Apple Authorized Resellers Launch Black Friday Sales Early

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Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:05
Category: News

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As was the case last year, several Apple authorized resellers are getting an early start on the 2009 holiday shopping season by launching early Black Friday sales that offer up to US$220 off Mac desktops and $250 off Mac notebooks.

Per AppleInsider, outfits such as MacMall, ClubMac, and OnSale.com have each begun 72-hour Black Friday sales at midnight that are scheduled to run through 11:59 p.m. pacific time on Friday. Meanwhile, others like MacConnection and Best Buy have similarly put into effect their lowest prices on Macs this calendar year.

MacBooks and Mac minis:
Thus far, MacConnection is offering the lowest price we’ve seen this year on Apple’s white MacBook notebook at US$884.99, a savings of US$114 after rebates. And for its part, MacMall is extending the deepest discounts on new Mac minis, selling the 2.26GHz model for US$549.99 and the 2.53GHz model for US$744.98, also after rebates.

MacBook Pros and iMacs:
For MacBook Pros and iMacs, MacMall, ClubMac, OnSale, and MacConnection, the prices are fairly competitive. Some noteworthy standouts include the 2.26GHz 13″ MacBook Pro and 3.06GHz Dual 21″ iMac, each for US$1,069.00 at MacConnection (a US$130 savings). Meanwhile, MacMall is offering the 2.66GHz 15″ MacBook Pro for US$1,798.97 (US$200 savings) and the 3.06GHz Dual 27″ iMac for US$1,584.99 (US$130 savings). The best price on the 2.80GHz 17″ MacBook Pro is US$2,249.00, a savings of US$250. Best Buy is also offering the new 3.06GHz 21.5-inch iMac for US$1,099 (a $100 savings without a rebate, unlike many reseller deals).

MacBook Airs and Mac Pros:
Finally, MacMall is extending the lowest prices on MacBook Air notebooks at US$1,398.98 for the 1.86GHz model and US$1,689.98 for the 2.13GHz configuration. Discounts on Mac Pros span US$200 to US$220 from the vast majority of the resellers.

If you’ve seen any killer sales on your end, please let us know.

Some Users Cite Cracked Screens, “Dead on Arrival” Status for 27″ iMacs

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Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, 06:59
Category: News

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Apple’s newest and snazziest 27″ iMac, complete with a brand new Intel Core i7 processor, has apparently been showing up dead on arrival or with cracked screens for some purchasers.

Per the Apple Discussions Board (1, 2) and Engadget, some users have claimed that the iMac chimes when the power button is pressed, but the screen displays nothing. Various users on Apple’s support forums have expressed frustration that they returned their iMac and are now waiting an estimated two weeks for a replacement machine.

There are also a handful of reports of cracks on the bottom left screen of the new iMac. Various customers stated the box containing their new system arrived in excellent condition, only to remove the packaging and discover the hardware had been damaged. It has led some to speculate that there is a flaw in the current packaging that causes the screen to crack in the bottom left corner.

“There’s no apparent damage to the styrofoam or box so it looks like that’s a weak spot in the screen and how they are being packed in the boxes,” user ‘scopro’ said. “Hopefully Apple will improve their packaging for these larger iMacs as it may take until Dec. 7 for my replacement to arrive.”

The new 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860 processor-equipped 27″ iMacs are available as a US$200 built-to-order option, which means they are not available in Apple retail stores. Apple also offers a 2.66 GHz Core i5 750 iMac with a suggested retail price of US$1,999. Both quad-core machines began shipping earlier this month and include 8MB of L3 cache.

The newly redesigned iMac includes a large 16:9 screen with a 2560×1440 pixel resolution. It offers a capacity of 16GB of RAM and comes standard with a wireless keyboard and the new Magic Mouse.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Apple Sets Policy On Smoke and Warranties

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Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, 06:00
Category: News

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Well, you’ve got another reason to quit smoking.

On Friday, Consumerist reported that Apple set policy when the company denied several users repairs under its AppleCare Protection Plan (APP) because the machine had been exposed to smoke.

The first case involved a Mid-2007 MacBook under APP that was brought to the Jordan Creek Apple Store in West Des Moines, Iowa, for overheating. Apple voided the warranty because the computer was used in a house where there was smoking. It also refused to work on the machine due to the “health risks of second hand smoke.”

In another case, an iMac under AppleCare was refused repairs because it was deemed “contaminated” by tobacco smoke and and considered a “bio-hazard.”

Apparently nicotine is on OSHA’s list of hazardous and toxic substances and Apple will not force an employee to work on anything deemed hazardous to their health because of the obvious legal exposure that could create.

Apple has yet to release any formal disclosures regarding this new policy and it’s unknown as to whether this is forthcoming.

