Rumor: Apple to update iMac, Mac Pro desktops for fall, add USB 3.0, improved FireWire

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Date: Monday, July 19th, 2010, 03:12
Category: iMac, Mac Desktop, Rumor

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Amidst the cacophony of the iPhone 4 press conference, French website Hardmac reported Friday that Apple aims to update its iMac and Mac Pro desktops in time for its back to school sales period. The report cited one of the site’s “better sources” in relaying the information.

“On this occasion, Apple should inaugurate two great innovations, the arrival of USB 3.0 and a faster FireWire interface, 1600 or 3200,” they wrote. “Thus, FireWire will not be forgotten. Note that Apple is also interested in LightPeak technology, but they do not expect to use it or set it up before one year.”

Finally, the report also said that the new hardware will not support Blu-ray discs. That news should come as no surprise to those who have heard Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs’ assessment of the format. Jobs was recently alleged to have said that the physical medium’s days are dying, and will give way to digital download services like iTunes.

The USB 3.0 specification was in Apple’s hands over a year ago. The new standard will be ten times faster than the current Hi-Speed USB standard (USB 2.0), and also more power-efficient, leading to lower active and idle power requirements. Like its predecessor, USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices.

Rumors of a new Mac Pro have persisted for all of 2009, with Apple expected to adopt Intel’s Gulftown processor, the 32nm Core i7-980X with six cores. The chips have 12MB of L3 cache. Apple usually doubles the processors in its high-end professional workstations, so it’s possible the new Mac Pro system could have a total of 12 cores and 24 threads.

The last major refresh to the Mac Pro equipped it with its Nehalem Xeon processors, with a high-end eight-core Mac Pro offering two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 chips. Last year, Apple quietly upgraded that to a potential maximum 2.93GHz eight-core system.

Last October, Apple updated its iMac desktop line, redesigning the hardware with a new edge-to-edge glass design and seamless all-aluminum enclosure. The LED-backlit iMacs come in screen sizes of 21.5″ and 27″.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases firmware updates for 27″ iMacs

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 04:12
Category: iMac, News, Software

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Apple’s in one of its update-o-rama sprees again and late Wednesday, the company released firmware updates for its popular 27″ iMac line.

The first update, the 27″ iMac SMC Firmware Update 1.0, a 397 kilobyte download, fixes Target Display Mode compatibility issues on 27″ iMac computers.

The second update, the 27″ EFI FW Update 1.0, a 2.0 megabyte download, addresses the newer Intel Core i5 and i7 iMacs and fixes the following issues:

- Resolves an issue that sometimes caused high processor utilization while playing audio through the headphone output mini-jack.

- Resolves an issue that prevented the display backlight from turning on after powering on the iMac.

Both updates can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the updates and noticed any differences, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple Looking to Bring HDMI Ports to Various Macs

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Date: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010, 05:20
Category: iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, Rumor

Because the rumor mill’s fun, sources have stated that Apple plans to introduce HDMI ports on some of its systems this year, embracing a current trend among its competitors.

According to AppleInsider, a prototype of the Mac Mini has been seen with an HDMI port by two sources close to the story. The port sits besides mini DisplayPort connector and marks the first instance of full-featured HDMI connectivity on a Mac. It also represents only the second Apple product to feature the port outside of the company’s fledgeling Apple TV streaming media device. Cosmetically, the Mac mini is otherwise said to look identical to existing models, with no other visible changes to its enclosure.

At least one of the Mac mini prototypes described by those privy to the hardware is said to include Nvidia’s MCP89 chipset, which is the successor to the existing MCP79 (or GeForce 9400M) chipset found alongside Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors across the majority of Apple’s existing Mac product line.

However, an ongoing Intel licensing dispute with Nvidia will prevent Apple (and other PC makers) from using the MCP89 supporting chipset alongside its latest generation of Nehalem-based Core i3, i5 and i7 processors. As a result, Apple may continue to rely on existing Core 2 Duo (pre-Nehalem) processors as part of its upcoming Mac mini revision.

