Recent Xcode references point towards quad-core ARM CPUs for future iOS devices

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Date: Friday, September 23rd, 2011, 09:12
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

While Apple may not always tell you what hardware features are on the horizon where its iOS devices are concerned, the development tools can spill the beans.

Per the cool cats at Ars Technica, a number of references found inside Apple’s Xcode developer tool point towards quad-core ARM CPUs, hinting at next-generation processors that will power Apple’s future iPhones and iPads.

The references specifically point towards the idea that Apple recently added support for Marvell’s quad-core ARM-based Armada XP processor.

Author Chris Foresman concluded that it’s “most probable” that Apple is using the Marvell chip in prototype versions of future iPhones and iPads. The existing chip could serve as a placeholder while Apple works on its own custom-built next-generation processors.

Reports have indicated that Apple’s next anticipated ARM CPU, dubbed “A6,” will be built on a 28-nanometer process and use 3D stacking technology. There has been no mention of a quad-core ARM CPU from Apple in 2012. The A5 CPU found in the iPad 2 is a dual core processor.

It’s also possible that the Xcode references signal that Apple will begin using Marvell chips in future iOS devices, or even a next-generation MacBook Air, something that Apple has been rumored to be testing in its internal labs. However, Foresman noted that Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge and Haswell processors are built on an advanced 22-nanometer process that will boost performance and reduce battery life, while ditching Intel would require developers to recompile Mac OS X software for ARM-based Macs.

Apple’s so-called “A6” CPU is believed to be in trial production for a 2012 launch, presumably in a third-generation iPad. The company is believed to have even signed a new foundry agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to build an “A7” CPU, which would be projected to debut in devices in 2013.

Apple began designing its own chips following the acquisition of boutique microprocessor design company P.A. Semi in 2008 for US$278 million. Then in 2010, Apple acquired Intrinsity, another chipmaker, for an estimated $121 million.

Apple’s custom chips debuted last year in the first-generation iPad, in the form of the A4 processor. That same chip later appeared in the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch, while the A5 debuted this March in the iPad 2.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.2 build 11C62 to developer community, includes additional iCloud tools

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Date: Friday, September 23rd, 2011, 06:05
Category: News, Software

System updates: they’re a good thing.

Per AppleInsider, sources close to the story have stated that Apple has released a new beta of Mac OS X 10.7.2 was supplied to developers on Thursday with no known issues.

The latest build, coined “11C62”, and weighs in at 740.2MB in its delta form. It comes less than a week after the last beta of Mac OS X 10.7.2 was supplied for testing.

The latest Lion betas have included iCloud integration, while previous builds required that developers download a separate installer to test Apple’s forthcoming syncing and storage service.

The new beta comes the same day that Apple has warned developers it will reset all iCloud data. The reset is being done in preparation for the launch of the new free service.

Apple has not officially announced a specific release date for iCloud, and instead revealed in June that the service will become available this fall. It will store content such as photos, e-mail and contacts, and wirelessly push it to devices, including Macs, iPhones and iPads.

People familiar with the beta issued on Thursday said the latest build again has no known issues. The focus areas are said to remain the same as they were previously, and include Address Book, Graphics Drivers, iCal, iChat, iCloud, the Mac App Store, Mail, MobileMe, Safari, Spotlight and Time Machine.

Mac OS X 10.7.2 will likely be released when iCloud and iOS 5 are made available to the public. They are expected to be released at an event rumored to be scheduled for Oct. 4, where Apple is also expected to introduce its fifth-generation iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Delicious Library updated to 2.7.1

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Date: Friday, September 23rd, 2011, 05:31
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, software company Delicious Monster released version 2.7.1 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The update, a 16.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed a crash on the lookup activity panel (only affected 10.7).

– Fixed some loaned items not displaying on friends (only affected pre-10.7).

– Fixed a crash when dragging a loaned item from one friend to another.

– Refreshing an item with an EAN but not ASIN connects it with its details.

– Fixed some broken links in our help (sorry about that!)

