Apple releases long-awaited iOS 5.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 12:51
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

You’ve been craving it for months and it’s finally here. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has released its iOS 5.1 update for qualifying iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices.

The update, which can be located, snagged and installed via iTunes, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Japanese language support for Siri (availability may be limited during initial rollout)

– Photos can now be deleted from Photo Stream.

– Camera shortcut now always visible on Lock Screen for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (4th generation).

– Camera face detection now highlights all detected faces.

– Redesigned Camera app for iPad.

– Genius Mixes and Genius playlists for iTunes Match subscribers.

– Audio for TV shows and movies on iPad optimized to sound louder and clearer.

– Podcast controls for playback speed and a 30 second rewind for iPad.

– Updated AT&T network indicator.

– Addresses bugs affecting battery life.

– Fixes an issue that occasionally caused audio to drop for outgoing calls.

As always, if you’ve tried the new iOS and have any feedback to offer (positive or negative), please let us know in the comments.

Early Ivy Bridge benchmark tests show ample gains, huge leaps in graphics tasks

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 12:22
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

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Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture may not be out yet, but some initial tests have been performed and it looks promising.

Per AnandTech and Electronista, an unofficial, pre-release benchmarking of Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture has shown an overall speed up, but most of all in graphics.

Early testing of a 3.5GHz, quad Core i7-3770K desktop chip has shown that the Intel HD 4000 integrated video is about 20 to 40 percent faster than the 3000 video on a roughly comparable earlier Core i7 using the current Sandy Bridge architecture. While still trailing behind AMD’s Fusion in an A8 chip, it’s enough to make games playable that wouldn’t have been practical otherwise, such as running Skyrim smoothly at 1680×1050 and medium detail.

The underlying processor itself has a clear edge over Sandy Bridge. While it’s at a disadvantage with four cores to the very highest-end, six-core Sandy Bridge-E processors, Ivy Bridge is about five to 20 percent faster than any of its quad-core antecedents in general use.

Graphics boosts mostly come from the higher number of execution units, at 16 versus 12, as well as DirectX 11 (OpenGL 4) effects support. Ivy Bridge as a whole gets an inherent benefit from a denser, more efficient 22-nanometer manufacturing process as well as twice the throughput for floating-point and integer divisions. It can dynamically share code elements between program threads and supports up to 2.8GHz DDR3 memory along with low-power DDR3 on slim desktops and notebooks.

Intel is now increasingly seen as shipping the first batch of Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors in late April, mixing both desktop and notebook versions. Much of the PC industry is waiting on the later than usual release and could start shipping soon afterwards.

The lineup may have the most significance for Apple, which is holding off on multiple Mac updates. Ivy Bridge should allow for OpenCL support on the integrated graphics and could deliver a larger performance boost than on Windows as a result.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Users now able to re-download purchased iTunes Store movies via iCloud

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 12:46
Category: News, Software

If ya bought a movie once, you can always re-download it at a later date via the iCloud.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday announced that it has expanded its iTunes in the Cloud functionality in iCloud, giving users the ability to re-download movies, and also adding availability of 1080p high-definition TV show episodes.

Previously, the iTunes in the Cloud service only applied to music, books and applications purchased through Apple’s iTunes Store. But now, users will be able to re-download movies they purchase onto another device.

In addition, television content is available in high-definition 1080p format, allowing it to be natively displayed on the new Apple TV. Previously, content maxed out at 720p, which was the highest resolution output of the previous generation Apple TV.

Now, with iCloud, users will be able to buy movies and TV shows on Apple TV, and then watch them on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. Purchases and other content can be synced across all current devices in Apple’s ecosystem.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple launches iPad 3, includes 4G LTE, Retina Display, faster processor, other features

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 12:13
Category: iPad, News

You’ve been waiting for it and it’s here.

Apple on Wednesday announced its next-gen iPad, the new tablet featuring a 2,048-by-1,536-pixel resolution Retina Display that fits 3.1 million pixels into its 9.7-inch display, along with voice dictation and LTE 4G, coming on March 16 to 10 countries.

Per AppleInsider, the new screen on the iPad has more pixels than a 1080p television and fits in 264 pixels per inch, the pixels cannot be distinguished by human eye at a distance of 15 inches.

The tablet also boasts a much-improved, 5 megapixel camera as well as voice dictation, allowing users to input text by speaking rather than typing.

Other new features include the following:
– High-definition Retina Display

– New A5X chip with quad-core graphics

– 5-megapixel iSight camera with advanced optics, shoots 1080p video

– 4G LTE models allow for connections to faster wireless networks

– Still offers the same 10-hour battery life.

The wireless models now 4G connectivity, allowing users to connect to long-term evolution networks from providers like AT&T and Verizon. The new iPad will offer download speeds of up to 73Mbps over LTE and can communicate with international 4G LTE partners such as Rogers, Bell and Telus.

