Newer MacBook Air notebooks arriving with faster Blade solid-state drives

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Date: Monday, April 18th, 2011, 04:27
Category: MacBook Air, News

You may be getting a bit more than you paid for with some of the latest MacBook Air notebook units.

Per AnandTech, Apple eventually included a commercially available Toshiba Blade X-gale solid state drive module, model TS128C with the notebook.

Reports have surfaced showing MacBook Airs equipped with a second, even faster SSD with a SM128C part number — the “SM” hinting at its presumed Samsung manufacturing origins. Samsung’s SSD manages up to 260MBps read and 210MBps write speeds compared to Toshiba’s 210MBps read and 185MBps write performance. While it’s hardly unusual for Apple to multi-source components, aa recent decision to source parts from Korea’s Samsung would have been a smart move to keep just-in-time supply lines fully stocked following the spate of disasters in Toshiba’s home country of Japan. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any way of confirming which SSD you’re about to purchase without cracking open the retail box and running the OS X System Profiler…

To sum it up, you might get a bit luckier than you expected when snagging the current MacBook Air, it’s just a matter of chance.

Rumor: White iPhone 4 to arrive on April 26th

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Date: Monday, April 18th, 2011, 03:26
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’ve been wanting the white iPhone 4 since, well, last summer.

And it may only be days away.

Per Italian iPhone site iPhoneItalia, a “reliable source” has stated that the white iPhone 4 will launch in Italy on Tuesday, April 26. Recently, Bloomberg confirmed that the white iPhone 4 would be shipping by the end of April. Yesterday, white iPhone 4 part numbers began appearing in Verizon’s inventory.

While Apple has yet to confirm an exact launch date, it has confirmed that the white iPhone 4 will be launching this spring. If iPhoneItalia’s sources are correct, it’s highly likely that Apple has sufficient supplies of the white iPhone 4 to launch in multiple countries, which would mean that the US launch of the white iPhone 4 will also occur on April 26.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple snags Kevin Timmons from Microsoft to run data center efforts

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Date: Friday, April 15th, 2011, 03:57
Category: News

With Apple’s recent forays into data centers, they’re going to need qualified people to run them.

Per Data Center Knowledge, Apple has scooped up Kevin Timmons, general manager of datacenter services at Microsoft. Currently, Timmons’ position and responsibilities are not known, thought the report indicated that Timmons will not fill the position vacated by the passing of Olivier Sanche last year. Sanche, Apple’s global data center director, died suddenly last November. He oversaw Apple’s preparations for its US$1 billion North Carolina data center, which the company has said is on track to open this spring.

Timmons reportedly sought to drastically reduce data center costs by as much as 50% during his tenure with Microsoft. He also played a key role in the Windows maker’s latest data center in Quincy, Wash., which features a lightweight exterior filled with highly customizable containers that are packed with servers, storage, and power and cooling infrastructure.

“Timmons has forged a reputation for building efficient Internet-scale data centers on a budget,” author Rich Miller wrote. “At Microsoft, Timmons oversaw the deployment of massive new data centers in Dublin and Chicago shortly after his arrival in mid-2009, but then moved to streamline the company’s data center design and cost structure.”

Prior to working at Microsoft, Timmons was vice president of operations at Yahoo, where he also oversaw build-out of data centers and infrastructure.

Apple is expected to introduce a major overhaul of its MobileMe Internet application service this year. According to reports, the cloud-based service will add a digital “locker” that would store personal files such as photos, music and videos, and that content could be streamed to Internet-connected devices like iPhones.

In other news, Timmons is reported to be a pretty nice person who frequently tips 15% and above.

And a cuddler who listens.

Apple releases iOS 4.3.2 update

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Date: Friday, April 15th, 2011, 03:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released iOS 4.3.2, the latest update to its mobile operating system for its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. The update includes the following fixes and changes:

- Fixes an issue that occasionally caused blank or frozen video during a FaceTime call.

- Fixes an issue that prevented some international users from connecting to 3G networks on the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G.

- Contains latest security updates.

The update is recommended for all users of the GSM and CDMA iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touches. To download and install it, connect your device to your Mac or PC and click Check for Updates in iTunes.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes (for better or for worse), please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: White Apple iPhone could arrive in “next few weeks”

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Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 04:17
Category: iPhone, Rumor

This better live up to the delay.

Per Bloomberg, Apple will finally begin selling the white iPhone 4 by the end of April after having resolved manufacturing challenges that resulted in a 10-month delay.

According to sources close to the story, the white iPhone is nearly ready for launch on both AT&T and Verizon, corroborating an earlier report that the device would launch in April.

The report was updated by Reuters on Thursday that Apple’s suppliers have begun production of the white iPhone 4, according to “two people familiar with the situation.”

