Apple 27″ Cinema Display units demonstrating audio, slow volume control response problems

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Date: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010, 13:19
Category: Hardware, News

As nifty as Apple’s 27″ Cinema Display, there may be some kinks to work out.

Per MacNN, the device is suffering from serious audio problems, some owners say. Complaints reportedly surfaced back in October on the Apple boards, but have persisted without any solution from Apple. In worst-case scenarios Cinema Displays have been losing built-in audio entirely, although the glitch can be temporarily solved by unplugging and reconnecting the monitor, or in some instances changing audio settings.

Another problem involves slow response times for keyboard-based volume controls. Affected displays can potentially take as long as 6 or 7 seconds to respond to keyboard presses, making onboard sound impractical.

The issues are notably affecting both Mac and Windows systems, suggesting that any permanent solution will require a firmware or hardware fix. The root cause may in fact involve USB connections, as Macs using Mini DisplayPort for audio have been going unaffected. Apple support staff are said to be aware of the problem, but unable to tell if or when a fix is coming. Some customers have managed to secure replacement monitors only to encounter the same trouble.

If you’ve seen these issues on your end or discovered your own fix or workaround, please let us know.

Nokia Siemens: iOS 4.2 update feature helps reduce wireless network congestion

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Date: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010, 06:08
Category: iPhone, News

Electronics outfit Nokia Siemens Networks revealed Tuesday that the company had conducted tests confirming that the iOS 4.2 update for iPhone supports its Network Controlled Fast Dormancy technology, which minimizes network congestion and improves battery life.

Network Controlled Fast Dormancy (NCFD), which was developed by Nokia Siemens Networks, reduces network congestion by keeping smartphones in an “intermediate state” instead of alternating between idle and always active on the network.

From this intermediate state, smartphones can “wake up” more quickly while conserving battery life when not in use. NCFD also reduces the number of signals needed to start a data connection between a smartphone and a network.

The post did not explain what kinds of tests Nokia Siemens Networks ran to confirm the iPhone’s support of the technology, but did state that the iPhone will take advantage of NCFD on networks that support it. Nokia implemented NCFD into its own smartphones earlier this year, the post noted.

Per an unnamed Middle Eastern operator, smartphones on a Nokia Siemens Networks network had 11 hours of battery life compared to 6 hours on a competing network. Testing in North America found that Nokia Siemens Networks’ “smart networks” generate “up to 50% less smartphone signaling.”

It is unclear to what extent NCFD has been implemented on the AT&T network, but the new technology could serve to lighten the load for the sole carrier of the iPhone in the U.S., which has been criticized for poor coverage in major cities such as New York and San Francisco.

If any of you have seen improvements on this end with your iPhone since the iOS 4.2.1 update last week, please let us know.

Apple nixes PhotoFast 256GB MacBook Air upgrade kit

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 30th, 2010, 12:46
Category: MacBook Air, News

It was good while it lasted.

Per 9to5 Mac, Apple has quietly stopped third-party outfitter PhotoFast from selling the 256GB MacBook Air SSD upgrade kit, the company’s product page returning a 404 error this morning.

The kit included a 256GB upgrade chip as well as a USB 3.0 housing for the 64GB chip currently in the 11.6″ MacBook Air. Plus, it could read and write at 250MB/s while Apple’s SSD clocks in between 150MB/s and 160MB/s.

PhotoFast is currently licensed with Apple to make Apple accessories through the MFi Program, a privilege that could have been lost.

Softbank to offer subsidized iPad to Japanese market in exchange for two year contract

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Date: Tuesday, November 30th, 2010, 05:37
Category: iPad, News

Japanese carrier Softbank has announced that the company will begin offering the 16GB iPad 3G for free when customers sign up for a 25 month, US$56 a month contract, a new report claims.

Per mocoNews, Softbank’s subsidy would contain no hidden costs that spread the cost of the iPad over the term of the contract. The customer will need only sign a 2 year contract for US$56 a month in order to receive a free 16GB iPad 3G, mocoNews reports.

