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“iPhone 4S” device name located in iTunes beta reference, points toward possible upcoming product release

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Date: Monday, October 3rd, 2011, 05:54
Category: iPhone, News, Software


With all of one day to go prior to its much-anticipated iPhone media announcement, an iTunes beta is telling more than it should about Apple’s forthcoming product line.

Per AppleInsider, references to the much-used “iPhone 4S” moniker could be found in the Info.plist file of the MobileDevices bundle that was included with the ninth beta of iTune 10.5 released on Friday.

Specifically, device preferences for Item 7 and Item 8 in the Info.plist file describe a black and white iPhone 4S whose display icons (below) depict models that look identical to the existing black and white CDMA iPhone 4 introduced earlier this year.

The discovery can be seen as further evidence that Apple is gearing up to introduce iPhones next Tuesday, Oct. 4th that bundle an 8MP camera, 512MB of RAM, support for HSPA+ and the iPad 2’s A5 processor and dual graphics, but do so in a the current CMDA iPhone 4 design.

However, the new iPhone 4S is expected to be a dual-mode phone, meaning the same iPhone 4S can be used on either CDMA or GSM networks. Currently, Apple markets separate iPhone 4 models for CDMA and GSM networks.

Talk of Apple taking a dual-route strategy this year by releasing both an iPhone 4S and a more advanced iPhone 5 began to cool off this week, with leaked parts and casings all pointing to a product dubbed iPhone 4S.

In addition, insider Ming-Chi Kuo reported that his industry checks turned up no sign of a redesigned iPhone 5 in the pipeline. Instead, he stated that Apple was manufacturing a model that looks largely the same as the current iPhone 4, only with an improved antenna design.

Dubbed “N94,” the new iPhone model will reportedly also use the same Gorilla glass for its back panel. Kuo also said it will be available in both black and white models at launch, and 60 percent of units assembled so far have been of the black variety.

Echoing a report from earlier this month, he also said that Foxconn will be responsible for manufacturing 85 percent of Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone units. The other 15 percent will reportedly be assembled by Pegatron.

Each will run iOS 5, which is rumored to bundle new voice recognition technology in the form of a new application dubbed Assistant, which will allow users to speak to their iPhone and accomplish a number of tasks through natural language, like sending text messages, looking up information, or scheduling an appointment.

The functionality is believed to stem from Siri, a “personal assistant” application for the iPhone that Apple purchased in April of 2010.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T to raise iPhone insurance rates by $2/month on October 4th

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 10:45
Category: iPhone, News


It never hurts to be protected…and you can take that any way you want.

Per Electronista, AT&T has confirmed that insurance costs will be going up for AT&T iPhone owners on October 4th, as rumored, a page on the carrier’s website reveals.

Come October 5th, insurance rates are scheduled to jump from US$5 to US$7, affecting new and existing customers alike. The hike is happening in conjunction with the creation of a new device tier, covering the iPhone and “other devices” for which a US$199 non-refundable deductible will apply.

The switch is clearly meant to coincide with Apple’s iPhone press event on the 4th, at which time the company will announce one or more new iPhone models. Potentially significant is that AT&T is increasing rates in tandem with the hardware’s introduction, and not at a later date when devices will presumably go on sale. It could imply that Apple is planning a rapid turnaround, opening up orders within the space of a week if not immediately.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

MobileMe users report outages prior to iCloud transition and launch

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 06:36
Category: iCloud, News

Regarding the iCloud…it’s en route, even if there are some transitional bumps in the road to be had.

Per AppleInsider, numerous MobileMe users reported experiencing outages of Apple’s current cloud service on Thursday, even as the fall launch of iCloud looms.

Users noted that they were unable to access MobileMe Mail. Apple’s system status page for its web service currently states that 25 percent of members may be unable to access MobileMe Mail, and some members may be unable to access www.me.com web apps and Find My iPhone. All other MobileMe services are listed as “online and fully operational.”

