O'Grady's PowerPage » News

iPhone 4S A5 GPU tests at 73% faster than iPhone 4, other improvements noted

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 11th, 2011, 06:04
Category: iPhone, News

Even if the iPhone 4S is rumored to contain the same amount of RAM as its predecessor, the clock speed might be worth the upgrade.

Per AnandTech, the new Geekbench scores of the forthcoming iPhone 4S show that its custom-built A5 CPU is clocked at 800MHz, while the dual-core processor gives it a 73 percent performance boost than the iPhone 4.

The new figures from AnandTech show the iPhone 4S with an overall Geekbench score of 623, easily besting the 800MHz A4 CPU found in the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4S processor is clocked slower than the 1GHz A5 CPu found in the iPad 2, which earned a score of 751.

In terms of its graphics processing capabilities, the iPhone 4S lived up to claims of being seven times faster than the iPhone 4. In one test, the iPhone 4S earned a score of 73.1 while the iPhone 4 took 11.2, and in another the iPhone 4S clocked a score of 122.7, compared to 15.3 for the iPhone 4.

GPU scores for the iPhone 4S, like the overall CPU score, were slightly slower than the iPad 2. But they also easily bested the competition, including the Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Infuse 4G, and Motorola Droid Bionic, all of which feature processors with higher clock speeds.

The site noted that while lowering the clock speed of the A5 from 1GHz in the iPad 2 to 800MHz in the iPhone 4S results in a “marginal loss” in performance, but “yields a greater-than-linear decrease in power consumption,” offering the handset even greater battery life.

“At a lower operating frequency than its Android competitors, Apple does have to exploit its strengths in software to avoid any tangible performance penalties,” authors Anand Lai Shimpi and Brian Klug wrote. “Apple has traditionally done this very well in the past, so I don’t expect the loss of frequency to be a huge deal to the few who cross-shop iOS and Android.”

The testing also correlated with earlier results that showed the iPhone 4S will offer a huge leap in performance over the iPhone 4 in its Mobile Safari Browser. In SunSpider Javascript Benchmark tests, where a lower score is better, the iPhone 4S earned 2222, compared to 3921 for the iPhone 4 and 5785 for the iPhone 3GS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Sprint passes on offering iPhone insurance, users to have to find other provider

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 09:00
Category: iPhone, News

iPhone insurance is always a useful thing to have.

Just don’t expect it to come from Sprint.

Per SprintFeed, Sprint has apparently voted down the idea of having its Total Equipment Protection plans available for the iPhone 4S or current iPhone 4 model.

According to a leaked slide, the iPhone 4S (or 4) won’t be offered with insurance. Instead, users will need to purchase the AppleCare+ Protection Plan or go through a third party to have any protection from accidental damage. This may change down the road, as the slide says it won’t be offered “at launch,” but only time will tell.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Online vendors selling out of iPhone, Apple’s expected ship times pushed back to 1-2 weeks from October 14th launch date

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 04:56
Category: iPhone, News

If there were any doubts that the iPhone 4S would be a decent seller, the pre-orders have apparently killed them stone dead.

Per AppleInsider, just 24 hours after opening up pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S, Apple has rolled back expected shipping times for the device from expected delivery on the Oct. 14th launch date to an estimate of 1-2 weeks.

The Apple Online Store changed its pre-order availability for all models of the iPhone 4S early Saturday. Apple had promised to begin taking advance orders for the device at 12:01 Pacific on Friday, but slight hiccups delayed sales for Apple and AT&T.

The company’s other two wireless partners in the U.S., Verizon and Sprint, were able to begin pre-orders on time, though some customers reported having trouble completing orders from Apple and carriers alike.

AT&T announced later on Friday that it had received more than 200,000 pre-orders for the smartphone in just 12 hours, a record for the company.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S features the same external design as the iPhone 4, but adds Siri voice control, a faster A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a new antenna design. Though some have expressed disappointment that the handset did not receive a form factor refresh, Wall Street analysts remain confident that sales of the iPhone 4S will easily top previous records set by the iPhone 4.

Sprint noted on its website late Friday that it had completely sold out of pre-orders for the 16GB iPhone 4S, though, as of early Saturday, the 32GB and 64GB versions were still available for advance purchase. The carrier does, however, state that the 16GB model will be “available in stores on Oct. 14.”

