Apple TV Units Appear at Costco and Target

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Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2007, 10:39
Category: News

A quick piece over at Arstechnica reports that the recently-released Apple TV has begun appearing in various Target retail locations. Photos sent in and posted on MacRumors confirm that the device is in stock and Apple managed to get the units in a bit faster than expected.
In a more surprising turn of events, the Apple TV has also turned up at assorted Costco locations with an arstechnica reader e-mailing the site and reporting the units in stock in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. The units are priced at US$289.99 and the retailer won’t be charging a restocking fee upon return. “I believe the old, unlimited return policy would apply. The new 90-day thing is actually limited to a few categories of items,” claims reader Dan Ciskey, who doesn’t believe the revised return policy applies to the Apple TV.
The presence of the Apple TV may be a test run of sorts, as the units haven’t been added to the retailer’s web site and a search for them turns up the standard TVs and HDTVs that are being sold.
If anyone has additional information about this, let us know.


Corsair Ships “Survivor” Drives

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Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2007, 08:49
Category: News

On Monday, Corsair announced that it had shipped its “Survivor” series of USB flash drives.
According to iPodObserver, the drives, which are available in four and eight gigabyte capacities, are wrapped in Computer Numerical Control-milled aluminum water-resistant up to 650 feet (or 200 meters) and contain an Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer waterproof seal as well as rubber molded collars to preserve the device’s integrity.
Moving beyond features seen in the the standard flash drive, the Survivor series includes both a new memory controller as well as dual channel interleaved memory to attain what the company claims is five time the transfer speed of a generic flash drive.
The Survivor four and eight gigabyte drives retail for US$59.99 and US$129.99, respectively and are backed by a 10-year limited warranty from the company.


SlingPlayer for Mac Beta Out the Door

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Date: Monday, April 30th, 2007, 13:25
Category: News

On Monday, Sling Media released SlingPlayer for Mac 1.0, a Mac OS X version of its media player software for the Slingbox device.
The software, which is currently available as a public beta, is a 55 megabyte download and allows Slingbox users to view content on their Macs. According the iLounge, the software purports to allow users to be able to view Slingbox content from an Apple TV as weel as “Front Row, iPod in Apple’s Universal Dock or iPod in an iPod Hi-Fi.” This version also allows viewing through the newly-released Apple TV system.
Sling Media claims the Slingbox device currently supports over 5,000 different devices, including the latest cable boxes and digital video recorders. Users can access the SlingPlayer remote from their Mac to change the channel or open a new media file.
SlingPlayer 1.0 for the Mac requires a 700 MHz G4 or 1.6 GHz Intel Core Duo processor and Mac OS X 10.3.9 or Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later to run. The software is encoded as a Universal Binary and functions at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
If you’ve tried the beta and can provide feedback about it, let us know.


Mimoco Ships Star Wars-Themed Thumb Drives

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Date: Monday, April 30th, 2007, 09:38
Category: News

Boston-based toy manufacturer Mimoco has announced that the company is now shipping its Star Wars-themed USB 2.0 flash drives. The drives, which are available in one gigabyte, two gigabyte and four gigabyte capacities, range from US$69.95 to US$149.95 according to Macworld News.
The drives, which are available in limited quantities, feature Darth Vader, Chewbacca, a Stormtrooper and R2-D2. The devices also ship with Star Wars content loaded onto the drive such as desktop wallpaper graphics, desktop icons, movie trailers and sound effects.
It’s a badge of dorkiness, but it’s also the 30th anniversary of some of the greatest films ever made. With that in mind, odds are your friends and loved ones will understand. And when you explain to your friends and loved ones that the drives are both Mac and Windows-compatible, only sincere admiration can follow.


Apple Admits Battery Issues in Recently Released Report

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Date: Monday, April 30th, 2007, 08:56
Category: News

A recent report posted along with Apple’s newly-released Battery Update 1.2 firmware fix admits some problems which the software hopes to remedy. The update, which was released on Friday, is designed for the batteries that shipped with its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops between February 2006 and April 2007.
“Apple has recently discovered that some batteries used in its MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks may have battery performance issues,” the report explains.
According to Macworld UK, the report stresses that the batteries pose no safety risk – an important reassurance given the swelling issues that have accompanied various batteries since last year.
Apple’s report also states that the company is offering free battery replacement for batteries that exhibit the following symptoms after the update is installed:
-Battery is not recognized causing an “X” to appear in the battery icon in the Finder menu bar.
-Battery will not charge when computer is plugged into AC power.
-Battery exhibits low charge capacity/runtime when using a fully charged battery with a battery cycle count (as shown in System Profiler) of less than 300.
-Battery pack is visibly deformed.
Free replacement batteries can be obtained “for up to two years from the date of purchase of the computer,” according to the report. Replacement checks can be conducted at Apple Store Locations, Apple Authorized Service Providers and via Apple’s telephone support system.
If you’ve had any experience, positive or negative with Battery Update 1.2, let us know.


