Apple Releases iPhoto 8.1 Update

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Date: Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, 13:30
Category: News

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Apple on Tuesday iPhoto 8.1, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 160.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

* Hardcover books can now be ordered in a new extra-large (10″ x13″) size.
* Includes three new book themes with travel-oriented designs: Tropical, Asian, Old World.
* A variety of new holiday greeting cards themes are now available.

The update can be installed via the direct link or located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

iPhoto 8.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

China Unicom Spokesman Denies Five Million Unit Advance iPhone Purchase

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Date: Monday, August 17th, 2009, 04:16
Category: iPhone, News

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Albeit all signs are currently pointing towards China Unicom acting as the exclusive iPhone carrier in China before two long, Unicom’s upfront buy of five million iPhone units seems to be in question. According to Cellular News, China Unicom’s spokesman Yi Difei declared about the 5 million order rumors that they are “not true”.

However, the spokesman did say that “talks between us and Apple have been going on for some time”, albeit without reaching an agreement yet.

Tiffany Yang, an Apple spokeswoman in Beijing, also said that there are no clear details about iPhone’s official launch in China.

Current guesses point towards a launch in September, though final details have yet to surface for that country’s launch.

China Unicom Reported to Have Purchased Five Million iPhone Handsets

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Date: Thursday, August 13th, 2009, 10:00
Category: News

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Apple appears to have more-or-less officially gone with China Unicom as its exclusive iPhone wireless carrier and according to an article in International Business Times, the carrier has purchased five million WCDMA iPhones without Wi-Fi from Apple at a price of 10 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion).

China Unicom is slated to begin selling the 3G phones in September at company stalls in Carrefour stores, as well as at several large China Unicom retail outlets. The phones are expected to sell for 2,400 yuan (US$352 as of this writing) for an 8GB model and 4,800 yuan (US$704) for a 16GB iPhone. It’s estimated that Apple’s profit from each sale is about 1,100 yuan (US$161).

The carrier currently faces stiff competition from black market iPhones, which are selling for as low as 400 yuan (US$59) and the article notes that Apple made large concessions to China Unicom in order to enter the massive Chinese market. To give some scale to the size of this sale, Apple reported during the 3Q 2009 conference call with Wall Street analysts that they had sold a total of 5.2 million iPhones in the last quarter.

Cocktail 4.4.1 (Leopard Edition) Released

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Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, 12:29
Category: News

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On Tuesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.4.1 of Cocktail (Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.

The new version, a 1.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
* Addresses compatibility issues with Firefox 3.5.x and Flock 2.5.x web browsers
* Added clearing of the latest variants of the RSPlug (Jahlav) trojan horse
* Added Mac OS X 10.5.8 compatibility
* Other minor bug fixes and improvements.
* Updated Automator actions.

Cocktail 4.4.1 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.

NewerTech Releases Intelligent Battery Charging Station for Apple Unibody Notebook Batteries

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Date: Friday, August 7th, 2009, 06:26
Category: Accessory, MacBook, MacBook Pro, News

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Yesterday, accessory provider NewerTech announced the release of its Intelligent Battery Charging Station, a peripheral designed to charge and condition the batteries used by Apple’s 13″ and 15″ unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.

The unit features two bays (one that charges while the other charges and conditions) and NewerTech claims that by conditioning the battery, you can get longer runtimes and better lifetimes from your laptop batteries. The charger retails for US$150 before shipping and handling.

Report Finds Running Windows 7 on MacBook Pro Drains Battery Life Quickly

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Date: Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 04:55
Category: MacBook, News

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Users hoping that the arrival of Windows 7 will lessen the power drain on Apple’s MacBook Pro notebook may have some hard news to face up to, as CNET’s Eric Lai discovered for a recent article he wrote. Running Windows 7 in Boot Camp caused one CNET reviewer’s battery life to fall by more than two-thirds.

In addition to this, virtualization software such as VMware Fusion suffer from the same complaints. Some blame Apple’s Boot Camp drivers (the last ones were released in April 2008) while others blame Windows’ bloated codebase. With Apple and Microsoft both trying to avoid responsibility for improving the experience, Windows 7′s reported improvements in power management will be moot for MacBook Pro users for a while.

If you’ve tested the Windows 7 beta on your MacBook and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Analytical Firm Cites Apple Touchscreen Purchases, Anticipates Sub-Notebook or Tablet Device

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Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 04:21
Category: News

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Per AppleInsider, Apple has reportedly purchased a number of screens ranging from 4″ to 12″ over the last few years, as it explores its possible entry into the tablet and sub-notebook market, according to a financial analyst.

In a research note issued Tuesday, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu revealed that Apple has bought screen sizes of 4″, 7″, 9″, 10″ and 12″ inches over the last two years. Some of the purchases were allegedly of such a large amount that the firm suspects they were for more than a simple sample, but a more significant small production run.