In March, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that a full-lamination problem had prompted necessary changes to the film material on the white iPhone 4, resulting in a now 10-month delay.

The report also tracks with a Twitter message posted by Apple VP Phil Schiller last month. “The white iPhone will be available this spring (and it is a beauty!),” Schiller said.

Earlier this year, it was learned that Apple had turned to a Japanese company to craft a new paint material in order to overcome the manufacturing problems of the white iPhone 4.

Apple repeatedly delayed the product in 2010, citing manufacturing issues. Last October, the company announced that the white iPhone 4 would not arrive until spring 2011.

The extended delay of the white iPhone 4 has prompted speculation that Apple will hold off on releasing a redesigned iPhone this summer. Numerous rumors have now suggested that Apple will instead release the so-called iPhone 5 this fall, with one report suggesting that Apple would not release a next-generation iPhone until after Apple’s fiscal 2012 begins in late September.

The Feb. 10 release of the CDMA iPhone 4 on Verizon has also fueled rumors that Apple will choose not to refresh the iPhone this summer. Pundits questioned whether an iPhone update just 4 to 5 months after the Verizon iPhone launch would anger customers who signed 2-year contracts.

Apple has historically released a new version of its bestselling smartphone every summer in June or July. Last week, analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities noted that Apple is “keeping its iPhone 5 cards extra close to the vest” in order to avoid a slump in iPhone 4 demand ahead of a refresh.

Insiders connected to Taiwan-based touch panel makers indicated Wednesday that Apple has yet to provide them with a production roadmap for the next iPhone. The sources were split, however, as to the interpretation of the situation. Some believe that Apple will release a slightly modified iPhone 4 this summer, while others speculated that a “major overhaul” would come at a later date.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts job listing focused on improving cloud services

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Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 03:07
Category: Mobile, Rumor, Software

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When the job listings go up, things become interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is building a small team to write software which will lay the groundwork for the company’s future Web services, which it has advertised as “the future” of its cloud-based offerings.

This week the company posted a new job listing for the position of “Cloud Systems Software Engineer.” The full-time role at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., campus will join a “small team” that is said to be building “the future of cloud services at Apple.”

That small team writes “software which forms the foundation” for some of Apple’s “most exciting new products and services,” the job listing reads. In keeping with Apple’s legendary secrecy, the listing does not reveal what services the company’s cloud-driven future will include.

The company is apparently looking to hire an engineer with experiencing in scalable and extensible systems. The ideal candidate will collaborate with other engineering teams at Apple to build the platform frameworks and systems that will power Apple’s next-generation Web services.

Apple has offered cloud-based services for some time with its US$99-per-year MobileMe service. According to unconfirmed rumors, Apple is expected to unveil an enhanced version of MobileMe this year, featuring a digital “locker” that would store personal files such as photos, music and videos. That content could be streamed to Internet-connected devices like iPhones, eliminating the need for a large amount of local memory on devices.

In particular, Apple is believed to be working on a cloud-based music service that would allow users to stream their music from anywhere. Such a product could be powered by Apple’s new massive data center in North Carolina, expected to go online this spring.

This week’s latest job listing from Apple comes only months after the company sought to add software engineers to its iOS development team with an emphasis on remote storage for data access. Cloud support is rumored to be a major component of iOS 5, the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad. One report from March said Apple plans to release iOS 5 this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple’s component suppliers say Retina Display might not arrive for iPad devices in 2011

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Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, 04:45
Category: iPad, Rumor

As nifty as Apple’s Retina Display is, it might be hard to put in all of its devices.

Per DigiTimes, component makers for Apple’s iPad claim that the company has released its roadmap for higher-resolution touchscreen tablets, but the project is still at the “initial planning stage” and an upgraded iPad is unlikely to come later this year, according to a new report.

Insiders suggest that Apple could choose AMOLED technology or a high-resolution standard as part of its plan to upgrade the image quality on the iPad.

“Sources from touch panel makers pointed out that Apple recently released its latest tablet PC plan and is asking the panel makers to provide products that are capable to support higher image quality than the current iPad 2,” the report read.

“Apple may even choose AMOLED panel or panel that support Full HD standard to accomplish the plan. However, since the project is still at the initial planning stage, the actual products are unlikely to appear in 2011.”

Sources also cautioned that Apple may hold off on moving to AMOLED because rival Samsung mostly controls the technology. “If Apple is adopting AMOLED panel into its device, Apple would be facing a great risk having the key technologies being held by its competitors,” the report noted.

Upstream component makers pointed out that, given the production ramp up for the iPad 2, launching an iPad 3 this year would “simply bite off share” from the iPad 2.

