Apple receives patent for “always-on” low power geared towards mobile devices

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Date: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012, 07:40
Category: Hardware, News, Patents

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This could lead to some interesting stuff.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent for a system in which the status of a portable device can be persistently displayed on-screen without having to turn on the display or primary backlight.

Apple notes that it may be necessary to check the status of a device, as many portable electronics simply shut off their displays when not in use as a method to conserve power. For example, an iPhone user has no way of knowing when their handset is on or off, or how much battery life is left, unless they turn on the main display.

While some solutions currently exist that display device status, they rely on technology that requires extra assembly and packaging, or takes away from the aesthetic appeal of the device.

In its U.S Patent No. 8,294,659 for a “Secondary backlight indicator for portable media devices,” Apple describes a system in which a low-power, location-specific backlight is used to illuminate certain areas on a device’s main display.

There are two modes covered in the invention, an “On” mode where the device’s primary backlight and display are activated, and an “Off” mode in which a secondary low-power backlight is activated when the primary backlight and display are deactivated.

Unlike other systems, the light is situated behind the primary backlight and display, and can be illuminated in sections. Instead of using cutouts in the device body, Apple’s patent calls for icon shapes to be removed from multiple transparent or semi-transparent layers of primary backlight’s system. When the low-power secondary backlight is turned on, the light emitted passes through the primary icon shaped regions of the primary backlight system’s layers to the cover glass, but are blocked by color filters that hold a plurality of icon shapes.

In one embodiment, the icons can change shape and size when needed, a good example being a battery life indicator:

“To vary the shape or size of each indicator, the shape and size of the color filters may be varied rather than the shape and size of the transparent or semitransparent regions of the primary backlight system. For example, color filters of different shapes and with different properties may be superimposed on each other. Thus, the shape of an icon on the display may depend on the color of light provided by the secondary backlight. This technique may also be used for icons that are displayed side-by-side.”

The icons can also be dynamic, creating a blinking effect by pulsing the secondary backlight, which can in turn save power.

Apple’s invention allows for multiple icons to displayed on the device at any given location, with the secondary backlight selectively guiding light toward “certain regions of the primary backlight such that only selected icons are shown on the display.”

It remains unclear if Apple will use the technology in an upcoming product, however space is already at a premium in the iPhone 5, making the addition of such a system questionable.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to offer livestream of media event today

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012, 06:08
Category: Hardware, iOS, iPad, iPhone, News

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Today’s Apple media event starts in just a few hours.

And Apple will be streaming it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has added a new channel to its Apple TV set-top box called “Apple Events” that will live stream the company’s media briefing today. In addition, the event will also be streamed to iOS devices and Macs.

Users are invited to tune in at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern to watch the “Apple Special Event” live. The presentation will be held at the California Theatre in San Jose.

In addition to a live stream of the event, Apple TV users can also watch Apple’s other past presentations, including the iPhone 5 unveiling, the 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference, and the introduction of the third-generation iPad with Retina display. Streaming via Apple TV requires a second- or third-generation model with software 5.0.2 or later.

For those on a Mac, the live stream requires Safari 4 or later on OS X 10.6 or later. On iOS devices, Safari on iOS 4.2 or later is required. The stream will be made available at this link later today.

Apple has on occasion offered live streams of its events, most recently in September of 2010. However, those events were streamed to Mac and iOS devices, not the Apple TV.

A week ago, Apple sent invitations to members of the press inviting them to see “a little more.” The company is expected to introduce a new, smaller iPad with a 7.85-inch display.

Also potentially on tap today are new Macs, most prominently a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. The company may also introduce a new version of iBooks, and a revamped version of its iTunes desktop software.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and happy streaming later on today!

Cocktail updated to 6.2

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Date: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012, 06:23
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.2 of CocktailCocktail (Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
- Added ability to disable Notification Center (System – Misc).

- Added ability to set the Software Update frequency (System – Misc).

- Added ability to set the default file save location in iCloud supported applications (Interface – General).

- Added “Use the Backspace key to show the previous page” setting (Interface – Safari).

- Fixed compatibility issues with Firefox 16.

- Updated Help files.

- Updated Automator actions.

- Other bug fixes and improvements.

Cocktail 6.2 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

Samsung may end LCD display contract with Apple in 2013

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Date: Monday, October 22nd, 2012, 07:15
Category: Hardware, News

Maybe it’s time to see other people.

An article in the Korea Times suggests Samsung will sever its contract with Apple and will no longer supply LCD panels to the Cupertino company, starting in 2013. An unnamed senior source within Samsung told the newspaper that the company is not making enough money off the panels that it is selling to Apple.

“We are unable to supply our flat-screens to Apple with huge price discounts. Samsung has already cut our portion of shipments to Apple and next year we will stop shipping displays,” said the source.

