Leaked 4.7-inch iPhone 6 component could show focus on one-handed use

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Date: Thursday, July 3rd, 2014, 11:01
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

The iPhone 6′s front display could be designed around one-handed use.

Per AppleInsider and Chinese web site iFanr, a series of leaked images and a video, the component could be designed around one-handed use, a concept that Apple seemed to have been toying with in 2012, although the company later opted for a larger display on the iPhone 5 and 5s handsets.

The site noted that the edges of the glass have an “arc” to them, sporting curved edges as opposed to the rounded off corners on the iPhone 5 class. The alleged “iPhone 6″ front glass is also noticeably thinner than its predecessor.

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Foxconn could include Sharp in production of next-gen iPhone displays

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Date: Monday, June 16th, 2014, 11:42
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

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In spite of disagreements over the years, legal tussles and injunctions galore, there’s still money to be made in cranking out iPhone handset displays.

According to Electronista and the United Daily News, Apple’s main assembly partner, Foxconn, is in talks to use Sharp technology to help build iPhone and iPad displays. Sharp is presently one of several companies already involved in producing displays for Apple products, other partner companies including LG Display and Japan Display.

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Apple recalls millions of European iPhone chargers, focuses on A1300 model

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Date: Friday, June 13th, 2014, 17:44
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

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No one ever said a multi-million item recall would be pretty.

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple on Friday announced a new program that invites millions of iPhone users across 37 different countries to swap out their iPhone chargers, which may be faulty. According to Apple’s website, the company has determined that one of its iPhone charger models can potentially overheat and pose a safety risk. The company says overheating may onl occurs in rare cases, but it apparently decided to play it safe and offer users the opportunity to swap affected chargers out for newer models.

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Almost 80% of current Macs should be able to run OS X Yosemite

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Date: Monday, June 9th, 2014, 15:50
Category: Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, News, Software

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The odds are in your favor as to being able to run OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

Per Computerworld, OS X Yosemite will run on about eight out of every ten Macs, a boon for customers who want to upgrade this fall.

OS X 10.10, aka Yosemite — named after the California national park — will support the same Macs as 2012′s Mountain Lion and 2013′s Mavericks, according to accounts of the Yosemite preview’s system requirements.

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Apple releases Q4 2013 numbers, shows $7.5 billion profit, but relatively flat year-over-year sales

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Date: Tuesday, October 29th, 2013, 02:06
Category: Finance, News

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A US$7.5 billion quarter is nothing to sneeze at, but the sales were a bit flat compared to a year ago.

Per Macworld, Apple wrapped up its 2013 fiscal year Monday with a US$7.5 billion profit on US$37.5 billion in revenue, reporting accelerating growth buttressed by strong iPhone sales and growth in the Chinese market. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, iPhone sales were up, iPad sales were flat, and Mac sales were down.

Apple announced that its revenues in its fiscal fourth quarter (ending September 28) were up four percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. That was good enough to once again beat most analyst estimates. But year-over-year profits fell eight percent.

The iPhone continued to be the prime mover in Apple’s fiscal world. The company said it sold 33.8 million iPhones—a record for the September quarter—compared to 26.9 million in that quarter last year. iPad unit sales were relatively flat at 14.1 million, up 100,000 from the year-ago quarter. And once again, Mac unit sales were down year-over-year, from 4.9 million in last year’s fourth quarter to 4.6 million this year. (Mac unit sales were lower every quarter this year compared to the same quarter the year before.) In fact, revenues from all Apple product lines except for the iPhone and for iTunes, software, and services were down year-over-year.

The good quarterly sales for the iPhone were no doubt goosed by the introduction of the iPhone 5s and 5c, which famously sold nine million units all by themselves in their debut weekend. The new iPhones were on sale for the last nine days of the quarter. Overall, iPhone unit sales were up eight percent over the previous sequential quarter, and up 26 percent over the year-ago quarter.

For the overall fiscal year 2013, iPhone net sales rose 13 percent (from US$80.4 billion to US$91.3 billion). At the same time, iPhone unit sales climbed 20 percent (125 million to 150 million). Overall, iPhone contributed 53 percent of Apple’s revenues, up 51 percent in 2012 and 43 percent in 2011; iPhones contributed more than half of all Apple revenues in every quarter of 2013.

iPad sales for the year were a mixed bag: While unit sales were up robustly (climbing 21 percent, from 58.3 million tablets to 71 million), net sales rose more anemically, from US$30.9 billion to just under US$32 billion. That revenue reduction can likely be chalked up to the introduction of the lower-cost iPad mini last fall. (With the introduction of the new-model iPad Air and iPad mini, due to ship in November, Apple’s next quarter will likely be quite impressive on the iPad front.)

