Rumor: Apple May be Building Netbook

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Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 09:09
Category: Rumor

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Despite its public comments regarding the issue, Apple may in fact be working on a netbook which could be released sometime this year.
According to the DigiTimes newspaper, Apple has ordered displays from a well-known touch-panel supplier for use with such a system sometime in 2009.
According to the report, Taiwan-based Wintek will start shipping the panels to the Cupertino-based Mac maker sometime during the third quarter of the year for an official launch at an unknown date.
“Wintek revealed that it is currently working with Apple to develop some new products, but it said it does not know what applications the new products are for,” the DigiTimes report said. “Wintek added that no shipment schedule has been worked out yet, but shipments are likely to begin in the second half of the year.”
In the original report, the Commercial Times stated that Quanta Computer would be responsible for assembling the netbooks.
Such a move would appear to be contradictory to comments made by Apple executives, who in recent months, hav downplayed the market for stripped down, sub-US$600 notebooks.
“As we look at the netbook category, that’s a nascent category,” Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said last fall. “As best as we can tell, there’s not a lot of them being sold.”
Other criticisms have gone on record from Apple chief operating office Tim Cook, who noted that netbooks are “principally based on hardware that’s much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays.”
“We don’t think people will be pleased with those products,” he added. “It’s a category we watch, we’ve got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they’re happy with.”
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Japanese Developing Headphones Which Could Allow iPod to be Controlled by Facial Movements

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Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 08:58
Category: iPod

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iPod users may soon be able to adjust the volume of a song or flip between tracks via a motion of their head according to Macworld UK.
Per the article, Japanese researchers have developed a pair of headphones that use infrared sensors to interpret facial movements as a way of controlling a digital audio player.
“An iPod can start or stop music when the wearer sticks his tongue out, like in the famous Einstein picture.
If he opens his eyes wide, the machine skips to the next tune. A wink with the right eye makes it go back,” Kazuhiro Taniguchi from Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering Science told news agency AFP.
The headphones might be able to monitor the user’s mood and play a track to correspond with how the user is feeling at any given moment.
“It monitors natural movements of the face in everyday life and accumulates data. If it judges that you aren’t smiling enough, it may play a cheerful song.”
It is thought the headphones will be patented in Japan before being made available to the public in the next few years.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Apple Releases Second Mac OS X 10.5.7 Beta

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Date: Monday, March 9th, 2009, 10:09
Category: Software

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Apple appears to be close to getting its Mac OS X 10.5.7 maintenance update out the door as the company issued a new build of the update this weekend. According to AppleInsider, Apple released build 9J22 to third-party developers recently. The build apparently contains nearly six dozen code corrections, a barebones weight of 440 megabytes, and requests that developers focus their testing efforts on over 20 core components, including AirPort, Mail, graphics drivers, and Time Machine.
Per sources close to the story, Apple has directed a significant focus on addressing syncing issues that have plagued many of Leopard’s standard, forward-facing apps, such as as Mail, AddressBook, and system preferences.
Interestingly enough, Mac OS X 10.5.7 has been publicly mentioned on Apple’s online store as being a prerequisite for use with ATI’s Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for owners of previous generation Mac Pros. After the blunder was widely reported, Apple changed the page to indicate that the card required 10.5.6, which is actually the case for the recently-refreshed Mac Pro, which will ship with a custom milestone of 10.5.6 that includes the appropriate driver support.
However, given that standalone orders for the US$349 card are not expected to ship for another five to seven weeks, its likely the original requirements on the page were accurate and that Mac OS X 10.5.7 will be released within that same time frame.
As of Saturday, it was reported that build 9J27 had been distributed and included 10 new bug fixes targeting FileVault, Time Capsule, preference panes for Print & Fax and MobileMe, iCal sync, and more.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the 10.5.7 builds, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Adobe Releases Lightroom 2.3 Update

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Date: Monday, March 9th, 2009, 10:11
Category: Software

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On Thursday, Adobe released Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.3, the newest version of its professional-grade image editing program and Adobe’s first application to support 64-bit processing.
The new version, a 67 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Additional camera support for the Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30
  • Slideshows could return to the first image randomly during playback.
  • A memory leak could cause Lightroom to crash while attempting to process files with local adjustments.
  • Canon EOS 5D Mk II sRAW files could process with artifacts in Lightroom 2.2.
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.3 retails for US$299 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the new version, let us know what you think of it over in the comments or forums.

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    Cydia Opens Unauthorized iPhone Application Store

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    Date: Monday, March 9th, 2009, 06:07
    Category: Legal

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    Though the App Store provides some incredibly fun and useful stuff, there are still some iPhone and iPod touch applications that can’t be acquired through this end. Applications like Cycorder, which lets you use your iPhone as a camcorder or PdaNet, which allows users to use the iPhone’s cellular data connection on their computer via a Wi-Fi connection, may never see the light of day via Apple’s online retail channel for the handset and according to Wall Street Journal, have been available through Cydia, a software installer developed by 27-year-old California graduate student Jay Freeman.
    Starting today, Cydia will be opening its own app store, providing a way those jailbreak developers to easily sell their applications.
    Freeman has stated that Cydia “intends to charge developers no more than the commission Apple does for his site’s billing services.” The paper reported that two more rival app stores are also underway, including one interested in “selling adult games for the iPhone.”
    Though this seems like these App Store rivals may need to have their lawyers on speed dial, many technology law scholars have said that an Apple legal victory isn’t necessarily a given, as this qualifies as uncharted legal territory.
    “Courts have said you shouldn’t use the DMCA to leverage your copyright monopoly into other markets,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, who said that federal courts ruled that previous DMCA-related cases were less about preventing copyright infringement, but rather about stifling competition.
    Last December, the EFF proposed an exemption to the DMCA that would legalize jailbreaking. In response, Apple filed their opposition to the proposal in February arguing that it could lead to problems with the iPhone’s security and reliability, as well as providing a potential venue for pirated iPhone applications.
    Many tech law experts still say that the jailbreakers might actually have a viable defense. While jailbreaking and unlocking are not the same process, the iPhone unlocking process requires jailbreaking, so it seems likely that the same legal reasoning to defend against unlocking might hold.
    Either way, Cydia’s Freeman has stated that he’s ready for the impending legal challenges to come…
    If you have two cents to throw in on this, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Boxee Thrusts with App Update, HULU Paries…again.

