Will Apple Unveil a New MacBook Next Week?

As you’ve probably heard, we’re on the cusp of another all-singing Apple event, which means that excitement, and speculation, is at fever pitch among Apple enthusiasts.

While we know for a fact that Apple will be launching a new lineup of new iPhones and a new Apple Watch, might we see even more hardware at the event? Perhaps some fancy new MacBooks?

We take a look at which of Apple’s MacBooks are most due an imminent update, and what we expect to hear from Apple at its event on 12 September next week.

Can’t wait for next week? See our guide – Which MacBook Should You Buy?

Will Apple Reveal a New MacBook?

Probably not – Since being re-introduced by Apple in 2015, the 12-inch MacBook has had a refresh every year. Going by that pattern, it’s perhaps overdue an update, but next week may not be the time for it.

The 12-inch MacBook – Apple’s thinnest, lightest laptop – was updated over a year ago. That’s almost prehistoric in Apple terms, given how often the iPhone line gets a refresh.

So, will we see an update next week? The timing wouldn’t necessarily fit, given that the updates have come in April and June before, making a September refresh of the range out of the ordinary. But, with the MacBook Pro range recently updated, the MacBook is starting to look a little left out.

With the Air range somewhat neglected too, Apple needs to inject some freshness into its laptops outside the MacBook Pro range, so the smart money would definitely be on an updated MacBook.

Depending on the fate of the Air (more on this below), we could see a bigger MacBook, perhaps a 15-inch model to complement the existing 12-inch MacBook.

Will Apple Mothball the MacBook Air?

Surely? – The MacBook Air is in a slightly odd place at the moment. It’s effectively a legacy product that feels like it’s been hanging around a bit too long.

Apple ditched the 11-inch Air model in 2016 – a shame, given this was the closest Apple had to a “cheap” entry-level laptop. The 13-inch Air model seems somewhat redundant in light of the even thinner 12-inch MacBook, which is also more powerful and lighter.

All of its party tricks that Apple boasted about at Air’s original launch (remember the commercials of it being slipped into an envelope?) have long since been adopted by the MacBook. The poor old Air doesn’t even have Apple’s super-sharp Retina screen.

If there’s one issue with getting rid of the Air entirely, though, it’s that there would be no 13-inch model MacBook at a reasonable price point. Although of course, a larger MacBook would resolve this issue…

Will Apple Unveil a Cheap MacBook?

Possibly – “Cheap” and “Apple” rarely go together in the tech world. Part of the company’s appeal is its high status, reassuringly expensive electronics.

Last month, the DigitTime site received information from anonymous sources that Apple would be unveiling an ‘inexpensive’ MacBook alongside the new iPhone range in September. Quite what “inexpensive” means in the context of Apple remains to be seen. Naturally, it’s best to take rumours from anonymous sources with a pinch of salt.

While we’ve seen Apple make ‘cheaper’ options for iPad and iPhone users (again, that’s a relative term when it comes to Apple), it’s worth noting that these mobile devices are a slightly different prospect to a laptop. They’re also a great advertisement for Apple and its infrastructure.

How many people do you know who have picked up an Apple phone, loved the ecosystem, and subsequently nabbed a MacBook too? In some ways, the iPhone and iPad are great advertisements for the main event – buying a MacBook.

There may be a ‘cheaper’ MacBook unveiled, but don’t expect it to cost pocket-change.

Will Apple Launch a Touchscreen MacBook?

Don’t bet on it – Apple has resisted the urge to provide a touchscreen MacBook so far. This puts it at odds with Microsoft Surface and Lenovo Yoga Windows laptops, for example. Rather than leading the field, Apple is bucking the trend when all around are offering 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrids.

It’s not just the high-end laptops that offer this functionality either. A lot of entry level, $300 units have touchscreens, too (although with somewhat limited success).

So, will we see a touchscreen MacBook? Chances are, no. Apple doesn’t seem too interested in diluting its offering by making the choice between a MacBook or an iPad more confusing. If your MacBook can double as a tablet, do people still need to buy an iPad? Most other laptop manufacturers don’t have to worry about cannibalising tablet sales in this way.

Apple has been introducing touch features on laptops – just not on the screen. The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar is very much pitched by Apple as a premium feature, but there’s a good chance we could see this trickle down into other ranges. It’s not too hard to imagine it being introduced to the high end 12-inch MacBook, for example.

Apple MacBook Pro with TouchBarWill We See a New MacBook Pro?

On this question, the magic eightball says….’not likely’.

