New MacBook Airs sport new processors and cheaper

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, 09:05
Category: Apple, Hardware, Intel, MacBook Air, News, Processors

macbook-air-13-inchApple’s MacBook Air models were quietly updated on Monday, with the only major changes being a slight speed-bump and a lower price. Anyone hoping for Airs with Retina Displays will have to wait a bit longer. At $100 less than the previous models, the starting price for an 11″ Macbook Air is $899 which now uses a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache, and 128 GB of flash storage. Both the 11″ and 13″ models can be configured with the faster 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) with 4MB shared L3 cache.

 

Screenshot 2014-04-29 03.21.17

 

If you’re pinching pennies, now might be a great time to grab a discount on the old models.

 

 

Excavators dig up hundreds of buried E.T.s

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, 08:48
Category: Consumer Electronics, Fun, Game, History, News

'ET' FILM - 1982Relax, there is no need to call up Fox Mulder, these E.T.s weren’t buried by a government conspiracy. They were buried 30 years ago by a video game company. The mid-80s saw a lot of changes in not only the personal and business computing market, but also the home video game markets. The two were no doubt intertwined as the emergence of affordable personal computers meant that not only could you do your accounting and word processing on your computer at home, but you could also play games, leaving many to ask, “why should I spend the extra money to buy a separate gaming console?”. It’s not like the gaming console ever went away, but at the time it meant new business challenges to companies like Atari, Coleco, and Mattel who had new sources of competition besides each other and had to struggle to stay in the game (no pun intended). The 80s also seemed to introduce rumors of companies sending their failed products to landfills and Atari was one of them (see also: Apple Lisa).

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California kills smartphone ‘kill switch’ bill

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Date: Friday, April 25th, 2014, 09:55
Category: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Legal, Mobile Phone, News, security, Software

Back in February, State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon introduced a bill that would mandate the inclusion of a “kill switch” in phones sold in the state of California. If approved, the anti-theft feature would have been required to be preloaded and automatically enabled on all smartphones sold after January 1, 2015, leaving the phone inoperable if stolen. In a statement put out by Leno and Gascon at the time of the bill’s introduction, in San Francisco alone, cell phone thefts make up 66 percent of all robberies. Just over the bridge in Oakland, thefts are even higher to over 75 percent. The statement also said that recovering those phones cost consumers in the US more than $30 billion in 2012.

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Mac Pro shipping times are improving

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 25th, 2014, 08:56
Category: Apple, Hardware, Mac, Mac Pro, News

Mac Pro assembly lineBack in mid-February, shortly after the new Mac Pro was announced, we reported about how shipping dates were listed for “April”. Well, April is here and it looks like Apple is finally catching up as shipping times are now listed as 3-5 weeks. At the beginning of April, times had started showing up at 5-6 weeks and have been slowly improving. Alas, you still cannot walk or drive to tour nearest Apple retail store and pick one up. All sales of the Mac Pro are through the online store, which will probably be the case until Apple catches up with its backlog of orders. There are some online retailers selling Mac Pros, which you might get sooner, but their supplies have been limited by Apple.

 

Screenshot 2014-04-24 16.30.29

 

 

 

Apple launches Beta Seed Program for consumers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 09:57
Category: Apple, Mac, News, OS X, Software

maverickslogoApple is trying something new with its prerelease versions of OS X, it’s letting everyone take a crack at it. Tuesday, Apple launched the OS X Beta Seed Program which allows anyone with an Apple ID to download and try out beta versions of OS X. A complete FAQ for the program can be found here.

According to AppleInsider;

“It appears Apple has been quietly working to implement the new open beta policy for at least a couple of months via a “Feedback Assistant” that turned up in build 13D38 OS X 10.9.3 earlier this month. At the time, the standalone app’s purpose was unknown, though it is now believed to be part of the Beta Seed Program.”

I can see the potential benefits of having a greater number of people testing out new beta releases of OS X to work out bugs faster, which could speed up the turn-around for OS updates. I even know a number of people, including myself, who are power users that would love to try out new versions before they were released. My question, and concern, about this new program is…how useful is it really? Of the people who download the betas, how many will follow through with providing feedback, and how many will simply mess up their system because they don’t know any better, requiring a trip to the Genius Bar. How many “consumers” have the ability to send useful feedback?

If you are reading this and plan to join the program, just remember to create a full up-to-date backup of your computer(s). If anything does go wrong, be prepared to wipe your hard drive and restore everything from your backup. If you plan to try out the program, let us know and tell us why you’re doing it. Do you plan to send Apple valuable feedback, are you trying to solve a problem, or are you just curious?

