Rumor: Apple Working on Next-Gen iPhone, Expanding Maps Application with New Hire

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Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:39
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Hints as to a new iPhone hardware model have emerged online with a handset identifying itself as “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by PinchMedia in its application iBART for San Francisco public transportation. Per MacRumors, iPhone 3,1 appeared in its usage logs during November.

The reference could signify a new iPhone model with major hardware changes, as Apple only changes the first number in a product’s identifier string when a significant upgrade is en route. The current iPhone 3GS carries the identifier iPhone 2,1 while the original iPhone identifies itself as iPhone 1,1, and the iPhone 3G (which featured minor architectural changes from its predecessor) is iPhone 1,2.

Apple’s use of the 3,1 indicator could imply major and distinct changes, a practice that it also uses with its Mac lineup. References in software to an iPhone 3,1 have existed for some time, but the alleged use of the unreleased hardware would be a first.

Early this year, signs of iPhone 2,1 began appearing online. That hardware was eventually released months later, in June, as the iPhone 3GS.

Apple has released all of its iPhone updates in the summer. Recent rumors have suggested that the company could release a Verizon-capable phone in 2010.

Also revealed this weekend was a new job listing from Apple for a software engineer to work on the iPhone Maps application. The listing seeks a full-time employee to work in Cupertino, Calif., on the software:

“The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has changed people’s lives and we want to continue to do so,” the listing reads. “We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We’ve only just started.”

The description is particularly interesting given that Apple quietly purchased a Google Maps competitor, Placebase, this summer. The worldwide mapping company offered products that would aggregate data on subjects such as demographics, home sales, crime, mortgage lending, school performance and more.

In addition, the existing Maps application has also served as a point of contention between Apple and Google. Apple rejected the Google Latitude app because it was reportedly thought the software would only be confused with the default Maps application. Google instead released a Web-based version of the software.

Google has added additional functionality to its own Android-powered handsets with Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn voice guidance system part of the new Motorola Droid. Google has stated its intent to bring the software to the iPhone, if Apple approves.

iSync Plugins 7.1.2.5 Released

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Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:30
Category: Software

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iSync plugins, nova media’s shareware iSync extension package for Mac OS X and all-around useful utility that provides access to dozens of cell phones and handsets, received a small update over the weekend. Version 7.1.2.5, a 5.4 megabyte download, adds support for the following cell phone models:

- Nokia N97
- Nokia N97 mini

iSync 7.1.2.5 retails for US$9.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 (under Mac OS X 10.4), Mac OS X 10.5.8 (under Mac OS X 10.5) and Mac OS X 10.6.2 (under Mac OS X 10.6) to install and run.

VirtualBox 3.1 Released

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Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 09:05
Category: Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 3.1. The new version, a 65 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

