Apple discontinues $999 white MacBook

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Date: Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, 07:22
Category: MacBook, News

It’s kind of turning into a day of days, news-wise.

In the midst of news, updates and product releases, Apple has officially axed the US$999 white plastic MacBook, which has held down the low-cost end of Apple’s laptop line for years.

Per Macworld, the notebook was bumped off by the brand new US$999 MacBook Air, which boasts a Thunderbolt port and Intel Core i5 processors over the MacBook. As of now, if you want to buy the lowest-price Mac laptop available, it will still cost US$999—but now it’ll have an 11.6-inch display and a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor. Users who demand a 13-inch laptop will now pay US$200 more—the base-level 13-inch MacBook Pro retails for US$1199.

Still, it had a good run… and if you need any consolation, I’ve made a stack of G4 Cube units into a pretty nifty local bar in your area.

Apple releases Safari 5.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, 07:29
Category: News, Software

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Amidst all the Mac OS X 10.7 Lion/brand-new-MacBook Air-with-Thunderbolt-and-Sandy-Bridge hubbub, Apple also released Safari 5.1, an update to its web browser. The new version, a 47.5 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and new features:

- Reading List: Easily add webpages and links to your Reading List to browse when you have time.

- New Process Architecture: Safari has been re-engineered for improved stability and responsiveness.

- Resume: In the General pane of Safari preferences, you can now choose to launch Safari with the windows from your last browsing session.

- Better Privacy: A new Privacy pane in Safari preferences makes it easy to remove data that websites can leave on your system.

Other improvements include:
- Private AutoFill: Safari lets you fill out forms quickly while keeping your personal information private.

- Find Option: When you use Find, you can choose whether you want to search for text that contains or starts with the text that you type in the search field.

- Drag-and-drop Downloads: You can drag items out of the Downloads window in Safari, so you can easily place downloaded files on the Desktop.

- Advanced Web Technologies: Safari introduces support for full-screen webpages, media caching with the HTML5 application cache, MathML, Web Open Font Format, CSS3 Auto-hyphenation, CSS3 Vertical Text, CSS3 Text Emphasis, Window.onError, and Formatted XML files.

- New Extension APIs: Developers can take advantage of new Safari Extension support for popovers, menus, new event classes, and interaction with Reader.

Safari 5.1 is available on Mac OS X via Software Update or via direct download from Apple and requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

Apple releases Thunderbolt, Sandy Bridge, backlit keyboard-equipped MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, 05:21
Category: MacBook Air, News

You might have been waiting for this.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday the long-anticipated new version of its MacBook Air notebook, equipping the ultraportables with Thunderbolt ports, backlit keyboards and Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processors offering up to twice the performance of their predecessors.

Like the previous generation models, the new MacBook Airs start at US$999 for the entry-level model. They are available for order today and will be in stores on Thursday.

The MacBook Air is available in 11-inch and 13-inch models that Apple boasts easily slip into a briefcase, purse or bag. The MacBook Air’s durable aluminum unibody enclosure measures 0.11 inches at its thinnest point and 0.68 inches at its thickest.

The notebooks all feature flash for instant-on and fast data access, improved reliability and incredible energy efficiency. The 11-inch model weighs 2.38 pounds and provides up to 5 hours of battery life, while the 13-inch weighs 2.96 pounds and provides up to 7 hours of battery life.

With the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, the new MacBook Air is said to be up to twice as fast as the previous generation. The new notebooks also also feature Intel HD Graphics 3000 and offer up to 4GB of faster 1333 MHz memory.

Thunderbolt I/O technology provides expansion possibilities never before available to MacBook Air users. Through a single cable, users can connect to high performance peripherals and the new Apple Thunderbolt Display. Thunderbolt can easily be adapted to support legacy connections such as FireWire and Gigabit Ethernet.

The MacBook Air comes with a full size backlit keyboard and a glass Multi-Touch trackpad. The backlit keyboard uses a sensor to automatically detect a change in ambient lighting and adjusts the keyboard brightness for any environment.

The Multi-Touch trackpad supports Lion’s new Multi-Touch gestures such as momentum scrolling, tapping or pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, and swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps.

MacBook Air also features a high resolution LED backlit display. MacBook Air also includes Bluetooth for wireless peripherals and two USB ports for wired and wireless devices.

The new MacBook Air also meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold status Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.

Every new MacBook Air comes with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, along with the iLife suite. Lion features more than 250 new features to the Mac, including Multi-Touch gestures; system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control for a view of everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store,; Launchpad, iPad-like home screen for apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple confirms Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Migration Assistant update for Mac OS X 10.6 systems

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Date: Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, 04:53
Category: News, Software

Things to do today: Upgrade your operating system to Mac OS X 10.7.

Per AppleInsider, Apple confirmed that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will launch on the Mac App Store on Wednesday.

The company also released Migration Assistant Update, allowing users to prepare their Mac for the update to Lion through the Mac App Store. The update is a 312kb download available via Software Update or direct from Apple.

