What Apple’s Event Means for Creatives: 10 Takeaways on Mac Hardware, Software News

To the rest of the world, Apple’s event today was about new iPads. To most people reading this site, it’s probably more along the lines of, “can I finally stop putting off buying the new MacBook I need?” Answer: yes. But let’s quickly review what was announced that’s relative to music makers and live visualists: A new GarageBand, in line with Logic Pro X, for iOS and OS X MacBook Pro line that now has updated Intel graphics and chips, better performance and battery life (good) but completes the march to non-upgradeable memory, glossy displays, and SSD-only storage (bad, for …

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Apple MacBooks: Reappearing FireWire, Disappearing ExpressCard

As you no doubt heard, Apple today refreshed their MacBook lineup with across-the-board adjustments to pricing. I’ll let other sites comment on the news more generally, as this is a music site, not a notebook site. But the big news for audio in terms of I/O, just so you don’t miss that: FireWire on more models: Finally, you can again get a 13” MacBook (now called MacBook Pro) with onboard FireWire – a FW800 connector. That’ll restore the use of audio interfaces and certain high-speed storage, and means the MacBook is again a good choice as an audio machine at …

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Apple Restores FireWire, Lowers Prices; ExpressCard Now Only on 17”

Apple giveth and Apple taketh – again. FireWire, back on the whole line. First, off, the good news coming out of Apple’s hardware refresh today: FireWire is again on the 13” MacBook, which is now confusingly called the MacBook Pro. It’s a FW800 port, too, which can be nice for fast storage. That means you can get a US$1199 machine with FireWire, a new SD card slot, and a decent if not dazzling NVIDIA 9400M. It seems that Apple heard the loud chorus of people frustrated with the lack of FireWire. My Canon HV20 HDV camera thanks you, Apple. Good …

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Apple Restores FireWire, Lowers Prices; ExpressCard Now Only on 17”

Apple giveth and Apple taketh – again. FireWire, back on the whole line. First, off, the good news coming out of Apple’s hardware refresh today: FireWire is again on the 13” MacBook, which is now confusingly called the MacBook Pro. It’s a FW800 port, too, which can be nice for fast storage. That means you can get a US$1199 machine with FireWire, a new SD card slot, and a decent if not dazzling NVIDIA 9400M. It seems that Apple heard the loud chorus of people frustrated with the lack of FireWire. My Canon HV20 HDV camera thanks you, Apple. Good …

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Rain Diablo Audio Quad Laptop: Powerful Enough to Be Kind of Ridiculous

Rain Recording make audio-ready notebooks – that is, they’re pre-tested to function well with audio software, with Windows tweaks, driver selection, and configuration all chosen and tested for music and visual production, and no crapware installed. They’re one of a handful of music-friendly vendors that does that (see also: PCAudioLabs, etc.). Given that the PC music making experience can range from awesome to awful depending on which hardware and (particularly) drivers you’re on, that’s no small matter. Rain has always styled themselves a premium brand. But the latest Diablo really does go to extremes spec-wise. It’ll cost you – base …

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Want a FireWire, Non-Pro MacBook? The $999 MacBook is Looking Better

Apple has updated the US$999, white MacBook to some of the specs of the new “unibody” models – but retaining the one thing we like about it, namely, an actual FireWire port. (The only other option has been upgrading to the Pro for significantly more cash.) Now for US$999: NVIDIA 9400M graphics (meaning this is mainly a story for visualists, so see our take on Create Digital Motion – but the rest of you can more easily enjoy World of Warcraft, if so inclined) Newer Core 2 Duo, still 2.0 GHz but now with a faster 1066 MHz frontside bus …

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Apple’s 17” MacBook Pro: 3 USB Ports, FW800, Mini DisplayPort, LED Backlight

It’s port talk time again. As I suspected, Apple’s 17” MacBook Pro does get one additional port. You get 3 USB ports and one FireWire 800 port – though this means that, even though there’s almost no hardware that supports FW800, you’ll need an adapter for FW400 devices like HDV/DV cameras. At least unlike the non-Pro current-gen MacBook, you can use your video camera with that adapter, though, and three USB ports I think is more sensible. The MBP does lose the dedicated FW400 port on the previous model, but because this shared the same bus, you didn’t get a …

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NVIDIA Sets Notebook Graphics Drivers Free, Makes GPGPU, PhysX Mobile; ATI, Your Move

Finally, NVIDIA extends a welcome mat. Photo by Anna Irsch. For graphics cards, drivers are everything: it’s just not possible to be on top of stability, performance, and functionality without access to new, stable drivers. But for Windows notebooks, unlike desktops, traditionally you had to turn to OEM PC vendors to get your NVIDIA graphics drivers. That would be fine, if PC vendors kept pace, but my near-universal experience has been that vendors are awful about drivers. Just finding drivers on many sites is a Herculean task, let alone getting something up-to-date. That had meant that, for GPU gurus, the …

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Indamixx Laptop is First Pre-Configured Music Netbook, Running Linux, $499

Five hundred bucks. In music tech terms, that usually gets you, what, a single app bundle? Now, it can get you a whole computer, pre-loaded with a bunch of music software. It may not be as powerful as a modern laptop, but it’s also in a cute, smaller form factor you can keep everywhere in case inspiration strikes, or balance on the corner of your Steinway grand. Meet the Indamixx laptop. Whether you want one or not, it’s emblematic of the ongoing commoditization of laptop technology, with ever-cheaper, lower-power brains. Highlights: Brains: 1.6Ghz Intel Atom CPU netbook (looks similar to …

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Lenovo S10 Netbook Does Ableton – and Developers, Go Grab a Netbook

Yep, that’s an ExpressCard slot. Photo (CC) Ja-ae (Jarawee) – hello, Bangkok! (Know we have some readers out there.) Tim Hanlon of gizmag.com recently got an IdeaPad S10 – Lenovo’s lovely, $400 “netbook” – to test. He didn’t just do the usual benchmarks, though. His review also included the unlikely choice of Ableton Live and, thanks to a free ExpressCard slot, a MOTU Traveler FireWire interface.

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