making it easier to choose between models.

The 13 inch MacBook with physical escape has been replaced with an entry level model which includes a Touch Bar, True Tone display and a T2 chip. The MacBook Air is now cheaper, with a True Tone display, while the 12 inch MacBook is no more.

MacBook Pro 2019

The most interesting decision for most people will be which to choose: the MacBook Air, or the similarly priced MacBook Pro 13 inch base model.

Stephen Hackett sums things up nicely:

Once you start poking around, you can see some differences. Upgrading from the $1,099 MacBook Air to $1,299 MacBook Pro comes with these features:

  • A quad-core Intel processor, with twice the cores of the MacBook Air. While the base clock speed is slower on the Pro, its Turbo Boost frequency is higher, and in its higher-TDP application, the Pro should be able to sustain higher speeds for longer.
  • A display that at 500 nits is a full 100 nits brighter than the MacBook Air. The Pro’s display supports the P3 wide color gamut while the Air does not.
  • The Touch Bar. Your mileage will vary on how useful you find it.
  • A slightly more robust Intel GPU. The Pro can push more external pixels, but performance wise, it shouldn’t be a night and day difference.
  • Worse battery life. The Pro comes with a 58.2-watt-hour battery clocked at 10 hours on Apple’s “wireless web” test, but the Air’s 49.9‑watt‑hour unit tested at 12 hours. I’d blame that core count.

I think for almost everyone, the MacBook Air is the right notebook. It’s thin and light, with plenty of power for most tasks, but if you need a better GPU or more cores, the MacBook Pro is a logical upgrade.

Apple iPhone 11 Max final design confirmed


Remember those high-resolution renders of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max successor with the chunky square-shaped camera bump taking up an unhealthy amount of room in the top left-hand corner of the rear panel?

Well, it turns out those renders were probably very accurate.

Ok, there’s no denying that this camera bump is extremely ugly, but that is going to be a monster camera on the iPhone 11 (or iPhone XI..?).

Roysh Here, Roysh Now… The Teenage Dirtbag Years

This book is a bit of a blast from the past. I hadn’t read it in a number of years but I’m happy to report that it still brought as much laughs as the first time.

For anyone unfamiliar with the character, Ross O’ Carroll-Kelly is an exaggerated fictional south side Dubliner, coming of age in the Celtic Tiger era.

This is one of the early releases in the long list of ‘ROCK’ books, and follows Ross through his first year in UCD and his summer in the states afterwards.

If you’re looking for an easy read and some pre-recession laughs, it’s worth a read.

Highlight: Any interation with Ross and his doting father, affectionately nicknamed ‘dick-features’.

iOS 13 to include Dark Mode

Big scoop over on 9to5mac about the next version of iOS. Apple are finally adding a system wide Dark Mode!

First, the long-awaited Dark Mode is finally coming to the iPhone and iPad with iOS 13. There will be a system-wide Dark Mode that can be enabled in Settings, including a high contrast version, similar to what’s already available on macOS. Speaking of macOS, iPad apps that run on the Mac using Marzipan will finally take advantage of the Dark Mode support on both systems.

How Apple Arcade could make Apple a major player in gaming

Apple Arcade is an interesting new service due to be launched this year by Apple. Time will tell if it can take iOS/Mac gaming to the next level, but the premise is definitely worth watching out for.

Macworld have a good overview:

Beginning sometime in the fall, you’ll be able to pay Apple an unspecified subscription fee that grants access to around 100 “new and exclusive” games. None of the games will have in-app purchases, and they will only be playable on iOS devices and Macs. All of the games will be accessible offline.

This is all smart stuff as games have been among the primary drivers of revenue for the App Store for years now. Apple Arcade could be a sign that Apple is finally taking games seriously

The importance of MFI controllers was also highlighted, which for me would be the real game changer. If Apple can produce a great controller, or allow other manufacturers to, along with incentivizing developers to create in depth, ad free games, then that would make for a really great gaming platform. 1

Subtle clues that Apple wants to get serious about gaming have been dropping for months. With iOS 12, for instance, Apple finally allowed MFi (Made for iPhone) controllers to use the “L3” and “R3” buttons, which you normally activate by pressing down on a gamepad’s thumbsticks. For whatever reason, Apple previously wouldn’t certify controllers that allowed you to do this, which effectively made some iOS ports unplayable. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this kept iOS gaming from being bigger than it could have been. The new Rotor Riot controller is the first one to take advantage of that, and I have little doubt that others will follow suit in the near future.