Another improvement highlighted by Apple Wednesday was battery life, as the new iPad will support 10 hours of battery life on Wi-Fi and 9 hours on 4G LTE.

The new tablet is slightly heavier than the iPad 2, weighing 1.4 pounds with a 9.44mm thickness.

The launch will be Apple’s biggest roll-out ever, debuting in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Quick highlights from Wednesday’s event:
The new iPad features an A5X processor with quad-core graphics.
Compared to the Nvidia Tegra 3, Apple says the A5X is twice as fast with four times the performance.

Other interesting tidbits:

– The new iPad also has 44 percent better color saturation on its screen.

– An improved 5-megapixel camera is on the back of the device. The tablet includes an infrared filter and ISP built in to the A5X chip.

– The new iPad’s camera also features auto-focus and auto-exposure, and uses the same optics system found in the iPhone 4S.
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– he new camera can also record video in 1080p.

– There will be two different versions of the LTE-capable iPad models: one for AT&T and one for Verizon. Both will be able to roam worldwide in 3G.

– The iPad can also act as a personal hotspot, if supported by a carrier, and can connect up to five additional users via this feature.

– It will also continue to be available in both black and white models.

– The new iPad will be available at the same price points and capacities: US$499 for 16GB, US$599 for 32GB and US$699 for 64GB. 4G models will be an additional US$130 for each capacity.

The new iPad Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of US$499 for the 16GB model, US$599 for the 32GB model and US$699 for the 64GB model.

iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon will be available for a suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB model and US$829 for the 64GB model.

iPad will be sold in the US through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPad will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US Virgin Islands on Friday, March 16.

Customers can begin pre-ordering their new iPad today, and the iPad 2 is now offered for US$399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and US$529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad 3 press event live blog

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 09:22
Category: iPad, News

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Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here with the iPad 3 press event live blog, as covered via Macworld.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it and see what’s happening:

– The music is playing, people are filing in and the event should begin at 10 A.M. PST/1 P.M. EST.

– Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage and thanks everyone for coming on out. Begins to discuss the idea of a post-PC world and the devices you carry around with you on a daily basis.

– States that the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are post-PC devices and that last year, Apple sold 172 million post-PC devices, which accounted for 76% of the company’s revenue.

– Apple will add Japanese language support to Siri as part of iOS 5.1, which is available today and will be rolled out in Japan over the next few weeks.

– A new Apple TV device is now being unveiled.

– This is nifty: Movies and TV shows purchased/rented in the iTunes Store will now support 1080p.

– Photo Stream appears to be due for an update and Tim Cook is demonstrating how a picture taken with an iPhone is automatically synced over to an Apple TV in the background at full 1080p.

– Tim Cook is now beginning to discuss the iPad, its effect and the company’s sales numbers for the tablet.

– Building the suspense on the iPad 3…Barnum would be proud.

– “Until you see it, you can’t understand how amazing it is.”

– The iPad 3’s new screen resolution: 2048 x 1536 pixels. Do some nerd math and this is over 3.1 million pixels to gaze upon.

– Phil Schiller has declared that the 2048 x 1536 pixel display is only the first new feature, which is met with applause.

– The camera has been upgraded and the front of the device will now feature a FaceTime camera, complete with auto face detection, auto exposure lock, auto focus lock and HD video recording now at 1080p resolution.

– Apple has added a voice dictation feature to the iPad 3.

– The new interface features a microphone icon at the bottom of the screen (a la the iPhone 4S) that allows the user to tap and begin speaking.

– Siri will be available on the iPad 3 and the device currently supports U.S., British, Australian English, French, German, and Japanese languages.

– It was expected but you’ll like it: The iPad 3 features 4G LTE with EV-DO support and a maximum downlink of 3.1Mbps while also supporting HSPA (with a maximum downlink of 7.2 Mbps).

– If your carrier supports it, you can turn your iPad 3 into a hotspot and allow up to five users to connect at once.

– Faster processor time: The iPad 3 will use the A5X quad-core chip.

– Apple is citing 10 hours of battery life (nine hours with 4G activated).

– The new iPad is now 9.44mm thick and weighs 1.4 pounds.

– The iPad 3 will be available on March 16 and is priced at US$499 for 16GB, US$599 for 32GB, US$699 for 64GB. And US$629, US$729, and US$829 for 4G (these are the same prices as the iPad 2).

– The iPad 3 will be available in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and more. One week later, 25 more countries.

– From what’s being said, the new resolutions of the iPad 3 look absolutely beautiful.

– Garage Band and iMovie for the iOS have been updated, will remain at their US49.99 price points.

– Ok, this is interesting: The new GarageBand adds smart strings joins smart guitars, smart keyboards, smart drums and a Note Editor. The app can sync in with iCloud to share data and a new “Jam Session” feature allows four iPads to play together to create a new song over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

– The updated GarageBand is available today as a free update for current owners and US$4.99 for new users.