Delicious Library 2.7.1 retails for US$40 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Google Earth 6.1.0.4738 released

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Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2011, 08:45
Category: Software

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On Thursday, software giant Google released version 6.1.0.4738 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 23.8 megabyte download, adds the following new fixes and changes:

– Improved the robustness of network access by providing better support for Proxy and SSL certs. This will fix issues users have experienced of not being able to see balloon content or embedded browser content.

– Improved the resolution seen in elevation profiles for lines and tracks.

– Added the ability to sort “My Places,” and improved the user interface to be able find points across my places.

– There were several improvements to Street View in Google Earth. We added the ability to zoom into a Street View photo by using a zoom slider. Streetview in Earth feels more immersive now due to wider field of view. It is now faster and smoother to use. We made several small tweaks to the user interface including adding a way to navigate floors when you are indoors and there are multiple floors available in Street View.

– Fixed bugs related to missing road labels in cases where roads were curvy or zoomed into.

In Google Earth API for browser plugins:
– Added API for working with tours.

Fixed bugs or minor changes:
– Several performance improvements that would allow smoother experience in specific computer configurations.

– Fixed ‘Restrict to View’ functionality during a shapefile import in Google Earth Pro.

– Fixed an issue where Google Earth would sometimes save incorrect ordering of elements in KML.

– Added field of view recording to tours and ability to play back those changes.

– Fixed an issue where the icon heading did not work in Google Earth API.

– Changes to reduce occurrences of missing desktop icon and shortcut menu items on an update.

– Sped up overlay polygon rendering in OpenGL mode.

– Fixed loading of kmz files when the first file at the root level was image file.

– Upgraded GDAL support to 1.7.0 and fixed issues with importing .tab files in Google Earth Pro.

– Fixed the discrepancy caused in measurements due to multiple radii of Earth used inside Google Earth.

– Fixed an issue where placemarks created with UTM coordinates did not move when edited.

– Fixed an issue when screen overlays disappeared in a print-out.

Google Earth 6.1.0.4738 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple to add KDDI as Japanese iPhone carrier, end Softbank monopoly

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Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2011, 04:44
Category: iPhone, Rumor

A monopoly can’t last forever.

Per The Nikkei, Japanese carrier KDDI will break up rival Softbank’s exclusive hold on Apple’s iPhone in the country early next year, when it will reportedly begin selling the iPhone 5.

The business newspaper said on Thursday it had learned that the company will offer Apple’s next-generation iPhone through its “au” service in the first quarter of 2012.

The report noted that Apple plans to released the device worldwide in “mid-October,” adding that KDDI will begin selling the device next year because “it will take time for preparations. The carrier’s flat rate for iPhone data services is said to cost 4000 yen (US$52), roughly comparable to Softbank’s pricing.

Softbank, the third-largest cellular provider in Japan, has enjoyed boosted profitability because of its exclusive deal with Apple. But, being limited to just one carrier has curbed Apple’s ability to compete with rival Android devices, which are available on first-place NTT DoCoMo and KDDI.

Shares of Softbank tumbled 10 percent on the rumor. One analyst said the increased competition could result in a wave of price cuts. “I’m bracing myself for a huge shake-up in the sector for the next six to 12 months,” remarked Michito Kimura, a senior market analyst at IDC Japan.

The iPhone 5 is expected to include the A5 processor and an 8-megapixel camera, while additional rumors have buzzed that Apple will release a retooled iPhone 4 to target the midrange market.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Final Cut Pro X 10.0.1 update, works to make amends to Final Cut Pro user base

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Date: Wednesday, September 21st, 2011, 04:41
Category: News, Software

Sometimes an app needs a major reboot to make amends to its user base.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday issued a major update for its recently refreshed Final Cut Pro X video editing software.

The free update to version 10.0.1 was revealed by Apple in a special page devoted to it its official website. The page highlights new features in the latest version of Final Cut Pro X, including media stems export, Rich XML support, and projects and events on Xsan.

