Apple offers support to Sichuan Yaan earthquake victims (updated)

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Date: Monday, April 22nd, 2013, 07:54
Category: News

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If you want to help the earthquake victims in China, here’s your chance.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has updated its official China website homepage to offer its respect and sympathy following the disastrous magnitude 7.0 earthquake that has affected the country over the past few days.

The acknowledgement present on Apple’s site reads as follows:

“Our deepest condolences to those who were taken away by the Sichuan Yaan earthquake, and respect to all the rescuers. May those who have passed away rest in peace, and may the survivors stay strong.”

The company has also offered a statement that pledges cash donations and new Apple devices to help schools that have been affected:

“In this difficult time our hearts are with the Sichuan earthquake victims. In addition to cash donations to help the victims ride out the storm, we will also commit to donating brand new Apple equipment to some of the schools in the affected region, and the local Apple staff will be on standby to provide support.”

Apple has reportedly pledged 50 million Yuan in total.

Update: The company has reportedly pledged US$8,000,000 in disaster relief funding following the earthquake, which, as of the current count, has left 186 people dead and thousands injured.

Rumor: Purported images of next-gen iPhone camera leaked

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 19th, 2013, 07:50
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

You’ve gotta admit, Apple doesn’t let people down when it comes to its built-in cameras.

Per French Web site NoWhereElse.fr, a leaked image purporting to show off a camera component and another piece of a supposed “iPhone 5S” have hit the Internet, fanning the rumors that Apple’s follow-up to the iPhone 5 is on deck.

One of the components featured in the supposed leak is what appears to be a front-facing camera, similar in appearance to the one built in to the iPhone 5. The serial number shown on the “leaked” part is similar to the one seen on the iPhone 5 part, notes NoWhereElse.fr. The flexible portion where the component connects to a motherboard, though, is apparently quite different from the one seen on the iPhone 5 component.


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Friday’s report also brought images of another supposed component, though its function is unclear.

The same site previously leaked components that went into Apple’s new Lightning connector, and the site has shown off other parts said to be from an “iPhone 5S” or an “iPhone 6,” as well as a supposed cover glass surface from a fifth-generation iPad.

The new images appear to add to the rumors that Apple will bring a rapid follow-up to its iPhone 5, iPad, and iPad mini, and possibly introduce a lower-cost iPhone model in the near future. Currently, rumors have the Cupertino company releasing new devices some time over the summer.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Microsoft’s Xbox, Kinect employees helping to develop smartwatch

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Date: Friday, April 19th, 2013, 06:40
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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Microsoft is prototyping its own wrist-worn device. According to The Verge, a reliable source familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans has revealed that the company has been developing a wrist-worn device for just over a year. Microsoft was initially rumored to release a “Joule” heart rate monitor accessory for the Xbox, but the company has since decided to focus on a smartwatch instead. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Microsoft’s plans earlier this week, citing unnamed supply chain sources who claim Microsoft has requested 1.5-inch displays from component manufacturers.

Microsoft’s smartwatch is said to be in the prototype phase, with teams who have worked on Xbox accessories and the Kinect sensor focused on the device. The device apparently features removable bands attached to a 1.5-inch touch display. One prototype includes the same magnetic power connector that Microsoft uses on its Surface tablets. The MagSafe-like connector is made up of five pins and can transmit both power and data, but we’re told this is only a prototype and a final design may omit the connector.

Microsoft previously fielded a range of smartwatches back in 2004 under the SPOT brand. The devices used FM radio signals to obtain news, weather forecasts, and stock information. Microsoft discontinued the devices in 2008, shuttering the service fully last year. Microsoft’s Bill Buxton recently outlined the 37-year history of smartwatches at a talk during the company’s TechFest research event. At the time, we speculated Microsoft may re-enter a market it tried to kickstart years ago, and it looks like that may soon be a reality.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.05

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Date: Thursday, April 18th, 2013, 10:14
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.05, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 5.13 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:
– Fujifilm X20

– Fujifilm X100S

– Fujifilm X-E1

– Fujifilm X-Pro1

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.

Rumor: Next-gen iPad to be 15% thinner, 25% lighter, use smaller, more efficient battery

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Date: Thursday, April 18th, 2013, 07:14
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

This could be nifty.

Per MacRumors, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has on a number of occasions offered accurate information on Apple’s product plans, recently published a new research note outlining his expectations for Apple’s fifth-generation iPad. Kuo expects mass production and shipments of the new iPad to ramp up in the August-September timeframe, with the device registering roughly 15% thinner and 25% lighter than the current full-size iPad.

The new version’s expected dimensions, which are purported to be 7.5-8.0mm thick, will be 15% thinner than iPad 4. The new device will likely be about 500 grams, or some 25% lighter than iPad 4, run on an A7X processor, and sport cameras with similar specs to the iPad 4’s (front HD, rear 5MP). The casing shape and color (silver and black) and narrow bezel design will be similar to the iPad mini’s.

The prediction of a 7.5-8.0 mm thickness is in line with previous claims that the next iPad will see a roughly 2 mm reduction from the current 9.5 mm thickness.

Kuo predicts that Apple will adopt the same GF2 touch technology used in the iPad mini, enabling Apple to design a thinner display for the new full-size iPad. In addition, more efficient display and chip technologies are expected to bring down the device’s overall power consumption, allowing for a smaller and thinner battery.

The battery is expected to be 25-30% smaller, at 8,500-9,000mAh, than the iPad 4’s, and the battery’s thickness will be 15-20% smaller, at 7.5-8.0mm, and the number of cells will be reduced to two from three.

