Rumor: Apple hiring dozens of Israel-based former Texas Instruments chip engineers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012, 06:06
Category: Hardware, Processors, Rumor

applelogo_silver

Never doubt the power of hiring the best engineers you can find.

Per The Next Web, Apple has reportedly hired a number of former Texas Instruments engineers living in Israel, with the new employees said to bolster the tech giant’s research and development resources in the region.

Sources familiar with Apple’s developing Israel-based operations have stated that the company has been hiring “dozens” of engineers to work in the cities of Haifa and Herzliya, the latter of which being the home base of purchased the flash memory maker in December of 2011.

The sources went on to say that Apple is picking up former TI employees who were laid off in a culling of 250 jobs at the company’s Ra’anana location, which itself is part of a larger global workforce cutdown of around 1,700 employees. According to TI Israel’s website, the Ra’anana campus was responsible for wireless connectivity solutions like WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS and OMAP products. OMAP, or Open Multimedia Applications Platform, is a type of system-on-a-chip developed by the Texas-based company currently being used in portable devices like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD.

Apple in April was reported to be gearing up for a major hiring campaign to fill spots at its Israel R&D center located in Haifa’s Scientific Industries Center, which boasts a collective of high-tech companies like Google, Intel and IBM. The recent TI Israel hires won’t be the first for Apple, as former Deputy CEO Etai Zaitsman is said to be working on the Haifa initiative headed up by Aharon Aharon, a veteran of Israel’s tech industry.

In May, users discovered a number of listings on Apple’s job board for SoC engineers located in the Haifa and Herzliya Pituah regions of Israel.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

“Dockster” trojan for the Mac goes into the wild, plays on the same Java vulnerability as “Flashback”

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012, 08:57
Category: News, security, Software

Ok, this shouldn’t be happening again.

Per F-Secure, a new piece of malware that takes advantage of a well-documented Java vulnerability has been found on a website dedicated to the Dalai Lama, with the trojan able to install itself on an unwitting Mac user’s computer to capture keystrokes and other sensitive data.

Dubbed “Dockster,” the malware was first found by antivirus and security firm Intego to have been uploaded to the VirusTotal detection service on Nov. 30. At the time of its discovery, the remote address associated with trojan was not active, possibly indicating that the code’s creators were testing whether it would be detected, but as of this writing the malicious code is now “in the wild.”

Similar to the Flashback exploit from September 2011, Dockster leverages the same Java vulnerability to drop the backdoor onto a Mac, which then executes code to create an agent that feeds keylogs and other sensitive information to an off-site server.

In the case of Flashback, which was also discovered by Intego, a reported 600,000 Macs were affected before both Apple and Oracle released a Java patches to remove the malware and protect against future attacks.

Although the newly-found Dockster takes advantage of an already fixed weakness, users who haven’t yet updated their Macs or are running older software may still be at risk.

In which case, try to ensure that your friends and family with older, pre-OS X 10.6 software are up to date and be careful out there.

Apple releases third iOS 6.1 beta to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012, 08:01
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, Software

This could lead to some cool stuff.

Per AppleInsider, developers on Monday were provided with the third pre-release beta of iOS 6.1, Apple’s forthcoming software update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The update is available through Software Update in the iOS Settings application. People familiar with the software said it is identified as build “10B5117b.” It arrives three weeks after the second beta was issued.

One person testing the software stated that users are now asked to enter security questions for iCloud once their device boots up. This feature was not in previous betas of iOS 6.1.

The iOS 6.1 beta is compatible with the fourth-, third- and second-generation iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and the fifth- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Apple informed developers that the beta “contains bug fixes and improvements.”

Earlier betas of iOS 6.1 added the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri.

The first two betas of iOS 6.1 also featured an enhanced Map Kit framework that will allow developers to search for map-based addresses in points of interest. In one example provided to developers, users could search the term “coffee,” and the system would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.

If you’ve managed to get your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments. Otherwise, stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox updated to 1.6.3

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012, 07:51
Category: News, Software

Hey, you can’t knock improvements on useful software.

Early Tuesday, Dropbox released version 1.6.3 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 23.1 megabyte download, which adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fixes rare issue with sync not working on 10.4.

- Other small fixes.

Dropbox 1.6.3 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple to launch iPhone 5 in dozens of additional countries throughout December

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 09:09
Category: iPhone, News, retail

Come Friday, the iPhone 5 will be available pretty much everywhere.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday announced that the iPhone 5 will debut in more than 50 countries this month, including South Korea on Friday, Dec. 7, with Russia, Brazil and Taiwan to follow a week later.

Those additional countries that will gain access to Apple’s latest smartphone include China, which Apple announced last week will have the iPhone 5 launch on Dec. 14. The dozens of new countries will join 47 countries where the iPhone 5 is already available for sale.

The full list of countries set to gain the iPhone 5 on Friday, Dec. 14 are: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The iPhone 5 will also be available on Friday, December 21 in Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Egypt, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Tunisia, Uganda, and Vietnam.

Monday’s announcement also confirms an earlier report that claimed Apple would launch the iPhone 5 in Taiwan on Dec. 14. It was said that all major Taiwanese carriers would begin accepting preorders a week prior.

International expansion of the iPhone 5 comes as Apple has begun to catch up with supply in countries such as the U.S., where the handset launched in September. Last week, Apple also began selling an unlocked version of the iPhone 5 through its online store in America.

iFixit completes 21.5-inch iMac teardown, discovers new hardware, lower repairability factor

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:44
Category: Hardware, iMac, News

The new Apple hardware is out, and as is custom, the cool cats at iFixit have dissected it.

