Owners of 2011 MacBook Pro report troubles with iTunes Home Sharing feature

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Date: Thursday, March 17th, 2011, 11:32
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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As nifty as the 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks are, there may be some debugging that needs to be done.

Per AppleInsider, a number of early 2011 MacBook Pro owners report being unable to connect devices or maintain connections through iTunes Home Sharing.

A support thread in Apple’s Discussion forums has received over 200 posts from owners of Apple’s latest MacBook Pros reporting issues with iTunes Home Sharing. Several readers have also contacted AppleInsider regarding the issue.

“This is turning out to be a bigger problem than I thought with many people giving up and returning their new MBP 2011 due to this conflict. Apple has yet to find a fix but it has been widely documented via phone through AppleCare and through many Apple retail stores,” wrote one reader.

According to forum user ‘themacbear,’ the new MacBook Pro was able to stream to a second-generation Apple TV at first, but then the Apple TV reported being unable to connect or would display the error message “There are no movies in this library.”

In March, Apple released iOS 4.3 with new Home Sharing features. The Mac maker also issued iTunes 10.2 and then iTunes 10.2.1 to add compatibility with iOS 4.3 and Home Sharing. In spite of the updates, a number of users continue to report being unable to connect or maintain connections with iOS devices on their early 2011 MacBook Pros.

Recent improvements to the Home Sharing feature expand iTunes library sharing from just between Macs, PCs and Apple TVs to include mobile devices such as iPods, iPhones and iPads. When working properly, Home Sharing in iOS 4.3 allows an unlimited number of iOS devices to access content over Wi-Fi.

Though early 2011 MacBook Pros appear to be having the most trouble with Home Sharing, owners of older machines have also reported problems with the feature in a support thread for Home Sharing in iOS 4.3 that has reached 60 posts.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Apple begins shipping build-to-order MacBook Pro orders, cites March 3rd delivery date

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Date: Monday, February 28th, 2011, 07:34
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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Apple’s first build-to-order units for its 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks began shipping, the company promising delivery by next Thursday.

Per AppleInsider, Apple began dispatching these shipments from its Far Eastern manufacturing facilities to Fed-Ex’s Shanghai, China-based shipping hub where they’ll be mailed via air fright this weekend to the courier’s stateside hubs for delivery to customers early next week.

Apple is currently promising delivery by Thursday the 3rd through its own order status system, while FedEx is a bit more ambitious, promising delivery by 10:30 am local time on Wednesday the 2nd for this particular order.

It should be noted that the custom configured MacBook Pro shown in the order below was shipped via Apple’s US$18 2-3 day shipping method, as opposed to its standard free shipping method. This particular notebook was upgraded with a 256GB SSD drive and 8GB of memory.

Meanwhile, several of Apple’s larger authorized resellers are already reflecting stock of the company’s five standard retail configurations for the MacBook Pro. And a handful are offering considerable early discounts of up to US$150 on the new models.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit performs full teardown of early 2011 MacBook Pro, finds interesting new components

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Date: Friday, February 25th, 2011, 05:52
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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It’s been all of a day since the release of Apple’s new Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro noteboooks, but already the cool cats at iFixit have performed a full teardown of the new models.

Per the report, the guys found that the controller for Thunderbolt is the fourth largest chip on the logic board, after the CPU, GPU and logic board controller.

“We believe the chip’s footprint is a testament to the potential of this port,” they said.

iFixit ranked the new 2011 MacBook Pro a 7 out of 10 on its reparability scale. It noted that the new version allows for the battery to be disconnected without removing it from the laptop.

The addition of a “spudger” makes disconnecting the battery easier.

“It’s a nice design choice since you *should* remove all power before performing any repairs,” they said. “The unibody design also allows for easy access to most of the other components, so it won’t be terribly hard to replace things on the machine. The only tricky repair is LCD replacement, which could easily result in shattering the front glass panel.”

Other noteworthy details from the teardown:
- You can chain up to six Thunderbolt devices. In comparison, FireWire supports 63 devices and USB supports up to 127 devices.

- The lower case is secured by Phillips #00 screws, while the battery is secured by Tri-Wing screws, just like the predecessor. There were no Pentalobe screws inside or outside.

- The new MacBook Pro has the same 77.5 watt-hour battery as the earlier model, but Apple has decreased their run-time estimate from 8-9 hours to 7 hours, likely due to more stringent testing.

- The Thunderbolt controller is the fourth-largest chip in the new MacBook Pro.

- iFixit said they’re concerned about Apple’s quality control, as they found a stripped screw holding the subwoofer enclosure in place, and an unlocked ZIF socket connecting the IR sensor.

- RAM has been upgraded to PC3-10600. That’s the same RAM used in the 2010 revision of the 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs, but faster than earlier MacBook Pros.

