Facebook 3.4 app released, adds “Unfriend”, geolocation features

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 5th, 2011, 08:10
Category: iPhone, News, Software

It may not be the best thing that Facebook pervades a bit too much of our lives, but it IS useful, especially on the iOS devices.

Per Mac|Life, Facebook released version 3.4 of its iPhone app on Monday. The new version, which still has yet to go iPad native, adds a handful of modest improvements including the ability to “unfriend” one of your friends with a couple of taps.

A “Place”s feature in the Facebook app has added a map view. Now, instead of simply seeing a list of where your friends are, you can actually see their location, even from across the country. Version 3.4 also adds the ability to check in to Facebook Events that you happen to be attending.

Last but not least, the Facebook app gets an “improved News Feed” as well as an “improved notifications UI,” but one major thing on everyone’s wish list remains MIA yet again — either a native Facebook app for the iPad, or better yet a universal upgrade so the app is optimized for both the iPhone/iPod touch as well as the iPad.

The Facebook app is available for free and requires iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

AT&T quietly raises upgrade prices, non-iPhone handset purchase prices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 07:54
Category: iPhone, News

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Ok, you’re not going to be happy about this one.

According to AndroidCentral, wireless carrier AT&T has quietly raised early and exception upgrade pricing for iPhones and other smartphones. A notice to store staff has warned that, as of Sunday, users are paying US$50 more. The move would change the premature upgrade price from US$249 for an iPhone 3GS to US$299, and up to US$449 or US$549 for an iPhone 4 before normal eligibility comes up.

A separate memo both confirms the price hikes and showed across-the-board pricing increases. With the exception of the iPhone, pricing will go up sharply for anyone buying a phone contract-free or a shortened one-year contract. Those without a contract will pay at least US$50 more, AndroidCentral saw, while one-year buyers will spend US$150 more.

Basic messaging phones are also going up by US$20 off-contract or US$10 on a one-year deal.

AT&T has yet to officially confirm the rate hikes, though they will ultimately have the largest impact on non-Apple hardware. Pricing for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7 devices will now mostly be competitive on a two-year plan where the iPhone may be the more reasonable deal on shortened terms.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available

Onyx 2.2.6 released

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 4th, 2011, 04:30
Category: News, Software

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Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.2.6. The new version, a 15.8 megabyte download (courtesy of MacUpdate), adds the following fixes and changes:

- Deleting Internet Cache improved.

- Deleting the Applications Cache improved.

- Deleting the Diagnostic Reports improved.

- New Safari option: “Enable/disable Safari’s image cache”.

- New Dock option: “Enable/disable the single application mode”.

Onyx 2.2.6 requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

Samsung ramps up iPad 2 components to meet orders

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Date: Friday, April 1st, 2011, 04:14
Category: iPad, News

Your neighbor has an iPad 2.

Your pets somehow managed to get their own.

And, ya know, it’d be nice to get your hands on the one you ordered…

Per EETimes, electronics giant Samsung will hire 300 engineers and technicians for a semiconductor plant in Austin, Tex., in the company’s latest round of expansion largely driven by increased demand for the iPad and iPhone, while AU Optronics has denied rumors that it received orders for flat panel screens bound for the iPad 2.

The web site reports that Samsung Austin Semiconductor plans to create 300 more engineering jobs this spring as part of a US$3.6 billion expansion. According to sources, most of the production at the 300-mm fab is commissioned by Apple.

The 300 new employees will join a large batch of employees from last year’s growth. “In 2010, we hired more than 600 employees as part of the current expansion, bringing total employment to approximately 1,700,” said Charmaine Winters, senior human resources manager at Samsung Austin Semiconductor, in a statement.

Though rumors had suggested that Apple had inked a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. for production of the A5 chip for the iPad 2, due to concerns of increased competition with Samsung, X-ray analysis of Apple’s A5 CPU in the iPad 2 confirmed that the chip was still manufactured by the Korean electronics giant.

