Apple job posting alludes to solar power features for upcoming mobile devices

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Date: Monday, September 16th, 2013, 07:30
Category: Hardware, News

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One day, your Apple mobile products will drink in the sun for energy.

Or at least that’s what can be speculated from their hiring boards.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is seeking an engineer with thin films experience as applied to semiconductor or solar manufacturing, suggesting the company is investigating viable alternative energy source for future mobile products like a smart watch.

The post, discovered on Apple’s employment web site, describes a position for the Mobile Devices group, with suitable candidates having experience with thin film deposition technology in either semiconductor processing or solar industries.

Looking into the Key Qualifications section of the listing, which was posted on Thursday and spotted Friday, it appears that the position will deal with the applications side of R&D, rather than the development phase. Applicants are asked to have experience in sputtering, vacuum evaporation, electroplating and other technologies commonly associated with disposing thin-films on circuitry.

While the word “solar” is mentioned twice in the listing, it may not necessarily mean that Apple is working to bring a solar-powered iPhone to market. Many advanced technologies require engineers to have multidisciplinary backgrounds, as these systems are intricately tied together.

Perhaps most interesting is a qualification that reads, “Knowledge of thin-films in the context of RF shielding is highly desirable.” This suggests Apple may be looking to develop a new method of radio interference blocking for its smartphone lineup that could possibly reduce dependence on the current metal RFI shielding seen in wireless-capable devices.

As with many Apple job postings, other desirable qualities include experience in working with Asian manufacturers, problem solving skills and an ability to work as part of a team.

Apple has a number of patents regarding solar-powered devices, many involving portable devices like the iPod and iPhone. Most recently, the company outlined a system that uses a display’s electrodes to both collect sunlight and act as capacitive touch sensors.

Solar power is becoming increasingly popular as light conversion efficiency increases, but the technology is not yet at the point where a panel can simply replace wall charging. A more likely scenario would be battery life augmentation for smaller portables, like a watch. Interestingly, Apple’s smart watch patent also directly mentions such a solution.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Epson printer drivers 2.15.1 for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 13th, 2013, 08:57
Category: News, Software

It’s not the most exciting update in the world, but it might be helpful.

In addition to assorted other updates on Thursday, Apple released version 2.15.1 of its Epson printer driver update. The update, a 1.2 gigabyte download, modifies drivers for the ES and Expression, F-3200, Perfection and GT line of standalone scanners, and the Epson FAX and FAX-A3 fax machines. No new models of Epson products were added in the update, but the file replaces all existing Epson drivers with fresh copies, even if they are unmodified from the previous version.

The update covers OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new printer drivers and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

iPhone 5s online orders, in-store purchases for begin Friday, September 20th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 13th, 2013, 08:12
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The iPhone 5s pre-orders begin in a week’s time.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple will begin accepting online orders for the iPhone 5s on Friday, September 20, at 12:01AM pacific time (3:01AM eastern), and in-store purchases will start at 8AM local time, as will iPhone 5c in-store purchases. Since the iPhone 5s isn’t available for pre-order, there’s a good chance that means Apple’s inventory will be very limited.


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The iPhone 5s made its first appearance at Apple’s media event earlier this week along with the iPhone 5c. The iPhone 5s sports a 64-bit A7 processor, an 8 megapixel camera with improved sensor, Apple’s new M7 motion and fitness tracking processor, and more. The iPhone 5 also introduced gold as a color option, replaced black with space gray, and kept the white model in its lineup.

The iPhone 5s is prices at US$199 for the 16GB model, US$299 for the 32GB version, and US$399 for the 64GB model on a two-year contract. Off contract and unlocked, the 16GB model costs US$649, the 32GB is priced at US$749, and the 64GB model costs US$849.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.09

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 13th, 2013, 07:41
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.09, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 6.9 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras and adds the following fixes as well:
– Olympus PEN E-P5.

– Restore lens correction to Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 images.

– Address a white balance issue with some Nikon images that were modified by third-party applications.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.5 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.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.5 update

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Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 15:16
Category: News, Software

It’s taken a while to get here, but it’s officially out.

On Thursday, Apple released version 10.8.5 of its OS X Mountain Lion operating system. The new version, a 287 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
– Fixes an issue that may prevent Mail from displaying messages.

– Improves AFP file transfer performance over 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

– Resolves an issue that may prevent a screen saver from starting automatically.

– Improves Xsan reliability.

– Improves reliability when transferring large files over Ethernet.

– Improves performance when authenticating to an Open Directory server.

– Addresses an issue that prevented a smart card from unlocking preference panes in System Preferences.

– Contains the improvements included in MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0.

