Monday, February 28, 2011

Tim Cook Hints at Cheaper iPhone: We Don't Want To Be For 'Just The Rich'

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Apple COO Tim Cook hinted that the company may soon release a cheaper iPhone in an interview with Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi.

Business Insider reports that Cook says Apple is doing "clever things" to attack the prepaid market, because he wants Apple to be "for everyone," not "just for the rich." Cook also recognizes "price is big factor in the prepaid market," but Apple is not "ceding any market."

Cook also said that Apple has been driving into China which is "a classic prepaid market" and noted that Apple would not let carriers dictate terms.

Sacconaghi says this reinforces "the notion that Apple might be willing to act to disintermediate carriers with a soft-SIM."

Recently, reports suggested that Apple was working on a smaller, cheaper iPhone. The New York Times then refuted those reports saying that a smaller phone would not be released anytime soon; however, they did believe Apple could release a less expensive device.




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Intel Starts Production of Z68 Chipset With SSD Caching

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Intel has started production of the Z68 chipset which features SSD caching capabilities, according to VR-Zone.

Intel has also started production of their Z68 chipset this week along with other Cougar Point SKUs like H61 and Q65. All of them are based on the new B3 stepping therefore the SATA port 2-5 issue is fixed before they hit the market. Judging from the specs, it seems Intel has catered Z68 specially for enthusiasts which allows better processor overclocking, discrete graphics support and SSD caching capability. With these enhancements, Intel has priced the Z68 chipset some US$8 higher than the P67 counterpart. The launch for the Z68 chipset is slated for first week of May.

SSD Caching joins a regular hard drive to a solid state drive, putting the most frequently accessed data onto the SSD for quick access. The two drives appear as a single drive to users.

Before the release of the new MacBook Pros last week there were reports that the notebook would store the operating system on a dedicated SSD. While these rumors did not come true its possible that Apple was testing an implementation of SSD caching on their prototypes.







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White iPad 2 Bezel Gets Leaked? [Photos]

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Photos of what appears to be white bezel for the iPad 2 have been leaked online by 9to5Mac and iFixYouri.

The piece that we have (from Shenzhen City), thanks to the folks at the iFixYouri iPhone repair shop, is the "digitizer" sometimes known as the the thick bezel.

If you look closely at the back of the part, below, you will see the camera hole, which happens to fit perfectly with the iPad 2 screen protectors from our friends in Asia. This is in addition to the ambient light sensor found on the top of the first-generation iPad. We don't know whether or not the new iPad will also come in a black finish but, we'll surely know all come March 2nd.

Apple is holding a special event on March 2nd at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 10:00 am where they will likely reveal the iPad 2.







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Mac OS X Lion Utilizes WebKit2 in Safari

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Apple has started using WebKit2 in the version of Safari included with the Mac OS X Lion Developer Preview, according to MacRumors.

WebKit is a layout engine designed to allow web browsers to render web pages. The WebKit engine provides a set of classes to display web content in windows, and implements browser features such as following links when clicked by the user, managing a back-forward list, and managing a history of pages recently visited. [W]

WebKit2 is designed from the ground up to support a split process model, where the web content (JavaScript, HTML, layout, etc) lives in a separate process. This model is similar to what Google Chrome offers, with the major difference being that we have built the process split model directly into the framework, allowing other clients to use it.

Some high-level documentation is available at http://trac.webkit.org/wiki/WebKit2



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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mac OS X Lion Adds 'Signature Capture' Feature to Preview

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Apple has added a new feature to capture your handwritten signature and place it into documents using Mac OS X Lion and Preview.


Discovered by a 9to5Mac reader, the new 'Signature Capture' is accessed from the Annotate toolbar.






Simply hold up a piece of paper to your computer's camera and Preview will capture the signature and store it for future use.





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Apple Adds Yahoo Messenger Video Chat to iChat

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Apple has added support for Yahoo Messenger text, voice, and video chat to its iChat application for Mac OS X Lion, according to an AppleInsider report.

For Lion, Apple has added Yahoo as an account type. Yahoo operates its own proprietary protocol that can't interoperate with AOL or Jabber type accounts.

The other primary chat protocol is Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger, which is also proprietary and does not support cross chat with AOL or Jabber, although Microsoft and Yahoo have created a gateway between their two networks.

News of the new Yahoo client working with video and voice chat was initially reported by blogger iMarck90.

Yahoo Messenger was the first app to bring 3G video chat to the iPhone.




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Find My Mac Could Be Coming to OS X

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References found in the developer preview of Mac OS X Lion reveal that Apple has been testing a new Find My Mac feature, according to 9to5Mac.