So, yeah, that habit that’s as addictive as heroin, you might want to quit it if you want to get your money’s worth that you put into an AppleCare plan…

Hack Finds Ways to Reenable Atom Processor Support for Mac OS X 10.6.2

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Date: Friday, November 20th, 2009, 06:34
Category: News

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If Apple says you can’t do it, then someone out there will find a way.

Per Macworld, hackers have found a way to circumvent the changes in Mac OS X 10.6.2 to allow the latest upgrade to Apple’s Snow Leopard to run on netbooks with Intel Atom processors. When Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.2 earlier this month, Intel Atom support was missing from the release. Though no Apple-sanctioned hardware uses the Atom processor, some low-cost netbook users would use the hack to install Mac OS X on their systems.

The hack applies only to a select number of “Hackintosh” users, as not all who install Mac OS X on unauthorized machines use netbooks with Intel Atom processors. Atom is a low-voltage microprocessor used in inexpensive portable computers.

According to MacWorld, support for Mac OS X 10.6.2 has been brought to the Atom processor thanks to a complicated hack that requires use of the Terminal and replacing the kernel of the operating system.

As developer builds of Mac OS X 10.6.2 were released, the status of Atom support fluctuated, leaving hackers wondering Apple’s purpose.

For those of you willing to tear your Mac OS X kernel apart and spend a considerable amount of time in the Terminal program, go to this Insanelymac forum thread and follow the directions to the letter to reenable Atom support for Mac OS X 10.6.2 on your Atom-based netbook.

And please don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Still unknown is whether Apple actually had any intent in disabling Atom processor support. It’s possible the situation could be much like the cat-and-mouse game with Palm, where Apple released minor updates to iTunes that served only to break compatibility with the Pre smartphone. Or, since Apple likely does not test its software on products it does not ship, the Cupertino, Calif., company may have accidentally broken compatibility with Atom processors.

Camino 2.0 Released

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Date: Thursday, November 19th, 2009, 05:22
Category: News

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Late Wednesday, the Camino Project released version 2.0 of Camino, its free, open source web browser.
The new version, a 15.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

Improved tabbed browsing:
- The Tab Overview feature displays a grid of thumbnails of the tabs in the current window.

- Tabs can be rearranged by dragging and dropping.

- Command-click now defaults to opening links in new tabs instead of new windows.

New security features:
- Camino now supports the Google Safe Browsing service to provide warnings about many potentially malicious websites.

- Camino now displays error pages for secure web pages using invalid or untrusted certificates.

Full content zoom:
- Camino now has support for making the entire contents of a web page bigger or smaller.

Download notifications:
- If Growl is installed, Camino will generate notifications when downloads begin and finish.

- On Mac OS X 10.5 and higher, Camino will bounce the downloads folder in the Dock when a download finishes.

Recently closed pages:
-The History menu now contains a sub-menu listing the last 20 closed web pages.

Improved support for Full Keyboard Access:
- When Full Keyboard Access is enabled, tabbing now moves correctly through the entire browser window.

Enhanced annoyance blocking:
- Camino now includes an exceptions list to allow disabling “Block Flash animations” on a per-site basis and an “Allow Flash From This Site” contextual menu item to ease adding sites to the exceptions list.

New AppleScript capabilities:
- AppleScripts can now obtain the HTML source or text of an entire web page or of a selection.

- Added AppleScript support for setting the active tab in each browser window.

Web content support:
- Camino now uses version 1.9.0 of Mozilla’s Gecko rendering engine, which contains thousands of bug fixes, better web plug-in compatibility and performance, enhanced support for web standards, and new technologies like JavaScript 1.8.

Camino requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the new version of Camino and have any kind of feedback about it, let us know.

Firefox Web Browser Unlikely to Come to iPhone, iPod Touch

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 18th, 2009, 05:55
Category: iPhone, News

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Representatives from Mozilla, the company responsible for Firefox, have announced that the web browser will not be coming to the iPhone. Responding to questions from ElectricPig.co.uk, Mozilla’s European president, Tristan Nitot, said that Firefox on the iPhone isn’t an option with Apple’s current restrictions on web browsers that would compete with Mobile Safari.

“The issue is more with Apple than with us because they control the App Store and because they refuse applications which compete with something that is already on the phone. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a version of Firefox running on the iPhone,” said Nitot.

Nitot also stated that Mozilla is so sure it isn’t going to happen that he said the foundation isn’t even looking in to making a version for just in case Apple changes their mind.

“We’re not investing time and energy in this direction because we’re pretty sure it would be blocked by Apple, so we’re better off using our time in terms of development to do things on open platforms”.

“[Firefox for mobile] is a modern browser with all the bells and whistles that you’ll find in your desktop browser so you need a powerful operating system such as Android or Maemo or Windows Mobile,” he said. “The list of operating systems we want to support in the mobile world is already pretty long – I guess BlackBerry would be one of the last in our priority list”

Firefox Mobile will be launching on Symbian, Android, Windows Mobile, and Nokia Maemo tablets in December.