All told, Apple is projected to purchase US$7.8 billion worth of components from Samsung this year, including liquid crystal displays, mobile application processors and NAND flash memory chips, making Apple Samsung’s largest customer.

In assorted updates, component manufacturer AU Optronics executive vice president Paul Peng has denied rumors that the company received display orders from Apple and no further additional comment was offered.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Cocktail 4.9 (Snow Leopard Edition) released

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Date: Thursday, March 31st, 2011, 10:30
Category: News

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Late Wednesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.9 of Cocktail (Snow Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- Added ability to purge inactive memory and optimize virtual memory usage.

- Added ability to disable virtual memory swapping.

- Improvements on the clear system caches procedure.

- Added ability to prevent Help Viewer window from floating on top of other applications.

- Updated Automator actions.

- Updated Help files.

Cocktail 4.9 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

Apple releases Mac OS X Supplemental Update to resolve MacBook Air/iTunes issue under Mac OS X 10.6.7

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Date: Thursday, March 31st, 2011, 04:43
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

Just over a week after releasing Mac OS X 10.6.7, Apple has issued a subsequent patch aimed at users of the new Late 2010, 13 inch MacBook Air to fix a system crash related to iTunes.

“This update addresses an issue that makes the system unresponsive when using iTunes,” Apple notes on its support page.

Per AppleInsider, the patch is just a 461 KB download and requires Mac OS X 10.6.7 Build 10J869 to be installed first. Both are available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The system lockup problem on new 13″ Air models appeared in Apple’s discussion forums after the release of Mac OS X 10.6.7 as an easy to replicate issue that resulted in having to force reset affected systems, indicating that the problem was inadvertently introduced with last week’s larger update.

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

Google Earth 6.0.2.2074 released

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Date: Thursday, March 31st, 2011, 04:33
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, software giant Google released version 6.0.2.2074 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 23.8 megabyte download, adds the following new features:

- Fixed a problem where we were over fetching certain kml layer data and running into issuing of using large amounts of memory and slowness during zooming in.

- Fixed an issue of ruler tool disappearing. In 6.0 beta, when measuring using the path tool, if you break to add a place-mark then you go back to the path and click “save” the path and ruler tool disappears all together.

- Fixed an issue with incorrectly measuring long distances. Improved navigation in Street View inside buildings.

- Fixed a crash with elevation profile if there was empty gx:value node in KML.

- Optimized amount of terrain and imagery data fetched while viewing photo overlays.

- Fixed an occasional crash while viewing 3D buildings. Fixed broken fly-to links within local kml files.

- Fixed an issue where new place-marks added were with absolute altitude instead of being clamped to ground.

- Fixed an issue where the title for panoramio pictures no longer appeared when hovering over panoramic icons with your mouse if scale legend was enabled.

- Fixed an issue when there was occasionally a missing wall in 3D buildings.

- Optimized amount of data fetched in Street View.

- Fixed an issue where tilt by holding “shift” and moving the scroll wheel only worked in one direction on Mac.

The new version requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

iFixit performs full iPad 2 3G teardown, finds antennas similar to iPhone 4 units

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Date: Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, 08:14
Category: iPad, News

I think we all have a certain fondness in our hearts for iFixit, as they follow the habit we all had when we were six and took everything apart to see how things worked, even if it meant that our parents invariably wound up screaming at us for the destruction involved.

On the plus side, iFixit is staffed by adults and releases some interesting finds.

And they’re nice enough to clean up the things that they destroy.

The latest iFixit teardown of the iPad 2 3G the differences between Apple’s different versions of the iPad 2, comparing the components of the Wi-Fi-only, GSM and CDMA models and discovering similarities with the iPhone 4.

The comparison shows design decisions similar to the differences between the GSM and CDMA iPhone 4 models. For example, the CDMA version of the iPad 2 has one more antenna than the GSM model, just like the Verizon iPhone 4.

