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.

Rumor: Foxconn to ship second-gen iPad in 100 days to meet April launch

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Date: Tuesday, December 7th, 2010, 07:41
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn will begin shipping Apple’s next-generation iPad within the next 100 days according to a story published by DigiTimes.

After checks with Taiwan-based component makers, the publication reported Tuesday that Foxconn is set to ship the iPad 2 by the end of February 2011, with initial shipments of 400,000-600,000 units. Tuesday’s report echoes an earlier report from the publication that claimed suppliers would ramp up shipments of iPad 2 components in the first quarter of 2011.

Apple had reportedly planned to begin mass production of the device in January, but ongoing testing of the new iPad’s firmware has apparently forced Apple to postpone its schedule. The new iPad is still expected to launch in April, a year after the first-generation device debuted.

According to the report, Foxconn’s new production plants in Chengdu are still in “pilot production,” so the iPad 2 will be mainly supplied by the company’s Shenzhen plants.

In preparation for a spring launch of the second generation of Apple’s successful tablet device, production of the original iPad is expected to drop off in early February. According to the article’s sources, Apple will still place orders for an estimated 1.6-1.8 million iPads through the end of January before reducing orders.

Anonymous sources have also indicated that Apple would introduce FaceTime-equipped next-gen iPads by the end of the first quarter of 2011, ahead of the usual 12-month product cycle. In November, rumors emerged that the next iPad will be a “world mode” device with both GSM and CDMA radios, allowing it to work on a variety of networks.

In the U.S., Verizon has already begun selling the iPad, though it currently only offers the Wi-Fi-only model bundled with a MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. The iPad 3G model is not compatible with Verizon’s CDMA network.

Rumor: white iPhone 4 spotted in public, Apple working out tech issues though handset due in spring

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Date: Tuesday, December 7th, 2010, 06:35
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’ve been hankering for it and it’s almost here.

Though it could need some tweaking.

Per the Seattle Times, a white iPhone 4 was spotted in public, though another handset constructed using leaked alleged official parts demonstrates issues with the camera flash.

Last week, a news producer in Seattle reportedly saw a white iPhone 4 at a Whole Foods store. The owner, an Italian man, reportedly claimed he was testing the device for Apple, and that it would go on sale in Europe in February.

The person claimed that the handset was modified so the iPhone 4 antenna issue which caused headlines earlier this year, no longer exists. According to The Seattle Times, the man also said that Apple was having problems keeping the edges of the device from yellowing.

Apple has repeatedly delayed the white iPhone 4, citing production issues. Rumors have suggested the color of the device has been a problem, though Apple has not clarified.

The news producer also snapped the following photo of the device spotted in the wild:

In other news, German web site MacNotes.de obtained what it says are official parts for Apple’s white iPhone 4. The site took a regular, black iPhone 4 and had the white external glass placed on it.

Though obviously not an official white iPhone 4, the site found that the camera flash had issues with the white glass, causing overexposed photos.

Finally, some Apple retail stores around the country began advertising over the weekend that the white iPhone 4 is set to debut in Spring 2011, according to The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Taking the season literally, that would mean the handset could debut at any point between March 20 and June 21.

Apple formally announced in October that the white iPhone 4 was delayed until Spring 2011. Apple also stopped advertising the hardware on its site after numerous delays.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

2011 MacBook Pro may include Light Peak, USB 3.0, do away with DVD drives

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Date: Monday, November 29th, 2010, 06:46
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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Back in 1998, Apple veered its user base away from the floppy disk drive, whether people were ready or not.

This could happen again next year, if to a smaller degree.

According to Three Guys and a Podcast, Apple’s next-generation MacBook Pro will likely arrive in April 2011 with a new design inspired by the latest slim-line MacBook Air. That means that the high-end laptops will probably dispense with spinning drives altogether and come equipped only with solid-state drives of up to 512GB capacity.