- The wireless card received a make-over and now includes four antennas instead of three. Wireless connectivity is provided by a Broadcom BCM4331 “wireless solution.”

- The wireless card bracket is aluminum, rather than the plastic found in earlier MacBook Pro revisions. The change was likely made for thermal reasons, as a pink thermal pad is visible and used to transfer heat from the Broadcom chip to the aluminum bracket.

The logic board features four primary chips:
- Intel i7 Quad-Core Processor
- AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU
- Intel BD82HM65 Platform Controller Hub
- Intel L051NB32 EFL (which seems to be the Thunderbolt port controller)

The teardown uncovered a great deal of thermal paste on the CPU and GPU when the main heat sink was removed. The excess paste may cause overheating issues down the road, iFixit said.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is still designated Model A1286. Apple has been using that same model number since October 2008.

Rumor: Apple may release updated iMacs alongside next-gen MacBook Pro notebooks in near future

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Date: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011, 09:36
Category: iMac, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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In addition to introducing new MacBook Pro notebooks, a new unsubstantiated rumor claims Apple this week may also release an updated iMac all-in-one desktop with a modified screen size.

Per DigiTimes, Apple may launch its new iMac desktop alongside new MacBook Pro models. The report said Apple “may make some changes over the screen size to allow panel cutting to reach its optimization.”

While a flurry of reports have surrounded the anticipated MacBook Pro update, little has been said about an iMac update. In fact, the last indication of an iMac refresh came from the same publication in December 2010, when it said that Apple could release its new iMac in the first half of 2011. That report said the new iMac would have a “new panel size and price point for the mainstream market.”

Apple’s iMac line of desktops were last updated in July 2010 with Intel’s Core i3, i5 and i7 processors and ATI Radeon graphics. The current lineup has a starting price of US$1,199.

In the article, DigiTimes added even more support to the belief that new MacBook Pros will launch before the end of February, likely this Thursday. The publication said that most IT malls in Taiwan do not have any MacBook Pro inventory in stock, but added that volume shipments of the new notebooks will not pick up “significantly” until March.

The MacBook Pro lineup is even more due for an update than the iMac, as Apple’s high-end notebooks have not seen an update since April 2010. The systems were updated to what were then Intel’s latest high-end Core i7, Core i5 and Core 2 Duo mobile processors.

White iPhone 4 spotted in AT&T database system

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Date: Monday, January 24th, 2011, 10:16
Category: iPhone, News

You’ve been hankering for a white iPhone and it just might be on its way.

Per Boy Genius Report, the white iPhone has been sighted in AT&T’s online systems, but there is still no indication when the phone will be available.

In a recent sighting, listings appeared for a white iPhone 4 16GB model and a 32GB model. AT&T also has 32GB and 16GB models of the iPhone 3GS, as well as a 16GB white iPhone 3G.
Signs at Apple’s retail stores in December listed the white iPhone as becoming “available spring 2011.”

Apple has never given a specific reason for the delay of the white iPhone 4, other than it has “proven more challenging to manufacture than expected.”

Originally scheduled to be released shortly after the black iPhone, the white iPhone 4 delayed in late July until “later this year,” and again in October until spring 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

White iPhone 4 unit appears in Vodafone Germany’s SKU system

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Date: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, 04:20
Category: iPhone, News

Wireless carrier Vodafone Germany was the source of minor attention on Monday with a spotting of white iPhone 4 listings in its inventory system. Per Engadget, entries for both the 16GB and 32GB versions of a “weiß” (“weiss,” or white) version showed up alongside the usual black (“schwarz”) versions. The source who leaked the images claimed these weren’t just placeholders and would have a launch “soon.”

The timing should be treated with caution as Apple has officially delayed the alternate color scheme until spring 2011. A spring debut even in March could have it on sale for three months or less before it was replaced with the iPhone 5. A white iPhone 4 isn’t thought likely to co-exist with the iPhone 5 as Apple has never had more than one previous-generation iPhone on sale at a time.

Unofficial reasons for the virtual cancellation of the white iPhone 4 have been broad. Most have pinned it on inconsistent coloring for the iPhone’s glass. In one circumstance, it was claimed that the white hue combined with the iPhone 4′s design interfered with the camera, but this hasn’t been proven so far.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve been hankering for a white iPhone 4 since June, I’m not sure what to say.

Rumor: Apple could produce second-gen iPad with HSPA, EVDO models slated for March release date

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Date: Tuesday, December 28th, 2010, 06:16
Category: iPad, Rumor

It’s the second generations of a device where things get really interesting.

Per Electronista, Apple is looking to ship three separate versions of the next iPad and may ship earlier than expected, part suppliers said on Tuesday. The tablet should still have a pure Wi-Fi version but will serve 3G with both a regular HSPA version and an EVDO model for carriers like Verizon. The 3G versions have been unusually popular, at 60 to 65% of shipments and the extra wireless support would help fill demand.