– The updated iMovie for iOS allows users to easily create movie trailers as needed (select styles, templates, etc). The new version is a free update for current owners of US$4.99 for new users.

– Apple is introducing iPhoto for iOS, the current speech highlighting sharing tools, editing tools, brushes, support for both left-handed and right-handed users, etc.

– Once edited in iPhoto for iOS, photos can be shared via Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.

– Photos can be shared to your iCloud and then viewed by anyone with a web browser.

– iPhoto for iOS is available for US$4.99 starting today.

– Apple WILL keep the iPad 2 in stock, but drop its starting price down to US$399.

And that about wraps it up. Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and thanks for reading!

Skype updated to 5.6.0.143

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 09:07
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, version 5.6.0.143 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 22.7 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Automatic Updates.

– Improved UI for group video calling.

– New full screen mode in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

– Ability to delete conversations.

– Ability to disable Audio Gain Control.

– Fixed: Chat messages aren’t shown after clearing recent conversations or closing the last one.

– Fixed: Choppy audio issue with USB headset while in group call.

– Fixed: Call toolbar does not appear after call is ended.

– Fixed: Selection of contacts in the contact list.

Skype 5.6.0.143 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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

Adobe Lightroom 4.0 released

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Date: Tuesday, March 6th, 2012, 09:27
Category: News, Software

If you loved Adobe’s Lightroom image editing program, you might think highly of version 4.0 which became available on Tuesday.

The new version, which is priced at US$79 for the upgrade version for Lightroom 3.x user (US$149 for the full version) and adds the following features and changes:

– Highlight and shadow recovery.

– Photo book creation with templates.

– Location-based organization including GPS data support.

– A white balance brush.

– Noise reduction and moiré removal tools.

– Enhanced video support including adjustments.

– Emailing from Lightroom.

– Video publishing to Facebook and Flickr.

– Soft proofing for color-managed printers.

Adobe Lightroom 4.0 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 to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update

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Date: Monday, March 5th, 2012, 15:49
Category: News, Software

They may come from out of nowhere, but supplemental updates are a good thing.

On that note, Apple has released its Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update. The update, a 38k download (provided you have Mac OS X 10.7.3 already installed), resolves an issue when restoring a Mac from a Time Machine backup.

As usual, the update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. The software requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and run.

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

C-Spire offers iPhone 4, 4S units at $50 discount with two-year contract

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Date: Monday, March 5th, 2012, 12:22
Category: iPhone, News

Sometimes you CAN find a decent deal.

Of course, signing a multi-year contract sort of helps as well.

Per 9to5Mac, C-Spire Wireless is now selling the iPhone 4S for US$50 off the standard retail price. The discount, which is only available when signing up for a new two-year agreement, brings the price for the 16GB iPhone 4S to US$150 and the 32GB and 64GB models to US$250 and US$350, respectively.

In addition, the carrier is offering US$25 off the 8GB iPhone 4, bringing the price for that model to US$75. C-Spire launched the iPhone 4S on its network last November.

iPad 3 accessories begin to arrive at Best Buy ahead of next-gen tablet’s product launch

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Date: Monday, March 5th, 2012, 09:45
Category: iPad, News

Even if you’re one of the largest tech companies on earth, you never quite control when a soon-to-be-launched product’s accessory line arrives.

Per PhoneArena.com, a number of Best Buy stores have reportedly begun to receive cases sealed in boxes for Apple’s third-generation iPad ahead of Wednesday’s anticipated unveiling.

The cases have shipped in boxes with a pink sticker stating “Do not display until official iPad 3 launch,” an anonymous tipster told the site. Cases for the so-called “iPad 3” are said to be shipping in bulk, as third-party manufacturers are planning for Apple to begin selling its next iPad soon after it is officially announced.

“The shipment is not of just a few cases — there’s over 1,000 Targus Versavu 360 stands for the next-gen iPad shipping to Best Buy, meaning that it won’t be long until the actual tablet hits shelves,” the report said.

Multiple leaked components from Apple’s supply chain have suggested the next iPad will feature an external design largely the same as the current iPad 2. The third-generation iPad is expected to be slightly thicker, with edges more tapered than the iPad 2.

Despite minor tweaks to the design, its expected that Apple’s magnetic Smart Cover will still work with the next iPad. But Apple’s protective accessory only covers the front, flat screen of the iPad, while many third-party cases cover the aluminum back.

The rumor that third-party cases are being delivered to Best Buy is supported by a picture that surfaced last week, showing the retailer’s inventory system listing “iPad 3” accessories set to be in stock by next Sunday, March 11. The leaked inventory listings included ZAGG’s InvisibleSHIELD.

The next iPad is expected to be unveiled at Apple’s media event this Wednesday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif. The event will kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.