Commenting on the update with Jim Dalrymple of The Loop on Tuesday, Richard Townhill, senior director of applications marketing at Apple, said the features were added after the company received feedback from its users.

“We listened to the pros and have taken their top feature requests and put them in this update,” Townhill said.

The full list of features of the new update, which is available free to those who have already purchased Final Cut Pro X, are described by Apple:

Media Stems Export: Traditional, track-based editing systems require you to constantly rearrange and disable tracks to export audio and video stems. With the latest version of Final Cut Pro X, flexible metadata removes the burden of track management. Use the new Roles tag to label clips — dialogue, effects, music, and more — then export a single multitrack file or separate stems based on your tags. You can even apply Roles to video clips and graphics for a powerful new way to deliver separate files for versioning and localization.

Rich XML Support: Now you can import and export Final Cut Pro X project and Event information via a rich XML format. XML interchange enables a wide range of third-party workflows, including high-end visual effects, color grading, and media asset management. Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, Square Box System’s CatDV, and many other third-party applications will offer XML-based workflows with Final Cut Pro X.

Projects and Events on Xsan: Create and edit your Final Cut Pro X projects and Events on Xsan. Ideal for multi-user workflows, you can import media through Final Cut Pro X and place it directly on the SAN. Multiple users can access the same source media, and each editor can create separate projects and Events on the SAN. Users can then edit from any system attached to the SAN, making it easy to move between computers and continue working.

Custom Starting Timecode: Set the start time of your project to a custom timecode value to accommodate color bars and tone, or to meet broadcast delivery specifications.

Full-screen view in Lion: Use every inch of your display when working in Final Cut Pro X. And easily navigate to other applications with a swipe.

One-step Transitions on Connected Clips: Add a transition to a connected clip or between multiple connected clips without manually creating a secondary storyline.

GPU-accelerated export: Harness the power of the GPU on your graphics card to speed up foreground export.

New Theme: Tribute: Access the new Tribute theme, with four animated titles and a matching transition.

Camera Import SDK: Camera manufacturers can use the Camera Import SDK to write plug-ins for importing media from a wide range of cameras. For example, Sony is updating their XDCAM EX plug-in to support native import directly into Final Cut Pro X.

Apple has also promised two new features coming in “early 2012:” multicam editing and broadcast-quality video monitoring. No additional details on those features were provided.

In addition, a new free trial of the software is now available from the official Final Cut Pro X site. Users must enter their name and e-mail address and to be allowed to try the software for 30 days.

Apple’s update comes after the company faced user backlash over the new Final Cut Pro X, released in June. The software was quickly met with condemnation from a group of outspoken professionals who believe the new product is vastly inferior to its predecessor.

Apple made a quick transition to Final Cut Pro X, declaring Final Cut Studio, Express and Server — which included Final Cut Pro 7 — as “end of life” products once the latest version was released.

Faced with growing complaints, Apple resumed sales of the previous, US$999 version of Final Cut Studio earlier this month. Orders have only been taken over the phone, and Apple has said it has a “limited quantity” of the end-of-life product. The company has also provided refunds to some dissatisfied customers.

User discontent over Final Cut Pro X proved to be a gain for rival Adobe and its own video editing software for Mac OS X. The company revealed earlier this month that sales of its Mac video editing products saw a 45 percent boost following the release of Final Cut Pro X.

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run and retails for US$299.99

If you’ve tried version 10.0.1 of Final Cut Pro X and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome updated to 14.0.835.186, resolves Flash Player vulnerability

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Date: Wednesday, September 21st, 2011, 04:32
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 14.0.835.186 for the Mac. The new version, a 38.9 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

– This release includes an update to Flash Player that addresses a zero-day vulnerability.

Google Chrome 14.0.835.186 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Rumor: Apple to hold iPhone 5 media event on October 4th, Tim Cook to be main speaker

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Date: Wednesday, September 21st, 2011, 04:01
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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It’s not confirmed yet, but there’s a date for it.

