Rare Apple WALT prototype goes for $8,000 on eBay

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Date: Monday, March 12th, 2012, 07:41
Category: Hardware, News

It’s somewhere between nostalgia and awesome and it just went for US8,000 on eBay yesterday.

Per the cool cats at The Verge, a user posted an auction for an Apple WALT (Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone), a device introduced at Macworld Boston in 1993.



WALT, like Newton, also had a touchscreen, a stylus, and handwriting recognition. It was designed to be a companion to a home landline phone, and was designed in cooperation with BellSouth. Built into WALT were services like an address book, fax, caller ID, custom ringtones, and online banking. To interact with all of these services, users worked with a customized version of System 6 with a HyperCard GUI in place of the Finder.

According to the seller’s description, “Back in 2008 PC World published a list of the “Top 15 Vaporware Products of All Time”. The W.A.LT. was #1.” While WALT was ogled by the public at Macworld Boston 1993, the device never went into production. This prototype, complete with a full printed user manual (so much for ease of use), was being sold by eBay user russel400.

Cool stuff, even though the eBay description does mention that you’ll need to solder a few connections to get the unit working again.

Besides, what else were you going to do with that US$8,000?

Apple secures 200,000 preorders for iPhone 4S China Unicom launch

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Date: Monday, March 12th, 2012, 07:43
Category: iPhone, News

After a long, drawn-out effort to get the iPhone 4S in Chinese stores, the handset is almost there.

The iPhone 4S had a strong debut on another major carrier Friday, as 200,000 preorders were made ahead of Apple’s launch on the China Telecom network.

The iPhone 4S is now available for use on China Telecom’s network, and is on sale at the carrier’s 2,850 retail outlets across China. Ahead of Friday’s launch, the carrier took more than 200,000 preorders for the iPhone 4S, according to MIC Gadget.

Preorders for the iPhone 4S on China Telecom have only been available for a week, as the carrier began taking orders on March 2. Orders from Beijing alone were said to have topped 10,000, while another 20,000 were purchased by customers in Shanghai.

China Telecom officials reportedly said that demand for the iPhone 4S at launch has been greater than they anticipated. A ceremony to commemorate the launch was held on Thursday in Shanghai.

Apple and China Telecom announced in February that the iPhone 4S would be coming to China’s third-largest wireless operator on March 9. As of last November, China Telecom had a total of 117 million subscribers, 28 million of which made use of the company’s high-speed 3G service.

If you’re traveling/based over in China and can offer any feedback about the iPhone 4S launch on China Unicom, please let us know in the comments.

The carrier is offering the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for free to customers who sign a two-year contract with a monthly plan starting at 389RMB (US$62 U.S.), which is slightly more than competing carrier China Unicom’s 386RMB plan. However, the China Telecom service offers more data and voice minutes, but fewer text messages, when compared to its rival.

One analysis has projected that the addition of China Telecom as an official Apple partner will add sales of between 3 million and 5 million iPhones. But the nation’s largest carrier, China Mobile, does not yet offer Apple’s iPhone, though there are more than 15 million unlocked handsets on its network.

If you’re traveling/based over in China and can offer any feedback about the iPhone 4S launch on China Unicom, please let us know in the comments.

Apple sells out of iPad 3 online preorder stock, retail units should still be available for Friday launch

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Date: Monday, March 12th, 2012, 07:31
Category: iPad, News, retail

It might just be a long iPad 3 launch day line this year.

Per AppleInsider, Less than two days after Apple’s new iPad was unveiled, the company has sold out of launch-day preorders in its online store, as new orders are now advertised to ship by March 19.

Customers who order a third-generation iPad now from Apple’s online store will not receive it until after next Friday’s launch date. The March 19 shipping date now applies to all models, capacities and colors sold in the U.S.

Of course, while launch-day supplies are no longer available at Apple’s online store, those who wait in line at the company’s retail outlets will still have a chance to get an iPad on March 16. In addition, Apple’s retail partners, including Best Buy and others, will have stock on launch day.