“We are under the impression that these screens could be used in new form factors including a sub-notebook and/or tablet, and would more likely launch in 2010 as opposed to 2009,” the note reads. “As usual, exact timing is always tough to pinpoint as Apple works on its own schedule.”

Wu stated that he expects the new form factor adopted by Apple to help carry the company’s stock higher. Kaufman Bros. has set a price target of US$184 for AAPL stock and recommends that investors buy.

Latest iPhone OS 3.1 Beta Cites Unknown Device

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Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 04:44
Category: News

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Once again, a mystery device in the latest iPhone OS 3.1 firmware beta is being referred to, the device featuring a new model number and fueling speculation that Apple has a new touchscreen device based on its mobile operating system coming soon.

According to ArsTechnica, a device called “iProd 0,1″ was first discovered in March in the iPhone 3.0 OS beta firmware. The latest beta update also includes a reference to iProd, but this time the USBConfiguration.plist file gives the product the “1,1″ distinction — something Apple typically uses to refer to its first-generation products.

The information has led to speculation that a new, unannounced piece of hardware running the iPhone OS could be nearing launch.

The reference to iProd 1,1 has a product ID of 4762, while the original iProd 0,1 was model 4757. The new model also features references to Ethernet configurations, leading the report to suspect the supposed new device could have “gained high-speed networking capabilities” since the 0,1 hardware incarnation.

“What we are willing to bet on is that with a 1,1 moniker the product will see public release soon—perhaps as early as September, when Apple typically unveils new iPods,” the report concludes.

Apple always uses the first number in these device identifiers to refer to major revisions, the naming schemes allude to a second major reworking of the iPhone in testing at Apple as well as a minor revision of the current iPod touch and a third-generation overhaul. The original iPhone is seen as iPhone 1,1, while the iPhone 3G appears as iPhone 1,2 — a minor upgrade to an existing design. The first- and second-generation iPod touch show as 1,1 and 2,1 respectively.

Some Users Reporting Hard Drive Lag with 17″ MacBook Pro Notebook

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Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 04:31
Category: News

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Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, multiple users are contributing to a thread discussing hard drive lag on Apple’s current 17″ MacBook Pro notebook. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, several users report hearing the hard drive park itself, but at inappropriate times, causing the rainbow spinning wheel to appear and bringing all tasks to a halt. This comes a short time after other users have reported a strange beep.

One user reported no red flags while running Activity Monitor while another went so far as to swap the hard drive to no avail. Still another user reportedly fixed the problem by creating a secondnd user account.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or arrived at your own fix, please let us know in the comments.

Apple Attempts to Silence Family of Exploding iPod with Gag Order

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Date: Monday, August 3rd, 2009, 04:51
Category: iPod, iPod Touch, News

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Recently, Apple Inc. attempted to silence a father and daughter with a gag order after the child’s iPod exploded and the family sought a refund from the company.

According to The Times, the company offered the family a full refund only on the condition that they were willing to sign a settlement form. The proposed agreement left them open to legal action if they ever disclosed the terms of the settlement.

The case mimics previous instances in which Apple attempted to hush up incidents when its devices overheated.

Ken Stanborough, 47, of Liverpool, dropped his 11-year-old daughter Ellie’s iPod Touch last month. “It made a hissing noise,” he said. “I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour”. Mr Stanborough said he threw the device out of his back door, where “within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10 feet in the air”.

Mr. Stanborough then contacted Apple and Argos, where he had bought the device for £162. After being passed around several departments, he spoke to an Apple executive on the telephone. As a result of the conversation, Apple sent a letter to Mr Stanborough denying liability but offering a refund.

The letter also stated that, in accepting the money, Mr Stanborough was to “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, and that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties”.

“I thought it was a very disturbing letter,” said Mr Stanborough, who is self-employed and works in electronic security. He refused to sign it.

“They’re putting a life sentence on myself, my daughter and Ellie’s mum, not to say anything to anyone. If we inadvertently did say anything, no matter what, they would take litigation against us. I thought that was absolutely appalling.

“We didn’t ask for compensation, we just asked for our money back,” he added.

Last week, reports surfaced that Apple had tried to keep a number of cases where its iPod digital music players had started to smoke, burst into flames and even burned their owners, out of the public eye.

An American reporter obtained 800 pages of documentation on the cases from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) following a Freedom of Information Act request in that country. However, she was unable to get hold of the documents for months after “Apple’s lawyers filed exemption after exemption”.

In those cases, CPSC investigators suggested that the iPods’ lithium ion batteries could be the source of the problem.

In 2006, Apple and Dell recalled millions of lithium ion batteries due to overheating problems in laptop computers causing fires. As of September last year, 173,000,000 iPods have been sold worldwide.

An Apple spokesman said that, as the company had not looked at the Stanboroughs’ damaged iPod, it could not comment. Representatives from Argos also refused to comment.