Review: Find My iPhone

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Date: Monday, June 21st, 2010, 11:28
Category: iPhone, Review, Software

By Steve Abrahamson

Friday, Apple released the Find My iPhone app (in truth it’ll find your iPad too). In this reviewer’s opinion, this is an app that should have been here a year ago, but I’m just glad it’s finally here.

Having this as an app is a terrific idea. A case study: early last year, before you could even get to Find My iPhone in Mobile Safari, my wife misplaced her phone, and we had to go home to find where she lost it. If we’d had this, I could have found it while we were still out – and it turns out, near where she’d left her iPhone. For families with more than one iDevice, this app makes a great functionality more accessible.



With tools this powerful, however, comes increased risk. Improper access to this functionality in the wrong hands could easily offer the potential for serious stalking, and Apple stands in the way by insisting on login credentials for the device you’re looking for, each time you launch the app.

Unfortunately, it “offers” you the same Login ID you last used to successfully log in – and there does not appear to be any way to clear it, even between sessions. I tried deleting the ID, but the app remembered the last successful login and “offered” it when I re-launched the app; so it doesn’t remember null values. I tried replacing the ID with a random word, but that wouldn’t stick either. Power cycling the iPhone didn’t even clear it.

Not only does the app offer whoever is launching it a user ID, it ignores non-valid ones: anyone launching the app can therefore be assured that any ID they find there is a real, valid ID.

I understand the desire to offer a helping hand to the end user, but this “offering” an email address – one of only two pieces of security info – blindly to whoever is holding the device is exactly the sort of thing AT&T got into mighty hot water for just two weeks ago, exposing millions of email addresses with iPads. This isn’t Facebook. This is an app that will silently give you the accurate location of a person (well, their iPhone, but that’s probably the same thing), or even let you lock them out or destroy their data.

For an app this powerful, with these kinds of security implications, “convenient” should lose to “secure.”

All Apple needs to do to fix this is rev the app to let it forget the login credentials between sessions. This otherwise wonderful little app would be so much the better for it.

Steve Abrahamson is a technologist and Certified FileMaker developer in Chicago. He has a small development firm, Ascending Technologies (http://www.asctech.com), and is really just a technofetishist writing software as a cover to buy more toys.

Review: Apple Store app

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Date: Tuesday, June 15th, 2010, 15:37
Category: Review, Software

applelogo_silver

By Steve Abrahamson

I just downloaded the new Apple Store app from Apple, and I must say, it’s quite nice.

Most of the comments seem to focus around crashing problems by people trying to pre-order their new iPhone 4. It didn’t crash for me at all, and I’m guessing that’s because I wasn’t interacting with AT&T’s servers, which are totally bogged down today (again). Overall, I think this a great app.

First off, it’s fantastic for Apple fans like me to have in my pocket, so that when a friend or colleague asks something about an Apple product, I can get specs right away, in seconds, in the palm of my hand. It’s great for that.

But I did find three problems, one frightening:

1.) It never asked for my account info, it just took it from the phone’s mobile me settings. That’s OK (it’s a first-party app, after all), but the app should say it did. So when I was idly poking around the app, I almost accidentally purchased several thousand dollars of stuff on my iTunes account! The app needs to make it more obvious at the start that it’s grabbing your credentials, and explicitly ask for permission to use them for purchases. I expect my iTunes account to never see purchases of over 10-20 bucks – I buy computers with a different credit card.

2.) Under Stores, it doesn’t offer the option to tell the store to set something aside for streamlined shopping. For instance, if you know you want to go in and buy a MacBook Pro and an LED display, and you know exactly what you want, there’s no way to specify that and have it waiting for you at the store to just pick up. If they want to get customers in the door and back out again in the most efficient way possible (and they do – they’ve done a lot to streamline and remove friction from shopping at the stores), they should offer this through the app. It’d be ground-breaking for computer retail, and be a great way to service the people who don’t need to spend time, just money.

You can set up an appointment with a Personal Shopper, who’s going to expect to answer questions and demo stuff… but the only way to say you want this stuff waiting for you is to put it in the “comments” section, and they might or might not even have a chance to read that – you have no way of telling.

