Apple exec Bob Mansfield switched to “special projects” team, wearable technology rumors gain strength

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Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013, 06:48
Category: News

Apple is assigning Bob Mansfield to a “special projects” team.

Not bad for a guy who looks like a middle school football coach.

Per The Mac Observer and AllThingsD, Bob Mansfield quietly disappeared from Apple’s executive team webpage on Sunday and the company said it’s because he’ll be working on “special projects” instead. Mr. Mansfield had been serving as the company’s Senior Vice President of Technologies, but now it looks like he may be throwing his weight behind secret new products.


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Mr. Mansfield took on the role of Senior VP of Tech in August 2012 after leaving, and then returning to, Apple. At the time he committed to stay with the company for two more years. Now, only a year later, his job seems to be changing significantly.

In a statement to AllThingsD, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said, “Bob is no longer going to be on Apple’s executive team, but will remain at Apple working on special projects reporting to Tim,” meaning company CEO Tim Cook.

Mr. Mansfield retired from Apple in June 2012 with the title Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering and was replaced by then Vice President of iPad Hardware Engineering Dan Ricco. Two months later, Apple announced that Mr. Mansfield was staying after all and would be in charge of the semiconductor and wireless technology teams.

Following Mr. Mansfield’s change of heart, Apple announced that Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall was leaving the company. Rumors had been circulating that the two men routinely clashed and that Mr. Mansfield was swayed to stay once he knew Mr. Forestall was out the door.

Saying Mr. Mansfield will be reporting directly to Tim Cook on special projects has a familiar ring to it because that’s exactly what the company said when it hired Yves St Laurent’s Paul Deneve in July of this year. With Mr. Mansfield taking on the same mysterious roll, it looks like Apple is putting together a top-notch team to work on secret projects — and it’s easy to assume that “secret” really means “wearable technology.”

Reports have already claimed Mr. Mansfield had been focusing on wearable tech, and Mr. Deneve has some serious experience in the high-end fashion world. He also has a history with Apple because he was also the company’s senior marketing and sales manager in Europe during the 1990s.

Assuming the two men are working together, Apple has the beginnings of a crack team that could come up with some amazing products, which is exactly what the company needs if it wants to disrupt the wearable tech market much like it did with the portable media player, smartphone, and tablet markets.

Apple isn’t saying what projects Mr. Mansfield or Mr. Deneve are working on, but if it is wearable tech-related, there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing more than just a high tech watch that talks with our iPhones coming out of Cupertino.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Beijing-area scalpers buying up Genius Bar appointments, selling them online

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Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013, 06:28
Category: News, retail

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If you’re planning on traveling to China in the near term, you might want to be aware of this.

Per the Beijing Morning News, Beijing ticket scalpers have found a new way to make money on Apple: booking up all available Genius Bar appointments and then offering them for sale online.

Ticket scalpers usually make their money by buying large quantities of event tickets as soon as they go on sale, and then illegally selling them for more than face value once the event is sold-out. With Genius Bar appointments, they don’t even need to fork out cash in the first place: just use a bunch of email addresses to make the appointments, then advertise them online.

Appointments sell for 10- yuan (US$1.60-US6.40) in a country where the average monthly salary is equivalent to US$580. A Beijing Morning News reporter found there were no appointments available on the Apple site for iPhone, iPad or iPod. They contacted one of the advertisers asking for an appointment the next day, and were offered a choice of two local stores and two time slots. The reporter was sent login details for the booking by instant messenger, and was then able to access the booking on the Apple site to change the details to their own.

The reporter contacted Apple for comment, and had not received a reply at the time of writing.

If you’ve been traveling and noticed anything similar to this, please let us know in the comments.

Purported “iPhone Lite” case video surfaces

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 26th, 2013, 09:56
Category: iPhone, Rumor

The rumors never really stop and if there’s video to go with them, even better.

