Apple TV Price Reduced by $100 for 160GB Model, 40GB Model Discontinued

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Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 06:58
Category: Apple TV, News

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If you recently purchased a 40GB Apple TV unit, now may be the time to start kicking yourself. According to Macworld UK, the 160GB model’s price has been reduced by US$100 to US$229 while the company has discontinued the 40GB model, as seen in the Apple Store.

Some, including analysts, had anticipated a new version of the Apple TV at last Wednesday’s San Francisco event which saw a iPod refresh and new look in iTunes.

iTunes 9 adds a range of features, including Home Sharing and iTunes LP that would benefit the Apple TV.

AT&T Staggering iPhone MMS Feature Release, Some Users Report Early Activation

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Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 04:20
Category: iPhone, News

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A number of iPhone users have reported that the long awaited MMS feature seems to have been enabled on their devices well in advance of AT&T’s declared September 25th start date according to howardforums.com.

The MMS support feature will allow iPhone OS 3.0 users to send pictures, video and audio recordings, contacts, or locations from Maps via 3G-capable iPhones.

In announcing its plans to enable the feature for iPhone users, AT&T explained, “It was important to give our customers a positive experience from day one. We support more iPhone customers than any other carrier in the world so we took the time necessary to make sure our network is ready to handle what we expect will be a record volume of MMS traffic. We truly appreciate our customers’ patience and hope they’ll understand our desire to get it right from the start.”

Rather than turning on MMS service for millions of American iPhone users all at once, AT&T has been selectively activating users across the country. Once activated, iPhone 3G and 3GS users should see a new “Cellular Data Network” menu item within the General/Network page of the Settings app and a new camera icon within the Messages app for sending photos.

It’s possible to install a modified carrier bundle for AT&T to activate MMS software features, but this does not necessarily result in functioning MMS. Without AT&T removing your opt out, MMS messages will queue up with a red exclamation icon as they fail to actually send.

Many users are reporting that there is no correlation between working MMS and either their installed software version, their carrier bundle version, their service or texting plan, or their geographic location. AT&T appears to turning on MMS for users at random to achieve a staggered release up to the September 25th deadline.

Apple Introduced New iPod Touch, Classic, Video-Capable Nano Models at Media Event

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Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 11:42
Category: iPod, News

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Following weeks of anticipation, Apple released all new models of its iPod media player series at its “Rock and Rock” event in San Francisco on Wednesday. The new models include a 160GB iPod classic (which features an additional 40GB than the previous model) and retains the moving hard drive as opposed to a Flash-based drive.

Apple’s revised iPod shuffle, which is physically unchanged from the previous model, now arrives in black, silver, pink, green and blue and arrives in 2GB and 4GB capacities for US$59 and US$79, respectively. A new “special edition” 4GB model retails for US$99.

According to Macworld, Apple has responded to critics of the previous iPod shuffle design which moved the shuffle control on to the cord, Apple says that it’s working with third-party headphone makers to integrate the controls into their designs as well, and that adapters are also available with more on the way.

As expected, Apple also made changes to its best-selling iPod touch on Wednesday, reducing the price of its 8GB model from US$229 to US$199 while adding a 64GB model for US$399 while its 32GB model now sells for US$299.

The company also announced that the new high-end 32GB and 64GB models are now 50% faster and feature support for Open GL|ES version 2.0, the cross-platform graphics API.

The big news, however, arrived in the form of a new iPod nano with a built-in video camera. The unit arrives in 8GB and 16GB models, each model incorporating a video camera and microphone on the back of the device as well as a built-in speaker. The camera itself shoots H.264 VGA video at up to a 640 x 480 pixel resolution at up to 30 frames per second with AAC audio in either portrait or landscape modes.

The nano features 15 special effects that can be applied in real time: Sepia, Black and White, X-Ray, Film Grain, Thermal, Security Cam, Cyborg, Bulge, Kaleido, Motion Blur, Mirror, Light Tunnel, Dent, Stretch, and Twirl and can display video or sync it back to your computer. From here, users can easily upload the clip to YouTube, Facebook, MobileMe, or share it via e-mail. The microphone can also be used with the nano’s voice recording feature.