The first sign that demand for the new iPad was outstripping supply came on Thursday, when shipping estimates for the white 4G LTE model compatible with AT&T’s network were the first to have estimated shipping dates of March 19. The first models to sell out for launch day delivery were the 16- and 64-gigabyte capacities.

But now, all 16-, 32- and 64-gigabyte models, Wi-Fi-only or 4G LTE, and in black and white are all scheduled to ship three days after the official iPad launch.

Next Friday’s iPad launch will be the largest debut yet for the company, as the touchscreen tablet will go on sale in 10 countries. They are the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia.

As for the 16-gigabyte iPad 2, available in both white and black with Wi-Fi-only connectivity or 3G compatibility, new orders are advertised to ship in one to three business days. The Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 will remain available in a 16-gigabyte capacity as the new low-end model, for US$399, while a 3G variant will cost US$529.

Those who were among the first to preorder the third-generation iPad have already begun receiving notifications that their order has shipped from China. However, the iPads are not scheduled to actually be delivered until next Friday, which is the product’s official launch day.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad 3 units begin to ship from western China

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Date: Friday, March 9th, 2012, 07:31
Category: iPad, News

Even though the delivery dates for some of the third-generation iPad models may have slipped to March 19th, there’s still some good news to be had. Per 9to5Mac, the first shipment notifications this week of ‘new iPads’ departing out of Chengdu in Western China. Chengdu, you’ll recall, was the site of a deadly Foxconn explosion on an iPad 2 assembly line last summer.

If you’ve received a shipment notification email from Apple regarding your iPad 3, please let us know.

Google Chrome updated to 17.0.963.78

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Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2012, 11:58
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 17.0.963.78 for the Mac. The new version, a 35.4 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

– This release fixes issues with Flash games and videos, along with a security fix.

Google Chrome 17.0.963.78 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple releases iBooks 2.1, Find My iPhone 1.4 updates

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Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2012, 10:07
Category: News, Software

If you blinked yesterday, you might have missed some of the updates from the Cupertino Mothership.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple, released version 2.1 of its iBooks application. The new version functions as a redesign to support the new iPad Retina Display and adds a feature that lets page numbers correspond to the printed editions. This only works on some titles, but obviously the feature will be spreading to more and publications.

Users can now search for a page number and jump to it with a single tap and you can use your finger as a highlighter when swiping over text.

The update requires iOS 4.2 or later to install and run.

The company also released version 1.4 of its Find My iPhone utility. The changes are mainly to support the iPad Retina Display, and there are the usual bug fixes and stability enhancements. Find my iPhone has rescued many a lost iPhone and iPad, so if you’re not signed up, it’s free to do so.

The update requires iOS 3.1.3 or later to install and run.

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

New Flashback malware variant strain discovered, infection tactic changes approach

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Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2012, 10:34
Category: News, security

When in doubt, try something new.

Per Macworld, a new variant of the password-stealing Flashback malware aimed at Macs has emerged, the new software attempting to install itself after a user visits an infected website, according to new research.

Flashback, discovered by security vendor Intego last September, is engineered to steal passwords for websites, including financial sites. Since its emergence, several variants have appeared showing its authors’ innovation.

The first version of Flashback tried to trick users into installing it by masquerading as Adobe’s Flash Player. Later versions checked to see if the Apple computer in question had an unpatched version of Java with two software vulnerabilities.

If the computer was running unpatched Java, Flashback automatically installed itself. If the Java attack didn’t work, Flashback then presented itself as an Apple update with a self-signed security certificate.

The latest “Flashback.N” version spotted by Intego tries to infect the computer after a person has visited an infected Web page. The tactic is often referred to as a drive-by download. Much of the drive-by download malware for Windows can infect a computer without any action by the user merely by visiting the tampered website.

Users get a bit more warning with Flashback.N. Upon hitting the infected website, Flashback.N shows a “Software Update” dialog box similar to the legitimate Apple one and asks for a user’s password.

