Apple Quietly Drops Certain iPod Model Prices Ahead of Media Event

Posted by:
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

Posted by:
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…

China Unicom Announces Three Year iPhone Deal

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 28th, 2009, 03:18
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier China Unicom has announced that the company has signed a three year deal with Apple to launch the popular iPhone into the world’s largest mobile phone market. The phones are expected to go on sale in China later this year.

According to BBC News, China has more than 600 million mobile phone accounts and a deal to introduce the iPhone has been long-awaited. Apple said the two partners had agreed a “multi-year deal” and expected the launch to be in the fourth quarter of 2009, but gave no financial details.

“We believe China Unicom’s high-speed mobile broadband network, coupled with [the iPhone] will create new communication and different experiences for customers in China,” said Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobin.

Apple Strips Palm OS HotSync Conduit from Upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Release

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 02:17
Category: News, Software

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Apple has discontinued support for legacy Palm OS devices in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s iSync 3.1.0 according to AppleInsider. Per sources familiar with the latest Gold Master build, users of Palm OS devices will need to obtain third party support for syncing their Palm Desktop information with Mac OS X’s Sync Services.

Palm continues to provide a very old version of Palm Desktop 4.2.1D for Mac users, enabling syncing with legacy Palm Centro, Treo, Zire, Tungsten, LifeDrive, and Pilot models via its Mac OS X Universal Binary desktop software. That software is based upon what was originally Apple’s Claris Organizer, which Steve Jobs sold to Palm over a decade ago as Apple divested itself of its already long in the tooth Claris apps.

In addition with launching its Macs as the “digital hub” and selling the iPod, Apple developed iSync for Mac OS X, a set of software which enabled devices from any manufacturer to sync their data with a common store shared by desktop apps including iCal and Address Book. It eventually allowed users to also sync that information with Apple’s .Mac service, now called MobileMe.

Palm apparently never bothered to update its Palm Desktop for Mac software to make it compatible with Apple’s iSync. Instead, Apple, in an effort to keep Macs compatible with Palm’s device, created its own Palm Conduit software that linked Palm Desktop’s HotSync system into iSync. This software was then incorporated as part of iSync 2.0, released as part of Mac OS X Tiger nearly half a decade ago.

With Palm all but abandoning its “classic” devices developed prior to the release of the new Palm Pre, which does not use the same legacy Palm OS nor its HotSync or Palm Desktop software, the value of maintaining HotSync support in Mac OS X has dropped dramatically, leaving Apple to cut the support from the version that ships with Mac OS X Snow Leopard entirely.

It does not appear that the discontinuation of legacy Palm OS support in iSync is related to efforts by Palm to trick iTunes into syncing data with the new Palm Pre as if it were an iPod.

Third party software, including the Missing Sync from Mark/Space, enables Mac users to sync calendars, contacts, bookmarks, music, documents and other information between older Palm OS devices as well as other hardware including the new Palm Pre, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones and the Sony PlayStation Portable.

Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” Specs Posted, PowerPC Support Goes by the Wayside

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 25th, 2009, 08:35
Category: News

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With Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” operating system en route for Friday, the company has posted full links to the required specs here:

If you’re hanging on to a Mac from before 2006, you may not like it, as the specs require the following:

-An Apple computer with an Intel Processor
-1GB of Memory (RAM)
-5GB of hard drive space (Storage)
-DVD drive for installation

While the DVD drive is mentioned, it is not actually required to install Leopard though will make things easier. You can use another computer’s drive or a disk image to install Snow Leopard. While previous versions of OS X have required you to boot from the installation media, Snow Leopard copies the installer files from the media to the hard drive and then installs from there.

According to MacFixIt, Snow Leopard will not run on any PowerPC system, even PowerPC G5 systems that are 64-bit capable. If you have a PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerMac G4, Mac Mini (G4), iMac G4, iMac G5, or PowerMac G5, do not buy Snow Leopard since you will not be able to install it. Apple has split away from PowerPC, and while there are technical reasons for why the 64-bit architecture in the PowerPC will not work with the latest OS, the fact that Apple has switched architectures is the primary reason for the drop in support.

You can check to see what kind of processor you have by opening “System Profiler” in your “Utilities” folder and highlighting the “Hardware” section. The processor should be identified in there. Alternatively you can enter the command “machine” in the terminal to see what kind of processor you have. If the output contains “PPC” in the name, then you have a PowerPC processor:

You may now run into the streets flailing your arms, screaming and inquiring after the nearest store which sells torches and pitchforks with which to wave angrily at Apple…