The nano now offers full VoiceOver support, which provides audible navigation cues in 20 languages, and the new Genius Mixes feature, which creates up to 12 endless playlists of music based on your existing library. A new built-in pedometer which can measure your steps and sync the information with the Nike+ service and, in a first for an iPod, an FM radio tuner. The radio tuner now supports live pause, which allows users to pause a live program and resume it later, and iTunes Tagging, which lets listeners tag radio songs they like and then preview and optionally purchase the song next time they sync with iTunes.

The revised nano now features a larger 2.2″, 240 x 376-pixel, display and comes in nine colors: silver, black, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, (PRODUCT) RED and pink. The 8GB model retails for US$149 and the 16GB for US$179.

Both new models are shipping today and require Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later as well as iTunes 9 or later to install and run.

Apple Quietly Drops Certain iPod Model Prices Ahead of Media Event

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Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 03:38
Category: iPod, News

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With things gearing up for Apple’s iPod-focused media event, Apple appears to have begun quietly cutting the prices of certain existing iPods ahead of the event. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the following changes have just taken place:

-The iPod nano is now US$129 for 8GB and US$149 for 16GB.
-The iPod classic is now US$229.
-The iPod touch is now US$189 for 8GB, US$249 for 16GB and US$279 for 32GB.
-There is no change to the price of the iPod shuffle.

Stay tuned for additional news from the media event throughout the day.

TomTom iPhone Kit Delayed Until October

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Date: Friday, September 4th, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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Right, you won’t like this, but you should know about it.

According to AppleInsider, TomTom spokesman Kevin Carter confirmed that the company’s iPhone hardware kit will not be available for its previously announced summer release deadline, though no specific reason was given. The accessory is a cradle that will interface with the iPhone and provide enhanced GPS capabilities.

“I can confirm that we have decided to take some extra weeks in order to deliver the highest quality on this innovative product,” Carter said. “So, the car kit will become available for purchase this October on www.tomtom.com.”

While the hardware is not necessary to use the software that is currently available in the iPhone App Store, it will amplify the GPS signal for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. In addition, the original iPhone and the iPod touch, both of which do not have a GPS receiver, will be able to use the hardware kit, as mentioned on the product’s FAQ page.

The TomTom kit will act as a basic suction cup mount for the dashboard or windshield, and will also support hands-free calling and music through the stereo system, as well as charge capabilities through the vehicle’s 12-volt port.

The kit’s price will vary depending on location and final system requirements have yet to be released.

AT&T to (Finally) Bring MMS to iPhone on September 25th

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Date: Friday, September 4th, 2009, 04:08
Category: News

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On Thursday, wireless carrier AT&T finally disclosed a firm date as to when the company would add MMS support for the iPhones on its network. According to Electronista, the carrier will activate the feature on September 25th through a software upgrade for iPhone 3G and 3GS owners. Adding the feature will let those running iPhone 3.0 or later firmware send photos, videos and general data like contact cards to any MMS-aware phone. Original iPhones won’t be eligible for the upgrade, though it’s never been fully explained as to why this is the case.

The company acknowledged that the release will be just past the official “end of summer” target announced after the iPhone 3GS unveiling at WWDC and elaborated on its reasons behind the months long delay. Officials claim the company had to prepare its network to handle the likely “record” load of data traffic.

In other news, AT&T declined to commit to a specific release window for a much-anticipated data tethering feature. Represenatives said the addition could “exponentially increase” the network load and that it only plans to offer tethering sometime “in the future.” As with MMS, the company wants to make sure its upgrades are complete before it sends a carrier update that enables tethering.

AT&T normally charges extra for tethering but hasn’t said what its pricing, if any, will be.

MyService Now Offering 750GB MacBook Pro Hard Drive Upgrade

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Date: Thursday, September 3rd, 2009, 04:38
Category: News

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Apple service provider MyService has launched a program in which the company will install a 750 gigabyte hard drive in your MacBook Pro notebook. According to MacNN, the US$375 price tag includes round-trip shipping, installation of the drive, and full data transfer. In particular the new drive is a 5400rpm Scorpio Blue model from Western Digital. Its height slightly exceeds the standard 9.5mm for 2.5-inch drives, but still fits in the computers accepted by MyService.

