Apple discussion board headings confirm update iLife, MacBook Air products

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Date: Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, 04:35
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News, Software

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With only hours to go before the company’s “Back to the Mac” event, updates to Apple’s official online forums reveal at least some of the products due to be unveiled at today’s “Back to the Mac” event, including iLife ’11 and a new MacBook Air.

Per AppleInsider, new sections on the Apple Discussions page added Wednesday include iMovie ’11, iPhoto ’11, and GarageBand ’11, all part of the iLife software suite. There is also a forum titled “MBA (Need official name)” which will likely be the discussion home for the newly redesigned MacBook Air.

Finally, a mystery space on the forums points to but does not reveal what product it represents. It simply carries the title “Reserved 10 20.”

Last week, the following details were located and confirmed regarding an updated MacBook Air notebook:
- A smaller 11.6″ display.

- 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (with a 2.33GHz option possible).

- 2GB of memory in the base configuration.

- No optical drive.

- Mini DisplayPort, USB, and SD card reader on the left side; USB and power on the right.

- The trackpad has been updated to match that of the new MacBook Pros.

- Although smaller due to the 11.6″ display, it’s still about the same thickness as the current MacBook Air.

- A black power key now sits immediately to the right of a smaller eject key on the MBA’s keyboard — the round aluminum power button is gone. A design decision that might support the MBA’s rumored instant-on capabilities though our source didn’t see this functionality exhibited (possibly because it was running OS X 10.6.4).

We’ll know the full details in a few hours, so stay tuned and we’ll bring you everything we can get our mitts on.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.11 update

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Date: Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, 04:02
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.11 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.6 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed several security issues.

- Fixed several stability issues.

Firefox 3.6.11 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run. If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

Jobs crushes 7″ iPad rumor at Q4 financial announcement

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 06:35
Category: iPad, News

It’s the in-between things during Apple’s financial announcements that make things interesting.

During yesterday’s Q4 earnings conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Monday took a moment to extinguish rumors that the company is working on a smaller iPad based around a 7″ screen according to AppleInsider.

“The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit that price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software,” Jobs said on Monday’s quarterly earnings conference call. “As a software driven company we think about the software strategies first.”

“We know developers aren’t going to deal well with these different sizes and they have to change their software every time the screen size changes,” he added. “When we make decisions on 7″ tablets it’s not about cost, it’s about the value of the product when you factor in the software.”

You see what I’m getting at?,” Jobs continued. “So we’re all about making the best products at aggressive prices and that’s what we do, and that’s what we will do with the iPad and iPod.”

Asked by an analyst how he would respond and whether Apple would lose share if the market suddenly moves to a lower price point with fewer features, Jobs said “You’re looking at it wrong, […] looking at it as a hardware manufacturer who doesn’t know much about software who assumes the software will take care of itself.”

“Hm, how can we make this cheaper? Well let’s put a smaller screen, slower processor, less memory, and you just assume the software will somehow come alive on this product but it won’t,” Jobs quipped. “Developers have taken advantage of faster processors and bigger screens to make better apps for customers.”

“It’s a hard one,” the Apple co-found said of such a strategy, “because it throws you in the chicken-and-egg question to change assumptions on developers.” Most developers won’t follow that lead, he suggest. Instead, they’re more likely to say, “Sorry, I’m not going to write a watered down version of my app just because you can sell this version of your phone for US$50 less.”

Rumors of a 7-inch iPad have come from numerous sources, several alleging that Apple is working on a smaller version of the iPad.

Those reports suggested that the current iPad is too heavy for users, and that a smaller form factor and lighter weight would be more ideal for reading.

Jobs’ comments on Monday come as a number of competitors are embracing the 7″ form factor with their own touchscreen tablets. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is set to launch this year with all four major U.S. wireless carriers, while BlackBerry plans to release its own PlayBook in early 2011.

Earlier this month, it was suggested that Apple developed a 7″ iPad alongside the current model, but eventually opted just to release the current 9.7″ model. Jobs’ comments Monday would support that rumor, as the CEO noted that his company has done extensive research on touchscreen interfaces and what works best for users.

“We really understand this stuff,” Jobs said.

As always, we’d love to hear what you have to say about this.

Apple posts over $20 billion in sales, $4.31 billion profit for fourth quarter

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Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 06:56
Category: Finance, News

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Apple on Monday reported a “great fiscal quarter,” citing a quarterly profit of US$4.31 billion, compared to US$2.53 billion for the same period last year. Over the quarter, Apple recored US$20.34 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 67 percent from the year-ago quarter’s sales figure of US$12.21 billion.

Apple’s earnings of US$4.64 per diluted share handily beat estimates by Wall Street analysts who were expecting the company to report earnings of US$4.06 a share on $18.86 billion in revenue for September quarter.

