Foxconn ends hiring freeze, hires additional workers to build next-gen iPhone handset

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Date: Monday, April 15th, 2013, 07:03
Category: iPhone, News

Not to worry, Foxconn will have enough people on board to construct the next-gen iPhone.

Per Bloomberg, after a brief freeze on hiring, Foxconn has allegedly begun adding employees again at one of its Chinese factories — a move said to be made in anticipation of Apple’s next iPhone.

Foxconn is in the process of gearing up to build Apple’s 2013 iPhone, a source stated to Bloomberg. The handset is commonly referred to as a so-called “iPhone 5S,” though the actual name for the unannounced product remains unknown.

A hiring freeze was instituted by Foxconn in February after more workers returned from the Chinese New Year break than did last year. Some had speculated the freeze may have been related to weaker-than-expected demand for the iPhone 5.

The new hires at Foxconn were reportedly requested by Apple to boost capacity in anticipation of its next flagship smartphone. In addition to assembling the “iPhone 5S,” the employees are also expected to handle existing models, such as the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.

Rumors as to when Apple plans to launch its next iPhone have been varied, with some expecting a new handset to be unveiled as soon as June, which would mark less than a full year after the launch of the iPhone 5. In contrast, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said last week that he expects Apple to face a number of technical challenges in assembling the “iPhone 5S.”

According to Kuo, Apple is planning to include a fingerprint scanner underneath the home button of its next iPhone. This feature would allow users to bypass password entry and could potentially open the door to e-wallet functionality, but the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner is expected by Kuo to cause the “iPhone 5S” to launch later than some expect.

“Apple has to work out how to prevent interference from the black and white coating material under the cover glass,” Kuo said. “Apple is the first to attempt this function and technology, and time is needed to find the right coating material, which will likely affect iPhone 5S shipments.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Hack: How to use your old ADB keyboard with your current USB-equipped Mac

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Date: Monday, April 15th, 2013, 07:46
Category: Hack, Hardware, News

Ok, this could prove to be awesome.

And it’s one of the many reasons I believe the mighty Topher Kessler doth rock on a regular and efficient basis.

Over on CNET, Kessler’s penned a cool hack to use your old Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) keyboard with your current USB-equipped Mac.


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The hack centers around tech hobbyist Scott Vanderlind’s find that by adding a small USB controller to the keyboard, he could tap into the device’s ADB connection and send it over USB to any modern device, where it works quite well.

For hobbyists, adapters like the Griffin 2001-ADB iMate are not the only options for converting your ADB keyboard to USB. Granted, there’s a small amount of soldering, a Teensy USB controller, and a quick flash of the keyboard’s firmware to enable the ADB-to-USB conversion of the keyboard’s output.

Still, the process seems to work pretty well with the only hiccup being the need to continually hold the Num Lock key for the number pad to work.

Head on over, take a gander and if you’ve found a cool hack of your own that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Microsoft working on “iWatch” device of its own

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Date: Monday, April 15th, 2013, 06:17
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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You know that rumor about Apple working on an iWatch of sorts?

Microsoft may be working on its own.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is apparently working on designs for a touch-enabled watch device, executives at suppliers said, potentially joining rivals like Apple Inc. in working on a new class of computing products.

Earlier this year, Microsoft asked suppliers in Asia to ship components for a potential watch-style device, the executives said. One executive said he met with Microsoft’s research and development team at the software company’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters. But it’s unclear whether Microsoft will opt to move ahead with the watch, they said.

Microsoft declined to comment.

Some investors and big technology companies are betting on a boom in wearable, computerized devices built around the growing power and slimming size of sensors that can detect body temperature, geographic location and voice commands of people on the go.

Some of the new wearable gadgets, like Nike Inc.’s FuelBand, measure physical activity, while others are intended to supplement functions of a smartphone, such as receiving text messages, taking photos or checking the weather. Apple has also experimented with designs for a wristwatch-style device.

Startup Pebble Technology Corp. is selling a watch that syncs wirelessly with smartphones and vibrates to alert wearers to incoming phone calls, Twitter posts and emails. Google Inc. is testing with consumers a device it calls Google Glass, an eyeglass-style gadget that displays certain computerized information in a user’s field of vision.

