Tim Cook hints at no ARM-based processor for future generations of MacBook Air

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Date: Monday, February 6th, 2012, 06:37
Category: MacBook Air, News

It’s when Apple executives begin dropping hints as to upcoming product lines that things get interesting.

Per AppleInsider, after meeting with Apple chief executive Tim Cook and chief financial officer Peter Openheimer, Citi analysts noted a strong iPad outlook leaving little likelihood of an ARM-based MacBook Air.

Citi analyst Richard Gardner reported Cook reiterating his comment, originally made during the quarterly earnings conference call, that the market for tablets would eventually grow larger than the conventional PC market.

Apple doesn’t refer to iPad as a PC, but as a “post-PC device,” leaving the ARM-based tablet distinct from the company’s Intel-based Macs. Gardner further indicated the meeting dispelled the notion that Apple might introduce ARM-based Macs, countering rumors that a new MacBook Air featuring an ARM processor might appear sometime soon.

Gardner cited Cook as alluding to “rapid innovation on the iOS platform” that will “significantly broaden the use case for tablets,” and stated he “walked away from this meeting with the impression that Apple feels iPad satisfies—or will soon satisfy—the needs of those who might have been interested in such a product” as an ARM-based MacBook Air.

Speculation about a MacBook Air or other low end Mac models beginning to incorporate ARM processors has been fueled by rapid advances in ARM’s chip designs as well as Microsoft’s Windows 8 strategy that envisions future tablet and clamshell PC devices built around ARM chips rather than Intel x86 compatible processors that Windows has historically been tied to as a platform.

While Apple could deliver ARM based Macs, it appears the company is more focused on increasing the desirability of its existing iPad and leaving Macs as a higher end alternative rather than bringing them into directly overlapping use scenarios.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4S returns to Chinese Apple Store web site, units can be expected by March 2nd

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Date: Monday, February 6th, 2012, 06:18
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re over in the far east and hankering for an iPhone 4S, you’ll be able to snag one online without getting into a fistfght in line.

Per China Daily, the handset has returned to the company’s Chinese online store following a brief stoppage of sales due to overwhelming demand that led to scalpers and violence, though wait times for orders can range from overnight to weeks.

The report confirms that the iPhone 4S can now be purchased through the online Apple Store in mainland China, bringing an end to the nearly month-long moratorium on sales that was instituted almost immediately following the smartphone’s Chinese launch.

Apple’s Chinese online store has been taking orders since Wednesday, though customers may not be receiving the actual device for some time as current estimates are quoting a ship date of “February.”

“If you pay today, you might get the items tomorrow, and no later than March 2,” said an Apple sales representative.

In re-opening online orders, Apple has instituted strict sales policies that dissuade scalpers from using bots to gobble up online inventory to be sold on the grey market at inflated prices.

A lottery system was recently introduced in Hong Kong, where lower taxes and limited supply led to a flood of scalpers who repeatedly clashed with customers and each other for a chance to buy the device. The price for a 16 GB iPhone 4S in Hong Kong is HK$5,088 (US$660), more than US$100 cheaper than the 4,988 yuan (US$790) mainland China customers pay for the same handset.

iPhone buyers in Hong Kong must place their online order with a valid government-issued ID between 9am and 12pm, and those who are randomly selected will receive an email by 9pm with instructions on picking up the device at a specific time the following day. Customers not selected are forced to repeat the procedure on a different day.

Apple’s new rules limit purchases to two devices per person and it remains to be seen whether the newly instituted rules will reduce the number of units sold through unofficial channels, however some stores are seeing a change.

“Since we began accepting online orders yesterday, not as many people have been hawking iPhones nearby as before,” said an employee at the Apple Store in Xidan, Beijing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve been involved in the Chinese purchase process for an iPhone 4S, please let us know in the comments.

Mac OS X 10.7.3 bugs being tracked, workarounds/fixes discovered

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Date: Friday, February 3rd, 2012, 05:25
Category: News, Software

Mac OS X 10.7.3 is here.

Now it’s time to sort out the bugs.

Per 9to5Mac, a number of users are reportedly suffering from an odd application crash bug. Affected people will see apps crash often, with the unusual twist of error messages that feature the word “CUI” stamped over them. A source claims that the company has already sent out an email to a v10.7.3 test group, asking them if they’ve run into the problem and requesting bug reports if so.

Some workarounds exist (which are cataloged here). The most extreme of these involves booting into a Lion Recovery partition, and using Terminal to install a downloaded Combo version of the v10.7.3 update.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve discovered any issues or workarounds, please let us know in the comments.

Apple cites misdirected iMessages as result of incorrect configuration, not iOS 5 bug

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Date: Friday, February 3rd, 2012, 05:01
Category: iPhone, News, Software

If iOS 5’s iMessages app is giving you fits, Tim Cook is here to tell you why. Per The Loop, reports of iOS 5 iMessages being sent to the wrong recipient are the result of a misconfigured phone, not an issue with the operating system or Apple’s cloud services, the company indicated.

