iFixIt performs complete iPad teardown, finds extended battery, other goodies

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 5th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPad, photos

The moment they got their mitts on one, the cool cats at iFixIt performed a complete teardown on Apple’s new iPad tablet to look at its components.

Per AppleInsider, the company’s teardown reveals that the iPad’s battery has 5.5 times the capacity of the iPhone. It’s actually two battery packs wired in parallel, the company reports, providing a total of 24.8 Watt-hours. “In contrast,” the report notes, “the iPhone 3GS has a 4.51 watt-hour battery and the MacBook Air has a 40 watt-hour battery.”

On average, the device “sips just 2.5 Watts. That’s 1/5 the power of a compact fluorescent bulb,” the report states. Even so, the larger battery demands more charging power than standard USB ports provide. It needs its included 10 watt charger, and won’t charge while syncing with a standard USB-equipped Mac or PC.

“The A4 is a Package-on-Package (PoP), with at least three layers of circuitry layered on top of each other,” the site notes. Apple’s “A4 is packaged just like the iPhone processors, microprocessor in one package and two memory modules in the other package. They’re all sandwiched together in a very nice and thin PoP.

“The iPad RAM is inside the A4 processor package. Confirming this took quite a bit of sleuthing: we had to partner with Chipworks to X-ray the processor. The X-ray revealed two layers of RAM. In addition to the ARM processor, the A4 package contains two stacked Samsung dies. We will be releasing a detailed analysis of the A4 in conjunction with Chipworks in a few days.”

The A4 contains “256MB of memory per die, for 512 MB total” the company’s teardown notes. That’s twice the system RAM of last year’s iPhone 3GS and third generation iPod touch.

Update: iFixit updated their report to note that the iPad actually incorporates the same 256MB of system RAM as the iPhone 3GS.

Physical features:
“The rear case is machined from a single billet of aluminum, increasing weight but greatly improving the rigidity of the device,” iFixIt reports, adding that “the empty void in the upper right corner [of the WiFi-only model] is where the cellular communications board would go in the 3G iPad.”

The iPad’s “touch circuit design is more similar to the old 2G and early 3G iPhones than the current 3GS,” the teardown revealed. “Chipworks informed us that ‘there is so much room in the iPad that Apple didn’t need to use small chips, just the right ones and cheap ones.'”

Additionally, the rumored slot that was once imagined to be for a camera “is actually taken up by the ambient light sensor.” iFixIt also noted that the iPad’s “glass panel is quite thick: about 1.18 mm, compared to the iPhone’s 1.02 mm thick glass. This is necessitated by the panel’s large size.”

The WiFi antennas on the iPad are mounted facing both the front corner and the back, where they penetrate through the solid aluminum back via the window provided by the black plastic Apple logo.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.3 update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 5th, 2010, 03:47
Category: Software

elfirefox

Late last week, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.3 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.6 megabyte <a href=”http://www.mozilla.com/products/download.html?product=firefox-3.6.3&amp;os=osx&amp;lang=en-US”>download</a>, sports the following major change:

– Fixes a critical security issue that could potentially allow remote code execution.

Firefox 3.6.3 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.

iPad Launch Day Roundup

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, April 3rd, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News, Pictures

Ok, just got back from the iPad launch at the Apple Store in Arlington, Virginia, so bear with me here:

Coming up on the line, you heard cheering from about half a block away. With dozens of blue-shirted Apple employees running about, handing out coffee and water and high-fiving each other and customers, they’ve adopted something of a Wal-Mart employee rally mentality.

Not a bad thing, but a little weird…

Apple Store employees do a victory lap in advance.

Coming up on the line, there were about 75 people in a line to each side of the front door, the lines being divided into those with reservations and those without reservations who were hoping to snag a unit. Apple employees continued high-fiving customers before retreating into the store where their pep rally continued behind closed doors.

“For me it’s something new. The interface has changed enough for me not to say it’s the same thing. I love the fact that Netflix plays on it,” said an attendee at the head of the reservation line who identified himself as a former Apple employee named “Elon”. “It’s a device that lets you touch things and I like to touch things,” he joked.

Elon waiting in line for the Apple’s iPad.

“I do agree Flash does bog down my system, a lot of the naysayers it’s 95% of the web. I do fine with my videos and I don’t have to worry about Netflix. For someone who likes to play games, then yes, Flash will probably be a bummer.”

He then went on to comment that he’d arrived at the store around midnight the night before and was planning to buy the iPad, hop on the Metro, go home, sync it to iTunes and get to work on it.

Others were there for less direct reasons. Angela Lucas of Arlington, Virginia, snagged the top spot in the reserve line to buy an iPad for her husband’s birthday in two days’ time. “He wants to be the first among his friends to have it,” she said, smiling.

