We know, we know– it feels like summer is only just beginning why are we starting to think about the next school year? Unfortunately as we all know all good things like summer must eventually come to an end and we have to return back to our regular ways of life and school– which we all know comes back way too quickly. As the back-to-school sales really begin over the next few weeks we want to help make sure you go back fully prepared, well, gadgets wise at least.
One of the toughest things today in back-to-school shopping is finding a new computer/tablet/phone that isn’t just cheap or good, but right for you and what you want and need it to do. We want to try to make this easier for you, and over the course of the rest of the summer we plan to have a whole bunch of posts and guides on good deals we see, some of our recommendations for a new computer, tablet or phone etc. In short, we’re here to help.
So with all that in mind we’re gonna kick off this back-to-school “series” with some tips on what you should look for when your out shopping for a new laptop for school and what are the basic specs that any 2011 computer you buy should have.
If you’re looking for a new computer this back-to-school shopping season and really wanted to go with a Mac we really hope you waited. As expected, Apple didn’t just launch Lion today, but they also announced some pretty major updates to its MacBook Air that should make it a much better choice as your next computer.
We got all the details for you below, so read on.
It looks like all the final pieces of OS X Lion are now finally coming into place. We knew the price ($29.99), we knew where to get it (Mac App Store), we knew the major new features to look forward to, and now we finally know that final missing piece: the date. Apple just announced that OS X Lion will be available tomorrow, July 20th, for all to download from the Mac App Store.
Apple of course hasn’t said anything about if there will also be new Macs to go along with the big release, but if there are you know that we’ll have all the info you need to know about them right here.
And for everything you need to know about Lion and what makes it so great make sure to check out our round-up post here.
With Apple’s next big version of OS X, called Lion, seemingly set to launch any day now a lot of you want to know “what exactly is so great about Lion and what does it mean to me?” Well, we’re gonna recap everything you need to know about Lion for you right here so you’re ready for whenever it actually comes out.
Let’s get to it.
If you are planning on buying a new Mac anytime over the next week we recommend you try to hold off until at least next Thursday. Rumors are Apple is planning some big things for next Thursday, July 14th, the day according to the latest rumors, they are expected to release the next major update to OS X, OS X Lion. We already went through everything you should be looking forward to in Apple’s next big desktop OS (for a recap see here and here), but there are also rumors that Apple is planning to update its MacBook Air (and possibly MacBook and Mac Mini) lines the same day.
As we all know, the MacBook Air is one incredible little computer with one of the thinnest designs we’ve ever seen. As we wrote last year, it’s so thin and light– while still keeping a full keyboard and great screen– that its perfect for traveling and taking to school every day. The problem with those current MacBook Airs though is that they could be a whole lot faster if they were using some of Intel’s latest and greatest Core i5 and i7 processors found in the new MacBook Pros and all modern PCs (the Core 2 Duo on today’s Airs is a few years old to say the least). Well, in this rumored update the new Airs would not just get these much faster new processors, but also an even faster Solid State Drive (this is similar to the storage found in iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads and is faster and gives the computer better battery over the traditional hard drive) and a ThunderBolt port (Apple and Intel’s next generation of USB that would make transferring files from your computer to an iPhone/iPod/backup hard drive a lot faster). Yeah these new Airs look to be ridiculously fast.
There are even more rumors that we may see a MacBook Air released at a price of $899 or $100 cheaper than the current 11 inch MacBook Air that starts at $999.
Much faster, possibly cheaper, and with Lion pre-installed? Yeah, if you’re looking to go Mac back-to-school shopping this weekend we definitely think you should wait a few more days to see if this comes out.
Apple today finally took the wraps off its annual, highly anticipated back to school deal with a major new twist: the traditional free iPod Touch has been replaced with the new deal being the usual discounts on all Macs and a free $100 iTunes gift card that can be used in any of Apple’s iTunes stores (iTunes, App Store for iPhone/iPad, Mac App Store and iBookstore).
While we don’t know why Apple decided not to do free iPod Touches again this year (or even better, some discount on an iPad with the purchase of a new Mac) the deal, which runs from today, June 16th, through September 20th, is still pretty good in our opinion. Think about it, most of us have iPods– or are using our phones as our iPods– now anyway so unless you really needed a new one, getting $100 to spend in iTunes and getting apps for your new Mac can be very valuable (as Apple puts it: “so you can get Pages, Numbers and Keynote for your studies. And still have plenty left for your study breaks.”). Oh, and the brand new, upcoming OS X Lion will be free to anyone who buys a new Mac now and before whenever the official launch date is, so you don’t have to worry about buying that for $30 next month either.
