MacBook 2018: what we want to see

It’s been more than a year since the latest version of the 12-inch MacBook made it to market. We’re ready for the sequel.

On paper, the 2017 MacBook was exactly what we’ve been begging for from apple since its rebirth in 2015. Apple’s proprietary butterfly keyboard is more tactile, while the internals also saw huge advances – thanks to 7th-generation Intel Core m3, i5 and i7 Intel Kaby Lake processors.

However, now that we have 8th-generation Kaby Lake-R and Coffee Lake processors for notebooks, we’re kind of hoping to see a huge leap in performance with the MacBook 2018. Keep in mind, however, that Apple is planning on replacing all Intel processors with its own Cupertino-crafted silicon by 2020.

This ‘Kalamata Initiative’ is further backed up by rumors we’ve seen that Apple is hiring ex-Intel engineers to work on its processors. What this all means for the Macbook 2018 is anyone’s guess, but we’re expecting to see three Macs with custom co-processors later this year.

There have been rumors that Apple is working on a crumb-resistant and spill-proof keyboard, which isn’t surprising, given that even Apple has admitted that some of its keyboards are faulty.

We’ve also seen speculation that Apple is planning on releasing five different MacBooks this year. This is particularly interesting: Apple just released the MacBook Pro 2018, so that’s two models down, three to go. What will they be? When will we see them? Well, a previous rumor that we’re getting a cheaper 13-inch MacBook ties into this – we may see this cheaper model alongside a continuation of the current ultra-premium 12-inch MacBook we have today.

Whatever the MacBook 2018 looks like, we just hope it doesn’t stray too far from the quirks that made it so great in the first place. But, whatever it looks like, keep this page bookmarked – we’ll update it as soon as we find out more.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple’s thinnest 2018 laptop
  • When is it out? April 2018 at the earliest
  • What will it cost? Presumably the same as current models

MacBook 2018

MacBook 2018 release date

None of the most recent reports, rumors or leaks give any lead as to when we’ll see the 2018 MacBook. Of course, we’ll gladly speculate based on the previous three releases of Apple’s 12-inch laptop.

In 2015, Apple released the first MacBook during April, directly following a March keynote. That’s a largely odd time for Apple to release a device, but that obviously didn’t happen this time.

It’s highly unlikely for the MacBook price to budge in either direction.

We’re probably going to see the MacBook 2018 coming out in September, especially since Apple didn’t announce any hardware at WWDC 2018. And, the fact that the leaks and rumors are going crazy right now seems to back that up. 

However, the five leaked MacBooks are rumored to be running macOS 10.13 – so, we may see them even earlier. We could even see a launch similar to the MacBook Pro 2018 – where Apple just kind of releases them out of the blue. 

At the end of the day, we won’t hear any information about the MacBook 2018 until Apple is ready to give it, so we don’t really know when it’s going to make its debut. Today it looks like we’ll see it in late 2018 – hopefully before the holiday shopping rush.

Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess as to when we’ll see the 2018 MacBook. We’ll look out for new rumors or announcements and update this article as soon as the MacBook 2018 release date begins to grow clearer.

MacBook 2018

MacBook 2018 price

While we do think that Apple will put out a MacBook around the same price as the current models, we have seen speculation that Apple is planning on releasing a cheaper 13-inch Retina MacBook. So, whether or not that will play a factor in the MacBook 2018’s price remains to be seen.

This is another aspect where we’ll have to speculate based on the current pricing of the MacBook. The entry-level MacBook will run you $1,299, £1,249 or AU$1,899 to start. Only one more model, with more storage and power goes for another 300 to 450 bucks on top of that. However, there is speculation that Apple is going to be releasing a cheaper 2018 MacBook that will be more in line with the pricing of the MacBook air, around $999.  

We’re also anticipating Apple to release a brand new, 13-inch MacBook this year.

With the pricing so tight here, amounting to minute differences in hardware between offerings, it’s highly unlikely for the MacBook price to budge in either direction. That is short of Apple introducing more capacious storage or higher power options, which will send the price in only one direction: up.

For the MacBook price to come down, or for Apple to release a cheaper MacBook model alongside more expensive version, something has to give. Apple could lower the memory down to 4GB from 8GB, but we don’t think that’ll happen. Instead, we believe it’d be much more likely for Apple to release a MacBook with a 128GB SSD instead of starting with 256GB.

We’ll look out for new rumors and update this article as soon as the MacBook 2018 price begins to crop up as we inch closer.

MacBook 2018

What we want to see in MacBook 2018

All of this uncertainty surrounding a possible MacBook 2018 release is fertile ground for a well-crafted wishlist.

So, here’s what we hope to see Apple improve about the MacBook for 2018.

MacBook 2018 keyboard and screen 

Building off of an earlier patent that showed us Apple’s plans to create a MacBook with dual screens, there’s now rumors that it will use that second screen to create a sort of touch keyboard. We don’t know exactly what it’ll be capable of, but there’s potential there for on-the-fly region changing and easy access to an emoji keyboard – instead of having emoji relegated to the Touch Bar. 

And, of course if Apple does follow through with this keyboard design, they’ll implement haptic feedback so that you’ll get the same experience as using a mechanical keyboard, only with the flexibility that a touch screen keyboard brings with it. However, it’s easy to expect this to raise the price in any MacBook that implements it.

However, even if that Touchscreen keyboard is exclusive to the MacBook Pro 2018, that doesn’t mean that the MacBook 2018 won’t see any improvements. Apple has recently admitted that some of the keyboards in recent MacBooks are faulty – and will even repair them for free. This adds a layer of authenticity to that rumor we saw earlier this year that the MacBook 2018 will have a keyboard that’s crumb and spill-proof. Either way, we don’t know what the keyboard in the next MacBook is going to look like – maybe it’ll be spill proof because it’ll be a screen? 

More ports, please

Our biggest bugbear with the 12-inch MacBook, since its launch, has been the incredibly sore lack of ports on the laptop. Still equipped with nothing but a lone Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and a headphone jack, this absolutely needs to change in the next version. Just one more?

We’ve already seen Windows laptops accomplish this feat, like the Huawei MateBook X with its two USB-C ports. Even the similarly priced MacBook Pro has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 connections. Perhaps there’s room for a microSD card reader in there, too.

Punchier processors

Costing what it does, Apple really needs to inject some more power into its 12-inch MacBooks. With the onset of Intel processors with AMD graphics onboard, this is the perfect opportunity for the 12-inch MacBook to get a power boost that wouldn’t impact battery life.

How, you ask? Well, we immediately look to these new Intel processors with AMD Vega, discrete-grade graphics on board that are already finding their way to new laptops this year. Such an upgrade would put the MacBook into an entirely new echelon of premium stature.

