Tech Tips

New iPad Lineup

The New iPad Lineup

Apple often adjusts its iPad and iPhone lineup in March, and this year’s changes make the selection more attractive and affordable while adding a new way to support the (RED) international charity. Let’s take a closer look at what Apple has done and what it means for you.

New iPad replaces iPad Air 2
The most significant of Apple’s changes is the replacement of the iPad Air 2 with a new 9.7-inch iPad model called simply “iPad.” This latest iPad is extremely similar to the iPad Air 2, and although most of the changes are for the better, Apple cut a few features so as to reduce the price to the lowest ever for a 9.7-inch iPad.

Physically, the new iPad is almost identical to the iPad Air 2, apart from being 1.4 mm thicker, which might cause problems for some current cases. More interesting is that Apple swapped the iPad Air 2’s A8X processor for the faster A9 chip, which should improve performance. The cameras remain mostly the same too, though photos taken with the rear-facing camera should be somewhat better, thanks to two improvements over the iPad Air 2’s camera: auto image stabilization to help avoid blurry images and a hybrid infrared filter to improve color accuracy and sharpness.

On the downside, the new iPad lacks the iPad Air 2’s laminated display and anti-reflective coating, which combined to increase screen clarity, particularly in bright light. You’d have to compare the new iPad against the more expensive iPad mini 4 or the much more expensive 9.7-inch iPad Pro to see if the screen change is a major problem for you.

The big win with the new iPad is price, it’s now only $449.99 for the Wi-Fi–only 32 GB model or $579.99 for 128 GB. The cellular models cost $619.99 for 32 GB and $749.99 for 128 GB. It’s now the least expensive iPad and what Apple expects most new buyers to purchase. It’s now available at a Simply Computing store near you.

Apple reduces iPad mini 4 price, drops iPad mini 2
The new iPad takes over the entry-level iPad spot from the iPad mini because Apple simultaneously dropped both the iPad mini 2, and the 32 GB model of the iPad mini 4. That leaves just the 128 GB iPad mini 4, which is now priced at $549.99. Despite the price drop, unless you especially want the iPad mini’s smaller size or better screen, it’s probably worth $30 to move up to the new 128 GB iPad.

Paint the town (RED) with new iPhone 7 models
For more than 10 years, Apple has partnered with the (RED) international charity to raise money for the Global Fund to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. By offering products in the licensed PRODUCT(RED) color and donating a portion of the proceeds, Apple has raised over $130 million for (RED), making it the charity’s largest corporate donor.

On March 24th, Apple started selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus PRODUCT(RED) Special Edition models in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. They’re functionally identical to the existing iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models and are priced the same too, but they come in what Apple calls “a vibrant red aluminum finish.” It’s a strong color that’s a far cry from Apple’s almost pastel rose gold color choice.

And if you’d like a PRODUCT(RED) iPhone, but have a perfectly serviceable iPhone that you don’t want to replace, Apple now offers silicone and leather cases in the (RED) color—they’re not quite as snazzy as the red aluminum finish, but they’re similarly bright.

Backing Up Your iOS and OS X Devices

World Back Up Day is just around the corner and the best way to celebrate is by backing up your information!

By Simply Kelowna’s Brandon Marnier

Last week we covered the basics of what a back up was, how to choose where to back up, and we gave a brief overview of how to back up to through the method you chose. This week we are going to go a little deeper and detail how to back up with a few methods.

Backing Up With Time Machine:  
“Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” – Back to the Future

Time Machine is a built in way to backup your OS X device that utilizes an external hard drive (either wired or wireless) to save your data regularly. Time Machine works by making a copy of everything on your computer and using this first back up as a reference file. Whenever your Time Machine backup drive is connected hourly back ups are made of any changes that you make on your computer. Using the original backup file as a reference allows Time Machine to only backup changes which means your future back ups happen much more quickly.

Your back ups are organized into daily, weekly, and monthly back ups as time goes on. This means that if an important file is lost you can retrieve it by accessing the appropriate date and time that the file was created. If your computer crashes you can restore from your latest backup, or if the crash was caused by software, you can roll back to a previous date of when your computer worked.

