Apple confirms manufacturing issue that could shorten battery life in some iPhone 5s units

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Date: Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, 10:58
Category: battery, Hardware, iPhone

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If your iPhone 5s’ battery seems a bit wonky, there’s a valid reason for it.

Per 9to5Mac and The New York Times, Apple has confirmed that a “very limited” number of iPhone 5s units could experience shortened battery life as the result of a manufacturing problem.

“We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5S devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life,” said Teresa Brewer, an Apple spokeswoman. “We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone.”

The exact number of affected units is not clear, but the statement is said to imply that the number is in the few thousands range. Apple sold 9 million iPhones total over its opening weekend. The article notes that a manufacturing problem does not equal a defective battery, so it is unclear what the actual source of the issue is.

Affected users can expect to be contacted by Apple soon and will be issued a replacement phone.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: LG closer to becoming iWatch component supplier, Samsung apparently shut out of consideration

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Date: Tuesday, October 29th, 2013, 10:45
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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The iWatch rumors continue, this time focusing on component suppliers.

Per AppleInsider and the Korea Herald, one report claiming LG Display is closing in on a deal to supply a portion of the device’s flexible OLED screens, while longtime supply partner Samsung will be shut out of the project.

Citing an “expert,” The Korea Herald on Tuesday reported that LG is close to furthering its partnership with Apple, and may soon ink a deal to provide screens for the Cupertino company’s much rumored “iWatch.”

“LG Display has been in talks over flexible organic light-emitting diode panels for quite a while and it looks like it will be sealing the deal with Apple,” the anonymous source said.

Currently, LG supplies Apple with LCD panels for the iPad, MacBook and iMac product lineups.

Along with LG, Taiwan’s RiTDisplay is also rumored to be a main contender for Apple’s purported wearable device. In May, a report claimed Apple was looking into the firm’s 1.5-inch one-glass touchscreen technology, which would allow the iWatch to be as thin and light as possible.

Notably absent from the list of possible suppliers is Samsung. According to the publication’s sources, Apple recently met with the Korean tech giant to discuss the matter, but discussions fell flat. Samsung is currently marketing its own smart watch in the Galaxy Gear, which has seen negative reviews from critics and high return rates from consumers.

Apple has yet to use OLEDs in any of its consumer products, but the power-sipping tech is a good fit for small portables like a smart watch. The iWatch rumor has been circulating for some time, and is continually on the verge of “launching soon.” The most recent chatter points to a 2014 unveiling, but hard evidence supporting a near-future debut has yet to surface.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit completes teardowns of late-2013 MacBook Pro notebooks, finds significant changes

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Date: Friday, October 25th, 2013, 10:56
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

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The new late-2013 MacBook Pro teardown is complete.

And iFixit found some pretty nifty stuff in there.

Per AppleInsider and iFixit, the company has completed full teardowns of the 13-inch version of Apple’s latest Retina MacBook Pro lineup as well as the 15-inch version. The 13-inch version apparently benefited the most from Haswell’s focus on power efficiency, reducing the number of fans in the clamshell casing from two to one, according to iFixit. The reduction is likely one of the primary reasons Apple was able to shrink the smaller notebook’s vertical cross-section to match its larger sibling’s 0.71 inch thin profile.

Both the 13- and 15-inch variants sport a new, streamlined heatsink which combines the thermal pads for the CPU and GPU. Previously, each chip – in models with discrete GPUs — had its own thermal pad, and the two were connected to the fans via heat pipes.

The repair site also noted that the headphone jack is now soldered directly onto the logic board, rather than connected via a ribbon cable or wire. Since the headphone jack is one of the few parts in the laptops that is subjected to repeated wear and tension, it makes replacing the port expensive.

In addition to the structural changes, both units feature faster PCIe-based storage, which comes in the form of a replaceable daughtercard. The laptops’ other elements, including the display construction and battery placement, remain largely the same.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new notebook or have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple unveils new Mac Pro units, announces December ship date

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 10:34
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News

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Apple’s new Mac Pro desktop has been revealed.

And it’s kinda pricey.