Then again, seeing as the MacBook has consistently used energy efficient Intel Core ‘M’ and ‘Y’ series CPUs up to this point, we wouldn’t bank on seeing the hardy graphics power featured in Intel’s ‘G’ series chips. And, since there is no 8th-generation equivalent of the 7th-gen Intel Core m3-7Y32 that the MacBook currently uses, it’s possible for Apple to switch to an i3-8130U.

As for that cheaper 13-inch MacBook that’s been making all the headlines recently, we could see them making an ARM-based MacBook. Recent rumors even suggest that Apple is indeed working on one.

Moreover, a recent news story claimed that Apple was planning to ship a trio of Macs featuring its custom co-processors later this year. These are expected to be similar to the T1 and T2 chips found in the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro, respectively. 

Since the 12-inch MacBook doesn’t have a Touch Bar, it’s safe to assume that if one of these co-processors is implemented, it will be used for the automatic wake and ‘Hey Siri’ functionality presently exclusive to the iMac Pro. 

Stronger audio and video

Speaker performance and webcam quality are two corners that Apple obviously cut through in crafting the MacBook. With the MacBook 2018, this needs to stop. Tinny speakers and a sub-HD webcam for a laptop this expensive simply isn’t acceptable.

Simply bump the webcam up to 1080p FaceTime HD befitting of its price tag, and problem solved. The speakers, however, is a problem we don’t necessarily have a solution for. Supporting the speakers with down-throwing bass modules in the base might work?

iOS apps on MacBook

Now that it’s been talked about for so long, the idea of iOS apps on macOS has grown on us. We’re excited by the prospect of continuing work from our phones straight away on our laptops – or polishing off that top score upon sitting down at the desk.

And, at WWDC this year, Apple detailed which apps are going to be making the move. While you won’t be getting any third-party apps, macOS Mojave will be getting core apps like News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home.

If you’re looking for your favorite third-party iOS apps, however, you’ll be waiting until at least 2019.

  • These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/macbook-2018-release-date-news-and-rumors

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MacBook Pro 2018: release date, news, price and features

The MacBook Pro 2018 is here, and it improves on last year’s model in pretty much every way – stronger processors, faster memory, more storage and even an improved keyboard. 

A ton of details have surfaced about the MacBook Pro, following from Apple’s initial reveal on July 12. The new high-end MacBooks come packing 8th-generation Core i5, i7 and i9 Coffee Lake processors, promising up to 70% better performance – which should be enough to convince enterprise users to make the upgrade.

The new models of the MacBook Pro come exclusively with the controversial Touch Bar, so if you were hoping to see the $1,299 (£1,249, AU$1,899) with the new tech, you’ll have to save up for a bit longer. So, it might be worthwhile to take a minute and think about the MacBook Pro 2018 vs 2017 and whether it’s actually worth upgrading. 

We’ve had a first look at the new MacBook Pro and we have a lot of new information, so read on to learn everything there is to know about the new professional-grade macOS Mojave-ready devices.  

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple’s most powerful 2018 laptop 
  • When is it out? July 12, 2018 
  • What will it cost? Starts at $1,799 (£1,749, AU$2,699) 

MacBook Pro 2018 release date

Luckily, Apple isn’t making you wait too long to get your hands on the MacBook Pro 2018. Immediately after its announcement, the new MacBook Pro is available to purchase worldwide. 

Plus, if the shipping estimates on Apple’s store are any indication, it looks like you’ll be able to get your hands on the new device as early as July 16.

How to buy the MacBook Pro 2018 

If you want to get your hands on the latest MacBook Pro, you can order it on Apple’s online store. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, it looks like that’s the only place to get your hands on it.

You won’t be able to get next-day shipping right away. The Apple Store in the US says the earliest ship date, if you pay for expedited shipping, is Monday, July 16. The MacBook Pro 2018 should be available through retail Apple Stores and other outlets later this week.

Be sure to keep this page bookmarked, though, as we’ll update it when MacBook Pro availability expands.

MacBook Pro 2018 price

This time around, there are only two new configurable MacBook Pro models: 13-inch with Touch Bar and 15-inch with Touch Bar. 

With the 13-inch model, you’re looking at a starting price of $1,799 (£1,749, AU$2,699). That will get you a quad-core 8th-generation Core i5 Processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. If you want to beef up that model, you can bump up to a Core i7, 16GB of RAM and 2TB of solid state storage for $3,699 (£3,599, AU$5,599).

If you’re looking for a larger screen and more performance, you can get the base 15-inch model for $2,399 (£2,349, AU$3,499). That’ll net a six-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The 15-inch model is configurable with up to an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM and a 4TB SSD. This configuration will set you back $6,699 (£6,209, AU$10,339).

Of course, there are many configuration options in between.

 MacBook Pro 2018 specs 

The MacBook Pro 2018 comes with a huge bump in the specifications. We’ll dive into all of it in more detail below, but the core specs for the MacBook Pro 2018 are: 

13-inch:  

  • Quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz and double the eDRAM 
  • Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics 655 with 128MB of eDRAM 
  • Up to 2TB of SSD storage 
  • True Tone display technology 
  • Apple T2 chip 
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID 

15-inch: 

  • Six-core Intel Core i7 and Core i9 processors up to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz 
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory  
  • Powerful Radeon Pro discrete graphics with 4GB of video memory in every configuration 
  • Up to 4TB of SSD storage 
  • True Tone display technology 
  • Apple T2 chip  
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID 

Processing the future 

At the core of the new MacBook Pros is the 8th-generation Intel Core processors found inside. One of the biggest criticisms of the last couple iterations has been that the processors have been a bit behind the rest of the competition.

And, at least for the time being, that just isn’t the case with the new MacBook Pro. While we don’t know exactly which Coffee Lake or Kaby Lake-R chips are in the new MacBook Pro, they look on par with the best laptops that have come out over the last year or so.

One thing that immediately stands out here is the optional six-core Intel Core i9 chip in the 15-inch model. Not only is it packing more cores, but it’s also extremely agile, with the Turbo Boost of up to 4.8GHz – even if it thermal throttles under load, according to YouTube tech reviewer Dave Lee. Either way, there has never been a MacBook with access to that kind of power.

The fact that it can be paired with up to a Radeon Pro 560X means that if you’re a professional video editor or artist, you’re going to have a lot of power at your fingertips. And, the time you save could help sweeten that astonishingly high asking price.

But, even the processor in the 13-inch model is no slouch. Just by moving from a dual-core in the 2017 MacBook Pro to a quad-core in the 2018 version means that you’re going to see huge performance gains. Apple claims it’s up to a two times performance increase – that seems a bit high, but we’ll see exactly how much better it is when we do our full review.  

