Apple releases updated iMac models, includes Core i3, i5, i7 processors, ATI graphics cards

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 06:32
Category: iMac, News

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After weeks of anticipation, Apple on Tuesday refreshed its iMac line, bringing Intel’s Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors, along with ATI Radeon graphics to the new machines.

Per AppleInsider, the new models begin at US$1,199 and boast dual-core processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz, quad-core speeds up to 2.93 GHz and discrete graphics including the ATI Radeon HD 5750.

Dual-core Intel Core i3 and Core i5, and quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 bring the best performance yet to the iMac line, Apple said. The processors feature an integrated memory controller to access the system memory directly, allowing the new iMac to take full advantage of its faster 1333 MHz memory.

A new feature, the updated iMac displays feature IPS technology to deliver images across a wide 178 degree viewing angle.

The SD card slot on the iMac now supports the SDXC format to handle the latest high-capacity storage cards. Customers of the 27″ iMac have the option to order a 256GB solid state drive (SSD) as a primary or secondary drive. The iMac SSD supports up to 215 MB/s data transfer rates for faster startup and application launch times.

The new iMac line is shipping now and available through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new 21.5″ 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,199 (US), includes:
- 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display;
- 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
- 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete graphics with 256MB GDDR3 SDRAM;
- 500GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
- Mini DisplayPort for audio and video output (adapters sold separately);
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
- iSight video camera;
- Gigabit Ethernet;
- Four USB 2.0 ports;
- One SDXC SD card slot;
- One FireWire 800 port;
- Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
- Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.
- Configure-to-order options include up to 8GB of RAM.

The new 21.5″ 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,499 (US), includes:
- 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display;
- 3.20 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
- 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5670 discrete graphics with 512MB GDDR3;
- 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
- Mini DisplayPort for audio and video output (adapters sold separately);
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
- iSight video camera;
- Gigabit Ethernet;
- Four USB 2.0 ports;
- One FireWire 800 port;
- One SDXC SD card slot;
- Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
- Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.
- Configure-to-order options include a faster 3.6 GHz Core i5 processor, 2TB hard drive and up to 8GB of RAM.

The new 27″ 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,699 (US), includes:
- 27″ 2560 x 1440 LED-backlit display;
- 3.20 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
- 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5670 discrete graphics with 512MB GDDR3;
- 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
- Mini DisplayPort for audio and video input and output (adapters sold separately);
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
- iSight video camera;
- Gigabit Ethernet;
- Four USB 2.0 ports;
- One FireWire 800 port;
- One SDXC SD card slot;
- Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
- Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include a 3.6 GHz Core i5 processor, 2TB hard drive, 256GB solid state drive (SSD) and up to 16GB of RAM.

The new 27″ 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:
- 27″ 2560 x 1440 LED-backlit display;
- 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor with 8MB shared L3 cache;
- 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5750 discrete graphics with 1GB GDDR5;
- 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
- Mini DisplayPort for audio and video input and output (adapters sold separately);
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
- iSight video camera;
- Gigabit Ethernet;
- Four USB 2.0 ports;
- One FireWire 800 port;
- One SDXC SD card slot;
- Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
- Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include a 2.93 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor, a 2TB hard drive, 256GB solid state drive (SSD) and up to 16GB of RAM.

Additional accessories include: Magic Trackpad, Apple Battery Charger, wired Apple Mouse, wired Apple Keyboard, wired Apple Keyboard with numeric keypad, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, the AppleCare Protection Plan; and pre-installed copies of iWork, Logic Express 9, Final Cut Express 4 and Aperture 3.

If you happen to snag one and have any comments about it, please let us know.

Apple accepts Library of Congress decision on jailbreaking, still warns of possible warranty violations

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 05:17
Category: iPhone, Legal, News, Software

After years of debate and posturing from both sides, the verdict is in. Per Electronista, the library of Congress has legally sanctioned jailbreaking iOS-based applications under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, thereby allowing non-Apple-approved applications to be run on devices such as the iPhone. While Apple didn’t contest the legality itself, the company stated that jailbreaking would still break the warranty by going beyond what Apple can support. It also stressed that it saw the experience as hurting the experience for some by taking away the speed and reliability they may have expected.

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone,” commented an Apple spokeswoman. “And we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience.”

The representative wouldn’t directly confront the question of whether Apple would try to sue anyone who would sell jailbreaking tools, but she emphasized Apple’s history and that it hadn’t done so before.

Monday’s Library ruling doesn’t require that Apple or other companies must allow third-party apps in their code but also prevents these firms from legally challenging any jailbreak developed for the purposes of running an app or for unlocking access to other customers. It’s unclear whether the new exemptions would allow commercial development of jailbreaking apps; such software would be designed for a profit, but it it would still be used for individual purposes in most cases.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop 5.0.9370 Released

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Date: Monday, July 26th, 2010, 04:40
Category: News, Software

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Parallels Desktop, the popular virtualization application that allows users to run the Windows and Linux operating systems simultaneously alongside Mac OS X, reached version 5.0.9370 over the weekend. The new version, available here, sports the following fixes and changes:

- Mac folders shared with Windows now work correctly with MS Outlook, Lotus, Quicken and other Windows applications.