- Teleportation (aka live migration); migrate a live VM session from one host to another (see the manual for more information).
- VM states can now be restored from arbitrary snapshots instead of only the last one, and new snapshots can be taken from other snapshots as well (“branched snapshots”; see the manual for more information).
- 2D video acceleration for Windows guests; use the host video hardware for overlay stretching and color conversion (see the manual for more information).
- More flexible storage attachments: CD/DVD drives can be attached to arbitrary storage controllers, and there can be more than one such drive (the manual for more information).
- The network attachment type can be changed while a VM is running.
- Complete rewrite of experimental USB support for OpenSolaris hosts making use of the latest USB enhancements in Solaris Nevada 124 and higher.
- Significant performance improvements for PAE and AMD64 guests (VT-x and AMD-V only; normal (non-nested) paging).
- Experimental support for EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface; see the manual for more information).
- Support for paravirtualized network adapters (virtio-net; see the manual for more information).
- VMM: guest SMP fixes for certain rare cases.
- GUI: snapshots include a screenshot.
- GUI: locked storage media can be unmounted by force.
- GUI: the a log window grabbed all key events from other GUI windows (bug #5291).
- GUI: allow to disable USB filters (bug #5426).
- GUI: improved memory slider in the VM settings.
- GUI: the VirtualBox website couldn’t be opened from the help menu (bug #4559).
- 3D support: major performance improvement in VBO processing.
- 3D support: added GL_EXT_framebuffer_object, GL_EXT_compiled_vertex_array support.
- 3D support: fixed crashes in FarCry, SecondLife, Call of Duty, Unreal Tournament, Eve Online (bugs #2801, #2791).
- 3D support: fixed graphics corruption in World of Warcraft (#2816).
- 3D support: fixed Final frame of Compiz animation not updated to the screen (#4653).
- 3D support: fixed incorrect rendering of non ARGB textures under compiz.
- iSCSI: support iSCSI targets with more than 2TiB capacity.
- VRDP: fixed occasional VRDP server crash (bug #5424).
- Network: fixed the E1000 emulation for QNX (and probably other) guests (bug #3206).
- NAT: added host resolver DNS proxy (see the manual for more information).
- VMDK: fixed incorrectly rejected big images split into 2G pieces (bug #5523, #2787).
- VMDK: fixed compatibility issue with fixed or raw disk VMDK files (bug #2723).
- VHD: fixed incompatibility with Hyper-V.
- Support for Parallels version 2 disk image (HDD) files; see the manual for more information.
- OVF: create manifest files on export and verify the content of an optional manifest file on import.
- OVF: fixed memory setting during import (bug #4188).
- Mouse device: now five buttons are passed to the guest (bug #3773).
- VBoxHeadless: fixed loss of saved state when VM fails to start.
- VBoxSDL: fixed crash during shutdown (Windows hosts only).
- X11 based hosts: allow the user to specify their own scan code layout (bug #2302).
- Mac OS X hosts: don’t auto show the menu and dock in fullscreen (bug #4866).
- Mac OS X hosts (64 bit): don’t interpret mouse wheel events as left click (bug #5049).
- Mac OS X hosts: fixed a VM abort during shutdown under certain conditions.
- Solaris hosts: combined the kernel interface package into the VirtualBox main package.
- Solaris hosts: support for OpenSolaris Boomer architecture (with OSS audio backend).
- Shared folders: VBOXSVR is visible in Network folder (Windows guests, bug #4842).
- Shared folders: performance improvements (Windows guests, bug #1728).
- Windows, Linux and Solaris Additions: added balloon tip notifier if VirtualBox host version was updated and Additions are out of date.
- Solaris guests: fixed keyboard emulation (bug #1589).
- Solaris Additions: fixed as_pagelock() failed errors affecting guest properties (bug #5337).
- Windows Additions: added automatic logon support for Windows Vista and Windows 7.
- Windows Additions: improved file version lookup for guest OS information.
- Windows Additions: fixed runtime OS detection on Windows 7 for session information.
- Windows Additions: fixed crash in seamless mode (contributed by Huihong Luo).
- Linux Additions: added support for uninstalling the Linux Guest Additions (bug #4039).
- Linux guest shared folders: allow mounting a shared folder if a file of the same name as the folder exists in the current directory (bug #928).
- SDK: added object-oriented web service bindings for PHP5.

VirtualBox 3.1 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Adobe, Intuit, Others Offering Premium Deals for Online Customers

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 27th, 2009, 10:20
Category: News, Software

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Software gets pricey, but today it might not have to be. Per MacNN, major programs from Adobe, Intuit and Parallels have also become a part of special Black Friday software deals. Amazon is currently selling Adobe’s CS4 Design Standard Student Edition for US$296, the CS4 Web Premium Student Edition for US$350, and the CS4 Design Premium Student Edition for US$404 with discounts between 78 and 79% lower than list price.

Adobe itself is now selling Photoshop Elements 8 for just US$60, US$40 lower than normal. The price does require taking advantage of a US$20 mail-in rebate, but at least includes free shipping. Parallels has dropped US$10 off its Desktop 5.0 virtualization software, whereas VMware is selling Fusion 3.0 for $16 less with the code “dsktp20sale”.

Finally, Intuit has dropped the price of QuickBooks 2010 to US$160, though MacMall is offering it for as little as US$150.

USB 3.0 PCI Express Cards for the Mac on the Horizon…Maybe

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 27th, 2009, 08:38
Category: News

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Back in 1998, the original iMac was one of the first computers to adopt USB technology. Later, Apple proved to be a little late in getting USB 2.0 on its machines. Now, with USB 3.0 around the corner, some options may be emerging that suggest that Mac Pro and various PowerMac users will have access to USB 3.0 technologies.

Per CNET, Buffalo Technology recently announced their latest hard drives with USB 3.0 support, beating speculation that these devices would not arrive until next year. As for what this means with regards to USB 3.0 in Macs, the drives apparently ship with a USB 3.0 PCI-express card that can be dropped in and used on any system, and according to the press release they are compatible with both PCs and Macs.

“The USB 3.0 PCI Express Interface Card allows users to upgrade their PC, notebook or Mac to take advantage of the next generation of external hard drives that offer faster data transfer speeds than ever before.”

Although this may be good news for Mac users, the press release is a bit confusing since it also mentions the card is compatible with notebook systems. This may be an error, but also puts into question their claim of Mac compatibility.