Per MacRumors, a recent posting of the purported “iPhone Lite”/”iPhone Plastic” has surfaced wherein Michael Kukielka shows off what he claims is the actual shell for the low-cost iPhone and places it next to several previous iPhone models, revealing that the budget phone may have roughly the same dimensions as the current iPhone 5.

The shell Kukielka handles in the video is white, although we’ve previously covered another rumor that alleges the phones will come in a variety of colors, including navy blue, gold, gray, pink, green, blue, yellow, and orange. It’s also slightly thicker than the existing iPhone 5 shell, well in line with supposedly leaked designs that suggest the dimensions sit at around 8.5 mm thick, 124.4 mm tall, and 59.2 mm wide.

The long-rumored low-cost iPhone is said to be primarily intended for countries overseas, such as India, where Apple’s popular smartphone has yet to secure as steady of a foothold as devices carrying Google’s rival Android system. The unit is expected to sell for around US$300-US$500, and MacRumors relates that carrier subsidies could bring that price down to around US$99 where such subsidies are offered.

And now, for your consideration, the video in all its glory:



As always, let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: Mac mini ship times slip to 5-7 days, near-term Haswell refresh possible?

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Date: Friday, July 26th, 2013, 06:04
Category: Mac mini, retail, Rumor

When the ship times vary, a new product refresh could be around the corner.

Per MacRumors, Mac mini ship times on many Apple Online Stores have slipped to 5-7 business days.

This flies in the face of ship times for all the other Macs, as the other units on the online store have shipping estimates of “within 24 hours”. That said, most Apple Retail Stores do show availability for the mini, as does Amazon.com.

Apple sometimes does have temporary product shortages of computers mid-cycle, but they can also portend intentional drawdowns of stock ahead of a product refresh. The Mac mini is a candidate for an upgrade to Haswell processors, and it is coming due for a possible update in the near future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Haswell-powered Retina Display MacBook Pro could be delayed until October

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Date: Friday, July 26th, 2013, 06:56
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

That new Retina Display MacBook Pro with the Hasell processor you’re craving could be arriving a bit later than you’d like.

Per the China Times and Macotakara, the new MacBook Pros equipped with Retina displays won’t ship until October, well after the June debut of Haswell-powered MacBook Airs.

That rumored date is later than well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities expects the new MacBook Pros to be introduced. He said in a published note that he expects MacBook Pros with Haswell to debut in mid-September.

Apple is said to have experienced continued yield problems with the high-resolution Retina display in its notebooks. That’s led to apparent internal delays, despite the fact that benchmarks for both the 13-inch and 15-inch models have appeared online.

Prices for high-resolution LCD panels, as well as solid-state drives, have dropped in recent months. But the price of DRAM is also rising, which is why sources believe the new MacBook Pros will be sold at the same price point as the current models.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro, in particular, is said to be even thinner than the current Retina display model. Kuo also expects the portable Macs to include 1080p “full HD” FaceTime cameras.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases sixth OS X 10.8.5 build to developer community

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Date: Thursday, July 25th, 2013, 11:59
Category: News, Software

They’re getting closer to OS X 10.8.5.

Per MacNN, Apple has again made available a new beta of the forthcoming OS X 10.8.5 for developers to test. Like last week, the new version (12F26) is just three build numbers higher than the previous one, suggesting that the company is nearing the end of testing.

As with last week’s build, there are no known issues — however, due to the prolonged downtime of Apple’s Developer Center, download options to obtain the latest build are limited. Those who are running previous builds can obtain the new one through the Software Update mechanism, and AppleSeed members can also download it. However, the download page through the Dev Center continues to be closed.

The latest update also comes with a new build of Safari. Apple is still asking developers to continue testing components like graphics, Wi-Fi, wake-from-sleep functions, mobile device management, and PDF viewing and accessibility.

If you’ve tried the new build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple advises Chinese customers to avoid counterfeits, opt for genuine Apple products after charger-related incidents

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 25th, 2013, 06:40
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News

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Sometimes it’s best to stick with the genuine article.

