In the past Apple online store had held one day sales event for "Black Friday" (aka "Boxing Day", the day after Christmas). Usually any other times Apple products are rarely discounted; unless it is through the Corporate or Education sites or refurbished items. So it is a bit surprising to receive a Sale event announcement from Apple Hong Kong this morning. Let along a one day sale event from Apple HK. The email announcement detailed their first ever Chinese New Year 2011 one day sale event to be held on Friday, January 14th in their online store. There are currently no additional details about the deals, discounts or products included in the one-day-sale event. Visiting the page on Apple HK online store right now, one will see a message asking visitors to return on Friday for details.

Many people are tempted by the low cost of Apple products in Hong Kong compared to all other countries around the world, including USA. They are most attracted to the factory SIM-unlocked iPhones sold through official Apple resellers and Apple HK store online. So they are tempted to purchase one or more of these products while they are travelling to Hong Kong. Making a purchasing decision like this should not be taken lightly. Aside from the cost, for any electronic product there should also be consideration of warrantee.

Fortunately, Apple had changed its warrantee last year for all its "portable" devices (ie. MacBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.) such that they have a worldwide warrantee coverage. But you need to read the (not so) small print in Apple's warrantee documents. Apple has the rights to request any warrantee services to be performed in the purchased country. Of course, this is less likely if the country where the warrantee requester is in also officially sells the item in question.

In some cases, people who lives in Hong Kong may want to consider purchasing Apple products from other countries. One such example, is the current situation with the iPad, where they were sold out within one day and Apple Premier Resellers have stopped receiving pre-orders because they can no longer promise a date on which to fulfill the backorders. Fortunately, for people who lives in HK, by this Friday (July 30th) Apple HK will be officially selling every Apple released products. Therefore, the chances of Apple HK requesting purchasers to send the warranted item back to purchasing country for warrantee repairs is low. So if you have the means to purchase iPad or iPhone 4 from UK or France, and willing to pay the higher cost due to exchange rates, you can.

Please understand I am not suggesting you purchase from the gray-market sellers in Mong Kok or Wanchai. These resellers are charging approximately HKD1000.00 above List price for iPads and close to 200% more for the iPhone 4 (from UK or France), lower for the ones from USA.

I like to share with my readers the process in which I became a SSD ("Sold State Drive") user. The price of SSD drive is still way more expensive than a regular HDD, especially when you compared the cost per GB (Gigabyte).

In Hong Kong on average one can find a reasonably fast 7200rpm 1TB (Terabyte) 3.5" internal drive for about HKD790.00. Even if you purchase a USB capable external enclosure that is only an additional HKD120.00. Giving you a cost per GB of HKD0.91/GB.

On the other hand the Intel SSD X25-M 160GB cost me HKD3770 at the beginning of January, giving me the cost per GB of HK23.56/GB. This means using a SSD cost 24.89 times more.

How I come to decide on purchasing the Intel SSD X25-M? Partially it is because of the reviews and information gather from AnandTech's web site, plus the feedback from various people about Intel and OCZ SSD.

The reason I compared the 2.5" SATA II SSD internal drive to a Western Digital Caviar Black 3.5" high performance SATA II drive, is because that's what I would have purchased as an additional drive for my MacBook Pro. Now that I purchased the SSD, I converted the original 320GB drive into an external backup drive with an external enclosure.

So is the 160GB SSD installed in my 2.66GHz MacBook Pro 15" (Mid 2009) with 4GB of RAM 25.89 times faster than when I had the original 320GB 5400rpm HDD installed? I use the program XBench 1.3 to test my MacBook Pro prior to and after swapping the new SSD for the HDD.

The following are the summary of the scores.

Type of Test HDD Score SSD Score
Overal Results 116.48 191.49
Disk Test 35.69 282.17

These results show that my MacBook Pro improved its overall XBench score by 1.64 times and its disk performance score by 7.91 times. Due to Write Amplification I believe more RAM will help further improve the overall performance of my MacBook Pro.

iMac 20091020 346x300Both of the new iMac models announced today capable of attaching an external display up to a 30 inch at a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels, but most interestingly is that the 27-inch model's Mini DisplayPort also supports video inputs from DisplayPort equipped devices like the MacBook and MacBook Pro.