Alternatively, the Mac mini prototype in question could have been in development before Intel’s disagreement with Nvidia came to a head, meaning successive prototype revisions that forgo the new Nvidia chipset in favor of Intel’s may have since emerged, though there’s no evidence thus far to support that theory.

Click the jump for the full story…

Apple Improves 27″ iMac Ship Time, Raises Cap on 3G Downloads

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Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 05:33
Category: iMac, iPhone, News

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Following Apple’s recent troubles with its 27″ iMac and a wait time of up to three weeks, AppleInsider is reporting that the company has dropped the ship time to five to seven days, suggesting that the company has managed to address the video issues that haunted the desktops. The change applies to both the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 powered versions of the computer.

Early adopters of the big-screen iMac have seen a number of hardware issues pertaining to the screen, with reports of flickering and yellow discoloration. The company released two software updates to fix the issues, and also reportedly offered some customers a 15 percent refund for their troubles.

Supplies of the 27-inch iMac have been constrained for months, with Apple in December even apologizing for delays, citing considerable demand form consumers. When it first launched in October, the new iMac was the best-selling desktop machine for the month. The 21.5″ iMac came in first place, while the 27-inch iMac took third in overall sales.

In other news, Apple quietly doubled the download limit for files from the iPhone App Store and iTunes via 3G. Users can now download files up to 20MB in size from a wireless carrier’s data network. The previous cap was 10MB for “over the air” downloads.

In addition to applications, the new limit also applies to multimedia files, such as podcasts available through iTunes. The update expands beyond AT&T in the U.S., with international reports stating the 10MB cap has also been lifted.

If you’ve played around with the new limit, let us know.

Apple Releases Second Firmware Fix for Flickering 27″ iMac Screen Issue

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Date: Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, 06:28
Category: iMac, Software

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Late Monday, Apple released its second firmware update to attempt to resolve the infamous screen flickering issue found on some late 2009 27″ iMac units.

The iMac Display Firmware Update 1.0, a 294KB download, will reportedly “address issues that may cause intermittent display flickering.”

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later to install and run and applies to all 27″ iMac models.

If you’ve snagged the firmware update and installed it, please let us know how it worked.

Second 27″ iMac “Flicker Fix” Apparently in the Works

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, 07:13
Category: iMac

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Apple’s 27″ iMac is large. And awesome. And spiffy.

And it still kind of flickers.

Per AppleInsider, an Apple Discussions forum thread spanning nearly 250 pages has resulted in conversations with AppleCare representatives who claim a new update is forthcoming. A month ago, Apple released a software fix for the flickering issue on the 27″ iMac, but since then users have said it did not address the problem.

One user, Dennis Murphy, said he was told that AppleCare technicians were issued a bulletin on Saturday that stated a fix would be released in about three weeks. The Apple employee was allegedly instructed to collect customer contact information so they can be reached when the fix is released.

“This would clearly explain the extended shipping times we’re seeing,” Murphy wrote on the forums.

Last week, Apple delayed shipments of new direct-order 27″ iMac units by three weeks. Supply issues have persisted for months, with Apple in December apologizing for the delays.

Another poster, wrote that an Apple representative told them a combination software and driver patch is due in roughly three weeks.

“This will reportedly resolve the issue of the screen flickering (it is not hardware causing the issue),” the user wrote.

The three weeks allegedly cited by AppleCare technicians would coincide with the existing three-week wait time for direct orders of 27-inch iMacs.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

27″ iMac Delays Continue, Set Shipments Back Three Weeks

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Date: Friday, January 22nd, 2010, 06:30
Category: iMac, News

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Things can’t be perfect all the time.

After apparently resolving shipping delays with its popular 27″ iMac desktop, Apple has delayed forthcoming orders of the computer by three weeks.