As the sole distributor of the iPhone in Japan, Softbank has enjoyed the tremendous success of the device. In April, Tokyo’s MM Research Institute Ltd. issued a report revealing that Apple captured a massive 72% of the Japanese smartphone market for the fiscal year ending March 31.

Japan recently saw the launch of the new cloud-centric Apple TV and the iTunes Movie Store. Major international and top Japanese studios, such as Asmik Ace Entertainment Inc., Fuji TV, Kadakowa Pictures, Nikkatsu, Shochiku Company Limited and Toei Company Limited, are offering their movies on iTunes.

Apple appears to be allowing heavy iPad subsidies in regions where its iAd program is preparing to launch. The company announced earlier this month that it will expand iAds into Japan early next year with the help of Japanese advertising partner Dentsu.

iAd will also launch in Europe in December. The launch has attracted the attention of European and global brands alike, including L’Oréal, Renault, Louis Vuitton, Nespresso, Perrier, Unilever, Citi, Evian, LG Display, AB InBev, Turkish Airlines and Absolute Radio.

Shortly after Apple’s announcement that it will bring iAd to Europe, Orange UK revealed its plan to sell the iPad 3G at a discounted price with a 3G data plan.

Google Earth 6.0.0.1735 released

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 30th, 2010, 04:42
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, software giant Google released version 6.0.0.1735 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 53.3 megabyte download, adds the following new features:

New features in Google Earth 6:

- Integrated Street View: In Google Earth 6, the Street View experience is now fully integrated. You can enter Street View either by dropping pegman in navigation controls or by zooming in all the way to ground level on places that have Street View.

- 3D Trees:Google Earth now has trees. You can enable trees by turning on the check-box next to the Trees layer under the 3D buildings layer folder. You can see trees in several places, and we will add trees to more places over time.

- Easy to use historical imagery:When you fly to an area where historical imagery is available, the date of the oldest imagery will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the screen. If you click on this date, you’ll instantly be taken back in time to view imagery from that time period.

- Ground-level navigation: In Google Earth 6, in addition to flying around features, you can now walk on the ground to explore either 3D buildings and trees or Street View imagery.
3D Measurements in Google Earth Pro:In addition to measuring distances and areas on the ground, you can now measure heights and widths of 3D building and distances from buildings to the ground.

Other changes in Google Earth 6:
- Tour Recorder Improvements:With Google Earth 6, the tour recording feature has been improved in several ways. The tour recorder now incorporates the activation of Sunlight, Street View, and Historical Imagery modes into the recorded tour. Additionally, the quality of the recording has been significantly improved, including better motion fidelity and better synchronization with sound recording.

- Earth on PowerPC Mac:We are discontinuing support for Google Earth builds that work on PowerPC Macs. Users of PowerPC macs can still use the Google Earth 5.2 version.

- Earth on OS X 10.4:We are discontinuing support for Google Earth builds that work on 10.4 version of Mac OS X. Users of this version of Mac OS X can still use Google Earth 5.2 version.
Earth on Windows 2000:We are discontinuing support for Google Earth builds that work on Windows 2000. Users of Windows 2000 can still use the Google Earth 5.2 version.

- Linux Builds:Google Earth Linux binaries are now based on the Linux Standard Base. This improves the compatibility of Google Earth on different Linux distributions, but requires users to have Linux Standard Base installed on their system. If your Linux system does not have LSB, please install it using apt, yum, smart or up2date. As a side effect of moving to LSB, joysticks are currently unsupported.

Issues Fixed:
- Addressed issues related to slow internal browser and balloon performance

- Addressed issues related to broken images in balloons seen in Earth 5.2.

- Linux now handles KML in locales where the radix separator isn’t “.”.

- Linux fixes for Flash-induced crashes. Google Earth Plug-in and API Changes

- Updated API version 1.007

- New class KmlViewerOptions, to set global render state (Historical Imagery, StreetView, and Sun)

- Added ability to enable/disable street view in GENavigationControl

- Added ability to enable/disable automatic transition to ground level view in GEOptions

- Added ability to enable/disable 3d tree rendering through new layer LAYER_TREES

- Added altitudeOffset functionality to KmlLinearRing and KmlLineRing. This allows ability to set altitude for all vertices through a single function call.

