AT&T to raise iPhone insurance rates by $2/month on October 4th

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 10:45
Category: iPhone, News

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It never hurts to be protected…and you can take that any way you want.

Per Electronista, AT&T has confirmed that insurance costs will be going up for AT&T iPhone owners on October 4th, as rumored, a page on the carrier’s website reveals.

Come October 5th, insurance rates are scheduled to jump from US$5 to US$7, affecting new and existing customers alike. The hike is happening in conjunction with the creation of a new device tier, covering the iPhone and “other devices” for which a US$199 non-refundable deductible will apply.

The switch is clearly meant to coincide with Apple’s iPhone press event on the 4th, at which time the company will announce one or more new iPhone models. Potentially significant is that AT&T is increasing rates in tandem with the hardware’s introduction, and not at a later date when devices will presumably go on sale. It could imply that Apple is planning a rapid turnaround, opening up orders within the space of a week if not immediately.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

MobileMe users report outages prior to iCloud transition and launch

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 06:36
Category: iCloud, News

Regarding the iCloud…it’s en route, even if there are some transitional bumps in the road to be had.

Per AppleInsider, numerous MobileMe users reported experiencing outages of Apple’s current cloud service on Thursday, even as the fall launch of iCloud looms.

Users noted that they were unable to access MobileMe Mail. Apple’s system status page for its web service currently states that 25 percent of members may be unable to access MobileMe Mail, and some members may be unable to access www.me.com web apps and Find My iPhone. All other MobileMe services are listed as “online and fully operational.”

MacRumors noted that Apple late Thursday had cautioned on its status page that as many 75 percent of MobileMe Mail users might be experiencing problems.

MobileMe is, at this point, a ‘lame duck’ service, as it is scheduled to shut down on June 30, 2012. Apple plans to move existing members over to its upcoming iCloud service, a complete reworking of the company’s cloud-based offerings.

But, Apple has indicated that it will eliminate some of MobileMe’s less-used features, such as iDisk, MobileMe Gallery and iWeb publishing. After receiving customer complaints about lost functionality from the switch, Apple said it was open to considering adding back features “if there’s enough feedback on the subject.”

The company is expected to announce a release date for iCloud next week’s media event to unveil a new iPhone, as it’s unlikely that Apple would launch the fifth-generation iPhone without iCloud. Currently, the service is in a limited beta test.

Last week, the company released a developer build of Mac OS X 10.7.2 with iCloud integrated. Developer accounts have had their iCloud data wiped in preparation for an imminent launch of the service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked iPhone 5 case image surfaces from AT&T store, speculation grows

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 06:30
Category: iPhone, Pictures, Rumor

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It’s the leaks that make things interesting.

Per MacRumors, a picture showing iPhone 5 cases entered into the carrier’s inventory system, more evidence has emerged that AT&T has begun stocking third-party iPhone 5 cases days before Apple is expected to unveil its next handset.

An alleged store employee at an AT&T retail store sent to MacRumors photos of newly arrived silicone sleeves for the as-yet-unannounced “iPhone 5.” The product appears to be a low-end generic case, as it carries no distinguishable brand, is simply labeled “cell phone accessory” and comes in oversized packaging.

The sleeve features a tapered design with the mute switch on the right side of the device, resembling purported iPhone 5 cases that have proliferated in China for months.

However, the publication took care to note that the cases run against the “growing feeling that Apple may not be releasing such a device” because of recent evidence suggesting that Apple’s design for its next iPhone may be “nearly identical to the iPhone 4.”

Earlier on Thursday, a leaked photo allegedly of AT&T’s inventory system surfaced, showing entries for iPhone 5 hard case, soft case and skin products from Case-Mate. The case maker had previously posted its case designs on its website, but took them down shortly after they went up.

Anticipation for the next-generation iPhone reached a fever pitch after Apple sent out invitations to an event next Tuesday, Oct. 4, with the tagline “Let’s talk iPhone.” The tagline has prompted renewed speculation that Apple will include voice recognition features on its fifth-generation smartphone. The next iPhone is widely believed to feature the A5 processor found in the iPad 2 and an 8-megapixel camera.

