Apple releases MacBook Air Software Update 2.0, iDVD 7.1.1 updates

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Date: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011, 04:14
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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As a way of capping off news that the company had turned over a US$6 billion quarterly profit (i.e., mucho dinero), Apple released a pair of software updates for owners of the latest-generation MacBook Air and iLife ’11.

Per Macworld UK, the company released MacBook Air Software Update 2.0, a small update (less than a 1MB download) that tackles a reported bug in which the unit is unable to go to sleep.

The company also released iDVD 7.1.1, a 34MB update that improves stability and brings compatibility for sending slideshows from iPhoto ’11 to iDVD.

Though this update targets an issue relating to iPhoto ’11, Apple recommends it for all users of iDVD 7, which was bundled with iLife ’09 and iLife ’08.

Both updates are available via the support pages, but they should also be waiting in Software Update.

If you’ve tried either update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple posts $6 billion profit in Q1 earnings call

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Date: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, 14:56
Category: Finance, News

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Apple Inc. announced Tuesday that first quarter profits rose more than 77% to US$6 billion, or US$6.43 per diluted share, driven by record sales in three of its four major product categories, thereby beating analysts’ predicted earnings in the process.

Per AppleInsider, the company also posted record revenue of US$26.74 billion for the three-month period ended December 25, 2010, or more than US$2 billion above consensus estimates. The results compare to revenue of US$15.68 billion and net quarterly profit of US$3.38 billion, or US$3.67 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Apple sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter, a 23% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The company also sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 86% unit growth over the year-ago quarter. iPod sales during the quarter totaled 19.45 million, representing a seven percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter, while iPad sales came in at 7.33 million units.

“We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales,” said Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs. “We are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”

Gross margin was 38.5% compared to 40.9% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62% of the quarter’s revenue.

“We couldn’t be happier with the performance of our business, generating $9.8 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about US$22 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about US$4.90.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple prepping glasses-free 3D feature for next-gen iPod touch

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Date: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, 05:49
Category: iPod, Rumor

It seems that when Nintendo announced Apple as the enemy of the future last year, they may have been on to something. Per Macotakara, Apple could be planning on including glasses-free 3D technology in the next iteration of the iPod touch, putting it in direct gaming competition with Nintendo’s upcoming 3Ds handheld gaming console.

A trusted source has reportedly stated that a Japanese manufacturer is currently preparing to produce a large quantity of glasses-free 3D capable LCD panels for the next generation iPod touch.

Interesting if it proves to be true and we’ll have to wait and see.

White iPhone 4 unit appears in Vodafone Germany’s SKU system

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Date: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, 04:20
Category: iPhone, News

Wireless carrier Vodafone Germany was the source of minor attention on Monday with a spotting of white iPhone 4 listings in its inventory system. Per Engadget, entries for both the 16GB and 32GB versions of a “weiß” (“weiss,” or white) version showed up alongside the usual black (“schwarz”) versions. The source who leaked the images claimed these weren’t just placeholders and would have a launch “soon.”

The timing should be treated with caution as Apple has officially delayed the alternate color scheme until spring 2011. A spring debut even in March could have it on sale for three months or less before it was replaced with the iPhone 5. A white iPhone 4 isn’t thought likely to co-exist with the iPhone 5 as Apple has never had more than one previous-generation iPhone on sale at a time.

Unofficial reasons for the virtual cancellation of the white iPhone 4 have been broad. Most have pinned it on inconsistent coloring for the iPhone’s glass. In one circumstance, it was claimed that the white hue combined with the iPhone 4′s design interfered with the camera, but this hasn’t been proven so far.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve been hankering for a white iPhone 4 since June, I’m not sure what to say.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes medical leave of absence, will remain involved in major decisions

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Date: Monday, January 17th, 2011, 06:30
Category: News

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For the second time in two years, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will take a medical leave of absence from his company. According to a press release distributed by Apple, the company co-founder will remain CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions.

Monday’s announcement included a note from Jobs that was sent to all of the company’s employees. In it, Jobs revealed that Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will again take over the company’s day to day operations.

“At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health,” Jobs wrote. “I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.”

The CEO said he believes that Cook will do a “terrific” job for Apple as he has done in the past. Cook’s job as interim CEO during Jobs’ previous medical leave of absence in 2009 recently earned him US$59 million.

“I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can,” Jobs wrote. “In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.”

Cook assumed the role of interim Apple CEO from January to June of 2009 so that Jobs could recover from liver transplant surgery. During that time, he oversaw the launch of several key products, most notably the iPhone 3GS.

