Which 2015 Apple MacBook should you buy?

This year has already seen a wealth of new Apple products, including the Apple Watch, the new 12-inch MacBook, a new version of the Logic Pro music-making software, and updates to both the MacBook Airand 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops.

For anyone considering a new MacBook purchase, all this new hardware makes choosing which one to buy even more difficult. Unfortunately, there’s not one single perfect MacBook recommendation for everyone, and each model has its strengths and weaknesses. It comes down to a combination of budget, required features, and just how portable you need to be.

The new 12-inch MacBook is a design and engineering marvel, but is also missing features some might find irreplaceable, such as nearly all the common ports and connections, or a mainstream Core i5 processor. It’s also expensive, and costs just as much as the much more powerful 13-inch MacBook Pro(although the same $1,299 initial investment gets you a 256GB solid-state drive in the MacBook, but only a 128GB SSD in the MacBook Pro).

Back-to-School PC Sales Up From 2013

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It’s back to school time! Which means it’s time for frantic purchasing of all sorts of stuff one (or one’s kid) may or may not need for the school year. Of course, desktops and laptops are important and expensive items on those shopping lists, and research firm NPD this week reportedthat back-to-school PC sales are up about 3 percent from last year.

The primary beneficiaries appear to be Apple and makers of computers running Google’s Chrome operating system. According to NPD, Windows-based PCs slipped to about a 68.4 percent share of the U.S. market in the 10-week time period between July 4 and Labor Day week. That’s down from the 72.3 percent and 75.2 percent share enjoyed by Windows machines for 2013 and 2012, respectively.

Sales of Macs jumped up to a 26.8 percent share of sales during the back-to-school period this year, NPD reported. That’s bit of a bounce from the relatively steady 24 to 24.5 percent share the company enjoyed in 2012 and 2013. Apple laptops, specifically, enjoyed a 16 percent overall increase in sales year-over-year, the research firm reported.

Chrome OS laptops didn’t enjoy quite as big a bounce between this year and last as they did between 2013 and 2012, when sales of the notebooks jumped from 0.2 percent to 3.3 percent of the market. Chromebook did grow 4.5 percent in 2014 and represented more than 5 percent of all U.S. notebook sales in total. They also accounted for 18 percent of all notebooks sold under $300, NPD reported.

“After a slow start, aggressive pricing and robust selection drove significant volumes towards the end of the Back-to-School season, making it a very strong year,” said NPD vice president Stephen Baker, in a statement.

“Due to the success of the aggressive Windows notebook pricing during Back-to-School we could see a much more aggressive pricing strategy this holiday season as the seemingly stable PC volume environment emboldens the PC OEMs and the OS and chip suppliers to make a grab for market share while the industry remains relatively steady,” he added.

In total, retail PC sales jumped 3 percent from the same time period last year. That’s a bit of a turnaround from 2013, where PC sales actually dropped 2.5 percent year-over-year. Notebook sales contributed to the overall growth with a 3.4 increase in sales over last year, while desktop sales remained flat, according to NPD.

ZTE Apollo rumored to boast new 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor

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Qualcomm has recently announced their new Snapdragon 808 and 810 processors to be added to the top-tier of mobile processors. With the Snapdragon 801 just beginning to make its way into handsets, we thought it might be awhile until we see the new ones make their way into consumer hands. That may not be the case, thanks to a new leak from the Chinese source, CNMO.

The leak is specifically claiming that the ZTE Apollo, ZTE’s upcoming flagship, will be toting Qualcomm’s new 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor. It is also rumored that they will announce the phone along with the ZTE Athena in the second half of 2014, specifically September. If that is the case, the new processors will have to be on the fast track in order to get into our hands in time.

In the same release, Qualcomm outed that the processors won’t be in consumer devices until the first half of 2015. That being said, the folks over at Qualcomm must be working pretty hard to beat this 2014 release date.

Pushbullet update adds full image support on desktops and Tasker event support

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A recent update to Pushbullet adds some well-requested features.

Users of the desktop notification app, listen up! You should be receiving an update regarding a few really useful features. With the update, you will now be able to see the full image preview when an image is pushed to the desktop. Before the update, the notification card would only show the image name, which wasn’t really the most functional way of getting the image.

What’s more is that Pushbullet now has Tasker event plugin support. Users are now able to have Tasker react to just about any message they receive on their mobile devices. Note that Tasker needs to be updated to version 4.3 in order to take advantage of this feature.