3.) When I did look for Personal Shopper appointments, it told me there were none available at the store I wanted to go to. It did offer to look for nearby stores, which is nice, but I’d rather it was simply able to look further ahead. Do their servers only take appointments a few days out? Maybe they need to increase that.

Overall, this is a fantastic v1.0 app, and like most of Apple’s apps, it’s free. There’s plenty of time for refinements, but today, out of the gate, it’s an excellent app that every iPhone customer should have in their hip pocket.

Steve Abrahamson is a technologist and Certified FileMaker developer in Chicago. He has a small development firm, Ascending Technologies (http://www.asctech.com), and is really just a technofetishist writing software as a cover.

Review: Street Fighter IV for iPhone

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Date: Friday, June 4th, 2010, 05:01
Category: iPhone, Review

By Joshua Simmons

If someone had told me over a year ago when I picked up Street Fighter IV for the consoles that I’d play a near identical version for my iPhone, I would have feared for my hands and the onset of arthritis from trying to play such a complex fighter on the small touch screen. Thankfully, Capcom decided to have mercy on my digits and took the time to adapt the controls to a more comfortable scheme. It is worth stating I am also continually surprised by the games that are being release on the iPhone, Street Fighter IV being the latest example with its gorgeous graphics and little to no slow down. Of course, being one to enjoy Street Fighter games, and Capcom’s latest offering, I had to download this iPhone iteration and check it out for myself. So, how does it measure up to its big brother counterpart?

As mentioned, the graphics are superb and transfer well to the iPhone screen. Capcom effortlessly translates the new graphically style they employed in the console versions for this port; these aren’t your Street Fighter II 16-bit graphics. Even more impressive is they manage to do so with no slow down, or lag. I currently own the iPhone 3G model, which is typically slower and gets the shaft when it comes to higher profile games, and Street Fighter IV runs as smooth as possible whenever I pick it up. A few details in the character models are lost to fit the resolution of the screen, but this is still one of the best looking iPhone games to date. The soundtrack and audio are also excellent and what one would expect from a Street Fighter game. Something I am also thankful for in this game, that most iPhone games I have played don’t do, is the screen being orientated so that my hand isn’t covering the primary speaker the audio is coming out of while I am playing.

The gameplay and control scheme have been wisely adapted for this version, saving the screen from being cluttered with buttons. Instead of six attack buttons (light, medium, and heavy), we are given just two: punch and kick. There is also an onscreen joystick, as well as a button for specials and one for SFIV’s focus attack. This simplifies the gameplay a bit, and may seem disappointing to the hardcore, but it allows for an ease of play on the iPhone that is needed yet still leaves room for exploration. For example, Supers and Ultras can now be pulled off by not only performing a specific combo, but also by simply moving the stick in a certain direction and hitting the SP button, or Ultra meter. Lastly, a nice touch to the game is the allowance for customization of the control layout by individual buttons, not to mention the ability to adjust the transparency of the on screen buttons; which is useful if you prefer to see more of the action.

As great as the game is on the iPhone, it is not without its flaws, however. It is difficult to decide if the US$10 price tag justifies the amount of content in the game. On one hand, the game’s presentation exceeds that of anything else on the iPhone, but on the other it is limited in just what the gamer is getting out of it. With an offering of only eight fighters for the iPhone version versus the 25 in the console iteration, and 35 in the recently released Super Street Fighter IV, the roster is petite by comparison. As far as the game modes are concerned, the offerings are also scarce. You can play solo, which includes tournament, free sparring, and training modes yet lacks any story, time attack or survival. There is also a versus option via Bluetooth, however you will need a friend with an “idevice” as well as the game to play with. More desirable would have been a wifi versus option, but it stands to reason that it is just not possible at this time unfortunately. The game also lacks any unlockable extras, somewhat dampening its replayability.

Despite these few flaws and gripes, Street Fighter IV is an excellent game for the iPhone that offers something for everyone. The load screens can be a little too lengthy at times, but it is still easy to just pick up and jump into a fight while on the go. Regardless of a simplified interface and limited roster, the hardcore will be for the most part pleased with this offering. The graphics and audio are superb, and at just US$9.99, this is a most own game that will show off the power of your particular idevice. If anything, Street Fighter IV makes me even more excited to see just what else is in store for Apple mobile gaming in the future, especially considering the potential power of the soon-to-be announced 4th gen iPhone. Perhaps we will even be seeing a mobile version of Super Street Fighter IV? One can only hope.