Jobs returned to Apple in June 2009 after he received a liver transplant. In 2004, he also underwent surgery to address pancreatic cancer.

Jobs has long maintained that he believes his health is a private matter, a fact reiterated in Monday’s note to employees.

The announcement comes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S., a holiday on Wall Street where markets, including the NASDAQ, where AAPL trades, is closed. The news was also delivered a day before Apple is set to announce its quarterly earnings after the market closes on Tuesday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iBooks app changes point towards quadrupled pixels for iPad 2 screen

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Date: Monday, January 17th, 2011, 06:17
Category: iPad, Rumor

Assorted rumors have suggested Apple will give the second generation iPad a much higher resolution screen, although short of the ppi density of the Retina Display of iPhone 4. New graphics discovered within Apple’s iBook app suggest this is true.

Per AppleInsider, last summer, iPhone 4 doubled its screen resolution in both directions (from 320×480 to 640×960), resulting in four times the pixels and an industry-leading pixel per inch density of 326. Apple called the new screen the “Retina Display,” because it exceeded the typical resolution of the human eye, making individual dots all but impossible to discern.

The original iPad offered a 1024×768 resolution (at 132 ppi), leading many to guess that the next version might also get a similar Retina Display. However, a 300+ ppi display covering a 9.7 inch screen would require a fantastically high resolution.

Instead of aiming for a specific pixel density, it appears Apple will instead simply quadruple the iPad’s native resolution as it did when it introduced iPhone 4, resulting in a very high resolution display with a pixel density of around 260 ppi, short of “Retina” status but still higher than most high end smartphones.

Evenly quadrupling the resolution makes it easy for developers to ship apps that take full advantage of both existing and new screen resolutions by simply including two versions of graphic assets, one labeled (by Apple convention) file.png and and a higher resolution version named file@2x.png.

Apple has reportedly slipped multiple examples of “@2″ graphics in versions of its iBooks app, one targeted at iPhone 4 and another at a high resolution future iPad, according to tweets and a separate developer report. This includes “bookmark-ribbon-iPad@2x.png” and a “Wood Tile@2x.png” background image that covers 1536×800, rather than the standard 768×400 image used on iPad.

Stay tuned for further details as they become available.

Apple’s CDMA iPhone en route to Asian markets

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Date: Friday, January 14th, 2011, 07:07
Category: iPhone, News

Apple’s new CDMA iPhone for the Verizon network in the U.S. will also become available with compatible carriers in China, Japan and South Korea, according to a new report from Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes. In the article, it was reported on Thursday that Foxconn will be the sole manufacturer of the Verizon CDMA iPhone, while another overseas supplier, Pegatron, will build the CDMA model of Apple’s smartphone for “China and other countries.” The report went on to note that Apple is “set to start supplying its CDMA iPhone to Japan and South Korea.”

The anticipated launch of the CDMA iPhone in at least four countries is expected to help Apple achieve a record year of handset sales. The report noted that the availability of the iPhone to 93 million Verizon customers on Feb. 10 is expected to double its sales in the U.S.

Sources indicated that Apple currently plans to have about 7 million CDMA iPhones built in the first quarter of 2011. The report also noted that the CDMA baseband module in the new iPhone 4 is slightly more expensive, which would make the handset’s bill of materials as high as US$200 — higher than the estimated US$188 cost of components in the GSM iPhone 4.

Earlier this week, one Wall Street analyst said that higher cost could result in the Verizon iPhone 4 carrying a subsidized price US$20 to US$30 higher than the standard. However, the CDMA iPhone 4 will have the same US$199 starting price as on AT&T for the 16GB model.

Carrier China Telecom has been viewed as a potential candidate for the new CDMA iPhone, and one analyst also believes India’s Reliance would be an ideal alignment. While Thursday’s report mentioned China, along with Japan and South Korea, it made no mention of a potential launch in India.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent application shows interest in developing solar as a power source for mobile devices

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Date: Friday, January 14th, 2011, 06:44
Category: News, Patents

A recently revealed patent application shows that Apple is continuing to research solar power as a potential secondary power source for its mobile devices.

Per freepatentsonline, the application, which describes an auxiliary solar cell that interfaces with a device’s battery, was published earlier this week.

The invention includes a “battery charging manager” that can handle power from a “plurality of power sources including a solar power source.”

According to the filing, the patent is for “a solar power package for use with an electronic device, the package comprising: at least one solar cell operable to derive solar power from solar energy; and a power charger operable to provide the derived solar power to the portable electronic device, wherein the derived solar power is provided in a plug-and-play fashion when the portable electronic device is coupled to the package, and wherein the power charge is operative to adjust the amount of power provided to the portable electronic device based on attributes of the portable electronic device.”