The details are scarce at this point, but we have found references to a Find my Mac service deep down in the 10.7 file system. The actual system files don’t tell us much besides the name, but they do share this Lion build number: 11A372z.

That build number appears to be an internal seed, meaning Apple has been playing around with this Find my Mac feature internally, but swiped it from the developer preview.

Find My iPhone is a free MobileMe service that lets you locate your device on a map should it be lost or stolen.






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Retina Monitor Support Found in Mac OS X Lion

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Apple may be building in support for super high resolution 'Retina' monitors into Mac OS X Lion, according to files found my MacRumors.

Taking cues from iOS, Apple has reportedly built in support for what it calls "HiDPI display modes". These HiDPI modes allow developers to supply 2x-enlarged images to support double-high resolution displays. Like the iPhone 4's Retina Display, this means that user interface elements will remain the same size, but everything will be twice the resolution and therefore twice as detailed. For example, instead of a 1440x900 pixel 15" MacBook Pro, you could have a 2880x1800 pixel 15" MacBook Pro. All the screen elements would be the same physical size as elements on the 1440x900 display, but with a much higher level of detail. Developers would simply need to provide 2x-resolution images for their user interface elements, just like on the iPhone to support its high resolution Retina display.

Apple recently released the first preview of Mac OS X Lion to developers. The new operating system is expected to be released to the public this summer.




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Saturday, February 26, 2011

iPhone Part Shows Larger 4-inch Screen, Thin Bezel? [Update]

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A photo of the front glass panel of the iPhone 5 has reportedly been leaked online, according to iDealsChina.

China's 1st iPhone 5 photo has surfaced! From this photo it seems that the screen size will be larger than iPhone 4. There has been a lot of specualtion about a larger screen and maybe this will be one of the upgrades we will see when iPhone 5 is released this summer.

Recently, DigiTimes reported that Apple is interested in expanding the size of the iPhone's screen and has begun testing the next generation device.

From the photo below it seems that Apple may be able to keep the overall size of the iPhone the same using an edge-to-edge display.

iDealsChina says more photos are coming...

Update:
Nowhereelse.fr has done some analysis on the image finding replication of artifacts and incorrect lines of perspective. They believe it to be fake. Thanks stagueve.










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Consumer Reports Says It Can't Recommend the Verizon iPhone Either

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Consumer Reports has issued a statement on the Verizon iPhone saying that it cannot recommend the device due to compromised performance in low-signal conditions.

As noted earlier, there have not been widespread reports of reception difficulties with the Verizon iPhone 4, and Verizon's network, unlike AT&T's, has received above-average scores from our readers for the reliability of its voice service in the past. (Those scores reflect data gathered before the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4.) But given our findings, we believe the possibility exists for individual users to experience the problem since low signal conditions are unavoidable when using any cell-phone network.

For that reason, we are not including the Verizon iPhone 4 in our list of recommended smart phones, despite its high ranking in our Ratings. Although Apple no longer offers a free case to buyers of the iPhone 4, as it did for a time after the problem was first discovered on the AT&T version, the company has said in the past that it will consider requests for a free case from customers who buy the phone and subsequently experience reception problems.

You can watch their review below...



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Mac OS X Lion Adds TRIM Support

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Mac OS X Lion has been updated with support for the TRIM command which is essential to SSD performance.

TRIM was introduced soon after SSDs started to become an affordable alternative for traditional hard disks as permanent storage in PCs. Because low-level operation of SSDs differs significantly from traditional hard disks (see details below), the typical way in which operating systems handle operations like deletes and formats (not explicitly communicating the involved sectors/pages to the underlying storage medium) resulted in unanticipated progressive performance degradation of write operations on SSDs. TRIM enables the SSD to handle garbage collection overhead, that would otherwise significantly slow down future write operations to the involved blocks, in advance.




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FT Reiterates iTunes Storage Locker in the Cloud

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The Financial Times has reiterated recent rumors that Apple will allow customers to store their iTunes library in the cloud for access from any device.

More than a year after buying Lala, a cloud-based digital music service, Apple is now looking to use the cloud mainly to allow users of its iTunes store to back up their collections and access them from any Apple device.

One person with knowledge of Apple’s plans said the company did not want to undermine the market that it dominates for paid downloads, likening its plans for the cloud to "insurance".

Apple recently discontinued the MobileMe retail box and removed MobileMe from its online store suggesting that a revamp of the service might be coming soon.




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iPad 2 Might Switch From Aluminum to Carbon Fiber Body?

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There is a possibility that the iPad 2 might switch from an aluminum body to a lightweight high-strength carbon fiber body, according to Daring Fireball's John Gruber.

