Apple CEO Tim Cook drops additional hints at revolutionary television set

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012, 06:09
Category: Hardware, News

applelogo_silver

When Tim Cook hints at something, the speculation begins…

Per an interview with NBC’s Rock Center, Apple CEO Tim Cook has rekindled speculation that his company plans to build a full-fledged television set in the near future, with comments disparaging current television sets as outdated pieces of technology.

During the interview, the CEO was asked what’s next for Apple, and he hinted that the company has big plans for the living room.

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

Cook’s comments are the most aggressive yet in hinting that Apple is working on a television set — a product that has been rumored to be in the works for years. Previously, the CEO has also used the words “intense interest” to refer to its Apple TV set-top box, an existing television accessory that streams movies, TV shows and other content.

Rumors of an Apple television have persisted for years, but they picked up considerable steam late last year when the authorized biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was published. In that book, Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had “finally cracked” the secret to building a television.

“It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” Jobs said.

Then in January, a report from USA Today claimed that Apple’s lead designer, Jony Ive, had a “slick” 50-inch prototype television set housed inside his secure California design studio. It claimed that Apple is looking to build televisions sized 42 inches and larger with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.

Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has long been a proponent for an Apple television. In November, he predicted that such a product would be one of three core launches for the company in 2013, joined by a refreshed iPhone and updated iPad lineup.

Munster believes Apple’s television will be priced between US$1,500 and US$2,000, with screen sizes between 42 and 55 inches, and would go on sale in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple hiring dozens of Israel-based former Texas Instruments chip engineers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012, 06:06
Category: Hardware, Processors, Rumor

applelogo_silver

Never doubt the power of hiring the best engineers you can find.

Per The Next Web, Apple has reportedly hired a number of former Texas Instruments engineers living in Israel, with the new employees said to bolster the tech giant’s research and development resources in the region.

Sources familiar with Apple’s developing Israel-based operations have stated that the company has been hiring “dozens” of engineers to work in the cities of Haifa and Herzliya, the latter of which being the home base of purchased the flash memory maker in December of 2011.

The sources went on to say that Apple is picking up former TI employees who were laid off in a culling of 250 jobs at the company’s Ra’anana location, which itself is part of a larger global workforce cutdown of around 1,700 employees. According to TI Israel’s website, the Ra’anana campus was responsible for wireless connectivity solutions like WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS and OMAP products. OMAP, or Open Multimedia Applications Platform, is a type of system-on-a-chip developed by the Texas-based company currently being used in portable devices like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD.

Apple in April was reported to be gearing up for a major hiring campaign to fill spots at its Israel R&D center located in Haifa’s Scientific Industries Center, which boasts a collective of high-tech companies like Google, Intel and IBM. The recent TI Israel hires won’t be the first for Apple, as former Deputy CEO Etai Zaitsman is said to be working on the Haifa initiative headed up by Aharon Aharon, a veteran of Israel’s tech industry.

In May, users discovered a number of listings on Apple’s job board for SoC engineers located in the Haifa and Herzliya Pituah regions of Israel.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit completes 21.5-inch iMac teardown, discovers new hardware, lower repairability factor

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:44
Category: Hardware, iMac, News

The new Apple hardware is out, and as is custom, the cool cats at iFixit have dissected it.

In its latest teardown report, repair firm iFixit gave the 21.5-inch iMac a “repairability score” of three out of a possible ten, citing a hard to replace display and lack of easily-upgradable RAM, while the Online Apple Store sees ship-by dates pushed back to over a week.

After the iMac rolled out to customers worldwide on Friday, iFixit took an in-depth look at Apple’s redesigned all-in-one and found the unit to be “an exercise in disappointment” as far as repairability is concerned.

The firm’s first major complaint was the new display that is now glued to the iMac’s chassis rather than being attached by screws and covered by a removable magnetic front glass, as is the case with legacy models. While the screen is the identical to the one used last year, Apple used a lamination process to bond the front glass to the display, allowing less reflectance and deeper color saturation, though the strategy only allows for the use of glue to attach it to the computer’s thin body.

