HardSoft wish to congratulate engineer Greig Taylor for passing his exams to become an Apple Certified Support Professional. Greig only a few weeks before became a father to a baby daughter. So its double congratulations. Apple Certified Support Professional will allow him to further his Apple career. He specialised in OS X Server and will now be able to lead installations of HardSoft Apple networks. HardSoft offer a flexible Lease scheme that includes a Mac Mini Server and networked iMacs all installed and configured.
Apple Certified Support
Andrew loves computers and the way the market is evolving to a 'pay as you go' model against the old methodology of CapEx spending. A background of sourcing lease financing for Start Up businesses means he is perfectly place to provide insightful commentary on computing for new businesses.
Our MDs, Andrew and Phil, started out building PCs over 30 years ago (they are the fresh-faced boys in the cover image!) and we recently had a customer bring in a custom built PC which they had made for them in 1984, which just needed a quick repair but it was still going strong!
This got us thinking about the oldest tech our customers have which they are still using regularly. At around the same time we also came across a company – My Face on a Figure – that will make action figures with your face on! So, what better way to combine these two things, than to have a HardSoft competition?
All you need to do is tweet us at @HardSoft_ (don’t forget to mention us so we see it!) or email firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of yourself with your oldest bit of technology, telling us what it is and how old it is. We’ll then pick the oldest one and arrange for an action figure to be made of you – or the person of your choice. You may want to be nice and get one of your child, partner, whoever!
There are, of course, some terms and conditions for this competition:
1. Only 1 entry per company/individual
2. No photo-shopped images! Any that we think have been will be disqualified.
3. All entries must be received by 5.30pm on Monday 30th April 2018.
The iMac Pro has landed and it certainly made an impact…
After the much-anticipated release of the iMac Pro following its 2017 sneak peek/reveal we learned that this new machine although a ‘Pro’, thankfully, wasn’t to be based on the underwhelming and uninspiring architecture of the original Mac Pro released in 2013. Instead, its all-in-one design confirmed it to be the spiritual successor to the office all-star and much-beloved iMac. So, what did they change/fix this time around? and what do real customers using the machine think of the new tech?
Following the delivery of their iMac Pro’s from HardSoft we caught up with the guys at Red90 and Ian Allardyce at Really Nice Content Ltd. to see how the iMac Pro is performing in the world of TV and Film Production and what makes this particular incarnation of the iMac product line such a landmark release.
Scott Carey is a ‘Camera Tech Guru’ from the TV film and video production company, Red90, based in Pontnewynydd, Wales. He likes to think himself an ‘unofficial’ Apple product tester/torturer with the amount of work he puts his hardware through. His old iMacs were basically spare parts before Red90’s new pair of iMac Pro’s arrived:
“I had to have a desk fan constantly blowing over my old iMac whilst it coughed and spluttered because it couldn’t keep cool with the editing work I was putting it through. Now when performing the same editing tasks I barely hear the fans kick in and everything is maintained at a constant temperature throughout. I’ve probably heard the fans come on…once? Most of the time it’s basically silent. I put these machines through their paces; I run multiple heavy applications and often edit from raw footage. I’ve had one crash on the iMac Pro when I was really putting it to task on some heavy editing work. It wasn’t unusual for me to get 10-15 crashes a day on our old iMac.”
Ian Allardyce is the Owner/Director of Really Nice Content Ltd. a Video Production company. Ian recently shot his first feature-length film “Ulaanbaatar” an indie-music drama last summer, in Mongolia! He plans on taking the film to festivals this year after colour grading it with his new iMac Pro:“It’s a really beautiful machine and is so much clearer than my MacBook. The 5k screen will be perfect for all the colour grading work I’ve got coming up on my new film. I rendered some footage which would have taken my old MacBook 30+ minutes with the fans on full, my iMac Pro had it finished in 3 and it didn’t make a sound.”
Martin ‘Biggles’ Phillips is the production manager at Welsh TV & Film Production company Red90. Working as a cameraman and editor for over 30 years Martin has seen it all and even he is impressed with the speed of the iMac Pro:“The amount of time we save when we are editing is the most surprising, Scott has been working away and got more done working from the iMac Pro than he would have ever before on our old iMac’s. They have really helped increase productivity and lower our turnaround times they are sort of paying for themselves with the time they save.”
