Apple announces September 12th media event

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 17:07
Category: Hardware, iPhone, iPod, MacBook Pro, News

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You’ve been waiting for this for about a year now.

Per The Loop and MacRumors, Apple has sent out invitations for a media event scheduled for next week Wednesday, September 12. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern. The tagline on the invitation is simply “It’s almost here.”



The image sort of says it all, as a conspicuous “5″ appears in the shadow, the company being expected to deliver a long-awaited iPhone 5 handset. Apple’s iPod lineup is also rumored to be seeing an update at one of the two events, while rumored iMac updates and the launch of a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro are likely to appear separately.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and full coverage of the event come September 12th.

Apple awarded carbon fiber manufacturing patent, could make future MacBooks lighter, more shock resistant

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 07:06
Category: Hardware, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Patents

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The way your new MacBook notebook is manufactured is about to change.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent for a carbon fiber molding process that could one day be used to produce parts made from the lightweight material, like laptop casings or mobile device chassis.

The patent, number 8,257,075, for a “Carbon composite mold design” describes the systems and methods needed to manufacture “aesthetically pleasing” parts from carbon fiber and other resin based composites.

While the applications of carbon fiber composite materials are many, Apple specifically notes that the invention can be used to “form outer housings for a laptop computer or other similar device.” The patent may prove useful as an increasing consumer demand has pushed the industry toward slim and sleek portables with relatively heavy large screens. For example, the weight of the much-rumored next-generation iPhone’s expected 4-inch screen could be offset by a carbon fiber monocoque.

It seems that the invention is aimed at larger devices like Apple’s MacBook line, however, much like Sony’s carbon fiber Vaio Z thin-and-light series.

The patent is described as follows:
“As but one example, it would be particularly helpful if portable electronic device housings and components could be stronger and more durable than what is now typically provided in plastic parts that are formed via ordinary plastic injection molding processes. In particular, it would be beneficial if laptops, notebook computers, and other relatively large and heavy portable computing devices could have outer housings that are better able to protect the entire device from drops and other mechanical shocks.”

The patent notes that traditional resin-based composites are made by layering resin-impregnated sheets of into or over a mold, which then cures under increased heat and pressure. Removal of the part can prove a hassle as the resins stick to the mold surfaces, which often requires manual prying and peeling from an operator. As a result, surface blemishes and other defects often occur.

Apple’s proposed method looks to enable the mass-production of carbon fiber parts that have a consistent visual appearance by streamlining the manufacturing process.

The invention calls for a two-part mold, one a cavity and another portion “adapted to mate with the first,” allowing composite parts to be formed in between. After curing, ejector pins located on one or both of the mold portions are used to separate the material from the mold body.

In another embodiment, a mold can have one or more internal fluid lines to help with cooling, a permanent release coating, and guide pins to accurately align the fiber sheets. Either a fluid or gas-actuated ejection system can also be employed for easy removal of the cured parts.

While Apple has shown no signs of using the advanced carbon fiber molding techniques in any future devices, the company may very well choose to do so in its push toward lighter and stronger products.

So, if nothing else, your future MacBook could become lighter, stronger and perhaps shoot lasers at those who oppose you.

Which is never a bad thing.

Next-gen iMacs expected for holiday season, may lack Retina Display

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 07:52
Category: Hardware, iMac, Rumor

Yes, the potential of a new iMac is cool…but it might not have a Retina display.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s iMac will reportedly receive a hardware redesign before the end of the year, but the desktop won’t receive a high-resolution Retina display.

Two new iMac models in sizes 21.5 and 27 inches were detailed on Friday by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities as two of the eight new products Apple is reportedly preparing to release this fall. Kuo, who has a reliable track record, believes the new 21.5-inch iMac will debut in September, while a larger 27-inch iMac is expected to debut in late October.

According to Kuo, the new iMac will not feature a Retina display this year, but he expects the new Macs to “still prove attractive to consumers.” Interest in the new models, beyond the anticipated Ivy Bridge processors, will come from what Kuo said will be a “brand new design.”

Display quality on the new iMacs will reportedly be improved with a new “full-lamination process,” attaching the display panel to the protective cover glass.

This new production method apparently comes at a cost, though: According to Kuo, the larger 27-inch iMac has a lower yield rate with the new full-lamination method. Thus, Juo expects the 27-inch iMac to debut 6 to 8 weeks after the 21.5-inch model.

Another big seller in the holiday season, Kuo believes, will be the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. He has predicted that Apple will aggressively price the new MacBook Pro under US$1,300, which will help drive strong demand at launch.

Kuo’s predictions call for Apple to ship nearly 1.5 million iMac units in the fourth quarter of calendar 2012. With all other Mac models thrown into the mix, he believes Apple will ship a total of 5.5 million units in the holiday shopping quarter.

If Apple can achieve that number, it would likely ensure a new sales record for the company. Apple’s previous best quarter for Macs came in the holiday season of 2011, when the company sold 5.2 million Macs in a three-month span.

Only time will tell, so hang tight and we’ll bring you additional information as it becomes available.

Apple’s 27″ iMac retail supply dwindling, Ivy Bridge update expected soon

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 07:45
Category: Hardware, iMac, Rumor

There’s a chance of spiffy new iMac goodness on the horizon.

And that’s never a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, with Apple’s iMac lineup due for an upgrade to Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, stock of the larger 27-inch all-in-one desktop has become even more depleted ahead of a possible refresh.

Availability of the 27-inch iMac is now limited at most retailers seen in the AppleInsider pricing guide. In particular, the low-end 2.7-gigahertz model is currently out of stock at Amazon, MacMall, MacConnection, Best Buy, and J&R. For now, the desktop remains in stock at B&H.

Availability of the high-end 3.1-gigahertz model is slightly better. That configuration is currently sold out at Best Buy and J&R, while limited stock is available at Amazon.

A shortage of 27-inch iMacs was also noted on Friday by MacRumors which found that the base-level machine is currently sold out at 120 of Apple’s 249 U.S. retail locations, while the high-end configuration is unavailable at 135 retail stores.

While supply of the 27-inch iMac has dwindled, there are no such signs of constrained inventory for the 21.5-inch model. Both Apple’s retail stores and authorized resellers show the smaller iMac model to have adequate availability.

Supply of the 27-inch iMac first began to dry up last month, as resellers started to see limited availability of the big-screen desktop. Supply constraints at Mac resellers is often one of the first signs that Apple is drawing down inventory ahead of a product update.

The iMac line’s most recent refresh arrived over a year ago, in early May of 2011. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in July that he expects Apple to refresh its iMac lineup with Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors as soon as September.

Earlier this month, internal configuration files in Mountain Lion were discovered to make apparent references to unreleased new generations of the iMac, as well as the Mac Pro. The new iMac was labeled as (iMac13,0), while the Mac Pro was identified as (MacPro6,0).

In addition, a new 13th-generation iMac identified as “iMac 13,2″ has already appeared in Geekbench benchmarks. That machine was seen running Mountain Lion with an Intel Core i7-3770 processor clocked at 3.4-gigahertz with 4 gigabytes of 1600-megahertz DDR3 RAM.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.