Samsung is reportedly shipping fewer and fewer panels to Apple each quarter, with the Korean company expected to supply Apple with only 4.5 million LCD panels in the second half of the year. This is down from the 15 million panels that Samsung sent to Apple in the first six months of 2012. Samsung will reportedly turn to Amazon and its own handset division to make up for the loss of orders from Apple.

Apple sources components from many companies, including displays from LG and Sharp as well as Samsung.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Alleged “iPad mini” image shows Lightning port, other changes

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Date: Monday, October 22nd, 2012, 07:56
Category: iPad, photos, Rumor

This is about as convincing as a leaked photo of a much-anticipated item gets.

Per Japanese website Apple.pro, the following leaked image released on Saturday claims to show a slightly modified third-generation iPad with a Lightning connector port, possibly pointing to an imminent release of the rumored device as part of Apple’s move to bring parity across its iDevice lineup.



It should be noted that the authenticity of the image cannot be confirmed and is thus provided for purposes of discussion only.

The supposedly new shell is shown resting atop the current iPad with 30-pin dock connector, illustrating the difference in size between the two cutouts.

Sitting on top of the purportedly refreshed case is a Lightning flex cable, in this case black, which appears to line up perfectly with the slot. It is unclear if the component will be used in the revamped iPad.

Apple is expected to bring Lightning connectivity to all of its iDevice products as they are refreshed, offering compatibility with upcoming accessories. The proprietary standard is seen as a long-term investment for the company, and is expected to have a lifetime of ten years, mirroring that of the legacy 30-pin dock connector.

It is unknown if and when Apple will release the slightly modified iPad, but it may take the opportunity to do so at a special event on Tuesday, where the company is widely expected to unveil the 7.85-inch “iPad mini.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Alleged 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro images show HDMI, Thunderbolt ports, SD card reader, other changes

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Date: Monday, October 22nd, 2012, 07:52
Category: Hardware, photos, Rumor

If this is truly en route, then it looks like it could rock.

Per Weiphone and MacRumors, a series of leaked photos claiming to be of an as-yet-unreleased 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display show the purported laptop’s battery cell and external connectivity options, which include two Thunderbolt ports, an SD card reader and HDMI output.



The images also show battery cell array and other particulars of the rumored Apple notebook.

Surprisingly, the allegedly leaked machine looks to be in working order, and is shown running Windows 7 at 2,560-by-1,600 pixels, lending evidence to rumors in August that claimed display makers were producing screens with an identical resolution.

Also shown are multiple close-up shots of the purported machine’s logic board, 8GB of Elpida RAM and screen assembly.

While the legitimacy of the images cannot be confirmed, the parts do line up with rumors suggesting Apple will soon release a Retina display carrying version of its smallest MacBook Pro.

It was reported earlier in October that low yields of the expected 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro’s high-resolution display forced Apple to delay the device’s launch.

Apple is widely expected to unveil a small form factor iPad, dubbed “iPad mini” by the media, at a special event next week, with sources saying the company is also likely to introduce a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

OnyX updated to 2.6.2

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 22nd, 2012, 06:03
Category: News, Software

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OnyX, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.6.2. The new version, a 21.5 megabyte download adds the following fixes and changes:

- Translations improved.

- Some obsolete functions were removed.

- Minor corrections.

OnyX 2.6.2 requires an Intel-based processor and OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple purchases Color Labs’ talent base for indeterminate price

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Date: Friday, October 19th, 2012, 08:05
Category: Finance, News, Software

Your favorite computer company bought up the talent, not the office supplies (including the trusty coffee maker)

Per All Things D, Apple didn’t buy social video startup Color, but it did acquire its engineering team of about 20 employees for as much as $5 million.

Disputing a rumor that surfaced on Wednesday claiming that Apple had bought Color, Liz Gannes of All Things D revealed on Thursday that Apple instead “acquired” Color’s engineering team. The employees were said to have been picked up for somewhere between US$2 million and US$5 million.

That would mean that earlier claims that Apple had bought Color for “double-digit millions” were incorrect. Instead, Apple made a relatively small talent acquisition of about 20 personnel.

“Apple is not buying Color’s technology, intellectual property, domain names or liabilities,” Gannes said. “Those are being left with the company, which still has considerable cash in the bank — something like US$25 million — and is going to be wound down.”

A flurry of rumors and misinformation related to Color were attributed to “bad blood” that has apparently formed between Color employees, company CEO Bill Nguyen, ex-employees, investors, and even Apple itself.

Founded by Bill Nguyen and Peter Pham in 2011, Color Labs was at the center of some controversy after netting US$41 million in a pre-launch funding round, a massive investment compared to the usual US$1 million in seed money seen by most comparable start-ups. The company released a photo-sharing app, though the initiative failed to draw users, prompting Pham to exit three months after launch and Chief Product Officer DJ Patil to do the same one month later.