Memory and storage 

With the move to 8th-generation Intel Core processors, Apple has lifted the limit of RAM available on the MacBook Pro to 32GB. For productivity, this is going to be a huge boon potentially shaving hours off of your workload. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is going to be a multitasking beast. It’s an expensive upgrade, and we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to most people, but it’s nice that its there – Apple is putting the ‘Pro’ back in MacBook Pro.

What might go unnoticed by many, though, is the fact that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is now using DDR4 memory. This means it’s faster, more efficient and less prone to errors than the last generation of MacBook Pro. It likely won’t make a huge difference to people using the MacBook Pro for everyday computing, but for professional users, it just makes all that much more difference.

The storage has also seen a substantial upgrade. In the both models you can get up to 4TB of PCIe SSD storage. Most people will likely never need that much, but at least professional users won’t need to carry around a bag full of external SSDs anymore.

Same display, improved keyboard 

One of the biggest controversies surrounding the MacBook Pro 2017 was the fact that the keyboard was loud, uncomfortable, and had the tendency to break – costing hundreds to repair. Now, Apple hasn’t really shared any information about the 3rd generation Butterfly keyboard in terms of reliability, but we have been told that the core focus of the upgrade was to reduce noise. What Apple didn’t mention, however, is the layer of membrane surrounding each key on the new MacBook Pro, discovered by the folks at iFixIt. Whether or not this will completely fix the stuck key issues remains to be seen.

As for the display, nothing has really changed from the last generation. You’re still getting the Retina 2,560 x 1,600 and 2,880 x 1,800 for the 13-inch and 15-inch models respectively. It would have been nice to see Apple move to a 4K display, especially since there are plenty of Windows 10 laptops that have nicer displays for less money, but it’s still fine. The screen still has a high enough resolution to get most creative work done, and if the brightness and color accuracy are anything like the last generation, you’re still getting a very nice panel. 

  • These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far

Bill Thomas has also contributed to this article 

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/macbook-pro-2018-release-date-news-and-rumors

MacBook Air 2018: what we want to see

The MacBook Air isn’t in the best place right now, so we have no doubt in our mind that Apple is planning on replacing the MacBook Air with something harder, faster and stronger in 2018.

Right now, the current MacBook Air, which is the cheapest Apple laptop, features a 5th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, whereas most notebooks are rocking 8th-generation Intel Core chips in 2018.

However, we’ve seen a ton of rumors about the MacBook Air 2018. According to KGI Securities Analyst Ming Chi Kuo, we could see a cheaper, entry-level MacBook Air that will replace the $999 (£999, around AU$1,199) model later this year. 

Exactly when we’ll see it however is anyone’s guess. We were expecting it in the second quarter of 2018, but that time has run out, so the reported second half of 2018 release date from DigiTimes is much more likely. This MacBook Air delay is reportedly due to component shortages.

There has been a ton of speculation pointing to Apple releasing five different MacBooks this year, we’ve already seen two with the MacBook Pro 2018, but what are the other three? We’re thinking that one of these new MacBooks will be the MacBook Air 2018. This is all speculation, of course – but all the rumors that Apple is working on an ARM-based MacBook Air makes these leaks seem compelling. 

No matter what it looks like, we’re going to die into all the speculation and try to pin down what the MacBook Air 2018 will look like.

There isn’t much in the way of solid information about the MacBook Air 2018, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate. And, we’ll also go into everything we want to see if a new MacBook Air does indeed release sometime in 2018. So, be sure to keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll update it with any new rumors or information that comes our way.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A hopeful sequel to Apple’s most popular laptop
  • When is it out? June 2018 at the earliest
  • What will it cost? Hopefully as much as current models

MacBook Air 2018

MacBook Air 2018 release date

Over the last several years, the MacBook Air has received updates on an annual basis since its initial release in 2008, and in largely different months during those years. However, June has always been the most likely month to see the release of a new MacBook Air. 

Don’t expect much about the MacBook Air price to change year over year – its affordability is a huge part of its continued draw.

While we didn’t see any MacBooks at WWDC 2018, it looks like Apple’s strategy is shifting a little bit from last year. For instance, it announced the 2018 MacBook Pro with little to no fanfare in the middle of the week, so we might see a similar approach for the MacBook Air 2018. However, we could also see Apple saving it for the iPhone event in September as well – especially if it does come with a price cut like rumors have suggested.

So, that Digitimes report may have been right, we might actually see it debut in October or November, in time for the holiday shopping rush. We’re past the halfway point of 2018, so a MacBook Air 2018 announcement grows closer every day – keep this page bookmarked so you don’t miss it. 

MacBook Air 2018

MacBook Air 2018 price

Of course, until we see an actual announcement from Apple, we know next to nothing regarding the price of the MacBook Air 2018. But, the wait is almost over. We’re fully expecting to get this information later today.

We initially weren’t expecting pricing to change much – Apple has nailed the prices for the MacBook Air, starting at $999 (about £949, AU$1,499). But, in light of recent rumors we expect the starting model to come down in price, possibly using a lower-priced ARM processor. 

It would be a surprise if Apple were to throw one of its newfangled T series processors (based on ARM architecture) inside a MacBook Air 2018.

From there, you can double the starting model’s 128GB SSD capacity to 256GB for another $200, £150 or AU$300.

If pricing were to change this year, we’d wager that Apple would simply make room for that rumored 13-inch, entry-level MacBook by either bumping up or knocking down this MacBook Air’s hardware and adjust accordingly. Though, it’s probably more likely that Apple would just shutter the laptop line altogether if that aforementioned MacBook is a reality.

We’ll look out for new rumors and update this article as soon as the MacBook Air 2018 price begins to grow clearer.

MacBook Air 2018

What we want to see in MacBook Air 2018

Naturally, this 100% lack of any truly substantial information about the forthcoming 2018 MacBook Air gives us plenty of room to draw up a wishlist. So, here’s what we want to see from a MacBook Air for 2018.

Up-to-date components all around

This is the most basic and essential of requests, but the MacBook Air could really use a soup to nuts upgrade. From the processor to the ports and screen resolution, everything about the MacBook Air could do with ample refinements. 

This should start with the design of the laptop. In its current state, the MacBook Air appears more antiquated than the Windows laptops that have shamelessly ripped it off. What it needs now more than ever is a Retina display that goes as bezel-less as possible without sacrificing the webcam.

And, now that Intel has announced a wide range of 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors for laptops, we all but expect the 2018 line of MacBooks to feature them in some shape or form. 