With the internal speed bottlenecks reduced by the flash memory drives and new Sandy Bridge CPUs, Apple will also work on speeding up the external communication interfaces. The much-sought-after Light Peak port technology may finally debut on the MBP, as will USB 3.0. The fate of Firewire is unknown at this time, but it seems unlikely to make the cut, especially if Light Peak is included. The one exception may be if Apple keeps one of the current generation 15″ machines in the lineup as an entry model. If the 13″ MBP also remains in the lineup, the new interfaces, CPUs and perhaps a higher resolution display will be what set it apart from the similarly sized Air.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you’d make of such a notebook in the comments.

Microsoft releases version 14.0.1 update to Office 2011 suite, offers security, stability fixes

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Date: Wednesday, November 10th, 2010, 03:25
Category: News, Software

Roughly two weeks after launching Office 2011, Microsoft has rolled out an update that aims to improve the security and stability of the latest version of its office productivity suite.

Per Macworld, the release notes for the Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.0.1 Update say that the release fixes “critical issues” in the latest version of Office that could cause components of the suite to stop responding or quit unexpectedly. Microsoft says the update also fixes a security vulnerability that could allow an attack to overwrite the contents of a computer’s memory with malicious code.

As for performance and stability improvements in the 14.0.1 update, the company says that the update includes form-based authentication for connecting to Microsoft Office SharePoint Servers, allowing user credentials to be transmitted through HTML forms that users complete. The update also allows images copied from an Office for Mac application to be edited when copied back to ChemDraw; previously, images were locked when copied to the molecule editor.

Excel for Mac 2011 gets fixes that stop the spreadsheet program from crashing when a macro is enabled and allow cells to update when revisions are made to related data. The update also improves reliability when the FORMAT macro command is used. The update improves the stability of Word 2011 when users build equations, while bolstering stability of PowerPoint 2011 slideshows. Microsoft also improved compatibility with the Windows versions of its presentation software that now allows numbered lists to be displayed correctly in PowerPoint 2011.

Outlook 2011 gets a number of improvements in this update, including better reliability for deleting messages from multiple IMAP accounts, a Sync Services fix, and improved reliability for importing Office 2008 identities into the new version of the suite. The update also allows Outlook to retain e-mail passwords in the keychain after users import new accounts into the mail client.

Additional details can be located here and if you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know.

Light Peak could arrive for the Mac in early 2011

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Date: Thursday, November 4th, 2010, 05:10
Category: Hardware, News

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Intel’s Light Peak optical cabling technology is on track to make its first appearance in products in early 2011, with Apple expected to follow soon after, according to a new report.

Per CNET, Apple has expressed a very strong interest in Light Peak after Intel approached them with it several years ago. According to sources, Apple Chief Steve Jobs and Intel CEO Paul Otellini allegedly fleshed out the Light Peak standard after Apple intimated that it was looking into optical signaling as a single port solution.

Light Peak, as we’ve outlined before, is a high-speed optical cable technology with bandwidth of 10Gbps, with the possibility of scaling up to 100Gbps in the future. A full-length Blu-Ray movie could transfer over Light Peak in less than 30 seconds, Intel states on its website. The company “expects to see Light Peak in PCs and peripherals in 2011.”

Per the report, sources claim that Light Peak will make its debut in the first half of 2011, and “likely earlier in the year than later.” Apple, which is described as an “innovating force in the industry,” is expected to incorporate Light Peak quickly after its release.

Early versions of the technology have already been tested on Macs. In 2009, “an Intel demonstration at its developer conference used a machine running Apple’s Mac OS X,” wrote author Brooke Crothers.

Optical cabling would provide Apple an alternative to USB 3.0. Though the Cupertino, Calif., company was rumored to be adding USB 3.0 to its Mac Pro and iMac desktops this summer, the updates failed to materialize. Apple has had the USB 3.0 specification for almost a year and a half. Intel has also resisted adopting USB 3.0, holding off on supporting the standard in its chipsets, despite one Intel spokesperson assuring that Intel remains “absolutely committed to USB 3.0 and beyond that.”

A continued Apple/Intel partnership for Light Peak would make mainstream adoption of the technology highly likely. Intel has the reach needed to drive costs down, and Apple is willing to take risks with new standards. Intel may also be looking to work with Apple to develop a mobile version of Light Peak, which would help it break into the mobile space, where Intel’s Atom processors have struggled for years.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Jobs states Apple won’t support USB 3.0 in the near term via e-mail reply

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Date: Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010, 04:48
Category: Hardware, News

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It’s hard to say exactly what Steve Jobs will do next, so this may have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Per Tech2.0, a recent Steve Jobs e-mail sent as a reply to Mac user Tom Kruk stated that Apple has no plans to add USB 3.0 connectivity to Macs any day soon.