Mac sales actually declined for the fiscal year as a whole. Unit sales dropped 10 percent in 2013 compared to the 2012 fiscal year (from 18.1 million to 16.3 million); net sales fell 8 percent (from US$23.2 billion to US$21.4 billion). Remember that there were actually very few Mac product introductions in 2013, beyond some tweaks to the MacBook Air line. Yet, as Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer pointed out in the conference-call with analysts that accompanied the release of the results, the Mac has increased its share of the PC market in 29 of the past 30 quarters. In a rapidly shrinking market, a slow loss can look like growth.

The iPod is still selling, but in such relatively insignificant quantities that it doesn’t even merit a mention in Apple’s earnings call. That could be because it’s contributing just 3 percent of Apple’s overall revenues these days.

Much of Apple’s business is seasonal, spurred on by fall product announcements and massive holiday-quarter sales. But there’s one part of Apple’s business that just keeps growing, quarter by quarter, seemingly impervious to seasonal fluctuations. It’s the iTunes/Software/Services revenue line, which has grown more or less continuously every quarter. For the most recent quarter, it generated 4.26 billion dollars, up from 3.5 billion in the year-ago quarter. iTunes/Software/Services revenue has doubled in size in the past three years, from US$2.15 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

Apple’s retail segment is most definitely a seasonal business, but it’s showing strong growth. In fiscal 2012 Apple’s retail outlets generated US$15 billion in revenue; in fiscal 2013 that number wasUS $20 billion.

During Monday’s conference call, one analyst commented that Apple was one of the very few companies he was tracking to show strong growth in China this past quarter. Indeed, while Apple’s revenue in the Americas was actually down from the previous sequential quarter, many other key Apple segments showed sequential growth, most notably China and Japan.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1 to check for faulty SSDs in mid-2012 MacBook Air models

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:18
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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It’s kind of a weird firmware update they sent out, but it might be useful.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday released an update for its MacBook Air lineup meant to test the thin-and-light laptop’s solid-state drive for a data loss issue and, if no fault is found, install a fresh firmware version.

Apple’s MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1, a 2.3 megabyte download, specifically targets mid-2012 models, a “small percentage” of which was found to have flash drives containing an unspecified issue that erases data. As noted below, if a problem is discovered and the drive cannot be update, Apple will replace the affected SSD at no cost.

From the release notes:
“Apple has discovered that a small percentage of flash storage drives in these MacBook Air models have an issue that may result in data loss. This update tests your drive and, in the majority of cases, installs new firmware to resolve the issue. If your drive cannot be updated, Apple will replace it, free of charge.”

It is unknown how widespread the issue may be, though a quick search of Apple’s Support Communities forum reveals multiple threads pertaining to SSD failures and data loss.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to introduce all-new 12-inch MacBook, iPad with higher resolution in 2014

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Date: Monday, October 14th, 2013, 05:49
Category: iPad, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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It’s the rumor mill that keeps things interesting, especially when it comes down to new hardware.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has an all-new-design 12-inch MacBook with a high-resolution display, and a new 9.7-inch sixth-generation iPad with an even higher pixel count than the current Retina display, both in the works for 2014, according to well-connected insider Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities, revealed on Saturday that Apple has a number of major new products in the works for next year. Most notably, the new 12-inch MacBook will feature what he said is an “ultra-slim clamshell form factor.”

He expects this new model to offer a marriage between the portability of the 11-inch MacBook Air and the greater productivity offered by the 13-inch model. The display is said to be on par with Apple’s high-resolution MacBook Pro Retina display.

According to Kuo, the new MacBook is expected to “redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air.”

Despite speculation that Apple could introduce a notebook powered by its custom A-series chips found in the iPhone and iPad, Kuo does not expect that the new 12-inch MacBook will run on an A-series chip. Instead, he has predicted that the new MacBook will feature a traditional Intel CPU.

The analyst also revealed that Apple is working on a new sixth-generation iPad with a higher pixel-per-inch count than the existing 9.7-inch iPad with Retina display. Contrary to recent rumors, he doesn’t expect Apple to launch a 12-inch iPad next year.

The sixth-generation iPad is expected to launch in late 2014, and will pack in as much as 40 percent more pixels than the current iPad’s Retina display.

Kuo has a strong track record of accurately revealing Apple’s future product plans. He was the first to reveal that Apple would retire its 17-inch MacBook Pro, he correctly forecast Apple’s entire fall 2012 product lineup, and his predictions for Apple’s 2013 launch schedule made in January have thus far proven accurate.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sees pay cut as result of poor Windows 8, Surface tablet marketplace performance

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 08:54
Category: News

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This is pretty much unparalleled.

Or at least it’s a decent case of schadenfreude.

Per CNET, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer saw his pay docked this year as a result of the disappointing performance of the company’s Windows Division over the past year.