Per All Things Digital, Apple will hold its next big media event will be held on October 4th, where freshly minted CEO Tim Cook is expected to unveil the iPhone 5. Sources close to the situation say Cook will be the main presenter at the event, with execs Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall and Eddy Cue playing supporting roles.

This would mark the first time that Cook has actually led an Apple event, adding an extra wrinkle of significance to an already highly anticipated occasion. The site’s sources went on to say that the next-gen iPhone will be available for purchase “within a few weeks” of the announcement.

The article acknowledges that the exact date of its unveiling is still subject to change.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked town hall meeting notes point toward T-Mobile not receiving iPhone 5 in 2011

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Date: Tuesday, September 20th, 2011, 09:26
Category: iPhone, News

It’s turning into a weird year for T-Mobile.

Per TmoNews, an image has surfaced from an internal news posting with T-Mobile USA sharing word from Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman that the carrier will not be offering the iPhone 5 this year. Brodman’s comment apparently came as part of a September 15th company town hall meeting.

“Our business is working very hard to improve performance over the last couple of years and we’ve had some great success,” said Brodman. New products and value plans are fueling customer response, he added, and Brodman expects the excitement to continue into the holiday season as T-Mobile introduces two new smartphones. Note: “We are not going to get the iPhone 5 this year,” Brodman said.
Brodman’s comment does not eliminate the possibility of T-Mobile offering the iPhone 5 at some point in the future, but it seems that the carrier will not be a launch partner for the device.

Several mainstream media reports have claimed that Sprint will become the third major U.S. carrier to offer the iPhone with the debut of the iPhone 5 next month, but the fate of the iPhone on T-Mobile USA has been less clear. Despite a few claims of a T-Mobile iPhone coming this year and evidence of prototypes for testing on the carrier’s network, there had yet to be any solid reports of an launch from mainstream sources.

T-Mobile’s status is of course complicated by AT&T’s efforts to acquire the carrier, and effort that is being opposed by the U.S. government, Sprint, and a number of other groups.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Intel quietly mentions 4K support, could introduce higher screen resolutions under upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture

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Date: Tuesday, September 20th, 2011, 06:48
Category: Hardware, News, Software

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The Retina Display: it’s never been a bad thing.

Per VR-Zone, Intel quietly revealed last week that its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors will support the 4K display resolution, with up to 4096 x 4096 pixels per monitor, potentially paving the way for Apple to introduce high-resolution “Retina Display” Macs.

The company announced the news during a technical session at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco last week, as noted by VR-Zone. Ivy Bridge chips will rival competing discrete GPUs by including support for the 4K resolution when they arrive next year.

The company also highlighted a Multi Format Codec (MFX) engine that is capable of playing multiple 4K videos at once. The codec is also capable of handling video processing for 4K QuadHD video, a standard that YouTube began supporting last year.

A set of performance enhancements, with special attention to graphics, should give Ivy Bridge as much as a 60 percent performance boost over the current generation of Sandy Bridge chips, according to Intel.

Intel also revealed last week that Ivy Bridge chips will include support for Apple’s OpenCL standard, which should give a performance boost to next-generation MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models when they arrive in 2012.

If Apple were to introduce a 4K resolution display with the 16:9 ratio currently used in its Thunderbolt Display, iMac and MacBook Air products, the resulting resolution would be 4096 x 2304. A 27-inch display with 4K resolution would sport a pixel density of 174 pixels per inch. Assuming a working distance of 24 inches and 20/20 vision for the calculations, a 4K 27-inch iMac or Thunderbolt display would count as a “Retina Display.”

Apple first began using the “Retina Display” marketing term with the iPhone 4 last year. Then CEO Steve Jobs touted the 326ppi display as being beyond the capabilities of the human retina when used at a distance of 12 or more inches from the eyes.

In September 2010, the company released a Retina Display iPod touch. Rumors have also swirled that Apple will follow suit with a high-resolution version of the third-generation iPad, doubling the resolution of the tablet to 2048 x 1536.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.