Feds Examining Apple Stock-Option Files

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 12:14
Category: News

According to an article on Macworld News, federal investigators are “looking closely” at Apple stock-option documents that employees within the company may have falsified in order to boost their own profits. The story was initially published in the late Tuesday online edition of The Recorder on legal news web site law.com.
Further details are expected in Apple’s delayed annual report, due out this Friday and Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has publicly apologized for his actions with regard to the stock options and sought legal counsel apart from Apple’s.
A three-month investigation conducted by investigators that concluded in October revealed that individuals within the company familiar with the case came forward as well as requested anonymity given the ongoing criminal and civil government investigations.
At the end of the internal investigation, Apple mentioned that it had “raised serious concerns” regarding the actions of two former executives tied into the fiscal inner workings of the company – Nancy Heinan, former senior vice president, who quietly parted ways with the company this May and former chief financial officer Fred Anderson, who resigned from the company in October as the investigation was wrapping up and commenting that it was in the company’s best interest for him to go.
Apple’s stock price tumbled to $78.19 per share as of Wednesday morning and the firm is among 200 companies that have disclosed internal investigations as well as federal probes by either the Securities and Exchange Commision or the Department of Justice for inquiries related to stock-option management, including backdating of options.
Stay tuned for further comment and details in Friday’s annual report.
If you have any comments or feedback on this, let us know.


MacBook Pro Users Report Continued Screen Flickering

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 10:29
Category: News

An article over at MacFixIt.com reports that several users have written in regarding screen flicker problems with their MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo laptops.
The flickering, according to reader Steven Bailey, is horizontally variable and has appeared twice to date when the screen is turned to full brightness. A restart reduced the problem, but is still visible if the brightness level is reduced.
The problem seems reminiscent of a logic board problem that haunted Apple’s iBook G4 laptops. The company diagnosed the problem and in many cases replaced the logic board under warranty.
If you’re seeing this problem with your Core 2 Duo-based MacBook Pro or have questions or comments, please let us know.


Sharp-Sighted Reader Spots Possible iTV Remote

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 10:03
Category: Sighting

Eagle-eyed reader Phillippe Robin has spotted a possible remote control for Apple’s upcoming iTV media console. When Steve Jobs announced the unit back at its “Showtime” event this year, an image of Apple’s Front Row remote control (or something very similar to it) was seen.

The video, which can be seen via a recorded YouTube clip, shows the remote control at three minutes and forty seconds into the play time.
While a rumored iTV remote control image was seen a few weeks ago, the unit seemed black and unwieldy, uncharacteristic for Apple, which tends to pride itself on a crisp and uniform appearance in its product line.
With Macworld Expo San Francisco less than two weeks away, speculation is fervent and iTV could be a clear winner depending on provided features.
If you’ve seen or heard anything about iTV and its remote or just want to throw your two cents in, let us know.


iPad Tower Photos Debut

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 09:19
Category: Sighting

An article over at The Dubai Life shows multiple photos of the design of the iPad Tower, a Dubai-area construction project inspired by Apple’s iPod music and video players.
Real estate developer Onmiyat Properties will begin construction on the building in 2007 and be 23 stories tall with more than 200 living units with construction expected to be completed in 2009. The structure was designed by Hong Kong architecture firm James Law Cybertecture International according to a piece on UAEPropertyTrends.com and will sit atop a “docking station” angled at six degrees to model it perfectly after the iPod.
If you have any questions or comments about this, let us know.


First Photoshop CS3 Public Beta Speed Tests Emerge

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 08:41
Category: Software

The guys over at creativetechs.com have put the recently-released Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta through its paces via a battery of tests and discovered that the new version is on average 40 to 55 percent faster (some test results being as much as 60% faster) than the present Photoshop CS2 version.
For the full rundown as well as individual test results, click here. The tests were performed on a newly shipped 3 GHz Mac Pro with 4 gigabytes of RAM and the History States set to 1.
Adobe Photoshop CS3 is expected in 2007 and is the first version of Photoshop to be a full Universal Binary, functioning natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
The Photoshop CS3 beta requires a Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later, a 1 GHz G4 or G5 PowerPC processor of an Intel-based Macintosh. 512 megabytes of RAM and a minimum screen resolution of 1024×769 are also required.
If you have any comments, feedback or Photoshop tests of your own, let us know.


XtremeMac Tango: iPod Speaker System

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 08:26
Category: Accessory


I’ve been using the XtremeMac Tango speaker system for the iPod (US$199) for about a week and it’s fantastic. Over the holiday it was really nice to be able to plug in my iPod and crank the Christmas tunes (Trans-Siberian Orchestra rocks, btw.) Then when it’s time to get down with some, you know boogie music, you can switch playlists and rock out.
Tango is technically 2.1 speaker system featuring two forward facing 1-inch tweeters, two 2.5-inch mid-range speakers and a 4-inch downward-firing subwoofer. All of the five speakers have high quality neodymium-magnet drivers. Tango’s sound quality is excellent, vocals are clear and crisp and the subwoofer provides enough bass to rock most house parties. Stabilizer feet grip on most surfaces so that bass vibrations do not cause the unit to shift.
My favorite feature, not found in other iPod speakers I have tested, is the wireless remote control. The remote allows you to adjust track, volume, bass and treble controls. The other nice feature in the Tango are the 3.5mm audio/video line in and out jacks. Many iPod speaker systems have an audio input, but not many have an output.
Tango works with all dock connector iPod models and charges iPod while docked. It comes with three universal dock well inserts to accommodate the various iPod footprints and five international plug adapters (US, UK, EU, AUS, KOR/PPK).
Speakers are a subjective thing and vary a lot depending on the type of music that you listen to. I recommend bringing your iPod into an Apple retail store and trying the Tango out for yourself. I think that you’ll be impressed.


Apple Store Using Wasteful Packing?

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 08:20
Category: Environment

An e-mail from reader R. Emory Williamson-Lundberg pointing to a Flickr.com photo demonstrates that despite Apple’s efforts to become more environmentally conscious via reduced packaging and computer recycling programs, small items are still being shipped in excessive materials:
“I can’t believe that is the box a mini-DVI video adapter came in. No bubble wrap. No filler. Just the packet for the adapter and an invoice.”
Take a look and let us know what you think.


Micromat Releases Security Patch, Repairs Serial Number Visibility

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 08:49
Category: Software

Micromat, makers of the TechTool Pro utility program, released a small patch for installed versions of TechTool Pro 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 as of December 18th.
The patch, a 1.3 megabyte download, removes the visibility of the computer’s serial number, user name and other machine information from TechTool Pro’s local area network scans (full details of this can be found in PowerPage’s December 13th article regarding the issue).
The update functions with installed versions of TechTool Pro 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 and no CD or DVD update is necessary.
TechTool Pro is available for $98 and requires a G3 processor or better, 512 megabytes of RAM, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and a DVD-ROM drive to run. The program has been rewritten as a Universal Binary and runs natively on both the PowerPC and Intel-based hardware architectures.
If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this, let us know.


The Apple Core: Apple, the new king of retail

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Date: Wednesday, December 27th, 2006, 08:00
Category: The Apple Core

apple-taiwan.jpgApple opened a retail store in Taiwan over the weekend. According to DigiTimes:

The new Apple Computer store is located in an area of Taipei famous for a large number of consumer electronic stores and has three floors with a total floor space of about 397 square meters (4,270 square feet) and cost NT$150 million (US$4.6 million) to set up, the sources pointed out.

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