Now a lot of you want to know what’s different between this new 2011 Apple back-to-school deal and Microsoft’s offer of a free Xbox 360 with any new PC $699 or higher. There actually is a lot. Beyond the fact that Microsoft’s deal is cheaper (you can buy a PC for $699 and get the free 360 whereas the cheapest MacBook– the one from last year and not the new MacBook Pros— is $899 even after the $100 discount), Microsoft’s deal is also open for any current high school or college student unlike Apple’s which looks to be only college (the official language is “college students or students accepted to college” so incoming college freshmen you’re still good. Parents of college students and teachers of any grade are also eligible so if you’ve got a sibling in college or a nice teacher you can still get in on this deal). Microsoft is also giving away more in terms of the free add-on (an Xbox 360 4 GB is $200 whereas even if you include Lion in the Apple deal you’re still at $130).
I guess what it really comes down to which would you rather game on: Xbox 360 or Mac/iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch? Let us know your pick of which deal you think is better in the comments.
Info from Apple
It may be hard to believe but iMessage was only one of the many things unveiled by Apple this week at WWDC 2011. In addition to that major news, Apple also had a few other pretty big announcements regarding what we can expect in the next versions of iOS and OS X: iOS 5 and OS X Lion (sadly there was no new iPhone 5 announced here). So what exactly did Apple say and what does it mean for you? Read on for the full breakdown.
For those that don’t know, E3 is the big video game event that takes place for a couple of days (this year it’s June 6-9) once a year in LA where all the newest and hottest things in the world of video games are announced. Last year for example, we saw our first peek at Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox 360 (and the redesigned, slimmer 360), the PlayStation Move for the PS3, and the Nintendo 3DS. Not to mention info on new video games like the latest in Madden, Gears of War, Halo and Call Of Duty.
This year of course looks to bring things up a notch with Microsoft and Sony taking the stage later today for their E3 keynotes (with Microsoft expected to show off a bunch of new games for Kinect and Sony expected to give a whole lot more info on the NGP/PSP 2. And when we say a “whole lot of info” with Sony we mean it– their event is slated to go for 5 hours!). Nintendo takes the stage on Tuesday and they look to have planned some big announcements of their own.
We’ll have all the info on the big 3’s keynotes covered for you back here. If your interested in following along live, here are the links and times for their respective live streams: Microsoft (today 12:30 PM ET/ 9:30 AM PT); Sony (tonight 8 PM ET/5 PM PT); Nintendo (Tuesday 12 PM ET/ 9 AM PT).
Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough for a crazy tomorrow, we also have Apple’s WWDC keynote (beginning at 1 PM ET) with what promises to bring a whole lot of new info on Apple’s upcoming iOS 5 and OS X Lion operating systems, and more info on Apple’s big new product: iCloud (said to be for storing things like your music, documents etc. on the internet– aka “the cloud” because the data is not just on your one device but available for you to access from anywhere you have internet access. What exactly Apple is going to do with iCloud is sure to be very interesting). And who knows, maybe Apple will surprise everyone with a “one more thing” and announce the next iPhone like they have done at WWDC the past 3 years.
Again, we’re gonna have all of this covered for you tomorrow. You’re definitely gonna wanna check back.
As we slowly approach back to school season we know a lot of you are debating between getting a new computer or perhaps continuing to use your current one and looking at the thinner, more portable tablets (like the iPad 2, Xoom, Galaxy Tab, PlayBook etc.) instead. Microsoft hasn’t really had a good tablet OS to answer to the iPad and those other tablets, and while they won’t have an answer for those looking for a Windows tablet for this back to school season, last week they showed off the first glimpses of Windows 8, the next generation of Windows and the first version of Windows to really focus on being completely used by touch.
So what exactly is Windows 8 and what does this mean for anyone buying a new Windows 7 PC today? Read on.
So we covered the new MacBook Air, but what about everything else Apple introduced? Well, we’ve got that fully covered here. Apple was pretty busy with a whole bunch of other cool stuff, including that new iLife ’11, the next version of OS X called Lion, and even the announcement to bring FaceTime to the Mac. We’ve got the whole thing covered for you after the break, so read on!