Apple leaves out vibration feature on fourth-gen iPod touch

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Date: Thursday, September 9th, 2010, 06:45
Category: iPod Touch, News

In spite of earlier references on the Apple website to a “vibrating alert” for the fourth-generation iPod touch, the new device lacks a vibration motor.

Per AppleInsider, Apple originally promoted the vibrator feature on the accessibility page for the iPod touch, but has since removed the reference.

“If somebody wants to start a video call with you, you’ll receive an invitation — along with a vibrating alert — on your iPod touch asking you to join,” the page used to read.

Teardown specialists at iFixit confirmed the lack of a vibration motor when they took apart the new iPod touch.

“Contrary to Apple’s initial claims on their FaceTime marketing page, the iPod Touch does not have a vibrator,” reported the site.

The part from the FCC teardown originally believed to be a vibration motor was discovered by iFixit to be a microphone.

Apple releases iOS 4.1 update for iPhone, iPod touch

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Date: Wednesday, September 8th, 2010, 11:51
Category: iPhone, News, Software

After a fair amount of anticipation, Apple released its long-awaited iOS 4.1 update for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. Per iLounge, the update adds a number of bug fixes and new features, including a fix for the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor, Bluetooth issues, patches for security holes and performance problems on the iPhone 3G.

Notably, the iPhone 3G is left out amongst its iOS 4.1-capable peers in support for Apple’s new Game Center social gaming service, which is also included in the update, along with support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography on the iPhone 4, HD video uploading over Wi-Fi, and support for TV show rentals from the iTunes Store. iOS 4.1 is available now as a free upgrade for all compatible devices via the update feature in iTunes and weighs in as a several hundred megabyte download.

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

Apple releases Safari 5.0.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 8th, 2010, 05:21
Category: News, Software

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Amidst yesterday’s updates and product releases, Apple released Safari 5.0.2, the newest version of its web browser. The new version, available here (or via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature), sports the following fixes and changes:

- Fixes an issue that could prevent users from submitting web forms.

- Fixes an issue that could cause web content to display incorrectly when viewing a Google Image result with Flash 10.1 installed.

- Establishes an encrypted, authenticated connection to the Safari Extensions Gallery.

Safari 5.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.6.2 (under Mac OS X 10.6) or later to install and run and is available for free.

Mozilla releases Thunderbird 3.1.3 update

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Date: Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, 11:40
Category: News, Software

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Mozilla.org, creators of the Firefox web browser, has just released version 3.1.3 of Thunderbird, its free e-mail client. The new program, an 19.2 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and new features:

- Several fixes to improve stability and security, see the Security Advisory.

- Several fixes to improve stability.

- Several fixes to the user interface.

Thunderbird 3.1.3 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve played with the new version and have any feedback, positive or negative, let us know.

Apple outlines forthcoming iOS 4.2 features, ups iPad production to 3 million units per month

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Date: Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, 05:58
Category: iPad, News, Software

For those curious about what’s on the horizon, Apple has created a dedicated page on its web site outlining some of the features in the anticipated iOS 4.2 update that will unify the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad operating systems. Per CNET, the page highlights some of the most coveted features of iOS 4 (currently only running on iPhone and iPod touch) that will finally debut on iPad, including:

Multitasking: A simple double-tap of the home button brings up a quick-switch interface allowing users to easily jump back to recently used Apps. Multitasking also allows for Apps to run in the background while you surf, e-mail, or catch up on the news.

Folders: Just drag one App on top of another and iOS automatically creates a folder. You can even store it in your dock for quick access to your favorite Apps.

Printing: One of the most exciting aspects of the iOS 4.2 update is the inclusion of wireless printing. The ability to create documents, spreadsheets, and other material on the go is one of iPad’s greatest assets.

AirPlay: This feature AirPlay allows you to stream your video content to the new Apple TV and your audio content to any AirPlay speakers, including your AirPort Express.

Other features of iOS 4.2 include Apple’s social network for gaming, Game Center, unified Inboxes and threaded messages in the Mail App, the ability to find and highlight text in Safari, better support for enterprise through stronger security, upgraded accessibility features including VoiceOver control with wireless keyboards, and keyboard support for over 30 new languages including Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew.

The announcement of iOS 4.2 at this week’s media event also led Apple to encourage its production partners to up iPad production (currently at 2 million per month) to 3 million per month for the holiday season. The updated number comes from a report by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty who states:

“Apple recently indicated to its suppliers a desire to move to 3 million per month in C4Q10. This implies a run rate of 36 million in CY11, close to the current 40 million supply chain forecast.”