“This update addresses an issue with the Migration Assistant application in Mac OS X Snow Leopard that prevents transfer of your personal data, settings, and compatible applications from a Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard to a new Mac running Mac OS X Lion,” the official description reads.

Apple has been holding off on the introduction of new Mac hardware until it finally releases Lion. The company had not previously not offered a specific launch date for the operating system, only promising that it will become available on the Mac App Store for US$29.99 at some point in July.

Signs of an impending launch continued appear as the week went on, with Lion said to have arrived at Apple retail stores on hard disks this week for installation on demo machines, and photos of promotional materials at third-party stores.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any feedback about the upgrade experience, please let us know.

Apple posts $7.31 billion profit for third quarter

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Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 13:44
Category: Finance, News

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A combination of record iPhone and iPad sales combined with continued growth of its Mac business pushed Apple to reported sales of US$28.57 billion and net profit of US$7.31 billion for the three-month period ended June 25, 2011.

Per Macworld, the sales and profit figures—both quarterly records—increased last year’s third-quarter performance by 82 percent and 125 percent, respectively. Apple reported earnings of US$7.79 per share, which beat analyst estimates of $5.85. Analysts had also been looking for Apple to reach US$24.92 billion in sales for the quarter—a figure the company topped by nearly US$4 billion.

“We are extremely pleased with the momentum of our business,” chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts during a conference call to discuss the earnings report on Tuesday. Oppenheimer noted that during its 2011 fiscal year, Apple has recorded US$35 billion in year-over-year revenue growth and US$9.5 billion in year-over-year earnings growth—increases of 78 percent and 99 percent, respectively.

Apple says it sold 20.34 million iPhones during the just-completed quarter, a 142 percent increase from the phones it sold during the same period last year. That’s also the most phones Apple has ever sold during a quarter, topping the 18.65 million mark set just three months ago.

The iPhone racked up strong sales despite Apple skipping its customary summer introduction of a new model, after releasing the iPhone 4 in the summer of 2010 and the iPhone 3GS the summer before that. The last new iPhone released by Apple was a CDMA version of the smartphone compatible with Verizon’s wireless network; that model came out in February. The long-awaited white version of the iPhone also shipped in April.

Apple sold 9.25 million iPads during the third quarter, the first full quarter of sales for the iPad 2, which arrived in March. Apple says its iPad sales topped last year’s figures by 183 percent. It also set a new record for quarterly iPad sales, besting the previous mark of 7.3 million during the 2010 holiday shopping season.

Mac sales rose 14 percent from last year, with Apple selling 3.95 million computers. That’s a record for the third quarter, Oppenheimer said. Growth of Mac sales also outpaced market-research firm IDC’s forecasted PC market growth by more than four times, Apple pointed out.

The quarter saw Apple introduce new iMacs with quad-core processors, improved graphics, and Thunderbolt connectivity. All told, Apple sold 1.15 million desktops, accounting for about 30 percent of the Macs sold during the quater. The company sold 2.79 million portable Macs during the quarter, with the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air driving those sales, according to Oppenheimer.

iPod sales continued to decline from the heights of previous years. Apple says it sold 7.54 million iPods, a 20 percent drop from last year, though Oppenheimer said that was above the company’s expectations. The iPod touch accounts for about half of all iPods sold, according to Apple’s figures.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple slated to release Mac OS X 10.7, next-gen MacBook Air on Wednesday

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Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 05:49
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor, Software

It’s the rumor mill that keeps life interesting…

Per AppleInsider, Apple could launch both its Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and its widely anticipated Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Air notebooks on Wednesday.

According to sources with proven track records, the new product launches are set to occur later this week. Specifically, one person said the products would be released on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

The latest details align with what rumors that have been circulating this month, when it reported that new MacBook Air models with backlit keyboards and Thunderbolt ports would launch the week of July 21.

Those details were reaffirmed late last week in a separate report that corroborated other details, including the fact that Apple is expected to do away with the entry-level 64GB solid-state flash hard drive option. Instead, the new MacBook Airs are expected to have a minimum of 128GB in capacity.

The new notebooks, according to Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, are also expected to come with 4GB of RAM as the standard. That extra memory will allow the systems to better run Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple’s next-generation operating system, also said to become available this week.

Apple has been holding off on the introduction of new Mac hardware until it finally releases Lion. Apple has not offered a specific launch date for the operating system, only promising that it will become available on the Mac App Store for US$29.99 at some point in July.

A few weeks ago, Apple began undertaking preparatory measures to unveil Lion. While it was initially believed that the operating system could have gone on sale as soon as last week, there have been rumors of last-minute holdups associated with the logistics and infrastructure related to Apple’s switch to a digital distribution method through the Mac App Store.

The Golden Master of Lion was seeded to developers on July 1. The term “Golden Master” means that the software is viewed as a final build that will be identical to the software released to the general public.

While Lion and the new MacBook Air models are said to be set to launch this week, there has been no specific indication given regarding any other hardware. However, Apple provided its own evidence of a forthcoming refresh to its LED Cinema Display last week, when it posted images on its site showing a Thunderbolt-equipped display with the new part number “MC914.”

