Apple releases iOS 3.2.2, 4.0.2 update

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Date: Thursday, August 12th, 2010, 04:18
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple somewhat unexpectedly released iOS 3.2.2 and iOS 4.0.2, the latest versions of its operating system for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. The new version, which weighs in at over 500 megabytes, repairs a security vulnerability associated with viewing malicious PDF files.

To download and install the update, attach your iPhone or iPad to your computer, open iTunes, select the device and search for an update. The process will occur as per usual.

And if you’ve noticed any major changes or would like to offer feedback on this, let us know.

Microsoft releases Office 2004 11.6, Office 2008 12.2.6, Open XML Converter 1.6 updates

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Date: Wednesday, August 11th, 2010, 05:45
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Microsoft released version 11.6.0 of its Microsoft Office 2004 suite and version 12.2.6 of its Microsoft Office 2008 suite as well as version 1.6 of its XML Converter utility. The Office updates, which weigh in at 192 and 332 megabytes, respectively, focus on improving security for both suites, fixing vulnerabilities that could allow malicious code to overwrite portions of your Mac’s memory and run arbitrary commands.

The updates are free and available through the AutoUpdate programs and require Mac OS X 10.2 or later to run Office 2004 and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run Office 2008.

If you’ve installed the updates and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

Adobe releases Flash Player 10.1.82.76 for Mac, adds hardware acceleration for H.264 content

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Date: Wednesday, August 11th, 2010, 05:25
Category: News, Software

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In spite of the constant back and forth between Apple and Adobe, a new version of Flash Player for Mac has shipped that officially supports hardware acceleration for H.264 video content.

Per AppleInsider, the update 10.1.82.76 was announced Tuesday by Adobe product manager Thibault Imbert on his blog. The feature, code-named “Gala,” had been announced several months prior, but was unavailable with the official release of Flash Player 10.1 for Mac in June. In a break from usual protocol, Adobe enabled the new feature in a security release.

Hardware acceleration in Flash Player 10.1 for Mac is available only for Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the following graphics cards: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M.

According to Adobe, a CPU utilization reduction of up to two-thirds is possible when GPU hardware acceleration is active.

Adobe Flash Player 10.1.82.76 can be downloaded here and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple Japan agrees to replace overheating iPod nano units

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Date: Wednesday, August 11th, 2010, 04:04
Category: iPod Nano, News

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Following the request of Japanese authorities, Apple has finally agreed to replace a number of iPod nano music players, which may have proved a fire risk.

According to AFP, Japan’s industry ministry once again warned the first generation iPod nano, sold from 2005, had caused a number of accidents. “Four people burned themselves after they touched the device, which had overheated during charging,” an official from the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said.

The ministry had called on Apple to reveal just how many iPods, both in the US and worldwide, had suffered from similar over heating issues.

Under pressure, Apple’s Japanese unit has agreed to replace the aging iPods, admitting “very rare cases of overheating” in the iPod nano’s battery, originally sold between September 2005 and December 2006.

Apple blamed the fault, which could also lead to bulging iPods, on faulty batteries, traced to a particular third-party manufacturer.

The ministry called Apple’s delay in resolving the issue “truly regrettable,” but noted they are “aware of the amendment” on the Apple site and offer of replacement iPods from the company.

“But we have yet to receive any formal report from the company about it. So we cannot make any comment at this stage,” said Naotake Fujushiro, who added that Apple has sold about 1.8 million units of the 2005 iPod nano in Japan since September 2005.

Apple did not reveal if the company would extend the iPod nano replacement scheme to countries other than Japan.

Rumor: Apple planning CDMA iPhone, smaller iPad tablets, AMD-powered Apple TV devices

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Date: Tuesday, August 10th, 2010, 06:02
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, News, Rumor

It’s the rumor mill that keeps things interesting.

Per DigiTimes, overseas component suppliers have started rumors of a number of new products coming from Apple in the next year, including a new Apple TV running iOS and powered by an AMD Fusion processor, a 7″ iPad, a CDMA iPhone, and a new 9.7″ iPad with a Cortex-A9 processor and 512MB of RAM in 2011.

DigiTimes went somewhat overboard on Monday, reporting a lengthy list of potential future hardware from Apple. The site made mention of a Verizon-compatible CDMA iPhone expected to start production in December, piggybacking on rumors that resurfaced over the weekend, claiming the iPhone 4 will debut on the Verizon network in the U.S. in January 2011.

“Pegatron is expected to start mass production in December and will supply to both US-based Verizon Wireless and China-based China Telecom,” the report said. “The CDMA iPhone’s back plate will be forged from metal materials and will feature an integrated antenna.”

Sources also indicated to the publication that Apple will upgrade its 9.7″ iPad to an ARM Cortex-A9-based processor, and also add 512MB of RAM in the first quarter of 2011. The current model has 256MB or RAM and a custom A4 processor based on the Cortex-A8 design.

The report also rekindled rumors of a smaller iPad with a 7″ screen. The report claimed that the hardware will also sport a Cortex-A9-based processor, and like the 9.7-inch model, will have an LCD panel with in-plane switching technology and a resolution of 1,024-by-768 pixels.