Per AppleInsider, Apple took the wraps off the last unannounced details on its upcoming Mac Pro desktop, namely price and release date at yesterday’s press event, with the professional-grade machine set to debut in December with a starting price of US$2,999.

The new Mac Pro is one-eighth the volume of the previous Mac Pro. It features Xeon E5 processors of up to 12 cores, as well as AMD FirePro graphics.

It also sports next-generation flash with a PCIe controller with up to 1.2GB/s reads, 1.0GB/s writes, and up to 1-terabyte capacity. Thunderbolt connectivity offers 20Gb/s throughput.

The new Mac Pro can drive up to three 4K displays with HDMI 1.4 support.

A new integrated motion controller also illuminates the input-output on the back when the device is moved.

A revamped version of Final Cut Pro X has also been developed by Apple, designed to take advantage of the horsepower of the new Mac Pro. As part of Tuesday’s presentation, quotes from audio and video professionals praising the device were shared after they had time to sample the hardware pre-release.

The base model of Apple’s next-generation desktop features a 3.7-gigzhertz Intel Xeon E5 processor, 12 gigabytes of RAM, dual FirePro D300 GPUs with 2 gigabytes of video RAM each, and a 256 gigabyte solid state drive.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple introduces Retina iPad mini, aims for November release date

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:31
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, News

Now THIS is the thing you’ve been hankering for.

Per Macworld, Apple announced a new iPad mini with Retina display at its press event on Tuesday, the company also lowering prices for the original iPad mini, giving its smaller tablet much-anticipated upgrades to its screen, processor, cameras, and more.

As hoped and expected—the new iPad mini with Retina display ups the screen resolution to Retina quality, going from 1024 by 768 pixels to 2048 by 1536 pixels at the same 7.9-inch (diagonal) screen size. This change raises the iPad mini’s pixel density from 163 pixels per inch to 326 pixels per inch—a density almost identical to that of the iPhone 5s.


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The new mini gets some upgrades on the inside, as well. Whereas the original mini used the same dual-core A5 processor, at the same clock speed, as the two-and-a-half-year-old iPad 2, the new mini line bumps its horsepower significantly by using Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor, similar to the one in the iPhone 5s. During Tuesday’s media event, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that the new processor makes the Retina iPad mini up to four times as fast as its predecessor for processor-intensive tasks, and up to eight times faster for graphics-intensive tasks. Like the new full-size iPad, the iPad mini with Retina display also features Apple’s M7 motion coprocessor, which can monitor the device’s various motion sensors (accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope) without having to wake the main processor.

The new mini also gains upgraded wireless capabilities thanks to dual Wi-Fi antennas and support for MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology. Apple says this change allows the new iPad mini to communicate at up to twice the bandwidth: 300 MBps (megabytes per second). The cellular-equipped versions of the new iPad mini also include expanded LTE capabilities, allowing them to work on more LTE networks around the world.

Apple has also upgraded the iPad mini’s cameras slightly. Though the resolution of those cameras hasn’t changed (5 megapixels for the rear camera, 1.2 megapixels for the front FaceTime HD camera), the company says the new iPad mini gains larger pixels and improved backside illumination sensors in order to take better low-light photos. In addition, the improved image-signal processing of the A7 processor should provide better overall camera performance.

Apple says the new iPad mini with Retina display offers the same 10-hour battery life as the original iPad mini. However, it appears that accomplishing this feat while adding the additional power drain of a Retina display required Apple to increase—ever so slightly—the size and weight of the new iPad mini. The new version is exactly the same height (200mm) and width (134.7mm) as the original, but it’s a tiny big thicker (7.5mm compared to 7.2mm) and a little bit heavier: 331 grams versus 308 grams for the Wi-Fi model, and 341 grams versus 312 grams for the Wi-Fi + Cellular version.

The iPad mini with Retina display will be available in silver/white or Space Gray/black “later in November,” according to Apple. The Wi-Fi versions will retail for US$399 for 16GB, US$499 for 32GB, US$599 for 64GB, and US$699 for 128GB—a first in that capacity for the iPad mini. Cellular versions add US$130 to each: US$529, US$629, US$729, and US$829, respectively.