Based on a 1 out of 5 point rating system, I would give Street Fighter IV for the iPhone a 4 out of 5.

Review: Flick Fishing HD

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Date: Monday, April 12th, 2010, 04:38
Category: iPhone, Review, Software

Those kooky game guys from Manhattan N.Y., Freeverse, released four apps for iPad just in time for the April 3rd debut. Two apps, Warpgate and CastleCraft, are exclusively for iPad. The other two are popular iPhone/Pod touch favorites, NBA Hotshot HD and Flick Fishing HD. I got to play with Flick Fishing HD just minutes after my iPad arrived via UPS.

Flick Fishing has become a very popular angling game at the iTunes App Store. First developed for the iPhone, the game features real motion casting. The new HD edition for the iPad includes all the extras from the iPhone version including the Fishing Pro pack and a MegaGuide. Freeverse has done a nice job with the game’s graphics and music. It’s obvious Flick Fishing HD has been tailored for iPad and it looks – and sounds – spectacular

Don’t know a Plaice from a Pike? Don’t worry, Flick Fishing HD has lots of help while you fish. Tap the game’s colorful icon and you’re presented with four options on an animated background – New Game, Help & Options, Photo Album and Village Shop. Select New Game and you’ll see three game play modes: Go Fishing, Tournament (play against other fishermen locally), and Fish Net (play with others over the internet). Chose your location to fish from a map, flick the iPad and start fishing. The game prompts you to complete the task at hand while you are serenaded with Carribean-style Island music. Somebody hand me a cold beer!

The experienced fisherman can plunge right in and select a challenging location, select the desired bait from their tackle box and cast away. Actually Flick Fishing offers many challenges and you can really get into the tournaments and Fish Net gameplay modes. The MegaGuide, included free with Flick Fishing HD, goes in to the details of the Island, suggesting different bait for each variety of fish, explaining the various locations and even some cheats if you like. Since the game is continually expanded with new content you can look forward to some exciting playtime.

If I had to pick nits with Freeverse I’d ask for more variety to the music – the steel drums get boring after a while. Thankfully you can turn off the music when you tire of it. And I’d like to have a way to search the MegaGuide. As great as the graphics are on this game I found a minor flaw – a few stray pixels were wandering around at the bottom of my iPad’s screen.

Flick Fishing HD is an graphically-rich and entertaining game for the iPad. For US$2.99 you really can’t afford to pass it up.

Flick Fishing HD requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later to install and run.

Review: Apple iPad Cover

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 03:30
Category: Accessory, iPad, Review

By Mike DeWalt

So, you’ve bought your iPad – or are thinking about it – and you’re starting to think about accessorizing. You have several options even at this early stage: You can pick up an extra charger, a dock, an external keyboard, a VGA adapter, a USB connector for your camera, and headphones or ear buds. All are worthy additions that some iPad owners will want.

There is however, what I’d consider a “must have” for all iPad owners … and that’s some kind of cover or case. I’ve had my iPad since Saturday morning and it came to work naked with me on Monday and Tuesday … and that wasn’t good. Without a cover it’s more prone to bumps, scratches, and drops. Also, the screen seems to collect greasy finger smudges and it’s tough to carry it around naked without getting the screen even more smudged up.

So, I was pleased that my official US$39 Apple iPad case arrived late yesterday afternoon. My initial impressions are somewhat mixed. In terms of the form factor, I’m 100% sold. This is absolutely the type of case I need. The iPad slides into the right side, it’s a snug and secure fit, the screen is uncovered and there are cutouts for all the do-dads … on/off button, dock connector, speaker, headphone jack, etc. The left side folds over the screen like a book cover. Think legal pad folio.

The material is very slightly padded, but not so much that it makes the sleek iPad bulky. The cover is mostly rigid and offers decent protection. The surface of the material is matt with a very fine texture. The cover can fold backward and clip into a flap on the back of the case to make it a nifty little stand that you can use in portrait or landscape mode.

