iFixit completes 21.5-inch iMac teardown, discovers new hardware, lower repairability factor

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Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:44
Category: Hardware, iMac, News

The new Apple hardware is out, and as is custom, the cool cats at iFixit have dissected it.

In its latest teardown report, repair firm iFixit gave the 21.5-inch iMac a “repairability score” of three out of a possible ten, citing a hard to replace display and lack of easily-upgradable RAM, while the Online Apple Store sees ship-by dates pushed back to over a week.

After the iMac rolled out to customers worldwide on Friday, iFixit took an in-depth look at Apple’s redesigned all-in-one and found the unit to be “an exercise in disappointment” as far as repairability is concerned.

The firm’s first major complaint was the new display that is now glued to the iMac’s chassis rather than being attached by screws and covered by a removable magnetic front glass, as is the case with legacy models. While the screen is the identical to the one used last year, Apple used a lamination process to bond the front glass to the display, allowing less reflectance and deeper color saturation, though the strategy only allows for the use of glue to attach it to the computer’s thin body.

Second on the list of complaints is the lack of upgradability. While users can change or replace the hard drive, RAM and CPU, they will have to remove the screen and logic board to do so as all integral components are located on the back side of the board. It should be noted that in its review of the 27-inch version, CNET mentioned that the larger-screened machine has an access port for RAM replacement.

There was some good news, however, as the redesigned iMac now uses dual-microphone technology for better FaceTime call audio, as well as a more robust ribbon cable for the built-in camera. Also of note is that the large central heat sink, which only uses a single fan to keep internal temperatures within operational limits, is attached to a spring-loaded Intel socket carrying the CPU, meaning the processor is somewhat easy to replace.

Less than a day after brick-and-mortar Apple Stores and authorized resellers started sales of the 21.5-inch iMac, the standard 21.5-inch iMac is shows a lead time of seven to ten business days, up from the one to three days quoted when the company activated orders through its online storefront late Friday.

The apparent supply shortage for the smaller iMac echoes the soon-to-be-released 27-inch model, which is experiencing similar delays as orders are now expected to to go out in three weeks to a month.

CEO Tim Cook warned during Apple’s quarterly conference call in October that thee would be a significant supply shortage for all iMac models, however the specific reason for this remains unknown.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve gotten your mitts on a brand new iMac, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Updated 27-inch iMac sells out quickly, ship times slip to 3-4 weeks for customers

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Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:29
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

It’s new, it’s snazzy…and now it’s really, really hard to get.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s big-screen 27-inch iMac looks to be in extremely limited supply this holiday, as the estimated shipping time has already lengthened less than 24 hours after the new all-in-one desktop went on sale.

Apple’s online store originally advertised that the new 27-inch iMac would ship to new orders within two to three weeks. But just hours after the slimmer iMac became available, new orders are now advertised to ship in three to four weeks.

The revised shipping estimate suggests that new orders may not arrive in time for Christmas, which is just three and a half weeks away.

The three-to-four-week wait applies to both the 2.9-gigahertz model, which sells for US$1,799, as well as the 3.2-gigahertz model, available for US$1,999.

For those interested in the 21.5-inch model, both the 2.7- and 2.9-gigahertz varieties remain available to ship in one to three business days. Units may also available at Apple’s retail stores for those who want to pick one up right away.

The first benchmarks for the 27-inch model show that its new Ivy Bridge processor will offer more than a 50 percent speed boost with certain tasks. Tests of the 21.5-inch model have also been shown to be about nearly 25 percent faster than their predecessor.

The redesigned iMac boasts an aluminum that is only 5-millimeters thick at its edge and also features a reengineered display which Apple claims reduces reflections by 75 percent. Speed has also been increased thanks to new quad-core Intel silicon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processors, the latter of which is said to deliver up to a 60 percent boost in performance.

Also new is the Fusion Drive, a hybrid hard drive solution that combines the performance of solid-state media with the capacity and affordability of a hard drive. Apple solution couples 128-gigabytes of flash memory with a standard hard drive to create a single storage volume that intelligently manages frequently-used files and programs to optimize performance.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 17.0.1 update

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Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:57
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Hey, an update’s an update…

Over the weekend, Mozilla.org released version 17.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 34.1 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

Fixed:
– Font rendering issue in Firefox 17.0 (bug 814101).

– 17.0.1: Reverted user agent change causing some website incompatibilities.

– Over twenty performance improvements, including fixes around the New Tab page.

– 17.0.1: Leaving Private Browsing with Social API enabled should reset social components (814554).

– Pointer lock doesn’t work in web apps (769150).

– Page scrolling on sites with fixed headers (780345).

– Known Issues Unresolved If you try to start Firefox using a locked profile, it will crash (see 573369).

Unresolved:
– For some users, scrolling in the main GMail window will be slower than usual (see 579260).