“We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of the calendar year,” said CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings. Apple has scheduled a press event for this Wednesday where the company is expected to focus on the Mac.

Per Macworld, Apple executive Peter Oppenheimer credited record iPhone sales, enthusiasm for the iPad, and a new quarterly sales record for Mac sales as the drivers behind Apple’s strong quarterly performance. In particular, Apple sold 4.19 million iPads during the first full quarter of sales for the tablet; all told, the company sold 7.5 million iPads during its 2010 fiscal year.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple recorded US$2.8 billion in sales of iPads and related accessories, with the iPad accounting for US$2.7 billion of that figure. That translates to an average selling price of around US$645 for the tablet, Oppenheimer said.

iPad sales may disappoint some analysts, who were expecting Apple to sell close to 5 million tablets. One of the issues may be with inventory—Apple says it has three-to-four weeks worth of channel inventory, which is below its target range of four-to-six weeks. The company plans to expand its iPad distribution efforts, adding retailers like Verizon, Walmart, Target, and AT&T into the mix as well as launching in additional countries.

As for the iPhone, Apple managed to sell 14.1 million units during the quarter. This marks a 91% increase over the 7.4 million phones sold during the year-ago quarter and a new quarterly record for smartphone sales for the company.

For the 2010 fiscal year, Apple sold 40 million phones, a 93 percent jump over 2009. During September, the company says it passed the 125 million mark for cumulative iOS sales of its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch offerings.

Apple also saw a record quarter for its Mac business. The company sold 3.89 million computers, up 27% from its year-ago sales. Fourth-quarter Mac sales topped the previous high-water mark of 3.47 million mark set during the June quarter. Year-over-year sales growth was more than double the growth rate projected for the overall PC market by research firm IDC, according to Oppenheimer.

Notebooks continue to drive Mac sales, with portable products, accounting for 71% of the Macs sold during the September quarter. However, sales of desktops rose nearly 28% to a little more than 1 million units, on the strength of the company’s iMac and Mac Pro updates over the summer.

Despite the largely positive news, the iPod segment continues to shrink, with Apple selling 9.05 million music players during the quarter (an 11% drop from last year’s figures). Apple updated its iPod line in September, though the company usually sees the fruits of those efforts during the holiday quarter.

While iPod sales growth stalled throughout 2010, Apple opted to focus on the positive Monday. It noted that the iPod’s share of the MP3 player market in the U.S. continues to top 70% according to research firm NPD’s figures. And Apple says its music player gained market share internationally from the year-ago quarter. The company also reported that its iTune Store brought in more than US$1 billion in revenue for the September quarter.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a minute during the conference call to comment on the company’s “hobby” product, the Apple TV, announcing that it had moved more than 250,000 units since the device went on sale. That’s the first time the company has ever revealed sales information for the device, which has gone through a number of iterations since its original introduction in 2007. Jobs confirmed that Apple had moved to an all-streaming model for content for the device, which will allow streaming of media from iOS devices in November when Apple ships iOS 4.2.

Apple’s retail segment had what Oppenheimer called a “record-breaking quarter,” with revenue rising 75% to US$3.57 billion. Apple sold 874,000 Macs through its retail arm, an increase of 30% from the year-ago quarter. The company sales that half of the Macs sold through its brick-and-mortar outlets continue to be to customers who are new to the platform.

Apple ended the fourth quarter with 317 stores, 84 of which were outside the U.S. The company opened 24 new stores during the quarter, with 16 of those opening outside of U.S. borders. In fact, with new store openings in Spain, Apple now has retail outlets in 11 countries.

The company also stated that it plans to open 40 to 50 stores during the coming fiscal year, with half of those slated for outside the U.S. The company also plans to start renovating several of its U.S. stores during 2011.

Monday’s earnings report closes the book on Apple’s 2010 fiscal year, which saw the company record US$65.2 billion in sales, a 52% increase from the US$42.9 billion in revenue recorded in 2009. Apple turned a US$14 billion profit in 2010, an increase of 72% from the previous year.

“The September quarter was the culmination of a monumental year for Apple,” Oppenheimer said.

Mac OS X 10.6.5: What Will Change

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:40
Category: News, Software

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With Apple releasing Mac OS X 10.6.5 seeds to its developer community, word around the campfire is that the new OS update will address the following issues according to MacNN:

AirPrint:
Due for a release ahead of iOS 4.2, Mac OS X 10.6.5′s key focus will be interfacing with iPhones, iPod touches and iPads running the new flavor of iOS, to allow them to print wirelessly to any printer on that’s connected to a Mac on the same WiFi network via Apple’s new AirPrint technology.

