[Updated] Apple Announces a New MacBook Pro Lineup with Touch Bar, Touch ID and USB Type-C Ports (India Pricing)

Apple MacBook Pro 2016

Apple today announced an all new MacBook Pro Lineup in an event at its campus in Cupertino. Poised as the “thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever“, the highlight of the new MacBook Pro is the new multitouch Retina Display that replaces the row of Function keys above the keyboard. Called a Touch Bar, this new interface displays app-specific buttons and options that the user can interact with — allowing app developers to offer custom features via this additional display. Apple demoed apps like the new Final Cut Pro 10.3, Adobe Photoshop, Algoriddim’s djay Pro and said that apps like Microsoft Office, Skype, Sketch, etc. will be adding support for the Touch ID very soon.

Along with the Touch Bar, Apple has also introduced a Touch ID into the new MacBook Pro. Featuring the 2nd generation sensor from the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, the new Touch ID allows users to log into their Macs or make payments via Apple Pay with just a simple touch. Additionally, different user accounts on the Mac can be tied to users’ own fingerprints — a feature I’m personally desperately waiting for on the iPads.

The new MacBook Pro all features a stunning new display that Apple says is the “brightest and most colorful Retina display yet“. The new display boasts 500 nits of brightness making it 67 percent brighter than its predecessors and also has 67 percent more contrast. Additionally, the display also features the ability to display a wider color gamut and consumes 30% less power compared to previous generations.

The MacBook Pro lineup also features a much larger Force Touch trackpad, coming in a twice the size of its predecessors. There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports using USB Type-C connectors and each of these connectors can be used for charging, video or data transfers.

Other features added to the MacBook Pro lineup include a new keyboard with second-generation butterfly mechanism and louder speakers with improved bass and twice the dynamic range.

MacBook Pro Specifications and India Pricing:

The new MacBook Pro lineup now consists of three different models with multiple versions:

  1. 13-inch MacBook Pro
  2. 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID
  3. 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

13-inch MacBook Pro

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is meant as a minor upgrade to the current generation 13-inch MacBook Air. Although Apple has discontinued the 11-inch MacBook Air model, the 13-inch model stays.

This new 13-inch MacBook Pro features the all-new design and sports a 2GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz), 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage.

India Pricing: ₹1,29,900

13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

This all new 13-inch MacBook Pro sports a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz), 8GB RAM and 256GB or 512GB of flash Storage. You also get Apple’s breakthrough new interface in the form of the Touch Bar, the all new Touch ID and four Thunderbolt 3 ports with USB Type-C connectors.

India Pricing: ₹1,55,900 (256GB model) and ₹1,72,900 (512GB model)

Exact pricing for the 512GB model will be available closer to availability.

15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro comes in two models for India — a base model with 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz), 16GB of RAM and 256GB of flash Storage and a higher model with 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz), 16GB of RAM and 512GB of flash storage.

The Base model features Radeon Pro 450 Graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 memory while the higher model features Radeon Pro 455 Graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Both models feature automatic switching between the GPU and onboard Intel HD Graphics 530.

India Pricing: ₹2,05,900 (256GB model) and ₹2,41,900 (512GB model)

Exact pricing for the 512GB model will be available closer to availability.

The new lineup is up for pre-order today in the US and start shipping in 2-3 weeks. The availability in India will probably be somewhere in January 2017.

Update – October 28th, 2016, 12:11PM: Apple India has just sent out another email to media outlets, changing the availability to “Coming Soon” instead of the previously mentioned availability of 2-3 weeks. I suspect the new lineup will be available in India starting not before January 2017.

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MediaNama’s Shashidhar KJ published an article earlier today on the site titled, “How recurring payments are finally working in India”. You’d think the article would shed some light on how this was being made possible, but instead, we only get this:

While performing a recurring billing transaction, the customer has to give a consent before making the payment that they authorize the merchant to charge the card as per the subscription plan. The first transaction that is processed folllows two-factor authentication. The 1st transactions is processed with a 2FA

That’s right, the last two sentences mean the same thing.

