iMac 2TB hard drive build-to-order delay reduced to 2-4 weeks

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Date: Friday, December 9th, 2011, 06:00
Category: iMac, News

Hang on a bit longer and you’ll get the 2-terabyte internal hard drive you want.

Per AppleInsider, custom-built iMac desktops with 2-terabyte hard drives now have a shipping estimate of 2 to 4 weeks, suggesting Apple has seen its stock of high-capacity hard drives improve.

The story broke a week ago that Apple’s build-to-order iMacs with 2TB hard drives had an estimated shipping time of 5 to 7 weeks. Though Apple didn’t comment on the situation, the lengthy and uncharacteristic delay was potentially the first sign of the company being hit by a lingering global hard drive shortage.

But just a week later, shipping times for 2TB iMacs have already improved to between 2 and 4 weeks, indicating that any hard drive shortage seen by Apple may be short lived.

While shipping times have improved, there is still quite a bit of a delay with an estimated 2 to 4 week shipping time. For example, a custom-built iMac with a 256GB solid-state drive has a shipping estimate of just 2 to 4 business days.

Apple’s shipping time for desktops with higher-capacity hard drives may be a result of flooding in Thailand, which has caused disruption in the hard drive supply chain, including Western Digital and Seagate. About 14,000 factories have been shut down and more than 600,000 people were put out of work by the devastating floods.

Western Digital announced last week that it had resumed hard drive production in Thailand. But industry watchers expect the industry-wide hard drive shortage to linger well into 2012.

Just this week, IHS predicted that the flooding in Thailand would cause a shortfall of nearly 4 million total PC units in the first quarter of calendar 2012. The research firm also reduced its projected total PC sales in 2012 from 399 million to 376 million, partly due to the hard drive shortage, as well as weakening demand.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Aperture 3.2.2 update

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Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 14:37
Category: News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released version 3.2.2 of Aperture, its pro-grade image editing application. The new version, a 635 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
– Addresses compatibility with iCloud and iOS 5.

– Resolves an issue that could cause the “Loading” indicator to reappear in the Viewer when cropping a photo.

– Aperture now automatically relaunches into Full Screen mode if the application was in.

– Full Screen mode when last quit.

– Pinch-to-zoom gesture now automatically activates Zoom mode in the Viewer.

– Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in the Viewer.

– Microsoft Outlook can now be chosen in Preferences as the application used by Aperture for emailing photos.

– Fixes a problem that could cause Aperture, running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to quit unexpectedly when using brushes to apply adjustments.

– Loupe now correctly displays magnification levels between 50-100%.

– Fixes an issue that could cause Aperture, running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to display the incorrect color profile on externally edited images.

– Import window now includes an option to delete photos from iPhone and iPad after they have been imported into Aperture.

– The Lift & Stamp tool now displays the correct cursor icons when being used in Split View and Viewer only modes.

Aperture retails for US$199 and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run. If you have Aperture 3.0 installed, the most recent version can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’re tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know via the comments.

Catcher unibody plant remains closed, odors being examined

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Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 08:50
Category: MacBook Pro, News


If they could just get the odors under control, things would be set.

Following up on our previous coverage of assorted odors closing down the Catcher unibody plant, Chinese authorities continue to inspect a factory that produces aluminum casings for Apple’s MacBook laptops, following residents’ complaints of unbearable odors coming from the facility.

Per Macworld, Apple’s MacBook inventories, however, appear so far to be unaffected by the factory’s temporary shutdown, according to one analyst.

In mid-October, Taiwan-based Catcher Technology announced that it had stopped production at its factory in Suzhou, China. Authorities have since been inspecting the factory to ensure its manufacturing processes will not emit any strong odors that will affect nearby residents.

Catcher could not be reached for comment. The company said in a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing on Wednesday that authorities are still inspecting the factory. In an earlier filing, the company said that its October sales revenue would be down by 20 percent, and November sales by 40 percent, if the factory could not be restarted in time.

Local Chinese authorities have been working to improve and test the factory’s waste-gas treatment systems, according to Yee Fang, a spokeswoman with the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee. The authorities have nothing new to report at this time, she added.

Helen Chiang, an analyst with research firm IDC, said Apple appears to have mitigated the effect of the factory’s outage as it shifted production to its other supplier. “It’s been controllable at this point,” she said. Apple’s MacBook demand for the fourth quarter is also forecast to be less than the third quarter, Chiang added.

Apple declined to comment.

Stay tuned for additional smell-o-riffic details as they become available.

Delicious Library updated to 2.7.5

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Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 05:51
Category: News, Software


On Wednesday, software company Delicious Monster released version 2.7.5 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The update, a 16.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Easily see which shelves contain your items!

– Use the new “Shelves” column in list view.