Without Mac OS X 10.6.5, devices updated to iOS 4.2 next month will only have the option of printing to the Print Simulator (an Apple development tool) or one of three HP Photosmart printers that already include built in support for AirPrint, and don’t require a Mac running 10.6.5:
- HP Photosmart Premium Fax e-All-in-One Printer series – C410
- HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer series – C310
- HP Photosmart Plus e-All-in-One Printer series- B210

General Stability Enhancements:
- Improve reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers.
- Resolve a delay between print jobs.
- Address a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an Airport Extreme.
- Resolve an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal.
- Address an issue where dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide.
- Add SSL support for uploading files to iDisk.
- Resolve an issue with Wikipedia information not displaying correctly in Dictionary.
- Improve performance of MainStage on certain Mac systems.
- Resolve spacing issues with OpenType fonts.
- Improve reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays.
- Resolve a VoiceOver issue when browsing some web sites with Safari 5.
- Address stability and performance of graphics applications and games.

While the last several pre-releases of Mac OS X 10.6.5 have contained no known issues, according to documents accompanying the betas, Apple continues to request that developers focus their testing efforts around a handful of key areas, namely traditional printing and AirPrint.

In addition, developers have been asked to test the software against any of their own applications that include 3D graphics, make use of QuickTime, or read and write from USB devices. Apple has also been tweaking the performance of Time Machine, its automated backup software, for improved reliability.

Mac OS X 10.6.5 is expected to arrive any time in the next few weeks. The last time Apple released an update to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was back in June, when it issued Mac OS X 10.6.4 to address trackpad issues and compatibility problems with Adobe’s Creative Suite 3.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple launches updated MobileMe calendar, removes membership requirements

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:14
Category: News, Software

Apple announced Thursday that its new web-based calendar application for MobileMe subscribers has officially exited the beta stages and is now available to all members.

Users looking to become new calendar members simply need to sign in to me.com/calendar, click “Upgrade now” in the lower left corner of the Calendar web application, and follow the instructions. Current members who’ve been using the Calendar since it was a beta product don’t need to do anything.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has stated the new MobileMe Calendar was designed to integrate more fluently with the built-in calendar app on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches by always keeping it in sync with a Mac or PC. New events or changes are automatically pushed to iOS 4 devices so the calendar stays up to date. Users who schedule a meeting on their iOS devices will also see that meeting pushed everywhere too.

The new version also makes it easier for users to share calendars with one or more MobileMe members to keep everyone on the same page. For example, users can create a shared calendar called “Family” for weekend activities, then allow family members to edit events, and then receive email notifications informing them of those changes.


Another new features lets users share a read-only public calendar, which Apple says is ideal for publishing an events calendar such as a child’s sports team schedule. Once set up, a link to view the calendar can be sent to other team members for viewing on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.


Users can also invite guests to an event by adding their email address to the event (they don’t have to be a MobileMe member) and guests will get an invitation email they can respond to directly by clicking a link. The event then automatically updates, making it easy to track RSVPs right in the calendar.

These features tie into new web application at me.com with redesigned day, week, and month views, as well as a new list view to make scanning events easier.

Apple says the new web application works best with the Safari 5, Firefox 3.6, and Internet Explorer 8 web browsers. Compatibility with iPhone or iPod touch requires iOS 4.1, while iPad users must be running either version 3.2 or 4.2 (due this November). Mac users must have Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later installed and PC users will need MobileMe Control Panel version 1.6.3 and Outlook 2007 or 2010.

If you’ve tried the new calendar and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

iPad to hit Verizon retail outlets on October 28th

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:11
Category: iPad, News, retail

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A few major changes may be coming to fruition as wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon announced Thursday that they will begin selling Apple’s iPad in their brick-and-mortar retail stores on Thursday, October 28th, with the latter offering the device in conjunction with its MiFi mobile hot spots.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T said all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available at more than 2,200 AT&T Stores starting October 28th. The wireless operator said it will be pitching the tablets alongside its 3G pre-paid data plans complete with Apple’s easy on-device activation and management.

Plans start at US$14.99 per month for 250MB and US$25 per month for 2GB with no term contract. Both plans include unlimited access to AT&T’s 23,000+ domestic Wi-Fi Hot Spots. The iPads themselves will sell for Apple’s suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB and US$829 for the 64GB.

For its part, Verizon will offer only the WiFi versions of the iPad, bundling them with its Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot routers for a suggested retail price of US$629.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, US$729.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and US$829.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi.

Verizon is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for US$20 a month. In addition, the carrier will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis.

Verizon’s MiFi 2200 unit allows users to create a personal Wi-Fi cloud capable of sharing the high-speed Internet connectivity of the Verizon Wireless 3G Mobile Broadband network with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The MiFi 2200’s rechargeable battery provides up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time on a single charge.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

SpamSieve updated to 2.8.4

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 14th, 2010, 05:50
Category: News, Software

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Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.8.4. The new version, a 7.8 megabyte download, makes the following fixes and improvements:

- SpamSieve now integrates with Microsoft Outlook 2011. For more information, see the Setting up Outlook section of the manual.