Moving on, we get this:

CCAvenue will not store the 3D secure password for future recurring payments, and for subsequent payments, the merchant (Business Standard in this case) will send a request to CCAvenue, which will pass the request to the bank in a batch or API, for processing in the back-end.

followed by:

These payments are processed through standing instructions left with the bank. We were unable to find an RBI circular clarifying this.We have written to CCAvenue and the RBI to clarify this and will update once we hear from them.

So how are recurring payments finally working in India?

— They are processed without 2FA, except for the first one (DUH!)
— The bank processes the transactions after a request from the merchant via the payment gateway. (DUH!)
— MediaNama couldn’t find an RBI circular clarifying this.

OK then…

Federico Viticci from MacStories has published his thoughts about the iPhone 7 after spending two weeks exclusively using the new iPhone 7. It’s interesting that Apple chose to send him the Gold iPhone 7 model for review, considering he’s been using the Plus models for the last 2 years.

I started testing the iPhone 7 thinking that a small phone could no longer fit in my daily life, and I’m still going to upgrade to an iPhone 7 Plus. But using the iPhone 7 also made me appreciate the meaning of changes that will reshape the iPhone platform going forward – something that’s more significant than endlessly debating what we left behind.

The iPhone 7 is a bold step towards a future we can start understanding today.

My journey with the iPhone began with the very first iPhone, after which I jumped to the iPhone 3GS, then iPhone 4, followed by iPhone 5, and presently have an iPhone 6. The obvious upgrade would be the iPhone 7, but this year, I’ve been considering going for the Plus model, specifically the iPhone 7 Plus 128GB in Black. Too bad it’s currently out-of-stock at most retailers, online and offline.

Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw in a big scoop for the Financial Times:

Apple has approached McLaren Technology Group, the British supercar engineer and Formula One team owner, about a potential acquisition, in the clearest sign yet that the iPhone maker is seeking to transform the automotive industry.

The California technology group, which has been working on a self-driving electric vehicle for more than two years, is considering a full takeover of McLaren or a strategic investment, according to three people briefed on the negotiations who said talks started several months ago.

This sounds insane. But then again, so did FT’s scoop about Apple buying Beats for $3.2 Billion. Almost everyone I remember went something like, “Why would Apple buy Beats!?”

DJI’s Osmo Mobile is a Handheld Stabilizer for your Smartphone

dji-osmomobile

DJI — the market leader and a popular name when it comes to drones or professional stabilizer rigs has today announced the Osmo Mobile — a new handheld stabilizer system for your smartphone. The Osmo Mobile is the newest product in DJI’s Osmo lineup that began with the DJI Osmo launched last year and expanded with the introduction of the Osmo+ last week.

Unlike the original Osmo or Osmo+, Osmo Mobile does not ship with its own camera system and instead relies on your smartphone to do all the shooting. The Osmo Mobile works as a handheld stabilizer for your smartphone, allowing you to shoot high-quality, smooth and cinematic photos and videos. Using the DJI Go app on your smartphone, you can also live stream your footage or share it instantly to the usual social media channels.

 

Included in the DJI Go app is the company’s new ActiveTrack feature that allows you tap the screen and mark objects in motion, so that the camera stays focused on them, resulting in perfectly framed shots.

“DJI continues to revolutionize the way we capture and share memories,” said Frank Wang, DJI CEO and founder. “The Osmo Mobile combines the best of DJI’s beloved Osmo smart stabilization technology with the robust DJI GO app. This is a breakthrough, allowing smartphone users unprecedented control of and creative possibilities for their devices.”

The Osmo Mobile works with most modern smartphones sized between 2.31 inches and 3.34 inches, including the iPhone 6/6s Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7.

The Osmo Mobile has been priced at $299 and is available for purchase from Amazon.com here – http://amzn.to/2cgnRav

Airtel’s ‘myHome Rewards’ Program Gives Free Data to its Brand Loyal Customers

airtel-new-logo-hori

Bharti Airtel has today announced a new ‘myHome Rewards‘ program for its broadband customers. A first of its kind offer from the company, Airtel Broadband customers who also subscribe to an additional Airtel service connection will get FREE additional data benefits added to their account.

Starting today, all Airtel Broadband customers who also own either an Airtel Postpaid connection or Airtel DTH subscription will get 5GB of FREE Data added to their broadband account per month. The 5GB data is offered per service connection, so for example, if you have three different Airtel postpaid connections, you’ll get 15GB of additional data for Free every month.