In order to back up with Time Machine you must first connect your external hard drive. Once connected you should be prompted with a message asking if you want to use this drive as a Time Machine backup. By selecting “Use Disk” you are permitting your Mac to reformat your external drive (if the drive is already formatted correctly it will skip this step) and begin the process of backing up. Your first backup may take a while depending on the amount of storage you are using on your computer. To access information on a Time Machine backup you can select your drive and open it. Your backups will be stored in a file called Backups. Alternatively, you can select the Time Machine icon on your menu bar and press “Enter Time Machine”.

Backing up your iOS Device
Backing up your iOS device is a very simple process and you have two options. You can use either iTunes or iCloud.

To backup with iTunes connect your device to your computer and open iTunes. In the upper left hand corner your device should appear as an icon. If you click on your device you will see a button that says Back Up Now and once you click that button your backup will begin. This process will back up all of the files on your iOS device. Your files will not be viewable as they are encrypted and compressed to save room. In order to access your files you will need to erase your device and restore from the applicable backup. Your device will then automatically back up whenever it is connected to iTunes (unless you have turned this feature off).

To backup to iCloud go to the settings application on your device. From here, navigate to the iCloud section and make sure you are signed in. If you are signed in you will see a section that says backups. Select backups and turn it on. Once turned on your device will back up as soon as it is connected to wifi, power, and the screen is locked. You can also force a backup by pressing “Back Up Now”. Again, your files will not be viewable because they are encrypted, compressed, and stored on Apple’s servers. In order to access your files you will need to erase your device and restore from the applicable backup. Your device will continue to back up automatically whenever it is connected to power, wifi, and the screen is locked.

With Apple’s new iOS 10.3 update they are utilizing a new file structure which has the potential to save you gigabytes of space. If your iOS device is short on storage, we recommend trying the new update.

Backing Up Single Files
So you don’t need your whole computer backed up but there are important files that you do not want to lose. This is a situation where you have a lot of options. You can use cloud based storage systems to store things like PDFs, documents, pictures, or other files. You can also choose to use small external storage devices such as USB Flash drives or SD Cards (such as ones made by Kingston, iLeef, or JCPAL). OS X can utilize many of these devices while iOS needs specialized devices that have their own applications.

In order to backup single files on OS X to external devices you first need to connect your external storage device of choice. Next you need to find the files that you want to back up. Dragging and dropping those files to your device in Finder will be the easiest method or you can copy and paste.

To backup single files on iOS with external devices you must first find a device that supports iOS. Great examples of these devices are iLeef’s Leef Bridge and JCPAL’s iSave. With an external storage device chosen you will now need to download the relevant application (mentioned on your product’s box usually). Once downloaded you can choose which files you would like to migrate individually.

Backing up individual files to a cloud based service is a great option. iCloud is the easiest option as it has built in functionality with iOS and OS X devices using something called iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive can take certain types of files and store them in Apple’s servers allowing you to not only backup your files but also edit on the fly and see those edits happen on all your other devices (as long as the program supports this feature). To turn on iCloud Drive on OS X navigate to the iCloud preference pane in your System Preferences and click on the check box next to iCloud Drive. To turn on iCloud Drive on iOS devices navigate to the iCloud section in your Settings application and turn iCloud Drive on.

If you have any questions or need help backing up your devices come on down to your local Simply Computing location and talk to a representative.

A guide to backing up your data

A guide to backing up your data

By Simply Kelowna’s Brandon Marnier

World Back Up Day is just around the corner and the best way to celebrate is by backing up your information!

What is “Backing Up”?
Backing up is a term used to describe the way you safeguard your digital information. With much of our daily lives focused around technology we often forget that technology can fail and because it can fail your personal data may be at risk. It’s important to back up your data regularly to ensure that you don’t lose anything.

Backing Up Options
There are a lot of options that you can use to back up your information such as cloud based services or physical external hard drives. Here are some options that you can choose from.

