Teardown reveals new A5 processor, second antenna, additional RAM in new Apple TV unit

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 07:16
Category: Apple TV, Hardware

It’s the teardowns of new products that make technology interesting.

The new Apple TV unit has gone through a full teardown courtesy of XBMC community member “aiciofs” to discover the following components:

- A custom-built A5 processor that, unlike the A5 CPU found in the iPhone 4S or iPad 2, features only a single processing core.

- 512 MB of upgraded RAM.

- The internal flash memory remains at 8 gigabytes.

- Second antenna (as opposed to the single antenna of the previous Apple TV unit). Its exact purpose is unknown, but it was suggested that the antenna could be to improve Wi-Fi connectivity and speed.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple AV adapter “not optimized” for use with iPad 3, some magnetic sensor elements may have changed with new tablet

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Date: Friday, March 16th, 2012, 12:37
Category: Accessory, Hardware, iPad, News

The new iPad is out.

Now it’s time for the devices, the accessories and peripherals (first party or otherwise) to catch up to it.

Per MacOtakara, attempting to use an old Apple Digital AV Adapter with the new iPad results in an alert that it is “not optimized” for the device, though the accessory still works once the alert is dismissed. Apple also appears to have slightly modified the Smart Cover-compatible magnets on the right side of the iPad, possibly affecting some third-party covers.

The blog reported on Friday that the older version of the Apple Digital AV Adapter, part number MC953ZM/A, displays a “This accessory is not optimized for this iPad” alert when connected to the just-released third-generation iPad.

Apple is selling a new version of the adapter, part number MD098ZM/A, that is compatible with the new iPad. It’s not immediately clear, however, what changes will be made.

Report author Danbo wrote that tapping “Dismiss” would allow the older adapter to be used, but users will see the alert each time they connect the part.

Apple released the original US$39 Digital AV Adapter alongside the iPad 2 last year, adding HDMI output to for the iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch and the iPad and iPad 2. The accessory features an HDMI port and a Dock passthrough.

MacOtakara also reported that Apple has made changes to the magnetic sensor that interacts with the Smart Cover to put the new iPad to sleep, though Apple’s own Smart Covers still work with the device.

“However, since the position or sensitivity of magnetic sensor was changed, 3rd party’s cover which has magnetic sleeping feature may not work perfectly,” the report read.

Danbo pointed out that Apple has yet to outline the changes in its “Dimensional Drawings” resource on its developer website, so case makers will have to do their own research to identify the exact nature of the changes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit posts full iPad 3 teardown, finds stronger involvement from Samsung than initially expected

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Date: Friday, March 16th, 2012, 09:34
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

It’s that time again and the cool cats at iFixit have performed a full teardown of Apple’s new third-generation iPad to discover the following:

- In removing the LCD panel, the solutions provider got a look at the back of the new Retina display. There, they found a model number naming scheme that suggests the panel for that particular model was built by Samsung.

- On the logic board is the new custom A5X processor, which features the same clock speed as the A5 CPU found in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, but adds a new quad-core graphics processor and a gigabyte of RAM. The CPU was also built by Samsung, and markings on it indicate it was manufactured in the first week of 2012.

- The new 4G LTE iPad, identified by the model number A1389, also sports a larger 11560mAh battery.

- Texas Instruments CD3240 driver device.

- Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n MAC/Baseband/Radio with Integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and FM Transceiver.

- Epcos B4064 SAW filters.

- Fairchild FDMC 6683.

- Toshiba ZX0730 1123KLD.

- Qualcomm RTR8600 (under the thermal pad).

- Broadcom BCM5973 I/O controller.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to drop Nvidia Kepler GPUs for low and mid-range 2012 MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, March 13th, 2012, 09:53
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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Whatever you were expecting the graphics card to be on the next-generation MacBook Pro, Apple might have something else in mind.

Per SemiAccurate, Apple’s next-generation low- and mid-range MacBook Pro models will not feature dedicated graphics cards, and will instead rely on Intel’s integrated Ivy Bridge graphics due to production issues with Nvidia.

Apple has dropped Nvidia’s next-generation Kepler graphics cards from a “large number” of its upcoming notebooks according to the report filed on Tuesday. The change has allegedly prompted Apple to adopt Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs that have higher shader counts, in order to offset some of the lost graphics processing power.

The change was reportedly made because Nvidia “can’t supply enough small GPUs” to Apple and other PC makers. That’s left Apple in a position where its next-generation low- and mid-range MacBook models “are not going to have a GPU, only a GT2 Ivy Bridge,” the report said.

“Nvidia can’t supply, so Apple threw them out on their proverbial magical experience,” it continued. “This doesn’t mean Nvidia is completely out at Apple, the Intel GPUs are too awful to satisfy the higher end laptops, so there will need to be something in those. What that something is, we don’t definitively know yet, but the possibilities are vanishingly small.”

