Intel, partners looking to manufacture 64-bit mobile processors

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Date: Thursday, October 31st, 2013, 10:30
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

Never doubt the power of the mobile processor business.Intel-logo

According to Forbes, at the ARM developers conference today, Intel partner Altera announced that the world’s largest semiconductor company will fabricate its ARM 64-bit chips starting next year. The announcement sent shockwaves through the technology industry as Intel is desperately trying to break ARM’s supremacy in the mobile market. Unlike Intel, ARM Holdings of the U.K. doesn’t manufacture chips but its designs are licensed and used worldwide in the mobile industry.

“It’s huge. Imagine ARM’s most powerful and technologically advanced 64-bit processor built on Intel’s leading-edge fabs. A duo that will be hard to beat,” explains Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

But this is just the beginning of a much larger endeavor for the chip giant as Intel is even willing to compete with semiconductor foundry leader TSMC for the business of its fiercest rivals, like Nvidia or Qualcomm.

“Intel will build Apple’s, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or the Nvidia Tegra for the right price. Now, the question is, are they ready to pay that premium [to ARM] and feed their direct competitor? But that would actually make business sense for everyone,” adds Brookwood.

With Intel ready to open up its leading-edge factories to whomever is willing to pay a premium, chip prices could actually come down, with the other foundries (TSMC, UMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, IBM or SMIC) feeling the pressure to compete.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

FAA to allow airplane mode use of electronic devices during all phases of flights

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Date: Thursday, October 31st, 2013, 10:41
Category: News

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It’s all about the airplane mode.

Per AppleInsider, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced on Thursday that by the end of the year passengers will be allowed to use portable electronic devices, such as Apple’s iPhone and iPad, from gate to gate as long as they are kept in airplane mode.

The rule change will allow passengers to be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos during all phases of flight, including takeoff and landing, with very limited exceptions. Previously, passengers had to wait until their plane was at a high enough altitude before they could turn on their devices.

The FAA will require that electronic items, books and magazines be held or put in the seat-back pocket during actual takeoff and landing. Cell phones must be kept in airplane mode or have cellular service disabled, and they will not be able to be used for cellular voice calls.

If a carrier offers Wi-Fi service during a flight, that may be accessed. In addition, short-range Bluetooth connections are also allowed.

“We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future.”

So, airplane mode happy device-usage, you crazy gatos!!!

Apple support document acknowledges late-2013 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro input issues, promises fix

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 31st, 2013, 10:37
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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It’s not the easiest thing being an early adopter.

Per Macworld, an Apple support document posted on Wednesday stated that the input devices on the brand spanking new MacBook Pro may become “unresponsive,” which is a fancy way of saying “no worky so good.” Fortunately, you only need those for little tasks like controlling your computer, so no big deal. The 15-inch MacBook Pro seems to be unaffected, so if you decided to opt for one of those, good on you.

The company’s working on an update that should fix this tantrum-like behavior, but in the meantime, Apple suggests that those who run into this issue close the computer’s display for around a minute, and then open it again. Which I guess is the 21st century equivalent of “Have you tried restarting it?”

Security firms weigh in on Adobe breach, cite 38 million+ user IDs stolen

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, 10:56
Category: Hack, News, security

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You’re probably going to want to change your Adobe login and password.

Per Macworld and Krebs on Security, the security breach reported earlier this month at Adobe is turning out to be much more widespread than the company first let on. At least 38 million users have been affected by the early October incident.

When Adobe announced the breach on October 3, it said that attackers stole user names and encrypted passwords for an undisclosed numbers of users, along with encrypted credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates for 2.9 million customers. Krebs on Security has reported on the full extent of the attack, confirming the 38 million figure with Adobe.

The total damage could go beyond 38 million users. According to the article, the 3.8GB file includes more than 150 million usernames and hashed passwords, all taken from Adobe. The same file also apparently turned up on a server with the other stolen Adobe data.

Adobe says that 38 million active users users were affected, whereas the other usernames and passwords could include inactive IDs, test accounts and IDs with invalid passwords. However, Adobe is still investigating, and given the tendency of users to repeat the same usernames and passwords across multiple Web services, inactive account holders could still face a security risk. Adobe is trying to notify inactive users of the breach, and has already reset passwords for active users who were affected.