Yesterday, Gruber accused Engadget of trying to cover up an incorrect rumor article by saying that Apple was having "engineering issues" rather than admitting their source was wrong.

Eleventh hour, my ass. Nothing in these regards has changed in the iPad 2 since January. Nothing. There was never going to be a higher resolution display in the iPad 2. I’d wager heavily that there was never going to be an SD card slot for it, either, but I don’t know that.

In a footnote to his article, Gruber reports that Apple could be switching the iPad 2 from aluminum to carbon fiber; however, he says he's only half sure about that.

I could publish things I’m only half-sure about, like the iPad 2 switching from aluminum to a lightweight high-strength carbon fiber body, but I don’t, because I’m only half-sure and I’ve only heard about it from second-hand sources who themselves are unsure about it. And even if I were to off-handedly mention such speculation, I’d do so in a footnote and take pains to emphasize the uncertain nature of the information and the second-hand status of the sources thereof. What I would never do is take a flyer and report uncertain speculation as a fact, and, if it wound up not panning out, chalk it up to Apple having changed things at the last moment rather than the report being flat-out wrong all along.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPad 2 at their March 2nd special event.




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New MacBook Pro Benchmarks Show Amazing Performance Improvement

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Benchmarks of the new MacBook Pro show amazing performance compared to previous generation devices, according to PrimateLabs.

The performance of the new MacBook Pros is amazing. The slowest MacBook Pro performs on par with the fastest previous-generation MacBook Pro, and the fastest MacBook Pro is 80% faster than the fastest previous-generation MacBook Pro.

In fact, if you look at our Mac Benchmark charts, you'll see that the fastest MacBook Pro is faster than a lot of Mac Pros (including the current generation of Mac Pros). The new MacBook Pros truly are portable workstations.

Take a look at the chart below...





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Friday, February 25, 2011

iFixIt Teardown of the New MacBook Pro

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iFixIt has posted their teardown of the new MacBook Pro ranking it a 7 out of 10 for repairability.

We got our hands on Apple's newest MacBook Pro 15" on February 24, 2011. This is Apple's first laptop to sport a quad-core processor, and also adds a brand-new I/O technology with a Thunderbolt port.

Notes:
● You can chain up to six Thunderbolt devices. That's not a problem today as we're not even aware of six products that support Thunderbolt yet. If the connection becomes widespread, the six device limit might be a problem for some people. In comparison, FireWire supports 63 devices and USB supports up to 127 devices.
● The wireless card received a makeover and now includes four antennas instead of three.
● Broadcom BCM4331 wireless chip provides "three transmitting and three receiving streams of data in both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. Increased number of streams and antennas results in faster speeds, longer range, fewer dropped connections, and better overall wireless coverage."
● AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU (labeled as AMD 216-00809000)
● Samsung K4G10325FE-HC04 1 Gb (128MB) GDDR5 SGRAM graphics memory, a total of 2Gb (256 MB)

Repairability Score: 7 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).
● Easily removable bottom panel and readily accessible battery connector allow for easy repair of most components without touching the battery screws.
● Unibody design allows for easy access of most components with minimal amounts of extra work needed to get to them.
● Absurd amounts of pre-applied thermal paste may cause problems down the road.
● Tri-wing screws limit the average person from replacing their own battery.
● LCD replacement is still very tricky, which could easily result in shattering the front glass panel.




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Apple Finalizes iOS 4.3? Release Next Week?

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Apple has reportedly finalized iOS 4.3 and may even release it at the iPad event on March 2nd, according to a BGR report.

One of our Apple sources has just informed us that it looks like Apple has finalized the code for its upcoming iOS 4.3 release. The build, we’re told, is 8F190 for those keeping track. Maybe we’ll see this release unify the Verizon iPhone OS-wise as well? We’ll probably see this in the wild next week if we had to bet…


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Hands on Demonstration of Thunderbolt in Action [Video]

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Check out this hands on demonstration from Engadget of how Thunderbolt works and just how fast it really is.

You can learn more about the technology here.



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Apple to Reveal iOS 5 Alongside iPad 2 at March 2nd Event?

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Apple will reportedly reveal iOS 5 alongside a new A5 iPad 2 with 512MB of RAM at its March 2nd event, according to Engadget sources.

The iPad 2 won't get that SD card slot and Retina Display as previously rumored due to "engineering issues", say sources that have been "dead right" in the past.

That SD card slot and higher resolution display won't make it into the new model (the latter we'd been hearing rumblings about for a little while). What's the cause of the switch? Well our sources weren't crystal clear on the exact reasons, but the gist of what was explained to us centered around vague "engineering issues" which may have forced some changes at the eleventh hour.