Cloud Based Services: Cloud based services are storage options that are housed in other locations that have connectivity to your electronic devices. These services include Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft’s One Drive, or a server that you run yourself. Cloud based services are great options for people always on the move or for groups of people that want to collaborate. With cloud based services you can edit, store, and share your information with your other devices almost instantly. Most of these services come with a monthly subscription fee and that can be a real deterrent for some.

Physical Drives: Physical drives are hard drives that can be plugged in to your devices allowing you to transport your information to them. These can include small and portable USB drives or large stationary drives. LaCie or G-Tech are popular brands for these devices. Physical drives are affordable one time purchases and you can keep the drive anywhere you like such as a fire proof safe or a safety deposit box.

Multiple Devices: A lot of people forget that much of what is on one device may also be on another device they own. If you take pictures with your phone and upload those to your computer, if you didn’t delete them after import then they still reside on your phone. Same goes for things like documents, emails, and videos. If one of your devices fails it is a good idea to see if you can retrieve any lost information from another device.

What size should I choose?
Choosing a storage size for your backup can be a confusing task. Megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes sound similar and are often confused for one or the other. Most options come in either gigabytes or terabytes as they are affordable and have a capacity that can house most types of files.

The first thing to consider is how much space you are using. In order to find this information you will need to consult the storage settings on your device. If you use Mac OS X then the information can be found by going into the About this Mac setting and navigating to the storage section. If you are on iOS (iPhone or iPad) you can go to settings, then general, then manage storage to see how much you are using.

It is a good idea to buy more storage than you need. If you have a 500 gigabyte drive on your computer and you’re using 400 then you need at least a 500 gigabyte size back up option. By ensuring you have enough space to back up your whole hard drive you don’t have to buy two drives. If you have multiple devices then you may need to adjust accordingly.

Some useful information:
  • 1 Gigabyte = 1024 Megabytes
  • 1 Terabyte = 1024 Gigabytes
  • A 1 Terabyte drive can roughly fit equivalent of 200,000 songs, or 500 hours of movies, or 310,000 photos, or 85,899,345 pages of plain text documents.

Which option should I choose?
It’s a matter of personal preference as each option has it’s own benefit. An assessment of your lifestyle and needs may help you decide. Individuals who travel often times enjoy cloud storage while those who don’t travel sometimes enjoy physical drive back ups.

Backing up in Mac OSX
Apple makes backing up your computer very simple with a program called Time Machine. Time Machine utilizes a physical drive and automatically backs up your computer for you every hour or when changes are made.

To set up Time Machine navigate to your System Preferences>Time Machine and select the disk you would like to back up on. Then sit back and enjoy some time to yourself while your Mac backs up automatically.

Using iCloud as a back up on Mac is very simple as well. To set up iCloud go to System Preferences>iCloud and sign in. Once you are signed in, select what you would like backed up and let your Mac do the rest. iCloud will not back up every single file like Time Machine will but it will back up the most important things like photos and documents.

Backing Up on iOS
To back up on iOS you have two options that are provided to you from Apple.
To back up to iCloud navigate to Settings>iCloud>Backups. From here, tap back up now and your device will take care of the rest. To back up to iTunes you first need a computer that has iTunes installed on it. Next plug your device in and select it in the upper left hand corner of iTunes. There will be an option here that says Back Up Now. Click it and your device will do the rest. Once you have selected either of these options your device will automatically back up to either iCloud or iTunes.

Come down to your local Simply Store and ask a staff member about backing up and what you can do to secure your data!

Spring Clean your Mac

Spring Clean your Mac

By Barry Donnelly

Back by popular demand, this week is our Mac Health Checkup with Bonus Malware removal. With Spring just around the corner, it is a great time to bring your computer into your local Simply Computing store and get our Apple certified technicians to run a comprehensive analysis on your system. They will also recommend suitable options to help you enhance the performance of your computer.

There are a number of issues that our technicians regularly encounter when performing a Checkup.

No Storage
This is one of the most common issues our technicians encounter when completing a Checkup for our customers. When your hard drive gets full your computer’s performance suffers. Because there is always a steady stream of information switching between your RAM and disk storage when your storage gets low your OS cannot operate efficiently and this is when you can sometimes lead to your computer being unresponsive or perhaps you may start to see the spinning rainbow beachball.