To make matters worse, Krebs on Security and Hold Security both claim that the hackers stole source code for flagship products such as Photoshop, Acrobat, and Reader. Adobe acknowledged that at least some Photoshop source code was stolen; the company is trying to get the data taken down.

In a blog post, Hold Security suggested that the source code theft could have far-reaching security implications. “While we are not aware of specific use of data from the source code, we fear that disclosure of encryption algorithms, other security schemes, and software vulnerabilities can be used to bypass protections for individual and corporate data,” the firm wrote. “Effectively, this breach may have opened a gateway for new generation of viruses, malware, and exploits.”

Active Adobe users affected by the breach should have received a notification from the company by now, prompting them to change passwords. As always, users can employ several strategies to keep their data safe, such as setting different passwords on each site or setting up a password manager.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox updated to 2.4.5

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, 10:37
Category: News, Software

This could be somewhat helpful.

On Tuesday, Dropbox released version 2.4.5 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 32.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- Fixed Finder crash at startup.

- Fixed crash when quitting in XP.

- Other small fixes.

Dropbox 2.4.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4 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.

Firefox updated to 25.0

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, 10:08
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Firefox is now old enough to make foolish mistakes but get a lower insurance rates when it goes to rent a car.

On Wednesday, Mozilla.org released version 25.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 47.1 megabyte download via MacUpdate, adds the following fixes and changes:
- [New] Web Audio support.

- [New] The find bar is no longer shared between tabs.

- [Changed] If away from Firefox for months, you now will be offered the option to reset it to its default state while preserving your essential information.

- [Changed] Resetting Firefox no longer clears your browsing session.

- [Developer] CSS3 background-attachment:local support to control background scrolling.

- [Developer] Many new ES6 functions implemented.

- [HTML5] iframe document content can now be specified inline.

- [Fixed] Blank or missing page thumbnails when opening a new tab.

- [Fixed] Security fixes can be found here.

Firefox 25.0 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, please let us know in the comments.

Parallels Desktop updated to 9.0.23140

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Date: Tuesday, October 29th, 2013, 10:31
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a useful update.

Parallels Desktop 9.0.23140 has gone out the door. The new version, a 373.9 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and new features:
- Resolves a problem with virtual machines crashing accidentally while running on Macs with OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

- Resolves a problem with the Parallels Desktop GUI (graphical user interface) crashing accidentally on Macs with OS X 10.9 Mavericks when switching a virtual machine to Coherence.

Parallels Desktop 9 retails for US$79.99 for the full version, US$49.99 for the upgrade version and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 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 Q4 2013 numbers, shows $7.5 billion profit, but relatively flat year-over-year sales

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 29th, 2013, 02:06
Category: Finance, News

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A US$7.5 billion quarter is nothing to sneeze at, but the sales were a bit flat compared to a year ago.

Per Macworld, Apple wrapped up its 2013 fiscal year Monday with a US$7.5 billion profit on US$37.5 billion in revenue, reporting accelerating growth buttressed by strong iPhone sales and growth in the Chinese market. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, iPhone sales were up, iPad sales were flat, and Mac sales were down.

Apple announced that its revenues in its fiscal fourth quarter (ending September 28) were up four percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. That was good enough to once again beat most analyst estimates. But year-over-year profits fell eight percent.

The iPhone continued to be the prime mover in Apple’s fiscal world. The company said it sold 33.8 million iPhones—a record for the September quarter—compared to 26.9 million in that quarter last year. iPad unit sales were relatively flat at 14.1 million, up 100,000 from the year-ago quarter. And once again, Mac unit sales were down year-over-year, from 4.9 million in last year’s fourth quarter to 4.6 million this year. (Mac unit sales were lower every quarter this year compared to the same quarter the year before.) In fact, revenues from all Apple product lines except for the iPhone and for iTunes, software, and services were down year-over-year.

The good quarterly sales for the iPhone were no doubt goosed by the introduction of the iPhone 5s and 5c, which famously sold nine million units all by themselves in their debut weekend. The new iPhones were on sale for the last nine days of the quarter. Overall, iPhone unit sales were up eight percent over the previous sequential quarter, and up 26 percent over the year-ago quarter.