Verizon may also have sold out of its initial pre-order allowance of 16GB models. The carrier’s website currently lists 16GB models of the iPhone 4S for Oct. 21 delivery. Also, some users have reported that orders placed on the Verizon website at 12:01 a.m. on Friday are now estimating delivery on Oct. 21.

Though not a publicly disclosed practice, recent history and evidence supports the fact that Apple allots restricted amounts of devices for its partners to offer on pre-order and at launch.

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Sprint has basically “bet the company” on the iPhone and has agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years.

This is the first iPhone launch in the U.S. where Apple has to manage multiple carrier relationships. The issue is also exacerbated by the fact that the iPhone 4S is a “global model” and the same model can work on both CDMA and GSM networks.

For those willing to wait, Apple will release a GSM-unlocked version of the iPhone 4S in November, with 16GB, 326GB and 64GB models selling for $649, $749 and $849, respectively. The company cautions, however, that the unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon and Sprint.

Apple has had trouble producing enough iPhone and iPad models to match pre-order and launch day demand in recent years. Even the Verizon iPhone 4, which launched 8 months after the GSM iPhone 4 arrived, sold out of pre-orders on the first day on offer.

If you’ve received any word as to your iPhone 4S order, please let us know and we’ll have additional details as soon as they become available.

VLC 1.1.12 update released

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 04:01
Category: News, Software

vlclogo.jpg

Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.1.12 The new version, a 31.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Bug and security fix release with a improvements for audio output on MacOS and with PulseAudio.

- This release was necessary due to a security issue in the HTTP and RTSP server components, though this does not affect standard usage of the player.

VLC 1.1.12 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple begins taking iPhone 4S preorders, reveals that unlocked model won’t work on CDMA networks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 06:31
Category: iPhone, News

Apple on Friday began taking preorders for the iPhone 4S, and also revealed its next-generation handset will be sold unlocked and contract-free in November starting at US$649.

Per AppleInsider, the unlocked iPhone 4GS will only work on supported GSM networks, like AT&T in the U.S. But it will not work with any CDMA carriers, including Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

Customers who buy an unlocked iPhone 4S will be able to use the handset internationally on GSM networks. They must obtain a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier to put in the handset.

When it was announced on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S was unveiled as a “world phone,” meaning it is compatible with both CDMA and GSM networks. But customers who want to operate the handset on a GSM network, like Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S., will need to buy Apple’s latest smartphone with a new two-year contract.

“The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment,” Apple’s description reads. “You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.”

The contract-free iPhone 4S is available in all three standard capacities, and is priced at US$649 for 16GB, US$749 for 32GB and US$849 for 64GB. It will be available in both black and white.

When the iPhone 4S is delivered in November, it will arrive without a micro-SIM card. By inserting a card and turning on the phone, users will be able to activate the device by following the onscreen instructions without tethering to a Mac or PC, a new feature made possible by the PC-free setup in iOS 5.

Apple has warned that a credit check may be required for customers who purchase the unlocked GSM iPhone 4S in November. In addition, customers must be at least 18 years of age to buy.

The unlocked iPhone 4S will arrive only a few months after Apple began selling the GSM iPhone 4 unlocked in June. The contract-free iPhone 4 also carried a starting price of US$649.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.14924.699487

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 05:00
Category: News, Software

parallelslogo1.jpg

On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.14924.699487 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 289 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Add support for Windows 8 Developer Preview (new Windows 8 installation is recommended after installing the update).

- Improve compatibility with Quicken 2011.

- Improve support for Autodesk 3ds Max 2012.

- Optimize CPU usage when Parallels Desktop is idle.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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

iFixit posts 7th generation iPod nano teardown

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2011, 10:18
Category: iPod, News

It’s the new components that make the next generation of a device interesting.

Once again, the cool cats at iFixit have pulled apart a new Apple gadget, the company releasing a teardown of the new 7th generation iPod nano.

The new nano, which looks exactly like its predecessor, sports a 1.54-inch multi-touch display, a 240 x 240 pixel resolution, built-in accelerometer and stock Nike+ package.

The device also features no screws, so if you want to take yours apart, you’ll have to use a heat gun to open up the casing.

The new iPod nano is available now with prices starting at US$129.

