Users report bugs in iChat video recording on current-gen MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Monday, January 31st, 2011, 06:16
Category: MacBook Air, News

You love your new MacBook Air.

You would have asked it to prom if it had been around back then.

And it might not be able to record video chats despite having the hardware to do so.

According to MacFixIt, a reader wrote to state has not been able to record video chats in iChat on his new MacBook Air notebook. While video chats work fine, for some reason the “Record Chat” option in the “Video” menu does not work and the program will not allow video chats to be recorded. This is in contrast to both prior MacBook Air models, all other Mac systems that support video chatting.

MacFixIt reader “Joseph” writes:
“I’ve just discovered that the new MacBook Air, unlike every other current-vintage Apple laptop and desktop, is unable to record a video iChat. My local Apple Store tells me that the problem lies within the hardware itself. Can anyone tell me more specifically what that problem is, and whether there might be any workarounds?”

In the midst of diagnosing the problem, the article suggests creating a new user account on the system to test iChat with and see if any user-related settings were contributing to the problem.

On systems that support recording, a green check will appear. On the MacBook Air systems experiencing this problem an “Insufficient CPU” error will be shown.

Apparently other users have reported experiencing this problem, and in a call to AppleCare, one reader was told it is caused by the latest model of MacBook Air having a hardware incompatibility with iChat that prevents video chats from being recorded. To see this, if you go to the “Video” menu and choose “Connection Doctor,” select “Capabilities” from the drop-down menu and the “Record video chat” option will show “Insufficient CPU” instead of a green check.

Some MacBook Air systems that are experiencing this problem have been able to record video when running Mac OS X 10.5.x, indicating this issue may be with the previous 2009 models that shipped with Mac OS X 10.5 in addition to the 2010 models that shipped with Mac OS X 10.6.

The hardware in the latest MacBook Air should be fully capable of recording video chats.

Therefore, this is likely a bug in iChat that is preventing this feature from working. It appears Apple uses a specific feature of certain CPUs in iChat’s recording feature, and this feature is either not present in the CPUs used in the latest MacBook Air systems, or it has been disabled in firmware or by how the CPU interfaces with the other hardware changes in the latest MacBook Air systems.

Meanwhile if you are affected by this issue, one workaround that’s been located is to use QuickTime Player’s video chatting capabilities. To do this, start up a video chatting session and launch QuickTime Player. Then start a screen recording session, switch to iChat, and set the video to be full screen. This will record the screen and your audio input which you should then be able to import into iMovie or any other editing software.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Analyst cites iPad 2 components, specs, expected supply numbers

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Date: Monday, January 31st, 2011, 05:25
Category: iPad, Rumor

Per AppleInsider, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities has prepared a report indicating that iPad 2 won’t receive higher resolution screen this year, using the same 1024×768 of the original iPad.

“The improvement of iPad 2 display,” the report notes, “focuses on thickness and anti-reflection, not resolution. iPad 2 display module is 30 – 35% thinner than iPad 1 and it’s helpful for better form factor.

“Thanks to anti-reflection, iPad 2 could have better sunlight readable experience and it’s helpful for Apple to compete with Amazon’s fast growing Kindle business.

“The most important reason why iPad 2 won’t have retinal display is yield rate of panel making. At this point, making high resolution and bright IPS/FFS panel is not easy and the production volume and cost couldn’t meet Apple’s requirements.”

The new iPad model is also said to pack much higher processing power, graphics and more RAM and faster memory access. The greater computing power of of the revised iPad “could ensure iPad 2‘s competitive advantage for coming tablet war this year,” the report notes.

“iPad 2 will use [ARM] Cortex-A9 dual core processor running at 1.2GHz. Increasing 1-2% single core processor clock results in a 3-5% power increase and dual core could get a better balance between computing power and power consumption. That’s the reason why Apple will use dual core for iPad 2.”

As expected, the report also states “iPad 2 will also have a GPU using Imagination’s SGX543 dual core graphics technology which is 200~300% powerful than iPhone 4.”

RAM is also on the rise, the report says. “For making full use of GPU upgrading advantage, iPad 2 needs bigger memory bandwidth. So iPad 2 has 512MB RAM, same as iPhone 4 and twice as much as iPad 1, but running at higher clock 1,066 MHz for getting bigger memory bandwidth (iPhone 4 memory clock is 800 MHz).”

The report also stated that “iPad 2 adds one new CDMA model and it could bring more market share to Apple. Project IDs of Wi-Fi, GSM and CDMA iPad 2 models are different. GSM iPad will use Infineon chip and CDMA iPad will use Qualcomm chip. More suppliers could reduce the risk of component shortage.”

The possibility of an SD Card slot is mentioned, but not confirmed, but the report notes that the iPad 2 will have two cameras, but with components shared with iPad touch, rather than the higher quality iPhone 4 cameras.

“There are more and more photo and video editing applications for iPad in App Store. The SD slot could let users easily transfer photo and video files made by DSC and DV to iPad and edit them,” the report observed, falling short of actually confirming whether a card slot will be present.

“iPad has two cameras. Front camera is 0.3 mega-pixel [VGA, like iPhone 4] and rear one is 1 mega-pixel [like iPod touch, rather than iPhone 4]. Front camera is for Facetime and Photo Booth and 0.3 mega-pixel is enough because the resolution of iPad 2 is 1,024×768. Rear camera is for applications such as video recording and augmented reality.”

Finally, the report notes that Foxconn will remain the iPad’s sole maker, noting that production began this month and will result in “at least 4.5 – 5 million units for Apple in 1Q’11. iPad 2 will likely go to market in late 1Q’11 or early 2Q’11 based on supply chain shipment status.”

Verizon confirms Feb. 3, 3 a.m. preorder window for current customers

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Date: Monday, January 31st, 2011, 05:15
Category: iPhone, News

verizonlogo.jpg

With its February 10th launch date just around the corner, wireless carrier Verizon has launched a new teaser countdown page for existing customers, telling them to come back at 3 a.m. eastern standard time on Feb. 3rd.

Per AppleInsider, Verizon sent out emails to business customers earlier this week notifying them of the 3 a.m. start, the new page is the first time that all existing customers were informed of the time. Verizon customers will, of course, still need to check with the carrier to verify that they are eligible for an iPhone upgrade.

Verizon’s iPhone frequently asked questions page still states that preorders will begin “on or around February 3rd 2011″ and will be sold on a “first come, first serve” basis.

While a 3 a.m. Eastern time may seem an odd time for Verizon to begin taking iPhone 4 preorders, it’s the earliest time where all contiguous states will have reached Feb. 3.

The 16GB iPhone 4 model will retail for US$199, while the 32GB model will go for US$299, each with a 2-year contract. A leak on the Apple website Wednesday revealed that Verizon’s voice plans for the iPhone 4 will start at US$39.99 per month, with unlimited data for US$29.99, and the option of 2GB of data tethering for an additional US$20. According to one Verizon executive, the company’s unlimited data plan will only be available for a limited time before being phased out for a tiered pricing structure.

In preparation for the launch, Verizon has also begun carrying cases for the CDMA iPhone 4 on its website. Apple recently began offering a universal bumper case that fits both the GSM and CDMA models of the iPhone 4, since the new CDMA iPhone has a new antenna design that necessitated moving the mute switch slightly.