When the 15″ Retina MacBook Pro hit store shelves this past summer, MacBook Air owners hugged their slim, lightweight laptops tightly while looking longingly at the beautiful display of the larger machines. “If only Apple would release a smaller laptop with a retina display,” they wished. It took a few months, but it’s here: a 13″ version of its Retina MacBook Pro offering a relatively lightweight, “pro” oriented laptop in a smaller form factor. Having spent a good amount of time with the 15″ Retina MacBook Pro this past summer, we wanted to get a feel for what the smaller size could offer.
For the past several days, I have switched from my usual 11″ MacBook Air to using the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro for all my daily work. The experience isn’t far off from using the 15″ model—the battery life easily bests the MacBook Air and the screen is crisp and clear. Performance is in-line with what we expected, given the dual-core Ivy Bridge processors. And the thinner aluminum unibody is solid despite the thinner profile compared to the older MacBook Pro design.
Still, while the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro offers an overall great package, the pricing and performance compromises compared to its larger 15″ sibling left me wanting. Here’s why. Continue reading →
The last version of Android to be released, 4.1, code-named “Jelly Bean,” was only an incremental bump over the major 4.0 release (“Ice Cream Sandwich”). But that little bump made a big difference. Android became more or less fully realized with Ice Cream Sandwich, but Jelly Bean brought a level of polish and maturity that the platform previously lacked.
The biggest improvement for the end-user experience was “Project Butter,” the name given to a group of adjustments vastly upgrading Android’s responsiveness to touch input. These included adding triple buffered graphics rendering and maximizing the CPU’s clock speed briefly whenever the screen is touched (there were also a few other underlying architectural improvements). Taken together, the tweaks made overall performance much more consistent in Jelly Bean. Before, Android’s interface was capable of smoothness on sufficiently fast hardware (see our Optimus G review for evidence of that), but Jelly Bean brought smoothness even to older hardware like the Motorola Xoom and first-generation Kindle Fire. Using Android finally felt as good as using iOS or Windows Phone.
Now, only four months after Android 4.1 was released into the wild, the mobile operating system is getting another incremental bump. Android 4.2 carries the same “Jelly Bean” code-name as 4.1. It doesn’t bring any drastic changes to the operating system and, given its quick turnaround, no one really expected it to. However, it introduces enough new features to keep Android a healthy contender in the vicious smartphone and tablet markets. Continue reading →
Ars has its Fusion Drive-equipped Mac Mini in hand, and I’ve begun digging into it. We’ll do a full review next week, but it’s immediately obvious that many of the suppositions about Fusion Drive were correct: the technology uses Core Storage to bind together the physical hard disk drive and the physical solid state drive into a single volume. The aggregate capacity is the sum of the two, minus system partitions for booting and recovery. Continue reading →
Mozilla Firefox has—barely—dipped below 20 percent market share for the second time in six months, after an October that saw Microsoft Internet Explorer grow, Google Chrome fall, and mobile browsing account for 10 percent of all Web traffic for the first time ever. Continue reading →