Second 27″ iMac “Flicker Fix” Apparently in the Works

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Date: Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, 07:13
Category: iMac

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Apple’s 27″ iMac is large. And awesome. And spiffy.

And it still kind of flickers.

Per AppleInsider, an Apple Discussions forum thread spanning nearly 250 pages has resulted in conversations with AppleCare representatives who claim a new update is forthcoming. A month ago, Apple released a software fix for the flickering issue on the 27″ iMac, but since then users have said it did not address the problem.

One user, Dennis Murphy, said he was told that AppleCare technicians were issued a bulletin on Saturday that stated a fix would be released in about three weeks. The Apple employee was allegedly instructed to collect customer contact information so they can be reached when the fix is released.

“This would clearly explain the extended shipping times we’re seeing,” Murphy wrote on the forums.

Last week, Apple delayed shipments of new direct-order 27″ iMac units by three weeks. Supply issues have persisted for months, with Apple in December apologizing for the delays.

Another poster, wrote that an Apple representative told them a combination software and driver patch is due in roughly three weeks.

“This will reportedly resolve the issue of the screen flickering (it is not hardware causing the issue),” the user wrote.

The three weeks allegedly cited by AppleCare technicians would coincide with the existing three-week wait time for direct orders of 27-inch iMacs.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Posts $3.38 Billion Profit, $15.68 Billion in Sales for Q1 Results

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Date: Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, 07:56
Category: Finance, News

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Even if the global economy’s in iffy shape, you can’t tell it by Apple.

Per Macworld, the company posted its best-ever performance for the first fiscal quarter, citing tallied sales of US$15.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of US$3.38 billion. That compares to year-ago figures of $11.88 billion in sales and US$2.26 billion in net quarterly profit.

“We’re extremely pleased with our record-breaking performance, including our 32% in growth in revenue and 50% growth in net income,” Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts during a Monday afternoon conference call to discuss Apple’s quarter numbers.

The company’s quarterly performance translated to earnings of US$3.67 per share, up 47% from the US$2.50 per share that it earned in the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s reports, which may seem a bit off in comparison to last January’s returns, reflect the retrospectively adopted Financial Accounting Standards Board’s amended accounting standards during the 2010 first quarter. Adopting those standards significantly alters how Apple accounts for certain items such as the iPhone and Apple TV sales. The revised standards allow Apple to recognize revenue and product at the time of sale and the company has restated its results for the 2007, 2008, and 2009 fiscal years to reflect this change.

“We believe [the new accounting rules] will better enable us to recognize the underlying economics and performance of our business,” Oppenheimer said.

For the 2010 fiscal first quarter, Apple sold 3.36 million Macs, up 33% from the 2.5 million units the company sold in Q1 of 2009.

The Mac sales figure sets a new record, topping the 3.05 million Macs Apple sold during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2009.

The fall revamp of the iMac line helped boost desktop sales for the quarter. In October, Apple replaced its 20″ and 24″ iMacs with new 21.5″ and 27″ configurations of the all-in-one desktop. Apple sold 1.23 million desktops in its first quarter of 2010, an increase of nearly 70% from the 728,000 desktops it sold a year ago.

Notebook sales came in at just under 2.13 million units sold during the first quarter, a number which accounts for 63% of all the Macs sold during the quarter. Portable sales rose 18% from the 1.796 million laptops Apple sold in the year-ago quarter.

Overall education sales for Mac products grew 16% from last year, reflecting Apple’s best growth rate in that segment since before the start of the current recession, according to chief operating officer Tim Cook. The K-12 and higher-education channels both reported record sales for the December quarter.

“Our whole education business is based on really understanding teaching, learning, and student achievement, and we think we’re the only tech company that really gets that,” Cook said.

iPhone sales reached record heights in the quarter with the company selling 8.7 million iPhones in three months, breaking the record of 7.4 million set in the previous quarter. iPhone sales were twice what they were during the previous year’s first quarter with the sales value of those 8.7 million iPhones exceeding US$5.4 billion. The average selling price of iPhone models was down 5% versus the prior year, likely owing to the existence of the cut-rate US$99 iPhone 3G model.

In response to a question from an analyst, Cook offered praise for often-criticized U.S. wireless partner AT&T. “AT&T is a great partner,” he said. “In the vast majority of locations, we think iPhone customers are having a great experience… AT&T has acknowledged that they’re having a few issues in some cities, and they have plans to address these. We have personally reviewed these plans, and we have high confidence [in them].”

Regarding Apple’s acquisition of Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising company, Cook said that Apple “look[s] forward to providing developers with a great opportunity for advertising,” but that mobile advertising is currently “in its infancy.”