Further quashing rumors of an iPad 3 in 2011, sources said that they have yet to receive “any notice for next generation iPad products” and do not believe the iPad 2 is a “transitional product.”

Even before the iPad 2 had been announced, rumors emerged earlier this year that Apple would release an iPad 3 in 2011.

Those rumors appeared to have been put to rest after Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared 2011 “the year of iPad 2.” However, intermittent reports since then have continued to suggest that Apple could release an iPad upgrade in 2011.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with Concorde Securities, Apple faced supply constraints and cost limitations that prevented the iPad maker from adding an improved display to the iPad 2. Kuo has suggested that a Retina display is still in the pipeline, and could make its way into the iPad 3 in early 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iOS 4.3.2 to feature FaceTime, Verizon iPad, WebKit fixes and changes

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Date: Tuesday, April 12th, 2011, 03:31
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

If iOS 4.3.1 is driving you mildly nuts, there’s hope down the line.

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple is rumored to issue its next mobile operating system update, iOS 4.3.2, for the iPhone and iPad in the next week, addressing problems with FaceTime and connectivity issues related to the Verizon iPad 2.

The web site allegedly obtained an early copy of the iOS 4.3.2 software and loaded it on an iPhone, but apparently didn’t notice any standout changes with the incremental software update. Even so, a tipster reportedly said that the new software will pack a fix for FaceTime, as well as security fixes for WebKit vulnerabilities, among other minor changes.

The update is also said to resolve connectivity issues with the Verizon CDMA iPad 2. Last Friday, Apple said in a statement that it is looking into connection problems users have reported with the 3G-capable Verizon iPad 2. The issues have not been reported by users of the AT&T-compatible 3G iPad 2.

Rumors of an iOS 4.3.2 update first surfaced earlier this month. It was said that the security and maintenance update would include bug fixes, but no additional details were given at the time.

iOS 5.0 is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to kick off June 6 in San Francisco, Calif. Apple has said that this year’s conference will be used to “unveil the future of iOS,” and rumors have indicated that Apple will preview iOS 5, but will not announce a new iPhone as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

2011 MacBook Pro notebooks booting to gray screen, freezing, workarounds suggested

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Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 04:25
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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As nifty and drool-worthy as the 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks may be, there still may be issues to sort out.

Per MacFixIt, a number of owners have noted an issue wherein the machine will start up to the gray Apple logo screen without a progress indicator and freeze. Apple has also noted the issue, releasing a knowledge base article to help with the situation.

Apple Support Discussions forum user CoryCripita writes:
“So for the second time my Macbook Pro is stuck on the ****** gray screen and won’t boot. The first time this happened 2 days ago I HAD TO resort to Archive and install. The only thing that I can even think caused this was again the fact that I updated via Software Update then rebooted.”
One suggestion offered on the forum was to reset the PRAM. To do so, turn off your machine. While holding Command + Option + P + R, turn your Mac back on. Wait for the boot chime to ring three times and your machine will start normally.

Apple has released a knowledgebase article to address some causes of this problem. According to the article, the Mac booting to the gray logo screen “may happen if the computer starts up from the hard drive or from an external drive using the wrong version or build of the operating system.”

If this happens, reinstall the proper build of Mac OS X from your install DVDs that came with your Mac. Later versions of Mac OS X will also work, but the article notes that using a version of OS X that was released before the computer will likely cause this issue.

You can check and see which version of Mac OS X your machine is attempting to start from by booting your Mac in Verbose Mode. When starting up, hold Command + V. If a DOS-like white text on black screen pops up, you’ve done it correctly.

“If the computer has the wrong build of the OS installed, the startup process will stop. The following line of text will appear on the display: “Loading SystemLibraryCachescom.apple.kext.cachesstartupExtensions.mkext.””
Hold the power button to shut down and quit Verbose Mode. When you next power on your Mac it will start normally.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know how it went.

German iPad 2 orders sped up, could show positive improvements for other markets

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Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 03:09
Category: iPad, News

A number of early German iPad 2 buyers are reporting that shipping times for their orders, placed on the first day of European availability (March 25th) but immediately slapped with a 2-3 week delay, are now shipping and expected to arrive faster than the company had previously estimated.

Per i4u, the actual duration of shipping has been reduced from 11 days to five.
Customers who ordered online from the first hours of European availability are seeing orders filled in exactly two weeks, but were quoted as having to wait another week or two beyond that for the order to actually arrive.

The reduction in the filling of online orders as well as shipping delay would suggest that Apple’s European distributors have refreshed their stock, though it’s currently unknown how this will portend for other markets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if your iPad 2′s ship time has been dramatically reduced, please let us know.