On its blog, Intego described the installation procedure as “somewhat odd,” as the website, that has been rigged to deliver the malware, displays Apple’s multicolored spinning gear for a while before the dialog box appears. Flashback then injects itself into the Safari browser and starts sniffing data traffic for passwords.

Earlier this week, Intego found that Flashback was using Twitter as a command-and-control mechanism. Other botnets have also used Twitter to post commands or directions to new commands.

The Flashback malware queries Twitter for 12-character hashtag composed of seemingly random characters, according to an Intego blog post. The strings are actually generated using 128-bit RC4 encryption and are composed of four characters for the day, four for the month and four for the year.

As always, look before you leap in terms of the sites you visit, keep your Mac OS X operating system updated and whoever would like to contribute to a piranha-filled pool to hurl the Flashback malware creators into upon their discovery, we welcome your contributions.

iPad 3 shipping estimates slip to March 19 for certain models

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Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2012, 10:38
Category: iPad, News

You people wanted the iPad 3…now you might have to wait a few extra days to get yours.

Per AppleInsider, shipping estimates for the white 4G LTE model from AT&T have slipped to March 19 at Apple’s online store.

Both the 16-gigabyte and 64-gigabyte models are now advertised to ship by March 19, while the 32-gigabyte model is still shown to deliver on March 16.

There are not yet any delays for the Wi-Fi-only models, or any of the Verizon models. In addition, all of the black third-generation iPad models compatible with AT&T remain available for delivery on March 16.

Next Friday’s iPad launch marks the most ambitious debut yet for a new version of Apple’s touchscreen tablet. It will launch on day one in a total of 10 countries: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Demand for the iPad is expected to continue to grow, bolstered by the Retina Display on the latest model, as well as a lower US$399 entry price for the 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only iPad 2. The 3G-capable 16-gigabyte iPad 2 is also available for US$529.

iPad 3 RAM doubled to 1GB, battery life to remain about the same

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Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2012, 09:01
Category: iPad, News

The third-generation iPad may look fairly identical to its predecessor, but it’s what’s inside that counts.

Though the new A5X chip in Apple’s third-generation iPad features the same dual-core CPU found in its predecessor, the system-on-a-chip is still believed to double the onboard RAM to 1 gigabyte.

Although Apple has never announced the amount of RAM built into any iPad or iPhone, preferring to focus less on technical specifications and more on the abilities of a devicea source who spoke with The Verge said the new A5X processor found in the latest iPad will, in fact, feature a gigabyte of RAM.

This amount doubles the 512MB of RAM found on the iPad 2 and says something about the iPad 3’s new battery, as RAM limitations in previous chips were said to be driven by battery life concerns. Last October, Microsoft explained that RAM is constantly consuming power, so the more memory that is included with a system, the less battery life it gets.

Reports first surfaced ahead of Apple’s iPad unveiling that Apple would increase the RAM in its custom processor. The information was derived from alleged iPad debug photos that leaked last month.

The new A5X processor features a dual-core CPU, the same as the A5. But its performance has been boosted by a new quad-core graphics processor that Apple says is twice as fast as the Nvidia Tegra 3 while offering four times the performance.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AppleCare+ program rolled out for iPad 3, usual terms apply

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 13:08
Category: AppleCare, iPad, News

If you’re going to snag an iPad 3, it never hurts to have it under warranty.

Per MacNN, in tandem with announcing a third-generation iPad, Apple has also brought its AppleCare+ warranty option to the tablet. By default an iPad is only given a limited one-year warranty, with 90 days of free support. Paying US$99 extends coverage up to two years, and allows for two incidents of accidental damage, although in each instance a US$49 service fee still applies.

The plan covers not just an iPad but its battery, power adapter, and USB cable, as well as any AirPort or Time Capsule device bought during coverage or two years before. AppleCare+ must, however, be applied no later than 30 days after buying an iPad. The warranty package was initially offered only to iPhone 4S buyers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.