Apple releases iPhoto 9.1.2 update

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Date: Wednesday, April 27th, 2011, 04:46
Category: News, Software

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Apple on Tuesday released iPhoto 9.1.2, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 106 megabyte download which can be be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Addresses an issue that prevented the Zoom slider from being accessible in Magnify (1-Up) view.

- Fixes an issue where Toolbars were not auto-hiding in Full Screen view.

- Search field now correctly performs an “includes” search when searching by text string.

iPhoto 9.1.2 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple to redesign case for next-gen MacBook Pro

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Date: Tuesday, April 26th, 2011, 05:09
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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While the latest refresh of MacBook Pros are just two months old, rumors of the next update have already begun, with a new report claiming that the next model will feature a newly redesigned case construction.

Per MacRumors, an article citing “reliable confirmation” reported Monday on an alleged plans for a new case design in the next MacBook Pro update. However, the report offers no details on what changes Apple could make to the unibody construction of the current aluminum MacBook Pros.

The article cites a rumor from February which stated that the newly redesigned MacBook Pro notebooks would arrive next year. The rumored all-new design was said to already be in development at Quanta in Taiwan.

The last major update to the look of the MacBook Pro line came in 2008, when Apple updated the line with unibody construction. The unibody MacBook Pros are machined from a single block of aluminum, allowing Apple to create a strong, single-piece shell.

Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line of products earlier this year, adding Intel’s latest-generation Sandy Bridge processors, as well as the new high-speed Thunderbolt data connection port. But the external design of the new notebooks was largely unchanged from their predecessors.

Additional rumors surfaced in February that Apple plans to transition its notebooks in the next 12 to 18 months and add features from its hot-selling thin-and-light MacBook Air notebooks. Major changes to the MacBook Air including instant-on, standard flash solid-state drives, slimmer enclosures, and the omission of optical drives are expected to become more prevalent in the design of many Mac notebooks planned for introduction in the future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Hard Drive Firmware Update 1.0 for Mid-2010 iMacs

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Date: Tuesday, April 26th, 2011, 04:37
Category: iMac, News

Late Monday, Apple released its Hard Drive Firmware Update 1.0 for the 21.5″ and 27″ mid-2010 iMac desktops. The update, an 819 kilobyte download, fixes a hard drive issue that may prevent some iMac (21.5-inch and 27-inch, Mid 2010) systems from booting properly.

Users will need an Intel-based iMac running Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later to install and run the update.

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

Leaked photos surface of supposed T-Mobile-compatible iPhone prototype

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Date: Monday, April 25th, 2011, 07:54
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s the leaks that make life interesting.

A series of leaked photos of a supposed iPhone prototype indicate that Apple may be testing the smartphone on the T-Mobile USA network.

Per Boy Genius Report, a series of photos allegedly of a white iPhone prototype “with T-Mobile USA 3G bands.” The device appears to be code-named as N94, just two numbers up from the Verizon iPhone 4, which was reportedly called N92.

According to the report, the prototype runs a test version of Apple’s iOS that resembles that of another prototype discovered in a video earlier this week. The fact that the N94 device has Apple test apps scubas Radar and the company’s employee directory app may also serve to substantiate its authenticity.

The front of the prototype looks “a little different” from recent leaked photos of the retail white iPhone 4. “Specifically, the proximity sensor has changed on the retail version,” the report noted. On Friday, photos of an official retail white iPhone 4 from Vodafone U.K. emerged, though Vodafone has reportedly halted sales of the device until next week.

The lock screen of the prototype device contains the message: “Confidential and Proprietary. If Found, please contact +1 408…”, but the rest of the number has been whited out in the photos.

The report goes on to speculate that Apple is “just testing the new T-Mobile-friendly radio with its current iPhone 4 hardware, possibly in preparation for integration in a future device. It’s also entirely possible the internals on this iPhone prototype are being disguised in an iPhone 4 shell, though we doubt it.”

AT&T announced last month a US$39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA from parent company Deutsche Telekom. A subsequent “>FAQ from T-Mobile suggested that the carrier would hold off on offering the iPhone until at least after the acquisition is completed in “approximately 12 months”

A T-Mobile FAQ regarding last month’s announcement of AT&T’s US$39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA explained that T-Mobile does not yet carry the iPhone and will remain independent for up to a year. According to one official at the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T faces a “steep climb” ahead of it to obtain approval for the deal, which would make AT&T the largest wireless provider in the U.S by a large margin.