Tom Bridge, a local resident and owner of welovedc.com, seemed more excited about the iPad’s potential than anything else.

“I do have some hesitations, I’m not wild about the closed off development platform but I do know that there are a lot of awesome apps on day one and that people will find a way to make this work,” said Bridge, who then cited that he was looking forward to finding ways to blend the iPad with his business functions.

Upon the opening of the Apple Store’s doors, the staff eased the crowd in, limiting the number of people in the store, where almost all of the displays had been switched over to iPad demo units. Unlike the iPhone launches, customers were able to purchase their iPads quickly without any registration concerns and could either buy the iPad and leave or do an initial sync to iTunes in order to set the device up.

First out the door was Brad Gardner, a Washington, D.C. resident who was promptly swamped by interviewers and seemed more intent on getting home and setting the iPad up:

A few customers later, the ever-helpful Dominic Gohla exited the store and was happy to unpack the iPad for the cameras. Gohla had coordinated an arrival from Germany to pick up a reserved iPad and sat down in a nearby Starbucks to hop on the AT&T wireless network to offer the following demo and interview to a German web site (in German, so if any of you have a friend that knows German, yank them over to translate – I’ll be slamming my head against the desk):


Perhaps one of the coolest moments of the morning, Dominic demoed Apple’s new iBooks app with the complimentary copy of “Winnie The Pooh” that arrives with the program. The word “smooth” is applicable here and the pages not only turn easily, but can be grabbed and slowly turned from any portion of the page. Nice touch.

Prior to heading out, an attendee who identified himself as “Simon” perhaps summed up the hopes of the line the best. “This is a traveler’s dream device. I can take it on a flight and never get bored again,” he said. Simon then went on to offer that in spite of the lack of native Adobe Flash support for the device, he was reassured in that a lot of the big media companies seem to be turning around and supporting the HTML5 standard.

From a personal perspective, there’s a lot to be impressed with. The iPad is light, speedy, the screen is everything the user could ever want, the interface is responsive and the accelerometer seems to be working overtime, happily shipping between vertical and landscape views with only a slight turn of the tablet.

We’ll have a full review up in about a week’s time, but for the time being, this is definitely something cool and Apple seems to have taken its time to create a unique product that could, in fact, blow its tablet competition out of the water.

OWC releases additional Do-It-Yourself upgrade kits for Apple notebooks, Mac minis

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Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 07:15
Category: Hardware, Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

Peripherals provider and all-around-useful company Other World Computing (OWC) has announced the release of over 50 Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Storage Upgrade Kits for Apple’s notebooks and Mac mini computers.

Per Macsimum News, suggested retail pricing starts at US$67.99 for a model that consists of a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive up to 1TB, an OWC brand FireWire and/or USB 2.0 bus powered 2.5-inch portable external enclosure, and a five piece installation tool kit.

With an OWC DIY Storage Upgrade Kit, Mac and PC notebook users and Mac mini users can upgrade their computer’s internal hard drive to a new larger capacity and/or faster speed, transfer their data to the new drive, and then continue using the “old” drive by installing it into the provided OWC enclosure for a “new” pocket-sized external drive.

ABC, CBS to have iPad-compatible content ready for iPad launch

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Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 03:11
Category: News

Per a Wall Street Journal report, the ABC and CBS television networks are ready to offer iPad-compatible content prepared in time for the device’s launch on Saturday.

Both CBS and Walt Disney’s ABC have planned for episodes of their TV shows to be viewable on Apple’s forthcoming iPad in time for its Saturday launch. Streaming episodes of TV shows will be available from CBS via its Web site, while ABC will offer a downloadable iPad application from the App Store.

While the initial offerings are expected to be limited at first, both networks plan to have identical content available both for the iPad and on their Web sites.

“Putting streaming video on the iPad would sidestep Apple’s iTunes content store, where Apple has been trying to juice anemic sales of TV episodes in advance of the iPad launch,” the report said. “So far, several media companies have rejected Apple’s push to lower the price for downloading shows from iTunes to 99 cents each, according to people familiar with the talks.”

Last week, it was revealed that Apple was testing HTML5 streaming video on an iPad-specific version of its Web site. Apple’s lack of support for Adobe Flash on its iPhone OS devices has forced networks like CBS and ABC to seek alternatives for their streaming solutions.

Apple is also looking to offer TV episodes for 99 cents from major networks, though the Journal reported Thursday that it is unknown whether any network will agree to that pricing by the Saturday launch. Episodes of TV shows typically retail for US$1.99 or US$2.99.

