Rumor: Apple to update notebooks in June, retain same design with new models

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Date: Friday, December 28th, 2012, 06:08
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

Rumor: Apple to update notebooks in June, retain same design with new models

Sometimes you just don’t muck with a good design.

Per DigiTimes, Apple will reportedly update the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air product lines in June 2013 with upgraded innards, but no major design changes are expected for either laptop range.

According to the article, Taiwanese supply chain sources said Apple recently issued requests for quotations (RFQs) for a number of notebooks, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, with the new models slated to reach consumers in June 2013.

Little information was offered regarding the revised MacBook Pro as the publication focused its report on the effect Apple’s MacBook Air will have on so-called Ultrabook makers next year. For 2013, Apple’s thin-and-light is said to be switching to a new processor platform, most likely Intel’s next-generation Haswell architecture.

As for design, sources say no major changes are planned for either product line. While the MacBook Pro line was the recipient of a design overhaul with the Retina display model, non-Retina versions still sport a unibody chassis largely unaltered since its debut in 2008. The MacBook Air’s enclosure was revamped in 2010, taking on a more angular look as Apple applied design cues learned from its development of the iPad.

DigiTimes also suggests Apple may cut MacBook Air prices ahead of the June launch, but such a move is unlikely considering the company has no recent history of discounting products prior to a newer version’s release. The publication made similar claims in May when it incorrectly predicted that Apple would introduce a US$799 version of the notebook in the third quarter of 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent highlights motion-controlled mouse idea for future Macs

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Date: Friday, December 28th, 2012, 06:15
Category: News, Patents

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This could lead to something interesting.

Per AppleInsider, a patent filing published on Thursday details an Apple invention pertaining to a computer input device that uses motion gestures, like tilting, brushing and tapping to manipulate a computer’s GUI.

Apple’s “Methods and apparatus for processing combinations of kinematical inputs” describes a system that translates a variety of force and velocity data detected by an input device into commands for a computer’s user interface, such as control of a mouse cursor.

The invention calls for an input device with one or more motion sensors to feed a receiving system adapted to convert gesture data into GUI navigation commands.

In order to achieve precise calculations, the input device can use a number of motion sensors including one or more gyroscopes, optical sensors and accelerometers, among others. By taking force and vector data from the device, the receiving computer generates a “gesture profile” that is associated with a certain system command. For example, if a user slides the input device across a plane or object, a cursor will move in that direction.

Two gestures can be combined, for example below a sliding gesture is performed in conjunction with a tilt gesture, thus enabling a different UI command than would a simple lateral movement of the device.

The system is programmable, meaning different gestures can be assigned to various commands. A “nudge” gesture can equate to the waking of the input device when it is in sleep mode or moving a mouse cursor slightly in one direction. Tilting, tapping and other gravity-based gestures are supported by the system and can likewise reproduce any number of UI commands on a computer’s screen.

Gesture profiles can be multi-step operations. In the example below, the input device starts at the left at a speed of 0 meters per second. Once the start motion is detected, a minimum velocity must be reached in order to enable the gesture. When the magnitude of the force vector reaches zero, that is when the unit is lifted off the desk, the conditions satisfy the second gesture circumstance and the command is triggered.

It appears from the patent drawings that Apple could possibly incorporate the additional motion gesture control into an upcoming mouse. While just speculation, the iPhone and iPod lineups could also be used asinput devices as they carry integrated accelerometers, gyroscopes and imaging sensors. There are existing apps in the iOS ecosystem that “transform” iDevices into usable input peripherals, like R.P.A.Tech’s Mobile Mouse, but Apple may one day use the invention’s technology to offer a built-in first-party solution.

Apple’s patent application was first filed in April and credited Jean L. Lee is credited as its inventor.

Updated (x2): Apple changes guidelines as to 30-pin, Lightning connector ports on same iOS device in wake of Kickstarter effort

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Date: Friday, December 28th, 2012, 01:51
Category: Hardware, News

This could lead to some interesting stuff.