We’ll see how this plays out and if you have two cents to hurl in on this, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple to start production of Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Air notebooks in May

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Date: Monday, April 25th, 2011, 03:05
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

Apple next month will reportedly begin manufacturing the first updates to its rejuvenated MacBook Air line as the company looks to maintain the impressive sales momentum generated by the ultra-thin notebooks and limit the market opportunity for would-be competitors hoping to wedge their foot in the door.

Per AppleInsider, sales of the aggressively-priced 11.6- and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs got off to a hot start following their introduction last October, with Apple assembling roughly 1 million units within their first quarter of availability. During those three months, consumers reportedly chose the new MacBook Airs at a one-to-two ratio to the company’s more established MacBook Pro offerings, making for one of the company’s most successful Mac product launches ever.

However, shipments of the Airs declined 51% sequentially during the first calendar quarter of 2011 — including a 40% month-over-month decline in February — as Apple introduced new MacBook Pros that caught consumers’ eyes, according to Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has proven sources within the Cupertino-based company’s Far Eastern supply chain.

Kuo stated that his latest round of checks with suppliers and system builders in the region reveals that MacBook Air shipments are set to rebound during the current calendar quarter, fueled by an upgrade to Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge microprocessors, integrated Intel graphics, and the expected adoption of the new Thunderbolt high-speed I/O technology that made its debut on MacBook Pros earlier this year.

Specifically, he said the new models will “go to mass production in late May,” which corroborates an earlier report that cited reliable sources as saying Apple would be ready to publicly announce and ship to consumers MacBook Airs with Sandy Bridge processors during following month of June.

The upgrade should help boost Apple’s overall notebook shipments between 5% to 10% sequentially for the current quarter, according to Kuo, reversing a 5% decline from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, which he notes was still less than the 11% average decline for notebook shipments from the top 6 OEMs worldwide during the same period.

In moving to Intel’s 32-nanometer (nm) Sandy Bridge architecture, the mid-2011 MacBook Airs will jettison two-year-old Penryn-based 45-nm Core 2 Duo chips for the chipmakers’ new line (below) of low-voltage and ultra-low-voltage Core i5 and Core i7 chips, which sport between 3MB and 4MB of Smart Cache and support a theoretical maximum of 8GB of internal system memory.

Should Apple follow its current trend of using ultra-low-variants for the 11.6-inch MacBook Air and low-voltage ones for the 13.3-inch models, consumers can expect to see new 11.6-inch MacBook Airs sporting 1.4GHz to 1.6GHz Core i5 and Core i7 chips and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs with 2.10 and 2.30GHz Core i7 processors.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple shipping white iPhone 4 units to U.S. locations, will launch model on April 27th

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Date: Monday, April 25th, 2011, 03:38
Category: iPhone, Rumor

If you’ve been dreaming of a white iPhone 4 unit, it’s just about here.

Per AppleInsider, Apple this weekend began preparing its retail segment for the imminent launch of the company’s much-anticipated white iPhone 4 models, signaling the end of a somewhat embarrassing delay that has seen the handsets elude eager buyers since last July.

According to sources close to the story, Apple’s U.S-based retail stores began receiving promotional information overnight that features the white iPhone 4, expected to launch for both Verizon and AT&T subscribers “within the next week.”

In addition, several stores are said to have received shipment notifications for the various white iPhone 4 SKUs and have been instructed to hold those shipments in the back of the house until further notice. All indications point to an official announcement by Wednesday, April 27th.

Word that white iPhones are finally en route to Apple stores in the U.S. comes just days after the inventory systems of U.K.-based wireless carrier Vodafone indicated stock of the handsets while photos of a 16GB model in official retail packaging — carrying model number MC604B/A — were published online.

The arrival of white models is expected to serve as a boon for iPhone sales during a time of year when customers have historically held off purchasing new iPhones under the expectation of next-generation models making their debut during the summer.

This year, however, Apple is widely reported to have decided to forgo a summer iPhone introduction in favor of introducing so-called fifth-generation models in the fall, much closer to the holiday shopping season. According to sources, these new models will go into production in September and sport a unified Qualcomm baseband capable of serving both GSM and CDMA networks.

Such a move is also expected to allow Apple to align fifth-generation iPhones for a simultaneous release on both GSM and CDMA networks, meaning both AT&T and Verizon customers should be able to buy the new handsets later this year at the same time.

Apple has publicly pushed back the release of the white iPhone 4 several times over the past 9 months. In late July of last year, the company revealed that it would not be able to launch the handset alongside black models that month as it had originally planned. Instead, Apple rescheduled the launch for “Late 2010″ only to concede a few months later that it would miss that self-imposed deadline as well, telling customers not to expect white models until the Spring of 2011.