After a pair of iPhone-related electrocutions in China allegedly caused by unauthorized third-party chargers, Apple has added a section to its Chinese website helping users identify official iOS device chargers as well as advised users to charge its devices with genuine Apple chargers according to CNET.

The page offers a look at official charger designs for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPad with Retina display, and iPad 2.

The website notes that Apple “always” puts the safety of its users first, and that products are “subject to stringent safety and reliability testing.” The official chargers that come packaged with new iPhones and iPads are also designed to meet government safety standards from around the world.

The site comes after a pair of dangerous charger-related incidents occurred in China this month. In the more serious example, a woman died while using an iPhone 5 that was plugged into the wall to charge with a non-Apple adapter.

In the second incident, a man ended up in a coma after he was accidentally electrocuted using a third-party charger with his iPhone 4. It was said that the man was using a “counterfeit” adapter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox updated to 2.2.10

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Date: Thursday, July 25th, 2013, 06:17
Category: News, Software

The Dropbox updates just keep comin’…

On Wednesday, Dropbox released version 2.2.10 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 31 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- Reduced initial startup time.

- Reduced initial link time.

- Reduced time taken when relinking a previously linked account.

- Fixed an issue which could cause certain files to sync endlessly.

- Fixed an issue which could cause proxy connection settings to be lost.

- Other minor fixes.

Dropbox 2.2.10 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.

Sprint announces NYC rollout, will activate LTE network on July 30th

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Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 12:40
Category: iPhone, News, wireless

The good, speedy Sprint stuff is coming to New York City.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Sprint has begun rolling out LTE service for parts of New York City, including the Bronx and Brooklyn. Sprint says it will flip the switch for those areas on July 30.

Sprint has been way behind AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in rolling out high speed LTE services. There is currently some coverage in Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island, although there has been no official start date announced.

New York City is the most populated city in America, and implementing new cell service is difficult due to interference from tall buildings and finding locations for hardware. Not to mention the number of users fighting for bandwidth on those towers. In the last 6 months, Sprint has added 12 new towers in the New York City area, and 906 data speed upgrades.

Sprint says it has 110 4G markets, and New York City will make 111. Sprint is also working on cell service in all 277 subway stations, beginning with 36 stations it hopes to have up and running in early 2014. AT&T and T-Mobile already offer cellular connections in select underground locations. Verizon and Sprint are signed up with Transit Wireless for the underground connectivity.

Sprint was the 3rd U.S. carrier to offer the iPhone, signing on with Apple in October of 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Opera web browser updated to 15.0.1147.147

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Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 08:09
Category: News, Software

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The Opera web browser project begins.

On Wednesday, Opera Software released version 15.0.1147.147 of its web browser. The new version, a 54.4 megabyte download via MacUpdate, boasts the following fixes and changes:

General and User-Interface Changes:
- Opera 15 is a major reinvention for Opera. Going forward, the browser’s source code will be based on Chromium and Blink, a fork of the WebKit rendering engine.

- New rendering engine based on WebKit.

- New user interface.

- New capabilities.

New features:
- Improved site compatibility.

- Silent auto updates

New features:
- Combined address and search bar. Opera 15 combines the address and search bar, allowing for multiple predictive results that can be filtered by search engine. This bar includes options for adding current pages to Opera’s Speed Dial or Stash, and expandable page information.

- Enhanced Speed Dial. Opera 15 allows you to combine Speed Dial entries into groups, and introduces a search function that filters through entries.

- Stash. Opera 15 introduces Stash – a feature that records the location, meta data, and a screenshot of a page. It places this information into a collapsable list entry on the browser’s Start Page, that can be searched by keyword and/or scanned visually by screenshot.

- Discover. A recommender service is included with Opera 15. Discover displays news and topical content that can be filtered by category or location/language.

- Off-Road mode. Opera 15 adopts the server-side compression technology used by Opera Mobile.

Fixes:
- Chromium was updated to 1500.72.

- Fixes a minor issue in Opera installer, which deleted existing Opera shortcuts from desktop instead of changing them.

Opera 15.0.1147.147 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.