 

 

Nike axes the FuelBand and most of its development team

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 21st, 2014, 09:24
Category: Accessory, Consumer Electronics, Hardware, News, Wearables

Nike-FuelBand-WM0105_001_AIt looks like there will be one less company competing in the wearables market with the iWatch. According to CNET, Nike is closing down its wearable hardware development, which includes the FuelBand, in order to focus on its software efforts. As a result, the 70 employees on the FuelBand team are being let go, with a handful staying on until May.

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BlackBerry stifles sale of Typo keyboard case

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 17:51
Category: Accessory, Cases, Hardware, iPhone, Legal, News, Patents

typo-keyboards.pngOriginally announced last December, Ryan Seacrest’s Typo keyboard case for iPhone 5/5S hit a snag in January right before its planned launch as CES when BlackBerry decided the Typo’s keyboard infringed on its own keyboard designs. Typo was finally forced to halt sales of the keyboard case when an injunction took effect on Tuesday that bans it from being imported to the U.S.

According to Macworld UK, the injunction is part of a patent lawsuit filed by BlackBerry and was triggered when BlackBerry put up a US$500,000 bond with the court. The money is to be used to compensate Typo for any lost profits if it ends up winning the case. Regarding the case, Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said,

“BlackBerry has established a likelihood of proving that Typo infringes the patents at issue and Typo has not presented a substantial question of the validity of those patents.”

Currently, going to the Typo website at http://typokeyboards.com simply offers an option to join their mailing list, however, much of the information about the device can still be found on the site.

 

 

Apple sends out latest 10.9.3 seed to developers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 16:55
Category: Apple, Developer, Mac, MacBook Pro, Mavericks, News, Software

maverickslogoOn Tuesday, Apple released the latest build of OS X 10.9.3, designated ‘Build 13D43′. For this build, developers are being asked to focus their efforts on testing Graphics Drivers, Audio, Mail, Contacts and Calendar sync over USB in iTunes, and Safari. 10.9.3 also adds support for 4K displays, which offers improved readability and 60Hz output from a Retina display MacBook Pro.

Build releases are appearing closer together now, this one only a week after the previous seed. This is typically a sign that Apple is close to locking the update down in preparation for its release, so be on the lookout for 10.9.3 showing up in the App Store soon. Per usual, we recommend  that you make sure to backup your Macs before applying the update, and running Repair Permissions from Disk Utility before and after the update is a good idea too.

 

 

Apple’s data centers to be powered by water? [update]

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Apple, Business, Environment, News, The Apple Core

green-energy-plugI don’t think Greenpeace can say that Apple isn’t trying. Apple’s huge data center in North Carolina, which powers iCloud, uses huge amounts of power, and until recently has been utilizing available sources of energy which are primarily coal-burning sources such as those supplied by companies such as North Carolina’s Duke Energy. This is something about which Apple has been catching flak from environmentalists, but late last year, Apple took control of a project built by Earth By Design (EBD), a Oregon-based developer of green energy, that uses small Kaplan turbines built adjacent to a local irrigation canal. According to WIRED;

“[...] a regulatory filing [says that] the project will generate 5 megawatts of power, enough electricity to power a small town, but a fraction of what Apple’s Prineville, Oregon, data center will ultimately require. As users increasingly store their data and photos in the iCloud, Apple has been forced to rapidly ramp up the number of servers it runs in the iCloud. In the past few years, the company has developed new data centers in Prineville, Maiden, North Carolina, and Reno, Nevada.”

Greenpeace has lauded this as a groundbreaking move by Apple. According to Greenpeace analyst Gary Cook, “This is certainly the first time I’ve seen this being this done by a private company and not a utility.”. Meanwhile, other companies have turned to solar and wind to power their data centers which is just as important in the move towards more responsible power usage by major technology companies.

 

Update:

If you’d like a more in-depth look at the 45-Mile Hydroelectric Project and how it works, check out Jason O’Grady’s post on ZDNet.

 

 

Apple’s “Spaceship” Campus nearing construction launch date

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 9th, 2014, 16:42
Category: Apple, News

As recent photos have shown, Apple may be close to breaking ground to begin construction of its new campus, slated to be finished sometime in 2o16. Apple Toolbox has been keeping an eye on site developments and has just released another batch of photos showing the current status of the new campus’ home. Photos taken nearly a month ago had shown that several building were still standing on the site. Now it appears that the area has finally been cleared and that it appears a number of heavy construction vehicles have arrived and are further preparing the area.

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