Apple launches iBooks app for iPad

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Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 03:40
Category: iPad, Software

The day before the official U.S. launch of the iPad, Apple’s long awaited iBooks app is now available in the App Store. Per MacRumors, the app offers both a book reader, an online bookstore to purchase new books and the following:

– Complimentary copy of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.

– Read a free sample of any book on the iBookstore.

– Change font size, pick from five different included type faces.

– Highlight your favorite passages with the built-in bookmarking feature.

– Accessibility features such as speaking words on a given page.

iBooks requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later and an iPad to install and run.

PowerPage Podcast Episode 129

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 19:51
Category: News

PowerPage Podcast Logo

Episode 129 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (13.2 MB, MP3).

Panel: Jason O’Grady and Rob Parker

Topics: This week we discuss Mac OS 10.6.3, the first round of iPad reviews in the mainstream media and we play “What’s on your Mac.”

Here’s what’s on our Macs this week:

Jason

Rob

  • Remote Tap ($4.99) – a “Mac Style” remote desktop app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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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!

Rumor: iPhone OS 4.0 could support multitasking via Expose-like user interface

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

3gs.jpg

Earlier reports surrounding Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 firmware focused on the idea of multitasking for the operating system. Per AppleInsider, these rumors have expanded to state that the supported multitasking will be resemble the Expose function in Mac OS X.

According to “people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new firmware,” a keystroke combination consisting of hitting the Home button twice will bring up the icons of currently running apps, allowing users to quickly choose the one they want to switch to.

The article notes that this sounds more like the basic “Command + Tab” app switcher (similar to Microsoft Window’s “Ctrl + Tab” option) than Expose, which scales all open windows down to tiny little versions of themselves, but their sources insist that the new iPhone multitasking will exhibit “several characteristics of the Expose brand.”

Multitasking, or its absence, has long been an issue for iPhone OS-based devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and, come Saturday, the iPad. Although number of bundled iPhone apps, including the phone and the iPod functions, are perfectly capable of running in the background while the user performs other tasks. Third-party app multitasking currently isn’t supported, which means that users must quit any third-party app they are using in order to run another third-party app.

Apple addressed the multitasking issue (sort of) in its iPhone OS 3.0 update, when it introduced push notifications. Push notifications notify users of changes in third-party apps (email, instant messages, and so on), so that users can switch over to that app if necessary.

Currently, multiple smartphone operating systems support multitasking. Compatible devices include Palm’s WebOS, Google’s Android OS, RIM’s BlackberryOS, and Windows Mobile (though the new Windows Phone 7 series will reportedly not support multitasking), leaving Apple is a bit behind.

Rumor: Hulu may offer “all-you-can-eat” subscription model for iPad

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPad, Rumor

With the iPad’s release a mere two days away, Hulu will reportedly embrace the platform with an iPad app that may offer an all-you-can eat subscription service to challenge Apple’s al a carte model.

Per the New York Times, four sources has stated that they ‘believe’ Hulu may test a subscription approach to its catalog of streaming TV shows through the forthcoming app, which wasn’t given a release date.

A joint venture of NBC Universal, the News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company, Hulu has seen its ad-supported, browser-based streaming service generate revenues of more than US$100 million and triple monthly streams to 903 million over the past year.

According to the article, many of Hulu’s content suppliers who are now pressuring the company to increase their share of the revenues and open doors to better monetization techniques, such as a subscription service that asks consumers to pay a monthly fee to gain unlimited access to a broad assortment of shows.

Apple held similar aspirations in the lead-up to this weekend’s iPad launch but was forced to table its own US$30 per month subscription efforts due to opposition from its network partners, which were said to have concerns that this could ultimately hurt their business and jeopardize “the tens of billions of dollars in subscription fees they are paid by cable and satellite companies for their traditional TV networks.”

Rumors of Hulu’s plans for the iPad have been circulating since the company was reported to be developing an Apple-friendly version of its website that would operate without the need for Adobe’s Flash video format, which isn’t supported on Apple’s mobile devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases AirPort Utility 5.5.1, updated firmware for Time Capsule, late 2009 AirPort Extreme units

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 04:28
Category: Software, wireless


Airportlogo.png

Late Wednesday, Apple released AirPort Utility 5.5.1, a 10.2 megabyte download which offers the following fixes to the AirPort Utility software:

– Not importing all settings when importing a configuration.

– Not propagating MAC address control lists when using an extended network.

The company also released a firmware update for its Time Capsule and late 2009 AirPort Extreme Base Station devices. The updated firmware repairs a problem with wireless performance in the 5GHz band and an issue with creating a Guest Network in that same band.

Both updates require Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run and the AirPort Utility update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature or via the update feature in Airport Utility itself.