AWT News Update: August 10, 2017

Discounts on 13-inch MacBook Pros, new USB-C dongles, and disgruntled Apple employees are all in today's Apple World Today News Update:

  • Apple adds a number of 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro models to the refurbished products store
  • Satechi announces two new USB-C adapters
  • Daring Fireball's John Gruber says he's received numerous emails from Apple employees unhappy with the open floor plans at the Apple Park "spaceship" building

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for August 10th, 2017. 

Have you been drooling over a 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, but didn’t like the price tag? You can now get one in either Silver or Space Gray for 15 to 16% off the regular price in Apple’s refurbished products store. Apple has placed almost 15 different models of the 13-inch 2017 MacBook Pro in the store; if you were lusting for that top of the line machine that has 16GB of RAM, a terabyte of storage and a 3.5GHz i7 processor that normally cost $2,899, it’s available for just $2,459 in the refurb store. No 15-inch MacBook Pros of the 2017 vintage are available yet, but might be added in the near future. Apple’s refurbished Macs come with a one-year warranty that can be extended with an AppleCare+ purchase, and the devices are inspected, repaired, cleaned and repackaged before becoming available for sale. 

USB-C solutions are becoming more affordable as time passes. Today, accessory manufacturer Satechi introduced a pair of new adapters to its lineup of USB-C products. The $34.99 Aluminum Type-C to VGA Adapter makes it simple to connect a USB-C device like a MacBook or MacBook Pro to a VGA display or projector, providing up to 1080p resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate. For those who love the speed of a wired Ethernet connection, the $29.99 Aluminum Type-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapters supports up to 1Gbps Ethernet for HD video streaming and fast downloads. Both of the accessories come in matching colors to the Apple line, with silver, gold, space gray and rose gold being available. 

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber said in a new episode of The Talk Show podcast that he’s received a number of messages from Apple employees unhappy with the open floor plans at the Apple Park “spaceship” building. At older facilities including One Infinite Loop — the existing Apple headquarters — most employees have their own offices. The open floor plan at Apple Park provides long tables for employees to work at, and that’s got some employees concerned enough to consider leaving the company. One of Gruber’s sources said that his team was working on something that is “going to blow people’s minds when we ship” but that if the team doesn’t like the Apple Park workspaces, they’re all likely to leave Apple once the product ships. What’s the problem with open workspaces? Well, for coders and programmers who are used to being in offices or at least cubicles, there’s a lot of foot traffic and noise that can be a real distraction to those employees who thrive on concentration. Gruber also mentioned that Apple VP Johny Srouji was so unhappy with the open layout that Apple built his team — the one that designs all of Apple’s custom chips — their own building on the side of the Apple Park campus. Why did Apple build Apple Park with the open layout? Apparently to improve collaboration between teams. That could be a problem if team members decide to quit because of the layout.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.