The MacBook Pro range received an upgrade in July this year, packing in faster processors and a few other goodies, so it seems somewhat unlikely that Apple would then unveil even newer models a few months later. We’re not saying that people wouldn’t rush out to buy them, but it would make the July models pretty much redundant overnight.

Following the pattern of the past couple of years, the MacBook Pro has had an upgrade in the summer, but nothing at the September event. We’d expect the same here.

Will there be a New Mac Pro or iMac?

Possibly – The iMac range last had an update in June 2017, although the changes have mainly been internal. The actual design has remained pretty much unchanged since 2012. While the iMac is still iconic, some might argue it’s been a while since its last facelift.

The current iMacs have 7th generation processors. Apple might skip the 8th generation chips, given that the impending release of Intel’s 9th generation processors will make them look even more dated.

With the last iMac launching in July 2017, the range is due an update, so expectations are high for the September Apple event.

As for a new Mac Pro, we know this is coming already. Apple has stated that it will drop in 2019, and that the iMac Pro, released at the end of 2017, acted as a stopgap in the interim.

It seems unlikely that we’ll get a first glance of the Mac Pro at the September event, but rest assured it’s on its way.

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Best Web Design Services

A big part of scaling up your business is simply being attractive enough to your target audience. And that means your website needs to look the part. Updating an existing website or creating a whole new site is one of the best ways to turn a functioning business into a thriving one. The best web design companies can give you exactly the site you want, and help you achieve your business goals.

Today’s web-savvy consumers can instinctively recognize a high-quality business from first impressions alone. An out-of-date website could turn away potential clients and customers immediately.

Remember – online interest translates into converting customers, including in the offline world. By one count, an impressive 91 percent of customers wound up visiting a store due to an online experience. Even if your business is online-only, having a slick, professional website is key to convincing potential customers that you know what you’re talking about.

Of course, if you’re running a business, you may not have the time or expertise to design a website yourself. If you need a great website, fast, the best option is to let the experts build one for you. Here’s a quick rundown on the best web design companies to consider.

In This Guide

The Best Web Design Companies How to Choose a Web Designer Finding an Affordable Web Designer

Best Web Design Companies

What do you look for in a web design company? What types of design is each one best at? It can be tough to tell. After all, their own websites should seem equally well designed! Here’s a quick look at the best web design firms out there, along with what you can learn from their backgrounds.

Hibu  — a digital marketing company that can also produce custom-built websites Volusion — a design company that focuses on ecommerce business websites Madwire — a software and service hybrid web design company Mettrr — this web design service promises to build your entire website in under 48 hours Web.com — one of the most experienced web design companies in operation today Adzooma — a Google-certified website-building company focused on conversions 22 Point Six — a WordPress-centric designer and developer; offers the first year of hosting free Otroit Consultancy — a company that specializes in corporate website design bOnline — a web design company for businesses that offers price-matching and ongoing support

Hibu

The Hibu websiteHibu’s digital marketing solutions go beyond websites. The business can handle search engine optimization, display advertising, social media marketing, online reviews, and listings management. If you’re looking for an all-in-one online marketer, you’re in good hands.

The modernized, custom-built websites themselves are still the main product. Hibu promises sites that are secure and easily adjustable, with a responsive design – so they’ll look great on mobile. Customer service is a highlight: The company offers a free, no-obligation consultation to potential clients.

Hibu’s focus on local businesses in the U.S. has given it experience with hundreds of thousands of business websites, making it a great fit for small business owners trying to scale up their operation.

The volusion logoVolusion

The Volusion websiteOperating since 1999, Volusion specializes in building ecommerce business websites. Over 180,000 entrepreneurs have opted for Volusion’s services in its nearly two decades of trading.

The highly customizable websites from Volusion put all the sensitive decisions in the business owner’s hands. You’ll get to decide the page layout, employ in-page editing, and include a search box that will turn up results from across your website.

The behind-the-scenes interface lets you “drag & drop” content blocks to quickly reposition social media, videos, or customer testimonials.

The Madwire logoMadwire

The Madwire websiteMadwire’s two focuses are marketing and design, which is where the “mad” in its name comes from. The Colorado-based web design company launched in 2009, and is devoted to growing small businesses.

As a software and service hybrid, it offers both the intial website design itself and ongoing support.

Advertising is a major focus at Madwire. Its services include top placement ads, retargeted ads, socially targeted ads, and local listings. Madwire is a solid option for a local business owner with little online expertise who’s hoping to explore new advertising options as well as burnish their website branding.