Second on the list of complaints is the lack of upgradability. While users can change or replace the hard drive, RAM and CPU, they will have to remove the screen and logic board to do so as all integral components are located on the back side of the board. It should be noted that in its review of the 27-inch version, CNET mentioned that the larger-screened machine has an access port for RAM replacement.

There was some good news, however, as the redesigned iMac now uses dual-microphone technology for better FaceTime call audio, as well as a more robust ribbon cable for the built-in camera. Also of note is that the large central heat sink, which only uses a single fan to keep internal temperatures within operational limits, is attached to a spring-loaded Intel socket carrying the CPU, meaning the processor is somewhat easy to replace.

Less than a day after brick-and-mortar Apple Stores and authorized resellers started sales of the 21.5-inch iMac, the standard 21.5-inch iMac is shows a lead time of seven to ten business days, up from the one to three days quoted when the company activated orders through its online storefront late Friday.

The apparent supply shortage for the smaller iMac echoes the soon-to-be-released 27-inch model, which is experiencing similar delays as orders are now expected to to go out in three weeks to a month.

CEO Tim Cook warned during Apple’s quarterly conference call in October that thee would be a significant supply shortage for all iMac models, however the specific reason for this remains unknown.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve gotten your mitts on a brand new iMac, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Updated 27-inch iMac sells out quickly, ship times slip to 3-4 weeks for customers

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:29
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

It’s new, it’s snazzy…and now it’s really, really hard to get.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s big-screen 27-inch iMac looks to be in extremely limited supply this holiday, as the estimated shipping time has already lengthened less than 24 hours after the new all-in-one desktop went on sale.

Apple’s online store originally advertised that the new 27-inch iMac would ship to new orders within two to three weeks. But just hours after the slimmer iMac became available, new orders are now advertised to ship in three to four weeks.

The revised shipping estimate suggests that new orders may not arrive in time for Christmas, which is just three and a half weeks away.

The three-to-four-week wait applies to both the 2.9-gigahertz model, which sells for US$1,799, as well as the 3.2-gigahertz model, available for US$1,999.

For those interested in the 21.5-inch model, both the 2.7- and 2.9-gigahertz varieties remain available to ship in one to three business days. Units may also available at Apple’s retail stores for those who want to pick one up right away.

The first benchmarks for the 27-inch model show that its new Ivy Bridge processor will offer more than a 50 percent speed boost with certain tasks. Tests of the 21.5-inch model have also been shown to be about nearly 25 percent faster than their predecessor.

The redesigned iMac boasts an aluminum that is only 5-millimeters thick at its edge and also features a reengineered display which Apple claims reduces reflections by 75 percent. Speed has also been increased thanks to new quad-core Intel silicon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processors, the latter of which is said to deliver up to a 60 percent boost in performance.

Also new is the Fusion Drive, a hybrid hard drive solution that combines the performance of solid-state media with the capacity and affordability of a hard drive. Apple solution couples 128-gigabytes of flash memory with a standard hard drive to create a single storage volume that intelligently manages frequently-used files and programs to optimize performance.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Next-gen iMacs begin to surface in Australia, now available for online ordering in the U.S.

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012, 08:27
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

You know that new, thin, redesigned iMac you’ve been hankering for?

The Aussies got it first.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Friday kicked off sales of its totally redesigned iMac all-in-one desktop, and customers in Australia are among the first to get their hands on Apple’s newest all-in-one desktop.

The new computer has begun appearing in Apple Stores and authorized resellers on Friday local Australia time.

A quick check with various Australian retail locations found iMac supply was unsurprisingly concentrated at stores in larger cities like Sydney, while smaller outlets such as Canberra had yet to receive their allotments. This is in line with a statement from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who noted that there would be a “significant shortage” of iMacs in the fourth quarter.

Apple announced on Tuesday that it would be launching the revamped iMac on Friday, Nov. 30, just making the November ship-by date promised when the device was unveiled in October.

