iPhone 5 shipping times improve, device ETA now stands at 2-3 weeks

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Date: Tuesday, November 13th, 2012, 07:59
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

Maybe things are getting a little better over at the Foxconn plant…

Per AppleInsider, availability of the iPhone 5 continues to improve, as Apple’s website now advertises that all models ship within two to three weeks.

The latest estimated shipping times are an improvement from the previously advertised timeframe of three to four weeks. The shipping time applies to both the black and slate as well as the white and silver models, in all three capacities.

The improved shipping times corroborate reports from last week that revealed Apple’s supply was catching up with demand for iPhone 5 inventory at its U.S. retail stores. Gene Munster and his team at Piper Jaffray found that 54 percent of 100 Apple Stores had the AT&T iPhone 5 in stock, while 24 percent had the Verizon model, and 84 percent were stocked with the Sprint variety.

Those numbers from last week were a major improvement from the weeks prior, when supplies of the iPhone 5 were severely constrained, particularly for AT&T and Verizon customers.

“We believe this is an important step for Apple as it appears they are finally gaining momentum in being able to keep up with demand for the iPhone 5,” Munster wrote. “We believe that if AT&T and Verizon device availability follows the same trend as Sprint, it may only be 2-3 weeks before iPhone 5s are consistently available to customers.”

Also last week, Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee said his checks within Apple’s supply chain found that the company had significantly improved its production capacity of the iPhone 5 since the device launched in late September. According to Wu, the supply chain bottleneck for the iPhone 5 moved from components to the assembly of the device itself.

Earlier reports claimed that the iPhone 5′s in-cell touch panel and aluminum chassis have caused quality control issues for both Apple and Foxconn. One unnamed source from Foxconn said in October that the iPhone 5 is “the most difficult device” the company has ever been tasked with assembling.

If you’ve gotten word as to when your iPhone 5 is expected to ship, please let us know its estimated delivery time in the comments.

Apple releases Aperture 3.4.3 update

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Date: Tuesday, November 13th, 2012, 07:07
Category: News, Software

Late last week, Apple released version 3.4.3 of Aperture, its pro-grade image editing application. The new version, which is available as a direct download or via Mac OS X’s Software update feature, is a 551 megabyte download and offers the following fixes and changes:

- Addresses an issue that could cause a licensed copy of Aperture to prompt for a serial number with each launch.

Aperture 3.4.3 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: Samsung initiates 20% price increase for iOS device chips

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Date: Monday, November 12th, 2012, 08:05
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Processors, Rumor

I think it’s about time we just rename “Apple” and “Samsung” as the “Hatfields” and the “McCoys”, because this is going to drag on for a while.

Per MarketWatch, Samsung has allegedly increased the price of its mobile processors by 20 percent for just one company: Apple.

The details come from an unnamed person allegedly familiar with negotiations between the two companies.

The person indicated that Samsung asked for a “significant price raise” for building chips such as the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 and the A6X processor that powers the fourth-generation iPad.

Apple apparently balked at the terms of the deal at first, but eventually accepted the 20 percent price hike, as it could not find any other company to build its mobile processor.

All of Apple’s application processors for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are made by Samsung. The company produces the chips at its fabrication plant in Austin, Tex.

Samsung is expected to build a total of 200 million chips for Apple this year. The companies have allegedly signed a long-term supply contract through 2014.

Although though Samsung remains the sole supplier of Apple’s custom chips found in the iPhone and iPad, the company has long been rumored to be pursuing a chipmaking partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. One report from last month claimed that TSMC could begin building quad-core 20-nanometer chips for Apple as soon as late 2013.

And in October it was said that Apple was getting “serious” about moving chip production away from Samsung. Around the same time, Apple also hired away former Samsung chip designer Jim Mergard, who also designed and developed chips for AMD for 16 years.

Last week, one report claimed that Samsung was expecting to lose a portion of its future chip orders from Apple. It indicated that the Korean electronics company may put off construction of a new fabrication facility because of the expected decrease in orders.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T to offer $100 off iPad Mini with two year contract

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Date: Monday, November 12th, 2012, 07:13
Category: iPad, News

It’s pretty much the reason you get into a contract in the first place.

Wireless carrier AT&T announced on Friday that it will be offering what it calls a “promotional discount” of US$100 to customers buying a new tablet, LTE-enabled iPad, attached to a two-year service agreement.

Starting today, customers in the market for a new tablet can take advantage of the subsidy as long as they sign on to a qualifying data plan, which can range from US$10 per month to US$50 per month. The iPad can also be added to one of the telecom’s Mobile Share plans, in which a number of devices share data from a single quota, with plans ranging from 1GB to 20GB per month.

