Psystar Files for Bankruptcy

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Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 17:48
Category: News

According to AppleInsider, the Mac clone maker Psystar filed Chapter 11 in Florida last week, which will likely delay its court battle with Apple. Psystar entered the news-stream when it began selling Intel-based computers with Mac OS X pre-installed, which according to Apple is an infringement of the OS X End User Agreement (EUA) which forbids the installation of the software on non-Apple hardware. Not only that, but Psystar had to “hack” the Mac OS in order to get it to run on the hardware, which further complicated the copyright infringement claims. Apple responded by taking Psystar to court last July.
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Normally, that would be the end of the story. The twist was that Psystar counter-sued Apple claiming that the computer maker was violating anti-trust laws. This move generated a lot of attention due mainly to the fact that if Psystar somehow won the case, it would drastically affect the way computer OSes, particularly OS X, would be sold and distributed.
Another factor in the story was the fact that Psystar, a relatively small company, was able to sustain a long and costly legal battle, generating speculation that an outside benefactor was funding Psystar’s legal actions. Psystar has also drawn out the proceedings by failing to provide Apple with paperwork and a contact within the company to work through legal details.
It would seem with Psystar’s bankruptcy filing that its resources have finally begun to dry up, but they have not given up yet. In the court documents filed only a week ago, Psystar maintained that it “[...] plans on emerging from this Chapter 11 with a strong and effective plan to make an increasingly higher profit and still provide the consumer with the product that they have grown to enjoy and trust.”
Good luck with that.
Personally, even though I am in favor of Open Source development, and even have an interest in the “Hackintosh” community, I’m really not in favor of Psystar’s end run around Apple’s licensing. I also fear that were they to continue to sell their OS X based products, people attempting to save money (something I also support), might find themselves with an unsupported system that is more PC-like than the reliable Mac experience, and support, of which most of us are accustomed.

32GB Capacity iPhone Listed in AT&T Upgrade Program

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Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 07:56
Category: iPhone, News

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You might want to file this under “premonitions”.
According to Phone Arena, an AT&T upgrade program for BlackBerries has listed a 32GB iPhone as a trade-in option. Simultaneously, Canadian cellular provider Rogers may be preparing for another summer iPhone release.
The potential discovery occurred on Friday when a BlackBerry Bold trade-up program run on behalf of AT&T, albeit via a third party, showed an “iPhone 32GB 3G” as one of the phones that can be exchanged for cash towards the Research in Motion smartphone. The RIM handset is listed as worth US$335, though it’s unlikely this is connected to any final pricing.
It’s currently unknown as to whether this is a genuine addition or a speculative move on behalf of the company running the ad. None of the other iPhones in the list are unreleased models. However, it does follow an accidental post of a similar sort by T-Mobile Austria, which briefly showed a 32GB iPhone in its “coming soon” section only to pull it shortly afterwards.
The 32GB iPhone listed as a trade-in choice for moving to an AT&T BlackBerry Bold.

Analyst Sees Strong Signs of Apple Moving Towards $500-$700 Tablet

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Date: Thursday, May 21st, 2009, 12:13
Category: News

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With Apple execs having openly slammed the idea of creating a conventional netbook, Piper Jaffray analysts stated today that mounting evidence exists that Apple will introduce its own take on the netbook in 2010 via a tablet device that will sell for US$700 or less.
“Between indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents relating to multi-touch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from [chief operating officer] Tim Cook on the April 22nd conference call, and Apple’s acquisition of P.A. Semi along with other recent chip-related hires, it is increasingly clear that Apple is investing more in its mobile computing franchise,” analyst Gene Munster and his team wrote in lengthy research note to clients.
According to AppleInsider, Munster has said these investments will likely culminate with the launch of a touch-screen tablet with a display somewhere between 7″ and 10″ at a special event sometime in the first half of 2010. Such a move, he added, would be consistent with management’s comments that Cupertino-based company has no interest in catering to the existing segment for “cheap” miniaturized notebooks and its spoken desire to differentiate in a market currently dominated by cramped computers with razor thin margins and a subpar user experience.
To date, Munster’s contacts in the component supply chain have yet to see a prototype of the device but say there’s ongoing discussions between the company and its suppliers about the parts that will eventually be required to build the product.
Munster has stated that he believes the device will end up retailing somewhere in the range of US$500 to US$700, bridging the gap between the US$399 iPod touch and the US$999 MacBook. He expects that it will be driven by a proprietary microprocessor designed in-house by engineers Apple adopted in the acquisition of P.A. Semi and others it’s known to have hired in recent months.
Click the jump for the full story…