Starting Friday, the 21.5-inch model will be available through Apple’s online and brick-and-mortar stores, as well as authorized dealers. Apple will also open up orders for the 27-inch model on through its online storefront, however those units won’t ship until December

The 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics for a suggested retail price of $1,299. A faster 2.9-gigahertz model will be offered for $1,499.

The larger 27-inch iMac will have a 2.9-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 and GeForce GTX 660M graphics for US$1,799, while the 3.2-gigahertz model comes with GTX 675MX graphics and will cost US$1,999.

Update: The new iMacs just went on sale in the U.S. Apple Online Store. Take a gander and please let us know what your estimated delivery date is expected to be.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Next-gen iMac to go on sale Friday, November 30th

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, 08:19
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

If you’re hankering for the new, thinner iMac, just wait 72 hours.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday announced that its all-new iMac desktop will launch this Friday, Nov. 30, meeting its deadline to launch before the end of the month.

The 21.5-inch model will be available through Apple’s online store, Apple retail stores and select authorized resellers. The 27-inch variety will begin shipping in December, but orders will begin at Apple’s online store on Friday.

The 21.5-inch iMac will feature a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce G6 640M graphics for a suggested retail price of US$1,299. A faster 2.9-gigahertz model will be offered for US$1,499.

The larger 27-inch iMac will have a 2.9-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 and GeForce GTX 660M graphics for US$1,799. The high-end 3.2-gigahertz model with GTX 675MX graphics will cost US$1,999.

The redesigned iMac has an aluminum and glass enclosure that is 5-millimeters thin at its edge. It also features a reengineered display that Apple has said reduces reflections by 75 percent.

The new iMac also sports 8 gigabytes of 1,600-megahertz memory, along with a 1-terabyte hard drive and standard Intel Core i5 processors that can be upgraded to a Core i7. The new Nvidia GeForce graphics processors also promise up to 60 percent fast performance.

The all-in-one iMac desktops also sport Apple’s new hybrid Fusion Drive, which gives customers the performance of flash with the capacity of a hard drive. This is accomplished by combining 128 gigabytes of flash with a standard hard drive, creating a single storage volume that intelligently manages files to optimize read and write performance.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases first OS X 10.8.3 beta, inclusion of AMD Radeon 7000 drivers hints at next-gen Mac Pro

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, 07:31
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News, Software

This could turn into something really interesting.

Per Netkas.org, Apple’s first beta of OS X 10.8.3 has quietly added support for the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series of graphics cards, hinting that they could be featured in the company’s designed Mac Pro desktop.

Support for the AMD Radeon HD 7XXX series was discovered by Netkas.org this week, following the launch of the first beta of OS X 10.8.3. Specifically, the Mac operating system supports the Radeon HD 7900 series, codenamed “Tahiti,” which includes the Radeon HD 7970 and 7950.

Both of those cards feature 3 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory, and are based on a 28-nanometer chip manufacturing process. The cards are the first products to feature AMD’s “Graphics Core Next” compute architecture.

Support for the dedicated desktop graphics card series could signal that AMD’s latest GPUs may be headed for an updated Mac Pro. Apple’s lone tower computer was quietly updated in June with a modest speed bump featuring a two-year-old Intel Xeon E5645 chip.

After users expressed frustration over that update, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook quickly confirmed that his company was working on an overhaul of the Mac Pro. He indicated that the updated desktop would be released sometime in 2013.

“Don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for next year,” Cook said to a customer in an e-mail.

Signs of a sixth-generation Mac Pro appeared in internal configuration files found in the Mountain Lion operating system earlier this year. The “MP60″ is expected to be a significant overhaul of the current Mac Pro model, which has had the same basic aluminum box design introduced for the 2005 PowerMac G5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

GM announces upcoming “Eyes Free” models with Siri integration

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, 07:24
Category: Hardware, iOS, iPhone, News, Software

This could be nifty.

Per The Next Web, General Motors on Tuesday announced that it will be integrating Apple’s new “Eyes Free” Siri mode in two of its cars early next year, making it the first car maker in the world to implement the technology in a commercial product.