The full range of tablet data plan options include:

- AT&T Mobile Share: US$10 to share between 1 GB and 20GB

- AT&T DataConnect 250MB: US$15 for 250MB

- AT&T DataConnect 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

- AT&T DataConnect 5GB: US$50 for 5GB

Unfortunately, legacy unlimited data users are unable to take advantage of the deal.

According to AT&T Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher, the promotion was created to incentivize holiday shopping, however it can be assumed that the launch of Apple’s LTE-connected fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini also played a role in the new pricing.

The second-largest U.S. wireless provider has not set an end date for the promotion, and said it will be available as long as supplies last. No indication was given as to how many units of each tablet are being stocked, but interested customers must visit AT&T’s online store or a brick-and-mortar outlet to claim the discount.

If you’ve seen this discount on your end, please let us know in the comments.

VMWare releases Fusion 5.0.2 update

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Date: Monday, November 12th, 2012, 07:11
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 5.0.2 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 215.9 megabyte download, can be found here and offers the following fixes and changes:

- USB 3.0 stability improvements.

- Graphics improvements when running the Microsoft Office 2013 preview.

- Fixed an issue that caused the library and the Fusion start menu contents to get out of sync.

- Fixed an issue that caused Mac OS X (Mountain Lion) guests to see stale directory information when using HGFS.

- Fixed a multi-monitor behavior on Mac OS X (Mountain Lion) when Use All Displays in Full Screen is selected.

- Fixed an issue that caused the full screen short-cut key to intermittently fail when Caps Lock was on.

- Easy Install improvements for Microsoft Windows 8.

- Fixed key repeat behavior (typematic) on certain versions of Mac OS X (Mountain Lion).

- Fixed an intermittent problem that caused Fusion to quit when the network editor was opened.

- Fixed cancelling of the import of OVF virtual machines.

- Addressed graphics issues with Autodesk Inventor, Altium Designer, and Solidworks.

- Fixed an issue installing on Macs with a user or group named “0″.

- Fixed error compiling HGFS on Linux 3.6 kernels.

- Changed the selection color in the library icon view.

- Renamed the Pause key menu item to aid with accessibility and automation.

- Fixed an issue importing a Parallels virtual machine that has no network devices.

- Resolved an issue that caused the PC Migration Assistant to not complete when migrating a Windows PC.

Fusion 5.0.2 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’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

British Airways confirms support for iOS Passbook feature

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 11:44
Category: iOS, News, Software

If you can get the major partners, then a new technology comes closer to being a de-facto standard.

Per AppleInsider, British Airways has confirmed that it will be supporting Apple’s Passbook payment system.

“I’m pleased to confirm that the ba.com team are already looking into our website being able to work with the new Apple app, available with the iOS6 upgrade,” a company representative wrote in an e-mail. “Please be assured that we will get our Passbook-compatible functionality live on ba.com as soon as we can.”

British Airways already offers digital boarding passes through its official iOS application. But the carrier does not yet offer integration with Apple’s Passbook.

Passbook launched with iOS 6 in September featuring support from Delta Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Australia.

The addition of British Airways would be a major catch for Apple. The U.K.-based carrier has a fleet of 249 aircraft and serves 169 total destinations.

Just this week, Apple updated its own Apple Store application for iOS to add support for Passbook. With the new software, users can purchase gift cards and e-mail them to friends, and those cards can be stored as passes in the Passbook application in iOS 6.

Passbook is Apple’s first stab at offering digital e-wallet type services on the iPhone. Rather than relying on near-field communication technology for wireless transactions, Apple has instead focused on replacing items such as store cards, boarding passes, movie tickets and retail coupons.

One of the first adopters of Passbook was Major League Baseball, which offered digital tickets for four teams at the end of the 2012 season. The league’s digital ticketing operation was “floored” by the initial adoption rate for Passbook, as they found Apple’s service accounted for 12 percent of MLB e-tickets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Initial tests show faster boot, read and write times under Apple’s Fusion Drive

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 08:59
Category: hard drive, Hardware, iMac, Mac mini, News

There may be ample reason to go with a Fusion Drive inside your Mac.

Per Techfast Lunch&Dinner, a series of tests run by the site found the Fusion Drive Mac mini started in just 15.7 seconds, while the 2012 Mac mini with a traditional hard drive took 34.1 seconds to start.