Not every product segment saw growth during the quarter and iPod sales fell 8% from Q1 of 2009, as Apple sold 21 million music players during the quarter. However, Oppenheimer characterized that decline as expected. Indeed, overall iPod sales growth has been flat for some time—sales have declined for three consecutive quarters now.

Still, Apple executives didn’t sound particularly bothered on Monday by the iPod’s quarterly performance. The music player continues to gain market share internationally, and its share of the U.S. market remains at more than 70%, according to Oppenheimer.

Despite the lower iPod numbers, Oppenheimer said Apple sold 55% more iPod touches this year than it did in the first quarter of 2009. The average selling price of the iPod increased by 9% during the quarter, driven by sales of the touch.

Oppenheimer told analysts on Monday that the iTunes Store had enjoyed a “record-breaking quarter,” though the company provided no revenue figures for its online retail arm for music, movies, TV programs, and mobile apps.
Retail and other figures

Apple finished the first quarter with 283 retail stores, after opening 10 new outlets during the quarter. Those openings included high-profile stores near the Louvre in Paris and New York’s Upper West Side. Apple also remodeled 32 stores during the quarter, for a total of 100 remodels during the 2009 calendar year.

Retail revenue rose 17% to US$1.97 billion for the quarter. Average revenue per store was US$7.1 million, up from US$7 million in the year-ago quarter. The brick-and-mortar stores sold a record 680,000 Macs, with half of those sold to customers who were new to the Mac.

Apple is expected to open between 40 and 50 stores during the 2010 fiscal year, Oppenheimer said, with half of those outlets located outside the U.S.

Even after a quarter of cash outlays that included the purchase of online music streaming company Lala, the company reported that it now holds cash and short-term investments totaling US$39.8 billion, up $5.8 billion from the previous quarter.

Looking ahead to the March quarter, Oppenheimer told analysts to expect sales between US$11 billion and US$11.4 billion. That compares to restated sales of US$9.1 billion for the fiscal second quarter of 2009. Apple expects earnings between US$2.06 and US$2.18 per share for the upcoming quarter; that compares to US$1.79 per quarter a year ago, after adjusting for the new accounting rules.

“The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we’re really excited about,” CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement accompanying Monday’s earnings release.

Apple Releases Aluminum Keyboard 1.1 Firmware Update

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Date: Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, 06:14
Category: Software

Late Monday, Apple release version 1.1 of its aluminum keyboard firmware via an update. The new version, a 1.5 megabyte download, improves battery performance of the 2007 aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard when used in combination with other Bluetooth devices and addresses an issue with the 2007 aluminum Apple Keyboard and the 2007 aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard where a key may repeat unexpectedly while typing.

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The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 on the Mac OS X 10.5 end or Mac OS X 10.6.2 on the Mac OS X 10.6 end to install and run and can also be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve installed the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Rumor: AT&T Exclusive iPhone Deal Could End Wednesday

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 25th, 2010, 05:15
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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AT&T’s exclusive contract with the iPhone (read: license to essentially print money) could end on Wednesday. Per Electronista, a purported contact within the carrier says exclusivity should end along with the January 27th date. The tipster doesn’t say who would join AT&T in supporting the iPhone, albeit Verizon has often been cited as the most likely pick, in part for the large subscriber base as well as the frequently cited network strength.

While evidence have yet to be provided, possible signs of this have shown up in the following leaked screen capture:

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A contract found by web site HotHardware has cited a strategy that AT&T strategy that the company has indirectly confirmed itself. The company would “compensate” for losing sole rights to the iPhone by carrying smartphones on platforms it has previously ignored. The carrier has already said it would offer several new smartphones in the first half of the year that include five Android devices as well as Palm’s webOS phones, most likely GSM versions of the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. It’s also been noted anecdotally that AT&T has lately deemphasized its exclusivity and has instead focused on attacking Verizon.

Per the contact, AT&T has been mentioned as being internally frustrated with the reputation it has garnered through its network problems and may actually be willing to end exclusivity simply to offload the more publicly hostile customers to Verizon. It’s been hinted that some of the complaints may stem from the iPhone having a less than ideal transition from 3G to GSM when 3G isn’t ideal. Nearly all of AT&T’s upgrade efforts in recent months have focused on adding either 850MHz 3G or improving 3G capacity behind the scenes.

Once again, all should be revealed at the media event on Wednesday.

Analytics Firm Spots iPhone OS 3.2 Traffic from Possible Apple Tablet Devices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 25th, 2010, 05:21
Category: News

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Mobile analystics firm Flurry claims to have discovered evidence of 50 tablet-class devices accessing web sites from Apple’s campus. Per the Flurry blog, the researchers noted that all of the devices are running the as-yet-unreleased iPhone OS 3.2. The move suggests tablets may have a significant update to the interface but not necessarily a major overhaul.