A compatibility list includes all of the unibody MacBook Pros as well as the 13″ basic unibody MacBook, and the 17″ MacBook Pro with a silver keyboard. The company is also promising a 24-hour in-shop turnaround, and the option of installing Snow Leopard for US$30.

The service includes shipping, data migration and the return of the old drive. Other drive capacities are available at varying prices. As MyService is an authorized service provider, upgrades should not void Apple’s warranty.

Apple Releases Firmware Updates for Mac Mini, Assorted iMac Models

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Date: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, 04:40
Category: iMac, Mac mini, News, Software

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Late Monday, Apple released two firmware updates, one for certain models of its popular iMac desktop and the other for Mac Mini computers that address problems with noises from optical disk drives during startup and compatibility with memory upgrades.

Per MacFixIt, the Apple Mac Mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2 patch “improves compatibility with the latest Apple memory kits on Mac mini computers.” Oddly though, there is no specific memory upgrade for the Mac Mini on Apple’s memory selector over at http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/mac_accessories/memory.

The Apple SuperDrive 3.0 firmware update will eliminate noise made by optical drives during system startup and when systems wake from sleep. This update will only work with the following firmware updates and Mac system models:

- iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.4
- Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2
- iMac (20-inch, Mid 2009), iMac (24-inch, Early 2009), Mac mini (Early 2009)

As with any firmware update, you should only install it if you are experiencing the problems they address. If you do install it, be sure to not interrupt the installer. If the system lags do not press the power button to shut down, since an interrupted firmware update can irreparably damage your system.

The updates are available through Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

iPod Inventories Running Low as September 9th Event Approaches

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 04:15
Category: News

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With Apple’s anticipated media event approaching in nine days, it’s not surprising that Apple’s supply of current model iPods happens to be dwindling with likely product upgrades on the horizon.

According to Ars Technica, a number of Apple Authorized Resellers have stated that the current stock of iPod models is no longer being shipped, and all of the current SKUs are being discontinued. The news is expected, as Apple refreshes its iPod lineup every September.

“According to insiders speaking to Ars, stock of current iPod models is running dry and new ones aren’t coming in anytime soon,” the report states. “This all but confirms that an iPod refresh is on the way, but we already knew that.”

Per the September 9th event, Apple is expected to announce new versions of the iPod nano and iPod touch, both equipped with cameras. Though those models have likely been confirmed with numerous photos of third party cases, less clear is a more recent rumor on the iPod classic also receiving a possible camera upgrade.

Weeks of rumors have also suggested Apple could announce iTunes 9, which could have support for Blu-ray and social media.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 Build 3846 Released

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 03:17
Category: News

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Virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop for Mac build 3846 on Monday. The new version, which can be downloaded from here (courtesy of VersionTracker), contains the following fixes and changes:

Improvements:
* Improved 3D graphics in Windows virtual machines.
* Problems with Palm synchronization in Windows virtual machines — fixed.
* Random disconnection of USB 1.1 devices in Linux virtual machines — fixed.
* Invisibility of the text mouse pointer on black background in Windows virtual machines — fixed.
* Problems with SMB shares in native Windows Boot Camp installations that have Parallels Tools installed — fixed.
* Problems with Shared Networking on Snow Leopard host computers — fixed.

Improvements:
* General performance improvements.
* Improved USB support (performance, USB1.1 compatibility fixes).
* Better performance of Suspend/Resume operations.
* Improved hard disk performance for virtual machines converted from Parallels Desktop 2.5 and 3.0.
* Memory leak in Parallels Desktop GUI that might happen after 1-2 days of work — fixed.
* Accidental crash in Redhat Linux 5.2 Server x86_64 during installation — fixed.
* Problems with connecting Palm handheld devices via USB — fixed.
* Improved sound playback via USB devices.
* Empty keyboard remapping in the clean PD4 installation — fixed.
* Networking issues when the Mac network location changes — fixed.
* Timezone and daylight saving time were not synchronized in the virtual machine with time synchronization enabled — fixed.

Click the jump for the rest of the story…