In its latest teardown report, repair firm iFixit gave the 21.5-inch iMac a “repairability score” of three out of a possible ten, citing a hard to replace display and lack of easily-upgradable RAM, while the Online Apple Store sees ship-by dates pushed back to over a week.

After the iMac rolled out to customers worldwide on Friday, iFixit took an in-depth look at Apple’s redesigned all-in-one and found the unit to be “an exercise in disappointment” as far as repairability is concerned.

The firm’s first major complaint was the new display that is now glued to the iMac’s chassis rather than being attached by screws and covered by a removable magnetic front glass, as is the case with legacy models. While the screen is the identical to the one used last year, Apple used a lamination process to bond the front glass to the display, allowing less reflectance and deeper color saturation, though the strategy only allows for the use of glue to attach it to the computer’s thin body.

Second on the list of complaints is the lack of upgradability. While users can change or replace the hard drive, RAM and CPU, they will have to remove the screen and logic board to do so as all integral components are located on the back side of the board. It should be noted that in its review of the 27-inch version, CNET mentioned that the larger-screened machine has an access port for RAM replacement.

There was some good news, however, as the redesigned iMac now uses dual-microphone technology for better FaceTime call audio, as well as a more robust ribbon cable for the built-in camera. Also of note is that the large central heat sink, which only uses a single fan to keep internal temperatures within operational limits, is attached to a spring-loaded Intel socket carrying the CPU, meaning the processor is somewhat easy to replace.

Less than a day after brick-and-mortar Apple Stores and authorized resellers started sales of the 21.5-inch iMac, the standard 21.5-inch iMac is shows a lead time of seven to ten business days, up from the one to three days quoted when the company activated orders through its online storefront late Friday.

The apparent supply shortage for the smaller iMac echoes the soon-to-be-released 27-inch model, which is experiencing similar delays as orders are now expected to to go out in three weeks to a month.

CEO Tim Cook warned during Apple’s quarterly conference call in October that thee would be a significant supply shortage for all iMac models, however the specific reason for this remains unknown.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve gotten your mitts on a brand new iMac, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Updated 27-inch iMac sells out quickly, ship times slip to 3-4 weeks for customers

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:29
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

It’s new, it’s snazzy…and now it’s really, really hard to get.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s big-screen 27-inch iMac looks to be in extremely limited supply this holiday, as the estimated shipping time has already lengthened less than 24 hours after the new all-in-one desktop went on sale.

Apple’s online store originally advertised that the new 27-inch iMac would ship to new orders within two to three weeks. But just hours after the slimmer iMac became available, new orders are now advertised to ship in three to four weeks.

The revised shipping estimate suggests that new orders may not arrive in time for Christmas, which is just three and a half weeks away.

The three-to-four-week wait applies to both the 2.9-gigahertz model, which sells for US$1,799, as well as the 3.2-gigahertz model, available for US$1,999.

For those interested in the 21.5-inch model, both the 2.7- and 2.9-gigahertz varieties remain available to ship in one to three business days. Units may also available at Apple’s retail stores for those who want to pick one up right away.

The first benchmarks for the 27-inch model show that its new Ivy Bridge processor will offer more than a 50 percent speed boost with certain tasks. Tests of the 21.5-inch model have also been shown to be about nearly 25 percent faster than their predecessor.

The redesigned iMac boasts an aluminum that is only 5-millimeters thick at its edge and also features a reengineered display which Apple claims reduces reflections by 75 percent. Speed has also been increased thanks to new quad-core Intel silicon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processors, the latter of which is said to deliver up to a 60 percent boost in performance.

Also new is the Fusion Drive, a hybrid hard drive solution that combines the performance of solid-state media with the capacity and affordability of a hard drive. Apple solution couples 128-gigabytes of flash memory with a standard hard drive to create a single storage volume that intelligently manages frequently-used files and programs to optimize performance.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 17.0.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:57
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Hey, an update’s an update…

Over the weekend, Mozilla.org released version 17.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 34.1 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

Fixed:
- Font rendering issue in Firefox 17.0 (bug 814101).

- 17.0.1: Reverted user agent change causing some website incompatibilities.

- Over twenty performance improvements, including fixes around the New Tab page.

- 17.0.1: Leaving Private Browsing with Social API enabled should reset social components (814554).

- Pointer lock doesn’t work in web apps (769150).

- Page scrolling on sites with fixed headers (780345).

- Known Issues Unresolved If you try to start Firefox using a locked profile, it will crash (see 573369).

Unresolved:
- For some users, scrolling in the main GMail window will be slower than usual (see 579260).

- Unresolved Windows: The use of Microsoft’s System Restore functionality shortly after updating Firefox may prevent future updates (see 730285).

New:
- First revision of the Social API and support for Facebook Messenger.

- Click-to-play blocklisting implemented to prevent vulnerable plugin versions from running without the user’s permission (see blog post)

Changed:
- Updated Awesome Bar experience with larger icons.

- Mac OS X 10.5 is no longer supported.

Developer:
- JavaScript Maps and Sets are now iterable.

- SVG FillPaint and StrokePaint implemented.

- Improvements that make the Web Console, Debugger and Developer Toolbar faster and easier to use.

- New Markup panel in the Page Inspector allows easy editing of the DOM.

HTML 5:
- Sandbox attribute for iframes implemented, enabling increased security.

Firefox 17.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 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.