All-in-all a very good form factor and a reasonable value for 39 bucks. So, why did I say my impressions were mixed? Three reasons:

1. The edges are a bit sharp and stiff where the seams are joined (pinched together). It would have been better if they were rounded around the edge.

2. The “stand” feature is a great idea and should work fine on dry land. However, I’m not so sure it’s stable enough to use on a train or plane table without falling over.

3. The iPad itself looks like a million bucks. It feels and looks like a very high quality product … really nice. The Apple iPad cover is a bit more “utilitarian”. It works, it looks OK, and the price is fine. In other words, iPad=Filet Mignon … iPad Case=a good hot dog.

The Bottom Line:
I’ll happily use this case … I’m glad I have it because a naked iPad is a recipe for trouble in my hands. But I’ll keep my eye out for something better down the road once the 3rd party suppliers get cranked up.

Review: iPad

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 5th, 2010, 04:19
Category: News, Review

By Michael DeWalt

Arrival and Unpacking:
At about 10 AM Saturday morning, Santa, otherwise known as the UPS guy, rang the doorbell. The anticipation was intense, but it’s here — the iPad has landed. To be more specific, an iPad Wi-Fi 64GB is now in hand. It took willpower not to just rip into the box, but I held back and took a few photos of the unveiling.

The picture above is the package as it was delivered. After the wait and all the hype it seemed…well…a little less grand than I’d envisioned.

Inside, the packaging was simple and efficient with recyclable cardboard packaging. All’s well so far.

Inside the box there’s not much – the iPad, a one page document that basically just points out what the buttons do, and underneath that rests the 10W power adapter and sync cable. That’s it. If you’re looking for ear buds, stop, they’re not included.

Before turning it on I decided to plug it in, just for good measure. As it turns out that was a waste of time, it was fully charged out of the box. For a size reference, it’s parked next to a MacBook Air.

First Impressions:
Mobility and weight are important as I spend about 30% of my time on the road, or more accurately, on airplanes. So, I was pleasantly surprised at how light it felt when I picked it up for the first time. It’s subjective I know, but to me it felt “light”. At a pound and a half it’s about half the weight of the MacBook Air, but a little more than double the weight of my first generation Kindle.

Durability is high on my list of desirable attributes, but, like all new expensive electronic gadgets, I’ll treat it like a newborn baby for the first week or two. I babied the Kindle for a while … but now it gets tossed around and travels without a cover. The iPad feels more substantial than the Kindle, and not just because it’s bigger. Apple knows how to build a device that not only looks great, but oozes quality.

The First Sync:
Before turning it on I plugged it into a Mac Pro and fired up iTunes. Make sure you’re using iTunes 9.1, you’ll need it to sync. Below are several screen shots that show registration and syncing. If you’ve ever set up an iPod or iPhone the process will be very familiar.




Using the iPad:
iPad navigation is almost identically to the iPod Touch and iPhone, and that’s not surprising since it uses the iPhone OS. It’s intuitive and easy to navigate.

Keyboard and Controls:
The touch screen keyboard is available in both portrait and landscape modes. If you have more than an ID and password to type you’ll appreciate the added size of the keyboard in landscape mode. Most people will find that it works just fine for a device like this. I found it to be accurate and relatively speedy, even with my chunky fingers. The keyboard makes a satisfying “click” through the speaker with each key press, though you can turn the click off if you want. Typing an email, note, or web address was absolutely no problem. However, if you’re a budding writer working on your novel, you probably don’t want to do it on an iPad unless you spring for the external keyboard.

In terms of buttons and switches, there aren’t many. It’s a super-slick package with the “Home” button near the dock port, an on/off button on the top, a button to lock out rotation, and a volume toggle. That’s it.

Battery Life:
After two days of significant use I think it’s safe to say that, in normal use the battery shouldn’t be a concern. The design theory seems to have been “use it all day on a full charge, plug it in before you go to bed, then do it all over again the next day.” I had it on for about six hours on Saturday and the indicator still said over 50%. Yes, I know that’s not as great as a Kindle, buy hey, so what. If I can go full out all day that’s fine, I don’t mind charging it overnight.