The report notes that a situation where messages from an Apple Store employee were being directed to another user’s iPhone were the result of the employee failing to follow directions while troubleshooting the customer’s device.

The employee installed his personal SIM card in the customer’s phone, linking the device to his Apple ID account in a way that resulted in his subsequent iMessages, including photos, being relayed to the customer’s device.

The report cited Apple representative Natalie Harrison as saying, “this was an extremely rare situation that occurred when a retail employee did not follow the correct service procedure and used their personal SIM to help a customer who did not have a working SIM. This resulted in a temporary situation that has since been resolved by the employee.”

Apple noted that to prevent such a situation, users should “toggle iMessage on and off” in the Settings app of any iOS 5 device configured to their Apple ID before it is given away or sold.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Skype updated to version 5.5.0.2340

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Date: Friday, February 3rd, 2012, 05:56
Category: News, Software

skypelogo.jpg

Late Thursday, version 5.5.0.2340 of the Skype VoIP application was released as a public beta). The new version, a 23.2 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Improved video call stability and improvements to the calling interface.

Skype 5.5.0.2340 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: Apple to hold “Strange” special event in February

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Date: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012, 05:59
Category: iOS, iPad, Rumor

applelogo_silver

It’s the rumors that make tech interesting.

Per Macotakara, a rumor is circulating that Apple will hold a “Strange” event in February and a Special Event to launch the third-generation iPad in early March. Staff writer Danbo has now corrected the original claim as only telling a “half-side of truth.”

According to him, Apple will indeed hold an event in February, but it will be a “Strange” event rather than a full product launch. The author was unable to provide further details on what exactly a strange event would entail, though he did reiterate that it would not be a product event.

One possibility is that the rumored February event could contain industry-related announcements similar to how last month’s education event in New York City to mark the release of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author without showing off new hardware.

“Special Event for new products will be hold in early March and will release products during March as usual,” Danbo continued.

The publication’s most-recent corrections put its insider information more in line with other reports that have pegged March as the month that Apple will release its new iPad, similar to last year. Bloomberg reported last month that production for the next-gen iPad was already underway ahead of a March launch. That report also claimed that the device would feature a high-resolution display, LTE compatibility and a quad-core processor. Rumors out of Taiwan have also pointed to March as the time frame for the launch.

The third-generation iPad is generally believed to feature a doubled-resolution display with a pixel density of 254 pixels per inch. Apple is also expected to unveil its next-generation A6 processor alongside the next iPad as it did with the A5 and the iPad 2 last year.

As for iOS 5.1, a beta release of the software provided by Apple to developers appears to contain references to deep Facebook integration similar to system-wide elements for Twitter that the company built into iOS 5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Security Update 2012-001 for Snow Leopard, Snow Leopard Server operating systems

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Date: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012, 05:53
Category: News, Software

snowleopard

With Mac OS X 10.7.3 going live yesterday, one has to wonder what changed for Mac OS X 10.6.x (Snow Leopard) users?

Not that much.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s legacy Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server operating systems saw only minor security patches, though it is recommended that users install the latest software.

The Snow Leopard downloads, which can be found through Software Update or at Apple’s support page, offer Security Update 2012-001 (Snow Leopard) and Security Update 2012-001 (Snow Leopard Server), these updates weighing in at 192.73 MB for the Client version and 212.09 MB for Snow Leopard Server, with both requiring Mac OS X 10.6.8 to install and run.

If you’ve tried any of these updates and have feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.3 update

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Date: Thursday, February 2nd, 2012, 05:10
Category: News, Software

You’ve been wanting it for a while and now it’s here.

Late Wednesday night, Apple released its Mac OS X 10.7.3 update. The update, a 997 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Add Catalan, Croatian, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian, Slovak, Thai, and Ukrainian language support.

– Address issues when using smart cards to log into OS X.

– Resolve issues authenticating with directory services.

– Address compatibility issues with Windows file sharing.

For detailed information on this update, please visit here.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit here.

If necessary, the full 1.2 gigabyte combo updater can be downloaded here.

The Mac OS X 10.7.3 updater requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS x 10.7 or later.

If you’ve tried the new operating system and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iPhone jailbreaking could be ruled as “fair use” in U.S., government invites public comments until February 10th (updated)

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Date: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012, 05:30
Category: iPhone, News

You can’t argue with effective lobbying.

Per Macworld UK, the United States government, at the request of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has announced an inquiry that could lead to a blanket exemption to the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) for activities that all under the Fair Use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. As such, public comments have been invited until February 10th.

This announcement, and subsequent change in DCMA enforcement policy, has wide-ranging implications for consumers of electronic devices and media. As it applies to the on-going battle between Apple and iPhone hackers, the new rules stipulate that Apple may not actively prevent attempts to “Jailbreak” the iPhone to allow extra functionality with either hardware or software measures.

Beyond the iPhone, the new DCMA exemptions allow academics to legally break DVD copy-protection to use films clips in the classroom, users to remove software and hardware security measures that are no longer supported by the publisher or manufacturer, and legalizes the investigation and correction of software flaws by third-parties.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.