However, the MacBook Air 2018 doesn’t necessarily need 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors. If the rumors are true and there will be a MacBook Air with an ARM processor, we could be seeing a faster, cheaper, more energy-efficient MacBook Air with maybe even some LTE functionality – bringing new weight to the name ‘MacBook Air’.  

A better screen

There’s no argument from us that the MacBook Air’s display needs to get with the times. By now, every other MacBook except the Air is using a Retina display featuring at least 226 pixels per inch (ppi). Meanwhile, the MacBook Air remains stagnant at only 128 ppi, a measly 1,440 x 900 pixels on a 13.3-inch panel. 

We can conclude, then, that the resolution has to get a bump of at least 76% in order to keep up with Apple’s other products. Fortunately, the webcam doesn’t necessitate a similar treatment, as the current MacBook Air FaceTime camera already captures video at a higher resolution than the pricier 12-inch MacBook

No matter how crisp its screen, the MacBook Air 2018 will benefit from the MoltenVK Vulkan API implementation recently introduced for Apple’s Metal 2 graphics framework. This means we can expect to see higher frame rates across the board for a number of multiplatform games available for macOS including, but not limited to, Dota 2.

The traditional keyboard stays

For as much as we appreciate the revised butterfly hinge keyboard in the MacBook and MacBook Pro, we’d really like to see at least one Apple laptop hold onto its traditional keyboard. There’s enough room inside the chassis, and giving fans a choice would be admirable.

That’s not to mention the fact that as good as it is, the butterfly hinge mechanism has its flaws, which Apple has even admitted. So, letting consumers have the choice would not just be good for us, it’d be good for Apple as well. We don’t think Apple wants to endure another class-action lawsuit.

Plus, using existing hardware could keep the costs of a revamped MacBook Air down to where they should be, thus maintaining the price.

Fast charging, please

It shouldn’t be difficult for Apple to maintain the same stellar level of battery life within the MacBook Air if all of its parts are upgraded in tandem. But, just to make the experience that much better, charging the laptop for 10-plus hours of use in a fraction of the time would be nice.

This comes in tandem with the request for new ports, i.e. USB-C for fast charging, but we’d like to see to see the MagSafe cord remain. Even the option for both would be pleasant.

iOS apps on MacBook Pro

Now that it’s been bandied about for a while, we’ve come around to idea of iOS apps on macOS. The prospect of continuing work from our phones straight away on our laptops – or polishing off that top score upon sitting down at the desk – is an exciting one.

And, at the WWDC 2018 keynote, Apple detailed exactly which iOS mainstays will be making their way over to macOS Mojave. You won’t be seeing any third-party apps making their way over, but iOS core apps like News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos. Apple hinted at third-party apps making their way over to macOS apps in the future, but we’ll have to wait until 2019 to see it.

  • These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/macbook-air-2018-release-date-news-and-rumors

macOS 10.13 High Sierra release date, news and features

Until later this year, when macOS Mojave takes over, macOS High Sierra is the OS behind all of the best Macs – so, let’s dive into all the details surrounding Apple’s premier OS.

Now, while it’s seen its own fair share of issues, like password vulnerabilities and other security issues – most macOS High Sierra problems have been patched by Apple, and our time with the OS has been mostly positive. Plus, that new file system and built-in photo editing tools more than make up for any of macOS High Sierra’s launch woes.

Sadly, the major problem that macOS High Sierra has is similar to what faced OS X Mountain Lion when it followed Lion – it introduces a number of new features, but none that really innovate in a major way. However, macOS Mojave looks like it’s going to be one of the biggest macOS releases in recent memory, and will see several key iOS apps like News and Stocks making their way over to macOS after all – we guess Apple fans did want them.

In the meantime, here is everything you need to know about today’s macOS High Sierra.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The 2017 edition of Apple’s Mac operating system, macOS
  • When is it out? Available to install now
  • What will it cost? macOS High Sierra is free to download

macOS 10.13 High Sierra release date

Apple revealed macOS 10.13 High Sierra at the WWDC 2017 keynote, which is no surprise, given Apple’s tradition of announcing the latest version of its Mac software at its annual developer event.

Yet, it wasn’t until September 12 that Apple revealed that the full release of High Sierra would launch little more than a week later, on September 25. There was a developer version of the operating system you could enroll in leading to the final release, but luckily that’s no longer required to take advantage of the latest features found in macOS 10.13.

macOS 10.13.6, likely the final version of macOS High Sierra, has been released, and alongside a couple bug fixes, it integrates Airplay 2 into iTunes (though you’ll also need to update iTunes to take advantage of it). You can download the update from the Mac App Store now. However, if you’re interested in testing out new features and updates before everyone else, Apple is still supporting its beta program, which will let you download and install macOS Mojave now.

At the same time, it now uploads all Messages to the cloud and replaces iBooks with the newly rebranded ‘Books’ app. There’s also been a sweet smoke cloud wallpaper added across all systems that was formerly available only on the iMac Pro

For everyone else, the newest rendition of macOS as a whole is still 10.13.5 High Sierra, as we await the much-anticipated macOS 10.14.   

macOS 10.13 High Sierra features

Beyond the Hackintosh users being reasonably worried about the newly enforced security checks on EFI firmware automatically implemented each week, Apple has revealed a number of awesome new features with macOS 10.13 High Sierra. 

These include improvements to Safari – which will now stop ad-tracking and auto-playing videos in their tracks – and a more expansive Spotlight Search in the Mail App. Additionally, when you’re composing emails, the app now allows split view for the compose window – and, to make matters better, it uses up to 35% less disk space.

The Photos app has been updated in macOS 10.13 High Sierra as well, with a better sorting tool to boot. All of this is accompanied by a new layout, better facial recognition thanks to neural networks, and improved syncing across all Apple devices.

Editing tools, too, have seen improvements, in turn making it easier than ever to enhance the quality of your photos without learning the ins and outs of Photoshop or Camera RAW. And of course, you can count on Instagram-like filters being a part of this.

One of the biggest changes that comes with macOS High Sierra is with the file system. It’s ditching the HFS – which Apple has used for around 30 years, and is now using the Apple File System (APFS) instead. 

Every Mac that has been upgraded to macOS High Sierra will receive these file system updates automatically with the exception of those sporting Fusion Drives and older HDDs. Similarly, all new Macs will ship pre-formatted for APFS.

To be exact, APFS is a 64-bit file system that supports native encryption and faster metadata operation. This may all sound a bit techy, but the bottom line is that this will make your Mac feel a lot faster, while also being more secure and more transparent about the nature of your files and folder contents. Unfortunately, this comes with the caveat of Apple’s confirmation that 32-bit apps will be discontinued in later versions of macOS High Sierra.

