Over the past couple years, 3G has become a common buzzword within the technology industry. The iPhone 3G has it right there in the name, some PC laptops have the functionality built in and Mac notebooks have access to it via third-party add-ons. Computerworld has reported that Apple is now advertising a new “Communications QA Engineer” position in the Mac Hardware Group at the Cupertino campus.
The posting specifies the job’s description as : “Testing and reporting hardware, software, and device driver bugs for Communications technologies including AirPort (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth v2.0, gigabit Ethernet, and/or 3G Wireless WAN in a detailed, timely manner [emphasis added].”
While it’s not chiseled out in stone, there is the possibility that Apple could be adding 3G functionality to its MacBook notebook line. This could also be in reference to testing that encompasses third-party 3G modems to check for interference with the MacBooks’ other built-in wireless systems.
Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, but this could be interesting.
By Rachel Hoyer
Who hasn’t seen the ubiquitous Microsoft “laptop hunters” and Apple’s “get a Mac” commercials? Each ad campaign attempts to convince the audience that savvy consumers purchase their brand. Microsoft uses documentary-style commercials where they offer “real” consumers (who are actually actors) a certain amount of money to purchase a new computer. Not surprisingly, each time they select a PC.
According to the testimonials, sticker price is the deciding factor. Microsoft suggests that PCs are far cheaper than a comparable Mac. In other words, the smart shopper purchases a PC. “I guess I’m just not hip enough to buy a Mac,” quips a computer shopper in one ad. The inference is that those who buy Macs are more concerned with image than value or performance.
By comparison, Apple’s ads use actors to personify the two types of computers. New York actor John Hodgman plays the dorky and backwards PC guy (ironically, he reportedly owns a Mac in real life). Whereas, Justin Long, who plays the Mac guy, is hip, organized and forward-thinking. Dialogue between the actors reveals that Appl’s products are easy to use and offer more helpful features than PCs. The implied conclusion is that smart shoppers buy Macs because Macs easily perform tasks that are difficult or impossible to perform on PCs.
Both ad campaigns want the viewer to identify with the core values represented in their commercials. In the case of Microsoft, they’d like you to believe that you’d be a fool to spend more on a Mac when you they offer the same thing for a much better price. Apple insinuates that you’re uninformed if you think the two types of computers are comparable.
There’s some truth to both allegations. It’s accurate that the purchase price of Macs tend to be higher than PCs with similar specifications. Nearly all widely used applications are available on both platforms, including Microsoft Windows. So, why would a smart shopper choose an Apple product? In brief: The value of your time. Thus far, Apple has been far more successful at integrating interface, applications and data. Additionally, as stated in their commercials, Apple is ahead of the trend when it comes to anticipating how consumers actually use their products. They design features to accommodate those needs. Microsoft products require you to constantly tinker with your operating system, including changing settings, fixing compatibility issues, scanning the registry for malware and defragmenting your hard drive. And the list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the extensive troubleshooting required upon encountering the infamous blue screen of death, with which every Microsoft user is familiar.
There’s something to be said for a computer that doesn’t require frequent maintenance. Time is has a monetary value. After spending a certain amount of time fixing your PC, perhaps the Mac becomes a better value after all. In case you’re wondering which kind of computer I own, I’m the kind of consumer who buys a computer based on how I plan to use it rather than marketing, and I expect you are, too.
Following the rejection of a recent App Store application the developer didn’t produce the content for, the rumor mill has it that Apple has given signs it may allow more risque software on the App Store once iPhone OS 3.0 and its enhanced parental locks become a reality.
According to iLounge, the response came as part of a rejection notice sent to Newspaper(s) app creator Makayama over the initial submission of its article reading software; the software’s inclusion of the UK edition of daily newspaper The Sun, which is well-known for the topless models in its Page 3 section, purportedly violated App Store rules against obscene content.
The application was eventually pulled to allow Makayama to clear Apple’s review process. Since then, Makayama has stated that it might have a chance at resubmitting the application, complete with its original content, once iPhone OS 3.0 is available. It “would be appropriate” to try submitting the app once the new firmware’s parental controls are an option for iPhone owners, the Cupertino company said.
iPhone OS 3.0, due to ship in the summer, is set to provide significantly expanded content filters that aren’t limited to Apple’s software. Although the block system hasn’t been fully illustrated, it should allow parents screen for particular kinds of apps and, in theory, prevent younger children from seeing Page 3 or other more controversial content in the future.
