iFixit completes full teardown of Magic Trackpad, reports findings

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Date: Friday, July 30th, 2010, 04:56
Category: Magic Trackpad, News

Yesterday, the cool cats at iFixit posted their complete teardown report of Apple’s new Magic Trackpad input device. The unit, which retails for US$69, is just 0.5mm thick and iFixit had to slice its way through adhesive to disassemble the hardware. Inside, the device includes a spacer, which prevents the lower panel from squeezing against the logic board and damaging it.

Removing the two ribbon cables that connect the capacitive touch pad to the logic board was said to be difficult, as the cables are very thin and are stuck to the underside of the touchpad.

Removing the outer touchpad from the device’s aluminum chassis required the use of a heat gun to warm up the adhesive that holds the hardware together.

“This is not for the faint of heart,” they wrote. “A copious amount of heat, guitar picks and plastic opening tools were required to make this thing bulge.”

iFixit also noted that the Magic Trackpad has a unique way of triggering the mouse button in which pressing down on the hardware actually clicks the two rubber feet on the front of the device. Pressing down pushes up on a hinged plate and set screw, squeezing an electronic mouse button switch and creating a familiar “click.”

Completely removing the logic board requires desoldering of the four wires that lead to the battery connector and status LED, as well as the removing of two Phillips screws. The logic board includes a Broadcom BCM2042 chip for its wireless Bluetooth connectivity (the same chip found in Apple’s multi-touch Magic Mouse).

In addition, the hardware’s multi-touch functionality is provided by a BCM5974 chip, the same found in the iPhone, iPod touch and MacBook Air. Finally, the SST 25WF020 has 2Mbit of serial flash memory.

If you’ve snagged a Magic Trackpad and have any feedback to offer about the experience, let us know what you make of it.

VLC 1.1.2 update released

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Date: Friday, July 30th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

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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 1.1.2. The new version, a 39.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- TS and DVB demuxing fixes.

- Audio filters fixes to solve the “mono” bug.

- Fix of the direct3d output module that display nothing on older nVidia and ATI cards, when overlay was activated.

- Extensions and scrips updates.

- Miscellaneous fixes in interfaces.

- Updated translations.

- Various crashes and errors fixed.

VLC 1.1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple looking into cause of iOS 4 slowness on iPhone 3G

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 05:23
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple is reportedly investigating complaints from users that iOS 4 runs very slow on its iPhone 3G handset.

Per the Wall Street Journal, complaints from iPhone 3G users began to surface soon after iOS 4 was released, but those complaints were quickly overshadowed by the iPhone 4′s antenna woes. With the antenna crisis behind them, Apple is now investigating how iOS 4 runs on the iPhone 3G.

User complaints have ranged from slowdowns to having the iPhone 3G almost unusable after upgrading to iOS 4. A number of users have commented that they’re also tried a complete restore of the iPhone 3G, with varying results.

The problems with iOS 4 do not appear to affect the faster iPhone 3GS or the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 4.1 beta 2, focuses on proximity sensor fixes

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 05:46
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Apple released the second beta version of the pending iOS 4.1 firmware, although the company has not said when the firmware will be generally available for its iPhone and iPod touch products.

Per Cult of Mac, this beta release of the iOS 4.1 software development kit, available at Apple’s iPhone Dev Center, comes about two weeks after the first one and arrives with speculation that the 4.1 software will fix some glitches for the iPhone 4 proximity sensors and introduce Apple’s promised Game Center social service.

The initial report states that the proximity sensor issue seems to have been fixed. “Previously, the iPhone was plagued with proximity sensor issues,” writes Jose Gutierrez. “It would constantly hang up calls when I held the phone next to my cheek. But after installing the iOS 4.1 beta 2 update this afternoon, I couldn’t force the iPhone to hang up calls when lifting it up to my face, no matter how hard I tried.”

He also says the new beta release includes a baseband update, “which seems to fix HSUPA upload speed issues, which slowed video and photo uploads to a crawl.”

According to several online accounts, the newest beta still does not support the iPad touch tablet. The iPad is running an earlier version of iOS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

CrossOver updated to 9.1

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 04:41
Category: News, Software

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CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 9.1. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

Application Fixes:
- Improved installation of Office 2007 service packs.
- Fixed product registration of Office 2007 and Office 2003.
- Fixed some unimportant errors during installation of some versions of Office 2003.
- Improved several connection and importation issues with Quicken 2010.
- Fixed product registration of Project and Visio 2003.
- Fixed Excel 2007 hyperlinks.
- Fixed document saving in Publisher 2003.
- Fixed playing of mp3 files in Media Player 9.
- Fixed custom installs of Office 2007.
- Improved print to PDF in Office 2007.
- Some minor improvements to IE6 and IE7.