The update also brings HEVC, or H.265, video compression to the Mac. Apple claims that this new standard can compress video files 40% more than the previous-generation H.264 standard. The end result will be faster video streams at higher resolutions – ahem, 4K – and smaller video files sizes when stored locally.

VR finally comes to the Mac

One of the biggest bits of news surrounding macOS High Sierra is that it will finally bring support for virtual reality headsets officially. Namely, the HTC Vive and Steam VR will work with Macs running the new OS this autumn.

However, to use such a device, you'll need at least a 5K iMac or MacBook Pro – or, any Mac that can run the new OS with an external graphics card box attached via Thunderbolt 3. Support for such devices comes part and parcel with macOS High Sierra, but won't be an active function until spring 2018.

The good news is that macOS High Sierra comes with a helping of refinements to its graphics API that make up for the scarce GPU support. Metal was a step forward for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, but with Metal 2, Apple promises less strain on the CPU as well as proper machine learning and better Xcode profiling/debugging in macOS High Sierra.

Perhaps more important, though, is the fact that MoltenVK was recently brought to Mac by Khronos Group. An implementation of the open-source Vulkan API, it’s said to bring frame rate gains of up to 50% in Dota 2. As it’s cross-platform, too – being supported by Windows and Linux as well as Apple’s devices – MoltenVK is likely to be more widely adopted by creators.

macOS 10.13 High Sierra compatibility

Fortunately, in the act of creating a macOS iteration that only moderately shakes things up, the barrier to entry didn’t change at all. As long as you’re rocking one of the following Mac models, you’ll be good to go with macOS High Sierra on day one:

Bear in mind that if you want to take advantage of the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) benefits posed by macOS High Sierra, you’ll need a Mac donning – at the very least – an Intel sixth-generation Skylake processor. Unfortunately, that discounts everything released prior to 2015, but on the bright side, everything else macOS High Sierra brings to the table is fair game.

Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this report

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/macos-1013-high-sierra-release-date-news-and-features

macOS 10.13 High Sierra release date, news and features

Until later this year, when macOS Mojave takes over, macOS High Sierra is the OS behind all of the best Macs – so, let’s dive into all the details surrounding Apple’s premier OS.

Now, while it’s seen its own fair share of issues, like password vulnerabilities and other security issues – most macOS High Sierra problems have been patched by Apple, and our time with the OS has been mostly positive. Plus, that new file system and built-in photo editing tools more than make up for any of macOS High Sierra’s launch woes.

Sadly, the major problem that macOS High Sierra has is similar to what faced OS X Mountain Lion when it followed Lion – it introduces a number of new features, but none that really innovate in a major way. However, macOS Mojave looks like it’s going to be one of the biggest macOS releases in recent memory, and will see several key iOS apps like News and Stocks making their way over to macOS after all – we guess Apple fans did want them.

In the meantime, here is everything you need to know about today’s macOS High Sierra.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The 2017 edition of Apple’s Mac operating system, macOS
  • When is it out? Available to install now
  • What will it cost? macOS High Sierra is free to download

macOS 10.13 High Sierra release date

Apple revealed macOS 10.13 High Sierra at the WWDC 2017 keynote, which is no surprise, given Apple’s tradition of announcing the latest version of its Mac software at its annual developer event.

Yet, it wasn’t until September 12 that Apple revealed that the full release of High Sierra would launch little more than a week later, on September 25. There was a developer version of the operating system you could enroll in leading to the final release, but luckily that’s no longer required to take advantage of the latest features found in macOS 10.13.

macOS 10.13.6, likely the final version of macOS High Sierra, has been released, and alongside a couple bug fixes, it integrates Airplay 2 into iTunes (though you’ll also need to update iTunes to take advantage of it). You can download the update from the Mac App Store now. However, if you’re interested in testing out new features and updates before everyone else, Apple is still supporting its beta program, which will let you download and install macOS Mojave now.

At the same time, it now uploads all Messages to the cloud and replaces iBooks with the newly rebranded ‘Books’ app. There’s also been a sweet smoke cloud wallpaper added across all systems that was formerly available only on the iMac Pro

For everyone else, the newest rendition of macOS as a whole is still 10.13.5 High Sierra, as we await the much-anticipated macOS 10.14.   

macOS 10.13 High Sierra features

Beyond the Hackintosh users being reasonably worried about the newly enforced security checks on EFI firmware automatically implemented each week, Apple has revealed a number of awesome new features with macOS 10.13 High Sierra. 

These include improvements to Safari – which will now stop ad-tracking and auto-playing videos in their tracks – and a more expansive Spotlight Search in the Mail App. Additionally, when you’re composing emails, the app now allows split view for the compose window – and, to make matters better, it uses up to 35% less disk space.

The Photos app has been updated in macOS 10.13 High Sierra as well, with a better sorting tool to boot. All of this is accompanied by a new layout, better facial recognition thanks to neural networks, and improved syncing across all Apple devices.

Editing tools, too, have seen improvements, in turn making it easier than ever to enhance the quality of your photos without learning the ins and outs of Photoshop or Camera RAW. And of course, you can count on Instagram-like filters being a part of this.

One of the biggest changes that comes with macOS High Sierra is with the file system. It’s ditching the HFS – which Apple has used for around 30 years, and is now using the Apple File System (APFS) instead. 

Every Mac that has been upgraded to macOS High Sierra will receive these file system updates automatically with the exception of those sporting Fusion Drives and older HDDs. Similarly, all new Macs will ship pre-formatted for APFS.

To be exact, APFS is a 64-bit file system that supports native encryption and faster metadata operation. This may all sound a bit techy, but the bottom line is that this will make your Mac feel a lot faster, while also being more secure and more transparent about the nature of your files and folder contents. Unfortunately, this comes with the caveat of Apple’s confirmation that 32-bit apps will be discontinued in later versions of macOS High Sierra.

The update also brings HEVC, or H.265, video compression to the Mac. Apple claims that this new standard can compress video files 40% more than the previous-generation H.264 standard. The end result will be faster video streams at higher resolutions – ahem, 4K – and smaller video files sizes when stored locally.

VR finally comes to the Mac

One of the biggest bits of news surrounding macOS High Sierra is that it will finally bring support for virtual reality headsets officially. Namely, the HTC Vive and Steam VR will work with Macs running the new OS this autumn.

However, to use such a device, you'll need at least a 5K iMac or MacBook Pro – or, any Mac that can run the new OS with an external graphics card box attached via Thunderbolt 3. Support for such devices comes part and parcel with macOS High Sierra, but won't be an active function until spring 2018.

The good news is that macOS High Sierra comes with a helping of refinements to its graphics API that make up for the scarce GPU support. Metal was a step forward for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, but with Metal 2, Apple promises less strain on the CPU as well as proper machine learning and better Xcode profiling/debugging in macOS High Sierra.