- SpamSieve now integrates with Postbox, an enhanced version of Thunderbird. For more information, see the Setting up Postbox section of the manual.

- Adjusted SpamSieve’s tokenizer to improve the filtering accuracy.

- The Train as Good command in Apple Mail is better at moving messages in the spam folder or trash back to the inbox.

- Fixed a regression where the whitelist and blocklist windows wouldn’t open when running SpamSieve under certain localizations.

- Improved the localizations.

SpamSieve is available for a US$30 registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The new version can either be downloaded directly from the web site or brought up to the current version via the program’s built-in update feature.

Apple announces “Back to the Mac” media event for October 20th

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Date: Thursday, October 14th, 2010, 05:41
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Rumor, Software

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On Wednesday, Apple announced that the company will hold a special media event next Wednesday to reveal its latest offerings in the Mac space, which may include new MacBook Airs, a preview of Mac OS X 10.7, and an unveiling of iLife and iWork ’11.

Per AppleInsider, the event is set to begin at 10:00 am Pacific time on Wednesday, October 20th in the Town Hall on Apple’s Cupertino Campus.

MacBook Air:
Persistent rumors out of the Far East have suggested Apple is gearing up to overhaul the MacBook Air line with a newly designed 11.6″ display, creating a more aggressively priced notebook for students and the business traveler. Those reports claim that Apple plans to ship around a half-million units before the end of the 2010 calendar year. The current MacBook Air sports a larger 13.3″ display.

Rumors of a MacBook Air with an 11.6: display first cropped up in July. It was said the redesigned hardware will be even slimmer and lighter, and will be powered by an Intel Core i-series ultra-low voltage processor.

There’s also been a mixture of chatter regarding a much cheaper, thinner 11.6″ Apple notebook that would weigh as little as 2.7 pounds due to the possibility of new carbon fiber unibody construction.

iLife and iWork:
In addition to the introduction of a new MacBook Air, Apple’s iLife suite of digital lifestyle applications and its iWork suite of productivity software are also due for a revamp. The last update to both offers came in January of 2009.

At least one recent discovery has suggested that a iLife ’11 refresh will be written entirely in 64-bit code, will include a rewritten iWeb, and will drop the iDVD application. It has also been suggested that the software will be launched for iOS devices, like the iPhone and iPad.

Mac OS X 10.7:
Meanwhile, a copy of Apple’s official invitation for next week’s event appears to show a lion peering out from behind the company’s iconic logo.

This appears to suggest that Apple may provide the first preview of its next-generation Mac OS X 10.7 operating system given that all of its predecessors have been nicknamed after large felines.

Distributions of Mac OS X 10.7 have been making the rounds inside Apple under the internal code-name “Barolo” (named after the prestigious Italian wines from the Piedmont region) since early 2010, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Those same people have said that Apple initially hoped to preview the software during this past June’s Worldwide Developers Conference but was forced to relinquish those plans when it was forced to pull resources off the project temporarily to help finalize iOS 4.0 in time for the summer’s iPhone 4 launch.

Other possibilities for the event include possible processor and graphics speed bumps for the MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. For example, both the 13″ MacBook and MacBook Pro still lack Intel’s latest generation of Core i3 microprocessors.

If you have any thoughts on what the new announcements will bring, let us know and stay tuned for continued coverage of the event!

Analyst points to supply chain activity, cites strong evidence for new Apple sub-notebook on horizon

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Date: Thursday, October 14th, 2010, 05:16
Category: MacBook Air, News

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Recent activity within Apple’s supply chain throughout 2010 has shown signs that the company is gearing up to introduce a new notebook that doesn’t fit into any of its existing hardware designs, according to one Wall Street analyst.

Per AppleInsider, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said in a recent note to clients that a new MacBook Air from Apple appears increasingly likely to make an appearance during next Wednesday’s special “Back to the Mac” event, which is set to take place at 10:00 am local time on the company’s Cupertino campus.

“Our checks with supply chain sources over the last 6-9 months have indicated evidence of a new subnotebook form factor,” he wrote. “We had thought it would be released earlier this year but believe it may finally see the light of day as the new MacBook Air.”

Meanwhile, other “industry sources” have reportedly informed the analyst that Apple is making much progress in the area of “true” multi-touch Macs. Such products are believed to be more feasible today than ever, given the success of the 9.7″ iPad which is believed to be helping to bring down the cost of touchscreens and substrates, which have previously been prohibitively expensive.

Wu also claimed that the next version of Apple’s iLife application suite, which his “sources have indicated has undergone extensive testing,” could be unveiled along with a preview of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” and possible speed bumps to the MacBook and MacBook Pro line.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.