The rumored issues apparently stem from the fact that Nvidia has struggled with its 28-nanometer manufacturing process for its next-generation graphics processors, code-named “Kepler.” As a result, some mid-range MacBooks will feature dedicated Nvidia GPUs, and some won’t, Tuesday’s report claimed.

The same site first reported last November that Apple would switch back to Nvidia GPUs for its 2012 MacBook models. Higher end 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros launched early last year relied solely on AMD graphics, while the entry-level 13-inch model features integrated Intel graphics.

Apple’s next-generation MacBook Pros are expected to feature a radically redesigned exterior, borrowing features from the company’s popular ultraportable MacBook Air. They are expected to be based on Intel’s forthcoming Ivy Bridge chip architecture.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rare Apple WALT prototype goes for $8,000 on eBay

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Date: Monday, March 12th, 2012, 07:41
Category: Hardware, News

It’s somewhere between nostalgia and awesome and it just went for US8,000 on eBay yesterday.

Per the cool cats at The Verge, a user posted an auction for an Apple WALT (Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone), a device introduced at Macworld Boston in 1993.



WALT, like Newton, also had a touchscreen, a stylus, and handwriting recognition. It was designed to be a companion to a home landline phone, and was designed in cooperation with BellSouth. Built into WALT were services like an address book, fax, caller ID, custom ringtones, and online banking. To interact with all of these services, users worked with a customized version of System 6 with a HyperCard GUI in place of the Finder.

According to the seller’s description, “Back in 2008 PC World published a list of the “Top 15 Vaporware Products of All Time”. The W.A.LT. was #1.” While WALT was ogled by the public at Macworld Boston 1993, the device never went into production. This prototype, complete with a full printed user manual (so much for ease of use), was being sold by eBay user russel400.

Cool stuff, even though the eBay description does mention that you’ll need to solder a few connections to get the unit working again.

Besides, what else were you going to do with that US$8,000?

Rumor: Apple reportedly shopping around for Apple HDTV prototype parts

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Date: Friday, March 9th, 2012, 07:10
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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When you go looking for components, people tend to notice.

Per AppleInsider, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster told investors on Tuesday that he had recently spoken to a “major TV component supplier” about Apple’s rumored plans to release a connected HDTV. Sources within the supplier reportedly told him that Apple had contacted “regarding various capabilities of their television display components.”

Munster said he viewed the news as “continued evidence that Apple is exploring production of a television.” Prior evidence that the analyst claims to have gathered surrounding an Apple television includes January 2011 meetings in Asia that suggested Apple was investing in manufacturing facilities for LCD displays as large as 50 inches and a September 2011 meeting with a “contact close to an Asian supplier” who claimed prototypes of an Apple set are in the works.

The firm believes Apple could be ready to release a television as early as late 2012, though Munster noted that “the timeline and stope of a revamped content solution is more uncertain.” Various reports have suggested that Apple has run up against resistance from movie and TV studios that are believed to be hesitant to license their content for an Apple television.

The analyst went on to speculate on several possibilities that Apple could make use of to address the content issue. For instance, Apple could simply enable the television to manage pre-existing live TV service from a unified interface, or it could make use of network programming and web-based video services such as Netflix and Hulu. Finally, Munster suggested that Apple could look to offer monthly subscriptions “on an a-la-carte basis” for live TV packages from content providers, but he noted that this is likely the “most challenging scenario” because of existing licensing arrangements.

A separate report claimed late last year that one of Apple’s most-desired features for an Apple television set is customized channel lineups. That report also noted that licensing for such a service would be “obviously much more complicated” than current offerings.

Piper Jaffray projects that Apple could sell 1.4 million of the 106 million internet-connected televisions estimated to be sold this year. The investment bank tentatively estimates that revenues from the device could reach US$2.5 billion in 2012, $4.0 billion in 2013 and US$6.0 billion in 2014.

Munster concluded his note by pointing out that Apple only enters mature markets in order to reinvent them. As such, he does not see Apple entering the TV market without a “revamped TV content solution.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts streaming video of iPad 3 press event

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 13:19
Category: Hardware, News

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If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video’s worth even more.

Following its iPad 3 press event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple quickly posted streaming video of the event.

The keynote was hosted by Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, and featured presentations by other members of the company’s top brass, including Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue.

The biggest news Wednesday was the new iPad, which features a high-resolution Retina Display and a new A5X CPU packing a quad-core graphics processor starting at $499. The cameras have also been improved, with a rear-facing 5-megapixel lens capable of 1080p video, while the wireless-capable models now feature connectivity with 4G LTE networks from carriers like Verizon and Sprint.

Other presentations, such as AutoDesk for iOS, new games and a newly-created version of iPhoto for iOS, are presented in the video and show the bells and whistles of the new tablet.

Click the link, take a gander and if something’s on your mind, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Early Ivy Bridge benchmark tests show ample gains, huge leaps in graphics tasks

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 12:22
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

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Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture may not be out yet, but some initial tests have been performed and it looks promising.