VMWare Cautions Users with ATI Graphics Cards from Installing Mac OS X 10.5.7

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Date: Monday, May 18th, 2009, 07:16
Category: News

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VMWare, makers of the popular Fusion virtualization software, has officially warned users away from installing Mac OS X 10.5.7 if their Mac uses an ATI graphics card or chip.
According to VMWare’s blog, the update will break the 3D graphics acceleration feature supported by Fusion.
“You will likely see issues ranging from slow performance, to incorrect rendering, and even crashes, when you run your 3D applications in a Windows virtual machine on Mac OS X 10.5.7,” reads the blog.
“Both Apple and ATI are aware of this problem and are working to correct it in a future software update. In the meantime, if you have an ATI graphics card in your Mac and need VMware Fusion’s 3D features to work, we recommend that you do not upgrade to Mac OS X 10.5.7,” the entry concludes.

Phil Schiller to Deliver Keynote Speech for WWDC Conference

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Date: Wednesday, May 13th, 2009, 10:41
Category: News

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WWDC is relatively soon and, unfortunately, for those hoping for Steve Jobs to grace the stage in order to deliver the keynote, you’ll have to wait a bit longer.
Apple has stated that while its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco will start on Monday, June 8th with the keynote address being given at 10 AM PST, Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller will be manning the speech and offer developers an “in-depth” look at iPhone OS 3.0 as well as the company’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) upgrade.
From there, Schiller is expected to hand the keynote off to assorted speakers, as usual.
Attendees can also expect a “final Developer Preview release” of the forthcoming OS, though additional details are rare on the ground.

Amazon Acquires iPhone eBook Reader Stanza

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Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 22:16
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apparently the Kindle app for iPhone wasn’t enough for Amazon. Monday it was announced on Lexcycle, Inc.’s blog that the online retailer purchased the company which includes the popular iPhone eBook reader Stanza.

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According to the Lexcycle blog, there will be no changes to the Stanza application or it’s function as the result of the acquisition. They imply that they hope they will be able to offer more books and services through the Amazon connection. No mention of the company’s purchase on Amazon’s web site or PR releases.

Lexcycle is encouraging discussion of the move on their forums or by contacting them directly at info@lexcycle.com. You can discuss it on OUR forums and tell us whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing. Is this the first step in an Amazon eBook monopoly? Personally, I think Stanza is a great program so I hope Amazon leaves it alone and just makes good deals on books available to it.

Scientists Look Towards Ferroelectric Transistors for Instant-On Notebook Technologies

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Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 08:45
Category: battery, News

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Researchers have apparently developed a technology that could allow notebooks to wake up instantly from shut-down states without draining battery life, as is commonly seen today.
According to Macworld UK, researchers have built ferroelectric material (which is usually found on smartcards) onto silicon, which could allow certain transistors to retain information after power is shut off. Scientists from Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University and Northwestern University are involved in the project.
The new findings could save users time by instantly booting laptops to an active and ready state when shut down.
“It would be instant-on, meaning as soon as the power comes back on, your computer would be in exactly the same state it was when you turned it off and ready for action,” said Darrell Schlom, principal investigator and professor at the department of materials science and engineering at Pennsylvania State University.
Quick-boot capabilities are enabled in Notebooks and most mobile devices, though many are unable to recreate shutdown states. As a result, notebooks usually never reboot back to their shutdown state, unless they are in sleep mode, which drains battery power. In essence, ferroelectric materials could wake up laptops from sleep mode, but without drawing any battery power.
The research could pave the way for a new generation of lower-power, higher-speed memory devices, Schlom said. For notebook users, it could reduce the time to load an OS from storage devices like hard drives. The ferroelectric material could also retain data in case power is lost.
The research itself revolves around building ferroelectric transistors, which are capable of retaining data in any electric state, onto hybrid transistors.
The researchers took strontium titanate, a variant of the ferroelectric material used in smartcards, and deposited it on silicon, putting it in a state where it could retain information even when power is off. The new findings cut the intervening layers that made it difficult to put the material on silicon.
Typically when power is turned off, voltages disappear from transistors, which have to be recreated when power is turned on. To recreate them, the relevant information is loaded from nonvolatile storage mediums like hard drives, which takes time. The ferroelectric transistors retain magnetization when the electric field is turned off, allowing it to retain data.
The technology will load operating systems differently from existing memory technologies like DRAM and storage technologies like hard drives and solid-state drives, Schlom said. Ferroelectric transistors conceptually differ in the way data is loaded and retained, Schlom said.
Benefits of ferroelectric transistors were first realized in 1955 by scientists at Bell Labs, Schlom said. Though the recent findings are a major step ahead, additional research is needed to build an actual ferroelectric transistor to make instant-on computing a reality, Schlom said.
He couldn’t provide a timeline for when such transistors would be built.
The researchers also include scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Motorola and Intel. The research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the US government.

