O'Grady's PowerPage » Apple

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.11

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Date: Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 06:06
Category: News, Software


Early Friday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.11, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 7.6 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:

– Nikon D800

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.

Recently-released Apple patent discusses touch-based screen featuring haptic feedback

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 06:13
Category: News, Patents


When in doubt, make your touchscreens better.

Per FreePatentsOnline.com, in an effort to make touchscreens less static, Apple has proposed that future iPhones and iPads could feature actuators that would provide haptic feedback to users, and also include sensors that would measure the force at which a user touches the screen.

The concept was unveiled this week in a patent application entitled “Touch-Based User Interface with Haptic Feedback.” The use of actuators underneath a touchscreen could allow users to actually feel elements on the screen, such as buttons or controls.

The timing of the application being made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is interesting because one rumor from earlier this month incorrectly suggested Apple would introduce new haptic feedback technology in its third-generation iPad. That rumor was based on technology from the company Senseg, which creates an electric field on the surface of a touchscreen, allowing users to feel complex, context-sensitive textures, such as making a surface feel smooth or rough to the touch.

The concept described in Apple’s new patent application is quite different, relying on actuators to physically provide haptic feedback on a touchscreen, rather than giving sensations through an electric field. But it demonstrates Apple’s continued pursuit of providing users with some sort of physical feedback when using a touchscreen device.

“The user can typically only feel the rigid surface of the touch screen, making it difficult to find icons, hyperlinks, textboxes, or other user-selectable elements that are being displayed,” Apple’s filing reads. “A touch-based user interface may help a user navigate content displayed on the display screen by incorporating haptic feedback.”

Rather than simply vibrating the device when a button is tapped, as some touchscreen devices do, Apple’s solution could utilize piezoelectric actuators for “localized haptic feedback.” This would allow the user to feel a virtual button on their fingertips.

Specifically named as products that could benefit from haptic feedback in the application are the iPhone and iPad, as well as the Magic Mouse and Apple’s notebook trackpads.

The application describes a touchscreen with a “haptic feedback layer” that could include piezoelectric actuators aligned in a grid pattern. These actuators could be located below an external protective layer that the user would touch to interact with the device, or the haptic layer itself could be the outermost layer.

The actuators could be used to replace the mechanical “click” of a mouse, or would allow users to “feel” selectable buttons or icons displayed on a touchscreen device.

Another element described in the application is the use of “force sensors” in a touchscreen device. With these, an iPhone or iPad could determine how much force a user is applying to the touch-based user interface, and respond to just how hard the user is tapping the screen.

To allow this, the outer screen of the device would “flex minimally,” but enough that the force sensors would be able to detect any pushing or squeezing of the device by the user.

The application, made public this week, was first filed by Apple in September of 2010. The proposed invention is credited to Paul G. Puskarich and Michael Pilliod.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Colorado woman’s iPhone 4 allegedly combusts while charging, exact causes unknown

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Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 07:21
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Pictures

On the down side, an Apple iPhone 4 in Colorado apparently caught fire.

Still…SOMETHING had to catch fire.

Per Mashable, a Colorado woman alleges that her iPhone 4 caught fire while charging overnight and wants Apple to warn customers of the device’s possible combustion issues.

The woman, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said she released her story in order to spread public awareness over the reported issue, claiming that Apple has been reticent to acknowledge the alleged incident.

The unnamed source claims that she awoke in the early morning during a recent trip to the east coast to find her year-old white iPhone 4 making “sizzling” and “popping” noises. After an unspecified amount of time there was “not quite an explosion, but an immense crackling,” and smoke plumed from the device creating “an awful, putrid smell, almost like you were ingesting plastic of some kind.”

Inspection of the provided pictures yields no clues as to which components were heated to the point of creating smoke, though it a bulging battery is clearly seen to have expanded enough to force apart the iPhone’s casing.

According to the report, the iPhone was connected via an Apple-branded charger to a power outlet that was later inspected and found to be working normally.

The woman goes on to say that when she asked Apple to be upgraded to a replacement iPhone 4S, the company furnished her with another iPhone 4.

“I would have liked to have seen them say they understand this might not be something that affects everyone,” the Colorado woman said. “But, because it happened here, [they should] put up a precautionary statement to make people aware that if their battery becomes too hot to be wary.”

The alleged incident is reportedly the first of its kind in the U.S., though there has been at least one similar instance in Australia involving the iPhone 4.

This is not the first time Apple has seen problems with overheating batteries as it extended a replacement program for its first-generation iPod nano in 2011 due to a defect that caused the device’s battery to overheat. The Cupertino, Calif., company first acknowledged the problem in a 2008 press release that stemmed from an investigation by the Japanese government.

There have been no reports of severe overheating issues with the iPhone 4S or any other products in Apple’s current lineup.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Barclays report hints at components for next-gen iPhone, highlights 4G LTE elements

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 06:50
Category: iPhone, Rumor


There’s always a next generation of a product.