Web Browsing and Email:
If you’ve used Safari on a Mac, PC, or iPhone you’ll be right at home. You can open multiple windows and jump between them, just like the iPhone. During the initial set up and registration process I turned on the MobileMe sync and my email, contacts, calendar, and bookmarks all synced flawlessly. One piece of advice on bookmarks … using the bookmark bar really speeds browsing. The screen is big enough to give up a little real estate for it. In general, the web browsing experience is much more like using a laptop than an iPhone. However, as widely reported, Adobe Flash is a no-go. That makes many sites less rich and some downright unusable.

Mail was a pleasant surprise and for whatever reason, using my finger in place of the mouse seemed more “right” than with any other app, except maybe “Photos”. Mail layout is simple and intuitive. One problem though is printing … it doesn’t. Sure, you can pick up a third party app and get the job done, but there’s no built-in ability to print anything

In summary, Safari and Mail are easy and intuitive … except no Flash in Safari, less than perfect attachment options in Mail, and no printing ability.

Media – Video and Music:
Media is where the iPad really shines. Movies look stunning – a rich crisp screen and plenty of processor power for smooth playback. A few of my recent Blu-ray movie purchases have included digital copies (Zombieland and Sherlock Holmes), and they not only look great, they have chapters with thumbnails … like movies downloaded from the iTunes Movie Store. Music Videos and TV shows look great as well. Movie and TV downloads from the iTunes store worked fine and transferred to my Mac Pro when I synced the iPad.

Since the iPad is essentially a mobile device you’ll often be around other people when you use it – on the train, airplanes, in the library, waiting rooms, airports, etc. So, you’ll probably use ear buds or headphones to listen. That said, the built-in speaker develops enough volume that it’s a usable option. If I’m in a hotel room and want to watch a TV show or movie I’d be happy to prop it up and jack up the speaker volume. It’s not what you’d call hi-fi quality, but it’s definitely usable.

Using the iPod app was easy. In particular, I like the “Songs, Artists, Albums, Genres, Composers” bar at the bottom of the screen which makes it easy to browse your music collection. One minor complaint though, when you browse by genre you get a list of all the songs in that genre. It would have been better to group them by artist or album within genre.

Once you get a song playing you get album artwork filling the screen, and it looks great. While you’re playing music can hit the home button, fire up a different app, and music will continue to play while you’re checking email or playing a killer game of solitaire.

Photo Browsing:
The Photo app syncs with either your iPhoto library or a folder of pictures. If you sync with iPhoto you can do it all or just the albums, events or faces you want. I synced about 2,000 photos in two dozen albums and it all worked fine.

Viewing your pictures couldn’t be easier. When you open the Photo app it shows your albums as stacks of photos. Tap one and thumbnails appear. Tap a thumbnail and the picture opens. You can flick through the pictures like on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

You can zoom and shrink with the pinch and expand gesture, you can run a slideshow, email pictures, and copy pictures. There aren’t any editing tools built in, but hey, this is a viewer and a darned good one.

iBooks and the Bookstore … and the Kindle App:
I’m a big fan of the Kindle. I’ve downloaded and read about 50 books on my first generation Kindle. Sure it has its quirks, but it’s been a great reader. I’m giving to my daughter.

The Kindle app for the iPad is a better experience than reading Kindle books on the Kindle itself. The books in your Kindle library show up with colorful covers, it’s fast, and the screen is crisp and easy to read. With the Kindle app I was able to log into my account, select the books I wanted moved to the iPad, and I ordered a new book (from the Amazon Website). All in all it was easy to get all of my current Kindle content on the iPad.

The iBooks app is excellent. You can read one page at a time in portrait mode or two pages at a time in landscape. You can go to the table of contents and jump to a chapter, you can change the font and font size. With illustrations and photos in color and the bigger screen this will definitely be a platform for textbooks. What’s currently missing though, is an ability to annotate and highlight.

The bookstore has over 50,000 titles at introduction, but is way behind Amazon. I’m sure Apple’s store will increase, and that’ll be great, but the iPad isn’t closed. If I can’t find what I want I can always shop the Kindle store and use the Kindle app.