The Mettrr logoMettrr

The Mettrr websiteAre you particularly strapped for time? Mettrr just asks for a single phone call to figure out your needs, and will then build an entire website for your small business within the next 48 hours. And, after the site is finished, clients can request unlimited additional tweaks.

Unlike DIY web design companies that expect you to have a hand in the initial layout decisions (such as Volusion, above), Mettrr does it all itself.

You could have a fully modernized web presence within a couple working days, all while focusing on doing what you do best – running the rest of your business.

Web.com

The Web.com logoThe Web.com websiteWeb.com has served millions of customers over the past two decades, making it one of the most experienced web design companies still in operation.

It offers three different website options.

You can have Web.com make you a site from scratch, complete with mobile-friendly design and copywriting optimized for online searches You can do it yourself with Web.com’s support, thanks to a website coach who can walk you through the process Or, you can opt for a customized WordPress site, which runs on the seperate WordPress platform that’s familar to many.

This helpful range of services makes Web.com a strong choice, since it has something to appeal to all sorts of business owners with different amounts of web design experience and time to invest.

Adzooma

The Adzooma websiteThis advertising agency’s website-building services focus on customer conversions. This business-minded approach makes Adzooma one of the best web design options for owners who know they have a large potential audience base, and want a funnel sophisticated enough to pull them in.

Adzooma builds the website itself, plus offers ongoing maintenance and updates to cut down even further on the effort you need to put in.

The company has a Google Partner badge, a sign that it’s certified in Google AdWords. This means your website should be poised to capture plenty of Google traffic.

The 22 Point Six logo22 Point Six

The 22 Point Six websiteThis UK-based company that’s worth crossing the pond for. 22 Point Six offers clients their first year of website hosting for free when bundled with the website design and development costs.

Its websites are primarily built on the WordPress CMS, though it create sites on other tools when requested.

For those without any prior website knowledge, 22 Point Six has training sessions available to coach clients through everything from managing inventory to adding new products to a store.

The Otroit logoOtroit Consultancy

The Otroit websiteThis company, also operating out of the UK, is a smart option for corporations. One of its focuses is corporate website design, along with a raft of additional types, from static and dynamic to custom and template.

The CMS range doesn’t stop at WordPress, either. The Otroit team can design for Joomla, Magento, Drupal, Shopify, and Opencart, as well.

Graphic design is another area that Otroit handles with experience. The website touts “clear and fixed pricing,” so you shouldn’t be caught off-guard by unexpected hidden fees.

The bOnline logobOnline

The bOnline websitebOnline builds business websites that emphasize two factors – they are highly Google-optimized, and they’re dead simple for the business owner to edit at his or her leisure.

This combination of a business focus and an easy-to-use interface put this web design company in the running for the best you can choose.

Add in the service’s ongoing training and support options, and you’ve got a real contender. It has a price-match promise as well, so keep that in mind as you consider your other options.

How to Choose a Web Designer

When looking for the web design company that’s right for you, consider the three value-ons that you’re paying for.

How complicated is the design? What functionality will the site need to have? And how many webpages in total will the site hold?

Then, ensure that the design company you’re interested in has done similar websites in the past, and has the expertise you need. The right company should be your partner in designing the site. They’ll need to listen to your input, and you’ll need to consider their expertise.

Above all, be prepared to spend a little time clearly explaining your needs and ambitions for your website. A good web designer will take the time to understand your business, and you as a client. That way, you can be sure they’ll deliver you a website that achieves exactly what you need it to.

Check out our “What Makes a Good Website” article to learn what structure and design principles are essential.

Finding an Affordable Web Designer

A website is like your store front – if you just pick the cheapest option, you’ll turn customers away and lose money in the long run.

The price for designing your site should never be “off the shelf”. A quality web design company will always give you a bespoke quote for your exact needs.

However, a few ballpark prices are industry-average. For example, if you just need a simple brochure-style site with just a handful of pages, don’t expect to pay more than $500. If you need a website with advanced ecommerce functions such as the ability to track customer orders, or additional support features, you might pay as much as $3,000.

Visit our “How Much Does a Website Designer Cost?” page for a more detailed look at the most common types of website designs and their pricing ranges.

Hopefully, our analysis has helped you settle on one or two of the best web design companies for your unique business needs.

The next step to take? Getting a quote that’s right for you. Visit TechCo’s web design quotes page for a fast path to contact the best design companies with just a minute of your time.

Use Tech.Co's free tool to compare Web Designer prices.
Find the best deal to help you improve your business operations.