Perhaps more important, though, is the fact that MoltenVK was recently brought to Mac by Khronos Group. An implementation of the open-source Vulkan API, it’s said to bring frame rate gains of up to 50% in Dota 2. As it’s cross-platform, too – being supported by Windows and Linux as well as Apple’s devices – MoltenVK is likely to be more widely adopted by creators.

macOS 10.13 High Sierra compatibility

Fortunately, in the act of creating a macOS iteration that only moderately shakes things up, the barrier to entry didn’t change at all. As long as you’re rocking one of the following Mac models, you’ll be good to go with macOS High Sierra on day one:

Bear in mind that if you want to take advantage of the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) benefits posed by macOS High Sierra, you’ll need a Mac donning – at the very least – an Intel sixth-generation Skylake processor. Unfortunately, that discounts everything released prior to 2015, but on the bright side, everything else macOS High Sierra brings to the table is fair game.

Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this report

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/macos-1013-high-sierra-release-date-news-and-features

Best Mac apps: the best macOS apps for your Apple computer

We may be about to get some core iOS apps on the Mac, like News and Stocks, with macOS Mojave later this year, but you should still pay attention to the best Mac apps you can find in macOS High Sierra. At the end of the day, it’s the software – not the hardware – that keeps people coming back to the expertly designed Apple hardware year after year.

The best Mac apps come in every shape and size, so some of them might not be for you, especially compared to something like Evernote, which is the best note-taking app you can download today – no contest.

You won’t find all the best Mac apps on the Mac App Store, but they’re all still worth a look. So, without further delay, keep reading to find the best Mac apps you can find today. From free apps and utilities to more professional programs, these are the Mac apps that will make the best Macs feel alive this year. 

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

No brand of computer is without its annoyances. For so long now, it’s been impossible to use our MacBooks – unbound by the chains of a power adapter – while video outputs to an external monitor. As we all know here at TechRadar, Apple’s laptops automatically enter sleep mode whenever the lid is closed. For the lot of us, this can be a huge inconvenience should you prefer the sheer magnitude of a monitor as opposed to a 12- or 13- or 15-inch laptop screen.

Fortunately, Amphetamine allows you to continue using your MacBook while closed. Before, you could do this by using a similar app called Caffeine, but we prefer the UI features you get with this freebie. Not only does it fit in naturally with the rest of your Menu Bar items, but Amphetamine also supports hotkey commands as well as deactivation reminders – not to mention there are no annoying ads in sight.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: $9.99 (£7.99 or around AUS$14)

While you’ve been able to snap programs to the edge of the screen in Windows since Windows 7, Apple didn’t have a solution until OS X El Capitan. What’s more, even then it lacked some of the comprehensiveness of Microsoft’s alternative. Luckily, HyperDock gives us that full-fledged functionality we so desperately crave, allowing anyone with a Mac to apply it to both the app Dock and windows.

In Windows, you can drag an app to the left or right edges of the screen (or the corners) and it’ll automatically fill that space. This makes it much easier to be productive on the desktop without wasting time dragging windows from the corners. For the Dock, hovering over apps activates something close to Windows 7’s thumbnail previews, giving an overview of the window that can be accessed by a click or closed directly from the preview. Useful.

  • Get it from: Parallels
  • Price: $79.99/year (Home & Student) Around £60 or AUS$100)

If you've bought a Mac and miss some of your old Windows programs, don't worry – Parallels Desktop 13 can bring them back. Instead of having to dual-boot your Mac into a Windows partition, Parallels Desktop 13 allows Windows and macOS Sierra to co-exist side-by-side, and you can even run Microsoft-only programs such as Visual Studio 2015, or the Windows versions of the company's Office 365 apps, alongside your native macOS ones.

All you need is a Windows 10 license – so prepare to buy one if you haven't already. Or, alternatively, you can use Parallels to try a handful of free operating systems including Chromium (a free distribution of Chrome OS) or Linux Debian. The latest version of Parallels in particular has seen improvements such as Touch Bar support, better resolution scaling for Retina displays and picture-in-picture for using other operating systems in conjunction with macOS.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: £14.99 (around $20 or AUS$25)

If you're anything like us, you'll hate working with one monitor or screen. Portable monitors are still fairly expensive (and not to mention bulky), and luckily you can use an iPad instead using a nifty app called Duet. Developed by ex-Apple engineers, it works by tethering your iPad to your Mac using one of Apple's Lightning cables and firing up the app on both devices.

You can then drag apps and windows onto your iPad’s screen just like you would with a second monitor, and if you have a more recent iPad with a Retina display, you’ll get the full benefit of all those beautiful pixels. Just realize that the bandwidth isn’t quite what you would get with one of the best monitors, so it can be a bit laggy when you bump the quality up. But it’s still better for watching videos, reading websites and typing up documents.

  • Get it from: Atom
  • Price: Free

Atom is a text editor that’s primarily designed for coders, but its flexibility and customization options make it a viable option for many different types of users. That’s because of two reasons: first, you can download a number of different Packages – effectively plug-ins – to make it bend to your will. It can be transformed into a Markdown editor for writing blog posts, for example, or you can hook it up to Evernote for storing notes in the cloud.

There’s at least 10 different word counters out there, and you can even add typewriter sound effects as you hammer out your delicious prose. Atom is also infinitely customizable on the visual side thanks to an editable back-end, allowing you to do anything from changing the font size, line height and colors to giving the caret Word 2016-like elasticity.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: £149.99 (around $195 or AUS$255)

Whether you’re a superstar DJ or you’re locking yourself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers, Logic Pro X is one of the best music creation apps on the Mac. Developed by Apple itself its accessible interface hides a ton of advanced functionality. The latest version also comes with a slick new design, 64-bit architecture and new session drummer that will save you from having to drop more cash on a drum machine.

It also works in natural harmony with iPads, providing a touch-based alternative method of creating song structures to dragging and dropping blocks in the main visual editor. Whether you're a seasoned producer already (Sia used the app to record her hit song 'Chandelier') or are looking to upgrade from Garageband, Logic Pro X likely has what you need.

A simple app but an important one, to-do app Wunderlist’s strength lies in its cross-device functionality. It’s available on Mac, PC and Android and iOS, allowing you to pick up where you left off wherever you are using macOS’s Handoff feature.

Once you’ve created a list you can schedule reminders, add notes and embed it into the macOS Notification Centre using a widget. Team-based features are unlocked by signing up to Wunderlist’s Pro option for a yearly fee, and you can add files of any size without running into limits.