- Added ability to enable/disable building selection through mouse input in GEOptions

- Added ability to enable/disable building highlight through mouse input in GEOptions

- Added copyAsLookAt() and copyAsCamera() conversion to KmlAbstractView

- Improved performance on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

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

Random FaceTime calls reported, iOS 4.2.1 bug suspected

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Date: Monday, November 29th, 2010, 14:50
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

As cool as the idea of FaceTime and videoconferencing can be, you really don’t want to be receiving these calls without expecting them.

Per iPodNN, some of Apple’s various FaceTime-compatible devices made a series of random calls to each other overnight between the 27th and the 28th, according to reports and complaints on Apple’s support forums. While the iPhone 4 was predominantly affected, the issue is also said to have hit the fourth-generation iPod touch, and even the Mac beta client. The calls are often described as showing mutual requests, even though no one actually dialed, and in some cases one of the devices was off.



The incidents are moreover said to have occurred at about the same time: approximately 6:30PM Pacific, 9:30PM Eastern and 3:30AM in central Europe. The exact cause is unclear, but could involve a problem on Apple servers handling the FaceTime system. Because of the involvement of Macs, the glitch is unlikely to be related to iOS 4.2.1, which was made public just last Monday.

Me, I’m of the opinion that this is a preemptive (and lame) initial attack by a SkyNet-esque computer that simply wants to terrify you by having to conduct a FaceTime call with relatives this close after Thanksgiving…

Cyber Monday deals continue on U.S. Apple Store web site

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 29th, 2010, 07:37
Category: News, retail

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The savings continue and you won’t need to be trampled at a mega-store to get them…

Per the Mac Observer, Apple is offering Cyber Monday deals on items such as the Beats by Dr. Dre Beatbox iPod and iPhone speaker dock for US$359.95, iPhone and iPad cases by Michael Kors, Panasonic’s HM-TA1 HD video camera for $152.95, the G-Technology Mobile Hard Drive for $89.95, Twelve South’s Compass portable iPad stand for $35.95, and more.

The deals are available on November 29 and only through Apple’s U.S. Web-based store.

If you’ve found a good deal elsewhere, please let us know and thanks!

Apple, authorized resellers offer Black Friday savings on desktop Macs, notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 26th, 2010, 05:40
Category: Hardware, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, retail

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Black Friday has begun and so have the discounts.

Per iPodNN, Apple is presently offering US$101 off certain Macs, albeit authorized resellers are offering up to $150 off white MacBooks, $270 off MacBook Pros, $180 off iMacs, $130 off MacBook Airs and $100 off Mac minis.

Apple’s Black Friday sale offers US$101 off MacBook Pros, iMacs and 13-inch MacBook Airs, in addition to US$41 off iPads, up to US$21 off iPod nanos, and up to US$41 off iPod touches, plus a handful of accessory deals. In every case but the iPad, however, resellers have well undercut Apple, as can be seen in AppleInsider’s Mac Pricing Guide, below.

White 13-inch MacBooks:
For its part, MacConnection (Black Friday sale) maintains the lowest price on the sole white MacBook, blowing out units at US$849.99 (a US$149 discount).

MacBook Airs:
Long-time reseller MacMall has teamed up with AppleInsider to offer its readers an additional, exclusive 2% discount off Apple’s new family of MacBook Airs when using the links in this article or the price guide. Unlike MacConnection, whose deals are tied to mail-in-rebates, MacMall’s Black Friday savings all run off instant discounts, meaning the prices you see on the reseller’s website are the prices you pay, no rebates needed.

The exclusive coupons on the Airs bring the bringing the 1.40GHz 11″ MacBook Air 64GB to US$929.04 (US$70 savings), the 1.40GHz 11″ MacBook Air 128GB to US$1,116.22 (US$83 savings), the 1.86GHz 13″ MacBook Air 128GB to US$1,174.04 (US$125 savings), and the 1.86GHz 13″ MacBook Air 256GB to US$1,468.04 (US$131 savings).