The 3G push is corroborated by a slew of subsidized carrier plans that have been rolled out in recent months. Many cut the price of the iPad by half or less on a contract, and in some cases give the unit away for free.

Along with the known design change and extra wireless support, Apple is also reportedly taking steps to draw in Kindle buyers with changes to the screen. The display would get both an improved oleophobic (oil-resistant) screen to further reduce smudging as well as a more glare-resistant treatment to make it more suitable to the outdoors. A clue as to the anti-glare panel may have come with the new MacBook Air, whose display is still glossy but noticeably less reflective than on earlier MacBooks.

Apple might also be eager to advance the ship date beyond the original April target. Production shipments would start heading out as soon as late January, not the previously suggested February, and would see a small initial batch of 500,000 to 530,000 units arrive, 30% of which would be Wi-Fi, 40% HSPA and 30% EVDO. Additional shipments would continue right up to the release date, which could now include a March release date if Apple doesn’t have to push it back to a previously cited April target.

The release would be ambitious and could see Apple deliver as many as 40 million iPads in 2011, possibly taking hold of as much as 65% to 75% of the market worldwide. Such a ratio would be higher than expected by analysts, as many of them expect Android 3.0 to give Google’s partners a much stronger platform.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available

Apple to release Q1 financial results on January 18, 2011

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Date: Tuesday, December 28th, 2010, 05:00
Category: Finance, News

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Apple has revealed that it will publish the financial results of its first fiscal quarter of 2011 on Tuesday, January 18, with a conference call to discuss the results following immediately after.

Per AppleInsider, the news was posted to Apple’s investor website along with the notice that a link to the conference call webcast “will be provided at a later date.” Apple will make the results public at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, 2:00 p.m. Pacific, following the close of the stock market.

The results, which will include the holiday season, are largely expected to be record-breaking.

Apple’s fourth fiscal quarter of 2010 results impressed Wall Street analysts, though limited supply of the iPad resulted in disappointing sales figures for the tablet device. The company’s profits soared 70% year-over-year to $4.31 billion, driven by record sales of iPhones, Macs and iPads.

The iPhone maker projected in October that it will earn US$23 billion in revenue and post diluted earnings per share of about US$4.80 for the upcoming first fiscal quarter.

Analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. predicts that Apple will sell 4.2 million Macs, 6.1 million iPads, 16 million iPhones and 17 million iPods in its first fiscal quarter of 2011.

Stay tuned on the 18th for additional details as they become available.

Apple’s Mac App Store to launch on January 6, 2011

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Date: Monday, December 20th, 2010, 08:23
Category: News, Software

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It you’re looking for another way to exchange currency for your Mac apps, Apple’s long-awaited Mac App Store has a delivery date of January 6, 2011.

Per Macworld, the storefront will go online in 90 countries and the storefront, first unveiled in October at Apple’s Back to the Mac event, will aim to offer a parallel experience to the one Apple pioneered in 2008 with its App Store for iOS devices. Users will be able to purchase paid and download free apps in categories like Education, Games, Productivity, Utilities, and more. Any downloaded can be installed on all a user’s personal Macs, and updates are handled by the store. The revenue-sharing deal is the same as with the App Store: developers take 70% of income, with Apple taking the other 30% to cover hosting costs and credit card fees.

In spite of the idea, the Mac App Store has already raised some controversy, with many developers pointing to restrictive rules that would block several popular existing apps from sale and others worrying that it may signal the beginning of a slippery slope towards a locked-down ecosystem similar to iOS devices. On the flipside, some have argued that the Mac App Store may be a good thing for consumers and developers alike, with the former gaining an easy central location to find software for their computer, and the latter getting massive exposure among Mac users.

The Mac App Store will require Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to install and run and be available as a free download via Software Update.

Microsoft releases 14.0.2 update for Office 2011

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 12:28
Category: News, Software

On Monday afternoon, Microsoft released version 14.0.2 of its popular Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac suite. The update, a 111 megabyte download which can also be located, snagged and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate program, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Reliability is improved when you open Office for Mac documents by using third-party applications: This update fixes an issue that causes Office for Mac documents not to open by using certain third-party applications.

- Office for Mac Updater request users to close Microsoft AutoUpdate during the update process:This update fixes an issue that causes Office for Mac updater to request users to close AutoUpdate when the Office updater is running. When the users close AutoUpdate, the updater also stops the Office update process.

Improvements for Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011:
- Stability is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes Outlook to crash or close unexpectedly sometimes when you import a .pst file that contains categories. Specifically, categories that have no category names assigned to them.

Microsoft Office 2011 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is available for US$149.99 and up depending on the suite purchased.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.