– Control-click an item for the new “Show on Shelf” menu.

– Include the set of shelves containing each item when exporting.

– Recognize a larger variety of iTunes audiobook formats.

– Those with old iTunes libraries should, in iTunes, choose File > Library> Organize Library…, selecting to “Reorganize files”.

– Improved display of Nintendo 3DS game boxes.

– French translation improvements, thanks to Fabrice Deville.

– Export directly to Numbers.

– Excel exporter now uses CSV format instead of the ancient SYLK format, providing better support for long values and values in more languages.

– Cover drawing fixes on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion (fixed blurry covers, incorrectdrawing after changing dimensions, and more).

– Many fixes to the importer.

– Accept USB scanners that send EAN-5 along with the EAN-13 barcode.

– We’re aware that some customers have issues using their USB barcode scannerswith Delicious Library. We’d like to address this as soon as possible. Ifyou have a USB scanner (working or not), please email support@delicious-monster.comwith the make and model, and whether or not scans are recognized.

– Work around Amazon returning strange item dimensions (manifesting as coversbeing tiny)

– Better handling of large cover images.

– Strip ColorSync profiles from images when publishing for smaller file sizes.

– Fixed a cause of large memory usage when publishing.

– Add a work-around for an Apple bug in 10.7 that produces invalid HTML when publishing
Enable “Refresh Details from Internet” for items with an EAN or ISBN, butwithout an ASIN.

– Fixed a crash when selecting “Enable Bluetooth Scanning” and Bluetooth isdisabled (Apple’s bug).

Delicious Library 2.7.5 retails for US$40 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Cocktail 5.1.0 (Lion Edition) released

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Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 13:37
Category: News, Software


On Wednesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 5.1.0 of Cocktail (Lion Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 2.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

– Added “Disable local snapshots” setting (System – Time Machine).

– Added “Disable spelling correction” setting (Interface – General).

– Added “Disable Character Picker” setting (Interface – General).

– Added “Disable the New Window animation” setting (Interface – General).

– Added “Enable mouse over on stacks” setting (Interface – Dock).

– Added “Disable Reply animation” setting (Interface – Mail).

– Added “Disable Send animation” setting (Interface – Mail).

– Added “Disable leather skin in Address Book” setting (Interface – Misc).

– Added “Disable leather skin in iCal” setting (Interface – Misc).

– Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may freeze when trying to gather disk information.

– Addresses an issue in which the journaling state of the case-sensitive HFS+ disks could not be detected.

– Addresses an issue in which improper permissions were applied to the File Sharing logs during the rotation of these logs.

– Other minor improvements and bug fixes.

– Updated Help files.

Cocktail 5.1.0 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.

U.S. Cellular to hold off on iPhone until 4G LTE functionality arrives

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Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 09:35
Category: iPhone, News

Sprint may have jumped at the chance to carry the iPhone, but other carriers may have a few requirements. Per Fierce Wireless, carrier U.S. Cellular is not interested in the iPhone, at least not until it has LTE.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Ted Carlson, CEO of U.S. Cellular’s parent company TDS, said, “The iPhone for us would need to be at the cutting edge of where we’re going, and then there might be an opportunity to consider it.”

Like other wireless carriers, regional carrier U.S. Cellular is updating its 3G network to 4G LTE. Because its network is small, the carrier will blanket 25 percent of its subscribers in 4G by the end of this year and another 25 percent by the end of 2012. It hopes to cover all its subscribers across 26 states within three years.

U.S. Cellular will sell its first 4G handset and tablet in early 2012 and may pick up the iPhone if it shipped with LTE.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Developers investigate H1Siri hack, recommend avoiding it for time being

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Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 06:10
Category: iOS, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

You’d love every device in your home — toaster included — to run Siri.

That might not be the best idea.

Per Macworld UK, Jailbreakers and hackers will want to stay away from the H1siri hack that promises to bring Siri voice command functionality to the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod Touch. Several users and other developers have discovered that the hack actually contains illegal code, could break your device in several ways, and sends your personal information through questionable servers.

The new H1siri hack by a group of Chinese called CD-Dev Team popped up on Cydia yesterday. Since then, users have reported that they have only gotten it work in short bursts due to unresponsive servers, and that in some cases it even breaks their iPhones.

iDownloadBlog originally reported on H1siri with extreme skepticism because it could only be loaded into Cydia as a custom repo package, a package type that notoriously contains cracks and illegal software. Grant Paul, a prominent developer of the JailbreakMe team, confirmed this and discovered that the code contains copyrighted binaries from the iPhone 4s.

Paul also noted that by using this unofficial version of Siri, you would be sending emails, texts, calendar information, and contacts through a proxy server. Siri normally has to access a server in order to do heavy-duty voice command processing, but it’s done through Apple certified and secured servers. These servers, on the other hand, could be unsecured and recording any information you accessed using voice commands.