By all accounts, the original iPad mini has been a big hit for Apple, even though other small tablets, such as the latest Nexus 7, have debuted with better specs or lower prices. The new iPad mini line should blunt some of that spec-sheet-based criticism.

Along with the new iPad mini units, the company is keeping the original iPad mini around—in a single configuration—as a lower-price option. Specifically, the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini is now priced at US$299, rather than its original price of US$329, with the Wi-Fi + Cellular version at US$429. The cellular version is available for the U.S. networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Apple did make one minor change to the original iPad mini: It’s now available in Space Gray or Silver, rather than the original black or white. It is available now.

Both iPad mini versions (Retina and non-Retina) ship with iOS 7 installed, and—as with all devices running iOS 7—allow you to download Apple’s iLife and iWork suites for iOS free of charge.

Finally, Apple announced new cases for its new Retina iPad mini. The new iPad mini Smart Cover, made of polyurethane, will sell for US$39. A new leather iPad Smart Case will cost US$69.

As always, let us know what you make of this and if Apple delivered what you wanted or if improvements could be made.

Apple releases updated MacBook Pro notebooks, offers $200 drop from previous price points

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:59
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

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If you were hoping for a cool new Apple notebook from today’s media event, this might be it.

Per Mac|Life, Apple VP of Marketing Phil Schiller announced significant updates for the 13- and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros. Schiller announced that the 13-inch version is now both thinner and lighter, clocking in at 3.46 pounds and .71 inches thin.

The new notebooks also feature a Haswell chip, Iris graphics, all of which makes it up to 90 percent faster. All total, that deliver nine hours of battery life, enough, Schiller said, to watch Christopher Nolan’s entire Dark Knight saga in one go. But with all those improvements, Schiller had some other good news. The new MacBook Pro will sell for US$1,299, marking US$200 drop from before, and it’s even shipping today.

Schiller then moved on to discuss the 15-inch version, which has 2.4GHz Core i5, 4GB ram and a 128GB SSD, which is also shipping today. The new unit includes Crystalwell chip with Iris Pro graphics with the option to add a GeForce 750M. Additional specs include around 8 hours of battery life, PCIe Flash, 802.11ac, and Thunderbolt 2. The 15-inch unit also saw a price decrease–it now sells for US$1,999, down from US$2,199, and is also shipping today.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple asks developer community to begin submitting Mavericks-optimized apps

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 22:19
Category: News, Software

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It’s about time for Mavericks.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has asked developers to begin submitting OS X Mavericks-optimized apps. On Apple’s official News and Announcements page for developers, the company said:

“Submit your OS X Mavericks apps today.

Make sure your app takes advantage of the great new features in OS X Mavericks when the world’s most advanced desktop operating system becomes available to millions of customers later this fall. Download OS X Mavericks GM seed and Xcode 5.0.1 GM seed, now available on the Mac Dev Center. Build your apps with these latest seeds, then test and submit them to the Mac App Store.”

The timing of the request correlates to Apple’s announcement today that it is holding another product launch event on October 22. Though the latest Mac Pro and MacBook Pros are expected to be announced (along with new iPads), it’s unlikely that OS X Mavericks will ship that day. However, the fact that Apple is requesting devs get their Mavericks apps ready suggests the new OS could launch in the days following the event.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VirtualBox updated to 4.3.0

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 22:22
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a tidy update.

VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.3.0. The new version, a 113 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes with the full release notes posted here:
- VMM: major rewrite of the VT-x code and the AMD-V code including many bug fixes and performance improvements (for example bug #9659).

- VMM: introduced a lightweight instruction interpreter for situations not handled by hardware virtualization.

- GUI: extended messaging mechanism (new non-modal popup overlays used to show non-critical warnings and provide user with additional information).

- GUI: keyboard shortcuts management (input page of global preferences extended with possibility to edit general keyboard shortcuts for VirtualBox Manager and Virtual Machine).

- GUI: video capturing support (bug #4766).

