Best Buy rolls in free Apple TV with purchase of 15-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, offer good until Saturday

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Date: Friday, August 2nd, 2013, 07:45
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

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It’s a nifty offer and it’ll run until tomorrow.

Per AppleInsider, retailer Best Buy on Thursday kicked off a promotion that has the company bundling a free third-generation Apple TV with a purchase of select 15-inch MacBook Pros with Retina display

While not heavily advertised on Best Buy’s website, the free Apple TV deal is currently available for two MacBook Pro with Retina display models, both high-end 15-inch versions of Apple’s notebook.

The least expensive option is the Retina MacBook Pro with 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD for US$1,999. The second version has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for US$2,599. As reflected in the pricing, Best Buy is having a sale on the laptops, which extends takes another US$100 off select non-Retina MacBook Pro models.

In addition to the normal sale pricing, college students can also sign up for a US$100 savings with their current school email address. The discount extends to desktops like the iMac as well as a number of other computers and accessories.

The latest Best Buy promotion comes less than a week after the big box retailer slashed MacBook Pro with Retina display prices by US$200 as part of its “Hot July Black Friday Sale.”

If you’ve taken advantage of this deal and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple purchases Passif semiconductor, move allows access to low-power technologies

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Date: Friday, August 2nd, 2013, 07:23
Category: Hardware, News

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It was a bit on the subtle side this time, but Apple bought another company for a potentially key asset.

Per Jessica Lessin, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, Apple has purchased Passif Semiconductor, a California communication chip developer that specializes in low-power designs — technology that could be useful in developing a smartwatch-like wearable device.

To date, Passif’s current products have included wireless radios for Bluetooth Low Energy profiles.

It’s unknown how much Apple paid for Passif, but according to Lessin, the iPhone maker attempted to buy the chipmaker years ago “a for a price in the mid-tens-of-millions of dollars.” The company confirmed that the deal took place, but did not divulge any specifics.

The acquisition may be linked to Apple’s rumored “iWatch” development, an anticipated wrist-worn device that is expected to connect with devices like the iPhone while also measuring biometric data for fitness and health purposes.

Apple has also been aggressively hiring personnel from the medical sensor field in an apparent attempt to bolster its team for the rumored “iWatch.” Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities expects such a device to debut in late 2014.

In a rare move, Apple has even openly filed for ownership of the iWatch name in a number of countries around the world.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed in May that his company had at that point acquired 9 companies since October of 2012. He also said that his company had picked up the pace since 2012, when Apple acquired companies at a rate of one every 70 days.

Since Cook’s comments in May, Apple has acquired at least three more companies: In addition to Passif, it bought public transit and navigation firm HopStop, as well as crowdsourced mapping data startup Locationary. While the buyout of Passif will help Apple’s future hardware, the benefits of the Locationary and HopStop purchases will most certainly be seen on the software front, through Apple’s in-house Maps service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Cocktail updated to 6.6

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Date: Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 08:04
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.6 of CocktailCocktail (Mountain Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
– Improvements on the “Search for corrupted preference files” procedure (it now searches for corrupted Launch Daemons and Launch Agents).

– Added “Disable rubber band scrolling” setting (Interface – General).

– Added “Enable Single Application mode” setting (Interface – Dock).

– Added “Disable Dock icon bouncing for alerts” setting (Interface – Dock).

– Added “Show only running applications” setting (Interface – Dock).

– Added “Lock icon size” setting (Interface – Dock).

– Added “Lock the screen of automatically logged in user” setting (Interface – Login).

– Added “Always show titlebar and controller” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

– Added “Do not display titlebar and controller when mouse cursor re-enters window” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

– Added “Hide titlebar” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

– Added “Disable rounded window corners” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

– Added “Show both video and audio tracks when trimming movies” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

– Added “Show Inspector at launch” setting (Interface – QuickTime).

– User interface improvements.

Cocktail 6.6 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9 update

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Date: Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 06:58
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a good update.

Late Wednesday, Apple released version 10.0.9 of its Final Cut Pro X video editing software.

The update, a 1.64 gigabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
– Addresses issues resulting in green artifacts when using Sony XAVC media.

– Fixes several issues related to interlaced media and retimed segments which could cause exports to fail.

– Includes stability improvements.

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run along with an OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later, 256MB of VRAM, display with 1280-by-768 resolution or higher and retails for US$299.99

If you’ve tried version 10.0.9 of Final Cut Pro X and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Netflix to add multi-user profiles to subscriber accounts

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Date: Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 06:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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This may cut down on some potential arguments in the future.

Per AppleInsider, Netflix on Thursday rolled out a long-awaited feature to its iOS and Apple TV apps, allowing subscribers to maintain separate profiles for individual users sharing one account.

Subscribers will be able to add up to five profiles for each account they own. Profiles will receive unique personalized suggestions based on viewing habits and ratings.

More importantly, those individual accounts will each have their own Instant Queue and Recently Watched lists. For example, parents will no longer have to share a queue with their children, or even spouses with each other, if they so choose.

Each personal profile can also be attached to a different Facebook account, allowing for personalized suggestions from that individual’s friends on the social networking site.

Netflix has promised that the new user profiles will roll out to iPad, iPhone and Apple TV “over the next few days.” Other devices set to receive support in the immediate future are Sony’s PlayStation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and newer Smart TV and Blu-ray players. Support for Nintendo Wii and Android has been promised to arrive “soon.”

User profiles first began appearing on the Apple TV set-top box earlier this week as part of a test run. That roll-out coincidentally happened after the launch of a new Apple TV software beta, leading some to incorrectly assume the two were related. Current Apple TV owners will receive the feature without needing to run a pre-release beta.

Competition in the mobile streaming space is heating up, with Google’s newly released US$35 Chromecast dongle offering users the ability to stream content from an iPhone or Android device directly to their TV. While less fully featured than the Apple TV, the device is available at about a third of the price.

The price of a refurbished Apple TV direct from Apple also hit a new low this week, and is now available for just US$75, knocking 25 percent off the cost of a new model. A new Apple TV software update, expected to arrive this fall, will also give users the ability to purchase music directly from the device.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you try this new Netflix account feature and have any feedback to offer, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

Rumor: Retina Display iPad mini could arrive later this year with displays from Samsung, new back colors a possibility

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Date: Thursday, August 1st, 2013, 06:00
Category: Hardware, iPad mini, Rumor

At this point, it’s still a rumor.

But it’s a sexy rumor.

Per 9to5Mac and the Wall Street Journal, Apple is sourcing components from Samsung to produce a Retina Display version of the iPad mini later this year. Screens from Sharp and LG Display will also be used. Apple is apparently also considering multi-colored back plates for the iPad mini. This sounds similar to what Apple offers on the latest iPod touch models. Earlier today, it had been reported that Apple will be sourcing components for its next chipset from Samsung.

Recent reports indicated that developers had located references to a likely non-Retina iPad mini with an A6 processor in iOS 7 code. It’s likely that this model, as has been mentioned earlier, could simply be an internal-only device that never ships, or an iPad mini update that Apple once planned, yet scrapped. Perhaps the recent introduction of the ultra-high resolution Nexus 7 tablet escalated Apple’s need to ship the much wanted Retina iPad mini.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.