MacBook Pros:
For MacBook Pros, MacConnection continues to extend the best deals across the board with its mail-in-rebates. Among the standouts are the 2.66GHz 13″ MacBook Pro for US$1,299 (US$200 savings), the 2.4GHz 15″ MacBook Pro for US$1,599 (US$200 savings), the 2.53GHz 15″ MacBook Pro for US$1,579 (US$240 savings), and the 2.53GHz 17″ MacBook Pro for US$2,029 (US$270 savings).

iMacs:
MacConnection is also offering the 3.06GHz 21.5″ iMac for US$1,049.00 (US$150 savings), the 3.20GHz 21.5″ iMac for US$1,349 (US$150 savings), the 3.20GHz 27.0″ iMac for US$1,529 (US$170 savings), and the 2.80GHz 27.0″ iMac quad-core for US$1,819.00 (US$180 savings).

Mac minis:
MacConnection is also offering the 2.40GHz Mac mini for US$599 (US$100 savings), with a strict limit of 1 per customer. Amazon, however, has matched the US$599 pricing without imposing a limit. For the 2.66GHz Mac mini Server, MacMall, Amazon, and B&H Photo have the lowest pricing at US$954 (US$45 savings).

Mac Pros:
When it comes to Mac Pros, a handful of resellers are offering similar pricing on the 2.80GHz 4-Core and 2.40GHz 8-Core models. For its part, MacMall has taken US$400 off the high-end 2.66GHz 12-Core Mac Pro

It should also be noted the both MacConnection and MacMall are offering free shipping and free printers with each Mac purchase. MacMall is also offering a free copy of Parallels Desktop 6 with each Mac purchase. Both offers are tied to rebates.

If you’ve seen any memorable Black Friday Mac deals in your area, please let us know.

SlingPlayer Mobile app comes to iPad, allows streaming TV, video content from 3G and Wi-Fi connections

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 24th, 2010, 09:48
Category: iPad, News, Software

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It’s been nifty on other devices, it can’t help but nifty on the iPad.

Per iLounge, Sling Media has released an iPad version of its Slingbox client for iOS devices.

The SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPad allows users to stream TV and other video content to their iPad from select Slingbox devices using a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Users can view and control video content via the SlingPlayer app and Slingbox from sources such as cable, satellite and IPTV set-top boxes and DVRs, TiVO, Apple TV and even home security cameras.

Slingbox Pro-HD users can also stream digital over-the-air broadcasts. SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad follows the release of SlingPlayer for iPhone (available for US$29.99) earlier this year with a redesigned iPad-native interface including a revamped programming guide and a recent channels feature.

Slingbox for iPad is available from the App Store for US$29.99. The SlingPlayer applications for iOS require a Slingbox Solo or Pro-HD and are not compatible with older Slingbox devices.

The app requires iOS 4.2 or later to instal and run.

Apple explains iOS 4.2 security fixes

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 24th, 2010, 08:41
Category: News, security, Software

Following Apple’s Monday release of iOS 4.2 for iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices, the company outlined its security fixes in a Knowledge Base entry posted online.

Per Macworld, many of the patches protect against malicious attackers running code on your device, which could in theory be used for all sorts of malicious purposes. Vulnerabilities were corrected for WebKit, Configuration Profiles, CoreGraphics, FreeType (in PDF rendering), and more to prevent against this type of attack.

iOS 4.2 also includes a fix for iAd content display, to prevent attackers in what Apple calls “a privileged network position” to force phone calls from your device without your permission. A separate fix for Mail corrects an issue where carefully-crafted HTML emails could track whether you viewed a message, even if you had turned off remote image loading in Settings.

The update also addresses a situation where your MobileMe password could become visible to an outside user in a privileged network position when using the Photos app to send images to the service. iOS 4.2 also corrects a race condition that could force the Reset Safari option to take a full 30 seconds to remove your saved Web passwords–during which time a speedy user with access to your device could still log in to those sites.

So, there you have it. And if you’ve noticed any major changes in iOS that you’d like to comment on, let us know.