“We see growing demand for wearable gadgets as the size of the smartphone has become too big to carry around,” said RBS analyst Wanli Wang. “A smart watch that is compatible with a smartphone and other electronics devices would be attractive to consumers.”

Research firm Gartner expects the market for wearable smart electronics to be a $10 billion industry by 2016.

This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has shown an interest in wearable gadgets. Microsoft a decade ago unveiled a “Smart Watch” powered by the company’s software. For a subscription fee, Smart Watch wearers could have news headlines, sports scores and instant messages beamed over FM radio to their wrists. But sales stopped in 2008.

For its potential new watch prototype, Microsoft has requested 1.5-inch displays from component makers, said an executive at a component supplier.

The tests of a computerized watch also underscore Microsoft’s ambitions in expanding its hardware offerings. Last October, Microsoft launched the Surface tablet-style computer, and the company is prepping more homegrown computing devices including a smaller, 7-inch version of a tablet to compete with popular gadgets like Apple’s iPad Mini, people familiar with the matter have said.

Microsoft also is continuing to test its own smartphone, although it isn’t clear whether it will bring such a device to market, component suppliers said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VirtualBox updated to 4.2.12

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Date: Monday, April 15th, 2013, 06:19
Category: News, Software

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A good set of bug fixes never hurt anyone.

VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.10. The new version, a 150 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:
- VMM: fixed a Guru Meditation on putting Linux guest CPU online if nested paging is disabled

- VMM: invalidate TLB entries even for non-present pages.

- GUI: Multi-screen support: fixed a crash on visual-mode change.

- GUI: Multi-screen support: disabled guest-screens should now remain disabled on visual-mode change.

- GUI: Multi-screen support: handle host/guest screen plugging/unplugging in different visual-modes.

- GUI: Multi-screen support: seamless mode: fixed a bug when empty seamless screens were represented by fullscreen windows.

- GUI: Multi-screen support: each machine window in multi-screen configuration should have correct menu-bar now (Mac OS X hosts).

- GUI: Multi-screen support: machine window View menu should have correct content in seamless/fullscreen mode now (Mac OS X hosts).

- GUI: VM manager: vertical scroll-bars should be now updated on content/window resize.

- GUI: VM settings: fixed crash on machine state-change event.

- GUI: don’t show warnings about enabled or disabled mouse integration if the VM was restored from a saved state.

- Virtio-net: properly announce that the guest has to handle partial TCP checksums (bug #9380).

- Storage: Fixed incorrect alignment of VDI images causing disk size changes when using snapshots (bug #11597).

- Audio: fixed broken ALSA & PulseAudio on some Linux hosts due to invalid symbol resolution (bug #11615).

- PS/2 keyboard: re-apply keyboard repeat delay and rate after a VM was restored from a saved state (bug #10933).

- BIOS: updated DMI processor information table (type 4): corrected L1 & L2 cache table handles.

- Timekeeping: fix several issues which can lead to incorrect time, Solaris guests sporadically showed time going briefly back to Jan 1 1970.

- Main/Metrics: disk metrics are collected properly when software RAID, symbolic links or rootfs are used on Linux hosts.

- VBoxManage: don’t stay paused after a snapshot was created and the VM was running before.

- VBoxManage: introduced controlvm nicpromisc (bug #11423).

- VBoxManage: don’t crash on controlvm guestmemoryballoon if the VM isn’t running (bug #11639).

- VBoxHeadless: don’t filter guest property events as this would affect all clients (bug #11644).

- Guest control: prevent double CR in the output generated by guest commands and do NLS conversion.

- Linux hosts / guests: fixed build errors on Linux 3.5 and newer kernels if the CONFIG_UIDGID_STRICT_TYPE_CHECKS config option is enabled (bug #11664).

- Linux Additions: handle fall-back to VESA driver on RedHat-based guests if vboxvideo cannot be loaded.

- Linux Additions: RHEL/OEL/CentOS 6.4 compile fix (bug #11586).

- Linux Additions: Debian Linux kernel 3.2.0-4 (3.2.39) compile fix (bug #11634).

- Linux Additions: added auto-logon support for Linux guests using LightDM as the display manager.

- Windows Additions: Support for multimonitor. Dynamic enable/disable of secondary virtual monitors.

- Support for XPDM/WDDM based guests.

- X11 Additions: support X.Org Server 1.14 (bug #11609).

VirtualBox 4.2.12 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.