Rumor: Apple considering switch to IGZO displays to boost next-gen MacBook Pro battery life

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 15:54
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

The next-gen MacBook notebooks could possess even longer lasting batteries.

Per Korea IT News, Apple is once again rumored to be considering indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) LCDs, this time for inclusion in not only upcoming versions of its iPad, but also in its forthcoming MacBook Pros. A recent report has the Cupertino company talking with Sharp and LG Display in preparation for wider manufacture.

The new MacBooks would reportedly be scheduled for release some time early in 2014, though the report gives no word on when IGZO-packing iPads would be set for release. The latest speculation surrounding the iPad does make mention of reduced backlighting and improved battery life, both of which could be outgrowths of IGZO technology.

An oxide semiconductor, IGZO is about 10 times faster in electron mobility than an amorphous silicon semiconductor. This allows the technology to consume far less power in operation. IGZO also requires smaller wiring, which also contributes to its lower power consumption.

The panels are significantly more expensive than traditional LCDs, though, so that could represent an obstacle for Apple in bringing them to market in the MacBook Pro line. Some estimates have Apple paying 1.5 to two times as much for the same panel sizes seen in current models.

A switch to IGZO could be in keeping with Apple’s already established goals for this generation of MacBooks. When introducing the 2013 MacBook Air, Apple made sure to note that the inclusion of Intel’s new Haswell processors had boosted overall battery life to 12 hours for the 13-inch model. The inclusion of less power-intensive displays could push the next generation of MacBook Pros to even greater heights.

Apple has long been rumored to have been looking at IGZO technology for future devices. Previous rumors have focused on the iPhone or iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 7 beta 3 shows improved “2x” mode on non-Retina iPads

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 08:08
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Ok, this could come in handy.

Per MacRumors, one of the more subtle changes reported in Apple’s iOS 7 beta 3 released to developers yesterday is a move to leverage the Retina assets included in iPhone-only apps to improve the viewing experience in “2x” mode on non-Retina iPads such as the iPad mini and the iPad 2.

Since the launch of the iPad, Apple has supported the use of iPhone-only apps on its tablet platform, allowing users to toggle between a “1x” mode where the app appears in an iPhone-sized window in the center of the iPad screen and a “2x” mode where pixels are doubled to allow the app to fill more of the iPad’s screen. But up until iOS 6, this 2x pixel doubling has been performed on the non-Retina iPhone versions of the apps for non-Retina iPads, expanding a 480×320 app to fill a 960×640 space on the iPad display and resulting in jagged text and blurry images.

With the advent of Retina displays on the iPhone supporting apps at 960×640, Apple moved to take advantage of those higher-quality assets to provide a better viewing experience on the iPad for those apps that do not have native iPad interfaces. Since the introduction of the third-generation iPad last year, Apple’s Retina iPads have been able to tap into the Retina assets in iPhone apps to display higher-quality 2x apps, and with iOS 7 beta 3 Apple has now brought that capability to its non-Retina tablets.

Interestingly, on the latest iOS 7 beta, users are no longer even presented with a 1x/2x toggle on non-Retina devices such as the iPad mini, and iPhone apps are instead presented simply as 2x apps taking advantage of Retina assets included in the app package. The result is a much better looking 960×640 app on the iPad’s 1024×768 screen. Retina iPads have not, however, seen any changes to their handling of iPhone apps and continue to offer the 1x/2x toggle.

Apple’s move to leverage the Retina assets in iPhone apps by default is essentially identical to the strategy used by RetinaPad, a jailbreak tweak that provided owners of non-Retina iPads with the higher-quality 2x scaling. That tweak had gained new popularity with the release of the non-Retina iPad mini late last year, but with Apple now building that support directly into iOS 7, all users will be able to take advantage of the higher-quality experience.

Apple announced back in March that as of May 1, it was requiring all app submissions and updates to support both Retina displays and the iPhone 5′s taller display, pushing developers to support Apple’s latest devices. The Retina support requirement also allows more apps to take advantage of the new 2x improvements for non-Retina iPads in iOS 7.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve gotten a chance to play with the third iOS 7 beta, please let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Dropbox announces upcoming data sync service for apps

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 07:12
Category: News, Software

Dropbox is growing.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Dropbox announced that it will begin an iCloud-like data sync service.

The announcement went as follows:

“Today, we’re excited for you try out the beta release of the Datastore API – simple databases for your apps with Dropbox sync built-in! Use datastores to save your app’s data – settings, contacts, or any other content that users create – and Dropbox will take care of all the syncing for you. People who use your Datastore-enabled app can be sure their information will always be up-to-date and available, no matter what device or platform they use.”

Developers will now be able to use Dropbox’s DataStore sync databases to sync any number of different types of data across devices on multiple platforms. This not only includes contacts and files, but also things like game saves and app settings. The DataStore sync also works when a user does not have an Internet connection. Changes are saved locally and the next time a connection is made the changes are synced across devices.

Not a bad thing and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Beta code hints at 120 frames-per-second camera feature for iOS 7

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 06:42
Category: iOS, News, Software

This could lead to something really interesting.

Per 9to5Mac, a new camera feature referred to as “Mogul” was allegedly discovered in the third beta of iOS 7. Tests suggested that the new software feature will allow video recording of 120 frames-per-second (fps) at an unknown resolution.

The addition of 120fps video would allow a future iPhone to offer crisp detail when playing videos back in slow motion. Such functionality is popular with sports cameras such as the wearable GoPro Hero3.

While the 120fps feature remains a secret, Apple has already revealed to developers that iOS 7 will give them the ability to record 60fps video with their iPhone applications.

There are currently applications on the iOS App Store, such as SloPro, which simulate high framerates in recording. However, in iOS 6, developers are not able to capture raw video at anything greater than 30 frames per second.

The addition of 120fps video in this year’s anticipated iPhone upgrade would allow Apple to stay on par with Samsung’s latest flagship handset, the Galaxy S4. That handset also offers super-slow-motion video capture capabilities with 120fps recordings.

This year, Apple has run an ad touting the fact that the iPhone is the most used camera in the world. And last year, the company promoted the new panorama capture feature that debuted in iOS 6.

However, hints of 120fps support in iOS 7 are not necessarily proof that the feature will appear in the next iPhone. For example, elements of an unfinished panorama feature were discovered in iOS 5 in 2011, more than a year before Apple would actually add it.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Earth updated to 7.1.1.1871

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 06:12
Category: News, Software

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Late Monday, software giant Google released version 7.1.1.1871 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 45 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- We have included another fix for the unified_cache_leveldb_leveldb2 directory filling beyond specified cache limits for some Windows and Macintosh users.

- Imagery no longer stays blurry upon zooming in when the cache is full.

- Font and tilt settings now stick between sessions.

- Balloon opens now display when recording tours.

- We have included UI improvements to Flight Simulator.

- When printing, the scale legend now displays correct distances.

- Collada models now display with uncorrupted textures.

- Polygons and image overlays now display correctly across the Antimeridian.

- We fixed an issue with certain GPU – driver combinations whereby no imagery displayed in the client.

- The time slider in Sun and Historical Imagery features now displays the correct Daylight Savings time.

- Performance and stability improvements.

Google Earth 7.1.1.1871 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, let us know in the comments.