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Applelinks Tech Web Reader - Monday, 12 August, 2013

AnandTech Reviews The 2013 MacBook Air (11-inch) - An iPad Alternative?
Which Laptop Should You Buy For College?
Apple's Evolving View Of "Pro"
iDraw 2.3 A More Economical Alternative To Adobe Illustrator


AnandTech Reviews The 2013 MacBook Air (11-inch) - An iPad Alternative?

AnandTech is never the first out with Apple new product reviews, but I'm always interested in reading their detailed, in-depth analyses.

AnandTech's Vivek Gowri tried a second generation MacBook Air user back in 2010, but returned it, finding it "unbearably slow," noting that its 2GB RAM was basically laughable, and the standard 64GB SSD got a whole lot more indefensible as time went on.

He observes that performance improved in the newer 11-inch Airs, but even so, the 13-inch Air with its higher screen resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio, and larger battery, seemed to be the way to go, especially after the price dropped to $1199. Now the mid-2013 entry level 11 and 13 inch Airs share the same basic specs: 1.3GHz Haswell ULT processor, 4GB LPDDR3, and a 128GB SSD, and the price difference has dropped to $100, with the 13-incher now $1099, making it an even better deal, considering the extra battery life (12 hours versus 9 for the 11) and larger, higher resolution display. "And honestly," says Gowri, "the 13 is not only a more usable primary computing solution, but also a better computer overall."

However, he says its easier to recommend an Air 11 now that the base model has the 4GB/128GB combo he'd consider the minimum for any ultraportable computer without any caveats, but that where the 11-inch Air becomes really interesting is when you stop thinking about it in terms of its larger sibling, but rather in terms of the iPad. He observes that Not only is the 11-inch Air dimensionally similar to the iPad, now with it's Haswell processor it has roughly equal battery life too, and theres just a $200 price difference between the 128GB iPad and the 128GB Air 11, or just $100 if you factor in the cost of an iPad keyboard, making it really something to think about as an iPad alternative. He notes that the 11-inch Air is just under a pound heavier than the iPad, with depths within a quarter inch of each other and the average thickness of the wedge-shaped Air essentially the same as the constant thickness of the iPad, and with far superior power, versatility, and connectivity including both USB 3 and Thunderbolt, and a bcaklit keyboard built in.

Gowri summarizes that when a tablet doesnt offer an inherent advantage in terms of size or battery life, its a lot harder to justify skipping the sheer versatility and power you get out of a real notebook computer, even a small one, fand that t he notebook is basically better at doing anything other than reading, and gives you far more computing horsepower and far more control over everything that happens - media, browsing, documents. Factor in the real, physical keyboard and in terms of productivity, and the laptop's functional superiority is inarguable. Gowri says he's not trying to recommend that people buy the Air over the iPad, but just to point out just that its possible to do so with very little compromise other than purchase price, which is startling, and if you need the most mobile productivity machine you can get, its hard to top the 11-inch MacBook Air.

For the full review visit here:

Which Laptop Should You Buy For College?

PCWorld's Alex Cocilova notes that school is right around the corner, and you'll need a solid laptop to get you through those long study hours. So whether youre a first-time buyer or you're ready to upgrade from your present laptop, he endeavors to help you separate your nice-to-have wants from your essential needs, so you can get the most bang for your back-to-school buck.

What you need:
1. Long battery life
2. Low weight, small profile
3. A comfortable keyboard
4. A large screen for multitasking
5. A warranty or protection plan
6. Security software

What you don't need
1. A quad-core processor
2. A discrete graphics processor
3. Solid-state drive
4. A touchscreen
5. 4G wireless

For full elucidation of these points:

Apple's Evolving View Of "Pro"

Blogger Ken Segall writes:

In recent years, many pros have started feeling like Apple's jilted girlfriend. Through no fault of their own, the love just seemed to fade.

Apple might claim otherwise when confronted, but the telltale signs have been hard to ignore.....

Could it possibly be? Would Apple ever even think about saying goodbye to the pro market?

I hope youre sitting down for this, but Steve Jobs did in fact once consider that very option.....

For the full commentary visit here:

iDraw 2.3 A More Economical Alternative To Adobe Illustrator

If you're a working graphics pro, you can probably justify paying the stiff monthly rental fee to use Adobe's Creative Cloud, including the paradigm-setting vector drawing app. Adobe Illustrator. If you're not a pro, you might find that iDraw, a richly-features vector design and illustration application, available for Mac OS X and iPad, will meet your needs at a purchase price of half the rental fee for a month's use of Creative Cloud. iDraw lets you easily share designs between Mac and iPad. Import and export vector PDF and SVG documents, creating a simple workflow with other applications.


iDraw is a powerful feature-packed vector design and illustration application, available for Mac OS X and iPad that lets you easily share designs between Mac and iPad. Import and export vector PDF and SVG documents, creating a simple workflow with other applications.

