O'Grady's PowerPage » Apple

Apple releases firmware updates for early, mid-2010 MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012, 09:58
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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It’s the firmware updates that make all the difference.

On Wednesday, Apple released MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.5. The update, a 4.1 megabyte download, enables Lion Recovery from an Internet connection, early-2010 MacBook Pro models.

The company also released MacBook EFI Firmware Update 2.1. The update a 3.1 megabyte download, enables Lion Recovery from an Internet connection on mid-2010 MacBook Pro models.

Both updates require Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later to install and run and can be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried these updates and have either positive or negative feedback to offer, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Shareware solutions available to help resolve iCloud syncing bug

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012, 09:10
Category: iCloud, News, Software

There are various quotes about labor pains.

And they tend to be pretty darn valid.

Over on the New Jersey end of things, PowerPage head honcho has noticed something you may have seen with your iOS device: despite being hooked into the iCloud, normal bookmarks are having literally thousands of duplicates appear in the Bookmarks Bar and Bookmarks Menu folder. The issue has been noticed over on the Apple boards and to this end, El Jason has penned a good piece as to workarounds, shareware solution and the like over on the Apple Core.

Head on over, take a gander and if you’ve seen this issue on your end or found your own fixes or workarounds, please let us know in the comments.

Apple release Mac OS X 10.7.3 build 11D50 to developers with no known issues

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012, 05:44
Category: News, Software

If you’re hankering for the Mac OS X 10.7.3 update, you probably won’t have much longer to wait.

Per MacNN, a week after the last release, Apple has again posted build 11D50 of the upcoming Mac OS X 10.7.3 for developers. The new version lists no known issues and again asks testers to focus on iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight, and Safari. The build weighs in at 1.26GB for the combo update, and 997.01MB for the delta release (reversioners are no longer required).

While the company hasn’t identified any issues in several builds now, each subsequent releases is slightly larger than the one before it, suggesting that Apple is still tweaking the codebase. The main features of 10.7.3 are expected to be support for several new languages and issues relating to smart card authentication, Windows file sharing and directory services authentication. Testers are cautioned that they cannot revert to an earlier version of OS X once the beta 10.7.3 is installed.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the current build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple reports $46.33 billion in sales, $13.06 billion profit for Q1 2012

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Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, 16:37
Category: Finance, News

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You just can’t ignore a US$13.06 billion profit.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday reported that it tallied US$46.33 billion in sales and US$13.06 billion in profit for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31.

Both the revenue and profit figures were quarterly records for Apple and blew away the numbers recorded in the year-ago quarter. Sales rose 73 percent from last year’s figure of US$26.74 billion; profits more than doubled from the US$6 billion earned in the fiscal first quarter of 2011.

Apple earned US$13.87 per share for the just-completed quarter, up 116 percent from last year. That handily beat consensus analyst estimates of US$10.08 per share. Analysts were expecting Apple’s sales to come in at US$38.85 billion.

“We are very proud of these results and extremely pleased with the momentum of our business,” Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts during a conference call to discuss the company’s results. Noting the record sales across three of its major product offerings, Oppenheimer hailed what he called the “strongest product lineup in Apple’s history.”

Apple’s strong performance during the quarter comes with a minor caveat. To align the fiscal first quarter with the end of the calendar year, Apple’s quarter ran 14 weeks—that’s an extra week over the typical fiscal quarter.

The company sold 37.04 million phones during a quarter which saw the release of the iPhone 4S. That’s a 128 percent jump from the iPhones sold during the year-ago quarter, and it tops the previous record for iPhone sales of 20.34 million units sold during 2011’s third quarter.

Apple reported US$24.4 billion in recognized revenue from its iPhone product line, up from US$10.5 billion in the year ago. While Apple doesn’t break out sales by model, Cook noted that the 4S was the most popular of the smartphones sold by Apple. (The company also sells a US$99 iPhone 4 and offers a free iPhone 3GS with a two-year service agreement.)

The iPad also enjoyed record sales during the quarter, with Apple selling 15.4 million tablets. That’s an increase of nearly 111 percent from the 7.3 million iPads sold during the year-ago quater.

Recognized revenue from the iPad line jumped 99 percent to US$9.1 billion, up from US$4.6 billion in last year’s quarter.

Since releasing its first iPad a little less than two years ago, Apple has sold 55 million tablets, according to Cook.

Looking at all products that run the iOS mobile operating system, Apple says it’s sold 315 million cumulative iOS devices, with 62 million of those devices being sold in the just-completed quarter.

One of those iOS devices—the iPod touch—accounted for more than half of the iPods sold by Apple during the holiday season. That’s a bright spot in the otherwise stagnant iPod segment—sales dipped 21 percent for the quarter to 15.4 million units.

