Leak is in the Air: Bluetooth Headphones?

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, December 31st, 2005, 13:31
Category: iPod

dandelion-250.jpgThe Apple Japan Web site has a little teaser for their New Year’s Special t-shirt design that depicts an iPod nano dandelion with iPod earbuds as the wishes.
The caption reads “Luck is in the Air” and a pair of the headphones are suspiciously detaching from the rest.
Could this be a hint of an upcoming wireless Bluetooth headphones for the iPod? Or even an iPod with Bluetooth built-in? Tough to say, but it’s great fodder in the build up to Macworld, no?
The t-shirts will be given out to the first 1000 visitor of each Apple store on January 2nd.
(Thanks Digg)

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All I want for Macworld

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Date: Friday, December 30th, 2005, 16:38
Category: Macworld Expo

Whether you got lumps of coal in your stocking or oil company stock, at this time of year Mac geeks around the world turn their attention to Macworld for new toys. This year feels like it’ll be a biggie, and I’ll be happy with lots of faster, lighter, new designs on laptops. Yeah, that’s nice; I could use one. Maybe a new desktop enclosure, maybe a new set of category names. That’s nice.
But what I really want to see is an iPad.
Read more…
Contributed by Steve Abrahamson, principal at Ascending Technologies, where they write FileMaker Pro systems like the ones he described running on the fictional iPad. He can be reached at steve@asctech.com.

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OS X Updates Damaging PowerBooks Lower RAM Slot (Updated)

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Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2005, 14:44
Category: PowerBook

Engadget has an interesting article on Mac OS X updates disabling or even permanently damaging the lower RAM slot in PowerBooks. It goes like this: after you update to Mac OS 10.3.9, 10.4.0, and 10.4.1 the PowerBooks’ lower RAM slot spontaneously goes bad.

The current operating assumption is that the update actually makes the firmware controller or possibly the chipset get all wonky, which, in turn, may disable the lower memory slot (permanently).

It’s a pretty serious claim and the lawyers are already working themselves into a lather over it.
I haven’t experienced any such problem with my PowerBook G4 1.5GHz and I have two 1GB SO-DIMMs installed, but I’d be interested in hearing from people who have. Sound off in the comments if your lower RAM slot has gone bonky after an OS update.
UPDATE (2006-0131):
Apple has addressed the RAM slot issue with the PowerBook G4 Memory Slot Repair Extension Program.

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New PowerBooks Contracted to Quanta and Asustek

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Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2005, 13:45
Category: PowerBook

According to EMSnow Apple’s new Intel-based PowerBooks will be manufactured by Quanta and Asustek.

Apple computer will adopt Intel processor next year. According to the understanding, the ODM order of new Apple notebook has been obtained by Quanta and Asustek.
It will help increasing the total production of first quarter next year for both companies. However, Quanta and Asustek both make no comments on this. Apple computer stated it would exhibit its desktop and notebook with Intel processor at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, USA from 9th to 13th January next year.

Quanta and Asustek are the main ODM notebook partners of Apple. Quanta is responsible to high level model, Power Book and Asustek is in charge of entry level model, i-Book. This working module for Intel ODM will maintain for next year. Asustek will work on the consumer type of products and Quanta will be in charge of high-level model M1.

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Ask PowerPage: iPod Video Battery Life (Updated)

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2005, 09:00
Category: iPod

ipod-low-battery.jpgDear PowerPage:
Are you seeing/hearing complaints about battery life in the new 5G iPod’s? I’ve recently upgraded from a 3G and the expected 15 hours playback just doesn’t seem to be happening no matter what I do (current configuration: backlight set to 5 seconds, only playing music, and no photos/slideshow).
I think I’m getting in the neighborhood of eight hours play time on a “fully” charged battery.
I haven’t performed a test (welcome your suggestions) but I’m seeing battery life issues similar to my 3G. I have thought about letting it charge overnight (to fully charged status), turning it on as I leave for work, and check it when I return to see if its still playing (I actually tried this today while at home 12/28 and the iPod went to sleep instead of continuing to play). Typically that’s a 12-13 hour window. If Apple is basing their 15 hour battery life claim on use without the backlight, shuffle, or the click-wheel, that’s borderline fraud.
I regularly use the iPod while riding my bicycle indoors on a stationary trainer for an hour to 1.5 hours at a time. As of this Sunday at 3pm (12/11), the iPod had been charging for at least 18 hours. I selected the same playlist I always do of 150 songs, the shuffle setting was already active, backlight timer set to 5 seconds, and after approximately 75 minutes of playing time, the battery status had decreased approximately 15-20% (a visual estimation). There was a noticeable gap from the little + nub to the point where the battery still showed “juice.” During such use, I do not skip songs and just let it play as it sits in a jersey pocket on my lower back.
In using it while at work, I haven’t tracked the use/charging as closely, but I think it needs to be charged about every other day if I use it for 2-3 hours while working, put it to sleep, then use it again the following day for another 2-3 hours. The battery icon will be red by the time that second session ends. During these sessions, I will skip multiple songs at a time, pause randomly, and typically set it to shuffle the entire music library.
I have even seen the battery meter immediately start to reduce after pulling it off of an overnight charge, turning it on, playing 3-6 songs (again, randomly), but then activating the backlight (by just touching the wheel) to see what song is being played. I’ve also seen the + nub empty completely upon activating the backlight in such situations, and then refill as it turns off.
Did you find it odd that nowhere in the quick setup guide did it tell you how long to charge the iPod? All it tells you to do is to plug it in. I had to search on the Apple Web site and found instructions stating that a 3-hour charge brings the battery up to 80%, and 5 hours would fully charge it. So, I let mine charge initially for 5 hours, the icon on the display said charged and displayed the plug icon, so I started using it. And it ticks me off to no end that it only supports USB transfers – what a crock!
Jason Kazee
Lexington, KY
I have a iPod video 60GB, but haven’t ever got around to timing the battery run time. Any PowerPage readers out there with a 5G iPod video care to share your experiences with battery life? Post your results in the comments below. -Ed