CrossOver Fixes:
- Improved proxy handling on the Gnome desktop.
- Fixed a Mac upgrade problem related to the CD-helper being in use.
- Fixed full-screen mode for Macs with auto-switching GPUs.
- Fixed Menus and Associations for Pardus Linux.
- Updated Dutch and French localizations.
- Made several application profile tune-ups.
- Merged with Wine version 1.2. Many improvements and bug fixes.

CrossOver 9.1 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Apple releases Magic Trackpad Bluetooth input device

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Date: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010, 07:34
Category: Accessory, News

On Tuesday, Apple released the Magic Trackpad accessory, calling it “…a multi-touch Bluetooth trackpad meant to work with your desktop computer.” Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the unit resembles an oversized MacBook Pro trackpad (except about 80% larger) perched atop the same battery case that’s on Apple’s Bluetooth keyboards.

When paired with an Apple desktop, it offers the same multi-touch gestures that laptop owners enjoy. Use it to swipe, pinch and scroll. Inertial scrolling on the Magic Trackpad reacts to the pressure and speed you use.

The surface is made of wear-resistant glass and also functions as a giant button, so you can click away as you would with a mouse.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve picked one up, let us know what you make of it.

Apple releases Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0, adds gesture support to some additional notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010, 06:48
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Apple on Tuesday issued an update to a number of recent notebooks, including the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, bringing inertial scrolling and three-finger drag gesture support to some trackpads.

Per AppleInsider, the Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0 was released Tuesday afternoon by Apple. The file is a 75.09MB update that requires Mac OS X 10.6.4 to install and run. In addition to adding inertial scrolling and three-finger drag in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks, it also adds support for Apple’s newly released US$69 Magic Trackpad.

Per Apple, the following MacBook and MacBook Pro models now have both inertial scrolling and three-finger drag gesture:

MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53 GHz, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2008)

Inertial scrolling, but not the three-finger gesture, is offered in four additional models:

MacBook Air
MacBook Air (Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2008)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2008)

The new three-finger gesture was first discovered earlier Tuesday with hands-on tests of the Magic Trackpad. The capability allows users to quickly drag windows around. At the time, the feature was exclusive to the new hardware.

If you’ve tried the file and can offer any feedback, please let us know

Apple releases Safari 5.0.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010, 06:16
Category: News, Software

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Amidst yesterday’s updates and product releases, Apple released Safari 5.0.1, 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:

- More accurate Top Hit results in the Address Field.

- More accurate timing for CSS animations.

- Better stability when using the Safari Reader keyboard shortcut.

- Better stability when scrolling through MobileMe Mail.

- Fixes display of multipage articles from www.rollingstone.com in Safari Reader.

- Fixes an issue that prevented Google Wave and other websites using JavaScript encryption .libraries from working correctly on 32-bit systems.

- Fixes an issue that prevented Safari from launching on Leopard systems with network home directories.

- Fixes an issue that could cause borders on YouTube thumbnails to disappear when hovering over the thumbnail image.

- Fixes an issue that could cause Flash content to overlap with other content on .www.facebook.com, www.crateandbarrel.com, and other sites when using Flash 10.1.

- Fixes an issue that prevented boarding passes from www.aa.com from printing correctly.

- Fixes an issue that could cause DNS prefetching requests to overburden certain routers.

- Fixes an issue that could cause VoiceOver to misidentify elements of webpages.

Safari 5.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 (under Mac OS X 10.5) or Mac OS X 10.6.2 (under Mac OS X 10.6) or later to install and run and is available for free.

Game Review: Pro Zombie Soccer

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 09:03
Category: App Store, Game, iPad, iPhone, News, Software

Pro Zombie Soccer is a game for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (still a Pixel-doubled version, not native) distributed by Chillingo and developed by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team. I’ve never been caught up in the Zombie craze, although I did enjoy Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead, so I was not really excited about this game at first, but a friend assured me that it was a lot of fun and he was right.

Some of the things that made this such a fun game was the artwork and the storyline. While not complicated, the story added enough depth to propel you from scene to scene. The artwork has a punk attitude, similar to what is associated with Gorillaz, and is pretty lively and colorful.