Engadget reports that the iPad 2 will be thinner, feature the more powerful A5 CPU, 512MB of RAM, and a camera or two.

It's also almost guaranteed that we'll see the next version of iOS (number 5 in all likelihood, along with its SDK for devs), and an expansion of Apple's cloud services (that part is a little... foggy right now).




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Scrolling is Backwards in Mac OS X Lion [Video]

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Apple has reversed the direction of the gesture used to scroll in Mac OS X Lion, making it more like iOS, according to 9to5Mac.

You can revert to the old way in the system preferences menu if you can't get used to the new gesture.






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Xcode 4.1 Developer Preview for Mac OS X Lion

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Apple has released a new Xcode 4.1 Developer Preview for those running Mac OS X Lion.

This is a pre-release version of Xcode 4.1 for both Mac and iOS development. This release requires Mac OS X Lion and includes iOS SDK 4.2. Continue to use Xcode 3.2.5 on a Snow Leopard partition if you plan to submit Mac or iOS apps to the App Store.

You can check out the new Xcode 4.1 user interface and feature list at the link below. Developers can download the release from developer.apple.com/mac. Interestingly, Apple is making the release available via a Mac App Store Redeem Code.



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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Apple Discontinues MobileMe Retail Box, Removes MobileMe From Online Store

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Apple has informed retailers that MobileMe Retail Boxes have been discontinued and has removed MobileMe from its online store, according to a MacRumors report.

Apple also appears to have entirely removed MobileMe from its online store, both as a standalone product and as bundled with new Macs. Apple had previously offered a $30 discount on MobileMe when purchased with a new Mac, but that offer is no longer available.

Apple is rumored to be working on a complete overhaul of MobileMe which will see the service be offered free to customers.

A recent report claims that Apple's revamped MobileMe service could offer new social features taking from Facebook, Foursquare, and uStream. Another suggests Apple may be planning to use MobileMe has the brain of its cloud service rather then the storage locker.

Yesterday, Apple revealed that its N.C. Data Center will go live this spring and support its iTunes and MobileMe services.

MobileMe 60-day free trials are still available which hints that perhaps Apple plans to introduce an improved service within the next two months.







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Apple Updates the MacBook Pro With Thunderbolt, FaceTime HD

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Apple today updated the MacBook Pro family with next generation processors and graphics, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology and a new FaceTime HD camera. Featuring the very latest dual-core and quad-core Intel Core processors, the entire MacBook Pro line is up to twice as fast as the previous generation.

"The new MacBook Pro brings next generation dual and quad Core processors, high performance graphics, Thunderbolt technology and FaceTime HD to the great design loved by our pro customers," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Thunderbolt is a revolutionary new I/O technology that delivers an amazing 10 gigabits per second and can support every important I/O standard which is ideal for the new MacBook Pro."

Starting at $1,199 the new 13-inch MacBook Pro offers amazing value and performance in a compact design. The highly portable 13-inch MacBook Pro features Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors up to 2.7 GHz and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The powerful 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature quad-core Core i7 processors up to 2.3 GHz and AMD Radeon HD graphics processors with up to 1GB of video memory for high performance gaming, pro video editing and graphics intensive applications.

MacBook Pro is the first computer on the market to include the groundbreaking Thunderbolt I/O technology. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on a notebook computer. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.

The MacBook Pro now includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera with triple the resolution of the previous generation for crisp, widescreen video calls. With Apple's innovative FaceTime video calling software, the new camera allows high definition video calls between all new MacBook Pro models and supports standard resolution calls with other Intel-based Macs, iPhone 4 and the current generation iPod touch. FaceTime is included with all new MacBook Pro models and is available for other Intel-based Macs from the Mac App Store for 99 cents. The MacBook Pro lineup continues to feature its gorgeous aluminum unibody enclosure, glass Multi-Touch trackpad, LED-backlit widescreen display, illuminated full-size keyboard and 7-hour battery.

As the industry's greenest notebook lineup, every Mac notebook achieves EPEAT Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements, setting the standard for environmentally friendly notebook design. Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed with recyclable materials.

Pricing & Availability
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro, 15-inch MacBook Pro and 17-inch MacBook Pro are available through the Apple Store (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 320GB hard drive starting at $1,199; and one with a 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 500GB hard drive starting at $1,499. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is available in two models: one with a 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6490M and 500GB hard drive starting at $1,799 and one with a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive starting at $2,199. The new 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive and is priced at $2,499.

Configure-to-order options include faster quad-core processors up to 2.3 GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 750GB, solid state storage up to 512GB, more memory up to 8GB DDR3, antiglare and high-resolution display options and AppleCare Protection Plan.





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