Alternate embodiments of the invention include charging the device’s battery or an accessory battery, simultaneously charging a battery and providing power to the device and removable solar cells. The described solar power charging accessory could be used to power “a media player, a notebook computer, a tablet computer, a cellular phone, an image processing device, and a handheld computing device.”

IPBiz has reported that Apple’s patent application hit several snags because of similarities to a patent for a solar charger case and a patent for solar power connector cables, but that Apple maker was able to distinguish its patent because the invention is “plug-and-play” and regulates power levels according to the attributes of the device it is powering.

Apple has been looking into solar power for its portable devices for several years now. Early last year, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published an application describing a portable device such as an iPod or iPhone with solar cells on the front and back that could power the device and recharge the battery.

The patent, which was filed in Feb. 2009, is titled “Portable devices having multiple power interfaces” and replaces a prior application from 2006 with the same title. Wendell B. Sander and Daniel A. Warren are listed as the inventors.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Daniel Warren is an iPod System Integrator for Apple and has previously worked on the iPod Nano, iPod Classic and iPod Shuffle.

Apple’s interest in solar power may be a result of environmentally conscious initiatives that the company has adopted in recent years.

Several years ago, Apple was openly criticized by Greenpeace for the use of toxic chemicals in its products. Last year, Greenpeace praised Apple for its turnaround, honoring the Mac maker with the environmental advocacy group’s top ranking as the greenest electronics marker.

iOS 4.3 beta code points towards Verizon iPad 2, iPhone variants and camera app for iPad

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Date: Thursday, January 13th, 2011, 06:54
Category: News, Software

The developers got the iOS 4.3 beta yesterday.

And they found some nifty stuff in it.

Per Engadget and 9 to 5 Mac, discoveries in the iOS 4.3 beta have revealed that Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone and second-generation iPad will come in native editions for Verizon along with camera functions. Mirroring the iPhone 3,1 and 3,2 entries that represent the iPhone 4 for GSM and CDMA respectively, device listings now exist for iPhone 4,1 and iPhone 4,2 as well. The appearance suggests Apple plans to synchronize its iPhone launches rather than stagger GSM and CDMA by a wide margin.

A third iPhone 4 variant (iPhone 3,3) has also appeared, which seems unusual and the device may be a version for GSM carriers on 1,700MHz 3G in North America, most notably including T-Mobile in the U.S. but also a slew of new Canadian carriers such as Wind Mobile, Videotron and Mobilicity. Without an iPhone 4,3 listed, though, it’s possible that either the third iPhone 4 variant will never ship or else that its iPhone 5 equivalent will ship sometime later.

The next iPad is also on show in the code and shows the newly promised Verizon model. Along with Wi-Fi (iPad 2,1) and HSPA 3G (iPad 2,2) variants, an iPad 2,3 version has tipped up and is almost certainly an EVDO version to give CDMA carriers one with internal 3G.

Separately, discoveries in the iOS 4.3 SDK have shown iPad-sized graphics for a camera app. The images show the camera iris effect as well as icons for both still photo and video modes, confirming movie recording. The full iris image tops out at 1024×768 and casts doubt on rumors of a higher resolution display unless Apple is deliberately keeping higher resolution graphics out of beta releases to avoid spoilers.

Rumor: Apple may remove “Home” button from future generations of iOS devices

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Date: Thursday, January 13th, 2011, 05:12
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor, Software

An unverified report claims that Apple is planning to remove the home button on the iPad and iPhone as early as later this year, the company opting towards multitouch gestures to return to the home screen.

According to Boy Genius Report, an anonymous source has claimed that Apple is already testing iPads and iPhones without home buttons on its Cupertino, Calif., campus. However, since the report itself admits the information is “pretty wild,” readers should take it with a grain of salt.

“We are told that Apple, at some point in time, will remove the home button from the iPad’s design. Instead of button taps, you will use new multitouch gestures to navigate to the home screen and also to launch the app switcher,” the report predicted.

“It’s possible we will see this new change materialize with the next-generation iPad and iPhone devices set to launch this year,” wrote author Jonathan S. Geller.

The report also cites new multitouch gestures from a beta version of iOS 4.3 released Wednesday that enable a 5-finger pinch gesture for accessing the home screen. Other gestures new to the beta include a swipe up to reveal the multitasking tray and a swipe left or right to switch between open applications.

Apple’s iLife and photo-taking application Photo Booth could also make their way onto the next iPad, the report speculated.

Right now it’s just a rumor, though anything’s possible.

Stay tuned for more information as we get it.