Nguyen changed strategies and created a new video-sharing app that allows users to record and post 30-second silent video to Facebook, a direction that netted Color a deal with Verizon in May.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Analyst predicts Apple to phase out iPad 2 to make room for “iPad mini”

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Date: Friday, October 19th, 2012, 07:13
Category: Finance, iPad, News

The iPad 2 could be going the way of the dodo.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Rob Cihra with Evercore Partners said in a note to investors this week that he sees Apple phasing out the current iPad 2, because Apple’s overall vision calls for “clearer product tiers.” The prediction comes as Apple is expected to lower the barrier to entry of its iPad lineup by unveiling a new, smaller iPad next Tuesday.

Cihra believes Apple will sell around 7 million so-called “iPad mini” units in the December quarter. Along with the full-size iPad, he sees Apple selling a total of 26 million units in the holiday shopping season.

In his view, Apple is leveraging its engineering expertise in both hardware and software to “pull dollars away from otherwise commodity markets and incumbent competitors.” Apple’s calendar year 2012 revenues are up 30 percent year over year, while the broader PC market has dropped 4 percent this year.

Further bolstered by sales of 49 million iPhones, Apple is expected by Cihra to post US$56.1 billion in revenue during the December quarter, amounting to US$16.33 in earnings per share.

Prior to that anticipated blockbuster quarter, Apple will report results for its just-concluded September quarter. For that three-month frame, Cihra believes Apple sold 27 million iPhones, 17 million iPads, 4.9 million Macs and 5.7 million iPods, resulting in revenue of US$36.5 billion and earnings per share of US$9.03.

His numbers are slightly above Wall Street consensus for the September quarter, as other analysts on average seek US$36.4 billion in revenue and US$8.93 earnings per share.

Evercore Partners has reiterated its overweight rating for AAPL stock, as well as a target price of US$800.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VirtualBox updated to 4.2.2

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Date: Friday, October 19th, 2012, 07:02
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.2. The new version, a 102.3 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:
- VMM: adapted to changes in Mac OS X 10.8.2 (bug #10965).

- GUI: restored VM item tool-tip functionality (4.2 regression).

- GUI: added group item tool-tip functionality.

- GUI: fixed handling of the .ova/.ovf file name association (4.2 regression).

- GUI: it was not possible to change any setting before the first VM was created (bug #10928).

- GUI: disable grouping action if all the selected items are full children list of the same group already.

- GUI: added menu for runtime drag-and-drop option change.

- GUI: cleanup shared-clipboard menu on visual-mode change.

- GUI: make sure VM receives keyboard focus on entering fullscreen-mode on Win host (bug #11051).

- GUI: disable proxy authentication for security reasons.

- 3D Support: DrawIndexedPrimitiveUP implementation fixes for the Windows WDDM video driver (bug #10929).

- Storage: fixed a release assertion in the AHCI emulation when requests where canceled with asynchronous I/O disabled.

- Storage: fixed a hang during VM reset under certain circumstances (bug #10898).

- NAT: fixed a crash under rare circumstances (Windows hosts only; bug #10128).

- NAT: automatically use the host resolver if the host name server is set to some unusual loopback value (bug #10864).

- E1000: fixed a VirtualBox crash during intensive network transfers (4.2 regression; bugs #10936, #10969, #10980).

- ICH9: fixed PCI bridge initialization.

- USB mouse: ensure that the last mouse event doesn’t get lost if no URBs are available.

- BIOS: certain legacy guests (e.g. Windows 95) didn’t find the boot device after a warm reboot.

- BIOS: don’t trash the palette in text modes when setting the border color.

- EFI: fixed OS X guest autoboot (4.2 regression).

- VBoxManage: fixed output of showvminfo –machinereadable (bug #10973).

- VBoxManage: fixed parsing of storageattach –discard (bug #11023).

- VBoxManage: fixed wrong output of the HPET setting in showvminfo (bug #11065).

- VBoxManage: fixed closing the guest session after executing a guest process via guest control.

- VBoxShell: adaptions to interface name changes.

- Guest Additions device: fixed a Guest Additions hang when a machine was reset after a crash.

- Linux hosts / guests: Linux 3.7-rc1 fixes.

- Linux Additions: support X.Org Server 1.13.

- Linux Additions: fixed a hang when the X server was restarted with old guest kernels.

- Linux Additions: fixed a VBoxService crash during CPU hot remove (bug fixed in … (new)”>#10964).

- Windows Additions: fixed automatic screen resize issue for NT4 guests.

- OS/2 Additions: fixed shutdown hang.

- OS/2 Additions: fixed mouse driver panic.

- Solaris hosts: fixed autostart service going into maintenance mode after all VMs started.

- Solaris hosts: fixed linking the host driver with the dtrace module.

VirtualBox 4.2.2 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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