In the game, you are playing the role of Jax, a young, talented soccer player who freezes up while trying out for the big team. While moping about town, the zombie outbreak occurs and Jax is bitten by a zombie who happens to be the star player of the soccer team. Jax soon finds out that his zombie infection has given him super-soccer powers which he decides to use to take down the zombie apocalypse….while he still can.

The controls are simple. You thumb aims the direction that Jax kicks the soccer ball and lifting your thumb fires it off. You have a regular kick, and a super-charged kick at your disposal, but eventually you acquire other “zombie powers” which you can choose from during certain parts of the game. Doing a “head-shot” to a zombie (beheading them) is worth extra points as is several head-shots in a row. Some zombies can only be killed with the super-charged kick, which takes more time to “charge up”. Eventually you run into zombies that can only be killed in a certain way, like ricocheting off a wall, as well as avoiding obstacles like fleeing scientists which, when hit, will end the game. If you finish the game too quickly in Normal mode, you can play through again in Hardcore mode which won’t be so easy. The game’s music is pretty good and in the Extras you’ll find the Music Player which allows you to play back the game’s soundtrack, a total of 16 tracks.

The sound effects and gameplay are great, and everything looks awesome on the iPhone 4′s screen. As of this writing, the game was iOS 4 compatible, but did not take advantage of background app switching. Leaving the game means starting again from the main menu, although it should remember your progress. I didn’t try it on the iPad, but it is compatible with iOS 3.0 and up. I look forward to an HD version, but I hope it’s an Universal app.

The game uses the Crystal gaming network, which I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of, but not because it is a bad system.

I highly recommend this game. It’s fun and relatively easy to play, and the stages make it easy to play a few minutes at a time, or kill 20 minutes or so. Pro Zombie Soccer is a pretty good deal at $2.99.

Apple announces updated Mac Pro line to arrive in August

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 06:36
Category: Mac Pro, News

It’s been a long time coming, but it could be awesome when it hits next month.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s update to Apple’s Mac Pro desktop was announced Tuesday, with the new tower sporting up to 12 processing cores with Intel Xeon processors, making it up to 50% faster than its predecessor. The hardware arrives in August.

The new Mac Pro desktops feature quad-core and 6-core Intel Xeon processors, all-new ATI graphics and the option for up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD). The processors run at speeds up to 3.33GHz and use a single die design so they can share up to 12MB L3 cache, improving efficiency while increasing processing speeds.

The systems include an integrated memory controller for faster memory bandwidth and reduced memory latency; Turbo Boost to dynamically boost processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz; and Hyper-Threading to create up to 24 virtual cores. The Mac Pro now comes with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics processor with 1GB of memory and customers can configure-to-order the faster ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of memory.

Mac Pro customers also have the option to order a 512GB SSD and can potentially install up to four SSD drives in the system’s internal drive bays.

The Mac Pro also now features two Mini DisplayPorts and one dual-link DVI port. The additional Mini DisplayPort output allows customers to connect two LED Cinema Displays without an additional graphics card or adapter and the dual-link DVI port supports legacy DVI-based displays up to a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

Pricing & Availability:
The new Mac Pro will be available in August through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new quad-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of US$2,499 (US), includes:
- One 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3530 processor with 8MB of fully-shared L3 cache;
- 3GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
- Two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
- 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
- Four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
- Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
- AirPort Extreme® 802.11n;
- Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
- Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

The new 8-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of US$3,499 (US), includes:
- Two 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5620 processors with 12MB of fully-shared L3 cache per processor;
- 6GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
- Two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
- 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
- Four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
- Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n;
- Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
- Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include:
- One 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3565 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
- One 3.33 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon W3680 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
- Two 2.66 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5650 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
- Two 2.93 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5670 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
- Two ATI Radeon HD 5770 cards with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
- One ATI Radeon HD 5870 card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
- Up to 16GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the quad-core Mac Pro;
- Up to 32GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the 8-core Mac Pro;
- Up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD); or
- Up to four 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm;
Mac Pro RAID card;
- Dual-channel or quad-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel card; and
- Up to two 18x SuperDrives with double-layer support.

Accessories include: Magic Trackpad, Apple Battery Charger, wired Apple Mouse, wireless Apple Keyboard, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, the AppleCare Protection Plan; and pre-installed copies of Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server; iWork, Logic Express 9, Final Cut Express 4 and Aperture 3.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.