Sprint confirms unlimited data plan to be available for iPhone subscribers

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2011, 04:58
Category: iPhone, News

With Sprint being added to the U.S. iPhone carrier list along with AT&T and Verizon, it’s time for some competition.

Per AllThingsD, Sprint will indeed offer unlimited data plans when it starts taking iPhone orders later this week.

“We will be offering the benefit of our unlimited plans that start at just US$69.99,” said spokeswoman Michelle Leff Mermelstein. Sprint’s US$69.99 plan includes unlimited data and 450 voice minutes as well as unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. Unlimited calling and data retails for US$99.99 a month, these prices not including a $10 per month surcharge for smartphones, so iPhone users will really be paying US$79.99 and US$109.99 for their unlimited plans.

Sprint is counting on unlimited pricing to help it stand out from AT&T and Verizon — which will also carry the very same iPhone 4S. In addition, Sprint and Verizon will have the iPhone 4, while only AT&T will have the older iPhone 3GS to offer for free with a new contract.

Both AT&T and Verizon offered unlimited data plans for the iPhone in the past, but have since shifted to tiered pricing for new customers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Former Apple CEO, company co-founder Steve Jobs dies

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2011, 04:50
Category: News

Steve Jobs, the former CEO and co-founder of Apple, died on Wednesday, the news being announced by Apple. He was 56.

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being,” Apple said in a statement on its website. “Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor.”

“Steve Jobs is one of the great innovators in the history of modern capitalism,” New York Times columnist Joe Nocera said in August. “His intuition has been phenomenal over the years.”

“He was a historical figure on the scale of a Thomas Edison or a Henry Ford, and set the mold for many other corporate leaders in many other industries,” wrote Walter Mossberg, a tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

“He did what a CEO should: Hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term, not the quarter of the short-term stock price; made big bets and took big risks.”
Jobs’ death, while dreaded by Apple’s legions of fans, was not unexpected. He had battled cancer for years, took a medical leave from Apple in January and stepped down as chief executive in August because he could “no longer meet (his) duties and expectations.”

Jobs is survived by his wife of 20 years, Laurene, and four children, including one from a prior relationship.

He always spoke with immense pride about what he and his engineers accomplished at Apple.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do,” he said while delivering a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University.

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

We’ll have additional details as they become available, but in the meantime, Apple has stated that your thoughts, condolences and memories can be sent to the rememberingsteve@apple.com e-mail address.

If you have any personal thoughts, stories or condolences about Steve that you’d like to share, shoot me an e-mail at chris@powerpage.org and we’ll post them tomorrow.

Goodbye, Steve. We’ll miss you.



Apple unveils AppleCare+, adds limited coverage for user-caused damage

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, 08:36
Category: iPhone, News

Always have a backup plan.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday introduced AppleCare+ for iPhone, a new extended warranty service that combines traditional tech support, software support, and hardware support with the addition of the company’s first accidental damage plan.

Like the traditional $US69 version of AppleCare for iPhone that it replaces, the new US$99 AppleCare+ for iPhone extends an iPhone’s repair coverage and technical support to two years from the original purchase date but also adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to an owner’s poor handling of the device.

Each accidental damage incident is subject to a US$49 service fee and is available only for the iPhone and its original included accessories. In turn, Apple promises that the replacement equipment it provides to customers taking advantage of the “may be new or equivalent to new in both performance and reliability” (meaning either a new iPhone or a certified refurbished one).

AppleCare+ also bundles standard AppleCare features, such as software troubleshooting and telephone-based technical support, while also offering customers with repair needs the option for mail-in or carry-in repairs, and an express replacement service.

iPhones that exhibit defects in materials, workmanship or see their battery charge fall by 50 percent or more from original specification, remain eligible for a replacement from Apple at no cost under the new plan. Apple also notes that customers must purchased AppleCare+ together with their new iPhone, with the safest bet being to have both items appear on the same receipt (fine print).

For Apple, the new service marks the first time that company has offered accidental coverage for drops, spills, and other incidents caused by the owner. Previously, iPhone customers seeking full coverage of their device were left to seek out pricey third-party alternatives that sell for the same price or more.

Replacement costs for an out-of-contract iPhone can cost hundreds to replace new or US$200 previously though Apple’s Out-of-Warranty Service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.