And there’s always speculation as to what components will be used in it.

The next-generation iPhone is no different.

Per AppleInsider, investment firm Barclays reported Wednesday in a research note that among the parts Apple is expected to utilize are Qualcomm’s “MDM9615” LTE chip, which supports both voice and data connections on high-speed 4G networks.

That chip would be a change from the new iPad, which features Qualcomm’s “MDM9600” modem. But that hardware only offers data connections over 4G LTE, not voice.

Like the iPhone 4S, the next iPhone is expected to be a “world” device compatible with a variety of 4G LTE networks. That’s different from the new iPad, which comes in two different models compatible with Verizon and AT&T wireless networks in the U.S.

In addition to Qualcomm, companies that are said to be supplying potential components to Apple are chipmakers Skyworks Solutions, TriQuint Semiconductor, and Avago Technologies.

Barclays sees Skyworks Solutions emerging as a likely winner with Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, which it expects will launch this September. For Apple, the addition of a 4G LTE radio is expected to cost between US$3 and US$10 extra versus the 3G radio in the iPhone 4S.

The timeframe presented by Barclays aligns with a report from last month which indicated that the next iPhone will arrive in September or October of this year. That would be about one year after the arrival of the iPhone 4S, which marked the change of Apple’s typical iPhone launches in June or July.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Some users complaining about Wi-Fi signal strength on third-generation iPad units

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 07:54
Category: iPad, News

A firmware update or two may be in order for the iPad 3.

Per the Apple Support Communities forum, a number of users have reported that wireless reception with their new iPad is notably inferior than with Apple’s previous iPad models.

In a growing thread, dozens of users have posted about their troubles with Wi-Fi connectivity on the new iPad. Reports claim that areas that previously achieved strong Wi-Fi signals are now weak, or have no reception at all.

Some users have also compared the reception of their new iPad to their iPhone or MacBook Pro. While the other Apple devices might receive a strong signal in a particular location, they say the new iPad has weak or no connectivity.

“MacBook Pro as well as iPhone 4S show ‘Full Fan’ — new iPad (16GB WIFI) shows ‘one dot’ or just flat drops the wifi connection (and is often unable to search and find it),” user ‘aka_srp’ wrote in a post over the weekend.

Another user, ‘gdtobm,’ said they bought a new iPad from Best Buy on last Friday’s launch and experienced Wi-Fi connectivity issues. The iPad was returned later that day, and the new model they received did not have any problems.

Still another person who posted to Apple’s forums, ‘Andrew Mclaughlin2,’ compared the performance of the new iPad to a first-generation iPad and an iPhone 4S. The tests conducted at Speedtest.net reportedly found that the third-generation iPad has half the throughput of the other devices.

Some of those posting in Apple’s forums have attempted to resolve their issues with AppleCare representatives, while others have talked to personnel at the company’s retail stores. One user, ‘HealthClif,’ said they switched back to a previous-generation iPad 2 after experiencing Wi-Fi connectivity issues with multiple replacements of the new iPad.

Complaints of Wi-Fi-related issues also cropped up with the launch of the first iPad in 2010. Two years ago, some users said they experienced weak Wi-Fi reception, dropped signals, and difficulty connecting to a network.

Apple eventually resolved those issues with an iPad software update. The company acknowledged that a “very small number of iPad users” had experienced issues with Wi-Fi connectivity on the first-generation iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Additional third-generation iPad thermal testing continues with some reports indicating temperatures as high as 97 degrees Fahrenheit

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 07:48
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

There’s a plus side to the iPad 3: you’ll always be able to reheat your favorite foods with it.

Per AppleInsider, a new analysis has found the A5X chip in the new device runs as much as 16 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the A5 chip in the iPad 2.

According to a series of tests conducted by Repair Labs, the A5X chip registered temperatures up to 36 degrees celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to A5 readings of 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F). The experiment involved opening up the tablets in order to directly measure the temperatures of the chips.

Technicians measured multiple components inside the new iPad in order to verify that the A5X was the part putting out the most heat. The report speculated that a difference in materials between the A5 and the A5X may be a contributing factor, as the A5 is believed to be ceramic, while the A5X is “obviously metallic.”

An external test involved having the two iPads to play movies on Netflix. The third-generation iPad started at 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F) and warmed up to 32-33 degrees C (89.6-91.4 degrees F), while the iPad 2 started at 24 degrees C (75.2 degrees F) and only climbed to 25-26 degrees C (77-78.8 degrees F).

Repair Labs said it was was unable to reproduce the 116 degree F temperatures that Consumer Reports noted earlier on Tuesday, though it did note that holding the new iPad 3 “could be noticeably warmer after only a few minutes use,” especially if held where the A5X is located.