Evernote has morphed into a mighty note-taking app over the years. While some people will say that it’s too bloated, the sheer number of things that you can do with it still makes it best-in-class. You can type up notes, obviously, organizing them using a combination of folders and tags. You can even embed Google Drive documents, which are accessible in a click.

There’s also the ability to set reminders, share notes with friends, find information related to notes using Evernote’s ‘Context’ feature, create lists, and favorite notes that you frequently return to. Better yet, all of your notes are synchronized using the company’s servers, making them accessible on nearly any PC (through a browser or the native Evernote app) or mobile device in the world. The paid version lets you use Evernote with more than two devices while upping the amount of data you can sync each month.

GIMP (standing for GNU Image Manipulation) is one of the best free image editing apps out there. It’s a great alternative to Adobe Photoshop and comes with a massive array of professional-quality functions that let you tweak existing images saved in a range of formats or create fresh ones from scratch. Features include layers, highly customizable brushes, automatic image-enhancing tools and filters. You can do even more with it using plug-ins, which are available to download from the GIMP Plugin Registry.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: £34.99 (around $45/AUS$60)

These days, balancing features with simplicity and good design in the best Mac apps is critically important. However, unlike Word 2016, or even Apple’s own Pages, Ulysses has an extremely minimalistic interface. This allows you to get on with writing without being distracted by so many buttons and menus. The app uses its own version of Markdown – a type of text formatting engine – that allows users to focus on their writing in a way that not only makes organization easier but also makes exporting easier – Ulysses will format it in an attractive way, using one of many export styles, when you’re done writing.

There's a handy attachments bar on the right-hand side that features an attractive word counter and lets you write notes to assist you in your writing. Notes can be accessed anywhere thanks to iCloud support, so you can pick up your iPad and carry on where you left off using macOS's Handoff feature.

Sometimes you want to play your Xbox One, but you can’t because your roommate has decided to use the living room TV for watching the whole run of Ugly Delicious in one sitting. Now, you could technically stream Halo 5 or Sea of Thieves if you had a Windows PC. However, you just have a Mac.

That’s where OneCast comes in, a third-party work of reverse engineering performed by an independent developer to bring Xbox One game streaming to macOS. It works as easily as connecting both your Mac and Xbox One to the same network and subsequently logging in to Xbox Live. It works pretty well in our experience, though you should have both systems connected to your modem via ethernet if possible.

  • Get it from: Website
  • Price: Free

If you’re a gamer who loves using your Mac, whether it’s for work, school or leisure, Nvidia GeForce Now will silence all the haters. Seemingly since the dawn of time, it seems like PC gamers have shut down the prospect of using a Mac to play triple-A video games. The graphics weren’t there, neither was the library.

Now, we’re in the middle of an era of streaming. We no longer have to download our favorite TV shows and movies, when we can just stream them on Amazon Prime or Netflix. Why should games be any different? Well, now that the Nvidia GeForce Now beta is live, they may not be for much longer. You can stream Fortnite, Overwatch and more at the highest settings from the comfort of your MacBook.

It’s simple and not at all essential in the grand scheme of things, but DeskCover is a free and easy way to stay focused when you need to. 

For anyone working on larger monitors, full screen apps can strain your peripheral vision, and so you’ll have no other choice but to resort to smaller windows. Of course, this can lead to you getting distracted by your desktop background – this is where DeskCover comes in handy. Allowing you to easily blur your desktop and lower the opacity, DeskCover puts the task at hand front and center so that nothing else can get in the way of getting your work done.

In other words, DeskCover is basically a free version of Hazeover, which we’re not complaining about. What’s more, your options aren’t limited to manipulation of your existing wallpaper alone. You can also temporarily replace your background with something a little more plain, blocking it out with a solid color of your choosing. Best of all, DeskCover is compatible with hotkeys, thereby minimizing the distraction possibilities of the app itself.

The market for disk optimization apps is neither desolate nor particularly exciting, especially on the best Macs, where Apple does a pretty good job of cleaning up its drives on its own. However, for a program that’s far more intuitive and user friendly than, say, the built-in Macintosh HD storage management software, your best bet is to turn your attention to Dr. Cleaner. This app splits all of your data into easily digestible bit that would otherwise be quite obtuse.

Dr. Cleaner will group all the junk on your Mac with labels like ‘Junk Files’ and ‘Big Files’ – rather than listing off 30GB of documents and 10GB of iOS files you don’t understand. Then, you can look at the file names themselves and decide whether or not you want to keep them on your computer. You can also use Dr. Cleaner to monitor CPU, network and RAM usage as well, for the sake of putting some pep in your aging Mac’s step.

  • Get it from: Website
  • Price: Free

While it’s more like three apps than just one, SoftMaker Office 2018 takes all the key features of Microsoft Office and puts them into an interface that tailors to your needs. It comes with a group of programs called TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations 2018 that are similar enough to Office 365 without the rolling subscription.

Whether you’re looking for a word processor that’s easy to use or a spreadsheet or slideshow creator of equal accessibility, SoftMaker Office has what you’re looking for. And, because it’s still in beta, you can get a complimentary, albeit temporary, license over email if you want to give it a spin. Otherwise, there is a permanent version of the software called SoftMaker FreeOffice that’s only available on Windows, Android and Linux.

  • Get it from: App Store
  • Price: $9.99 (about £7.19, AU$12.82)

Since you’re obviously going to install all of the other apps we’ve mentioned, you’re going to need at least a utility that, well, declutters your desktop. Unclutter is the solution you’re looking for whether you’re a frivolous notetaker or a temporary file hoarder like we are. It’s designed to keep your memos, documents and pasteboard clips in one place rather than scattered across several folders.

It’s a brilliant idea made even better by the fact that it can be configured for use with gesture controls. At any given point, you can swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers on the trackpad (or one on the mouse) to reveal a trio of windows that can be concealed and re-summoned whenever you please.

  • Get it from: Website
  • Price: Free

When you’re out there hustling every day, it’s easy to lose track of messages. With so many social media companies, SMS platforms and instant messaging services to choose from, most of us also have a number of different accounts used to administer to all of those messages. But what if you only had to log into one?

That’s the central idea in Franz, a messaging app that allows you to view and send messages in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, HipChat and more. It lets you seamlessly switch between any of these apps as easily as you can toggle between Slack workspaces. Best of all, there’s no limit to the amount of services you can use at once. That way, even if you have 10 Facebook accounts for whatever reason, all of your messages will be visible in the same place.

