iFixit completes teardown of 802.11ac AirPort Extreme, finds space for drive bracket among changes

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Date: Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 06:32
Category: Hardware, News, wireless

The new 802.11ac AirPort Extreme is out and, continuing a long and fine tradition, iFixit tore the sucker apart without a moment’s hesitation.

Per CNET and the official iFixit teardown page, the new tower-like router arrives with a bracket that can easily house a hard drive, but appears to be just large enough to perfectly accept a 3.5-inch hard drive and hold it at a diagonal.


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Unfortunately there are no connections (or space for them) in the system, so while there may be similar Time Capsule devices based on this design, iFixIt claims it will likely be very difficult (if not impossible) to modify an AirPort Extreme to be a Time Capsule.

On the sides of the drive bracket are two circuit boards that hold the power supply and logic board, containing 4GB of synchronous DRAM, 32MB of serial flash memory, and a Broadcom router controller. These components are encased in heat sinks and thermal venting, with a small fan to provide active cooling.


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The innards are connected by six contacts to a flat, square antenna that is perched at the top of the tower and is the size of the end of the unit. Oddly, this deviates from Apple’s explanation at the WWDC keynote that the elongated design was to house the antennas and beam data from the sides. Instead, it’s evident that the beaming happens from the top of the unit.

Regarding repairability, iFixIt rates the new AirPort Extreme fairly well with a score of 8 out of 10. The reasoning for this is its modular design, lack of proprietary fasteners, and lack of glued components, making it easy to disassemble. Of course getting to the innards required a bit of prying, and some fasteners are small and delicate, so iFixIt settled on an overall rating of 8.

If you’ve picked up the newest AirPort Extreme router and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Flextronics to handle U.S. assembly of redesigned Mac Pro

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Date: Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 06:02
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, Rumor

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Some details have surfaced as to which outfit will construct the upcoming Mac Pro tower.

Per Economic Daily News and Macotakara, the desktop will reportedly be built in U.S. facilities run by Singapore-based manufacturer Flextronics.

It was said that the information was shared by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a strong track record in predicting Apple’s future product plans.

The official Flextronics website reveals that the company already has facilities in a number of locations across the U.S., including Texas, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and both North and South Carolina. The report did not indicate which U.S.-based Flextronics facility will handle assembly of the new Mac Pro.

“Our United States teams offer a wide spectrum of capabilities, including electrical and mechanical design and the manufacturing of flexible and rigid printed circuit boards and printed circuit board assemblies, specialty coated thin film flexible materials, backplanes, box-build, cable assemblies, camera modules and assembly,” the site reads. “Our facilities also have clean room capabilities, functional and reliability testing, new product introduction support, design for manufacturing, supply chain management and logistics.”

The transition to Flextronics, if true, would mean that Foxconn will no longer be responsible for manufacturing the Mac Pro. But because Apple’s high-end desktop is geared toward a small market, the shift is not expected to have a major effect on Foxconn, which operates largely out of China.

Though Apple will build its new Mac Pro in the U.S., the company is not expected to bring assembly of any of its MacBook lines to America. EDN noted that most of the supply chain remains overseas, which would make it logistically difficult to build large numbers of Macs stateside.

Apple’s new MacBook Air units are reportedly being assembled by Quanta Computer, which specializes in laptop construction. Though Quanta does have some facilities in the U.S., it’s not expected to begin building MacBooks domestically.

The dramatically redesigned Mac Pro’s feature list includes graphical support capable of driving three 4K-resolution displays and is slated to arrive later this year with Intel Xeon processors, PCI Express flash storage, and Thunderbolt 2 ports.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 7 user interface still under development, could see major changes from version presented at WWDC

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Date: Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 06:24
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You know that new, flatter look demoed for iOS 7 at WWDC?

It’s probably not the final version.

Per The Next Web, sources familiar with Apple’s latest mobile operating system said the iOS 7 beta, as well as the preview shown at the WWDC keynote on Monday, is a “mid-stride” snapshot of the work being done behind closed doors.

The pace is so quick that some of the builds used to present the OS on stage two days ago were later versions of what was seeded to developers in the iOS 7 beta. It can’t be confirmed which feature sets are more advanced, though the beta version is slightly inconsistent with the OS demoed on Monday by software engineering head Craig Federighi.

The fact that iOS 7 will change before it is released seems obvious in that the software currently in the hands of developers are beta versions meant for testing. However, while backend and UI tweaks are expected to change for early build software, the radically different new design language of iOS 7 is also reportedly largely under construction.

Interestingly, Apple’s senior vice president of Industrial Design Jony Ive, who is now also the head of the company’s Human Interaction section, called on in-house marketing design teams to flesh out the much-ballyhooed first party app icons.

The sources said both print and web design personnel laid down a framework of color palettes and a general “look,” which Ive’s app designers used as guidelines to produce what was seen in the iOS 7 preview. As with operational facets of the OS, these are also works in progress.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, and from a design perspective that rings true. Ive and his team have managed to dismantle almost every theme and nuance that the OS has amassed over the preceding six years and six generations. From skeuomorphic iconography to UI and UX, the new iOS 7 tears down almost everything, replacing it with a clean, if not controversial, design. Apple has managed, at least in these early builds, to achieve a feel that is at once completely new and wholly familiar.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.