Apple Remote 2009The new iMac also has a built-in SD media card slot, enabling quick transfer of videos and photos from camera to Mac.

The 27-inch models now come with Quad Core i5 or i7 Intel processors with 8MB of L3 cache, with the latter i7 version capable of Hyper-Threading.

Along with the new iMac Apple released a VESA Mount Adapter Kit for use with either iMac models and the Apple LCD Cinema Display, allowing the iMac or the Cinema Display to be mounted on any VESA compatible mounting solutions.

Additionally Apple also introduced a brand new Apple Remote at USD19.00, and quietly gave the top of the line MacBook Pro 17-inch 3.06GHz, 8GB RAM, Antiglare model a price cut of almost USD1000.00.

[Updated: Oct. 23, 2009, 23:00] Bellow is Apple's promotional video describing the design of the new iMac (Late 2009).

[quicktime]/wp-content/uploads/imac17-200910.mov[/quicktime]

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

Apple logoBefore heading to bed, I thought I give everyone a quick summary of the keynote at Macworld 2009. Apple announced three new things: iLife '09, iWork '09 and a new MacBook Pro 17" plus two iTunes Store updates. The latter being the immediate availability of 8 million DRM-free tracks on iTunes Store worldwide and OTA (Over-the-air) iTunes Store purchase on the iPhone.
All four components: iPhoto '09, iMovie '09, GarageBand '09 and iWeb '09, of the suite received a refresh. With the most significant being the new sort by Faces and Places features of iPhoto, and the tutorials of GrageBand. All of this for USD79.00.

Again all three components: Pages '09, Numbers '09 and Keynotes '09, received a refresh. With the significant improvements being: Pages '09 with its full-screen view, easier formula creation and more templates to choose from in Numbers '09, Keynote '09 has more automated transition creation, new theme, plus a paid iPhone App (USD0.99) for controlling the Keynote presentation on your Mac. Alll this for USD79.00. With iWork, Apple is also launching iWork.com, which requires iWork '09 to try.

The new MacBook Pro 17" (Early 2009) starts at USD2799.00 with:

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 6MB of L2 Cache
  • 1066MHz frontside bus
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics processor; 512MB of GDDR3 memory
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
  • Maximum video resolution 1920 x 1200 pixels
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB 1066MHz) DDR3 SDRAM, with a maximum capacity of 8GB
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA hard drive
  • SuperDrive optical disk
  • A brand new type of battery* (95-watt-hour lithium-polymer) that gives the MacBook Pro 8 hours of wireless productivity
  • One FireWire 800 port
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • Combined optical digital In/Out and analog line In/Out
  • Built-in iSight camera
  • Built-in omnidirectional microphone
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet
  • Built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi (based on IEEE 802.11n draft specification); IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible)
  • Built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • ExpressCard/34 port
  • Full size backlit keyboard
  • Multi-Touch trackpad
Optional features being:
  • 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 320GB 7200rmp SATA hard drive, or 128GB SSD drive, or 256GB SSD drive
* battery in the new MacBook Pro 17" is not removable.
All in all this is a bit disappointing to me, because I was hoping for a new Mac Mini with AppleTV features built-in.
MacBook MacBook Air MacBook Pro
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 160GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 120GB 4200rpm Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 128GB SSD Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory Super Drive 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB video card 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 4GB DDR3 Memory 320GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB video card
$10,200.00 $12,500.00 $13,900.00 $19,200.00 $15,400.00 $19,200.00

* All currency in HKD

This new line of Macintosh notebooks cause me to be indecisive about my justification to upgrade my current MacBook Pro (October 2006, Glossy Screen), 2GB of RAM, 2Hz Intel Core Duo, 100GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive. Let me get into the details so you can decide whether you have the same issues.

These new MacBooks have many technical advancement in terms of manufacturing and user interface. There are hardware in the Mac that the upcoming Mac OS X (10.6) will be able to take advantage and make these efficiencies available to all applications running on the new Mac OS X.