Per CNET, only a day after a Kickstarter project was killed because of restrictions on Apple’s MFi program that prevented Lightning and 30-Pin connectors from appearing on the same device, Apple has changed its guidelines to allow third-party devices to have 30-pin and Lightning chargers on the same accessory.



“Our technical specifications provide clear guidelines for developing accessories and they are available to MFi licensees for free,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told CNET. “We support accessories that integrate USB and Lightning connectors, but there were technical issues that prevented accessories from integrating 30-pin and Lightning connectors so our guidelines did not allow this.”

The company added that the guidelines have since been updated to allow accessories to work with both types of connectors to charge devices.

There is no word from Edison Junior on whether the company will move forward with the POP portable power station, which sought to bring both Lightning and 30-pin Dock connectors to iOS devices now that Apple has reversed course.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve heard anything about the POP effort or those similar to it, please let us know in the comments.

Update: The product now has a new web site that can be looked into via popportablepower.com.

Second update: Edison Junior Director of Operations August Cziment has replied to a query as to whether a MagSafe version of the POP with the following statement:

“Thanks for your interest. Right now we don’t have any definitive plans to do a MagSafe although we’d like to explore that idea. Right now we’re so focused on delivering an awesome POP product as we had promised so for now we’re trying not to distract ourselves.”

Rumor: Apple may switch to IGZO displays for next-gen iOS devices

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Date: Thursday, December 27th, 2012, 06:57
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, Rumor

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Next year could be interesting where iOS devices are concerned.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is reportedly in talks with Sharp to use the company’s IGZO display technology in next-generation iPhones and iPads, but low yield rates have prompted the Cupertino tech giant to look at other Asian display makers in efforts to bolster its supply chain.

According to sources close to the story, Apple is said to be further evaluating Sharp’s IGZO panel production capacity for 2013 ahead of rolling out the technology in upcoming iPhone, iPad and iPad mini models. Rumors of Apple’s interest in using IGZO, or indium, gallium and zinc oxide, displays first surfaced in late 2011.

While the Sharp-developed screens are thinner and more efficient than those found in current iDevices, Apple was unable to take advantage of the technology as the struggling Japanese electronics firm saw setbacks with initial yields. Only recently has the company introduced the first IGZO panels with its own mobile offerings limited to the Japanese domestic market.

It appears that supply constraints are a continuing concern, as Apple is said to also be evaluating whether display partner AU Optronics’ “L5C” line can be used to produce the cutting edge panels. In addition, Innolux was reportedly granted a license to make IGZO displays, suggesting that the Taiwanese company may become an Apple display supplier.

The most recent rumors surrounding an IGZO-toting Apple product came in July when sources in China claimed the tech would be one of the standout features of the iPad mini.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dispute resolved, Jobs family mega-yacht free to leave port

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Date: Wednesday, December 26th, 2012, 07:41
Category: News

In the spirit of the holidays, the Jobs family mega-yacht is now free to go.

Per The Next Web, a financial dispute with designer Philippe Starck has been resolved and the mega-yacht commissioned by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is now free to leave the dock where it was previously impounded.



A lawyer representing the Jobs family has stated that a resolution has been reached between them and Starck. As a result, the yacht is now free to leave the dock it is stationed at in the Netherlands.

The yacht was sequestered by lawyers last week in Amsterdam over the financial dispute, in which Starck believed he was due 9 million euros, while the Jobs family felt he was owed 6 million euros. The terms of the final agreement between Starck and Jobs’ heirs is unknown, but it was suggested that the designer did not receive as much as he was asking for.

The boat was reportedly built on a mutual trust between Jobs and Starck, and the contract between them was not very detailed. Jobs began designing the ship, named “Venus,” after returning from a cruise that traveled from Italy to Turkey.

The super yacht was first revealed in October. Word of the yacht was first revealed by Starck himself in April, though it wasn’t seen until months later.

The 80-meter-long ship is made completely of aluminum, with huge plate windows covering the wheelhouse and main deck entrances. The yacht relies on 27-inch iMacs for navigation, systems control and other seafaring software.

I’m not sure if getting your mega-yacht out of being impounded counts as a holiday miracle, but the Jobs family has always seemed nice and you take what you can get.