– Unresolved Windows: The use of Microsoft’s System Restore functionality shortly after updating Firefox may prevent future updates (see 730285).

New:
– First revision of the Social API and support for Facebook Messenger.

– Click-to-play blocklisting implemented to prevent vulnerable plugin versions from running without the user’s permission (see blog post)

Changed:
– Updated Awesome Bar experience with larger icons.

– Mac OS X 10.5 is no longer supported.

Developer:
– JavaScript Maps and Sets are now iterable.

– SVG FillPaint and StrokePaint implemented.

– Improvements that make the Web Console, Debugger and Developer Toolbar faster and easier to use.

– New Markup panel in the Page Inspector allows easy editing of the DOM.

HTML 5:
– Sandbox attribute for iframes implemented, enabling increased security.

Firefox 17.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

QuarkXPress updated to 9.5

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Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012, 09:40
Category: News, Software

quarklogo

On Thursday, software developer Quark released version 9.5 of its QuarkXPress design application. The 816 megabyte update, which can be downloaded here, adds the following change:

– Beginning with version 9.5, App Studio is switching from the proprietary AVE format to the industry-standard HTML5 format. For an in-depth description of the new App Studio, see A Guide to App Studio 9.5.

QuarkXPress 9.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 later to install and retails for US$799.00 for the full version.

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

Next-gen iMacs begin to surface in Australia, now available for online ordering in the U.S.

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Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012, 08:27
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

You know that new, thin, redesigned iMac you’ve been hankering for?

The Aussies got it first.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Friday kicked off sales of its totally redesigned iMac all-in-one desktop, and customers in Australia are among the first to get their hands on Apple’s newest all-in-one desktop.

The new computer has begun appearing in Apple Stores and authorized resellers on Friday local Australia time.

A quick check with various Australian retail locations found iMac supply was unsurprisingly concentrated at stores in larger cities like Sydney, while smaller outlets such as Canberra had yet to receive their allotments. This is in line with a statement from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who noted that there would be a “significant shortage” of iMacs in the fourth quarter.

Apple announced on Tuesday that it would be launching the revamped iMac on Friday, Nov. 30, just making the November ship-by date promised when the device was unveiled in October.

Starting Friday, the 21.5-inch model will be available through Apple’s online and brick-and-mortar stores, as well as authorized dealers. Apple will also open up orders for the 27-inch model on through its online storefront, however those units won’t ship until December

The 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics for a suggested retail price of $1,299. A faster 2.9-gigahertz model will be offered for $1,499.

The larger 27-inch iMac will have a 2.9-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 and GeForce GTX 660M graphics for US$1,799, while the 3.2-gigahertz model comes with GTX 675MX graphics and will cost US$1,999.

Update: The new iMacs just went on sale in the U.S. Apple Online Store. Take a gander and please let us know what your estimated delivery date is expected to be.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.02

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Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012, 08:19
Category: News, Software

eliphoto

On Tuesday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.02, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 5.3 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:
– Nikon COOLPIX P7700

– Olympus PEN E-PL5

– Olympus PEN E-PM2

– Olympus STYLUS XZ-2

– Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH3

– Sony Alpha NEX-5R

– Sony Alpha NEX-6

– Sony Alpha SLT-A99

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.

Google Chrome updated to 23.0.1271.95

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Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012, 08:54
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

You can’t knock a bug fix.

Late Monday, Google released a beta of version Google Chrome updated to 23.0.1271.95 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 56.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– [161564] High CVE-2012-5138: Incorrect file path handling. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Jüri Aedla).

– [$7331] [162835] High CVE-2012-5137: Use-after-free in media source handling. Credit to Pinkie Pie.

Google Chrome 23.0.1271.95 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple release iTunes 11, offers new features, simplified interface

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Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012, 07:56
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released version 11.0 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 200.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Completely Redesigned: iTunes makes it more fun to explore and enjoy your music, movies, and TV shows. You’ll love the beautiful edge-to-edge design, custom designs for each album, movie, or TV show in your library, and getting personal recommendations any time you click in the Store.

– A New Store: The iTunes Store has been completely redesigned and now features a clean look that makes it simpler than ever to see what’s hot and discover new favorites.

– Play purchases from iCloud: Your music, movie, and TV show purchases in iCloud now appear inside your library. Just sign-in with your Apple ID to see them. Double-click to play them directly from iCloud or download a copy you can sync to a device or play while offline.

– Up Next: It’s now simple to see which songs are playing next, all from a single place. Just click the Up Next icon in the center display and they’ll instantly appear. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.

– New MiniPlayer: You can now do a whole lot more with a lot less space. In addition to showing what’s playing, MiniPlayer now includes album art, adds Up Next, and makes it easy to search for something new to play all from a smaller and more elegant design.

