Apple quietly releases updated 13″ MacBook

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 18th, 2010, 03:35
Category: MacBook, News

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Confirming yesterday’s post, Apple quietly released a refreshed MacBook notebook, the new model incorporating a new faster 2.4GHz processor, and NVIDIA GeForce 320m graphics processor.

These changes bring it into line with recently released MacBook Pro model.

Apple is claiming that the new MacBook provides 80% faster performance, largely due to the the improved graphics NVIDIA GeForce 320m graphics processor.

Like the NVIDIA 9400m graphics chip it replaces, the 320m shares its memory (256MB) from the main system RAM, rather than possessing the discrete graphics memory found on the NVIDIA 330m (used by the MacBook Pro).

Per Macworld UK, the NVIDIA 320m is 40% more efficient than the 9400m chip it replaces. Apple is also claiming a fairly hefty 10 hours of wireless productivity from the new MacBook.

Another new feature (albeit a small one) is that the DVI socket now supports the DVI to HDMI adaptor, enabling users to connect the older monitors to the laptop.

The 2.4 GHz MacBook retails for US$999 and is immediately available.

Next-Gen iPhone to see upped screen resolution, other improvements

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 17th, 2010, 07:19
Category: iPhone, News

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Per DigiTimes, Apple’s next-gen iPhone should see significant display improvements and carry an upped resolution of 960 x 640 pixels.

Despite the appearance of several prototype iPhones in recent weeks, the only confirmation of the higher resolution display has been a qualitative comparison with the current iPhone suggesting that it is the case. DigiTimes’ report today again suggests that the new iPhone will in fact carry a 960 x 640 screen.

The next-generation iPhone’s display will also reportedly adopt fringe-field switching (FFS), a technology that should improve viewing angles and performance in bright sunlight.
By incorporating FFS technology, users should have a wider viewing angle and clearer visual quality under in sunlight, Apple is aiming to improve the handset’s e-book reader features and promote its iBooks Store. HTC’s Hero smartphone has already adopted this technology.

The report also notes that the panel on the new iPhone is 33% thinner than in current models, allowing for increased battery size.

In addressing the brains behind the forthcoming iPhone, the report claims that users can expect an ARM Cortex A8 processor, of which the Apple A4 processor used in the iPad and observed in one of the prototypes is an implementation. The report claims, however, that it will also offer 512 MB of RAM.

The iPhone 4G is currently specced as running on the ARM Cortex A8 processor and a 512MB memory module from Samsung Electronics, doubling the memory capacity seen in the iPhone 3GS to take advantage of the multi-tasking capability of the iPhone OS 4.0 platform.

Apple is widely expected to introduce the new iPhone on June 7th at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

BlackBerry Desktop Manager 1.0.3 released

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Date: Monday, May 17th, 2010, 06:08
Category: News, Software

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The good news: BlackBerry Desktop Manager 1.0.3 has been released.

The application, a 31.6 megabyte download, allows Mac users to sync data from Mac applications like iCal, Address Book, Microsoft Entourage and others, as well as add and remove applications, schedule automatic backups, encrypt backup files and install software updates for their BlackBerry smartphones.

The downside: Because Research In Motion is apparently run by staggering idiots who think the cast of “Jersey Shore” qualify for Mensa status and unicorns are real, absolutely no version changes have been logged or mentioned.

None.

So, if you’ve installed the new version and noticed any changes (for better or for worse), we’d love to know.

Especially since the developers of this long-awaited software package seem reluctant to tell you what they are.

BlackBerry Desktop Manager 1.0.3 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Additional evidence emerges for both front and back cameras on next-gen iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 14th, 2010, 08:41
Category: iPhone, News

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This could be interesting.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, a Twitter post from user @chenks shows the hidden metadata of an iPhone OS 4.0 screenshot states that the picture came from the phone’s “Back Camera.”

The image brings up a stronger possibility that the upcoming iPhone could feature a front-facing camera as well as the conventional back-facing camera.

If so, applications such as Skype, iChat and others could come into their own via video conferencing on the iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as we get them.

Hulu confirms, quickly retracts, vow of HTML5 support for iPad

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Date: Friday, May 14th, 2010, 04:25
Category: iPad, News

Video streaming web site Hulu both posted and quickly retracted a blog post yesterday, the edited form stating that the web site doesn’t see using HTML5 in its immediate future.

Per AppleInsider, Eugene Wei, vice president of product with Hulu, said that his company’s contractual requirements make the transition to HTML5 too difficult. The current player on the website, built with Adobe Flash, does a great deal more than stream video.

“We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs,” Wei wrote. “Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user.”

The statement would seem to finally put to rest lingering rumors that Hulu might convert to HTML5 for an iPad-friendly site. But it does not mean that iPad users will not be able to access Hulu.

The company is still expected to bring its service to the iPad eventually, through software in the App Store much like the ABC and Netflix streaming players. It is believed Hulu on the iPad will be a pay-only service that would require a monthly subscription.

But the existing, popular ABC application shows programs like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” for free, with ad support. And that free product has apparently caused concern for Hulu, which is rumored to introduce a US$9.95-per-month subscription plan later this month, on May 24th.

It is believed that Hulu will incentivize its subscription plan with Apple’s iPad, and also offer a “window” where content is available to subscribers, both on computers and the iPad, before it can be seen for free by the general public. Rumors have suggested Hulu’s business partners have pressured the service into subscription plans to “train” viewers that they should pay for online access to content.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Roxio Toast Titanium 10.0.6 update released

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 14th, 2010, 04:18
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday night, Roxio released version 10.0.7 of its Toast Titanium authoring software. The new version, available here, adds the following fixes and changes:

- iPad video export profile now available as device setting for video exports.