Still, Apple says that the iPod still continues to command a 70 percent share of the MP3 player market, and its music player remains the top-selling device in most of the countries the company monitors.

Apple completed its hat trick of product line records by selling more Macs during the first quarter than in any previous quarter. The company says it sold 5.2 million Macs, a 26 percent increase from the year-ago quarter. Oppenheimer said the growth was driven by strong MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac sales

Sales of both desktops and laptop topped quarterly records as well, though laptops continue to drive the company’s Mac business. Apple sold 3.7 million portables during the quarter, nearly 72 percent of the total Macs sold.

The strong Mac sales come at a time when the rest of the PC industry is struggling with stagnant growth. Oppenheimer noted that research firm IDC forecasted a flat growth rate for the quarter—a figure that Apple easily outpaced. It’s the 20th consecutive quarter that Apple’s Mac business had outgrown the overall PC market.

In fact, Apple outgrew the PC market in each of the geographic regions it does business. Growth was particularly strong in the Asia Pacific region, where Mac sales grew 58 percent.

On the retail front, Apple’s 361 stores brought in US$6.1 billion in revenue for the quarter, up from US$3.85 billion last year. The stores reported strong year-over-year growth across all product lines—Apple sold 1.1 million Macs through its retail stores, for example, with half of those going to customers new to the platform. Average store revenue rose from US$12 million last year to US$17.1 million.

Apple says 110 million people visited its stores during the holiday quarter, an increase of 45 percent from last year. That works out to a weekly average of 22,000 visitors per store. Oppenheimer credited two initiatives—Apple’s EasyPay self-checkout process and Personal Pickup, where customers shop online and pick up products at the store of their choice.

Apple opened four stores during the quarter—one in New York’s Grand Central station and the other three in Europe. Oppenheimer usually provides an estimate of planned store openings for the coming quarter, but that was absent this time around. In September, Apple said it would open 40 new stores in 2012 with three-quarters of those slated for outside the
U.S.

Apple ended its first quarter with US$97.6 billion in cash, up from US$81.6 billion at the end of the September quarter. Oppenheimer said that Apple was “actively discussing uses of our cash balance,” but added that there was nothing to share at this time.

Looking ahead to the second quarter ending in March, Oppenheimer told analysts to expect $32.5 billion in revenue and earnings per share of US$8.50. That compares to revenue of US$24.67 billion and earnings of US$6.40 a share in the 2011 second quarter. Analysts are looking for earnings of US$8.03 a share on sales of US$32.04 billion.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T looks to transfer $1 billion of wireless spectrum to T-Mobile

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, 06:35
Category: iPhone, News

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If you’ve got a spare billion dollars of wireless spectrum just laying about, why WOULDN’T you transfer it to the wireless carrier that you’d made a bid to purchase?

Per the Wall Street Journal, AT&T has filed for FCC approval to transfer wireless spectrum worth US$1 billion to T-Mobile as a result of the failure of its US$39 billion effort to acquire the smaller mobile carrier.

Along with the spectrum, AT&T will give T-Mobile’s German owner Deutsche Telekom US$3 billion in cash as part of its pre-negotiated terms for backing out of the acquisition, which was quashed by the US Justice Department and the FCC as threatening competition in the wireless market.

T-Mobile’s senior vice president for government affairs said “this additional spectrum will help meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services.”

T-Mobile is the only carrier among the US’ top 4 to have not articulated any plans for rolling out LTE 4G service, and is also hampered by its use of non-standard UMTS 3G service. That prevents the carrier from selling Apple’s existing iPhone, which it has cited as a key reason for its poor performance.

T-Mobile has previously indicated that new chipsets could enable future iPhone models to support the company’s existing 3G service. Without building out LTE however, T-Mobile could likely be left behind as support for the new networking standard begins to trickle into the mainstream.

Both T-Mobile and AT&T have referred to their existing HSPA+ networks as 4G, because they can offer data speeds compatible to LTE. However, LTE has future potential well beyond HSPA+.

Apple is expected to release an iPhone model capable of supporting LTE later this year. It has not previously supported LTE until now because of technical issues involving battery life and size.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

How-To: Troubleshoot keyboard backlighting on a MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 08:07
Category: How-To, MacBook Pro

You like your MacBook Pro.

And if you paid extra for it, you’re probably pretty fond of your MacBook Pro’s backlit keyboard.

So when it goes south/doesn’t light up, there’s some room for consternation.

To this end, the cool cats over at MacFixIt have assembled a useful list of steps to take if your backlight fails at any point in time. Click the link, take a gander and with any luck, your darkened living room will soon be illuminated by that keyboard glow once again.