The card being supplied with the drive is Buffalo’s IFC-PCIE2U3 card, and its inclusion with a drive that is advertised as being Mac compatible suggests (albeit indirectly) that the card is also compatible with Macs. Despite this, as with most USB 3.0 expansion cards that are already out on the market, this card’s information page has no specific mention of Mac support, and only lists Windows XP and later as supported operating systems.

Overall, this card may be an option for adding USB 3.0 support to PowerMacs and Mac Pros with PCI-express slots, but there is the possibility that these cards do not support Macs and are only being included with the drives to provide USB 3.0 speeds for PCs.

Time to wait and see, but if USB 3.0 drives are on the horizon, there’s a fortune to be made for a good third party PCI-express card that works and allows for the 4.8 GB Gbit/second data throughput rate none of us would mind having access to.

Apple Launches U.S. Black Friday Sale, Modest Discounts Seen

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 27th, 2009, 08:27
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

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Black Friday is upon us and while the sales aren’t extraordinary, there’s a couple bucks to be saved if you know where to look. Per CNET, the latest updates are as follows:

- Apple’s U.S. Black Friday sale is up, and while not spectacular, there are some rare discounts to be found. To go back to the same examples we used for the UK and Australian Apple stores, the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro is US$1,098, down from US$1,199.

All MacBook Pro models are exactly US$101 off, while the US$999 white MacBook is not discounted at all. The 32GB iPod Touch is currently US$268, down from US$299.

This sale is good online and in Apple’s retail stores and runs until 3 AM EST on Saturday, November 28th.

If you see any killer sales in your area (up to and including someone selling MacBook notebooks from the back of a van near the highway), please let us know.

Happy Thanksgiving From the PowerPage!!!

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, November 26th, 2009, 07:37
Category: Announcement

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It’s that time of year again, so without further ado, break out the friends, family, turkey, football and stuffing and have an awesome Thanksgiving!

Every so often, Scott Kurtz really hits the nail on the head. That being said, behold the glory that is Steve Jobbles!

Apple Authorized Resellers Launch Black Friday Sales Early

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Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:05
Category: News

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As was the case last year, several Apple authorized resellers are getting an early start on the 2009 holiday shopping season by launching early Black Friday sales that offer up to US$220 off Mac desktops and $250 off Mac notebooks.

Per AppleInsider, outfits such as MacMall, ClubMac, and OnSale.com have each begun 72-hour Black Friday sales at midnight that are scheduled to run through 11:59 p.m. pacific time on Friday. Meanwhile, others like MacConnection and Best Buy have similarly put into effect their lowest prices on Macs this calendar year.

MacBooks and Mac minis:
Thus far, MacConnection is offering the lowest price we’ve seen this year on Apple’s white MacBook notebook at US$884.99, a savings of US$114 after rebates. And for its part, MacMall is extending the deepest discounts on new Mac minis, selling the 2.26GHz model for US$549.99 and the 2.53GHz model for US$744.98, also after rebates.

MacBook Pros and iMacs:
For MacBook Pros and iMacs, MacMall, ClubMac, OnSale, and MacConnection, the prices are fairly competitive. Some noteworthy standouts include the 2.26GHz 13″ MacBook Pro and 3.06GHz Dual 21″ iMac, each for US$1,069.00 at MacConnection (a US$130 savings). Meanwhile, MacMall is offering the 2.66GHz 15″ MacBook Pro for US$1,798.97 (US$200 savings) and the 3.06GHz Dual 27″ iMac for US$1,584.99 (US$130 savings). The best price on the 2.80GHz 17″ MacBook Pro is US$2,249.00, a savings of US$250. Best Buy is also offering the new 3.06GHz 21.5-inch iMac for US$1,099 (a $100 savings without a rebate, unlike many reseller deals).

MacBook Airs and Mac Pros:
Finally, MacMall is extending the lowest prices on MacBook Air notebooks at US$1,398.98 for the 1.86GHz model and US$1,689.98 for the 2.13GHz configuration. Discounts on Mac Pros span US$200 to US$220 from the vast majority of the resellers.

If you’ve seen any killer sales on your end, please let us know.

HandBrake Updated to 0.9.4

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:10
Category: Software

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Handbrake, Eric Petit’s incredibly useful open-source DVD ripping/conversion utility, has been updated to version 0.9.4.

The new version, which can be found here, boasts the following fixes and changes:

- Improves speed, size and quality with official notes available here.

HandBrake 0.9.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple Releases iPhoto 8.1.1 Update

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Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:51
Category: iPod, Software

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Apple on Tuesday released iPhoto 8.1.1, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 12.3 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), adds the following fixes and changes:

- This update addresses issues affecting face recognition performance and accuracy.

- It also fixes minor issues in the areas of book ordering, and iPod touch support.

The update can be installed via the direct link or located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

iPhoto 8.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.