Supply of Apple’s white MacBook has also been severely constrained since late June, suggesting a change to the product could be forthcoming. Since then, there has been no indication of an imminent hardware refresh.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Copies of Mac OS X 10.7 begin arriving at Apple Store locations

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Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 03:40
Category: Rumor, Software

You’ve waited a while and it’s almost here.

Per MacRumors, hard disk drives bearing the Golden Master version of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion have arrived at Apple’s retail stores ahead of an imminent launch, according to a new report.

The site wrote on Monday it had confirmed that Apple retail stores “have begun receiving final copies” of Lion. The company has reportedly shipped the OS on hard drives intended for store demo computers.

The “Golden Master” build of Lion was first seeded to developers on July 1. Lion, which contains hundreds of new features, will be the first OS X release to be distributed through the Mac App Store, where it will sell for US$29.99.

Sources also indicated that Apple will release Lion alongside new Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Airs as early as Wednesday. According to one person familiar with the matter, the products will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday.

Apple began retail preparations for Mac OS X Lion earlier this month. Though various reports had suggested that Lion would arrive last week, rumors then emerged that last minute issues with the upgrade had pushed it back to the week of July 21.

In addition to high-speed Thunderbolt ports, the new MacBook Air models are expected to include Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors and minimum RAM and SSD specs of 4GB and 128GB respectively.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad 2 ship times drop to 1-3 days

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Date: Monday, July 18th, 2011, 06:54
Category: iPad, News

After more than fourth months on the market, Apple’s iPad 2 appears to have nearly caught up with the staggering demand for the product, as estimated shipping times on the company’s U.S. online store have improved to just one to three business days.

Per Electronista, Apple reached near immediate availability for all models of its popular touchscreen tablet on Saturday. The lead times are an improvement upon last week’s drop to three to five days.

Shortly after the device’s launch in March, Apple was quoting shipping estimates of over a month. In April, the iPad 2 began shipping within one to two weeks, with Apple holding that timeframe steady until early July.

Analysts have viewed the improvements to availability as evidence that Apple has overcome supply constraints, rather than viewing the news as indicating slackening demand for the device. J.P. Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz believes the resulting increase in iPad sales should help allay investor concerns that have contributed to recent volatility in shares of Apple.

Despite the fact that Apple sold “every iPad [it] could make,” analysts were disappointed in April when the company announced sales of just 4.69 million units last quarter. Wall Street had expected sales of 6.2 million.

“Demand has been staggering, and I’m not going to predict when supply and demand will come into balance, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said during the earnings call, adding that the iPad 2 is “the mother of all backlogs.”

Apple releases iOS 4.3.4 update, addresses PDF security issues

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Date: Friday, July 15th, 2011, 10:54
Category: iOS, News, Software

On Friday, Apple released iOS 4.3.4, the latest incarnation of its iOS operating system for its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. The updates, which somewhat function as a response to the German government’s regarding PDF-related security vulnerabilities in MobileSafari fix the same three vulnerabilities, the patch arriving in two versions, thanks to the different flavors of the iPhone 4. iOS 4.3.4 applies to the iPad and iPad 2, the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch, the iPhone 3GS, and the iPhone 4 (GSM model); users of the CDMA model of the iPhone 4 instead get iOS 4.2.9.

Per Macworld, the issues addressed in the updates include the aforementioned PDF problem within Apple’s CoreGraphics framework, which exploits FreeType’s TrueType and Type 1 fonts to execute malicious code, and a conversion problem within the IOMobileFrameBuffer framework, which could allow code to inadvertently gain system privileges by posing as the user.

These updates can be snagged by plugging in your respective iOS device and checking for updates in iTunes.

If you’ve tried the updates and noticed any differences, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Additional sources point towards next-gen MacBook Air launch next week

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Date: Friday, July 15th, 2011, 04:46
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

Ya know, if the next-gen MacBook Air came out today and killed all this anticipation, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Per All Things D, a new report Thursday corroborates that Apple is expected to launch new MacBook Airs next week, featuring backlit keyboards and minimum 128GB solid-state hard drives.

Updated: The report from All Things D corroborates numerous details that have been published elsewhere online over the last several days. It cites “several” anonymous sources as having indicated the notebooks will go on sale late next week.

“So look for an announcement Thursday or Friday, with the new hardware spec’ing out pretty much the way rumors in AppleInsider have described: New Sandy Bridge processors from Intel, support for Apple’s new high-speed Thunderbolt port, backlit keyboards and a winnowing down of configuration options to 128GB and 256GB of flash,” the revised report said.

In addition, it was first reported here on Thursday that the new notebooks could do away with the entry-level 64GB solid-state flash hard drive and offer 128GB as the lowest capacity. Those details were provided in a communication with Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who also indicated the devices are expected come with 4GB of RAM as the standard.

In addition to the more recent rumors in the past week, reports have indicated for months that the new MacBook Air models will feature Intel’s latest generation Sandy Bridge processors, which first hit the market earlier this year. The new notebooks will also sport the high-speed Thunderbolt port that already appeared in Apple’s MacBook Pro and iMac lineups earlier this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.