Apple Apparently Offering 15% Refund to Owners of 27″ Flickering iMacs

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Date: Friday, February 5th, 2010, 06:55
Category: News

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The saga continues.

Following up on reports of flickering 27″ iMac screens, recently released firmware fixes and the like, a number of users who have been plagued by screen flickering issues with the new 27″ iMac have reportedly been given a 15% refund on their purchase price.

Per Gizmodo, customers in the U.S. and U.K. are reporting that Apple is paying out cash to some who have been frustrated by a defective big-screen iMac. For a US$2,000 machine, the refund would amount to US$300.

“From the handful of reader anecdotes we’ve received thus far, it sounds like you need to be a repeat iMac returner who’s dealt with multiple 27″ iMacs that have been busted in some way (but they may accommodate first time buyers as well, we don’t know),” the report said. “One reader had multiple yellow screens, then received another new model with broken Bluetooth. He took the 15% and just returned it.”

On Monday evening, the Mac maker released a second potential software fix for the flickering issues that have affected some owners of the newly redesigned late 2009 model iMac. The update, entitled “27-inch iMac Display Firmware Update 1.0,” was preceded by first intended fix in December, entitled “27-inch iMac Graphics Firmware Update 1.0.”

Starting in late January, new iMac purchases were hit with a three-week wait time. This week, however, the shipment times improved to two weeks.

Apple Discussing iPad Data Plans with U.K. Carrier O2

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Date: Thursday, February 4th, 2010, 09:19
Category: iPad, News

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The iPad is en route, never forget that.

Per the mighty City AM, wireless carrier O2 is apparently negotiating with Apple for a U.K. 3G wireless data deal for the device. The 3G-compatible version of the iPad will ship as an unlocked device so users can pick their favorite carrier, although Apple is working with vendors to set up incentives and special deals.

Apple’s deal with AT&T offers tiers in which users receive 250MB of 3G data access per month for US$14.99, or unlimited 3G wireless data for US$29.99 a month. Both plans include unlimited Wi-Fi access at AT&T hotspots, and users can sign up for and cancel the service on a monthly basis without incurring extra fees.

Apple plans to start shipping the Wi-Fi version of the iPad in March, and the Wi-Fi plus 3G models should begin shipping about 30 days later.

Rumor: Apple Selects New Manufacturer for Fourth-Generation iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, 06:37
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

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Along with Apple’s long-standing partnership with manufacturer Foxconn, Asus subsidiary Pegatron Technology will reportedly manufacture Apple’s next-generation iPhone.

Per Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, Pegatron Technology has been selected by Apple for OEM production of the next-gen iPhone, expected to debut this summer. Pegatron will join Foxconn in manufacturing the handsets, industry sources reportedly said.

Although Pegatron officially declined to comment, the report noted that the company expects its handset shipments to “grow substantially in 2010″. The company currently produces LCD TVs and handsets, and is due to produce Microsoft’s Project Natal motion controller sensor for the Xbox 360 this year.

Pegatron was previously connected to the iPhone last fall and a report alleged that the company would build a new hybrid, world mode handset that would allow calls on both CDMA and GSM networks, granting access to Verizon Wireless in the U.S. Apple’s current iPhone manufacturer is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known by its trade name of Foxconn.

Possible Forward-Facing Camera Slot Discovered in iPad Replacement Frame

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Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 06:40
Category: News

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Getting back to the iPad, physical evidence has emerged which points to a slot for a forward-facing camera that was found in the frame of replacement enclosures for the device.

Per the Mission Repair blog, a spot that closely resembles the holes present in the Unibody Macbook exists within the iPad frame. Mission Repair confirmed that the camera from the Macbook does fit into place on the frame, with the lens, LED, and ambient light sensor all lining up.

A few weeks ago, AppleInsider found that the iPhone OS 3.2 SDK provided evidence that the shipping iPad could support a camera. Per one developer, the native Contacts application on the iPad offers the option to take a photo, in addition to choosing an existing one.

This adds some validity to the rumors that Apple may still be working on a camera-equipped iPad that could recognize the face of its user.

After all, there may be some differences between the iPad Steve was waving around and the actual unit that may arrive on the shelves.

Let us know what you think.

Apple Releases iTunes 9.0.3 Update

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Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 05:16
Category: News

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Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 9.0.3, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, an 90.8 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- iTunes no longer ignores your “Remember password for purchases” setting.
- Addresses problems with syncing some Smart Playlists and Podcasts with iPod.
- Resolves a problem recognizing when iPod is connected.
- Addresses issues that affect stability and performance.

iTunes 9.0.3 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Some Users Reporting Bugs, System Slowdowns After Security Update (2010-001) Install

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 2010, 08:03
Category: News, Software

As well-intentioned as Apple may be, a number of users are reporting that the company’s latest Security Update (2010-001) is causing extremely slow start-up times and poor performance or crashing for several programs, including Skype, Firefox, and Photoshop CS3.

