Apple/AT&T Contract Bans Apple’s Creation of CDMA Model iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007, 07:35
Category: News

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Despite being in a position to be one of the coolest technological releases of 2007, Apple’s iPhone, the contract between Apple and AT&T will change how the iPhone is developed. According to an article in USA Today, the contract created between the two companies provides AT&T with exclusive distribution rights of the iPhone for five years also bars Apple from developing a CDMA-network-compatible version of the device for this period of time.
The ban serves a strategic function in that is keeps AT&T customers from switching over to competitors Sprint or Verizon Wireless, which both use the CDMA network protocol. AT&T’s devices currently operate via the GSM network protocol.
AT&T currently claims about 62.2 million customers, whereas Verizon and Sprint claim 60.7 and 53.6 million customers, respectively.
Part of this was to definitely be expected and if you have any comments or ideas about this, let us know.

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Apple Store Now Offering Refurbished Apple TV Units

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007, 10:08
Category: News

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The lads over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog have picked up on Apple’s recent addition of refurbished Apple TV units to the Apple Store.
The refurbished units are being sold for US$249 as opposed to the regular price of US$299 and include a year’s limited warranty, which can be upgraded to a three year warranty via a US$49 AppleCare protection plan.
Click here for full details and let us know what you think.

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LightSnake iChat Headset Released

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007, 08:41
Category: News

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On Tuesday, SoundTech Professional Audio released its LightSnake iChat, a USB headset designed to work with voice and Voice Over Internet Protocol programs.
The LightSnake iChat features earbud-style headphones, a lapel clip with sound controls and a mic that can be positioned in front of a user’s mouth. A standard 1/8″ stereo plug allows the device to be connected to a regular set of headphones and the audio specifications are as follows:
-THD + N (-3dBr): -76.1 dB*SNR: 83.1 dB
-Dynamic Range: 81.6 dB
-Ear bud Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20 KHz
-Microphone Frequency R3sponse: 100Hz to 16 KHz
-Signal Input Range: 0 – 2.88 Vpp
-Signal Boost Gain: +20 dB
The LightSnake iChat is compatible with Mac OS 9.0.4 or later and retails for US$29.99.

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Apple Posts MacBook/Pro Optical Drive Noise Samples

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007, 08:08
Category: News

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An article over at MacFixIt points out that Apple has posted a Knowledge Base article wherein the compay offers several sound clips as to noises a MacBook and MacBook Pro’s slot-loading optical drive can make. The clips cover activities such as waking from sleep, burning a disc, importing files into iTunes and insertion/ejection.
The Knowledge Base article offers a good basis of comparison between what noises your MacBook or MacBook Pro’s drive may be making and whatever you’re experiencing on your end. In the end, the drives are a little noisier than one might expect, especially given the activities they tend to go through.
Take a listen and if your laptop’s hard drive noises seem excessive, then it might be time to take the next step and take the unit in for AppleCare service.

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Western Digital Releases Scorpio Notebook Drives

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 11:39
Category: News

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On Monday, hard drive manufacturer Western Digital announced that the company has started shipping its 250 gigabyte Scorpio SATA drive for laptop systems.
According to Macworld News, the 2.5″ hard features a 12 millisecond seek time and spins at 5,400 RPM with a 1.5 gigabyte per second transfer rate and eight megabytes of cache built into the device. Additional bells and whistles include a ShockGuard firmware technology which works to protect the drive against bumps, an IntelliSeek feature which calculates the optimum seek speed of the read/write head actuator and a WhisperDrive feature designed to reduce noise and conserve power.
The drive also features perpendicular magnetic recording to stack data stored on the drive in a denser formation.
Western Digital is currently selling the Scorpio series in 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 160, and 250 gigabyte capacities, the 250 gigabyte model retailing for US$199.99 while the other unit prices vary depending on capacity.

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Apple Comes Under Legal Fire for Laptop Screens

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 09:06
Category: News

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A class-action lawsuit being brought against Apple claims that the company’s current laptop displays are not capable of displaying millions of colors, despite Apple’s advertising claims.
The claim, according to an article over on Dailytech, states that Apple knowingly shipped displays that did not meet its original claims.
The document then goes on to point out that Apple’s glossy screen technologies, which are currently found on the MacBook laptop, offers users with deeper blacks and more vibrant white colors, but that many users experienced graininess and sparkling effects given the dithering technologies used in the units. A test cited within the document states that the dithering only occurs in the Mac OS X operating system software and that Windows XP users noticed a superior image quality where gradients were concerned.
In addition to being disappointed with their products, users also reported that they were chastised by Apple representatives and employees for appearing to be overtly picky about the quality of their displays. The complaint also illustrates the point that several customers posted messages on Apple’s web forums only to later find their posts altered or entirely removed by forum administrators.
For more information, take a look over at the Apple Core blog entry on this issue and if you have an opinion on this issue, we’d love to hear what you have to say.