OS X 10.8.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8 to install and run, the update itself being attainable by using OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new operating system and have any feedback whatsoever, please let us know in the comments.

Walmart to begin pre-orders on Friday, will offer the iPhone 5c for $79, the iPhone 5s for $189

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 08:30
Category: iPhone, News, retail

In spite of how you might feel about Walmart, they’ll have the upcoming iPhone 5s and 5c available for pre-order.

Per 9to5Mac, Walmart has announced that it will be offering both of the new iPhone models in their 16Gb versions, the 5c at US$79 (a US$20 savings) and the 5s at US$189 (a US$10 savings). Walmart offers the phones on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.

What’s interesting here is that Apple Stores usually do price matching so it might be worth a try after waiting on line on launch day. Best Buy will also price match often, so this could trigger markdowns all over.

Pre-orders for the 5c start tomorrow, with pickup available from September 20th. Apple is not making the iPhone 5s available on pre-order, however, so you’ll need to wait until the 20th to order yours.

While the original iPhone 5 is still showing up online at US$98, it’s said that it will be available in-store for US$79: the same price as the 5c. The 4s price is also said to be coming down from US$39 to 99 cents.

FCC filings hint at larger battery for iPhone 5s, 5c handsets

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Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 07:01
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

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If you were hoping for a larger, longer-lasting battery on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c handsets, it looks like it’s on its way.

Per AnandTech and 9to5Mac, the FCC filings for the new iPhones to reveal that the iPhone 5s battery offers approximately 10 percent more capacity than its predecessor, while the 5c battery offers a more modest 5 percent gain.

Actual battery-life for the iPhone 5s will be interesting to see. While the handset’s beefier A7 CPU will consume more power, the M7 coprocessor that handles some of the background tasks should reduce battery consumption. How the two balance out is not yet known, though Apple did promise better battery-life than the iPhone 5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 5c to be available for pre-order on Friday, September 13th at 12:01 A.M. PST

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 07:58
Category: News

If you want an iPhone 5c, pre-orders will be open come the 13th.

If you want an iPhone 5s, prepare to stand in line.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, wireless carriers Verizon and Sprint have both announced that pre-orders for the new iPhone 5c will begin at 12:01 a.m. PST/3 a.m. EST On Friday, September 13th. On its launch, Apple announced the iPhone 5c would begin pre-order sales on the 13th, but it has yet to announce a time those pre-orders will begin. With the announcement from Sprint and Verizon, it’s very likely that pre-orders of the device will begin at the same time from Apple and all other major carriers.


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Pre-orders for the iPhone 5c will commence outside of the United States on September 13th as well in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK, though it’s not clear yet what time the pre-orders will go live in those countries. Interestingly, the iPhone 5c is the only model of the iPhone made available to pre-order this year. The new iPhone 5s will forego pre-orders and instead go directly on sale on September 20th.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iCloud keychain feature goes missing from iOS 7 golden master, no clear explanation given as to why

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Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 07:06
Category: iOS, News, security, Software

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Ok, this is a little weird.

Per AppleInsider, developers updating their devices to the iOS 7 Golden Master seed have found that iCloud keychain, Apple’s new cloud-based credential storage system, has disappeared.

iCloud Keychain, a new feature of iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 Mavericks that allows users to securely store account names, passwords, and credit card information in iCloud and sync the data between their Macs, iPhones, and iPads, appears to have been removed from the latest iOS 7 pre-release seed.

The feature, revealed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, previously appeared as a toggle in the iCloud settings menu, but is now missing.

In addition, Apple’s iOS 7 ‘What’s New’ page now lists iCloud Keychain as ‘Coming Soon,’ an indication that there has been a change to the feature’s delivery schedule. It is possible that Cupertino may have opted to delay the release to coincide with the rollout of OS X Mavericks, which is expected in late October.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to release iLife for iOS for free on upcoming iOS devices

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Date: Wednesday, September 11th, 2013, 09:10
Category: News, Software

It sort of got lost in the shuffle yesterday, but it spiffy news.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, one of the announcements on Tuesday is that Apple is making its fleet of iWork apps available free for download on new iOS devices. In addition to Pages, Keynote and Numbers, users will also be able to download iMovie and iPhoto free of charge.


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While the aforementioned iOS apps won’t be pre-loaded, they will be available as free downloads on new iOS devices.

During yesterday’s event, Tim Cook explained:

“We think that iWork is a really key advantage for our customers’ productivity, and that iPhoto and iMovie are great for are customers creativity. No other platform has any apps like these. We think that all iOS devices are made even better if they have these apps. And almost all of our customers want these apps.”

So, neat stuff to come…