No Backup
This is another common issue that they encounter and this scares me a lot. Just think if you woke up tomorrow morning and could not access any information on your computer, how would you feel???

I believe that having a backup of your most important information is essential. Given that we rely on our computers and mobile devices so much the thought of losing all my photos, contacts, music, and documents really worries me. If you don’t currently have a backup talk to one of our staff in store and they will ensure you get a solution that is right for you.

While we do have the ability to attempt to recover lost files this is an expensive and timely process whereas the option of purchasing a backup hard drive is significantly less.

No Memory
If you like to run a number of programs simultaneously or even if you have numerous Word, Excel and PDF’s all open at the same time this is going to really slow things down. Each window requires memory to store and processing power to deal with it. You have 2 options either close a significant amount of your windows or if you really need them perhaps look into getting more RAM installed. The increased amount of RAM will help improve the overall performance of your computer

If any of these sound familiar to you it is best to call into your local store and arrange for our certified technicians to complete a CheckUp.

Don’t Bin it, Recycle it!

Don’t Bin it, Recycle it!

By Barry Donnelly

According to the Electronic Products Recycling Association( over 80% of Canadians, who took part in a poll, indicated that they have at least one end-of-life electronics device not in use at home.

It is vital that end-of-life and unwanted electronics do not end up in a landfill. We all have a part to play to ensure that these electronics (computers, TV’s, cell phones, monitors etc) do not end up in a landfill. These electronics are made with a number of heavy metals and synthetic materials which do not break down safely in a landfill environment.

That is why it is important to understand the different options that are available to you when you want to dispose of your old electronic devices.

Recycling Fact:
Through its many programs, the EPRA keeps 100,000 metric tonnes of old electronics out of landfill each year. That’s the equivalent of 20,000 Elephants.

Upcycle or Reuse It!
Upcycling is defined as a way to reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a new products or materials of better quality or for better environmental value.

Some examples of Upcycling that I have come across is using an old computer monitor as a fish tank, use an old cell phone as an emergency only device, make jewelry from old computer parts (check out if you don’t believe me).

Gift It!
You could ask family or friends if they have a need for a particular device that you do not need anymore.

Sell It!
There are numerous websites and apps available that you can post on to try to sell your old equipment. However, this can lead to some headaches when trying to arrange to meet up with a person who wants to buy your device. Maybe check the website first for similar products and see if it is worthwhile listing your device before going through the process.

If you decide to make the decision to upgrade your computer or iPad call into one of our store locations and our staff will be happy to provide you with a trade-in quote. It’s somewhat easier and plus you can use the amount towards a new computer.

Don’t worry if you cannot make it into store – click here to get a quote.

Donate It!
Another good option is to see if any local charities could find a good use for them.

Recycle It!
If all of the above is not possible, ensure you properly dispose of your e-waste. You can dispose any of your unwanted computers, cell phones, monitors, laptop batteries at any of our store locations. You can also check to see where your closest EPRA Drop-Off Centre is by clicking here.

Speed Dating Tips for your Mac

Speed Dating with Your Mac this Valentine’s Day

By Barry Donnelly

With love in the air this week I wanted to give you some  “Speed Dating Tips” on how you can get to know your Mac better.  I cannot promise that it will love you back but I think this could be an instance of acceptable unrequited love.

Spotlight Tool

This is something that many people already know about but given that it is something I use on a daily basis I wanted to mention it.
This feature can be launched by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the top right-hand corner of your screen. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut of Command (⌘)-Spacebar. A text field will then appear on the screen (usually appears in the top-right portion of the screen). Just type what you would like to find and your Mac will provide a list of results it deems relevant. Bonus Tip – The spotlight tool is also a calculator so if you require an answer to a math equation this is perfect for you.