Finally, the report also claimed that the Cupertino, Calif., company is working on a new Apple TV powered by AMD’s Fusion package, dubbed an “accelerated processing unit,” or APU. AMD’s yet-to-be-released hybrid processor combines the CPU and GPU functions into one package. The ARM-based chips found in Apple’s iPhone and iPad already accomplish similar functions with low power consumption.

AMD touts that its forthcoming Fusion product will offer strong HD, 3D and data-intensive performance on the single-die processor. “APUs combine high-performance serial and parallel processing cores with other special-purpose hardware accelerators, enabling breakthroughs in visual computing, security, performance-per-watt and device form factor,” the company said.

DigiTimes claimed that the new Apple TV will switch to “a user interface similar to the iPhone with support for social networking websites, network multimedia and the App Store. Mass production of the device will start in December.”

Aside from the inclusion of an AMD processor, the rumors largely reiterate what was stated in May by assorted web sites. That report indicated that Apple would release a new product that would offer 1080P cloud-based content streaming for just US$99. However, it indicated that the device would run on a custom-built A4 processor, just like the iPad and iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple licenses new durable metal alloy for use in products

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Date: Tuesday, August 10th, 2010, 04:50
Category: News

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Apple has entered into an exclusive agreement to utilize amorphous metal alloys with unique atomic structures, allowing products that are stronger, lighter, and resistant to wear and corrosion.

Per AppleInsider, the metal alloys, owned by Liquidmetal Technologies, were developed by a research team at the California Institute of Technology, and their amorphous, non-crystalline structure makes them harder than alloys of titanium or aluminum.

Introduced for commercial applications in 2003 through the Delaware-based Liquidmetal corporation, the product has been used to create technology for the U.S. Department of Defense, has been found in medical equipment, and is even used to create sporting goods like tennis raquets and golf clubs.



In a Form 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week, Liquidmetal Technologies indicated that it had granted all of its intellectual property assets to Apple. According to the terms of the deal, Apple was awarded “a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercial such intellectual property in the field of electronic products in exchange for a license fee.”

Though the licensing agreement grants Apple exclusive use in consumer electronics, Liquidmetal is still allowed to license its products to other companies for any use outside of markets where Apple competes, meaning its deals with defense contractors, sports equipment manufacturers and medical suppliers are likely to remain intact.

The agreement was made on August 5th, revealed to the SEC on Monday and was signed by Larry Buffington, president and CEO of Liquidmetal Technologies.

The company’s official website gives examples of where Liquidmetal’s products were used in portable electronics in the past. It touts that Liquidmetal alloys are 2.5 times the strength of commonly used titanium alloy and 1.5 times the hardness of stainless steel found in portable electronic devices. The technology is said to allow for thinner, smaller design while offering greater protection for internal components, and giving users a scratch and corrosion resistant exterior.

Past devices where Liquidmetal’s technology was utilized include the Nokia Vertu smartphone, Sandisk Sansa media player, and Sandisk U3 Smart thumb drives. The product was also used to create strong hinge components for devices like flip smartphones.

Apple’s interest in a company like Liquidmetal is no surprise, given its constant desire to create smaller and thinner devices. Apple has also employed a unibody design in its portable computers, beginning in early 2008 with the MacBook Air.

The precision unibody enclosures are milled from a single extruded block of aluminum, allowing devices like the MacBook Pro to become thinner while maintaining a rigid, sturdy frame. Previously, the frames of Apple’s notebooks were made from multiple parts. Now, raw aluminum is carved out using CNC, or “computer numerical control” machines.

Whatever becomes of this, you can’t say it won’t be interesting.

AT&T report to SEC hints at end of carrier exclusivity, possible Verizon CDMA iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, August 10th, 2010, 04:33
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s the rumor that won’t die, but it’s picking up some interesting evidence that might make it that much more valid.

Per the Wall Street Journal and Macworld, wireless carrier AT&T AT&T discussed its exclusivity arrangements at great length in its recent quarterly filing with the Securities Exchange Commission. The filing has sparked speculation not so much for what it said about the iPhone, but what it didn’t say.

When discussing its wireless business, the carrier said it offered a wide range of devices including 18 smartphones. The reason for offering so many phones, the company said, was to reduce “dependence on any single handset.” The reference to the “single handset” has been seen as pointing towards the iPhone, currently the most popular device AT&T offers for sale.

After declaring the company doesn’t depend on one handset, AT&T’s report gets even more suggestive. “As these exclusivity arrangements end,” the report says, “we expect to continue to offer such handsets…[and] do not expect any such terminations to have a material negative impact on our Wireless [sic] segment income.”

Taken together, the comments about dependence on one device and the end of exclusivity sure sound like AT&T may be preparing its investors for a soft landing once the carrier loses control of the iPhone.