MacRumors noted that Apple late Thursday had cautioned on its status page that as many 75 percent of MobileMe Mail users might be experiencing problems.

MobileMe is, at this point, a ‘lame duck’ service, as it is scheduled to shut down on June 30, 2012. Apple plans to move existing members over to its upcoming iCloud service, a complete reworking of the company’s cloud-based offerings.

But, Apple has indicated that it will eliminate some of MobileMe’s less-used features, such as iDisk, MobileMe Gallery and iWeb publishing. After receiving customer complaints about lost functionality from the switch, Apple said it was open to considering adding back features “if there’s enough feedback on the subject.”

The company is expected to announce a release date for iCloud next week’s media event to unveil a new iPhone, as it’s unlikely that Apple would launch the fifth-generation iPhone without iCloud. Currently, the service is in a limited beta test.

Last week, the company released a developer build of Mac OS X 10.7.2 with iCloud integrated. Developer accounts have had their iCloud data wiped in preparation for an imminent launch of the service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 7.0.1 update

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 05:43
Category: News, Software


On Monday, Mozilla.org released version 7.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 28.2 megabyte download offered the following change:

– Fixed a rare issue where some users could find one or more of their add-ons hidden after a Firefox update.

Firefox 7.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Adobe releases Lightroom 3.5 update

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Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 10:44
Category: News, Software


On Thursday, software giant released version 3.5 of its Lightroom (available on the company’s update page) photo editing utility. The Lightroom 3.5 update added the following fixes and changes:

– Using the arrow keys to modify image adjustment settings lacked responsiveness.

– A Publish Collection targeting a hard drive on Windows would not behave properly if the designated folder was deleted from hard drive.

– After editing the capture time in Lightroom, “Date Time Digitized” was incorrectly changed (Only “Date Time Original” should be modified).

– On Windows computers, Lightroom would interpret the wrong time zone.

– Changing Lightroom’s date created field to a date prior to 1933 resulted in unexpected values.

– Lightroom 3.2 introduced preview cache inefficiencies.

– GPS Altitude metadata was incorrectly excluded from files converted to DNG or exported as DNG files from Lightroom 3.4.1.

– For non-English language operating systems, folder names in the import dialog may not
have been translating properly.

– When exporting images with the “Write Keywords as Lightroom Hierarchy” enabled,
keywords with “Include on Export” deselected would still have been included on export • Saving metadata to a JPEG file in Lightroom 3.4 could have caused Lightroom to quit

– A Publish Collection in Lightroom 3.4 set to publish original files would fail to include XMP files for proprietary raw formats.

– RECONYX images did not open properly in Lightroom 3.4.

– When applying automatic lens profile correction, Lightroom 3.4 did not automatically
recognize the following lens: “Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED”.

– Using the plus or minus key to increment Develop Module parameters did not work
properly on the Mac.

– The Limit File Size export option was incorrectly including EXIF metadata on export when the Minimize Embedded Metadata option was selected.

– On Mac OS X 10.7, the Lightroom import dialog did not properly display network volumes.

– On Windows computers, using Shift + Scroll wheel to adjust the Adjustment Brush feather size, the expected result of the scroll wheel movement was reversed.

– Lightroom would not provide the correct error message when attempting to delete photos published to Facebook.

– Lightroom would experience tether capture failures on computers utilizing OS X 10.6.8 and 10.7.

– Develop load time performance was inconsistent.

Adobe Lightroom 3.5 retails for US$299 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple releases 24-Inch LED Cinema Display firmware update 1.0

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Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 05:49
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released its 24-Inch LED Cinema Display Firmware Update 1.0, a 962 kilobyte download which addresses an issue that may cause intermittent display flickering. This firmware will only install on the Apple 24-inch LED Cinema Display when it is connected to a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac.

Apple has also noted that this firmware update may not resolve the flickering issue if a Mini DisplayPort extender cable is used and that some USB and FireWire devices may prevent firmware updates from installing correctly; disconnect non-essential devices and use only an Apple keyboard and mouse to apply the update.