- Added USB touch device emulation.

- Added experimental support for webcam passthrough complementing USB passthrough (see the manual for more information).

- Added SCSI CD-ROM emulation, including boot support.

- VRDP: support for IPv6.

- Guest Control: guest sessions now are running in dedicated, impersonated session processes (needs at least Guest Additions 4.3 installed).

- Guest Control: implemented IGuestFile support.

- NAT: experimental virtual router mode: several VMs are attached to the same internal network and share one NAT service (see the manual for more information).

VirtualBox 4.3.0 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple to release next-gen MacBook Pro notebooks in late October, next-gen Mac Pro in mid-November

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 22:36
Category: Hardware, iPad, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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The upcoming MacBook Pro and Mac Pro rumors are coming in thanks to the French.

Per French web site MacG.co, Alleged availability dates for some of Apple’s anticipated upcoming products were reported on Tuesday, pegging new MacBook Pros to launch in just over a week, with the revamped Mac Pro desktop apparently set to debut in mid November.

The site has stated that the new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros will be available for sale either Oct. 24 or 25. It’s expected that Apple’s new professional-grade notebooks will feature Intel’s latest-generation Haswell processors, which offer significant savings in power consumption, thus improving battery life.

As for the new Mac Pro, which Apple already gave a sneak peek at earlier this year, the site claims that the new desktop will be available for delivery on Nov. 15.

The site also claims that Apple’s fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini will go on sale either Oct. 30 or 31. It’s unclear whether that would be the date orders would begin, or if the devices would be available to physically have in hand.

The iPad dates are somewhat suspect, as Apple traditionally launches new iOS products on Fridays. For example, last year the Wi-Fi-only versions of the first-generation iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad went on sale Nov. 2, on their way to total sales of 3 million total units in the first three days of availability.

Apple is expected to announce dates for multiple new products at a media event anticipated for Oct. 22. With that date just a week away, it’s likely that invitations to members of the press will be sent out later today.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Fifth-generation iPad, iPad mini 2 to feature 8 megapixel cameras, Sony to function as exclusive sensor supplier

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, 07:42
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Rumor

You can’t say the rumor mill isn’t interesting.

Per AppleInsider and a recent report from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s iPad and iPad mini will both sport 8 megapixel rear cameras with new lens elements from Genius and Largan. It’s also been rumored that the sensor modules will be provided solely by Sony.

In his note to investors, Kuo predicts Apple will launch the so-called “iPad 5″ and “iPad mini 2″ later in quarter four, with upgraded 8MP shooters and enhanced lens elements. Separately, an inside source tells stated that Sony nabbed all sensor orders bound for the next-generation tablets.

With the new Sony sensors, Apple will bump resolution to 8MP, up from 5MP in the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini. The boosted specs will be a first for Apple, which traditionally fields tablets with cameras comparatively lower in resolution than the flagship iPhone.

The source did not specify what type of module will be used, but it can be speculated that Apple will employ a backside illuminated component, possibly with larger 1.5-micron pixels, as seen in the iPhone 5s.

As for Kuo’s report, the analyst believes Apple will rely on camera upgrades to further differentiate the iPad from competitors in a tablet market becoming increasingly crowded with high-spec Android devices.

Apple’s previous ace in the hole, the Retina display, has been effectively implemented by a number of other manufacturers. Most recently, Amazon’s 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX tablets boast pixel densities of 323 ppi and 339 ppi, respectively, much higher than the 264 ppi found in Apple’s fourth-generation iPad.

Along with the sensor upgrade, Kuo notes the iPad 5 will sport an updated five-element lens module with larger aperture manufactured by Genius Optics and Largan. The two firms are responsible for the optics used in Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c.

Finally, Kuo forecasts shipments of the iPad 5 at 1.2 million units and 10.5 million units for the third and fourth quarter, respectively. The iPad mini 2 stands at zero units in quarter three and 2.1 million units in quarter four. This last metric aligns with a report earlier today that claimed the mini would see severe supply constraints if launched this year.

This is all speculation at this point, but please stay tuned for additional details as we get them.