For the overall fiscal year 2013, iPhone net sales rose 13 percent (from US$80.4 billion to US$91.3 billion). At the same time, iPhone unit sales climbed 20 percent (125 million to 150 million). Overall, iPhone contributed 53 percent of Apple’s revenues, up 51 percent in 2012 and 43 percent in 2011; iPhones contributed more than half of all Apple revenues in every quarter of 2013.

iPad sales for the year were a mixed bag: While unit sales were up robustly (climbing 21 percent, from 58.3 million tablets to 71 million), net sales rose more anemically, from US$30.9 billion to just under US$32 billion. That revenue reduction can likely be chalked up to the introduction of the lower-cost iPad mini last fall. (With the introduction of the new-model iPad Air and iPad mini, due to ship in November, Apple’s next quarter will likely be quite impressive on the iPad front.)

Mac sales actually declined for the fiscal year as a whole. Unit sales dropped 10 percent in 2013 compared to the 2012 fiscal year (from 18.1 million to 16.3 million); net sales fell 8 percent (from US$23.2 billion to US$21.4 billion). Remember that there were actually very few Mac product introductions in 2013, beyond some tweaks to the MacBook Air line. Yet, as Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer pointed out in the conference-call with analysts that accompanied the release of the results, the Mac has increased its share of the PC market in 29 of the past 30 quarters. In a rapidly shrinking market, a slow loss can look like growth.

The iPod is still selling, but in such relatively insignificant quantities that it doesn’t even merit a mention in Apple’s earnings call. That could be because it’s contributing just 3 percent of Apple’s overall revenues these days.

Much of Apple’s business is seasonal, spurred on by fall product announcements and massive holiday-quarter sales. But there’s one part of Apple’s business that just keeps growing, quarter by quarter, seemingly impervious to seasonal fluctuations. It’s the iTunes/Software/Services revenue line, which has grown more or less continuously every quarter. For the most recent quarter, it generated 4.26 billion dollars, up from 3.5 billion in the year-ago quarter. iTunes/Software/Services revenue has doubled in size in the past three years, from US$2.15 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

Apple’s retail segment is most definitely a seasonal business, but it’s showing strong growth. In fiscal 2012 Apple’s retail outlets generated US$15 billion in revenue; in fiscal 2013 that number wasUS $20 billion.

During Monday’s conference call, one analyst commented that Apple was one of the very few companies he was tracking to show strong growth in China this past quarter. Indeed, while Apple’s revenue in the Americas was actually down from the previous sequential quarter, many other key Apple segments showed sequential growth, most notably China and Japan.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to release Q4 earning results today, analysts looking for company to beat its own guidance

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 28th, 2013, 09:31
Category: Finance, News

applelogo

Apple’s Q4 financial results are due in via a conference call today and according to 9to5Mac and Fortune, more than half of the analysts included in Fortune’s survey expect the company to beat its high-end guidance of $37B. The average is driven up by the amateurs, who come in at US$37.38B, while the professionals expect just a touch under the top end at US$36.95B.

Predictions on both revenues and earnings do vary markedly, however. While the consensus view is that year-on-year revenues will be up 3 percent and earnings down 6 percent, even among the professionals the earnings estimates span a 15 percent range.

Apple beating its own guidance wouldn’t have been remarkable in the days when Apple gave absurdly pessimistic guidance and then blew it away, but would be impressive since Cook started offering realistic ranges …

Apple began offering realistic guidance this year, offering a range running from what it has “reasonable confidence” of achieving to what it “believes” it will do. In Q2, Apple slightly beat its high-end guidance of US$41-43B with revenues of US$43.6B, while in Q3 it came in just below its top-end number at US$35.3B.

The official launch of the iPhone in China is the big unknown in the equation, with some big numbers being bandied about, but no hard data.

It’s also likely that supplies of iPhone 5s models will play a large role in the numbers. Demand was extremely strong, but production was struggling to keep pace with the gold model in particular, whose popularity appeared to have taken Apple by surprise.

The earnings will be broadcast at 2 PM PT/5 PM ET via this link.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

OnyX updated to 2.7.4

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 28th, 2013, 09:33
Category: News, Software

onyxicon

Even a small update helps a bit.

OnyX, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.7.4. The new version, a 23.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Utilities > Visibility pane improved.

OnyX 2.7.4 requires an Intel-based processor and OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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