Also like the Verizon iPhone 4, the CDMA iPad 2 features an integrated GPS receiver. On the GSM model, GPS is a separate chip from Broadcom, like with the GSM iPhone 4.

The other major difference between the GSM and CDMA iPad 2 models is the inclusion of a Micro-SIM card slot on the GSM model. Located in the upper left corner of the device, the slot’s inclusion gives that model a unique design.

The Micro-SIM tray is integrated into the headphone jack assembly for the GSM iPad 2. Since the CDMA iPad 2 does not have a space for a SIM card, it uses the exact same headphone jack assembly as the Wi-Fi-only model.

Chips providing 3G connectivity for the CDMA iPad 2 include a Qualcomm MDM6600 Baseband/RF Transceiver, Qualcomm PM8028 Power Management IC, Toshiba Y890A111222KA, Skyworks 77710 Power Amplifier Module, and Skyworks 77711 Power Amplifier Module. All of these are also found in the Verizon iPhone 4.

The GSM iPad 2′s 3G radio has an Intel 36My1EF with 128MB of Numonyx NOR flash and Elpida Mobile DDR SDRAM, Infineon 337Se833 Baseband Processor, Skyworks & TriQuint Transmit Modules, and Infineon 338S0626 GSM/W-CDMA Transceiver. It also includes a Broadcom BCM4751 Integrated Monolithic GPS Receiver, which is an update from the BCM4750 found in the GSM iPhone 4.

Japanese earthquake/tsunami may be leading to lithium supply problems for iPod components

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, 08:46
Category: iPod, News

Ya know, they say natural disasters are never good things.

And I believe them.

Apple is reportedly running short of lithium-ion batteries for its iPods as Japanese chemical maker Kureha stuggles to deal with the aftermath of the recent natural disasters to strike the country.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Kureha has a 70% share of the global market for a particular polymer, said to be crucial in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries used by the iPod.

Kureha was forced to shut its factory in Iwaki, close to the epicentre of the recent quake, and is looking to move its production line overseas.

The plant in Kureha is the only place that the polymer is made. The polymer, which is made from resin called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), binds components of the battery together. It is vital to the construction of batteries that are pliable rather than rigid, as they need to be to fit into the small spaces dictated by modern, small designs.

Kureha is reportedly looking to move PVDF production to its existing factories in China or the US, while keeping its research and development plant in Japan. Meanwhile, analysts warned that any mobile gadgets using lithium-ion batteries, including Apple’s iPod, could be affected by the production stoppage.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad 2 to arrive at 500 RadioShack locations today

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 04:44
Category: iPad, News

I have a love-hate relationship with RadioShack.

Still, this gives me another reason to like it.

Starting Tuesday, some of the most heavily trafficked RadioShack stores in the U.S. will begin selling the iPad 2, as Apple continues to expand the retail availability of its hot-selling touchscreen tablet.

Per AppleInsider+, the iPad 2 will be available at 500 RadioShack stores Tuesday. A corporate memo scarce on details only reveals that the chosen stores have already been informed they will receive the device for sale.

Sources close to the story have stated that the deal to sell the iPad 2 at RadioShack was only finalized within the last few days.

The continued retail expansion comes only a few days after Apple launched the iPad 2 overseas in 25 countries. The second-generation iPad first went on sale in the U.S. earlier this month.

Signs of improving iPad 2 inventory came last week, when estimated shipping times from Apple’s online store improved to three to four weeks. Previously, new orders were estimated to wait at least a month before shipment.

The iPad 2 has seen strong demand and regular sellouts at stores since it first became available. Apple’s launch strategy has also been significantly more aggressive than with the first-generation iPad, which debuted only at Apple’s stores and select Best Buy locations.

RadioShack’s partnership with Apple expanded last March, when the company began selling the iPhone. The retailer also made waves late last year when it offered discounts on the iPhone, something rarely seen with Apple’s rigidly priced handset.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you run across an iPad 2 at a RadioShack in your area today, let us know.