Add Emojis everywhere 😍💘💚💝

With emojis becoming even more popular here is a quick tip to add them anywhere you wish. Press Control-Command (⌘)-Spacebar and you will be presented with a wide range of emojis. Here are some pop songs explained using emojis, see if you can guess the name?
  1. 🚀👨
  2. 💰💰🚜
  3. 👋👋👋
  4. 👬🚫🙅⬅💏
  5. ⬆️🍷
Answers are at the end of the post.

Instant Screenshots

There are a number of apps available that will assist you when you need to take screenshots but the options built into your Mac are more than capable of providing you with instant screenshots. If you want to take a snapshot of a portion of your screen, press Command (⌘)-Shift-4. Your cursor will turn into a plus sign which can they use to click and drag down to the right. Once you release your hold, it will create a snapshot of your selection. There is also an option to take a snapshot of your entire screen just press Command (⌘)-Shift-3. There is one more option if you wish to take a snapshot of a single window that you have open. Press Command (⌘)-Shift-4 and hit the spacebar. Your screen will turn blue and your cursor will turn into a camera icon. Move this icon to the window which you would like to take a snapshot of and click on it. Any screenshot that you take will be saved and will appear on your desktop.  

Gesture Controls

With the use of your trackpad, you can swipe, tap, pinch or spread one or more fingers to perform a wide range of useful controls. While everybody uses their computer differently I will give my 3 most useful ones. Look Up and Data Detectors: Tap with three fingers to look up a word or take other actions with dates, addresses, phone numbers and other data.

Swipe between Full-Screen apps: Swipe left or right with four fingers to move between desktops and full-screen apps. Depending on the macOS this control may only require 3 fingers.

Swipe between pages: All this requires is for you to swipe left or right with 2 fingers to show the previous or next page.

For more information on the range of gestures that are available go to System Preferences>Trackpad and you can turn on or off different gestures. It will also show you what gestures work with your Mac.

Easily move Files to the Trash

This is may seem like a simple one but there are a lot of people who are unaware of this little trick. It’s also a very good time saver. Rather than spending lots of time dragging files to the trash all you need to do is select the file you wish to delete and then press Command (⌘)-Delete. This will be moved to the trash and if you select a file by accident just press Command (⌘)-Z and it will undo the last thing you did.

There are a number of different shortcuts included and explained in the above post but there are many more that you may find useful. If you would like to learn more of them I would recommend purchasing the Shortcut Keyboard Protector that is available in all our stores and online.

Emoji Pop Song Answers:
  1. Rocket Man (Elton John)
  2. Gold Digger ( Kayne West)
  3. Bye, Bye, Bye (N-Sync)
  4. We are never ever getting back together ( Taylor Swift)
  5. Raise Your Glass (Pink)

iPad Pro 9.7″ – The Perfect Gift

ipad-pro9-7 iPad Pro 9.7″ – The Perfect Gift

By Brandon Marnier, Simply Computing Kelowna

With the Holidays just around the corner, we thought that it would be a good time to take a closer look at the new iPad Pro 9.7 inch model.

At its core, the iPad Pro 9.7 boasts Apple’s A9X chip with 64-bit architecture and an embedded M9 coprocessor. This is the fastest processing chip that Apple has released for its iPad product line to date and coupled with 2GB of onboard RAM it packs a serious punch. Clocking in at almost double the speed of the iPad Air 2 the iPad Pro 9.7 is a great upgrade for any tablet user.

Cameras and Sound

Capturing memories on an iPad have never looked better. With a 12-megapixel iSight Camera, auto image stabilization, and a True Tone flash pictures on the iPad Pro 9.7 look crisp and clear. The iPad Pro 9.7 also features 4K video recording at 30 frames per second and a Live Photos option that lets you see the before and after moments of a picture. When watching videos or movies the iPad Pro 9.7 is a great option. Four speakers provide an unparalleled surround sound experience and the retina display looks better than ever.