Per CNET, a used identified as “Forgiss” reported the following issue on the Apple Support Discussions board:

“I installed the security update this morning, and rebooted the machine. Startup was extremely slow. in the region of about 5-10 minutes with a consistent beachball untill startup has completed. After startup, I could not launch any non-apple product so far. That includes:
Skype
Firefox
CaptureONE Pro
Photoshop CS3 or CS4
Microsoft office suite (word, excel, etc)

Some applications would open, and then as soon as I try and open a file, it would crash (microsoft and Adobe Products) some would just bounce in the dock (skype, firefox) and some would start to open and then crash after the ID screen has been up for a few seconds. My Wacom Tablet is not recognised and crashes (through USB) although my iTunes and iPod Touch seems to work fine (so it’s not the USB drivers, per se). I have not had any problems with this computer since my upgrade to snow leopard (10.6) and have had no indication that there are any system issues.”

The help in the forum suggests that the hard drive on the computer was being slowly damaged to the point that Disk Utility (via Permissions Verify/Repair) was not noticing anything. The update also seems to have been the catalyst for the hard drive damage to become evident to the system.

If you’ve seen anything like this on your end, let us know.

AT&T Formally Admits to Poor Coverage in New York City

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 29th, 2010, 10:27
Category: iPhone, News

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If you live in New York and have an iPhone, you probably saw this coming.

Wireless carrier AT&T has formally admitted that its New York City iPhone service is below par per a presentation slide published on Tom’s Guide noting that the company’s 3G Voice Composite Quality in the New York metro area—particularly in Manhattan—is below its performance objective.

Recently, the company explained that 3G service has suffered in New York due to “better than average iPhone penetration,” meaning “AT&T has been too successful in selling the iPhone, to the point where the network has been severely strained.” The company even briefly stopped selling iPhones online in New York City because the area didn’t “have enough towers to handle the phone.”

The slide does contain some good news for AT&T subscribers. Apparently, AT&T has had “three consecutive months of improvement” and it is doing “change-outs” of Radio Network Controllers among other upgrades.

If you live in New York and have noticed a difference, let us know.

iPad A4 Chip Could Find Way to iPhone

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Date: Friday, January 29th, 2010, 06:39
Category: iPad, iPhone, News, Processors

Initial reports about the iPad are coming back and the general consensus seems to agree that the thing is fairly speedy.

Per Macworld UK, the 1GHz A4 chip found in the iPad could ultimately find its way into the iPhone, as both the A4 and the current iPhone processors are designed around a low-power scheme as well as designed to run the iPhone OS.

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The A4 chip was designed for portable products, and modified chips based on the architecture are prime candidates to be used in new iPhone versions, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. A variant of the A4 chip could make iPhones much faster, he said.

“There’s really no reason why a chip with this kind of characteristic wouldn’t make it in the iPhone,” Brookwood said.

“My guess is [the A4] is a lot faster than what they use in existing products,” Brookwood said.

An Apple representative declined to provide details about the A4 chip on Wednesday, but analysts said it was based on an Arm processor core. The chip was most likely designed by employees who came with Apple’s 2008 acquisition of chip firm PA Semi, which earlier was involved in designing low-power chips.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Updated iPhone SDK Now Allows VoIP Calls Over 3G Connections

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Date: Thursday, January 28th, 2010, 06:01
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple’s iPhone SDK update didn’t just bring iPad support, the SDK is now permitting VoIP calls to be made over 3G networks. In the past, this option had only been available via a Wi-Fi connection. Per iCall, Apple has revised its SDK to allow VoIP calls over cellular networks. This is a major change from Apple’s previous agreement with AT&T which only allowed VoIP communications over a Wi-Fi connection.

Last October, AT&T announced that it would open up its 3G network to VoIP applications on the iPhone, the action apparently coming to fruition.

Previously, as part of a concession made to AT&T, Apple’s terms for software approval on the App Store prohibited VoIP-based applications like Skype from utilizing networks operated by wireless carriers.

In April, internet advocacy group Free Press asked the FCC to investigate both AT&T and Apple over claims that both companies were violating federal net-neutrality protection.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Media Event: Come the iPad

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Date: Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, 10:58
Category: News

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Folks, the Apple media event has begun, the cool cats at Macworld are on hand to cover it and here we go in a play by play:

- Jobs has appeared on stage, has cited that Apple is current the number one mobile device maker in the world and has stated that the “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.”

- Jobs is now citing 1991 and the first PowerBooks, is theorizing that there might be a better category between a notebook and a smartphone.

- They’ve caught a glimpse of the thing. There’s apparently a Home button, a MacBook-like aluminum bezel and a glass screen. Users are apparently able to personalize their home screen as they’d like it.

Hang tight, they’ve got an initial picture:
sjobswipad

- The name has just been revealed: It’s the iPad.

- Jobs is apparently sending an e-mail with an Apple Mail-esque client and typing on the screen as he would with a standard QWERTY keyboard. The device is on his lap.

- Jobs is looking through photos and is able to grab data from a nearby Mac or PC as well as turn the tablet to portrait or landscape mode as well as pinch, scrub and flick through pictures.

- Ok, there’s an iPod interface that looks a lot like the album view in iTunes meshed with Cover Flow on the iPhone.

- The interface apparently contains floating panes and windows.