According to AppleInsider, while the 21.5″ models of the new iMac currently ship within 24 hours, as of Thursday new 27″ iMacs have a three-week estimated shipping time. Only days ago, the Mac maker had improved its supply of the larger models to shipping times of less than a week.

The sudden delay comes just one week after Apple’s authorized resellers began receiving their volume shipments of the 27″ model.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this delay on your end, please let us know.

Apple Releases SuperDrive 3.0 Firmware Update

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Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, 08:20
Category: iMac, Mac mini, MacBook, Software

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Amid its slew of updates, Apple also released its SuperDrive 3.0 firmware update. The update, an 18.4 megabyte download, helps eliminate the noise made by the optical disk drive during system startup and wake from sleep on your Mac. The update applies to some MacBooks, the iMac and the Mac Mini and requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 to install and run.

The SuperDrive 3.0 update can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.

Current Version of Boot Camp Will Lack Support for Windows 7 on Some 2006 Mac Models

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Date: Friday, October 23rd, 2009, 03:24
Category: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Software

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In a recent memo to retail partners, Apple has announced that it will deliver support for Windows 7 in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s Boot Camp utility by the end of the year via a software update, but exclude support for some Macs sold in 2006. Per AppleInsider, the drivers provide native support for Mac-specific hardware under Windows, such as a backlit keyboard, built-in iSight camera, trackpad, Bluetooth, graphics, networking, audio, and so on. Snow Leopard’s Boot Camp 3.0 also installs read-only HFS+ support for viewing Mac volumes under Windows.

According to the announcement, a series of Mac models “will not be supported for use with Windows 7 using Boot Camp,” specifically:

- iMac (17″, Early 2006)

- iMac (17″, Late 2006)

- iMac (20″, Early 2006)

- iMac (20″, Late 2006)

- MacBook Pro (15″, Early 2006)

- MacBook Pro (17″, Late 2006)

- MacBook Pro (15″, Late 2006)

- MacBook Pro (17″, Early 2006)

- Mac Pro (Mid 2006, Intel Xeon Dual-core 2.66GHz or 3GHz)

The reason for not officially supporting these models has not yet been officially stated. Because of how Boot Camp works, the only reason specific Mac models would not be supported is because compatible drivers are not available. This would not prevent Windows 7 from being installed on these machines, but could result in certain devices not working as expected while running Windows.

Third party drivers for the unsupported devices (if they exist) could solve any issues, and Windows 7 may offer to install drivers for devices it recognizes but does not have built in support for; it may even identify and download the drivers automatically.

Of the unsupported machines in the supplied list, the Early 2006 iMacs and MacBook Pro models have 32-bit Core Duo CPUs, but the other models specified feature 64-bit Core 2 Duos or Xeon processors, and no other 32-bit Macs (MacBooks, mini) are excluded. Apple has yet to release any comments about providing support for the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 only, so the support issue does not appear to have anything to do with these models’ CPU or firmware.

The only other common thread between these machines is that they all originally shipped with either no or disabled support for 802.11n wireless networking. However, late 2006 MacBooks also shipped with disabled support for 802.11n, and no Mac minis supported 802.11n until 2009, so this does not appear to be a factor either.

Apple is expected to clarify the issue when it releases the Windows 7 driver update for Boot Camp users.

RadTech Announces ClearCal Anti-Glare Sheets for iMac, MacBook Pro

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Date: Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, 07:05
Category: Accessory, iMac, MacBook Pro

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Accessory provider RadTech announced the immediate availability of its ClearCal anti-glare film sheets for the 17-inch MacBook Pro and 20-inch iMac on Wednesday. Per The Mac Observer, In addition to cutting glare from Apple’s glossy displays, the film sheets also help reduce the visibility of fingerprints and streaks.

ClearCal sheets are reusable and can be cleaned with water.

The sheets’ sizes are available for the 13″, 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro, along with the 20″ and 24″ iMac and the 24″ LED Cinema Display. Pricing starts at US$19.95.