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    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 18:05
    Category: Apple TV, Desktop Mac, Software

    Earlier today, Boxee pushed out an update to their popular online media streaming application for Mac, Apple TV, and Windows. Most notable ‘was’ updated support for RSS feeds from HULU which brought most of HULU’s content back to the popular media software.
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    Many users of Boxee are painfully aware that almost 2 weeks ago, HULU stated that it would be pulling it’s feeds from Boxee due to a request from it’s content providers (don’t get me started about this). Jake Marsh, programmer and blogger, rushed out a work-around to allow the majority of HULU’s content to be streamed through Boxee via RSS feed. HULU promptly blocked this after about a week in the wild.
    Now, less than 24 hours after the Boxee update returned HULU streams (without their permission), HULU has yet again blocked their feeds from reaching Boxee users. The battle still wages while the ball is back in Boxee’s court to weave and dodge their way around the diligent HULU programming staff. Kind of reminds you of the iPhone jailbreak community doesn’t it?
    Come on HULU, can’t we all just be friends?! Or at least let us pick the way we soften our brains for your consumption.

    Users Report Additional Graphics Issues with 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro

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    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 09:53
    Category: MacBook Pro

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    As nifty as the new 17″ unibody MacBook Pro happens to be, a combined Apple/NVIDIA firmware update may be necessary. According to Engadget, a number of users on the Apple Discussions board have cited serious issues with the GeForce 9600M graphics card installed in the notebook. A GeForce 9400M card is also found in the notebook as well, but complaints cite that the random green lines and nasty artifacts appear only when the more potent card is kicked into action.
    Most folks have stated that a reboot solves the problem momentarily, but eventually the issue returns to haunt them.
    Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know if you’ve seen this problem on your end in the comments or forums.

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    iFixIt Offers New Mac Mini First Look Guide, Guide to Adding Second Internal Hard Drive and 1 TB Upgrade Kit

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    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 08:45
    Category: Mac Desktop

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    Computer outfitter iFixIt has released a slew of new items in the wake of Apple’s recent Mac mini refresh. First, the company’s First Look guide has been rewritten to include the following highlights:

  • Both the hard drive and RAM are easily upgradeable once you remove the upper case.
  • The processor is now soldered to the logic board. Those people who had grown accustomed to upgrading mini processors will be greatly disappointed by this.
  • As usual for the mini, a putty knife is required to disassemble it.
  • The SuperDrive used in the new Mac mini is finally SATA, as in the new iMacs and MacBooks.
  • If you install 2GB RAM in a $599 low-end mini, it recognizes and uses 256 MB of video memory.
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    Apple Releases Time Capsule & AirPort Extreme 7.4.1 Firmware Update

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    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 08:37
    Category: wireless

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    Late Thursday night, Apple leased version 7.4.1 of its firmware for its 802.11n-based AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule routers. The revised firmware, which can be downloaded either via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update application or the update application within the AirPort Utility program makes the following fixes and changes:

  • Resolves an issue in which a client computer may be disconnected when waking from sleep.
  • Addresses an issue in which redirecting SMTP port services may disable IP-layer networking.
  • Improves the reliability of Back to My Mac-based disk sharing.
  • Includes recent AirPort security updates.
  • For AirPort Extreme with 802.11n (Fast Ethernet), AirPort Extreme with 802.11n (Gigabit Ethernet), AirPort Express with 802.11n, and original Time Capsule models, the firmware 7.4.1 update:

  • Enables remote administration and remote access to compatible USB connected drives via Back to My Mac (except on AirPort Express).
  • Improves reliability when backing up to a Time Capsule via Time Machine.
  • Includes recent AirPort security updates.
  • The update requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the updates and noticed any major changes, let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Has the Most Efficient Warehouse

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    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 03:22
    Category: News

    According to a research report compiled by UBS, one of the world’s leading financial firms, Apple Inc. not only has better growth than most companies, but manages to keep it’s inventory low while doing it.
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    The report indicates that over the last 6 years, Apple’s product inventory ranged from 3 to 10 days (amount of time product was stored), finally settling at around 5 days in the fourth quarter of 2008. Other companies lagged behind including Dell at 7 days, Lenovo at 15 days, and HP at 32. A vendor such as Ingram Micro typically holds inventory in the store for 26 days. For other companies in the mobile phone market, UBS puts Nokia at 27 days, Motorola at 48 days, and 56 days for Qualcomm.
    What does this mean? According to UBS, “fewer products [in inventory] mean [companies] can better respond to changing market needs. Having warehouses crammed full of unsold goods is not a good thing, more than ever in times of economic crisis”.
    The original article can be read (translated from Italian) here.

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