Weekly Wrap: New Mac reviews, email advice, and Surface thoughts

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This week, Microsoft unveiled its potential iPad competitor, we put several new Macs to the test, and we offered some advice on no longer using email for everything. Let’s dive in!

Macs to the max

We tested video to the test on the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display. We reviewed the 15-inch and 13-inch MacBook Pros without Retina displays, or Reti-no’s, as I call them. We weighed in on the latest MacBook Air models, which you might say are air tight. (No? OK.) And we found that the new Mac Pro is about the same as the old Mac Pro. Which, ironically enough for a computer called “Pro,” is in fact a “con.”

Never content merely to write about the topics we cover, we podcasted about all of Apple’s new MacBooks, too.

GemFest 2012

GemFest 2012 is a time for celebrating great Mac apps. Some of us also dress up in costumes, but don’t feel obligated to go that far. Instead, take some time to appreciate gems like:

  • Speed Download—which sounds a little bit like Sweet ‘N Low, but doesn’t improve the taste of your tea;
  • Low Battery Saver—which can prevent you from feeling assaulted by your battery;
  • ChronoSlider—which, were it not Gem-worthy, we might describe as “Oh-no-Slider”;
  • Looky—an app that’s worth a look-see; and
  • Downloads—an app whose functionality is frankly considerably more creative than its name.

Email order

We offered up a brief history of email (shorter version: Email was invented; Nigerian princes started using it). We’d advise that you can stop using email for everything. At the same time, though, there are times to say “yes” to email—especially if that email is from a Nigerian prince offering you millions of dollars.

Speaking of email, if you’d rather use it than old-fashioned faxing when you need to send signed forms off to other parties, don’t miss our video guide to signing PDFs electronically with Preview.

Apps, apps, apps

As always, we reviewed numerous iOS apps this week: Air Mail is a a charming flight simulator, Inside the World of Dinosaurs is a multimedia educator, Quizboard is a mental stimulator, Bento 4 can serve as a data curator, Launch Center Pro makes your great iPhone greater, and Reading Rainbow … well, it features LeVar Burton.

Advice and fixes

Want to run multiple full-screen apps at once on your Lion Mac? We have some bad news. Wondering what Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet means for the iPad? We have an opinion on that.

If you’re suffering from problems like a missing Send button in Mail, unwanted games in Draw Something, or a number pad that won’t work right, Chris Breen can help, and he doesn’t charge a thing. Nor does Ted Landau, who offers advice on dealing with calendar alarm woes, typing reversals, and some recent Apple updates.

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