Last month, Apple was said to have finally begun production of the white models, which would become available to customers by April. The company was said to have made changes to both the handset’s original “film material” and paint mixture that were resulting in the production of a “huge” number of defective units.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple “completes” cloud-based music streaming service, users unsure what to expect

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Date: Friday, April 22nd, 2011, 03:10
Category: iTunes, News, Software

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For those of you wondering what the future of Apple’s music plans may be, we might have a hint.

Per the All Things Digital blog, a new report claims that Apple has succeeded in procuring deals with at least two of the four big music labels in the last two months, possibly signaling that the rumored iTunes streaming music service is imminent.

The story reported Thursday that Apple is “actively seeking licenses” for a new cloud-based music locker service and is willing to pay labels for the privilege.

According to author Peter Kafka’s sources, Apple has inked deals with two of the for major labels, which include Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony and EMI within the last two months. One source claimed Apple VP Eddy Cue will be in New York on Friday in an attempt to solidify remaining deals.

“They’ve been very aggressive and thoughtful about it,” Kafka reported an industry executive as saying. “It feels like they want to go pretty soon.”

Kafka’s sources have yet to see the service for themselves, but say they’re aware of the “broad strokes.” “The idea is that Apple will let users store songs they’ve purchased from its iTunes store, as well as others songs stored on their hard drives, and listen to them on multiple devices,” Kafka wrote in his report.

The report comes on the heels of a Reuters report earlier Thursday that claimed Apple had “completed work” on a cloud-based iTunes music streaming service. Citing anonymous sources, the report said Apple is “set to launch” the service, which would store users’ songs on a remote server and allow them to access them from “wherever they have an Internet connection.”

However, a Reuters report claimed that Apple had yet to arrive at new licensing agreements with the labels.

Rival Amazon launched a digital music locker last month without new licensing approval. The online retailer has reportedly faced a backlash from the music industry as a result.

According to Kafka, Apple would be able to create a more “robust service” than Amazon with re-negotiated licenses. That service could include “better user interfaces, sound quality, and other features,” said Kafka.

For example, Kafka has heard that Apple’s new deals with the labels would allow the company to “store a single master copy of a song on its servers and share it with multiple users.”

Apple’s upcoming music streaming service could come in the form of an enhanced version of MobileMe. In February, it was reported that Apple plans to revamp its MobileMe offerings by adding a free ‘locker’ service for storing photos, music and videos.

In 2009, Apple bought streaming music service Lala for $85 million, prompting speculation that iTunes streaming was in the works. However, Apple shuttered Lala last year and the rumored service has yet to materialize.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iBooks 1.2.2 update

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Date: Friday, April 22nd, 2011, 03:22
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released a minor update to its iBooks e-book and PDF reading app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Per Macworld, iBooks 1.2.2 includes “a number of important stability and performance improvements” for playing video with enhanced books from the iBookstore, incorrect fonts being displayed, and navigational responsiveness.

The new version’s fixes and changes include the following:
- Addresses issues playing video included with enhanced books from the iBookstore.

- Resolves a problem where some books open with a different font than expected.

- Makes iBooks more responsive when navigating books with many items in their table of contents.

iBooks requires an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 3.2 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

iPad 2 ship times drop to 1-2 weeks in some locations

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Date: Thursday, April 21st, 2011, 04:52
Category: iPad, News

If you wanted an iPad 2 but were waiting for it, the wait time just got shorter.

Per AppleInsider, new iPad 2 orders placed through Apple’s online store are now estimated to ship within one to two weeks, as availability of the popular touchscreen tablet continues to improve.

Shipping times of one to two weeks are not just limited to America. Other countries, including Canada, Mexico and Australia, also ship in the same timeframe. Apple’s online stores in Europe, however, still estimate a wait of two to three weeks.

The improved shipping times are yet another sign that supply for the iPad 2 is catching up with demand. Since the device launched in the U.S. and 25 other countries around the world in March, Apple has seen huge demand for the second-generation device.

Wednesday’s change to shipping times comes weeks after they improved to two to three weeks in early April. Prior to that, new buyers had to wait over a month for their iPad 2 to ship from Apple.

The improved shipping times also come as Apple has expanded retail availability of the iPad 2. On Sunday, some Toys R Us locations in the U.S. began selling Apple’s tablet, and in late March, the iPad 2 went on sale at 500 stores owned by RadioShack.

This month, the iPad 2 is scheduled to launch in Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore, as well as additional yet-unnamed countries. Like retail availability in the U.S., international expansion of the iPad 2 has occurred at a much faster pace than with the first-generation iPad.