Writing for Consumer Reports, Donna L. Tapellini said that the new iPad felt “very warm” when at its hottest, but not “especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period.” The story was quickly picked up by other outlets, some of which dubiously claimed that Apple’s new tablet could cause burns.

Consumer Reports is no stranger to controversy with Apple’s devices. The consumer advocacy group retracted its recommendation of the iPhone 4 in 2010 because it was able to reproduce a signal-loss problem in the device. With the release of the iPhone 4S last year, the group announced that Apple had resolved the issue.”

Separate tests conducted by Tested found a maximum temperature of 82 degrees F on the third-generation iPad when playing “Infinity Blade II,” the same app used by Consumer Reports in its tests.

Display expert Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate attributes the new iPad’s extra warmth to the fact that the device has approximately twice as many LEDs as its predecessor. “The LEDs give off 2.5 times as much heat as the iPad 2 and so will the battery and power electronics on the new iPad compared to the iPad 2,” he said.

An infrared test conducted earlier this week by a Dutch site found the new iPad to have reached 92.5 degrees F during a GLBenchmark test, almost 10 degrees hotter than the 83 degrees F measured on the iPad 2 during the same test.

For its part, Apple issued a statement on Tuesday that the new iPad operates “well within [its] thermal specifications” and urged customers with concerns to contact its support service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Software Installer Update 1.0 for Mac OS X 10.6.8 operating system

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 06:11
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Apple released its Software Installer Update patch. The upgrade, a 1.3 megabyte download, addresses an issue that may prevent certain Apple software from installing under the Mac OS X 10.6.8 operating system.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.6.8 to install and run.

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

Early thermal testing shows iPad 3 running 10 degrees hotter than previous generations

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Date: Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, 07:19
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

You may love your new iPad 3, but it’s been commented as a toasty beast.

Per Engadget, thermal imaging of a side-by-side comparison of the third-generation iPad and the iPad 2 found Apple’s latest tablet running 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) hotter than its predecessor.

Dutch site Tweakers.net performed the GLBenchmark test on the two generations of iPads for five minutes to measure a heat difference. Using an infrared camera, the publication discovered that the hottest part of the new iPad was 33.6 degrees Celsius (92.5 Fahrenheit), while the iPad 2 measured 28.3 degrees Celsius (83 Fahrenheit).

Though the new iPad does appear to run warmer than the iPad 2, it should be noted that the temperatures are still well within Apple’s specified operating temperature of 32 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 35 Celsius).

The report went on to speculate that the new GPU is the likely cause for the added heat in the third-generation iPad. The new iPad features an A5X chip with quad-core graphics, presumably from the PowerVR SGX543MP4. A teardown of the tablet late last week revealed a new metal heat spreader affixed on top of the A5X.

Anecdotal evidence from iPad users on the Apple Support Communities forum shows that some users have found the new iPad to be warmer than the previous generation. One discussion had generated nearly 19,000 views and 219 replies as of Monday evening.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Teardown reveals new A5 processor, second antenna, additional RAM in new Apple TV unit

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 07:16
Category: Apple TV, Hardware

It’s the teardowns of new products that make technology interesting.

The new Apple TV unit has gone through a full teardown courtesy of XBMC community member “aiciofs” to discover the following components:

– A custom-built A5 processor that, unlike the A5 CPU found in the iPhone 4S or iPad 2, features only a single processing core.

– 512 MB of upgraded RAM.

– The internal flash memory remains at 8 gigabytes.

– Second antenna (as opposed to the single antenna of the previous Apple TV unit). Its exact purpose is unknown, but it was suggested that the antenna could be to improve Wi-Fi connectivity and speed.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to spend $45 billion over next three years on stock share, repurchase program, offer dividends

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 07:05
Category: Firewire, News


So what DO you do with those fat stacks of cash laying about?

Per AppleInsider, following up on today’s financial news, Apple will initiate a dividend and share repurchase program, spending US$45 billion over the next three years.

Apple’s new quarterly dividend will amount to US$2.65 per share. Assuming it is approved by the company’s board of directors, it will be initiated at some point in the company’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1 of this year.

The dividend will be joined by a US$10 billion share repurchase program that will start with Apple’s fiscal 2013. The share repurchase program has already been authorized by the company’s board of directors.

Apple plans to repurchase shares over three years, with the primary objective to neutralize the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employe stock purchase programs.

“We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said. “You’ll see more of all of these in the future. Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program.”

More details on the new initiatives will be discussed during a conference call that Cook and Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer will participate in at 9 a.m. Eastern, 6 a.m. Pacific Monday morning. The company will not, however, provide any updates on its current quarter, and no topics other than cash will be discussed.

“Combining dividends, share repurchases, and cash used to net-share-settle vesting RSUs, we anticipate utilizing approximately US$45 billion of domestic cash in the first three years of our programs,” Oppenheimer said. “We are extremely confident in our future and see tremendous opportunities ahead.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.