Features in iDraw 2.3:

Appearance FX
Apply drop shadows, inner shadows, inner and outer glows to shapes.
Add multiple strokes, fills, and effects to a single object.
Arrange the order of fills, strokes, and effects using drag and drop.

PDF / EPS Import
Import PDF and EPS files as editable vector objects.
Import designs from other vector illustration applications.
Paste vector objects directly from Adobe Illustrator.

Core Text Editing
Multi-style text boxes with line height and text kerning options.
Text along a path. Bind text objects to follow any path.
In-place editing of transformed text. Smart text box resizing.

In-Place Color Picker
New in-place popup color picker for faster editing workflows.
Spacious pixel-preview eyedropper tool for easily finding the right color.
'Copy Style' / 'Paste Style' menu options for sharing styles among objects.


Retina (New)
iDraw 2.3 features a beautiful updated interface that looks gorgeous on the Retina display of the new MacBook Pro.

iCloud Sync (New)
Store your iDraw documents in iCloud, and keep them up to date across all of your devices. Easily share designs between the Mac and iPad versions of iDraw.

Sharing (New)
Share your designs with others easily using the new built-in sharing features in Mountain Lion. Share designs on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc.

Smart Guides (New)
Smart guides allow you to quickly and easily align multiple objects. Draggable alignment guides and 'Snap to Point' also help you create pixel-perfect designs.

Mountain Lion
iDraw takes advantage of the latest features in OS X Mountain Lion, and also runs great on Lion and Snow Leopard.

Quick Look
The built-in Quick Look plugin allows you to quickly preview your iDraw documents directly in the Finder.

Optimizations have been made throughout the application. Faster drawing, faster editing, faster importing... simply work faster.

iDraw autosaves documents at regular intervals to keep your work safe.

Grid and Rulers
Built-in canvas style templates, with fully customizable grid and margins.
Sleek animated rulers with units in pixels, inches, mm, and cm.
Precise editing and placement with 'Snap To Grid'.


Group and Align
Create intricate objects consisting of multiple shapes using groups.
Group objects together to keep complex designs easily manageable.
Alignment tools for fast, easy arrangements and layouts.

Gradient Editor
Multi-color linear and radial gradients.
Use transparent colors in gradients to create a variety of effects.
Easily edit, save, and re-use gradients using the gradient editor.

Colors and Styles
Choose colors using the popup RGB, CMYK, HSB sliders or color palette.
Save frequently used colors to the color palette and reuse them easily.
Save the appearance settings of an object as a 'Style' to reuse later.

Easily create large projects using multiple layers.
Use layers to annotate and draw over images and designs.
Create new layers, change their order, merge, and delete them easily in the Layers list.

Dimensioning and Labels
Add dimension lines to technical designs.
Auto-filled labels for length, width, height, and area.
Set text labels to any path object.

Text with Style
Text with font style, size, and alignment settings.
Add text annotations and multi-line text blocks to designs.
Fill text with gradients and images.
Convert text to editable paths that can be streteched or modified with the pen tool.

Vector Drawing
Powerful bezier pen tool for editing points, curves, and lines.
Create shapes with custom paths, or modify the paths of existing shapes.
Multi-point selection: select and edit multiple path points at once.

Shape Tools
Versatile set of customizable shape drawing tools.
Create lines, arcs, rounded rects, ellipses, stars, polygons, etc.
Geometry settings pane for precise numeric editing.

Path Combinations
Quickly create diverse shapes by combining multiple shapes together to form new ones.
Union, Subtract, Intersect, Exclude and Divide paths.

Photos and Images
Import JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF and other image files.
Set an image as a canvas background to trace, annotate, or draw over the image.
Images can be used as fills for shapes or text.

Vector Brushes
Fluid vector calligraphic brush and pencil tools.
Create custom brushes by modifying brush diameter, angle, and shape.
Brush strokes remain fully editable even after they're drawn.

Shape Libraries
Included sample libraries for Floor Plans, iPhone App Mockups, and Symbols.
Create your own libraries with custom shapes.
Quickly create designs by organizing and reusing sets of related shapes.

Export and Share
Export designs as PDF or SVG files, which can be imported and edited in other illustration applications.
Import vector PDF and SVG files created by other vector illustration applications.
Save designs as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, or GIF images.

iDraw is available on the Mac App Store for $24.99

For more information, visit:

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