– Improved search: It’s never been easier to find what you’re looking for in iTunes. Just type in the search field and you’ll instantly see results from across your entire library. Select any result and iTunes takes you right to it.

– Playback syncing: iCloud now remembers your place in a movie or TV show for you. Whenever you play the same movie or episode from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV, it will continue right where you left off.

iTunes 11.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple exploring wireless charging, over-the-air electricity technology

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Date: Thursday, November 29th, 2012, 08:01
Category: News, Patents

applelogo_silver

This could lead to something interesting.

Per FreePatentsOnline, a new patent application reveals Apple’s interest in a “realistic and practical approach” to wireless power, providing over-the-air electricity to low-power devices within a distance of one meter.

Apple’s interest in wireless charging technology was detailed in a new patent application published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Entitled “Wireless Power Utilization in a Local Computing Environment,” it describes a system that would rely on “near-field magnetic resonance” to provide power to nearby devices.

Apple’s filing notes that transferring power wirelessly has historically been successful only in fairly limited applications. Specifically, the technology requires a power source and receiver located very close to each other.

This method may be acceptable for devices that require a very small amount of electricity. But Apple says this process is not acceptable for devices that require between a few watts to hundreds of watts.

However, Apple noted that electricity can be transferred from a power source to a receiver within a “near field,” or a distance a few times larger than both objects involved in the transfer. In most scenarios, this near field would be about a meter large.

“In this way, a realistic and practical approach to wireless transferring useable amounts of power over distances suitable for limited applications can be realized,” the filing reads.

By adopting wireless charging technology, Apple could minimize or eliminate what it referred to as “unwieldy” existing chargers that must be plugged into the wall.

Apple’s system goes one step further than the near field, and aims to improve efficiency when transferring electricity wirelessly. It would also allow a number of peripheral devices to be charged wirelessly within the near field, thanks to “cooperation” between them.

Apple’s charging accessory would be able to provide electricity to a number of devices located within the near field, or “virtual charging area.” Low-power devices cited by Apple include a mouse and keyboard.

The power supply transmitter could be a stand-alone device, or it could be embedded in an existing device such as a desktop or notebook computer. The transmitter could also be portable, such as a dongle that could be connected to a legacy device via a port like USB.

Peripheral devices would need to be tuned to the appropriate frequency. This would allow them to receive power from the near-field magnetic resonance (or NFMR) power supply.

“The device being brought into the range of the NFMR power supply can communicate its initial presence using a standard communication protocol such as WiFi or Bluetooth,” the application reads. “However, once incorporated into the resonance circuit, the device can use a communication back channel.”

Apple’s application also describes the use of a “re-resonator” that would allow electricity to be wirelessly shared between multiple accessories. In one example, a Mac desktop may not be able to adequately provide power to a wireless mouse because of an obstacle interfering with the connection between the two devices.

“In this case, (the) keyboard can act as a re-resonator such that a portion of the power delivered to (the) keyboard from the NFMR power supply can be passed on by way of a re-resonator transmission unit,” the filing states.

Apple’s patent filing for a wireless charging system, published this week by the USPTO, was first filed by the company in November of 2010. The proposed invention is credited to Michael F. Culbert, Brett. C. Bilbrey, David I. Simon, and Peter M. Arnold.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 5 supply stabilizes, units now readily available for holiday shopping season

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Date: Thursday, November 29th, 2012, 07:41
Category: iPhone, News, retail

It took a while and there were muchos conflicts with Foxconn, but it finally happened: Apple’s iPhone 5 supply chain has stabilized.

Per AppleInsider, the popular iPhone 5 handset is now readily available in the U.S. at Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail stores as the company has apparently overcome supply issues experienced since the device was launched in September.

While the Apple online store still shows one-week ship-by dates, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said a poll of 20 U.S. Apple Stores reveals the iPhone 5 is readily available at physical Apple Stores for the first time since the unit was released at the end of September.

“We believe the iPhone 5 has finally reached a point where consumers can walk into an Apple Store and walk out with a phone,” Munster said in a note to investors on Thursday.

The analyst performs a nightly check with the online Apple Store for local pick-up orders half an hour after new stock arrives at 100 locations. He also noted that 20 out of 20 Apple Stores polled showed availability for Verizon models, the supply of which has been the most constrained out of the three major U.S. carriers.

“The bottom line is that AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are consistently showing 90%+ availability,” Munster wrote.

A similar report earlier this month showed that, while inventory of Sprint versions of the Phone 5 was improving, models supported by AT&T and Verizon’s networks were still seeing constraints.

Going further, Munster maintains his estimate of 45 million iPhone shipments for the fourth quarter, but warns that there may not be a significant upside as supply is only now meeting demand.

According to a recent report, the iPhone 5 helped to double Apple’s share of the U.S. smartphone market, pushing it ahead of worldwide leader Android.