In all of my experiences with the iMac Pro I have heard nothing but positive reviews, it seems that Apple has really pulled out all the stops with this machine and produced something really special, that: Fits the technical niche professional consumers have been looking for from Apple, whilst maintaining their signature USP of being easy to use and beautiful to behold.
HardSoft is an authorised UK Apple re-seller. The latest model of iMac Pro available to lease today, from as little as £32 a week and remember whenever and whatever you lease with HardSoft it will come with our comprehensive 3-year warranty and UK based technical support. Order online or contact our dedicated HardSoft Sales team online or over the phone on 0207 1111 643.
An ever-increasing number of people are using an iPad as their sole computing device. If Apple continues to further improve the iPad’s: functionality, build, and software it looks likely that we will see these figures rise.
It’s been long debated whether tablets can or will ever replace laptops and computers. Over the last decade, tablets have successfully carved themselves out a middle ground in the tech market and are often viewed as ‘luxury goods’.
‘But what we are seeing now is an evolution of the traditional tablet into something far more versatile and technically impressive than ever before.’
The introduction of the iPad Pro heralds the introduction of the first pedigree ‘Tablet’ option for users, that perhaps, is finally powerful enough to replace a laptop.
Benchmark tests carried out by Bare Feats show that, when comparing the 2017 MacBook pro and the 2017 iPad Pro, the CPU and GPU performance are extremely similar. This means the iPad Pro is delivering a level of performance directly comparable to the MacBook Pro. Their capabilities are closer than ever before, and this improvement in performance isn’t compromising the iPad’s battery life. With up to 10 hours of regular use available, the same amount as the MacBook Pro.
The maximum amount of storage available on the larger 12.9 inch iPad Pro is 512GB. Although this is the same as the MacBook Pro, it is configurable to a 1TB SSD. Despite not being able to configure the iPad Pro, the standard 64GB and 256GB often prove to be enough storage for the average user. This is due in part to many popular applications and file saving services now being cloud-based, so restrictive hardware storage is far less likely to be a deal breaker where it may have been in the past.
When it comes to typing, if they’re using the iPad as an alternative to their laptop, people will inevitably want to purchase a detachable keyboard to accompany their iPad. For Tablet tasks the iPad Pro’s onscreen keyboard is somewhat…sufficient, but if you’re doing work on your iPad, a separate keyboard will be more than beneficial but probably necessary. There is a huge range on the market, but remember this will add to the cost difference (we’ll come to this later!).
Another accessory which will increase overall cost is the smart pencil. This accessory is fantastic for creatives in professions like graphic design. The pencil is pressure-sensitive so you can vary the weight of lines when drawing and given new ‘Lean’ features shading is also possible. The iPad Pro is not only something that can replace your laptop but now even your pen and paper as it allows you to scribble down notes whenever&wherever needed!
Software & Apps
As for software, it differs between devices. The iPad Pro uses iOS, a touch-based operating system, whilst the MacBook Pro uses OS X which is operated via the traditional keyboard and trackpad interface. The iPad Pro’s new ‘dock’ feature on iOS is very similar to the MacBook’s, the dock certainly streamlines the interface and makes it easier to access applications and files. Enabling files to all be viewed immediately and be dragged and dropped, just as they can in OS X. The iPad Pro also offers multitasking abilities with both slide over and split view features. Recently, iOS has seen an increase in the number of apps made specifically for it, so if trends continue App accessibility shouldn’t be a restricting factor for the Tablet market.
Applications such as Photoshop and iMovie can all be used on the iPad, ensuring it’s relevance in creative industries. People working in graphic design can also use the iPad Pro to directly ‘sketch’ out ideas on their screen using the Apple Pencil.
As well as comparing all the specs of these devices, the often defining factor for many is cost. Leasing the entry-level iPad Pro (10.5-inch with 64GB storage) starts from just £5.50 per week, whereas the entry-level MacBook Pro (13-inch: 2.3GHz 128GB storage) starts at roughly double the price, £10.95 per week. Remember, there will be additional costs for the iPad Pro if you choose to add a detachable keyboard and/or Apple pencil. Here at Hardsoft UK, we always offer these extras in with the leasing cost so you have everything in one easy to manage package.