There has been some disagreement, however, about whether Apple will introduce a redesigned iPhone 4 in addition to a new model. It had been suggested that Apple was looking to release a cheaper iPhone 4S alongside the iPhone 5, but recent reports have poured cold water on the rumor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 7.0.1 update

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 05:43
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Mozilla.org released version 7.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 28.2 megabyte download offered the following change:

- Fixed a rare issue where some users could find one or more of their add-ons hidden after a Firefox update.

Firefox 7.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know.

Adobe releases Lightroom 3.5 update

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Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 10:44
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, software giant released version 3.5 of its Lightroom (available on the company’s update page) photo editing utility. The Lightroom 3.5 update added the following fixes and changes:

- Using the arrow keys to modify image adjustment settings lacked responsiveness.

- A Publish Collection targeting a hard drive on Windows would not behave properly if the designated folder was deleted from hard drive.

- After editing the capture time in Lightroom, “Date Time Digitized” was incorrectly changed (Only “Date Time Original” should be modified).

- On Windows computers, Lightroom would interpret the wrong time zone.

- Changing Lightroom’s date created field to a date prior to 1933 resulted in unexpected values.

- Lightroom 3.2 introduced preview cache inefficiencies.

- GPS Altitude metadata was incorrectly excluded from files converted to DNG or exported as DNG files from Lightroom 3.4.1.

- For non-English language operating systems, folder names in the import dialog may not
have been translating properly.

- When exporting images with the “Write Keywords as Lightroom Hierarchy” enabled,
keywords with “Include on Export” deselected would still have been included on export • Saving metadata to a JPEG file in Lightroom 3.4 could have caused Lightroom to quit
unexpectedly.

- A Publish Collection in Lightroom 3.4 set to publish original files would fail to include XMP files for proprietary raw formats.

- RECONYX images did not open properly in Lightroom 3.4.

- When applying automatic lens profile correction, Lightroom 3.4 did not automatically
recognize the following lens: “Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED”.

- Using the plus or minus key to increment Develop Module parameters did not work
properly on the Mac.

- The Limit File Size export option was incorrectly including EXIF metadata on export when the Minimize Embedded Metadata option was selected.

- On Mac OS X 10.7, the Lightroom import dialog did not properly display network volumes.

- On Windows computers, using Shift + Scroll wheel to adjust the Adjustment Brush feather size, the expected result of the scroll wheel movement was reversed.

- Lightroom would not provide the correct error message when attempting to delete photos published to Facebook.

- Lightroom would experience tether capture failures on computers utilizing OS X 10.6.8 and 10.7.

- Develop load time performance was inconsistent.

Adobe Lightroom 3.5 retails for US$299 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple releases 24-Inch LED Cinema Display firmware update 1.0

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Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 05:49
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released its 24-Inch LED Cinema Display Firmware Update 1.0, a 962 kilobyte download which addresses an issue that may cause intermittent display flickering. This firmware will only install on the Apple 24-inch LED Cinema Display when it is connected to a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac.

Apple has also noted that this firmware update may not resolve the flickering issue if a Mini DisplayPort extender cable is used and that some USB and FireWire devices may prevent firmware updates from installing correctly; disconnect non-essential devices and use only an Apple keyboard and mouse to apply the update.

The update is available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think in the comments.

VMWare releases Fusion 4.0.2 update

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Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 04:46
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.0.2 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 180 megabyte download via MacUpdate, can be found here, offers the following fix:

- Addresses an issue starting virtual machines running a forthcoming version of Mac OS X Lion.

Fusion 4.0.2 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

If you tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

iFixit finishes teardown of Thunderbolt display, locates 2009 LG panel

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Date: Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 08:37
Category: Hardware, News

When in doubt, count on someone geekier than you to dissect Apple’s newest hardware.

The cool cats at iFixit have completed a full teardown of the screen has found.

The new display, powered by Apple and Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, was disassembled this week by iFixit. They found that the LG display is model number “LM270WQ1,” matching the previous iMac as well as the screen found in Dell’s competing UltraSharp U2711 27-inch monitor.