Speaking about myHome Rewards, Hemant Kumar Guruswamy, CEO — Home, Bharti Airtel (India) said,

At Airtel, it is our constant endeavor to delight our customers with great products and services. As a further step in this direction, we are very excited to launch myHome Rewards today. This is a gesture from us to thank our broadband customers for giving us an opportunity to serve them. Along with the unlimited free calling benefit on our landline, customers can now make the most of their Airtel broadband with the free additional data benefits.

To claim these benefits, customers can visit myHome Rewards website or download the myAirtel app for iOS or Android.

Airtel myHome Rewards

I have been an Airtel Broadband customer for almost 10 years now and this new announcement fills me with excitement. Who wouldn’t welcome 20GB of Free Data per month, right?

However, I have downgraded from from the ₹2799/mon plan to the ₹550/mon plan and merely use my Airtel Broadband connection as a backup service, simply because Airtel has refused to keep up with newer broadband standards and even in 2016, still offers DSL-only plans in my area with a maximum speed of 8Mbps. I’ve been waiting for their FTTH plans for years now, but those don’t seem to be on their roadmap yet.

Kate Conger, writing for TechCrunch:

While security has been a crucial part of its corporate narrative, Apple has quietly refused to pay for bug reports, at times frustrating security researchers who found it difficult to report flaws to the company. That changed today, as Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture, Ivan Krstic, announced to Black Hat attendees that Apple will begin offering cash bounties of up to $200,000 to researchers who discover vulnerabilities in its products.

Good move, although it’s weird that the program is invite-only at the moment.

Alex Peysakhovich, Research Scientist and Kristin Hendrix, User Experience Researcher, writing on the Facebook Newsroom blog:

Our goal with News Feed is to show people the stories most relevant to them — ranking stories so that what’s most important to each person shows up highest in their News Feeds. When we rank and make improvements to News Feed, we rely on a set of core values.

We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. These are headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer. For example: “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!”; “He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe”; or “The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.”

With this update, people will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher up in their feeds.

90% of my Facebook Newsfeed over the last 6 months has been filled with posts with clickbait headlines shared by friends, or videos stolen from Youtube with added meme-like text on the top and bottom.

While I’m glad Facebook is going against clickbait headlines, it’s the latter that needs far more attention.

List of Comic-Con Trailers Released Today

In the last 24 hours, several Comic-Con Trailers have come out. Here’s a big list of every good Comic-Con Trailer released so far. This list is updated every few hours.

Over the last 24 hours, Hollywood studios have been dropping a host of insane new movie trailers. Just like every year, San Diego is hosting the Comic-Con International 2016 and as has been tradition, studios like Marvel, DC, Warner Brothers and others have released (some officially this time) trailers of their upcoming films.

As a huge film and movie enthusiast, I’ve watched every single one of these big trailers to have come out in the last 24 hours and each one looks absolutely spectacular. Here’s a long list of Comic-Con Trailers released today, and every single one of them is really, really good. I’m so pumped!

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SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive (2016) Review

SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive

SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive is a great way to expand your iPhone’s storage.

Apple’s iPhone has long been ridiculed for having measly storage options. Even the latest crop of iPhones available in 2016 — the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE all come with just 16GB storage on the base model, with no easy way to expand the storage. Considering how often we take photos and videos on our smartphones, it has become quite a routine to keep running out of storage, at least every few weeks. Thanks to the high-resolution cameras on smartphones these days as well as 4K video recording capabilities, you photos and videos end up having humongous file sizes.

SanDisk, one of the leaders in flash-based storage solutions, recognized this issue early on and has been offering an easy solution to iOS users in the form of the iXpand Flash Drive. Originally released in 2014 as a flash drive with dual interfaces — a USB port on one end and a Lightning port on the other, it allowed iOS users to offload some of their files onto the flash drive and free up precious storage on their phones or tablets. The original iXpand Flash Drive was big, bulky, and came with a built-in battery that had to be kept charged. Earlier this year, the company released the second-generation Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive (2016 model) that offered a plethora of new advantages over the previous model. I’ve been using it over the last several weeks and it has turned into a critical accessory that I always carry around with me.

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