Hacker cites iOS 6 code as becoming more secure, offering “tougher protections”

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Date: Wednesday, December 26th, 2012, 07:18
Category: iOS, News, security, Software

Hacking an iOS device may be getting tougher to do.

Per iPodNN, in a recent tweet, hacker i0n1c has revealed that the forthcoming iOS 6.1 update adds “again tougher protections” to the codebase even compared to iOS 6, suggesting that security has been dramatically improved.

While many users have perfectly legitimate reasons (beyond just wanting to) for jailbreaking their iOS devices, because the technique relies on finding an exploitable “hole” in the OS code that could also be used for malicious purposes, Apple is naturally very eager to close up avenues by which unofficial or dangerous code could be injected into the device — even though many “unofficial” apps are simply ones that were rejected by Apple for App Store guideline violations, mostly for altering core OS elements.

Closing down jailbreaking loopholes will also close off one of the principle sources of pirated apps, also giving Apple considerable incentive to cut off the practice. Holes in Android code are frequently used to install scamware, malware, privacy-compromising and even virus-ridden apps — a growing problem for Google, though the ability to heavily customize and “root” Android devices is a major selling point to the most technically-proficient of Android’s audience.

The hacker community believes that iOS 6 will eventually get an “untethered” (meaning “persistent through restarts”) jailbreak, but that iOS 6.1 may represent the end of the free jailbreaking road. The security may simply have reached a point where only those likely to sell any remaining exploit secrets are likely to be able to come up with any.

Apple has made security a top priority on iOS, since it is the only platform where malware is all but completely unknown. Many of the security improvements made in iOS have also been transferred to the Mac as applicable, including complete sandboxing of applications and developer “signatures” on apps.

In his tweet, i0n1c refers to a “changing of the guard” that has brought much-improved security to iOS. It’s unknown if this refers to Craig Federighi’s recent promotion to handle both iOS and OS X, or if this is a reference to Kristin Paget, a top white-hat hacker herself who is now listed on LinkedIn as a “Core OS Security Researcher” at Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may debut fifth-gen iPad in March, borrow from iPad mini design elements

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Date: Monday, December 24th, 2012, 08:15
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

If you were waiting a while to see if there might be a new generation of iPad coming out the door in a few months, you get to feel both proud and smug.

If you just bought a brand new iPad, you might want to want to gently throttle the friend who waited a bit for the next-gen iPad.

Per Japanese blog Mac Otakara,

Apple is reportedly preparing a thinner, lighter fifth-generation iPad model ahead of a March unveiling, only five months after the most recent version was released in October, claims Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the web site claims the 9.7-inch tablet will surface in March with a new look more in line with the iPad mini.

The exact dimensions of the purported iPad were not divulged by the source, but they did expect the tablet to be thinner and lighter than the current iteration. As with most Apple products, and those of OEMs in general, designs have been trending toward shrinking the device while cramming in as much technology as possible. With the third and fourth-generation iPad, however, the chassis was actually slightly thicker than its predecessor as more internal space was required to hold the circuitry that powers the unit’s Retina display.

While the rumor fits with recent whispers that Apple may be moving to an aggressive half-year product refresh cycle, as seen with the fourth-generation iPad, the company has consistently worked with a year-long rotation for its iDevice lines since their respective introductions.

No mention was made of the 9.7-inch model’s internal specifications, but the publication did note that an upgraded iPad mini is already in the works. The smaller tablet will reportedly fit an all-new 7.9-inch Retina display over hand-me-down innards like the A6X processor from the current full-size iPad. Separate reports have echoed the second-gen iPad mini rumors, though a prospective launch timeline has yet to be established.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 6 security bug in wild, reenables JavaScript under Safari without input from user

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Date: Monday, December 24th, 2012, 08:57
Category: News, security, Software

This is the reason bug fixes were invented.

Per AppleInsider the Safari web browser in Apple’s iOS 6 platform has a potentially serious JavaScript bug that could have major security and privacy implications.

The new “Smart App Banner” feature in iOS 6 is designed to allow developers the ability to promote App Store software within Safari. The Smart App Banner detects whether a user has a specific application installed, and invites them to view the software on the App Store or open it on their iOS device.