While AT&T may be preparing for the end of iPhone exclusivity, Apple is reportedly ramping up production of CDMA chipsets for the iPhone, according to TechCrunch. CDMA is the cellular network standard used by Verizon, while current versions of the iPhone are made for GSM networks. So Apple would to produce a modified iPhone for Verizon, and that could take as long as six months.

Per TechCrunch, anonymous sources that purportedly have deep knowledge of Apple’s supply chain. The report contends that Apple has ordered “millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets” to produce Verizon-compatible iPhones. The handsets would reportedly be finished by December in time for a January launch.

It’s an old rumor by this point but there may be a nugget of truth to be found here.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple ousts iPhone head Mark Papermaster, speculation flies as to who might be next

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Date: Monday, August 9th, 2010, 04:23
Category: iPhone, News

In November of 2008, Apple hired IBM’s Mark Papermaster to be Apple’s Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering, thereby replacing Tony Fadell as head of Apple’s iPod and iPhone divisions. A court deal later forced Papermaster to wait until April 2009 before starting at Apple.

Sixteen months later, Papermaster is out.

Per The Apple Core, speculation abounds that he’s the first casualty of the iPhone 4′s problematic antenna design, but neither Apple nor Papermaster have given a public reason for the departure, the current opinion having reasoned that he may have been asked to resign for the design flaw in Apple’s the iPhone 4.

Its suspect antenna design (dubbed “Antennagate”) has lead to rumors that its successor (the iPhone 5) is being to rushed to market and that it could come as soon as in January 2011, six months earlier than the traditional summer time frame for iPhone launches.

MacRumors chimed in with a rumor that Papermaster has been virtually invisible from Apple’s promotion of the iPhone 4, curious for the head of the department that designed it.

In retrospect, these current events should have cast a light during Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference last month. During the Q&A portion of the press conference, Papermaster, whose division designed the iPhone 4, didn’t seem to be in attendance at the event.

Even Apple’s promotional video for the iPhone 4 released at the device’s introduction in early June, which featured a number of Apple executives talking about the handset, failed to include Papermaster. Bob Mansfield is, however, featured with the job title of Senior Vice President of Hardware, dropping the “Mac” qualifier that had been part of his official job at that time. Per the New York Times, Mansfield was involved in the design of several aspects of the iPhone 4, including its A4 chip and Retina display.

Apple confirmed the shakeup at Apple’s most important devision in a statement to the New York Times stating that Papermaster is leaving the company. Apple noted that Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Macintosh hardware engineering, who recruited Papermaster in the first place, will be assuming his responsibilities.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple iPod event could occur in August, not September, new features expected

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Date: Monday, August 9th, 2010, 03:28
Category: iPod, iPod Touch, Rumor

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A new line of iPods could arrive a bit sooner than expected with a current rumor pointing towards an event rumored to take place on either August 16th or August 17th.

Citing a “reliable source within Apple,” MacMagazine reported Friday (via Google Translate) that Apple will hold an event either August 16th or 17th, a Monday or Tuesday. That would be sooner than the September timeframe in which many have expected that Apple will introduce its new iPod lineup.

The publication said that the music and media-centric event will be used to introduce a new iPod touch with a front-facing camera for FaceTime, as well as a rear camera with flash for taking pictures. It also said that Apple will add a gyroscope to the next-generation iPod touch.

The alleged August event would coincide with a recent rumor that suggested Apple would launch an updated version of its iLife suite this month. That report alleged that all of the current applications would be upgraded to 64 bits, and that a new “mystery” application would be a part of the package. It also claimed that iDVD would not be included, and instead would be made available for download like iMovie HD.

Last year’s media event, where the iPod nano with a video camera and FM tuner was announced, was held on a Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Analyst comments on supply chain, indicates that updated MacBook Air notebooks possible for September

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Date: Monday, August 9th, 2010, 03:28
Category: MacBook Air, News

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A pair of updated MacBook Air notebooks could be en route along with updated iPods this September as analyst Keith Bachman with BMO Capital Markets this week issued a note to investors in which he said Apple will finally update its MacBook Air line next month. Per AppleInsider, Bachman offered the following quote:

“We are not yet clear on all the specs, but supply chain checks suggest that unit shipments o the new Air products could far exceed the current Air, which we believe could suggest lower starting prices,” Bachman wrote. “We project 2.9 million total notebooks in the September quarter, which we believe is reasonable.”

Updates have been repeatedly rumored over the last year but never panned out. The hardware was last updated in June 2009, giving it a Core 2 Duo processor and Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics at a lower starting price of US$1,499.

Bachman also spoke of Apple’s anticipated update to its iPod line, though he did not specifically cite any industry insiders in his prediction for a redesigned, “much smaller” iPod nano.

“We believe that the Nano will be much smaller than past versions, and will not have a physical track wheel,” he said, adding that it’s possible that the iPod shuffle could be eliminated if the iPod nano is reduced in size.

Bachman also noted strong iPad and iPhone sales, and said checks in the supply chain indicate that the iPod touch has not been cannibalized by the iPad. BMO Capital Markets has maintained its “outperform” rating for AAPL stock, and has a price target of US$315.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.