WWDC 2017: Updated MacBook Pros, A New iMac, and the HomePod

With the success of the iPhone and iPad, it’s easy to see Apple as a mobile device company and forget that they make other products too. At times, it has felt like Apple has forgotten that too. But at this year’s WWDC conference, Apple did announce quite a few new things outside of its mobile lineup that I’m excited about. This post will cover some of those highlights, while our other WWDC post will focus on the mobile side of things.

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Unroll.me Caught Abusing Customer Data

You might have heard of Unroll.me, a service that scans your email inbox for messages that came from a mailing list and automatically unsubscribes you from the lists. Sounds convenient, right? We all get too much spam, and the idea of a service that takes care of it for you is an attractive one. Even better, it’s free!

…with one simple catch, of course. It recently came out that Unroll.me also gathers data as it scans your email, which it later sells to other companies. Oops.

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You Should Be Using A Password Manager

I’m really bad with password security. I know it’s bad to use the same password on multiple sites, and I know it’s important to use passwords that aren’t easy to guess, but when it comes down to it, it’s hard to actually follow those rules. I tend to use variations on the same 3 or 4 passwords, and if the website wants me to use a special character, it’s always going to be an exclamation point at the end. Even with all of these compromises, I still find myself using the “Forgot Your Password” link on websites I visit less frequently.

It’s embarrassing that I have a hard time with this, but I bet I’m not alone. In fact, I bet most of you run into these problems too. There has to be a better way, right?

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Samsung’s New Chromebook Plus May Be The Future of Android Tablets

At CES 2017 (that is the Consumer Electronics Show) Samsung announced their new Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro touch screen Chromebooks. These computers have been rumored for a while but are now official. Built from the ground up to make use of Android apps on ChromeOS, computers like these new Chromebooks from Samsung may very well be the future of the Android tablet market and a hard blow to Microsoft’s 2-in-1 strategy.

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Everyone Wants to Sell You A Mesh Network

Of all the technology you use every day, you probably spend the least amount of time thinking about your WiFi router. I know the last time I needed one, I just went to my nearest electronics store and picked out a reasonably priced Linksys model without really reading reviews or comparison shopping. After plugging it in and slogging through the setup process, I placed it into its permanent home in the corner of a room and haven’t given it much thought since. I bet most of you are the same way.

But recently, several companies have started coming out with new kinds of routers that are intended to be placed throughout your home to form a mesh network, promising more complete coverage and faster WiFi speeds. The obvious question is: are mesh networks really the way of the future, or are they just a way for networking companies to sell you more routers? And should you consider buying in?

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Lenovo Announces ThinkVision Monitors

Ahead of the CES 2017 show in Las Vegas, Lenovo quietly announces some Kaby Lake specification bumps to the ThinkPad computers and two new monitors which will become publicly available in March of 2017.

There will be two, nearly bezel-less QHD (2560×1440) IPS monitors. The ThinkVision P24H will be 24″ and the P27H 27″. Pricing is looking to be $259 for the smaller and $329 for the larger.

The new monitors are to produce a 99% accurate sRGB color gamut and have a 6ms response time, making these good possible choices for both photo editing and/or gaming. We’ll see how the monitors review when units become available.

The monitors will have an array if inputs for flexibility with your set up. There are two HDMI inputs, two display ports, four USB type A ports, and a USB type C port. The USB type-C port is capable of taking display input, data transfer for the four ports, and provide 45 W of power output. For comparison, the new 13″ MacBook Pros have 61 Watt chargers, and the 15″ has a 87W charger. The monitor may be able to slowly charge your MacBook, but was more likely designed to charge your Lenovo Yoga 910 convertible.

The accurate color production , clean no-bezel look, fast response, and USB-C flexibly combined with the reasonable price make these new display very appealing. Pending reviews and products released at CES in January, these may be worth looking into if you have a USB type-C laptop and a HDMI outputting desktop and would like to share monitors, ports and inputs, or if you need a new display…in three months.

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Is Apple Still Making Desktops?

Many Apple fans came away from the company’s October 2016 keynote with an unsettling feeling that Apple is no longer pursuing the professional market or putting a focus on desktop computers at all. Although the newly-announced MacBook Pros are clearly in the computer category, their emphasis of size and shape over performance is making some people question the “Pro” labeling of these computers. Users who care about performance over everything else are having a hard time feeling like Apple’s newest machines are right for them.

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State of the VR Union

Virtual reality has been one of the most common themes in tech news this year. The release of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive brought gaming-quality VR into the home, and we saw VR-related announcements from Google, Microsoft, and other industry players. It seems like everyone is wanting to get in on virtual reality before it takes off, and it can be a bit confusing to keep up with the flurry of news as advancements are made and new products are released. With that in mind, let’s take a step back and figure out where we’re at with VR technology and what we can expect to see next.

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Buying a Mac Part 4: $300

There are a lot of things you can buy for $300, an iPod Classic, a Sonos wireless speaker, a pretty good Android phone, a KitchenAid stand mixer, or a used iPhone 6. $300 will also get you a faster CPU, fast ram, two USBC ports, and new user interface. In matched configurations the touch bar MacBook Pro is $300 more than the MacBook Pro without.

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