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/software/applications/30-best-mac-apps-for-just-about-everything-712511

The best 13-inch laptop 2018: the top 13-inch laptops we’ve reviewed

These days, the best laptops are almost a necessity for day-to-day life, but there’s only one real reason to go with one of the best 13-inch laptops: they’re the perfect size. Let’s face it, 15-inch laptops are simply too big, while less than 12 inches leaves you squinting. The best 13-inch laptops are the sweet spot for notebook displays – they’re perfect for work, streaming media and everything in between. And, because it’s the most popular display size for laptops – the best 13-inch laptops will be packed with all the latest tech.

The Dell XPS 13 is still one of the best laptops we’ve ever laid our fingers on, winning TechRadar’s Best in Class award three years in a row. Still, we can also understand why someone would prefer the HP Spectre x360 or even the MacBook Air. Because, while the XPS 13 may be gorgeous and thin without losing performance, these other laptops aren’t hindered by baffling webcam placements. Plus, they all do different things.

Keep in mind though, that we’ve seen some awesome 13-inch laptops at Computex 2018 that will be compelling upgrades over the next year. Asus in particular has some noteworthy devices, like a laptop with a touchscreen built into its trackpad. So, make sure you bookmark this guide, as we’ll keep it updated with the best 13-inch laptops as they come out.

At the end of the day, the best 13-inch laptop is going to come down to your own personal preference. Do you need a more traditional laptop that does its job well, or one of the best 2-in-1 laptops that you can flip around into tablet mode? What about a machine that runs macOS High Sierra instead of Windows 10? There are so many choices on the market, and with this list we’ve tried to cover as many as possible.  

Its changes are subtle, and yet the Dell XPS 13 is still the best 13-inch laptop you can buy. On the high end, it now offers a 4K display, for a sharper picture across the board. But even if you can’t afford higher tier configurations, the beautiful design, lengthy battery life and even the SD card slot are still there – plus you’ve got a quad-core processor no matter what poison you pick. Better yet, the 13.3-inch display of the XPS 13 has been squeezed into a smaller frame, which explains Dell’s marketing line: ‘the world’s smallest 13-inch laptop.’ Now stew on that, as you admire the Dell XPS 13’s gorgeous, albeit more expensive, Alpine White finish. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

While it may not be as powerful as its behemoth of a 15-inch counterpart, everything else about the 13.5-inch version of the Surface Book 2 is perfect for the mobile workhorse user environment. Whether you’re a creative or a professional, the Microsoft Surface Book 2, with its more compact form-factor rocks a style that’s just as beautiful as its predecessor. What’s more, the dynamic fulcrum hinge is stronger than you remember, which only complements its robust, quad-core CPU.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2

We didn’t expect a laptop made by Razer to be thinner and lighter than a MacBook Pro – not to mention prettier, but here we are. The Razer Blade stealth – in its all-new gunmetal finish – rocks not only a beautiful and practical aesthetic with its 400-nit display brightness and full-size USB 3.0 ports, but it also has a few tricks up its sleeve to make it a performance beast. The 8th-generation Kaby Lake R U-series processor make the Razer Blade Stealth a force to be reckoned with. It might not have the best battery life, but an Ultrabook this fast is worth the 16 minutes of battery life you give up. 

Read the full review: Razer Blade Stealth

For anyone who prefers premium build quality over everything, the HP Spectre x360 contains everything you could ever ask for in a 2-in-1 without compromise. Weighing in at just 2.78 pounds and measuring just over half an inch thick, it’s as thin as it is light. Plus, with up to a 4K display and 8th-generation Intel processors, it’s one of the best ways to experience high-quality video streaming as well as 720p gaming on a hybrid. We didn’t even mention the plentitude of ports. You’ll get two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports on top of a USB 3.1 Type-A – so you shouldn’t need a ton of adapters. 

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

Best 13-inch laptop

While Samsung may not be well known for its laptops – beyond its Tab Pro S convertible, at least – Samsung’s follow-up to the 2012 Series 9 Notebook has impressive performance at a competitive price. Marketed as an Ultrabook, it’s certainly disheartening to know it can only last 5 hours in between charges, but given its beautiful design, it almost doesn’t matter. As a bonus, with the Samsung Notebook 9, you won’t have to deal with the bloatware that makes many other Windows laptop the target of derision on tech forums. 

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Dell XPS 13   

Everyone hates change. However, while the 15.6-inch frame of the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin we once knew will soon be erased from our memories forever, the new 13.3-inch model doesn’t seem like a terrible upgrade. It’s bounced two generations into the future in terms of processing power, and although there are no discrete graphics present, we’re glad to see a keyboard that can compete with some of the heavier hitters. It’s nothing revolutionary, yet as far as hybrid notebooks go, this one ain’t too shabby (plus it’s cheaper than a weaker MacBook Pro).

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Surface Laptop   

The Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s first effort at a ‘traditional’ laptop – even if it does come with a PixelSense touchscreen and Alcantara keyboard. It also features specs that’ll make the 12-inch MacBook Blush, like a U-series 7th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor – making Apple’s thin and light look obsolete by comparison. It might have limited ports and has S Mode by default, but it’s appealing for its design, beautiful screen, and beefy performance. 

 Read the full review: Surface Laptop

As 2-in-1 laptops have become more prevalent in recent years, their manufacturers have been improving them at a nigh-equal pace. This rings true for few laptop makers more than it does for Lenovo, however, who has taken the liberty of crafting drop-dead gorgeous convertibles with standout watch band-like hinges, much like that of the Yoga 920. This rendition of Lenovo’s increasingly popular brand of hybrids sees the integration of USB-C ports, a centered webcam and, perhaps more interestingly, an 8th-generation Intel quad-core processor regardless of which configuration you opt for. It does purr more loudly than expected, and tablet mode could use some work, but the Lenovo Yoga 920 is ultimately worth its price of admission.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 920 

Best 13-inch laptop

Apple’s MacBook Air still puts on a decent fight, even though it’s starting to show its age. While it still rocks an Intel fifth-generation Core processor, rather than the newest Coffee Lake silicon, it’s still a capable machine – even more so now that 8GB of RAM is the standard. If you’re looking for the best 13-inch laptop for casually browsing the web, checking email and word processing, you can’t go wrong with the MacBook Air – not to mention that it’s still the cheapest laptop that runs macOS. 

Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air

best 13-inch laptop

The latest iteration of Apple’s seminal Macbook Pro series is here, and as you’d expect it makes a number of notable improvements over last year’s offering. While it may not exactly feature the strongest battery life in the game (scoring under an hour less than last year’s unit), it does feature a stronger CPU, and thus – better performance. And, the MacBook Pro 2018 takes that improved performance even further. Plus, when you add all of that on top of Apple’s continued devotion to simplicity and beautiful design, you get a laptop that is sleek, portable and powerful. 

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2017)

Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news http://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/laptops/best-13-inch-laptops-which-is-right-for-you-901574