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iPhone to Be Available at 2,000 Retail Locations Upon Release

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 14:46
Category: News

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With the launch of the iPhone less than a month away, Bear Sterns analyst Andy Neff has returned after a sit-down meeting with Apple executives Ron Johnson (the head of the retail division) and Tom Boger (the Director of the Mac Product Division) with news that the handset will be available in about 2,000 stores come the launch.
According to MacNN, the iPhone will be sold exclusively in Apple’s and AT&T‘s retail locations. This breaks down to approximately 160 Apple Store locations and 1,840 AT&T wireless shops.
“Apple affirmed its goal of June release for iPhone and expressed confidence in meeting its target of 10 million unit shipments in 2008 given iPhone’s superior user experience, which Apple referred to as ‘transformational,'” wrote Neff.
Neff added that for international store openings, the iPhone would first appear in regions with a high Apple installed base such as the United Kingdom and Japan and expand from there.
We’ll post more information on this as soon as it becomes available, but if you see or hear something cool from an Apple Store or AT&T location in the next few weeks, let us know.

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Apple Files Patent for Thinner, Stronger Notebook Design

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 11:12
Category: News

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A December, 2006 patent submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office offers a view of what Apple may have in mind for its future notebooks.
While the trend has historically been to make laptops lighter, companies know this is a trade off in terms of durability.
“Unfortunately, increased weight may lead to user dissatisfaction, and bowing may damage the internal parts of the portable computer,” the company wrote in the filing, as covered on AppleInsider.
Additionally, an increased need to electromagnetic shielding has also made designs that much bulkier. In the patent, Apple proposes the idea of an enclosure using at least two uniqe parts to form a single composite structure held together with structural glue as well as the idea of a two-part enclosure being electrically bonded together to form a conductive surface that would both shield the device as well as allow electricity to pass through it. This technique, if viable, would allow manufacturers to build small enclosures around tightly spaced sets of components as opposed to using pre-formed casings or heavy fasteners to perform the same task.
According to an example given within the patent, the glue used to join two components could shift between two states; a liquid state to create a bond and a solid state to hold the structure together. This would allow for multiple parts to be placed in desired positions throughout the device.
For the aforementioned electrical bond, the patent describes a system in which a conductive bridge is electrically bonded to a segment of the conductive layer and to a portion of the laptop’s top plate. The conductive bridge would act as a singular electrical structure and allow current to pass through it while acting as a shield.
The patent is currently credited to Michael Kriege, Dan Hong, John DiFonzo, Stephen Zadesky, David Lynch, David Lundgren, and Nick Merz.

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NitroAV Releases Professional ExpressCard Interface Adapter

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 08:30
Category: News

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On Thursday, NitroAV announced that it had released its two-port NitroAV eSATA II 3Gb/s Professional ExpressCard Interface Adapter.
The adapter uses the MacBook Pro’s ExpressCard slot and features a pair of SATA II ports. Users can hot-swap drives through the adapter as well as use 54 mm card slots with the device according to The Mac Observer.
Full Mac OS X drivers for the card can be found over at siliconimage.com and the adapter, which retails for US$69.95 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to function.
The adapter is immediately available for shipping.

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iPhone Earns FCC Approval

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 07:13
Category: News

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On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved Apple’s long-awaited iPhone combination phone and music player. The device will hit store shelves next month.
“The iPhone has passed its required FCC certification milestones and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned,” said Natalie Kerris, Director of Apple Music PR.
According to Macworld News, the iPhone will support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi protocols and operate in the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz frequency bands. The unit has currently been approved to operate on EDGE networks, despite the fact that several cell phone operators have upgraded their networks to operate at 500 Kb/s, a speed which is more than twice as fast as the EDGE protocol.
The FCC also released documents which Apple wished kept private (see Jason O’Grady’s Apple Core blog for further information on which materials were requested to be held back).
Keeping in synch with recent announcements and offers, AT&T will initially be the exclusive provider for the iPhone. The carrier permitted employees testing the iPhone to take the units outside of their offices according to an anonymous source within the company. The source has stated that the device’s features are being activated individually and so far, users are unable to play music watch videos or use the device’s visual voicemail feature.
Stay tuned for additional details as they surface.

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