- Jobs is now surfing through high definition YouTube videos of a surfing dog. Behold the nesting instinct!

- Right the iPad is apparently half an inch thick, weighs only 1.5 pounds and is both thinner and lighter than any netbook on the market. The device features a 9.7″ IPS display that allows for terrific angles of view. There’s a full capacitive multi-touch screen, a 1GHz Apple A4 chip and either 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of solid state flash memory onboard.

- The chip is by PA Semi.

- Other specs: The iPad features 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, an accelerometer and compass, speaker microphone, standard 30-pin connector and apparently 10 hours of battery life. The unit also sports a full month of standby life and the user can set it down, walk away for a month and it’ll still have a charge when they come back.

- The iPad is arsenic free, BFR-free, mercury-free, PCV-free and recyclable.

- The iPad apparently runs almost every iPhone/iPod touch app unmodified right out of the box.

- Ok, Jobs is now using Facebook and there’s an option to run apps at different resolutions.

- Video looks great on the iPad and Jobs is playing an unmodified snowboarding game.

- Apple is apparently undergoing a huge effort to get App Store apps to this device.

- Oh, cool, they’re releasing an updated iPhone SDK to offer development support for the iPad. The new SDK will be released today on Apple’s web site.

- The new SDK will feature an iPad simulator to allow iPad apps to run on your Mac as you write them.

- Right, the mighty Gameloft, which has over 60 games and 55 million downloads is now showing off its Nova shooter.

- A representative from the New York Times is demoing the paper’s web site on the iPad. It apparently looks great… and with any luck, this will save journalism as we know it.

- Because a picture’s worth a thousand words:
streetviewmap

- Ok, the reading experience looks good and users can change the number of columns, resize text easily and view embedded videos.

- A Brushes app allows users to edit images, all the while tapping to bring up palettes, brushes and tools. Pinching allows the users to zoom in up to 32x and the app will be available at product launch.

- Electronic Arts is up and showing off Need for Speed for the iPad. The company has apparently built a cool version in just a few days.

- Hmm, the iPad is being reported as speedy. Not a bad thing.

- Chad Evans from Major League Baseball is showing off the At Bat app. With this, users can navigate league scoreboards, check player profiles and receive live data from the MLB.com web site.

- Hang on, they’re bringing out an Apple app: an e-book reader.

- Right, it’s called iBook, the interface contains a bookshelf of books and a new iBook Store will be available through iTunes and allow you to purchase titles from publishers including Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon and Shuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group.

- Prices for the books vary between US$7.99 and US$14.99, you tap to read, tap anywhere to flip the pages forward or backward, drag a page to slowly turn said page and tap to access the Table of Contents.

- Book fonts can be changed on the fly. All right, that’s cool.

- Books will be published via the EPUB format, which is open and compatible to what’s out there.

- Phil Schiller has now emerged to describe the new version of iWork.

- A completely new version of Keynote has been designed for the iPad. The application runs in the iPad’s horizontal mode and users can tap buttons to create presentations, open templates, etc.

- Users can tap and hold an icon to slide it around the screen. Photos can be resized via pinching and other effects are applied with finger-based gestures.

- For animations in Keynote, tap the animation mode and slide your finger around to access animation techniques.

- The new version of Pages allows you to open a document via tapping. Then, tap anywhere to open a keyboard. A new Page Navigator tool allows you to hold a finger on the right of a document to bring up a loupe icon that allows you to skim through the pages. Menus and sub-menus can be accessed via tapping.

- Over in the Numbers app, a new tab interface allows a single document to hold an assortment of spreadsheets. Columns can be rearranged by tapping and dragging and data automatically updates itself.

- Ok, this is interesting. Apple is going to charge US$9.99 for each of the new iWork applications. Users can purchase them from the App Store with little hassle.

- The iPad: It connects to projectors!!!

- Steve Jobs has just returned to the stage and the iPad syns with your Mac or PC via iTunes. Users can sync photos, music, movies, TV shows, contacts, calendars, booksmarks and applications. Backups are synced back and the app creates files to restore from.

- Each iPad features Wi-Fi but additional models will have 3G access built in as well. iPad owners will be ablt to access AT&T plans, the first offering 250 megabytes of data for US$14.99 per month. An unlimited data plan will be available for US$29.99 per month. Users will be able to access AT&T’s hotspots for free around the U.S.

- Users can go to the store, activate the plan on the iPad and there’s no contract. Users will be able to to pre-pay in advance.

- Apple hopes to have international plans in place by Jule or July and all iPad 3G models are unlocked and use new GSM micro Sim units.

- You’re going to like this: The iPad starts at US$499.

- US$499 gets you the base model with 16GB onboard, US$599 gets you the 32GB model and US$699 gets you the 64GB model. The 3G models retail for US$130 extra to include the radio units and are available at US$629, US$729 and US$829.

- The iPad will be available worldwide in 60 days and the 3G units will be available in 90 days.

- There’s a docking device that includes a keyboard. Slide your iPad into it, the dock will charge it and you can type as much as you want. The third accessory seems to be a case which doubles as a typing stand.

- Ok, that seems to be about it and there’s something cool on the horizon. As always, let us know what you think in the comments.