Apple working to adopt 802.11ac 5G Gigabit WiFi standard in 2012

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 05:33
Category: News, wireless

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You know, 802.11n’s been speedy, but it’s also been around for a while.

It might be time to move on to something new.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is expected to rapidly deploy support for the new 802.11ac specification this year, adding so called “Gigabit WiFi” to new AirPort base stations, Time Capsule, Apple TV, notebooks and potentially its mobile devices.

The new 802.11ac standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than the existing 802.11n specification (in use on the latest Mac, AirPort and iOS devices) by using 2 to 4 times the frequency bandwidth (from 80 to 160MHz), more efficient data transfers through sophisticated modulation, and more antennas (up to 8; existing standards support up to 4, while Apple’s Macs currently use up to 3).

While not yet finalized as an official standard by the 802.11 Working Group, progress on the new 802.11.ac standard is occurring faster than previous efforts in wireless networking have.

Multiple suppliers have already issued chipsets supporting 802.11ac for consumer grade applications. Key Apple component maker Broadcom announced chips supporting the standard earlier this month at CES.

In addition to reaching networking speeds above 1 Gigabit (about three times as fast as 802.11n networks can manage), 802.11ac promises better networking range, improved reliability, and more power efficient chips, thanks to parallel advances in reducing chip size and enhancing power management.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iBooks 2 images linked to 2x image files, hint towards iPad 3 with Retina Display

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Date: Friday, January 20th, 2012, 05:21
Category: iPad, Rumor, Software

It’s the hints that make things interesting.

Per AppleInsider, a source has pointed out that the continued presence of iPad-specific double-resolution images within Apple’s newly updated iBooks 2 app could indicate that the company will soon release an iPad with an improved display that approaches Retina Display-like quality.

Higher-quality iPad images were first discovered in the iBooks app alongside @2x images for the iPhone last January. The discovery of the images was taken as evidence that Apple was planning for its iPad the same resolution jump that it did with the iPhone. Apple released the iPhone 4 with a “Retina Display” that featured twice the resolution and four times the pixels of its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS.

High-resolution images also appeared in an iOS 5 beta last summer. The alleged files had a resolution of 2048×1536 and were found inside the Twitter framework.

A double-resolution iPad would feature a pixel density of 264 ppi. That would fall short of the 300 ppi “sweet spot” that Apple referred to for its “Retina” calculations and the 326 ppi of the iPhone 4, though it would, of course, represent a significant improvement over the current model. By comparison, the iPad and iPad 2 share a resolution of 1024×768 and a pixel density of 132 ppi.

Numerous reports have suggested that the Cupertino, Calif., company is due to release a high-definition iPad this spring, though there has been some disagreement on whether it would arrive as a high-end model. Most recently, Bloomberg claimed that the third-generation tablet has entered mass production ahead of a March launch and will feature a double-resolution display, 4G LTE and a quad-core processor.

iBooks 2 was unveiled as part of Apple’s education event in New York City on Thursday. The company also announced several other education and ebook initiatives, including a new iTunes U app, partnerships with textbook publishers and iBooks Author, a Mac OS X application for designing digital textbooks for the iBookstore.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5.3 update, adds iBooks 2 textbook syncing support

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 10:42
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Apple released iTunes 10.5.3, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 102 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Allows you to sync interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad. These Multi-Touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad.

- iBooks textbooks are created with iBooks Author.

iTunes 10.5.3 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iTunes U app, allows college students to view course materials, sign up for classes, etc.

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 08:11
Category: iOS, News, Software

And now, you have even less of an excuse for not signing up for the courses you want.

Per AppleInsider, Apple released its iTunes U application for iPad on Thursday. The app will allow college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes.

In its presentation to the press, Apple showed off an online course from Duke for “Core Concepts in Chemistry.” In the iTunes U application, students can get an overview of the course, view teacher details, obtain the class syllabus, rate the course and even access information like the teacher’s office hours.

The iTunes U application for iPad has sections for “Info,” “Posts,” “Notes” and “Materials.” In the “Posts” section, teachers can provide updates to students, including assignments.

The assignments can even be context sensitive, allowing a student to tap on it and automatically be sent to the appropriate section of a textbook in iBooks. When an assignment is completed, it can be crossed off of the included task list.

In the “Notes” tab, users can access and modify their class notes, even highlighting certain text. And the “Materials” tab shows off all of the material for a course, including textbooks, videos, audio, and documents.

The iTunes U application itself is free and now available on the iPad App Store. Participating schools that have had early access to the software are Duke, Yale, Harrisburg Area Community College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Open University.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.