Major improvements were also found in a disk speed test, which revealed the Fusion Drive can achieve read speeds of more than 300 megabytes per second, and write speeds exceeding 400 megabytes per second. In comparison, the Mac mini with 5400-rpm drive couldn’t exceed 100 megabytes per second on either the read or write test.

Fusion Drive was unveiled by Apple last month and is an upgrade option in the company’s latest Mac minis and iMacs. Apple has said the feature offers nearly the same performance as a solid-state drive, but also allows considerably more storage at a lower price point.

Apple’s Fusion Drives feature 128 gigabytes of flash storage paired with either a 1-terabyte or 3-terabyte 5400-rpm hard drive. Apple’s OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system calculates which files and applications are used the most and automatically places them on the faster solid-state drive, while less frequently accessed software remains stored on the spinning drive.

Core applications and the operating system are permanently stored and accessed from the flash memory, while the leftover space is used for those frequently accessed files, folders or programs. File transfers between the drives take place in the background dynamically, so the system is seamless and unobtrusive to the user.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller last month compared the Fusion Drive to a baseline 1TB 7200 RPM HDD. He said the Fusion drive performs an Aperture photo import 3.5 times faster, a file copy of a 4GB folder 3.5 times faster, and system boot 1.7 times faster.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on a new Mac with a Fusion Drive and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know in the comments.

Adobe offers Photoshop Lightroom 4.3 as release candidate, includes Retina Display support, other fixes

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 07:44
Category: News, Software

This could be nifty.

On Friday, Adobe sent version 4.3 of its Lightroom image editing software out as a candidate release via its Adobe Labs web site.

The new version, a 410 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Full support for HiDPI displays such as Retina Display units.

- Unable to upload a large panorama to Adobe Revel via the Revel Publish Plugin.

- Unable to add a second photo to a page layout in a Book. This only occurred when the “Show Unused Photos” filter is selected in the filmstrip.

- A photo can be flagged as both a “Pick” and “Reject” at the same time when using the Toolbar to apply flags.

- Using multiple fonts within the same text cell inside a Book can sometimes cause Lightroom to crash.

- Exposure becomes the active adjustment slider in the Basic panel (within Develop) when moving from image to image.

- Customers using Photoshop Elements 11 were unable to upgrade their catalogs in Lightroom 4.

- Custom Cell padding options in the Book Module reset in between Lightroom sessions

- 1080p video files shot on iPhone 4S flicker on replay.

- Leaving the Book Module after using multiple text colors in the same text cell can sometimes cause the book to be lost.

The latest Photoshop Lightroom 4 also expands camera support to include the following:
- Canon PowerShot S110

- Canon PowerShot G15

- Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

- Casio Exilim EX-ZR1000

- Casio Exilim EX-FC300S

- Nikon D600 (expanded to full support)

- Olympus PEN E-PL5

- Olympus PEN E-PM2

- Olympus STYLUS XZ-2 iHS

- Panasonic DMC-GH3

- Pentax K-5 II

- Pentax K-5 IIs

- Pentax Q10

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 was officially released earlier this year for OS X and PC. It’s available for purchase for US$149 for new customers, or US$79 for those upgrading from a previous version.

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

Apple notifies customers, announces that iPad mini with Wi-Fi + cellular support to ship on November 13th

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 07:45
Category: iPad mini, News

You know that nifty iPad mini with support for 3G and 4G LTE networks?

It ships in four days.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is notifying users that the new iPad mini with support for 3G/4G LTE networks will begin shipping on November 13th, and has posted new iOS 6.0.1 builds for the iPad mini and iPad 4.

Apple began delivering WiFi only iPad mini models around the first of November, after immediately selling out its initial inventory.

Three days ago, the company reported sales of three million new iPad mini and iPad 4 units over the first three day weekend of sales, but that only included WiFi models.

Mobile data versions of the two new iPads were expected to begin shipping in “a few weeks,” but Apple’s recent email updates forwarded by multiple users stating that initial shipments will begin in five business days, or late next week.

Apple has also make available four new iOS 6.0.1 firmware downloads available to support the new models today, which include two versions (GSM and CDMA) of both the LTE iPad mini and iPad 4.

If you’ve received word as to your iPad mini with Wi-Fi and cellular support being en route, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0 for mid-2012 notebooks

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 07:27
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

It’s the firmware updates that really make a difference.

Late Friday, Apple released its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0, a firmware update for its June 2012 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, a 76.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- This MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update includes graphics performance and reliability enhancements and improves compatibility with some USB devices.

The update requires a Mac notebook introduced in June of 2012, Mac OS X 10.7.4 or higher and can be downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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