A lot’s been written about the E ink screen versus the iPad’s LED-backlit glossy screen. Yes, if you want to read in the bright sunshine the LED screen will be a problem. That said, I’ve never found myself reading that way. For me the problem has been just the opposite. I frequently read in low light situations… in bed and on a dim evening flight. I think the bright screen will be just fine. I’ve done three separate one-hour book-reading sessions so far and not experienced any noticeable eye strain. It is heavier though, and I find myself changing hands often.

Bottom line… it’s a good book reader and my daughter will be the proud owner of a used Kindle.

Using the iPad for business – Pages, Numbers, and Keynote:
So far so good … the iPad is great for movies, music, and books, and it’s a decent platform for browsing the web and using email. Unfortunately, it falls a bit short as a business tool.

What I wanted to see was relatively modest:
1. Ability to read and write Microsoft Office formats,
2. Reasonable formatting compatibility,
3. Ease of use … the ability to modify existing documents and create relatively basic documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go, and
4. Conveniently get files on and off the iPad to share.

So, how does it perform? It’s easy to create new documents, spreadsheets, and presentations – much easier and more usable than I expected. There are several built in templates that make it easy to get quick professional looking work done.

It’ll read Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats, and in my tests it did a decent (but not perfect) job of formatting. It’ll also save your word processing documents in Microsoft Word format. What it absolutely does not do is save in Excel and PowerPoint formats. That’s a problem for me. When I’m on the road I mostly read and review material that’s emailed to me, but once in a while I need to edit or create a spreadsheet or presentation and send it back to the office. Yes, you can email it as a PDF or iWork format … but I work in a Windows world and Microsoft Office compatibility is a must. This is a serious flaw in Numbers and Keynote and it’ll need to be addressed either by Apple or an easy to use third party app.

Another problem is the ability to get work to and from your iPad. There are two options, email or syncing with iTunes on your computer. That’s a real pain. A USB port would have been good. 95% of the time I’ll be able to travel with the iPad and leave my laptop and Kindle at home… but better integration with MS Office and a USB port would have really sealed the deal.

The Bottom Line:
The iPad is without a doubt a ground breaking device, is crazy good at what it does best, but has its flaws, particularly as a business tool.

Pros – Instant on (no time consuming boot up), large vibrant screen for such a portable device, great battery life, good web and email experience, great video & music player, usable built in speaker, very good book reader (including my already purchased Kindle library), great build quality, and large and growing selection of apps.

Cons – Only partially file compatibility with Microsoft Office, limited ability to get files on and off, limited ability to add multiple attachments to email, and no built in ability to print. Also, the glossy screen looks fantastic, but is highly prone to smudgy fingerprints.

Debatable – The on screen keyboard is good, but it’s still not like a real keyboard. Love for the keyboard will likely be inversely proportional to the amount of typing being done.

Summary:
After a few days of heavy use and review am I happy I bought an iPad? Absolutely. For at least the next three months I’ll be an early adopting geek rock star. It’ll be the focus of attention at meetings when I pop it out to take notes, people will stop and stare when I’m reading an ibook on the train, and all the people watching movies on their Nano at 35,000 feet will bow down in awe. So, yes, I’m very happy with it. However, it wants to be connected at all times. I’m already feeling a need for 3G.

OWC releases additional Do-It-Yourself upgrade kits for Apple notebooks, Mac minis

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 07:15
Category: Hardware, Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

Peripherals provider and all-around-useful company Other World Computing (OWC) has announced the release of over 50 Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Storage Upgrade Kits for Apple’s notebooks and Mac mini computers.

Per Macsimum News, suggested retail pricing starts at US$67.99 for a model that consists of a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive up to 1TB, an OWC brand FireWire and/or USB 2.0 bus powered 2.5-inch portable external enclosure, and a five piece installation tool kit.

With an OWC DIY Storage Upgrade Kit, Mac and PC notebook users and Mac mini users can upgrade their computer’s internal hard drive to a new larger capacity and/or faster speed, transfer their data to the new drive, and then continue using the “old” drive by installing it into the provided OWC enclosure for a “new” pocket-sized external drive.