Per AnandTech and Electronista, an unofficial, pre-release benchmarking of Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture has shown an overall speed up, but most of all in graphics.

Early testing of a 3.5GHz, quad Core i7-3770K desktop chip has shown that the Intel HD 4000 integrated video is about 20 to 40 percent faster than the 3000 video on a roughly comparable earlier Core i7 using the current Sandy Bridge architecture. While still trailing behind AMD’s Fusion in an A8 chip, it’s enough to make games playable that wouldn’t have been practical otherwise, such as running Skyrim smoothly at 1680×1050 and medium detail.

The underlying processor itself has a clear edge over Sandy Bridge. While it’s at a disadvantage with four cores to the very highest-end, six-core Sandy Bridge-E processors, Ivy Bridge is about five to 20 percent faster than any of its quad-core antecedents in general use.

Graphics boosts mostly come from the higher number of execution units, at 16 versus 12, as well as DirectX 11 (OpenGL 4) effects support. Ivy Bridge as a whole gets an inherent benefit from a denser, more efficient 22-nanometer manufacturing process as well as twice the throughput for floating-point and integer divisions. It can dynamically share code elements between program threads and supports up to 2.8GHz DDR3 memory along with low-power DDR3 on slim desktops and notebooks.

Intel is now increasingly seen as shipping the first batch of Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors in late April, mixing both desktop and notebook versions. Much of the PC industry is waiting on the later than usual release and could start shipping soon afterwards.

The lineup may have the most significance for Apple, which is holding off on multiple Mac updates. Ivy Bridge should allow for OpenCL support on the integrated graphics and could deliver a larger performance boost than on Windows as a result.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple confirms iPad 3 event for March 7 in San Francisco

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Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2012, 13:18
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

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As nifty as rumors tend to be, it helps to hear the truth from the horse’s mouth.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday sent out official invitations for a media event to be held next Wednesday, March 7, in San Francisco where it is expected to introduce its next-generation iPad.

The March 7 event will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif., the same place the last two iPad unveilings have been held. The invitation features a finger pushing down on an iOS calendar icon with March 7 as the date.

“We have something you really have to see. And touch,” the invitation reads.

The inclusion that people will “have to see” the new device is likely a reference to the high-resolution Retina Display that Apple is expected to add to its next-generation iPad. Rumors have suggested the display will have a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which would be twice the resolution of the 1,024-by-768 screen found on the iPad 2.

In fact, the invitation itself could even be a picture of the new iPad display. The image does show a very crisp iPad screen that could be a higher resolution than the current iPad 2.

Apple’s invitations went out only moments after financial network CNBC incorrectly claimed that the next iPad would be unveiled at an event in New York next week. However, reporter Jon Fortt quickly followed up to explain that he has heard that New York will play a “key” role in next week’s announcement.

The March 7 event date has been expected for weeks now, but Tuesday’s invitations were the first official confirmation of the media briefing from Apple. Recent reports out of the Far East have suggested that Apple could offer near-immediate availability of the new iPad, with claims that the new devices are already being shipped to the U.S as retailers cut prices of existing iPad 2 models by US$50 to US$70.

Other changes to the iPad are expected to be largely internal, with evidence of a faster processor and potential 4G LTE connectivity having surfaced in recent weeks. On the outside, the next iPad is expected to look largely the same, with an external case featuring edges slightly more tapered than the iPad 2.

Another leak showed a purported “iPad 3″ logic board, featuring a processor labeled “A5X,” suggesting the chip could be a more powerful version of the A5 CPU currently found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S rather than a full-fledged “A6″ upgrade. Reports have also been divided as to whether the next iPad will be powered by a quad-core processor or a dual-core CPU.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to replace 30-pin iPhone, iPod, iPad connector with smaller alternative

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Date: Friday, February 24th, 2012, 07:10
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

It’s a rumor, but it involves replacing the classic 30-pin connector you know, love and are readily familiar with on your iPod, iPhone, and iPad with something new, so proceed to panic.

Also, begin hoarding food, as this means the apocalypse is well nigh.

An unsubstantiated rumor claims that Apple is looking to replace the venerable 30-pin iPhone, iPad and iPod dock connector with a smaller, space-saving successor that will possibly make a debut in the company’s next generation iPhone.

According to the iMore blog, unnamed sources have stated that the iPhone maker found a way to make the connector smaller in 2010 to help accommodate for the iPhone 4′s larger battery.

Another factor is the connector’s role in data transfer. With the advent of iCloud, AirPlay and the energy-sipping Bluetooth 4.0, a future iPhone may only need a cable for charging purposes.

It is unclear what would become of the huge ecosystem of existing “Made for iDevice” products, which is a lucrative business for both Apple and third-party companies, as it would be made obsolete by a redesigned connector.

Details remain scarce at this time, but check back and we’ll get information up as soon as it becomes available.