Requests for such a change policy are steadily becoming more prominent with the growth of the App Store and reached a possible boiling point this weekend, when Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor published Apple’s rejection letter and accused it of hypocrisy in rejecting an update to the NIN: Access music fan app.
Late Monday, software giant Google released Picasa 3.0.5, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac.
Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments.
The new version, a 17.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
Added support for several new RAW file formats.
Now you can upload videos larger than 100MB.
Better previews when using Sharpen, Glow, or Film Grain.
Improvements for syncing to Picasa Web Albums.
Various minor bug fixes and stability improvements.
Picasa 3.0.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
Over on the Apple Core, Jason O’Grady has a full hands-on rundown the the Runcore SATA solid state drive as well as its impressive benchmark numbers.
The drive itself can be dropped into any MacBook notebook.
Take a gander and see what you think.
Software developer app4mac announced the release of Twin 1.0, the company’s online data backup system. According to Mac Observer, the Twin application supports backing up data to local drives as well as online locations via several file transfer protocols.
The application is currently built on the code base for Persistence and supports FTP, FTPS, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, and MobileMe protocols, along with AES-256 encryption and bz2 compression. It preserves Finder information, ACLs, privileges and resource forks, and lets users schedule backup times, set which files to include, and more.
Twin 1.0 will be priced at €29 (about US$38.38) when the final version is available on May 14 and Persistence owners will receive a free copy of Twin. The beta application is available for download at the app4mac Web site.
Final system specifications for the application have yet to be released.
Over the weekend, Apple released its iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.4 patch for iMac desktops equipped with ATI’s Radeon HD 4850 graphics card. The update, a 1.7 megabyte download (also available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature) fixes intermittent system freeze issues and fixes wake-from-sleep issues in Boot Camp.
To run the firmware update process, please follow the instructions in the updater application (/Applications/Utilities/iMac EFI Firmware Update.app). The updater will launch automatically when the Installer closes.
After the firmware is successfully applied to your Mac, your Boot ROM Version will be:
The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
Some things defy description.
This is one of them.
And yes, Apple has admitted as to the hinge problem with the MacBook Air, but considering the meaty pile of bills awaiting payment somewhere around the house, this is about as “spoiled brat” a solution to a problem as it gets…
Recently, software developer Intuit released Quicken Online Mobile, the company’s iPhone and iPod touch companion to the Quicken personal finance web service.
According to Macworld, the application focuses on a forward-looking view of your money, showing you how much you have left until your next paycheck. It lets you set budgets and keep track of them while you’re out and about, and you can enter cash purchases on the go to track spending, among other features.
Upon setting up a free account with Quicken’s online service (which reportedly works with more than 5,000 financial institutions for checking, savings, investments, loans, and credit cards), Quicken Online and the Quicken Online Mobile app lets you see and tracks all of those accounts, downloading your financial data once a day (Wells Fargo accounts, however, don’t currently support auto updating.)
Intuit has stated that the application doesn’t store any of your financial passwords and the Quicken Online Mobile app uses a four-digit passcode for added protection on your iPhone.
The app also includes an integrated ATM finder that uses the iPhone 3G’s GPS capabilities to help you find nearby places to get cash at ATMs that won’t add a surcharge. You can also enter a zip code to search for ATMs, which lets users of the iPod touch and older iPhones use the feature as well.
Quicken Online Mobile requires iPhone OS 2.2 or later to install and run.
Apple may be in the process of restructuring its Mac offerings to include a variety of lower-priced models. According to AppleInsider, an anonymous source told the publication that this change could be in effect and that more affordable variations of the MacBook notebook and the best-selling iMac could be en route.
Though specific details weren’t to be found and Apple recently reported its best non-holiday quarter yet, Mac sales have taken a hit as the economic recession continues. Shipments for computers were down 3%, while iPhone and iPod sales contributed to an 8.6% gain in revenue.
According to the article, many analysts believe Apple’s lackluster performance in the PC segment can be explained by its higher ASPs. Although the structural collapse of selling prices has slashed revenues for many companies, the Mac-maker could be experiencing a drop in market share as customers flock to less-expensive systems. While Apple was shipping less Macs for the recent quarter, HP systems showed an 11% gain.
Acer has doubled its market share in the U.S. in recent quarters, this gain being attributed to the popularity of its netbook devices. User spending is also said to have contracted significantly in the first quarter of the year, and it remains unknown if the global PC market has reached its lowest point.
Although revised pricing information has yet to be fully disclosed, it is believed that the first products could arrive as early as this spring with a revamped MacBook line.