The auto manufacturer announced during the Los Angeles International Auto Show that the Chevrolet Spark (1LT and 2LT) and Sonic LTZ and RS models will sport the new Siri integration when they roll off the assembly line “early next year.”

Interestingly, the feature, which is part of Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system and will be compatible with an iPhones running iOS 6, is slated to debut in two sub-compact cars rather than a model from one of GM’s luxury marquees like Cadillac.

“Safe, easy, reliable and portable connectivity is a top priority for our customers, and Siri complements MyLink’s existing capabilities to help deliver an incredible driving experience,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director for small cars.

Announced as a new Siri feature in iOS 6, Apple’s “Eyes Free” allows a user to an iPhone as well as certain vehicle amenities strictly by using voice commands. For example, a driver can simply ask Siri to play a song or make a call, all without taking their eyes off the road.

It was reported in June that GM would be integrating Eyes Free in the Spark and Sonic, but the automotive giant fell short of announcing a specific launch window. Eight other car makers have partnered with Apple to introduce similar systems in the near future, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Samsung reportedly ends flow of MacBook, iPad battery supplies

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 26th, 2012, 09:24
Category: Hardware, iPad, MacBook Pro, News

The feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys continues.

Per the cool cats at The Mac Observer and China Business News, Apple has apparently turned to Amperex Technology Limited and Tianjin Lishen Battery for its laptop and iPad battery needs after Samsung reportedly stopped supplying the components. If true, it underscores the ongoing tension between the two companies over patent infringement claims.

This latest claim follows reports that Samsung stopped selling display parts and raised the cost for manufacturing Apple’s custom chips — both of which Samsung has denied. Apple has, however, moved away from working with Samsung on future custom processor designs and instead is using the electronics giant just as a manufacturing partner.

“Samsung’s agreement with Apple is limited to manufacturing the A6 processors,” a senior Samsung executive said in October. “Apple did all the design and we are just producing the chips on a foundry basis.”

Apple and Samsung have been fighting in courts around the world over claims they are using each other’s mobile device patents without proper licensing. Apple managed to win a major victory in August when a U.S. Federal Court ruled Samsung was infringing on a long list of patents and awarded the Cupertino-based company over US$1 billion in damages.

Apple has also reportedly been grooming Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to take over its processor manufacturing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 5 shipping times improve, device ETA now stands at 2-3 weeks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 13th, 2012, 07:59
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

Maybe things are getting a little better over at the Foxconn plant…

Per AppleInsider, availability of the iPhone 5 continues to improve, as Apple’s website now advertises that all models ship within two to three weeks.

The latest estimated shipping times are an improvement from the previously advertised timeframe of three to four weeks. The shipping time applies to both the black and slate as well as the white and silver models, in all three capacities.

The improved shipping times corroborate reports from last week that revealed Apple’s supply was catching up with demand for iPhone 5 inventory at its U.S. retail stores. Gene Munster and his team at Piper Jaffray found that 54 percent of 100 Apple Stores had the AT&T iPhone 5 in stock, while 24 percent had the Verizon model, and 84 percent were stocked with the Sprint variety.

Those numbers from last week were a major improvement from the weeks prior, when supplies of the iPhone 5 were severely constrained, particularly for AT&T and Verizon customers.

“We believe this is an important step for Apple as it appears they are finally gaining momentum in being able to keep up with demand for the iPhone 5,” Munster wrote. “We believe that if AT&T and Verizon device availability follows the same trend as Sprint, it may only be 2-3 weeks before iPhone 5s are consistently available to customers.”

Also last week, Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee said his checks within Apple’s supply chain found that the company had significantly improved its production capacity of the iPhone 5 since the device launched in late September. According to Wu, the supply chain bottleneck for the iPhone 5 moved from components to the assembly of the device itself.

Earlier reports claimed that the iPhone 5′s in-cell touch panel and aluminum chassis have caused quality control issues for both Apple and Foxconn. One unnamed source from Foxconn said in October that the iPhone 5 is “the most difficult device” the company has ever been tasked with assembling.

If you’ve gotten word as to when your iPhone 5 is expected to ship, please let us know its estimated delivery time in the comments.