Recently Apple’s shipping times for iPad have dropped sharply, from 2-4 weeks about a month ago to under 24 hours currently, suggesting any production problems they may have had early on have been solved. With the new operating system update to be available in November, expect iPad to be one of the top-selling tech toys of this holiday season.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple now shipping fourth-gen iPod touch units

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, 04:00
Category: iPod, iPod Touch, News

Customers who preordered their 2010 model iPod touch after they were announced last Wednesday began to receive shipment notifications on Tuesday. Per MacRumors, assorted tech blogs have been lit up today with word that initial preorder units of the new, fourth-generation iPod touch model are now shipping, with delivery estimates between September 10th and 14th.

If you haven’t ordered your new iPod touch yet, the Apple Store still shows delivery with one week, and reports customers in other countries are also seeing estimates of five to seven business days.

Deutsche Telekom expected to lose exclusive iPhone contract in Germany this October

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Date: Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, 04:37
Category: iPhone, News

If it can happen in Germany, it can happen in America…

Another prominent exclusive arrangement with Apple for the iPhone is expected to conclude in a matter of months, when it is anticipated that Deutsche Telekom will lose sole access to the iPhone in Germany.

Per the Wall Street Journal, sources sources stated on Friday that Apple’s iPhone will become available on two new carriers as soon as October. Currently, the handset is exclusive to Deutsche Telekom, but the plans are reportedly for it to become available on rival carriers Vodafone and O2.

“One said that deals haven’t been finalized but added that negotiations are in an advanced stage,” the report said. “Deutsche Telekom’s exclusive rights to sell the device haven’t been extended and could end as early as october, posing a threat to growth in the company’s home market.”

Deutsche Telekom, which is also the parent company of T-Mobile in the U.S. and elsewhere, has 37 million customers in Germany, while Vodafone has 34.9 million and O2 has 16.3 million.

Elsewhere throughout Europe, the end of exclusivity has resulted in boosted sales for Apple’s iPhone. In 2009, the iPhone went multi-carrier in France after a government ruling nullified Apple’s exclusive arrangement with Orange. After that, it was estimated that the Apple’s handset rose to as high as a 40% market share of all smartphone sales in the nation.

The most largest exclusive arrangement for the iPhone is in the U.S., with AT&T. Rumors of a new CDMA iPhone compatible with the Verizon network have persisted for years, but have not become a reality.

In August, AT&T warned that exclusivity for “a number of attractive handsets” will end, leading some to believe that the company was preparing investors for the loss of iPhone exclusivity.

While Apple has allegedly not yet brokered a deal to extend exclusivity with Deutsche Telekom in the company’s home country of Germany, there have also been rumors that the company has talked with Apple about a potential deal to bring the iPhone to carrier T-Mobile in the U.S. Of the four major carriers in America, T-mobile is the smallest, with 33.7 million customers as of July.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 4.1 hits gold master, reported to boost performance on iPhone 3G handset

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Date: Monday, September 6th, 2010, 04:38
Category: iPhone, News

Over the past few days, Apple’s iOS 4.1 update has gone from “coming soon” to “gold master”. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, user report have stated that the update resolves iOS 4.0.2′s stuttering, crashing, and generalized slowness on the iPhone 3G handset and offers better overall performance.

Specific improvements included speed, performance via the Maps app and much faster Spotlight search on the iPhone 3G wherein the app no longer searches through text messages.

Individual mileage may vary, but the iOS 4.1 update could be worth looking forward to once it’s released later this week.

Nvidia announces seven new GeForce 400M notebook graphics card with accelerated Web browsing features

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 3rd, 2010, 14:26
Category: News, Processors

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This could be nifty.

Graphics chip maker Nvidia on Friday announced seven new GeForce 400M series graphics cards for notebooks, which could provide parallel-processing capabilities to accelerate Web browsing and 3D image rendering.

Per Macworld, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome have either implemented or will soon include the capability to offload tasks like rendering of HTML 5 or Flash video content to graphics processors. Nvidia’s new GeForce graphics cards will be faster at processing those tasks than CPUs, which should make Web browsing snappier.

The new graphics cards will be around 40% faster than the earlier 300M series at execution of tasks, said Ken Brown, an Nvidia spokesman.

While the CPU remains at the center of running tasks, developers are writing applications to harness the parallel-processing capabilities of graphics processors to speed up applications, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

“That’s one of the changes with the new browsers, is they support that capability,” McCarron said.