Livestream Announces Video Streaming Service for iPhone

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Date: Friday, November 13th, 2009, 05:44
Category: iPhone, News

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Live streaming video on the iPhone and iPod touch handsets may not be the easiest thing in the world, but it’s not impossible. Per Macworld, Livestream on Thursday unveiled its free service for streaming live video to the popular Apple devices.

The application, which is available only for Windows, though there’s currently a beta available for the Mac, allows anybody to produce live video streams from sources such as a professional video camera, a web cam, or even a PC desktop. The new service takes advantage of the H.264 HTTP live streaming that Apple began including in the iPhone OS’s QuickTime player earlier this year.

Livestream says it is also making an API available to developers so that video can be incorporated into apps if producers prefer a more customized experience for their viewers. But the Mobile Safari/QuickTime route will get your video on to the small screen just as soon as you can get Procaster up and running (which Livestream claims takes about five minutes to do).

App Store Download Bug Noted

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Date: Friday, November 13th, 2009, 05:06
Category: News, Software

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A number of users have received error code 414 when attempting to download multiple iPhone applications, the end result being failed attempts altogether. Per CNET, the error seems to particularly affect users with more than a few downloads to complete. Most users in this Apple Discussions Forum thread report needing to update upwards of 20 Apps.

Many are calling this a bug in the iTunes Store system related to the “mature content” warnings Apple uses on Apps with a 17+ rating. Over on the Apple Discussions Board, user “ecasadei” described the situation as follows:

“I’m getting the same error. I have 97 app updates available, and when I try to “Download All Free Updates” at once, a window pops up stating “IMPORTANT: This product contains material that may be objectionable to children under 17. By proceeding, you are confirming that you are 17 or older.” and then I get an error message stating that iTunes could not complete my request because an unknown error (414) occurred. I have no idea which of these apps has been given a 17+ rating — at first glance they all seem pretty tame — otherwise, I’d update those manually and then try to download the rest all at once again. As it stands, I’m forced to update them all one by one. I’ve also seen the following error appear when I try to get an update on some individual apps:

MZCommerceBuy.AgeCheckFailureKey.addToCart_message MZCommerceBuy.AgeCheckFailureKey.explanation”

There’s clearly some sort of bug in the age verification process during app updates and this is getting a bit odd.

The general consensus here seems to be to download your 17+ rated Apps one at a time and save all your others for a mass download. It would also be helpful to download your updates for applications before too many build up in your queue. You can update many of your applications directly from your iPhone and download updates on your computer even if your iPhone is not plugged in. While it does not appear that the recent update to Snow Leopard directly addressed this issue, watch for the next iTunes update to tackle the problem.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or located a fix or workaround, please let us know.

RadioShack Announces iPhone Sales Plan for 2009/2010

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, 05:37
Category: iPhone 3GS, News, retail

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If the Droid’s coming out and looking promising, it never hurts to have another retail outlet on your side.

Late last Friday, electronics retailer RadioShack announced that it would begin selling the iPhone in a few New York city and Dallas stores in time for the holiday shopping rush, with wider availability to begin in 2010.

While the addition of another retail outlet to the mix of stores may not do a whole lot for general availability of the device, it shot RadioShock’s stock up over 14% on the first trading day since the announcement, with analysts suggesting that the presence of the iPhone may help to drive up in-store traffic for the Shack during the busy holiday season and year-round.

And still, another 5,000 chain stores never hurts sales…

Intel Atom Processor Support Missing From Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update

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Date: Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, 05:55
Category: News, Processors

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As much as the Hackintosh community may love Mac OS X, Apple doesn’t always love them back.

Per OSXDaily, support for Intel’s Atom processor is confirmed to be missing in the final release of 10.6.2.

Apple’s latest update for Snow Leopard has broken support for Intel’s Atom processor line. Mac OS X 10.6.2 was released Monday afternoon, and was Apple’s second major update for Snow Leopard.

OSXDaily reported that various netbook and “hackintosh” forums are “blowing up with problems of 10.6.2 instant rebooting their Atom-based notebooks.” Systems using the Atom processor will go into a startup-loop if the 10.6.2 update is installed.

Support for Atom fluctuated over the course of 10.6.2 development, and Apple was mum about the subject.

It is recommended that anyone using OS X on Atom-based systems should not install the update. Many believe that a community-generated fix will be developed soon. Prominent hackintosh blogger StellaRola commented, “Just an FYI, this is OSx86 after all and none of the scenes hackers really let down on support. The latest kernel may not be “officially” supported but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a modded kernel around the corner.”

Intel’s Atom processor is a low-cost, low-power chip intended for notebooks, netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs. Although current Apple products do not sport the Atom chips, a dedicated community has formed around the practice of installing Snow Leopard on Atom netbooks.