However, Apple’s display uses LED backlights for better picture quality and lower power consumption, as opposed to the cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) found on Dell’s screen. In addition, the Dell display is matte, while Apple’s is glossy.

The solutions provider also noted that Apple’s screen has a 12 millisecond response time and 17.7 million colors, while Dell’s competing panel offers an advertised 6 millisecond response time and 1.07 billion colors.

iFixit found that the glass front of the new Thunderbolt Display can be removed with “heavy duty suction cups,” just like with Apple’s iMac lineup. The LCD screen sports a resolution of 2,560-by-1,440 pixels.

“The fan is easily removed by simply detaching a couple of connectors and unfastening a few screws,” they said. “Apple has, as usual, chosen to go with a large, brushless fan to keep the colossal Thunderbolt Display cool and quiet.”

Inside the display, iFixit found a plethora of chips, causing them to remark that “it’s hard to believe there’s no computer inside.” The screen includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera, 2.1 speaker system, integrated MagSafe charger, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.

Some of the chips inside powering all of those features include:

- Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller

- L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller

- Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor

- NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller

- Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter

- SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller

- Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo high-power Class D amplifier

- LSI L-FW643E-2 open host controller interface

- Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller

- Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC

The teardown also discovered that the speakers inside the Thunderbolt Display are 49 watts with a miniature subwoofer. In addition, the Flextronics power supply is said to provide 250 watts of maximum continuous power.

If you’ve snagged a new Thunderbolt display and have any feedback about it, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple to discontinue iPod Classic, Shuffle models this year

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Date: Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 06:03
Category: iPod, Rumor

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The iPod classic and Shuffle models may not be long for this world.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple will streamline its iPod range by removing the iPod classic and iPod shuffle from its physical and online stores.

The source is apparently not an analyst, who preferred to remain anonymous, stated that the tip isn’t apparently that new.

The iPod classic still uses a traditional, spinning-disc hard drive and while Apple is making a conscious shift to flash memory it is beginning to look somewhat outdated. The iPod shuffle is at the lowest end of the iPod range and once it is discontinued, the iPod nano will take its place.

The iPod will see its 10th anniversary this October, which could make this a good time to put it to rest. Besides, iPods only account for eight percent of Apple’s total sales these days.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked video shows graphics switching feature on iPhone prototype

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Date: Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 06:21
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s the leaked videos that make life interesting.

Per AppleInsider, a new, unconfirmed video claims to show a prototype iPhone with a software-based developer setting that allows switching between graphics processing units.

While the video’s authenticity has yet to be verified, it claims to show a handset built for testing purposes that allows developers to choose between the SGX535 GPU found in the iPhone 4, and the faster SGX545, which has not yet been seen in any of Apple’s mobile devices.

The PowerVR SGX535 GPU from Imagination Technologies currently handles graphics for the A4 processor that powers the iPhone 4. But the A5 processor found in the iPad 2 has a SGX543MP2 GPU, different from the “545″ model shown in the video. The SGX543MP2 has two SGX543 cores.

A picture’s worth a thousand words, so take a gander and see what you think:



The SGX545 GPU was first unveiled in January of 2010, boasting full support for OpenGL 3.2 and OpenCL 1.0 with real-world performance of 40 million polygons per second at 200MHz. For comparison, the SGX535 can produce 28 million polygons per second, while the SGX543 pushes 35 million polygons per second.

But the SGX543MP2, with two SGX543 GPUs, is capable of nearly 70 million polygons per second, which would make it much more powerful than the single SGX545 claimed to be in the prototype.

While the video claims to show a prototype iPhone, the hardware displayed looks identical to the currently available iPhone 4. It’s possible that the graphics switching functionality, shown accessed through the iOS Settings application via the Developer Settings section, was enabled through a hack, or has been faked by some other method, such as a jailbreak.

As for the GPU differing from the A5 currently found in the iPad 2, it would not be a new approach for Apple to modify and improve the processor in the iPhone. For example, the A4 found in the iPhone 4 has 512MB of RAM, which is twice that of the A4 found in the first-generation iPad released months before the iPhone 4 was unveiled.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.