Smart Connector

The iPad Pro 9.7 doesn’t just rely on its hardware though; it also has new features that make it an attractive option. The new Smart Connector allows the iPad Pro 9.7 to connect directly to Apple’s Smart Keyboard. The Smart keyboard eschews the traditional Bluetooth technology that most keyboards offer. Instead it acts similarly to a USB keyboard, providing a reliable and fast connection using the power of the iPad instead of rechargeable/replaceable batteries. ipad-pro2

Apple Pencil

The new Apple Pencil is where the iPad Pro 9.7 really shines, though. When connected to the iPad Pro, via Bluetooth, the Apple Pencil gives you extreme precision over your screen down to a single pixel. When the iPad Pro detects the Apple Pencil it utilizes its subsystem scan reading the signal 240 times per second. This allows it to detect subtle differences in pressure, angle, and position providing the most responsive feedback possible.

Creating art or running a business on an iPad is now more of a possibility than ever. In applications, such as Apple’s Notes, you can use the Apple Pencil to draw using a selection of different tools or write down notes as a presentation is being given. With other third party applications you can go even further and create paintings, sketches, and you can even sign and create documents. With the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, the iPad Pro 9.7 is like having an art studio or an office in your hand.

Coming in Wi-Fi and Cellular models in Silver, Space Grey, Gold, and Rose Gold with storage options of 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB, the iPad Pro 9.7 offers something for everyone. With options starting as low as $799 now is a great time to start thinking about switching or upgrading to the iPad.

Drop into your local Simply Computing store today and ask our staff for a demo.

USB-C Accessories: How to get connected

usb-accessories USB-C Accessories: How to get connected

By Barry Donnelly

One of the most common questions we have heard since the release of the new MacBook Pro is “How will I connect my… (hard drive, iPhone, USB Flash Drive, SD Card, external monitor) to it?” The launch of the new MacBook Pro unveiled some fantastic new features but one that really caught everyone’s attention was how thin and light the new models were (the 13-inch model is smaller than the MacBook Air 13-inch). In order to get the new models even slimmer, sacrifices had to be made so now we have a MacBook Pro with 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) on the 13-inch with no Touch Bar and 4 ports on the Touch Bar versions. The 3 new models  have the same ports as each other but these ports are totally different to the ports that are on whatever laptop you are using now. More and more companies are manufacturing laptops and phones that include a USB Type-C port and this appears to be becoming the industry standard and it is going to get harder and harder to avoid. One thing to note is that USB Type-C connections are reversible which will allow you to plug the cable in any direction you try. I am sure we have all had issues trying to plug a USB Flash Drive or Micro USB cable into a device and had issues. I, for one, am happy about this. There is a lot of information available about what adapters and cables should be purchased if you need to connect your new MacBook Pro to X, Y, and Z. The accessories below are selected to help make your connectivity experience with your new MacBook Pro seamless and easy.

USB Type A

This is your standard USB cable which you currently use to connect/sync a multitude of devices. There is an Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter available for only $10.99 which will allow you  to connect one USB-A device to your computer. This will be perfect if you use a hard drive for backups or if you want to sync your iPhone to your computer. This is probably going to be one of the most common accessories people will need. usb-c-to-usb-adapter-screen1 If you want multiple USB-A ports the best option would be to use a USB-C to USB-A hub. Available in our stores is the JCPAL LiNX USB-C to 4 port USB 3.0 hub. This is the perfect device if you wish to connect various devices (Hard drive, printer, iPhone & USB Flash drive) to your computer at the same time. There is also an adapter available from tmd which will allow you to connect 3 x USB 3.0 ports and 1 x Gigabit Ethernet.tmdgeusbx3

Lightning Cables

If you have multiple iOS devices and you would like to connect them directly to your computer you have 2 options.  
  • You can use the USB-C to USB-A adapter which will allow you to connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer using the Lightning cables that came included with your devices
  • There are 1m and 2m versions of Lightning to USB-C cables available which will allow direct connectivity.