If you were pondering using the H1siri hack of your devices, this might not be the best idea in the world. The hack no longer works as CD-Dev Team has confirmed that the server is down and could be for weeks. There are other more reputable Siri porting hacks on the way including the one being put together by Grant Paul and Ireland-based hacker Steve Troughton-Smith. Unlike CD-Dev Team, Paul and Smith’s solution will use a third party server to only modify data sent from a unapproved Siri device to Apple’s servers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve found a Siri hack you love that brings the vaunted functionality to a wider base of devices, please let us know.

Apple releases iBooks 1.5 update, adds night reading theme, other features

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Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 06:56
Category: iOS, News, Software

Apple on Wednesday issued an update to its iBooks iOS app, adding a night-time reading theme, full-screen layout, new fonts and an improved annotation palette.

iBooks 1.5 for iPhone and iPad arrived in the App Store early Wednesday. The free 20.7MB download requires iOS 4.2 or later.

The update adds the following fixes and changes:
– Nighttime reading theme makes reading books in the dark easier on the eyes.

– Full-screen layout lets you focus on the words without distraction.

– iBooks now features an improved selection of fonts, including Athelas, Charter, Iowa, and Seravek.

– Beautiful new classic covers for public domain books.

– A redesigned annotation palette makes it easier to choose a color for your highlighted text.

iBooks 1.5 requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later to install and run.

If you’ve played with the new version and have any feedback, let us know.

Intel Ivy Bridge details leaked, interesting new specs and support on horizon

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Date: Tuesday, December 6th, 2011, 05:05
Category: News, Processors, Rumor


If you like Intel’s current Sandy Bridge architecture, then the leaked details of the company’s Ivy Bridge architecture should give you a warm, snuggly feeling inside.

Per X-Bit Labs and Macworld UK, according to information reported by X-bit Labs, a lineup of Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge processors will be available in Q2 2012. The processors will all be quad core, except one economy Core i5 processor. The rest of the Core i5s reportedly have a 6MB cache and speeds ranging from 2.7GHz to 3.4GHz. The Core i7 lineup has 8MB cache, and clock speeds from 2.5GHz to 3.5GHz.

The Ivy Bridge processors will support PCIe 3.0 x16, and come with native support for Thunderbolt and USB 3.0. It will be up to hardware manufacturers to determine which of those slot and port technologies individual systems will include, though.

The most notable difference between the “Ivy Bridge” and “Sandy Bridge” processors is that Intel is building the next generation CPUs using 22nm architecture–a nearly 30 percent drop in size from the existing 32nm chips. Good things come in small packages, though, so there are some benefits that come with the smaller processors.

First, Ivy Bridge CPUs will consume less power. That translates to lower energy costs, and lower heat output, which snowballs the lower energy costs because less power is then required to cool the system as well.

Second, the smaller central processor makes more room for the integrated graphics chip, allowing Intel to boost the graphics processing capabilities. The Ivy Bridge graphics capabilities are estimated to be up to 60 percent faster, and will support Microsoft DirectX 11.

The bad news is that Ivy Bridge is an incremental bump from the Sandy Bridge processors available today and might not offer a blazing improvement over the current Sandy Bridge architecture.

The good news is that the Ivy Bridge processors will work with existing Sandy Bridge motherboards. So, if you do get a new system now with a Sandy Bridge CPU, you will have an upgrade path available, and won’t be painting yourself into a corner.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Cox TV Connect streaming app goes live in App Store

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Date: Monday, December 5th, 2011, 11:13
Category: iPad, News, Software

You’re fond of your cable service and you’re fond of your iPad, so maybe it’s time for the two of them to finally tie the knot.

Per Electronista, Cox on Monday rolled out its Live TV streaming app in the form of its free Cox TV Connect for the iPad. As with those from most other cable providers, it lets those with the Apple tablet watch live TV as long as they’re on Wi-Fi paired up with a Cox Internet connection and the right level of TV service. The app has a full programming guide and lets viewers watch through an inset while they check the full guide, or else launches a pop-over to show other currently running shows while minimizing the effect on the full-screen view.

The access isn’t a full range of channels but includes 35 more frequently watched channels, such as AMC, Bravo, History, and Spike.

Anyone who uses the app can get away with watching through at least a Cox TV Essential bundle, but they also need a Preferred, Premier, or Ultimate Internet connection. The app itself requires any iPad that can run at least iOS 4.3. No mention has been made of Android or iPhone ports.

As with most such services, the in-home requirement is likely to appease TV producers that see tablet TV as a second use, even if it’s the same feed. Viacom has tried suing providers like Cablevision, even for service within the home.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve tried the app on your end, please let us know how it went in the comments.