The Microsoft head received US$1.26 million in compensation for fiscal 2013, with US$697,500 of that in base salary and US$550,000 in bonuses. Ballmer’s “incentive plan award” for 2013, which is calculated by the Microsoft board, was only 79 percent of the total he could have gotten, while in 2012, the Microsoft chief received 91 percent of his eligible incentive award.

The reason for the pay dock: the continuing poor sales of devices running Windows 8 the spectacular failure of the company’s Surface RT device. Microsoft’s latest operating system has underperformed since its launch, and the firm’s fiscal 2013 proxy statement points to those shortcomings.

The report cites “weakness in the consumer PC market,” a continuing issue for Microsoft as consumers increasingly turn away from traditional PC form factors in favor of smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android. Microsoft has sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses since the platform’s launch, but that is well below what the company had expected.

Adding to the Windows Division’s woes, the Surface RT device Microsoft rolled out last year met with middling reviews and virtually nonexistent consumer demand. Microsoft eventually wrote down US$900 million worth of unsold inventory. The company has since shown off new versions of its tablet devices, but the poor performance of the last generation still dragged on Ballmer’s compensation.

All told, the sales woes for the PC market and product launch costs for Windows 8 and Surface resulted in an 18 percent decline in Windows Division operating income.

The report is not entirely negative regarding Ballmer, as it notes that “the Committee and Board believe Mr. Ballmer is underpaid for his role and performance.” That feeling, though, was insufficient to earn the Microsoft chief his full incentive payment. A number of other Microsoft managers received 100 percent of their incentive payments, including COO Kevin Turner and CFO Amy Hood. The head of the Servers and Tools unit received 105 percent of his eligible award, as that division pulled in more than US$7 billion.

Ballmer shocked the tech world some weeks ago by announcing that he will leave Microsoft within the next year, and the company’s search for a successor is ongoing.

Apple confirms purchase of Cue, has yet to disclose final sale price

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Date: Friday, October 4th, 2013, 07:04
Category: Finance, News, Software

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It’s hard to say exactly WHAT Apple will do with Cue, but there’s some interesting possibilities.

Per AppleInsider and TechCrunch, Apple is said to have purchased Cue, a startup company behind a personal assistant app for iPhone which shut down just this week.

An anonymous source claimed on Thursday that Apple is buying Cue, which was formerly known as Greplin, for between US$50 million and US$60 million. The startup was a Y Combinator venture capital alumnus that reportedly obtained funding from both Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures.

The source shared that although Cue never disclosed their latest funding round, the company allegedly raised US$10 million from Index Ventures. The information provided could not be independently verified, and Apple declined to comment.

As of Thursday, Apple affirmed the acquisition, but as usual declined to offer specifics. Cue’s functionality was much like that of Google Now or Apple’s new iOS 7 contextual notifications, though it debuted before both of those services.

Cue announced to its users on Tuesday that the service is shutting down and is no longer available. Cue Premium users who bought a paid subscription, either through official iOS app or the company’s website, will receive a prorated refund.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you,” the company said. “It’s been an incredible journey that wouldn’t have been possible without your loyal support.”

Cue’s functionality was much like that of Google Now or Apple’s new iOS 7 contextual notifications, though it debuted before both of those services.

Originally founded as “Greplin”, the company would index content from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as pulling data from Gmail. For example, a single search for “Jim” would surface contacts from the user’s LinkedIn account, emails from Gmail, and documents from Dropbox.

The company transitioned in 2012 to become Cue, and offered a personal assistant application for Apple’s iOS that would automatically turn data such as flight or restaurant reservations into a daily agenda. Cue would accomplish this by collating and indexing a user’s contacts, files, and emails, then display important and timely information. The company was founded by entrepreneurs Daniel Gross and Robby Walker.

Cue was formerly run by Greg McAdoo, who was also previously associated with Bump, a company acquired by Google earlier this year for at least US$30 million. McAdoo has since moved on to become a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital.

There’s no word as to how Apple will incorporate Cue’s technologies, but it’s another part of the company’s arsenal for somewhere down the road.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases SMC firmware updates for 2012, 2013 notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, 07:35
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

The firmware fixes for your recent Apple notebook arrived yesterday.

Per Macworld, Apple released SMC Updatesfor the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Retina MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Air SMC Update v1.9 is available as a 1.09 megabyte download for MacBook Air notebooks released in 2012 and 2013. It fixes a “rare” problem where the battery stops working, the battery is no longer recognized, or the system hangs when the battery has a charge that’s less than one percent.

The MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7 is available as a 1 megabyte download for non-Retina MacBook Pro laptops released since 2012. Apple says that the update fixes a “rare” problem where a battery that has over 1,000 charge cycles shuts down or stops working.

The MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update v1.1 is available as a 504 kilobyte download that fixes a few problems, including Power Nap bug fixes, and a “rare” issue with slow frame rates in games on the 15-inch model. This update is for Retina MacBook Pros only.

All of the updates can be obtained using the links above or by running Software Update.

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