Apple has removed the Firewire port on the MacBook, making it the first time since the iBook released in 2001 that a Mac does not have a Firewire port. They also removed the Firewire 400 port from the new MacBook Pro. These decisions are strange to me, as Apple had originally participated in the development of the IEEE 1394 (the IEEE name for this) standard. Unless this is a sign that Apple will drop Firewire for something new in the very near future?

Although the Firewire 800 specifications are backward compatible to the Firewire 400, the plugs for these ports are different. So a bilateral cable will be needed to connect an external devices with Firewire 400 ports to the Firewire 800 ports on the MacBook Pro. Of course this is not the first time Apple included Firewire 800 ports on Macintosh, but this is the first time it is the only Firewire port.

In the past Firewire (aka. iLink or IEEE 1394) ports have been standard on high end video and still digital cameras, but in recent years these ports have given way to mini-USB ports. Is Apple's recent decision simply a normal transition, as they often lead the industry in adopting technology changes. For example, removing the Floppy Disk Drive from their computers, pushing the adoption of Read-Writable CD and DVD players on consumer level computers. Or may be it is just a cost saving for the lower-end consumer MacBook.

For the new MacBook Pro, it is the same weight as my current MacBook Pro (Glossy), and slightly thinner by 0.05 inches, which is not much. Its case is tapered like the MacBook Air, iPhone 3G and iMac, so it appears to be much thinner.

My current problem with my MacBook Pro is the weight and amount of RAM I can install. My current MacBook Pro max. out at 2GB of RAM, since it is the 32bit version of the Intel CPU even though Mac OS X supports much higher capacity. Therefore, the new MacBook Pro will resolve my RAM capacity issue, but will not resolve my weight issue.

On the other hand, it does have a brand new buttonless TrackPad with a glass surface, which can take advantage of Apple's new gestures.

The new MacBook Pro has two GPU, one integrated GPU and a discrete GPU, that you can turn on and off as your graphics need changes. To balance between graphic performance and battery life.

Aside from the above, the battery, memory module and hard drive are designed to be easily replaceable by the end-user. Therefore when Solid State Drives improves in speed, increase in capacity and lower its price, one can easily upgrade the internal drive.

In my particular situation I do not think I have enough justifications to upgrade to the new MacBooks. I guess I will just have to wait for the amalgamation of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro before I upgrade. I may have to fork out some dough to renew my AppleCare, so that my MacBook Pro's resell value does not drop too much.

This morning at 10:00 (PDT) in Cupertino, CA, USA, Apple held an event to announce the new MacBook Pro, MacBook and speed bumped the MacBook Air. The entire line of MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are now using the same construction method, where the case is created from a single block of Aluminum. Making the case much more rigid.

Apple has also removed the button from the TrackPad, and introduced a new multi-touch TrackPad with a 4th gesture; 4-fingers gesture.

Both the MacBook and the MacBook Pro now have Mini DisplayPort, which means that many of the existing display will require an adapter. I hope Apple includes at least one Mini DisplayPort --> VGA adapter in the box.

The MacBook Pro now has two GPUs (NIVIDA's GeForce 9400M and a GeForce 9600M GT), where as the MacBook only has one (NIVIDA's GeForce 9400M). This new NIVIDA chips are efficient and lower power consumption. On the MacBook Pros you have the option to turn off one of the GPUs when you do not require the extra video processing to save on battery life.

MacBook MacBook Air MacBook Pro
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 160GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 120GB 4200rpm Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 128GB SSD Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory Super Drive 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB video card 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 4GB DDR3 Memory 320GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB video card
HKD10,200.00 HKD12,500.00 HKD13,900.00 HKD19,200.00 HKD15,400.00 HKD19,200.00

You can use Apple's MacBook comparison page to decide which of the notebooks are best suit your needs.

[Updated: Oct. 15, 2008] Updated the prices to HKD, plus added the price of the only previous generation MacBook still for sale.