But for users who choose to turn off JavaScript in the Safari Web browser, the appearance of a Smart App Banner on a website will automatically and permanently turn JavaScript back on without notifying the user.

iOS device owners can test this issue by opening the Settings application and choosing Safari, then turning off JavaScript. Then simply launch the Safari browser and visit a website with a Smart App Banner.

Users can then go back into the Settings application to verify that the JavaScript setting switch has been flipped back to the “on” position without warning. Accordingly, JavaScript features on websites will begin working again.

The issue has reportedly existed since the release of iOS 6 months ago, though it has not been widely reported. In addition, people familiar with the latest beta of iOS 6.1 said the problem also remains in Apple’s pre-release test software on the iPhone.

Peter Eckersley, technology products director with digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he would characterize such an issue as a “serious privacy and security vulnerability.”

Neither Eckersley nor the EFF had heard of the bug in iOS 6, nor had they independently tested to confirm that they were able to replicate the issue. But Eckersley said that if the problem is in fact real, it’s something that Apple should work to address as quickly as possible.

“It is a security issue, it is a privacy issue, and it is a trust issue,” Eckersley said. “Can you trust the UI to do what you told it to do? It’s certainly a bug that needs to be fixed urgently.”

But Lysa Myers, a virus hunter at security firm Intego, said she doesn’t see the bug as a major concern for the vast majority of iOS device owners.

“While this issue is certainly not an ideal situation, by itself it actually isn’t that large a problem,” said Myers. “At the moment it doesn’t pose a threat, but we’ll continue to monitor it to make sure it doesn’t become more exploitable. There’s also the fact that few people actually disable JavaScript completely as it can partially, or totally, disable the majority of websites.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Some users complain of reduced battery life, new Wi-Fi issues after iOS 6.0.2 update

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Date: Friday, December 21st, 2012, 08:51
Category: iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Sometimes a bug fix works perfectly for everyone.

Other times it doesn’t, or opens up a whole new can of worms.

Per the Apple support forums and Ars Technica, Apple’s newly released iOS 6.0.2 update for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini may have resolved some Wi-Fi issues, but some users say it seems to have also reduced their battery life.

A number of users have expressed they have noticed poorer battery life on their iPhone after upgrading to iOS 6.0.2. Specifically, one user said they noticed their battery draining “substantially faster.”

In addition, a small number of users have created a thread at Apple’s official support forums to share their own evidence of battery problems with iOS 6.0.2.

“It is absolutely draining my battery,” user ‘atdguy’ wrote. “I can usually get through a day with about 75% of my battery power remaining. Today I’ve gone through 90% and I’ve done nothing special with it.”

Others posting at Apple’s site said that the release of iOS 6.0.2 actually introduced Wi-Fi connectivity issues for them. The software update, released on Tuesday, was intended to address previous Wi-Fi bugs for the iPhone and iPad mini.

All of the users who commented or e-mailed say they are experiencing the battery drain issues with their iPhone 5. There was no mention of iOS 6.0.2 battery problems with the iPad mini.

If you’ve seen these issues on your own devices after the iOS 6.0.2 update, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.3 build 12D44 to developer community

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Date: Friday, December 21st, 2012, 07:50
Category: News, Software

The OS X 10.8.3 seeds are coming a bit more quickly these days.

Which is never a bad sign.

Late Thursday, Apple seeded OS X 10.8.3 build 12D44 to developers, with the new version coming just two days after the previous 12D43 build was released according to AppleInsider.

It is not clear what changes have been made with the new OS X 10.8.3 beta as sources familiar with the previous build say developers are being asked to focus on the same areas. In fact, the release notes are identical to those released alongside build 12D43 on Tuesday.

Thursday’s notes also come with the same step-by-step instructions for installing and activating the “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility,” which allows developers to download new seeds directly through Software Update in the Mac App Store. The new feature was first introduced in build 12D38 released at the start of December.

As with the previous beta seed, build 12D44 comes with no known issues and requests developers focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers and Safari.

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