The report also mentions that the devices appear to be using existing iPhone apps but that the bias appears to be towards games, suggesting a heavy entertainment focus. It also has a significant daily media component, such as e-readers and Internet radio. In many cases the downloads were for very recent apps. Media sharing, social networking and travel guides were also common app categories among the 50 devices.

Additional features remain unknown while the questions and speculations should end on Wednesday at Apple’s Yerba Buena press event.

Details Emerge for Expected Mac OS X 10.6.3 Changes

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Date: Friday, January 22nd, 2010, 15:28
Category: News, Software

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Mac OS X 10.6.3 will include significant enhancements to QuickTime X while also focusing on printing and Logic performance.

Per AppleInsider, sources close to the story have stated that build 10D538, which arrived roughly two weeks after the company issued build 10D522, included support for OpenGL 3.0 as well as an update to QuickTime X that, when finalized, will improve security and compatibility while simultaneously enhancing overall reliability. The release will also include tweaks that aim to enhance the performance of Apple’s 64-bit Logic pro audio suite. Other planned improvements include better compatibility with third-party printers and OpenGL-grounded applications, those same people say.

In addition to those areas, Apple is reportedly asking developers to focus their evaluation efforts on a few other core system components, such as AirPort, VoiceOver and graphics drivers.

A single issue related to photo albums viewed via the company’s Front Row media center software is said to be plaguing the latest beta.

The 665+ megabyte release is expected to be made public sometime in the next six weeks.

PowerPage Podcast Episode 122

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 22nd, 2010, 10:37
Category: Podcast

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Episode 122 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (32.6 MB, MP3).

Panel: Jason O’Grady and Rob Parker

Topics: Tablet and iPhone 4.0 rumors reach a fever pitch and we play “What’s on your Mac?”

Here’s what’s on our Macs this week:

Jason

  • Firefox 3.6 (free) – Upgrade to the popular Web brower
  • Personas (free) – 30,000 free themes for Firefox 3.6
  • Data Rescue 3 ($99) – best data recovery software for recovering files from a problem hard drive

Rob

  • Hack that enables hidden Quick Look feature for folder content previews
  • Oribtal (App Store, $1.99 and free) – stunningly beautiful game that’s addictive

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Our theme music is generously provided by The Tragically Hip their new release “We Are The Same” is available on iTunes. Don’t forget to join the PowerPage Facebook group!

27″ iMac Delays Continue, Set Shipments Back Three Weeks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 22nd, 2010, 06:30
Category: iMac, News

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Things can’t be perfect all the time.

After apparently resolving shipping delays with its popular 27″ iMac desktop, Apple has delayed forthcoming orders of the computer by three weeks.

According to AppleInsider, while the 21.5″ models of the new iMac currently ship within 24 hours, as of Thursday new 27″ iMacs have a three-week estimated shipping time. Only days ago, the Mac maker had improved its supply of the larger models to shipping times of less than a week.

The sudden delay comes just one week after Apple’s authorized resellers began receiving their volume shipments of the 27″ model.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this delay on your end, please let us know.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.6 Web Browser

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 22nd, 2010, 06:37
Category: Software

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On Thursday, Mozilla.org released the long-awaited 3.6 version of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, an 17.6 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

- Available in more than 70 languages – get your local version.
- Support for a new type of theme called Personas, which allow users to change Firefox’s appearance with a single click.
- Protection from out-of-date plugins to keep users safer as they browse.
- Open, native video can now be displayed full screen and supports poster frames.
- Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness, and startup time.
- The ability for web developers to indicate that scripts should run asynchronously to speed up page load times.
- Continued support for downloadable web fonts using the new WOFF font format.
- Support for new CSS attributes such as gradients, background sizing, and pointer events.
- Support for new DOM and HTML5 specifications including the Drag & Drop API and the File API, which allow for more interactive web pages.
- Changes to how third-party software can integrate with Firefox in order to prevent crashes.

Firefox 3.6 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

Flying Jalapeno Software Releases ScareBear Trail Companion for iPhone, iPod Touch

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 21st, 2010, 06:41
Category: iPhone

You have an iPhone and that’s fine, but bears still roam through America’s forests, eager to eat you and your iPhone.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Flying Jalapeno Software has released something that could save your life against these furry terrors; the ScareBear Trail Companion.

ScareBear Trail Companion is an iPhone app that replicates the sounds of bells, clapping, and rocks in a tin can which could help scare bears from your path before you even encounter them. Should you happen to come across a bear immune to these charms and wards, ScareBear Trail Companion still has you covered – in an emergency, you can use the app to sound an emulated air horn, which may terrify the creature and send it scurrying away.

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While this isn’t guaranteed to save your life, it’s designed for the iPhone user who fears being eaten by bears (which we all should on one level or another).

ScareBear Trail Companion retails for US$0.99 and requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later to install and run.