MacBook Early 2008 image Apple has lowered the price of the MacBook Early 2008 (MacBook4,1) to HKD7800.00 Intel Core 2 Duo 1GB DDR2 Memory 120GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Intel GMA X3100 video card

Posted
AuthorVinko

It is confirmed that there will indeed be an Apple event at Apple's Cupertino HQ, 1 Infinite Loop, titled "The Spotlight Turns to Notebooks". I hope they will announce and make available a new MacBook that meets my needs. Most of all will be available this year.

I love to buy a MacBook that is:

  • Has a Core 2 Duo or faster processor
  • Has a maximum RAM capacity of greater than 4GB
  • Built-in Ethernet port
  • ExpressCard 34 or 54 slot
  • Removable battery
  • Has a real-life battery capacity of more than 4 hours.

The rest are not that important. The screen size can be anywhere between 13" - 15".

What is the ideal MacBook you hope Apple announce next week? Please do share here in the comments.

Posted
AuthorVinko

As the saying goes, "bad news sells newspapers". Being true to this saying the traditional media (CNN, New York Times, etc.) are again reporting the Mac rumors as fact. Even with a recent example of how irresponsible these traditional media were; CNN iReport incident.

You can see from Dow Jones Newswires article Apple Sets Oct 14 Event: "Spotlight On Notebooks" they are referring to all the rumors about what Apple may announce as facts. They even went as far as suggesting that Apple is using this event on October 14, 2008, 09:30 (PST) as a tactic to recover the falling price of Apple's stock (AAPL).

This Dow Jones Newswires' Ben Charny has such high regards for Apple, that he is basically suggesting that Apple has such a great foresight, as to predict the collapse of the US economy and the global financial market. So they planned approximately 2 years ahead of time to have an event on exactly October 14, 2008; several days after Apple's stock price broke its 52-weeks low a few times, to make announcements that will recover the price of their stock. That is utterly ridiculous.

BTW: I am surprised that Walt Mossberg of Dow Jones did not spot this Charny article.

If I was not a passionate follower of technology trends and news, in particular Apple's, I will have believe Charny's view points as truth and will be gravely disappointed if come Tuesday (PST) I did not hear all the things that Charny mentioned in his article.

Similarly financial and industry analysts heighten Apple's upcoming financial results (to be announced on October 21, 2008), then lowers these heightened prediction causing the general investor to panic, and when Apple's actual financial results are just several percentage over Apple's previous prediction, these same analysts will be quick to report how Apple has missed the market expectations.

The above page where Charny's article appeared was in CNNMoney's web site. I can't believe that after the recent debacle of CNN iReport, they would be responsible enough to not simply take the Charny's article from the Dow Jones Newswire and publish it on their web site.

I call for all "traditional media" to be more responsible. Please consider their average audience and their degree of prior knowledge before publishing any information as fact.

Anyone who has followed Apple for as long as I had (24+ years) will know that Apple never pre-announce any news about products. So if you do not read it on Apple.com then it is just a rumor and/or educated analysis of what's to come. The latter is what I try to do on this site.

For my readers who want to find out more about the rumors that Charny used as fact, please check out the following creditable Macintosh/Apple rumor sites:

Please try to be an educated reader and not believe everything you read.

Apple

Apple today released the brand new MacBook Pro 17".

This new version of the Intel® based Macintosh notebook has again surprised the analysts who did not think Apple would be able to release a new MacBook Pro that is the same thickness as the current MacBook Pro 15", while bringing back the old 8x SuperDrive with DVD-DL write capability.

Also another surprise to the analysts is Apple's decision to bring back the long depended on professional FireWire 800 port to the new MacBook 17".

To make it even more attractive, Apple have released this new Mac at the same price as the current MacBook Pro 15" 2.16GHz, so with the extra screen size, FireWire 800 and DVD-DL writable SuperDrive, other than buyer who really do not want the extra screen space will definitely purchase the MacBook Pro 17".

I personally hope that this aggressive pricing of Apple is a sign that Apple will lower the price of the MacBook Pro 15" and/or bring back the 8x SuperDrive writable DVD-DL to the MacBook Pro 15".

read more | digg story

Posted
AuthorVinko