Sunday April 20, 2014
This week sees the iPad mini with Retina Display making its first appearance in the Apple refurb store. Currently only available in its Wi-Fi-only clothing, we're hoping for the Wi-Fi + Cellular models to be following on soon. The other good news is that a number of current Mac mini models are looking for good homes.
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.
Best Deals of the Week
There are three best deals this week; a 2013 MacBook Pro at a whopping 29% off the retail price; a 2011 27-inch iMac, the last year to include a superdrive, available for 33% off its original selling price; and to round things out, a 2012 Mac Pro with 12 cores for the low price of $3,239.00.
Apple Refurbished Store
Quantities are limited, so if any of these tickle your fancy, be fast on the trigger to make a purchase.
- 2013 11.6-inch MacBook Air (Review) 1.3 GHz Dual-Core i5 with 128 GB SSD and Intel HD Graphics 5000: $849.00
- 2013 11.6-inch MacBook Air (Review) 1.3 GHz Dual-Core i5 with 256 GB SSD and Intel HD Graphics 5000: $1,019.00
- 2012 13.3-inch MacBook Air (Review) 1.8 GHz Dual-Core i5 with 128 GB SSD and Intel HD Graphics 4000: $849.00
- 2013 13.3-inch MacBook Air (Review) 1.3 GHz Dual-Core i5 with 128 GB SSD and Intel HD Graphics 5000: $929.00
- 2012 13.3-inch MacBook Pro (Review) 2.5 GHz Dual-Core i5 with 500 GB hard drive and Intel Graphics 4000: $999.00
- Deal of the Week: 2013 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Review) 2.5 GHz Intel Quad-Core i5 with 128 GB SSD and Intel Graphics 4000: $1,059.00
- 2012 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Review) 2.3 GHz Intel Quad-Core i7 with 256 GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics: $1,599.00
- 2013 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Review) 2.4 GHz Intel Quad-Core i7 with 256 GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M Graphics: $1,659.00
- 2012 Mac Mini (Review) 2.3 GHz Quad-Core i7 with dual 1 TB hard drives, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and OS X Server: $849.00
- 2012 Mac Mini (Review) 2.3 GHz Quad-Core i7 with 256 GD SSD, Intel HD Graphics 4000: $929.00
- 2012 21.5-inch iMac (Review) 2.9 GHz, Quad-Core i5 with 1 TB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics: $1,199.00
- Deal of the Week: 2011 27-inch iMac (Review) 2.7 GHz, Quad-Core i5 with 1 TB hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 6770 Graphics: $1,129.00
- 2013 27-inch iMac (Review) 3.2 GHz, Quad-Core i5 with 1 TB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 755M: $1,529.00
- Deal of the Week: 2012 Mac Pro (Review) dual 2.4 GHz 6-core (12-cores total) GHz Xeon with 1 TB hard drive and ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics: $3,239.00
- 2013 AirPort Extreme with simultaneous dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology: $169.00
- 2013 AirPort Time Capsule with 2 TB drive and simultaneous dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology: $255.00
iPad mini (Review)
- 16 GB Wi-Fi iPad mini $249.00
- 32 GB Wi-Fi iPad mini $249.00
- 64 GB Wi-Fi iPad mini $419.00
- 16 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini $359.00
- 32 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini $449.00
- 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini $529.00
iPad Air (Review)
- 16 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air $529
- 32 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air $619
- 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air $699
- 128 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air $789
iPad mini Retina (Review)
- 32 GB Wi-Fi only: $419
- 64 GB Wi-Fi only: $509
Want to find out more about Apple refurbished Macs? Take a look at the process my wife and I experienced when we took the Apple refurbished store for a spin.
Saturday April 19, 2014
1Password 4 from AgileBits is a password manager that makes keeping track of all the passwords you use just about as easy as it can be. 1Password comes with extensions for all the popular Mac web browsers, so you can integrate it into your favorite browser for seamless access to current web site accounts. It can also save login credentials for new accounts that you create.
1Password isn't just a web login utility. It encompasses a stand-alone app that allows you to store logins, secure notes, credit card info, identities, passwords, software licensing information, bank accounts, and just about any other type of information that needs to be kept in a secure encrypted environment to prevent prying eyes from viewing it.
Keeping all of your personal data behind an encrypted gatekeeper is a great idea, provided you can make use of the information quickly and easily. 1Password makes retrieving the information a breeze, at least for the rightful owner of the information. With the use of a master password, you can unlock 1Password for a session whose length you define. Once the session is finished, 1Password locks itself back up, preventing further access unless you supply the master password again.
1Password has won numerous awards, including our own Readers' Choice Awards in 2013. 1Password works with Macs, Windows PCs, and iOS devices.
1Password 4 is normally $49.99, but it's available for $24.99 for a limited time. A demo is available.
See other software choices from Tom's Mac Software Picks.
Friday April 18, 2014
This weekend's project is a good one if you want to add functionality to your Mac's desktop via the Dock. With a bit of Terminal magic, you can add a capability to the Dock that allows you to keep track of apps and documents that you've recently worked with.
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.
Once you finish adding the Recent Applications stack, you can use the same technique to add a Recent Documents stack.
Now, with all the new Dock features you've added, you may want to consider reorganizing your Dock; you know, move the Dock icons around to place them into groups that make sense to you.
As part of the Dock shuffle, you can add Dock Spacers to help make your groups of icons really stand out.
Add a Recent Applications Stack to the Dock
Add a Dock Spacer to Your Mac
Thursday April 17, 2014
The Mac mini is getting very long in the tooth; October 2012 was the last time it was updated. On average, the Mac mini is updated just a tick less than once a year. It's now been nearly a year and a half since the last update, which makes me wonder what Apple has been doing with the Mac mini during that time.
Courtesy of Apple
The Mac mini is not only the least expensive desktop Mac, but also a popular choice for many businesses and former PC users who want a powerful Mac, but who don't want or need the added cost of an iMac's built-in display, or a Mac Pro's raw processing power.
Mac pundits, including myself, expected an updated Mac mini sometime in early 2014, which would have met the normal upgrade cycle. Apple could easily throw in a new Intel Haswell processor upgrade, and Intel Iris or Iris Pro graphics, without breaking a sweat. This hasn't happened, so what's going on?
Apple may be giving the Mac mini more than just a basic upgrade this time around. Looking at recent Apple designs, and the direction they point to, here's what I think Apple will do with a new Mac mini.
Apple could just drop the model altogether; after all, desktops aren't the moneymakers they once were. But the Mac mini could be part of a new direction in Apple's desktop designs, one that started with the 2013 Mac Pro. That includes updating the storage system to SSD only; no mechanical spinning drives of any type. Instead, the new Mac mini would have a PCIe-based SSD, as seen in the Mac Pro and current MacBook Airs.
Without the need for a mechanical hard drive, the Mac mini could shrink, and I mean in a big way. There is no reason why a Mac mini couldn't be the size of an Apple TV, or perhaps a puck shape, a smaller take on the Mac Pro's cylinder design.
The only interface needs are power, HDMI, Thunderbolt, and USB 3. The number of each type of port depends on how small Apple wants to make the Mac mini. I would expect to see four USB 3, two Thunderbolt, and one HDMI. Of course, there would be the required Bluetooth and AC Wi-Fi, but perhaps no Ethernet port.
As for processors and graphics, Haswell and Iris Pro will likely be the choices. There could be a model with a higher-end graphics card to provide a bit of a GPU boost to overall performance.
What do you think a new Mac mini will look like? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.