Video Out: HDMI & VGA

There are separate Apple HDMI and VGA adapters that will allow you to connect to an external display while also providing you with a single USB-A port and another USB-C port which can be used for charging (you may not need this additional USB-C port on but it’s handy to have). The Digital AV Multiport adapter port will allow you to mirror your MacBook Pro to your HDTV or HD Display in up to 1080p at 60Hz or UHD (3840×2160) at 30Hz. The VGA Multiport adapter will allow you to mirror your computer display to you VGA-enabled TV or display in up to 1080p HD. If you have a 4K HDTV or HD Display and would like to your new MacBook to it, the Kanex USB-C to HDMI 4K adapter is the perfect solution for you. This adapter just contains the one port but is ideal if you require 4K connectivity. usb-c-vga-multiport-adapter-3

While you may be frustrated with the lack of connectivity options on the new MacBook Pro, the industry is moving towards these type of ports. It is only a matter of time before more and more devices adopt the USB-C format. The adapters listed above should provide ample connectivity options whether you are always on the move or if you like to use your computer as a desktop replacement. Click here to view all USB-C cables and adapters available in our stores.

A closer look at the new MacBook Pro

A closure look at the new MacBook Pro

A closer look at the new MacBook Pro

By Barry Donnelly

“Our online store has had more orders for the new MacBook Pro than any other Pro notebook before’” those are the words of Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, in a recent interview. There has been a lot of information released about the new models and so we have gone through it all in order to give you the rundown on the new models and hopefully this help you decide what one is right for you. Apple announced three new models at their press event on Thursday 27th October, MacBook Pro 13” without Touch Bar and MacBook Pro 13” & 15” with Touch Bar. This announcement has been greatly anticipated as the MacBook Pro has not received any updated since mid-2015. So let’s take a closer look at the new features that have been announced.   macbookpro-specs


The new models will come with either an Intel 6th Generation Core i5 or i7 processors. The 13-inch will have dual-core chips and the 15-inch will receive quad core processors which will provide overall greater speed performance. These chips are cooled by a new thermal architecture which promises to be quieter and will reduce system overheating. The 15-inch models feature a discrete AMD Radeon graphics cards which improve graphics performance by up to 130 percent. The 13-inch models have new integrated Intel Iris graphics which boosts performance by up to 103 percent when compared with the previous models. macbookpro2


Apple has described this computer as the “thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever” and this is certainly backed up by the numbers. The 13- and 15-inch models are 14.9mm and 15.5mm thin and they weigh an impressive1.37kg and 1.83kg. That gives a reduction of 17 and 14 percent in thickness and 13 and 10 percent in weight. The 13-inch model is now thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air. While the thickness and weight have changed there are also a number of other improvements which have grabbed the headlines.  

Touch Bar and Touch ID

macbookpro3 The flagship feature of the new MacBook Pro is definitely the introduction of the Touch Bar which sits above the keyboard. It takes the place of the Function keys row however if you are attached to them you can opt for the non-Touch Bar model or there is an option to display the function keys on the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar is a multi-touch Retina strip of glass and it can adapt to the application that you are running and display different controls depending on the application. The Touch Bar also includes a Touch ID fingerprint scanner which is combined with the power button. This will allow you to use Apple Pay without having to use a mobile device.

Thunderbolt 3

As expected Apple has removed the USB ports, HDMI port and MagSafe charging port from the new models. In their place are 2 x USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the No Touch Bar model and 4 x USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 13- and 15-inch Touch Bar models. The Thunderbolt 3 port allows data transfer, charging and video output all through the same port. Oh, and there is also a 3.5mm headphone jack. Obviously, these ports had to be removed in order to reduce the size of the computers but with a wide range of USB-C adapters available, you will be able to connect to a wide range of devices.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard on the new models has also changed. This is the second generation of the butterfly switch mechanism (first debuted on the MacBook 12-inch) and Apple has indicated that it allows for improved key travel and will be more responsive. The Trackpad has also been upgraded and it is twice as big as the trackpad on the previous models which is great if you use Multi-Touch gestures a lot. This trackpad is built using Force Touch- this technology simulates the tactile response of a click but without the trackpad actually moving. The MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar is expected to arrive in the coming weeks while the Touch Bar 13-and 15-inch is not expected to arrive until late November/early December. Reserve your MacBook Pro today and receive a $25 Simply Gift Card when you pickup your new Mac in store! If you would like to reserve your new MacBook Pro, click here.