At the moment, there is definitely still room in the market for both the iPad Pro and the MacBook Pro, but this could all change in the future as technology continually improves. Right now, the iPad Pro could easily replace a laptop for average day to day users who need to browse the web and create basic content. As for professionals, the iPad Pro can be a valuable product, but one that their workload will often dictate is best used alongside a more powerful device.
At Hardsoft UK we offer to rent, hire, and lease all the models of Apple MacBooks and iPads. As an authorised Apple reseller, we offer you the best products as they’re released and with our leasing service can upgrade your machine after two years!
It’s a debate that’s been raging for years and will likely continue to do so. Is Apple Mac better than PC or is PC better than Apple Mac? Both sides of this debate have extremely loyal users to fight their corner, but we want to know is there ever going to be a winner? Or is it completely down to personal preference?
Market share is heavily weighted in PC’s favour but in creative industries like graphic design, Apple Mac is the usual choice of hardware and in this post, we’re exploring why:
Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Suite started on the Apple Mac, so naturally, they became the go-to machine for designers lured in by superior software. Since then, however, something stuck and designers have always favoured Apple Mac over PC not only for the quality but also the tradition and reputation the brand has built up over the years in the creative sphere.
Because of this brand loyalty, software companies will, more often than not, target design tools and software towards Apple Macs. Apple puts a strong focus on fonts and colours, especially between screen and print files. Apple is ‘hyper’ aware of their brand reputation and always go out of their way to maintain their signature allure as a ‘designer’s computer’ and nothing seems set to change that.
The operating system (OS) is one of the fundamental differences between Macs and PCs. Generally speaking, Apple Macs run OS X software and PCs run Windows software. Once a user becomes comfortable with a type of software and interface, they usually don’t want to change. Which is often cited as a reason why designers continue to use Macs. When Windows 8 was launched, PCs saw a dip in popularity, but they have managed to rebuild their reputation following the launch of Windows 10. An excellent salvaging operation that renewed PC user’s faith in the brand after the trainwreck that was Windows 8.
Macs are known to fall victim to substantially fewer attacks than Windows PCs. However, especially with the rise of ransomware, it must be said that no matter what your operating system or machine, using anti-virus software, is always a must for any user as hackers are constantly adapting and becoming smarter across all platforms.
Apple connects its Mac and iOS devices seamlessly, so it’s easy to share everything between devices, even to the point where you can start an email on one and finish it on another. Although you can sync your mobile devices with a Windows PC, the convenience and smart integration software present in Apple devices is a great selling point.
Quality of the Build
People working in creative industries like; Graphic designers, Architects, Artists, Editors etc… rely on a high level of accuracy to ensure the quality of their work isn’t hindered. Product reputation is a big factor in purchasing decisions. Apple typically build their Macs to the highest quality standards, paying attention to every detail in both functionality and design. The finished product is not only often elegant and stylish on the outside but on the inside as well.
There’s no denying that you can build your own PC which may be more powerful, or buy a ready-built PC with just as great a spec, but there is something about the Apple Desktop that is inherently cool and perfect for a creative office trying to project a brand message onto both its customers and employees.
In order to achieve such a slim and sleek design, Apple has compromised the possibility of custom upgrades, which can almost always be done with PC. A PC allows you to customise your machine whenever you like. Most creatives not only want but also have to have access to cutting-edge technology and keep their devices up to date. That is why our Hardsoft UK leasing service is ideal for Apple Mac users, as you can upgrade their device after 24 months like you would a mobile phone contract.
Year after year, Apple continues to rank as one of the best customer service providers amongst big brands. If you ever have a problem or query about your device, you have the comfort of knowing Apple is there online, over the telephone, or in store for support. At Hardsoft UK, along with every computer leased, you’ll receive a three-year warranty complete with over the phone technical support. So, no matter what or when there will be someone available to help you!
Overall user satisfaction is ultimately one of the defining factors when it comes to whether you will stick with a brand in the future. The price of the product needs to provide value for money for the user and it’s not often we hear of Apple Mac users regretting their purchase.
The overall verdict is that creative industries generally side with Apple Mac models. There will be exceptions to this, of course, but Apple Mac just pip PCs to the post in the creative world.
Here at Hardsoft UK we offer rent, hire, and leasing for a range of Apple Mac and PC models. We’re a one-stop shop for all of your IT leasing needs. The beauty of it is that you can be at the forefront of the IT industry with the latest models when taking advantage of our leasing service. Perfect for both start-ups and well-established business.