  1. A controller and an iPad, or even a Mac, would be a great gaming setup. Play anywhere, get up and running in seconds, no wires, compact. 

iPad naming conventions, Part 2

The new iPads released over the past few days have added even more confusion over iPad naming.

For those keeping track:

  • iPad
  • iPad 2
  • iPad (3rd generation)
  • iPad (4th generation)
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
  • iPad Pro (9.7-inch)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad Pro (11-inch)
  • iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)

As for the newly resurrected iPad mini:

  • iPad mini
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini (5th generation)

The People vs. Alex Cross

Another in a long list of Alex Cross stories. This time, detective Cross finds himself at the wrong side of the law as he tries to defend himself for the murder of followers of an old nemesis.

In the meantime, while suspended from his day job, he accompanies his former partner Sampson in another case that involves missing blonde women and the dark web.

I’ve read several Alex Cross books in the past and always find them entertaining. Chapters rarely go beyond four pages so there is always a sense of progress when reading them them.

James Patterson is a master of keeping the suspense high, as he jumps between each different plot at a fast pace from chapter to chapter. Fans of fictional crime and easy reads will enjoy this book.

Highlight: The final few chapters where the perpetrators of the kidnappings are found.

Almost the Perfect Murder

Almost the Perfect Murder is a true crime book about the murder of Elaine O’Hara in 2012 and the trial or Graham Dwyer which was well documented in the media in Ireland back in 2015.

Written by Paul Williams, the book details the life of Elaine O’Hara, up to the point that she went missing and then onto the crazy coincidences and investigation that brought about the conviction of Graham Dwyer for her murder.

Despite the sometimes graphic content, the book is an easy read and does a good job of laying the facts out to the reader without swaying in favor of anyone. This was, as described by Williams, like a ‘Hollywood’ case that you could easily see a film being made about.

There’s not much I can write here without spoiling the book, but any fans of true crime, particularly those in Ireland, should read this.

Highlight: The investigation and build up of evidence against Dwyer leading to his arrest.

Apple Is Planning 3-D Cameras for New iPhones in AR Push

An interesting report from Bloomberg on Apple’s plans for the rest of 2019 and onto 2020. We are at the point where it’s getting harder and harder to make meaningful updates to smartphones year after year, or at least meaningful enough to convince people to upgrade.

Focussing on camera improvements is not exactly a new tactic from Apple, but it is something that is always appreciated when upgrading.

I’m particularly interested in what the 2019 iPhones will bring to the table:

For 2019, Apple plans successors to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max – code-named D42 and D43 – and an update to the iPhone XR, said the people. The larger of the new high-end iPhones will have three cameras on the back, and other handsets could eventually come with the upgraded system, too, the people said.

A third camera on the back of the 2019 iPhone will help the device capture a larger field of view and enable a wider range of zoom. It will also capture more pixels so Apple software could, for example, automatically repair a video or photo to fit in a subject that may have been accidentally cut off from the initial shot, according to the people familiar with the plans. The company is also planning an enhanced version of its Live Photos feature, which pins video from before and after each shot to the photo. The new version will double the length of the video from three seconds to six seconds.

This year’s iPhone models will include an upgraded Apple processor and use an updated Face ID sensor for unlocking the device and approving payments, the people said.

Bloomberg are also reporting that iOS 13 will include dark mode, something which I have wanted for a long time:

Apple’s next operating system update, iOS 13, will include a dark mode option for easier nighttime viewing and improvements to CarPlay, the company’s in-vehicle software. There will also be iPad-specific upgrades like a new home screen, the ability to tab through multiple versions of a single app like pages in a web browser, and improvements to file management.