The update is available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think in the comments.

VMWare releases Fusion 4.0.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 04:46
Category: News, Software


On Thursday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.0.2 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 180 megabyte download via MacUpdate, can be found here, offers the following fix:

– Addresses an issue starting virtual machines running a forthcoming version of Mac OS X Lion.

Fusion 4.0.2 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

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

iFixit finishes teardown of Thunderbolt display, locates 2009 LG panel

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 08:37
Category: Hardware, News

When in doubt, count on someone geekier than you to dissect Apple’s newest hardware.

The cool cats at iFixit have completed a full teardown of the screen has found.

The new display, powered by Apple and Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, was disassembled this week by iFixit. They found that the LG display is model number “LM270WQ1,” matching the previous iMac as well as the screen found in Dell’s competing UltraSharp U2711 27-inch monitor.

However, Apple’s display uses LED backlights for better picture quality and lower power consumption, as opposed to the cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) found on Dell’s screen. In addition, the Dell display is matte, while Apple’s is glossy.

The solutions provider also noted that Apple’s screen has a 12 millisecond response time and 17.7 million colors, while Dell’s competing panel offers an advertised 6 millisecond response time and 1.07 billion colors.

iFixit found that the glass front of the new Thunderbolt Display can be removed with “heavy duty suction cups,” just like with Apple’s iMac lineup. The LCD screen sports a resolution of 2,560-by-1,440 pixels.

“The fan is easily removed by simply detaching a couple of connectors and unfastening a few screws,” they said. “Apple has, as usual, chosen to go with a large, brushless fan to keep the colossal Thunderbolt Display cool and quiet.”

Inside the display, iFixit found a plethora of chips, causing them to remark that “it’s hard to believe there’s no computer inside.” The screen includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera, 2.1 speaker system, integrated MagSafe charger, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.

Some of the chips inside powering all of those features include:

– Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller

– L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller

– Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor

– NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller

– Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter

– SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller

– Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo high-power Class D amplifier

– LSI L-FW643E-2 open host controller interface

– Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller

– Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC

The teardown also discovered that the speakers inside the Thunderbolt Display are 49 watts with a miniature subwoofer. In addition, the Flextronics power supply is said to provide 250 watts of maximum continuous power.

If you’ve snagged a new Thunderbolt display and have any feedback about it, please let us know in the comments.

Apple announces October 4th “Let’s Talk iPhone” press event

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 27th, 2011, 12:29
Category: iPhone, iPod, News


The rumor mill can now take a five minute breather and go grab itself a cup of coffee.

Per Ars Technica, Apple has formally announced its upcoming media event after months of rumors and speculation. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 4 at 10am Pacific Daylight Time on Apple’s campus in Cupertino—just as the latest rumors predicted—and will be led by Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook.

Apple’s invitation graphics include four iOS app icons (Calendar, Clock, Maps, and Phone) along with the quote “Let’s talk iPhone.” Apple doesn’t usually get this specific when sending out its invitations, but apparently it’s trying a new, more direct approach this time around. (As an aside, the icon choices are quite clever. The calendar says October 4, clock says 10:00, map points to Apple’s campus, and the phone icon shows one phone call.)

No specific details have been mentioned of an iPhone 5 release and there’s also been some talk of a white iPod touch—a relatively minimal detail that reminds us that the fall event was originally about iPods.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 7.0 update

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Date: Monday, September 26th, 2011, 10:07
Category: News, Software


On Monday, Mozilla.org released version 7.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 28.2 megabyte download offered the following fixes and changes:

– Drastically improved memory use.

– Added a new rendering backend to speed up Canvas operations on Windows systems.

– Bookmark and password changes now sync almost instantly when using Firefox Sync.

– Added support for text-overflow: ellipsis.

– Added support for the Web Timing specification.

– Added an opt-in system for users to send performance data back to Mozilla to improve future versions of Firefox. This can be enabled by installing an add-on.

– Fixed several stability issues.

Firefox 7.0 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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