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The In-Dash iPod II (Updated)

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 28th, 2005, 14:00
Category: iPod

ipod-to-car2.jpg
Todd Schneider submits his photo of his iPod setup in his car. iPod w/ steering wheel controls, Treo 650 w/ Bluetooth NAV, Bluetooth wireless phone interface.
Click through for all the deets…

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Missing from the Treo: RSS Client

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Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2005, 01:00
Category: Software

quick_news_3.gifLast week I posted a story about one of the most surprising software omissions from my new Verizon Treo 650 – an Instant Messaging (IM) client. There’s another huge omission in the default Treo 650 software install – an RSS newsreader.
The Treo is tailor made for a good newsreader, it’s a perfect way to keep in touch with all the Web sites that you read each day and you can do it while you’re in line, traveling or otherwise away from a computer. Like anything for the Palm OS there are literally dozens of RSS clients for the Palm OS available.
I’ve chosen QuickNews (US$14.95) for my Treo because it’s an excellent RSS newsreader that works well. QuickNews allows you to set up your feeds individually or import them from an OPML file, which was easy to export from my desktop RSS client NetNewsWire.
Read more…

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The Apple Core: Archive the year

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Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2005, 00:29
Category: The Apple Core

One great thing about the Mac is the excellent iLife suite of applications. iTunes is a top top notch music player, ripper and online store. iPhoto is an excellent vault for the thousands of digital photos that I shoot each year. The problem is that both music and photos can fill up your hard drive pretty fast. In fact, I’ve argued before that PowerBook hard drives are the only things that seem to be immune to Moore’s Law. As my music and photo libraries get larger I find myself constantly running out of hard drive space.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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iPod Stocking Stuffers From Griffin

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Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2005, 08:50
Category: iPod

griffin-itrip-auto.jpgThere’s nothing like the last minute. If you’re still looking for something for the iPod owner on your list, you should take a look at two new offerings from Griffin.
- iTrip Auto (US$69.99) is a combination of two of Griffin’s most popular items: their famous iTrip FM modulator, which lets you broadcast your tunes to any nearby FM radio, and an integrated auto charger. iTrip Auto uses the audio line out from the iPod’s dock connector and volume is controlled from your car stereo controls without having to adjust it on the iPod.
iTrip Auto also includes selectable LX and DX modes and US and International tuning modes. The usual caveats apply here for FM transmitters: make sure that there’s an available FM frequency to use. Large cities have many FM broadcasts which can make it difficult to find an open channel.
griffin-airclick-dock.jpg- AirClick Remote Control is a US$39.99 remote control for the iPod that allows you to control it via a gorgeously simple remote control. I’ve written about the AirClick USB here before and gave it a PowerPick award because it’s simply the best way to watch and control DiVX movies in VLC on a PowerBook connected to your TV.
Snap the AirClick onto the bottom of your iPod then connect it to your home stereo system and control it without having to be in sight. It’s a must for parties because AirClick’s RF signals travel through walls and allow you to control it from up to 60 feet away.
Because their new accessories are designed exclusively for the iPod’s proprietary 30-pin dock connector, they’ll work with any iPod from the 3G on up to the most recent nano and video models.

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The Apple Core: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) Cracked

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Date: Thursday, December 22nd, 2005, 07:59
Category: The Apple Core

Just when I thought that WiFi (802.11b/g) networks were getting safer, I get an email from a friend indicating that Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) has been cracked. InformIt.com has posted the details:

In this two-part series, Seth Fogie examines the internals of WPA and demonstrates how this wireless protection method can be cracked with only four packets of data. Part 1 outlines the details of WPA as compared to WEP and builds the foundation for Part 2, in which he describes in detail how WPA-PSK can be cracked.

Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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