Toshiba rolls out 750GB, 1TB notebook hard drives

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 25th, 2010, 05:26
Category: hard drive, Hardware

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Electronics manufacturer Toshiba announced the release of its MK7559GSXP (just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) notebook drive Wednesday night. Per Electronista, the 2.5″ notebook drive is the first to hold 750GB but reach the same 9.5mm height as most slimmer notebook hard drives. As such, it can provide the capacity expected of a desktop hard drive but fit into thin-and-light notebooks like the MacBook Pro as well as all-in-one desktops and digital media hubs.

Despite featuring about 17% more capacity, the new SATA II drive consumes about 14% less power than the 640GB predecessor it’s set to replace and could extend the theoretical battery life. The units spins at just 5,400RPM, but its very high density, two-platter design may compensate for the perceived drop in access speed.

In tandem with the thin drive, Toshiba is rolling out the MKxx59GSM line, which brings 750GB and 1TB drives but in a taller three-platter, 12.5mm profile more suited to desktop replacement notebooks and other computers where thinness isn’t an absolute priority. Either rotates at the same speed but is slightly less energy-efficient.

All three of the disks are due to start sampling for system builders in April and should enter mass production soon afterwards.

Rumor: Apple Could Release Verizon iPhone at Jan. 27th Media Event, Additional Tablet Specs Emerge

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 21st, 2010, 05:03
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

verizon-logo-470x310

Albeit a new generation iPhone isn’t expected until June, Apple could use its January 27th media event at the Yerba Buena to announce a Verizon handset next week.

Per AppleInsider, Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek has stated that he expects Apple to announce a Verizon iPhone as well as introduce iPhone OS 4.0. The Verizon iPhone could fall under the category of Steve Jobs’ “One More Thing…” used at the end of his product announcement speeches.

Misek said he believes tiered data plans are imminent with most wireless carriers in the U.S., but his checks with industry sources indicate that a Verizon-capable iPhone would still carry an unlimited data plan. He also said that the new handset will run on both CDMA and GSM networks.

“Together with our semi-conductor partners, we have ascertained that there is a reasonable chance the Asian supply chain is prepping for mass production of a new iPhone in March, for availability in late Q2, likely June,” he said.

In addition, he predicted the new handset will have different pricing than Apple’s current model. However, he said, sources have not provided any details on prices.

Misek also stated that he expects Apple to release an LTE-capable “4GS” iPhone in June 2011.

Per Apple’s long-anticipated tablet, analyst Ashok Humar of Northeast Securities has stated that he believes the tablet will be available in a subsidized model through Verizon at launch.

Kumar has offered his thoughts as to the tablet’s specs, which he believes will be manufactured by Samsung and will be based on the Cortex-A8 ARM architecture, rather than the new Cortex-A9, with a speed of about 1GHz.

As for a Verizon-compatible iPhone, Kumar disagrees with Misek that the handset would be a world phone capable of both CDMA and GSM networks. Kumar has stated that dual-mode chips from Qualcomm will not likely see enough availability for a June iPhone launch. Instead, Kumar expects a separate CDMA-only phone to be introduced in 2010, alongside the existing GSM-only models.

Six days and we’ll see what’s what, homegeese. Six days.

iFixIt Posts Teardown Gallery, Video for White Unibody MacBook

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 22nd, 2009, 05:17
Category: Hardware, MacBook

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On Tuesday, the ultimate nerds over at iFixIt published a full teardown gallery of Apple’s new white unibody MacBook laptop that is in turn replacing the low-end US$999 white polycarbonate MacBook notebook.

Some of the major changes include:

- Polycarbonate unibody construction.

- Display featuring LED backlighting.

- A multi-touch glass trackpad.

- Integrated battery.

- No more FireWire or IR port.

- No external battery indicator.

- No Mini-DVI port, replaced by a Mini DisplayPort.

iFixit has highlighted several interesting aspects of the new design:

-The new battery is only 5 more watt-hours than the previous version’s yet it adds two hours of run time, meaning the machine is markedly more efficient.

-The battery is actually lighter than the older model.

-Unlike the earlier model, AirPort and Bluetooth share the same board, and all three antenna cables route into the display, meaning a possible improvement in Bluetooth range.

-The MacBook has exactly the same GPU and CPU as the baseline 13″ MacBook Pro.

Since a picture’s worth quite a few words, take a gander at the video:



Head on over, take a gander and if you pick up a new unit for yourself, let us know what you think of it in the comments.