- Support for Autodesk Revit 2011 was fixed.

- MS Office 2010 activation is preserved in Boot Camp virtual machines.

- OpenGL now works correctly in Ubuntu 10.04 virtual machines.

- Virtual machines using Boot Camp partitions on 512 GB solid-state disks (SSDs) now work correctly.

- The problem with invisible virtual machines list on new MacBook Pros (released in early 2010) was fixed.

- A rare problem with Windows virtual machine’s screen turning black after upgrading to Mac OS X v10.6.3 was fixed.

- Problems with Parallels Service stopping to respond when the Parallels Desktop settings file is corrupt were fixed.

- Problems with screen resolution in Mac OS X Server v10.6.3 virtual machines were fixed.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac retails for US$79.99, requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run.

iMac retail shortages hint at new models on the horizon

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Date: Monday, July 26th, 2010, 04:14
Category: iMac, News

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A number of Apple retail stores have apparently run out of stock of both current 21.5″ and 27″ iMac models, ahead of an expected refresh to the desktop Mac hardware.

Per AppleInsider, a reader sent word Sunday that the 21.5″ iMac, and quad-core 27″ model are both unavailable for the Reserve and Pick Up option at the company’s retail store in Buffalo, N.Y. In addition, some desktops are unavailable in other locations, including Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in New York City, where the quad-core 27″ is not available for pick-up.

However, for those shopping on Apple’s online store, the hardware is still scheduled to ship within 24 hours.

The changes to the company’s Reserve and Pick Up option come soon after Apple warned its direct and indirect sales channels of near-term shortages of the iMac. The company is drawing down its inventory ahead of the launch of new models, expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

Among those out of stock in some locations are the 3.06GHz 21.5″ iMac, of which Apple has told distributors not to expect any further stock, implying that production of the model has ceased.

Potential configurations of the new hardware include a dual-core Core i5 model and quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 configurations. Sources close to the story had previously indicated that Intel’s low-end Core i3 processor would also find its way into the iMac line.

Earlier this month, it was alleged that the forthcoming iMac update would add USB 3.0, as well as faster FireWire connectivity. The new hardware is not expected to have support for Blu-ray discs.

Signs of another hardware update also came through Apple’s online store Reserve and Pick Up option last week, when customers discovered limited availability of the company’s other line of desktop machines, the Mac Pro. Users found that multiple retail stores showed no availability of either the Quad-Core or 8-core Mac Pro models.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC 1.1.1 update released

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Date: Monday, July 26th, 2010, 04:06
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 1.1.1. The new version, a 39.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Multiple libVLC improvements and fixes.

- Windows video output fixes.

- DxVA2 decoding on ATI GPU, with Catalyst 10.7.

- Multiple fixes for interfaces.

- Various decoders and demuxers fixes.

- Updated translations.

- Various crashes and errors fixed.

VLC 1.1.1 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.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.8 update

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Date: Friday, July 23rd, 2010, 15:10
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.8 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.7 megabyte download, sports the following major change:

- Version 3.6.8 fixes a single stability issue affecting some pages containing plugins.

Firefox 3.6.8 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run. If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

Some iOS 4 users complain of Bluetooth bug with iPhone 3GS, 4 handsets

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Date: Friday, July 23rd, 2010, 03:06
Category: iPhone, News

Ok, this has to be the part where someone at Apple finally slams their head against the desk and wishes to just go home and snuggle up with a blanket and a cup of cocoa for the rest of the day.

Per AppleInsider, some users of iOS 4 on both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS say their handset has constantly dropped wireless Bluetooth connections with both headsets and in-car systems.

Numerous users contacted the publication to report a number of problems specific to iOS 4 with Bluetooth connectivity. A number of people who upgraded their iPhone 3GS found that their phone’s Bluetooth became problematic, even though it worked fine before the iOS 4 update. And others who bought a new iPhone 4 have encountered some of the same issues.

“Nearly every time I’m in my car the iPhone disconnects from the built-in Bluetooth system,” one reader with an iPhone 4 wrote. “This never, ever happened with my 3G phone. I have a case number with AppleCare and they refuse to acknowledge the problem or replace the phone, even after having the problem persist after downloading a fresh copy of IOS 4, reinstalling the software and setting the phone up bare with no other apps. Could this be another antenna problem?”

In numerous threads on the official Apple Discussions forums, users have shared similar problems (1, 2, 3, 4).

Users have said that their Bluetooth connections will sporadically drop after the two devices are successfully paired. Others can connect, but are met with a message that says “no media found” when trying to play music. And some said they have experienced muffled voices when placing a call over Bluetooth.

A number of users on the forums noted that the recent iOS 4.0.1 update did not fix the Bluetooth issues. The minor update featured a cosmetic fix that changed how the iPhone reports bars of signal strength.

The Bluetooth pairing issues are said to exist across a range of devices, including vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, car stereos from Pioneer and Alpine, and headsets from Motorola and Jawbone.