- TiVo recordings (US only) can now be exported at 640×480 resolution.

- Resolves issue where text entered may appear outside text field.

- Resolves issue where DVD-Video volume with in name may be handled incorrectly.

- Resolves issue which may cause application to crash.

Toast 10 Titanium requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and retails for US$99.99.

Apple awards CDMA iPhone contract to Pegatron

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 13th, 2010, 04:19
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple has apparently awarded a contract for building a CDMA iPhone to Pegatron Technologies.

The news arrives from Taiwanese newspaper DigiTimes, which back in February announced that the company had won the contract for building the expected next generation UMTS iPhone 4. Previous iPhones have been built by Foxconn, which also builds Apple’s Mac mini, iPods and the iPad, and is the company’s main supplier.

Rumors surrounding the possibly of a CDMA iPhone model that Apple could sell through Verizon and Sprint have regularly surfaced throughout the iPhone’s entire history, and have recently blossomed as speculation about the end of AT&T’s exclusive contract in the U.S. has reached a fevered pitch.

Pegatron is a three year old Taiwanese company formed during a restructuring of Asustek, which resulted in a split between Asustek’s own Asus-branded products, its PC-related manufacturing performed under the Unihan name, and contract manufacturing under the Pegatron name.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Valve releases Steam gaming client for Mac OS X

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Date: Thursday, May 13th, 2010, 04:13
Category: News, Software

You’ve been hankering for it and Valve finally came through.

The Steam gaming client, Valve’s Mac OS X port of the gateway to its online game store, allows users to purchase, download, and manage games for your computer. Per CNET, the program offers networking options for locating and joining online game servers, chatting, and providing in-game communication enhancements.

Valve offers access to over 1,000 games via Steam, and for OS X the debut will see Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Portal, and the whole Half-Life series available. Many of these games are run using Wine-like compatibility layer for OS X, which has been seen in applications like Codeweaver’s “Crossover” and “Crossover Games” packages.

The client is available as a 2.7 megabyte download and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Current Steam release titles for the Mac include Civilization IV (Colonization, Warlords, and Beyond the Sword editions), And Yet It Moves, Chuzzle Deluxe, Bejeweled 2, Bookworm Deluxe, Galcon Fusion, Bob Came in Pieces, World of Goo, Altitude, City of Heroes: Architect Edition, Machinarium, Torchlight, Braid, Brainpipe, Football Manager 2010, Zuma Deluxe, and Quantz, though Valve has stated that new Mac ports will

AT&T advances upgrade dates for some iPhone customers in anticipation of fourth-gen handset

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, 10:58
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T wants to sell some iPhones.

And they’re taking steps to do so.

Per MobileCrunch, AT&T has begun modifying some customers’ upgrade dates, shortening them in some cases by months to allow customers to buy a new, subsidized, fourth-generation handset in June.

This week, a reader contacted MobileCrunch to say that his upgrade date was moved from Nov. 21st, 2010, to June 21st, 2010. The reader said they bought an iPhone 3GS in 2009 on the device’s launch day.

“As a valued AT&T customer, we can offer you a discounted iPhone upgrade at a higher price, along with a 2-year commitment and an US$18 upgrade fee,” the customer’s account profile reads. “Please proceed with the online upgrade process for pricing details. You may qualify for a full discount on a standard iPhone upgrade on 6/21/2010.”

The same changes have appeared for some other customers as well. AT&T has revealed in the past that generally speaking, the more a customer spends with AT&T, the quicker they become eligible for a price break on a new device. For example, iPhone customers who spend more than US$99-a-month per line are generally eligible for an upgrade between 12 and 18 months into their contract.

The revised dates will likely pave the way for AT&T to offer some customers reduced prices on Apple’s fourth-gen iPhone, expected to be announced in June. AT&T also took the same approach last year when the wireless carrier offered early iPhone 3G adopters the opportunity to purchase an iPhone 3GS as the same US$199 and US$299 price points as new customers.

In years past, Apple has introduced its annual iPhone upgrade at the Worldwide Developers Conference. This year, WWDC 2010 will be held June 7th through June 11th at San Francisco’s Moscone West. Tickets for the event sold out just eight days after Apple announced the dates.

Another rumor has suggested Apple could sell the next-generation iPhone as soon as it is announced on June 7th. That approach would be a change from years prior, when a new handset was announced a few weeks before its sale date. AT&T has also blacked out the month of June for its employees, preventing them from taking vacation days.

New fourth-gen iPhone prototype photos emerge, A4 processor seems likely

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, 04:48
Category: iPhone, News, Pictures

Right, this may be about the time Steve Jobs totally loses it and unleashes his new eye lasers.

Per Vietnamese web forum Taoviet, a series of photos, including a teardown of the hardware, has been published showing a newer and more refined fourth-generation iPhone prototype than the one obtained by Gizmodo last month. The pictures revealing the marking APL0398, which is also on the A4 processor found inside the iPad. The rest of the markings — 339S0084, K4X2G643GE, and YN6024Z3, are different, but the system-on-a-chip does include an Apple logo.

The new model also lacks the obvious screws visible in the Gizmodo photographs on either side of the Dock Connector, and is designated as being 16 GB rather than simply “XXGB.” The back panel is also shown to be highly reflective, with a large back facing camera and LED flash.

The new model also uses the same micro-SIM as iPad, and the card now inserts into the side of the phone rather than the top end.

A video demonstrates that the device was also turned on, but was not running the iPhone OS. Instead, the screen displayed a graphic of an explosion that read “Inferno.” At the bottom, text can be read that says “Start time: Run Bonfire!,” “Duration: 0,” and “Battery: 3 percent.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.