Apple Apologizes Over “Baby Shaker” Application

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Date: Friday, April 24th, 2009, 07:05
Category: iPhone, News

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Ok, this was embarrassing.
After software developer Sikalosoft’s “Baby Shaker” app was briefly approved for the App Store later this week, Apple pulled the application and offered the following apology:
“This application was deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store. When we learned of this mistake, the app was removed immediately. We sincerely apologize for this mistake and thank our customers for bringing this to our attention.”
According to Macworld UK, the application featured a drawing of a baby accompanied by audio of a baby crying with the goal was to shake the handset until the baby stopped crying. Some groups have called the application offensive, especially in relation to the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Defenders of the program, meanwhile, have said the application is clearly humorous in intent.
Though Sikalosoft has yet to officially comment on the situation, the company’s web site contains the following message:
“Okay, so maybe the Baby Shaker iPhone app was a bad idea. You should never shake a baby! Even on an Apple iPhone Baby Shaking application. No babies were harmed in the making of Baby Shaker.””
The site goes on to feature a description of the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

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Apple Releases Updated Mac OS X 10.5.7 Developer Beta, Build 9J56

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Date: Thursday, April 23rd, 2009, 14:48
Category: News, Software

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The Mac OS X 10.5.7 update, which appears to be close to release, went through yet another pre-release build late last week with developers working out additional tweaks for the operating system.
According to AppleInsider, build 9J56 focuses on “Bluetooth compatibility and stability fixes” per sources familiar with the software.
A number of recent Mac mini purchasers have complained about intermittent Bluetooth connection problems on their new systems, though similar problems are believed to be plaguing a variety of Macs.
Another fix in the latest build targets an issue with Personal File Sharing and AFP volumes not being properly recognized as Time Machine shares. However, the other three fixes were relatively minor, two of which add once-missing descriptive information to certain crash logs.
The Mac OS X 10.5.7 update is expected to offer more than 110 code corrections spanning over two dozen areas of the operating system. Earlier this month, Apple added Help Viewer to the list of key software components where beta testers should focus their testing efforts.
Though its believed that Mac OS X 10.5.7 remains close to release, Apple still notes that the software is incompatible with the public beta of Safari 4 — the OS update’s lone known issue.

Apple Begins Taking Bids on Mac Netbook Components

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Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 11:27
Category: News

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Long-time Apple manufacturing and component provider Foxconn is reportedly among a group of frontrunners expected to receive a contract to create a Mac netbook.
According to DigiTimes, sources lose to the story have cited that Foxconn “is in the running to land orders for a netbook from Apple.”
Outside of adding that Mac maker’s 13-inch MacBooks will become Foxconn’s major growth contributor during the second quarter, no further details were included in the report.
DigiTimes began a new wave of speculation earlier this year when it reported that Taiwan-based Wintek would start shipping touch panels to Apple sometime during the third quarter of the year for the launch of an unknown netbook product.
A pair of sources speaking to Dow Jones quickly backed the report, with one saying the panels were sized “between 9.7-inches and 10-inches” while the other said specifications for the project were still “under evaluation.”

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