Some said they have fixed the problem by resetting the phone’s settings. This can be done by launching the Settings application, choosing General, Reset, and Reset All Settings. Interestingly, the same fix was said to work for some who experienced issues with the proximity sensor on the iPhone 4. Apple has said it is working on a software fix for the proximity sensor problems with the iPhone 4, but has made no mention of the reported Bluetooth problems.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue from your end, let us know.

Apple begins Bumper case refunds to customers

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Date: Friday, July 23rd, 2010, 03:33
Category: iPhone, News

Customers who had already bought iPhone Bumpers before Apple offered free cases to all iPhone 4 users have started to receive refunds from the company according to Macworld.

At last week�s iPhone 4 press conference, Apple said it would provide free cases to anyone who buys the iPhone 4 before September 30th. That free case offer includes a choice of either Apple�s Bumper or a third-party case. As part of that offer, Apple said it would offer refunds to iPhone 4 users who had already bought Bumper cases from Apple.

On Thursday, some customers who bought their Bumpers from Apple�s online store reported receiving refund notices from Apple. The message from Apple begins by informing the customer of the situation, and that �as of today, we have automatically processed your refund.� Apple is also refunding shipping and VAT charges as well.

There is no word on how many customers have gotten refunds so far or how long this automatic refund process for online Bumper orders will take.

Apple made the free case offer for iPhone 4 users after complaints emerged regarding the handset�s antenna surfaced. The most common complaint involves the reception bars disappearing from the iPhone�s status bar when users hold the device a certain way, with their fingers covering the phone�s antennas.

At last week�s press conference, Apple said iPhone 4 owners would be able to apply for a new case at its Website starting at some point this week. As of late Thursday, Apple�s site had not yet been update with new information on how to order a case.

In a personal visit to an Apple Store location this week, an Apple Store representative claimed Apple would be formally announcing the next step in its free Bumper case/case refund late this week.

We hope to have more to report today and will let you know the moment additional details are confirmed.

Skype for iPhone 2.1 released, background multitasking feature added

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Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2010, 05:13
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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Skype for iPhone 2.1 went live yesterday and albeit the update was relatively minor, users running iOIS 4 can now run Skype in the background on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS running iOS4. As a result, Skype users can now receive Skype calls and instant messages while other apps are running or the iPhone is locked. As with the iPhone’s Phone app, you can continue your call while you switch to another application.

Both Skype for iPhone and the update are free.

Skype for iPhone requires iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Current 27″ iMac unable to accept 1080p video input, firmware update may be en route

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Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2010, 03:34
Category: iMac, News

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Apple’s updated 27″ iMac launched with a new feature: a Mini DisplayPort video port that worked in both directions, enabling external video sources to output video to the screen. Unfortunately, this feature is largely limited to 720p in HDTV applications however.

Per AppleInsider, this limitation effectively limits the iMac to accepting video input from recent MacBooks or other computers that produce DisplayPort video, which works significantly differently from earlier analog VGA or digital formats such as DVI/HDMI.

The shortcoming can be bridged by a converter box that accepts a DVI/HDMI signal (the two video standards are essentially the same in different packaging), transforms it to DisplayPort signaling, and scales it to the output resolution of the iMac.

A simple physical adapter won’t work for video input due to the iMac’s DisplayPort-only input limitation; cheap Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapters can only extract the HDMI output signal the iMac generates and pushes through its Mini DisplayPort connector. They do not do any signal translation.

Two products that can do this translation work are the AV360™ Mini DisplayPort Converter and Kanex HD, both of which retail for US$150. However, while those products appear to be capable of generating both 720p and 1080p output, the 27″ iMac only accepts 720p video or its native 2560×1440 resolution.

It appears the 27″ iMac could accept 1080p input, and certainly can support display of the video resolution, as it falls well within its 2560×1440 native resolution. A similar problem affects Apple’s 24″ LED Cinema Display, which has a native 1920×1200 resolution but only supports that resolution via its DisplayPort input; like the 27″ iMac, it won’t accept a 1080p signal (1920×1080), the common format of higher end HD equipment such as HDMI set top boxes and the PS3, even though it appears it should be able to.

The problem is that Apple’s EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) on the iMac and LED Cinema Display doesn’t advertise 1080p as an option. EDID is a simple data structure a display sends to output devices that outlines what video formats and settings it knows how to support. Both devices appear capable of 1080p but simply don’t advertise that capability in a way that external devices like the AV360 and Kanex HD can take advantage of.

It appears Apple could update the firmware for these displays to enable support of 1080p input, allowing users to input full 1080p video from devices such as a PlayStation 3 or current MacBook. Users might not notice a major difference, as experts say its hard to see a real difference between 720p and 1080p on screens smaller than 50 inches.

However, some devices are hardwired to only support 1080p, and can’t scale their output to support the Cinema Display’s slightly higher resolution nor the 27″ iMacs much higher resolution, forcing them to downscale to 720p or not work at all (as is the case with the LED Cinema Display, which is really only indended to work with Apple’s Mini DisplayPort-equipped MacBooks and modern desktop Macs).

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.