As for the chip powering the iPad 5, Kuo believes that Apple will be sticking with Samsung for a new A7X chip that will take advantage of Samsung’s 28-nanometer process node. There have been reports that Apple will be shifting its A-series chip production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), but it appears that Kuo believes that transition has a bit further time horizon, in line with rumors that a partnership between Apple and TSMC for 20-nanometer A7 chips will not begin production until early 2014.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds third OS X 10.8.4 beta to developer community

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Date: Thursday, April 18th, 2013, 07:21
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.8.4 is en route.

It’ll just be in beta for a bit longer.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday seeded build 12E33a of OS X 10.8.4 maintenance update to developers, with the latest beta coming a little over one week after the build 12E30 went out for testing in early April.

Mountain Lion’s latest build comes with no known issues and once again asks testers to focus on Wi-Fi, Graphics Drivers and Safari.

In the last beta build 12E30, code was discovered mentioning the 802.11ac “Gigabit” wireless protocol, suggesting that Apple could be making preparations to launch compatible hardware in the near future.

Wednesday’s release is the third beta build release for OS X 10.8.4. Developers can access the most recent seed through the Mac App Store’s Software Update mechanism, a feature first seen with the OS X 10.8.3 beta builds.

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

Apple extends replacement program for MacBook bottom case, bumps claim period from two to four years

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Date: Thursday, April 18th, 2013, 06:16
Category: MacBook, News, retail

You remember Apple’s somewhat-weird polycarbonate MacBook with the rubber bottom?

And how the rubber bottom had its own oddities?

Well, Apple’s extending the coverage period on said weird rubber bottom.

Per MacRumors, Apple last week quietly made a change to its program regarding defective MacBook bottom cases, extending the coverage period from two years after purchase to four years.


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The program’s extension comes as the original end-by date quickly approaches, and now gives affected MacBook owners four years from the original purchase date to make a claim.

In May of 2011, Apple initiated the bottom case replacement program for MacBooks shipped between October 2009 and April 2011, citing an issue in which the non-slip rubber bottom of the polycarbonate MacBook would separate from the chassis. Variations of Apple’s rubber design can be found in current generation products like the Mac mini and AirPort Extreme.

Under the terms, which will remain unchanged, Apple will replace any affected unit free of charge, regardless of warranty status.

Apple will continue to offer three options for case replacement: an appointment with an Apple Genius at an Apple Retail Store; repair through an Authorized Service Provider; and a do-it-yourself kit that includes all materials and instructions needed to replace the component.

The company notes that last week’s extension may not be the last, as it will continue to evaluate the service data and provide further program supplementation if deemed necessary.

Funny Or Die posts full “iSteve” movie online for streaming

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Date: Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, 08:00
Category: Fun, News

For better or for worse, Funny Or Die has published its satirical film about Steve Jobs, iSteve, on its website for streaming.


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The 78-minute movie represents the web site’s longest effort and stars Justin Long as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Check out the full movie here and please let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Dropbox updated to 2.0.7

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Date: Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, 08:35
Category: News, Software

It’s the week for useful updates.

On Wednesday, Dropbox released version 2.0.7 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 29.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
– Fixed a bug where certain messages indicating time spent were incorrect.

– Fixed a bug where opening or closing client is impossible while disconnected.

– Fixed a bug where notifications can sometimes be sorted incorrectly.

– Fixed a bug causing excessive CPU usage.

– Fixed a series of minor errors causing the tray popup to fail to appear.

– Fixed a bug on certain versions of Snow Leopard.

– What you should know about the new notifications menu: it is only enabled on OSX 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) and later.

Dropbox 2.0.7 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.

Rumor: Microsoft planning boot-to-desktop mode for Windows 8.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, 07:33
Category: Rumor, Software

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If you’re using a Windows 8 partition, then there’s a fairly decent chance you want to strangle whoever created the Metro interface, as great as Microsoft seems to think it is.

Per The Verge, in an apparent attempt to have its latest operating system better appeal to business customers, Microsoft reportedly plans to add a “boot to desktop” mode to its Windows 8.1 update, allowing users to bypass the Metro Start Screen.

In current test builds of Windows 8.1, codenamed “Windows Blue”, the operating system includes an option to boot directly to the traditional Windows desktop, sources familiar with the company’s plans indicated to reporters. That’s a major change from the current version of Windows 8, which automatically boots to the new Start Screen which features the tiled “Metro” user interface.

Windows 8 currently boots to the new Start Screen, requiring an extra step to reach the desktop.

The new Start Screen has been criticized by PC users who feel the interface is not ideal with a traditional keyboard and mouse setup. Some believe the Metro user interface is better suited for touchscreen devices, like tablets and phones.

While Microsoft reportedly plans to make the desktop view a default option when booting a system, the company is said to be keeping the invisible “hot corners” it introduced with Windows 8. That function allows users to bring up the operating system’s “Charms” or the Metro Start Screen by touching or dragging their PC mouse to the corner of the screen.

Windows 8 launched last fall with a great deal of hype from the Redmond, Wash., company, which claimed the new operating system was a revolutionary upgrade from its predecessor, Windows 7. But Windows 8 got off to a soft start, and failed to turn around sales in the sagging PC hardware market.

Continuing woes in the PC market have been generally blamed on the popularity of Apple’s iPad, which reached a new, lower entry price of US$329 last fall with the debut of the iPad mini. In comparison, many new touchscreen Ultrabooks running Windows 8 cost over a thousand dollars.

The struggles seen by PC makers have led market watchers to predict that the industry could see a major shakeup in the coming years. Some believe that remaining companies could merge, leading to fewer options, while others see gross margins shrinking in an effort to cut prices and boost sales.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.