In the e-mail, Jobs allegedly wrote: “We don’t see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example.”

Mac users will be missing out, for now at least. Following tests, the speed benefits of USB 3.0 are clear, particularly for high-definition video, music, and digital imaging applications. USB 3.0 offers a theoretical 10X jump over current USB 2.0 hardware, which maxes out at 480Mbps. USB 3.0, in contrast, can handle up to 5Gbps.

Intel is expected to roll out USB 3.0 sometime in 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple working to include RFID, near-field computing functions into next-gen iPhone

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Date: Monday, November 1st, 2010, 10:37
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Ok, this could be interesting.

Citing an anonymous source, Mac web site Cult of Mac has reported that Apple is working on adding a near-field communication chip to Apple’s next-generation iPhone would add not only “e-wallet” transactions, but also the ability to securely turn a nearby Mac into your own computer, complete with custom settings and personal passwords.

Citing an anonymous source, Cult of Mac reported Monday that Apple is working on near-field communication technology for both its smartphone and future Macs. The functionality is rumored to appear in Apple’s next iPhone, expected to launch in June 2011.

The source said an iPhone with near-field communications like an RFID chip could be used within proximity of a Mac, allowing users to load applications, settings and data on the Mac from the phone. When the iPhone is taken away from the proximity of the computer, the data would disappear with it.

“The Mac authenticates with the iPhone, which contains a lot of the information the computer needs, such as bookmarks, passwords and other data,” the source reportedly said. “The system would essentially turn any Apple computer into your own — like you’re actually working on your own computer. Same settings, look, bookmarks, preferences. It would all be invisible. Your iPhone would be all you needed to unlock your Mac.”

The information contained on the phone would reportedly include contacts, desktop picture, mouse and keyboard settings, website passwords, and even software licenses. Taking the iPhone away from the proximity of the computer would then restore the Mac to its original state.

The source indicated that Apple is interested in making it easy for users to carry all of their information with them, but that task has become difficult as file sizes and the amount of data continues to grow. They said it’s possible that Apple could store larger files in the cloud, while the basics like passwords and documents would be contained on the phone.

Last week, a report alleged that Apple is developing a new open SIM for its next-generation iPhone, which would allow one handset to work with multiple carriers. It was also speculated that the technology from a partnership with Gemalto could also enable contactless transactions through an integrated RFID chip.

Rumors of an RFID-enabled iPhone have existed for some time, though the product has yet to come to fruition. Apple has also filed patents related to near-field communications, including an application in July that described a system allowing users to rely on NFC functionality in the iPhone to research products and quickly find helpful information, such as an instruction manual.

The company has also hired experts on near-field communications, and was even rumored to be testing iPhone models with RFID chips as recently as August.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Second-gen iPad to include front, rear cameras

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Date: Monday, November 1st, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple’s second-generation iPad, set to appear in the first quarter of 2011, will include a forward-facing camera for FaceTime video chat as well as a second rear camera, according to an unconfirmed rumor from an investment firm.

Per Barrons, a note issued from Detwiler Fenton & Co. claims that OmniVision will supply CMOS image sensors for the second-generation iPad. The report alleges that the next iPad will have a forward-facing VGA camera for FaceTime video chat, like the iPhone 4 and latest iPod touch.

The firm also claims that OmniVision will supply a second, 5 megapixel camera, presumably to be placed on the rear of the new iPad. One competing touchscreen tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, sports two cameras, with the rear lens highlighted for use in augmented reality applications.

Detwiler said that Apple is expected to build 2.5 million units of the next-generation iPad in the first quarter of 2011. OmniVision also supplies sensors for Apple’s iPhone.

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans have stated that a version of Apple’s iPad with a built-in video camera and FaceTime support had already progressed to advanced testing stages by September. It was indicated that a FaceTime-equipped iPad would be introduced no later than the first quarter of 2011.