Apple Releases Battery Update 1.2 for MacBooks

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Date: Friday, April 27th, 2007, 16:11
Category: News

On Friday, Apple released Battery Update 1.2, a small firmware update for the following MacBook laptops:
-MacBook (Late 2006)
-MacBook Pro (15-inch)
-MacBook Pro (15-inch Glossy)
-MacBook Pro (15-inch Core 2 Duo)
-MacBook Pro (17-inch)
-MacBook Pro (17-inch Core 2 Duo)
The firmware update is a small 244 kilobyte download and is designed to improve battery functionality.
Let us know how this works for you and if any changes, either positive or negative, are seen in your MacBook’s performance.


Schools Beginning to Ban iPods as Cheating-Prevention Effort

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Date: Friday, April 27th, 2007, 13:11
Category: News

School officials in Meridian, Ohio appear are taking the next step in cracking down on cheating in the classroom by banning the presence of iPods and digital media players during tests. The devices, which can be hidden under clothing with an earbud, have come into play as the next means of cheating after students have been caught text messaging answers to each other or having hints printed under the brims of their hats.
“It doesn’t take long to get out of the loop with teenagers,” said Mountain View High School Principal Aaron Maybon. “They come up with new and creative ways to cheat pretty fast.”
According to an Associated Press article on Yahoo! News, Mountain View High School has recently enacted a ban on digital media players such as the iPod when it was discovered that students had been downloading formulas and other test answers to them.
Specifically, students were found using iPod-compatible voice recorders to record test answers as song files, then load the answers onto the iPod and play them back during tests. Others had hidden answers into text files disguised as song lyrics.
“You can just thread the earbud up your sleeve and then hold it to your ear like you’re resting your head on your hand,” said 17-year-old senior Kelsey Nelson, who used to listen to her iPod after completing a test. “I think you should still be able to use iPods. People who are going to cheat are still going to cheat, with or without them.”
Click the jump for the rest of the story…


Apple Seeking Out Flash Memory Components for Future iPod Models

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Date: Friday, April 27th, 2007, 09:34
Category: News

The transition over to additional flash-based iPods may be sooner than you’d think.
A report on DigiTimes points out that Apple and Samsung have recently held talks discussing high volume purchases of flash memory chips for use in “all iPods and iPhones” from June to the end of 2007.
According to the article, Apple is reportedly working to secure between 400 and 500 million four gigabyte flash memory chips. The order runs between 10 and 15% more than the order that Apple has already booked with Samsung and the piece cites Samsung’s apparent uncertainty that it can meet Apple’s demands. The firm is also concerned that any decline in current iPod sales or lower iPhone sales than expected, could lead to an oversupply of flash memory component and thus affect industry pricing.
According to Macworld UK, similar discussions are also being held between Apple and Hynix Semiconductor.
In this week’s second quarter financial report, Apple confirmed that the component market, including flash memory, has been favorable towards them. The company has stated that its margins will likely shrink in the third quarter as a result of climbing memory prices, a factor Hynix Semiconductor affirmed when it stated that memory prices may climb as much as 20% in the next quarter.


Dual LG Patents May Hinder Future iPhone Designs

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Date: Friday, April 27th, 2007, 08:16
Category: News

Despite the fervor and enthusiasm over Apple’s upcoming iPhone, some additional roadblocks may remain. LG Electronics has recently published a pair of patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office that may impair Apple’s ability to create future iPhone designs.
The first, entitled “Mobile Communication Terminal Having Multiple Displays” would apply the touchscreen-driven interface of the iPhone and the handset LG has created for Prada and convert this to a clamshell-shaped form according to MacNN. A second touchscreen would be installed to replace a conventional a keyboard, the device allowing data elements to be shared between the two screens.
The second patent, entitled“Mobile Terminal Providing Graphic User Interface”, would apply to how a system’s icons move and react to user input. Here, menu options would shift positions based on the current context and could react to data input beyond direct selections and interpret missing input on the user’s behalf.
Although both devices are still theoretical and have yet to be applied to LG’s Prada phone, this could alter the development path for the iPhone and future handsets.


Other World Computing Releases USB2+eSATA External Drive Carrier

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Date: Thursday, April 26th, 2007, 11:42
Category: News

On Thursday, Other World Computing announced the release of its OWC Mercury On-The-Go USB2+eSATA Portable Drive Solution. The device, which acts as an external drive carrier, sports USB, USB 2.0 and eSATA connections.
The drive, which weighs less than 11 ounces, is encased in a shock-resistant acrylic enclosure and can be powered by either the USB port or via its included A/C adapter when connected to the eSATA port.
Other World Computing is selling the Mercury On-The-Go USB2+eSATA in the following configurations, each bundled with Prosoft‘s DataBackup III and Novastor‘s NovaBackup for Windows.
Full configuration information, which adjusts between ports offered, different configurations (from 8 MB to 16 MB of cache) and different speeds (from 4,200 rpm to 7,200 rpm) can be seen at the product page.
The drive requires Mac OS 8.5 or later to run via Classic and Mac OS X 10.0.3 or later to run on Mac OS X.