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Five Eyes Governments Want to Force Tech Companies into De-Encryption

A recent meeting of the Five Guys intelligence-sharing organisation between western governments has called the future of personal data encryption into question.

The group, which is formed of the governments of the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, met at the end of August, and want to persuade the major tech platforms, such as WhatsApp and Apple, to allow government access to encrypted data, including private messages sent between individuals.

Why do governments want this level of access? The reason given is to generate smarter intelligence to counter serious potential crimes, such as terrorism.

However, the move raises serious questions of civil liberties, since – in theory – nobody would be immune from having their private data accessed.

What Is Five Eyes?

If you’ve not heard of Five Eyes before, then fear not, you’re not missing out on the latest fast food restaurant.

Five Eyes is the moniker given to a coalition of five governments (USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand), that was established shortly after World War II to share intelligence.

Somewhat controversially, Edward Snowden described the alliance as being an ‘Intelligence organisation which does not answer to the known laws of its own countries’. Snowden also revealed via leaks in 2013 that the countries were spying on each other’s citizens.

What Does Five Eyes Want?

Consumer tech has a high level of data encryption. Whether this is to stop fraudsters from accessing your information, or your partner from reading those risque WhatsApp messages with the guys, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to encrypt the data passed between devices and within apps and services.

While this is good news for the general public, it’s driving governments crazy. Imagine if you thought your co-workers were emailing each other about you behind your back, but you couldn’t read their messages. Troubling, to say the least. Now imagine that the concern is over serious crime and potential terrorism, and the messaging happens at a global level.

This is the case for Five Eyes, who are frustrated that they can’t access messages, or other data on encrypted gadgets. The group has reached out to major players within the tech industry, asking them to install backdoors that intelligence agencies can use to access such data.

The statement released by Five Eyes implies it’s looking for all parties to co-operate. If they don’t, the governments may take further action:

“The inability of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to lawfully access encrypted data and communications poses challenges to law enforcement agencies’ efforts to protect our communities. Therefore, we agreed to the urgent need for law enforcement to gain targeted access to data, subject to strict safeguards, legal limitations, and respective domestic consultations.” 

-From the Five Eyes Communique

Which Tech Services Would be Affected?

In theory, any tech company could be affected by the recent demands, but it’s likely that the chief targets will be the ones with a history of strong encryption and resisting government interference.

Step up, then Apple, who has been knocking heads with the US Government for years about the right for citizens to retain their privacy. Even Tim Cook has voiced his disdain for the idea of the government trying to access private data.

WhatsApp too, has refused to play ball in the past. Last year, it did not to yield to the UK Government’s request that it install a backdoor for the app so that officials could access the private messages of the British public, putting off Orwell’s dystopian future vision of the UK for a little while longer.

In essence, if Five Eyes gets its way and manage to get the industry to play ball, either by asking nicely, or more likely, pushing through stern legal requirements, any tech company would need to concede to requests. This more than likely includes all the major messaging apps you use.

Can Tech Companies Refuse?

Yes, tech companies can refuse, and have done so in the past. There have been several high profile cases where serious crimes have been committed, but companies have resisted calls to aid the government.

In 2016’s San Bernardino’s case, in which a terrorist couple killed 14 people, Apple refused to cooperate with a federal judge’s request that it aid officials in unlocking a phone belonging to the perpetrators. Apple stated that the order would undermine existing encryption practices. In the end, the FBI turned to a third party to hack and unlock the phone.

Governments are clearly frustrated with the stonewalling and lack of cooperation they are receiving from the tech industry, and feel that more pressure needs to be applied.

While it’s had little success so far, it’s clear from the press release of the most recent Five Eyes meeting that it refuses to back down, and will continue to escalate the matter until it gets its own way.

What Does This Mean For Everyday Citizens?

As of today, the services that you use are unaffected, and if you use an encrypted platform, then it’s just as secure as it ever was. The US government, for example, remains unable to see what you’ve been up to (yes, even that selfie that you sent last week. You know the one.).

Governments argue that most citizens have nothing to worry about, and that it’s just the criminals and terrorists that should be watching their back.

However, privacy isn’t as black-and-white as all this. Either we all have encryption protocols we can rely on, or nobody does.

It looks like the battle over privacy is going to heat up considerably, with the tech companies on one side, and governments on the other. It may seem somewhat ironic to have our best interests protected by an industry so willing to share our details with advertisers, but regardless, it’s clear that we can expect a lot more debate (not all of it civil) about the individual’s right to privacy in the coming months and years.

Anonymize your browsing and protect your online privacy with the Best VPNs for 2018

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