Getting ready to upgrade to a new Mac

Introducing the new MacBook Pro

Getting ready to
upgrade to a new Mac

By Barry Donnelly

Since the start of the year, there have been many rumors about what will be included in the new computers. So today is the day that many Apple fans have been waiting for. On Thursday 27th October at 10am PT Apple announced a number of exciting new products. Apple has announced 3 new models in the MacBook Pro range and they have described it as “the most powerful MacBook Pro ever”. The new models are available in 2 colours, Space Gray and Silver, in 13 and 15-inch sizes.

The new MacBook Pro

The entry level model with no Touch Bar will start at $1899.99 and features a 2.0GHz Intel 6th Generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of 1866MHz RAM, 256GB SSD storage capacity, Intel Iris Graphics 450 and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. There are several customizable options available for improving the processor, RAM and storage capacity.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar features a 2.9GHz Intel 6th Generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of 2133MHz RAM, 256GB SSD storage capacity, Intel iris 550 Graphics, 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports and most importantly a Touch Bar and Touch ID. Pricing starts at $2299.99.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar features a 2.6GHz Intel 6th Generation Core i7 processor, 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, 256GB SSD storage capacity, AMD Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB memory, 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports and a Touch Bar and Touch ID. Pricing for this model starts at $2999.99.
There are also several customizable options for both models available for improving the processor, RAM, storage, and graphics.

The Touch Bar

The biggest edition to the MacBook Pro is the Touch Bar. This sits at the top of the keyboard and replaces the function keys. This space is now a small multi-touch screen which allows the user to use gestures and taps to perform a wide variety of tasks depending on the application that is running on the screen

Some other features that have been introduced  to the MacBook Pro range are:
  • Touch ID button- this is is integrated into the power button
  • 2nd Generation Butterfly keyboard – this provides a great responsiveness and comfort when typing
  • Brighter screen display – Apple says that the new displays are “67% brighter” than previous generation MacBook Pro
  • Both the 13 and 15-inch models are thinner and lighter than their predecessors
There are many more features which we will be able to tell you about once we are able to get a hands-on look at them.

If you have been thinking about purchasing a new computer and have decided to wait until the announcement, below are some steps that you should take before getting your hands on a new MacBook Pro.


Ensure you have an up-to-date backup of all your important files and data. If you are unsure of how to do this go over to our Backup Options Guide to learn more.

If you want to backup some files and documents such as photos, videos, music you can transfer them onto an external storage device. If you would like for all files and folders on your computer to be backed up it is advisable to use Time Machine.

Sign out of all Accounts

You may be signed into a number of Apps on your Mac and your login details are recorded in your computers history. So if you are getting a new computer and have decided to trade in, sell or donate your old computer it is best to ensure you are logged out of the following Apps.

Open iTunes, go to menu bar, go to Account and select Deauthorize this Computer.

Go to System preferences > iCloud, Sign Out. You will also be prompted to turn off Find My Mac when you select this option.

Open the iMessage app, go to Preferences > Accounts and log out of your iMessage.

It is advised that you turn off FileVault encryption on your computer. Go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy > FileVault. If it is not turned on click the padlock , enter your password to unlock the preferences and turn it off.

Erase all data on your Mac
Once you have completed the above steps you are now ready to erase all of your information that is currently on your computer. Before starting this process it is important to ensure that your computer is connected to a mains power supply and connected to the Internet.

  1. Shut down your Mac, hold Command + R and then turn it on
  2. Select your language
  3. Select Disk Utility in the recovery window and continue
  4. Select your Mac disk on the left side of the screen, then Click ERASE. On the erase panel ensure to select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) option as the format type. Give the drive a name (best to leave it as Macintosh HD) and then click ERASE.
  5. This will then take some time to erase all of your personal information. Once this is complete close the Disk Utility and go back to OS X Utilities and click Reinstall OS X.
If you are unsure about any of the steps or don’t have the time or patience, call into your local Simply Computing store and our staff will be happy to provide assistance. We can take care of  transferring all your information onto a new computer, perform a military grade data erasure and trade in your old computer.