If you’ve seen your iPad 2 ship time improve, please let us know.

Apple reports $24.67 billion in revenue, $5.99 billion profit for second quarter

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Date: Wednesday, April 20th, 2011, 15:05
Category: Finance, News

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As irked as you may be with Apple from time to time, there’s no doubting this: the company makes a profit and is around for the long haul.

Per Macworld, Apple announced the results of its second fiscal quarter, citing sales of US$24.67 billion and a net profit of US$5.99 billion, according to figures announced by the company Wednesday.

The company’s quarterly revenue, a record figure for the second quarter, beat year-ago sales by 83%. Profits also set a record for the quarter, and improved 95% over the US$3.07 billion in profit the company tallied in the 2010 second quarter.

Apple earned US$6.40 per share, beating last year’s second-quarter earnings of US$3.33 per share by 92%. Apple’s performance also blew away analyst estimates. Analysts were looking for the company to report US$23.34 billion in revenue and earnings of US$5.36 per share for the quarter.

During the conference call, Apple stated that it had sold 18.65 million iPhones during the quarter, which ended March 26. This figure represents an increase of 113% from the 8.75 million phones Apple sold over the same period last year. The company recorded recognized revenue of US$12.3 billion in the just-completed quarter, an increase of 126%.

All told, Apple ended its fiscal second quarter with the iPhone available in 90 countries through 186 carriers, compared to 185 carriers in 90 countries at the end of the first quarter; Apple Chief Financial Office Peter Oppenheimer noted that there had been some carrier contraction during the last three months that offset the addition of new partners such as Verizon in the U.S., SK Telecom in South Korea, and Saudi Telecom in Saudi Arabia.

Apple sold 3.76 million Macs during the second quarter, an increase of 28% over the 2.9 million Macs sold during the year-ago period. That set a record for Mac sales during the March quarter, Oppenheimer said. In particular, Mac sales compared favorably with the overall PC market, which contracted at a rate of 3% during the quarter, according to figures from IDC. That marks the twentieth consecutive quarter that Apple has outgrown the PC market, although sales numbers were below those posted by Apple for the last two quarters.

Notebooks continue to be the big driver for Mac sales, with the 2.7 million portables making up 73% of the Macs sold during the quarter. In addition to the February revamp of the MacBook Pro line, Apple also reaped the benefits of last year’s MacBook Air updates. The 1 million desktops sold were only more than during one of the last five quarters.

Apple also made notable gains internationally with Macs, seeing 76% growth in the Asia Pacific region on a year-over-year basis.

The iPad 2 shipped at the end of the quarter, on March 11 in the U.S. and on March 25 in 25 additional countries, which helped spur sales of Apple’s tablet. All told, Apple sold 4.69 million iPads during the quarter, though it didn’t break down those sales between the iPad 2 and the original model. In total, Apple has sold 19.48 million iPads since the product was released in April 2010.

Unfortunately, iPod sales continued their decline, though Apple says that the product line’s performance was ahead of expectations. The company sold 9.02 million iPods during the quarter, a drop of 17% from last year’s second-quarter figures. More than half of the iPods sold during the quarter were the iPod touch, according to Apple’s figures.

Despite that decline, Oppenheimer said that the total iPod sales were ahead of Apple’s expectation, and that the iPod remains the top-selling MP3 player in most of the countries where that data is tracked, and continues to hold onto its market-leading position in the U.S.

Apple found a silver lining in the performance of its iTunes online business, however. That segment tallied US$1.1 billion in revenues, its best quarter ever, according to Oppenheimer.

With Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail outlets approaching their 10th anniversary next month, Oppenheimer noted that the retail chains should see their 1 billionth visitor in a matter of days. During the second quarter, 71.1 million people visited the app store, up from 47 million visitors in the 2010 second quarter.

Revenue from the retail stores grew 90% to US$3.19 billion. Apple says it sold 797,000 Macs through its retail outlets, an increase of 32% from last year. About half of the Macs sold at the Apple Store were to newly minted Mac users.

Apple still plans to open 40 new stores during the 2011 fiscal year, with two-thirds of those outlets opening outside of the U.S. That includes a fifth Apple Store in China.

For the third quarter ending in June, Apple expects revenue of about US$23 billion and earnings per share of US$5.03. That compares to US$15.7 billion in revenue and earnings of US$3.51 a share for the third quarter of 2010. Prior to Wednesday’s call, analysts were looking for sales of US$23.8 billion and earnings of US$5.25 per share for the June quarter.