Notebooks with Intel’s latest Core processors already have a graphics processor integrated in one chip next to the CPU. However, discrete GPUs have a faster and wider pipe to run applications, McCarron said.

Still, graphics processors can draw more power than CPUs or integrated graphics, which can affect battery life of notebooks. Nvidia’s graphics cards support new switchable technology called Optimus, where specific tasks like video rendering can be seamlessly switched between the CPU and GPU. The GPU kicks in only when needed, preserving the notebook’s battery life.

Nvidia declined to comment on the exact power drawn by the new graphics cards, citing company policy. In recent years the company has taken charges for faulty dies and weak packaging material used in its graphics chips that led to notebooks overheating. Those issues have been resolved for a while, Brown said.

“Nvidia GPUs are made with a different manufacturing substrate to prevent chips from experiencing thermal issues over time. Our GPUs run in the tolerance level of their specification and the notebook chassis design constraints,” Brown said.

More laptops are shipping with discrete GPUs as users look for stronger multimedia capabilities, McCarron said. Nvidia will be trying to extend its presence in the market with the new products, and it will have to compete with rival Advanced Micro Devices, which already offers Radeon HD notebook graphics cards.

Beyond Web browsing, the graphics cards will provide a better gaming experience and bring Blu-ray 3D movie playback to laptops, Nvidia’s Brown said. The graphics cards will support DirectX 11, Microsoft’s latest graphics technology included in the Windows 7 OS.

The new offerings include the GeForce GT 415M, GT 420M, GT 425M, GT 435M, GT 445M, and the faster GTX 460M and GTX 470M graphics cards. The cards will be available only through the PC makers, and Nvidia did not comment on when the notebooks would become available. The graphics cards will be offered through PC makers including Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba.

Individual pricing for the graphics cards and whether or not the cards would eventually find their way to Apple’s notebook products were not disclosed.

Two new Apple patents emerge pertaining to cloud-based sorting, syncing

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 3rd, 2010, 08:21
Category: Apple TV, News, Patents

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Two days after Apple’s media event unveiled a new cloud-based Apple TV, two patent applications from the company describe methods to improve the experience of over-the-air syncing, and browsing of Internet-based content.

Per AppleInsider, the documents describe wirelessly syncing data between a server in the “cloud,” and a client device owned by an individual user. They also detail methods that aim to improve the navigation, browsing, search and playback of digital media that is hosted on a remote server.

One patent application, entitled “Media and User Interface for Accessing Groups of Media Assets,” relates to browsing content through scrolling lists, searching for specific content, or viewing by category types. The other, named “Data Synchronization Protocol,” describes the syncing of data over the Internet to portable devices like the iPhone, and stationary ones like a Mac.

The timing of the publishing of the documents is noteworthy, as the new Apple TV focuses exclusively on streaming from external devices and over the Internet. Apple will allow TV episode rentals for 99 cents, and first-run HD movies for US$4.99 over the device, as well as access to other Internet-based content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe.

The new Apple TV aims to simplify the browsing experience by relying solely on the cloud, and not saving data on the device itself. In addition to streaming video, the new Apple TV also helps users catch shows they may have missed by keeping viewed content synced with the cloud.

Wednesday’s Apple TV announcement is expected to be only the beginning for Apple’s cloud-based initiative, as the company is reportedly looking to offer an Internet-based iTunes service. Apple has reportedly been in talks with content providers and aims to obtain the necessary licenses to allow users to stream their content to their devices, even with limited or no storage like the Apple TV.

The new application related to data synchronization describes syncing across a number of devices, including Macs and iPhones. It describes allow over-the-air syncing of portable devices, like the iPhone, that currently must be tethered to a computer via USB to sync.

The described invention includes “fast,” “slow” and “reset” sync modes, determined based on a request received from the mobile device. The sync modes can be applied to different types of data classes with different file sizes (say, contacts vs. photos) to more efficiently conduct the cloud-based sync.

The application related to browsing on the Apple TV describes providing a list of information to users, and allowing them to expand that list or seek additional information via a remote control.

It describes methods for quickly sorting content that can be streamed from the cloud, based on criteria set by the user when they browse based on category, or conduct a search.

The application pertaining to syncing was filed on May 13, 2010 and is credited to Brendan A. McCarthy and Carsten Guenther. The application related to browsing of content was originally filed for on May 12, 2010, and is a continuation of a patent filed on May 28, 2007. It is credited to Rachel Clare Goldeen, Jeffrey Ma, Michael Margolis, Rainer Brodersen, Calin Pacuraiu, and Jeffrey L. Robbin.