O'Grady's PowerPage » Apple

Photos of purported next-gen iPhone surface, show fully assembled state

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 30th, 2012, 06:40
Category: iPhone, Pictures, Rumor

It had to happen sometime.

Per the web blog of Japanese repair company iLab Factory, pictures of an alleged fully-assembled next-generation iPhone hit the web on Sunday, offering what could be the most detailed look at Apple’s upcoming device yet.

The photos depict what is supposedly a complete next-generation iPhone built from leaked parts sourced from China.

The purported unit pieces together previously-seen components including the smaller 19-pin dock connector first rumored in June and 4-inch display and a relocated headphone jack. The site notes that the home button’s finish has been modified and feels to be improved. A report in April found a supposedly leaked home button had been slightly redesigned internally to accomodate changes made to the screen and case.



While all of the external parts are in place, most of the handset’s innards are missing with only power and sensor flex cables and accompanying home button circuitry installed. This lack of integral electronics, such as cameras, logic board and battery, hint the supposedly-leaked parts may have come from an upstream supplier rather than an assembly plant.

Pictures of the unit’s casing show the two-tone aluminum design first seen in early June, though noticeably absent is the nano-SIM card tray purportedly leaked in May.

The unit’s front seems to sit tightly with the uni-body casing which, unlike the current generation iPhone 4S, features a slightly beveled edge. Side shots show the expected volume rocker button assembly and hold switch as well as a sleeker profile compared to existing iPhones.

Making a reappearance is the small hole located beween the camera assembly and the unit’s LED flash, a feature which was rumored to be removed in final production models.

As mentioned above, much of the internals are absent, however what is in place yields some insight into how Apple plans to utilize the cramped space. The site notes three screw anchors on the back plate will likely hold the display in place while four screw anchors located on the unit’s right wall and six on the left will most likely secure integral components as the device can no longer be opened by removing case-back. Also new are four screw holes at the top of the case near the power button though their use remains a mystery.

Overall, the site points out the alleged device boasts a high-quality milled aluminum feel consistent with all Apple products and makes special note of the unit’s thinness.

Apple is rumored to announce a follow-up to the iPhone 4S sometime this fall with one analyst estimating an early-September launch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update v1.0, adds Power Nap feature to Retina Display MacBook Pro notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 27th, 2012, 15:44
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

In the wake of an enormous operating system release, you can always expect some updates.

Per MacRumors, Apple on Friday rolled out a firmware update for the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display enabling Mountain Lion’s new Power Nap feature two days following the new operating system’s release.

The update, a 190 kilobyte download entitled “MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update,” comes on the heels of a Thursday firmware release which brought the same functionality to mid-2011 MacBook Airs and is available via OS X 10.8’s Software Update feature and enables the new Power Nap feature that comes with Mountain Lion.

Limited to newer MacBook Air models and the MacBook Pro with Retina display, Power Nap keeps Macs up to date and allows for the automatic backup of data while the machine is sleeping. The automatic data-refreshing service, which handles Time Machine and iCloud syncing, is both silent and power-efficient.

This update fixes several sleep/wake issues to improve the stability of MacBook Pro with Retina display (Mid 2012) computers and is recommended for all users running OS X v10.7.4. It also enables Power Nap support for users running OS X v10.8 or later.

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

Apple buys fingerprint recognition company AuthenTec for $356 million

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 27th, 2012, 14:22
Category: Hardware, News

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This could turn into something interesting.

Per Reuters, Apple has signed a deal to buy a Florida-based company, AuthenTec, at a price of US$8 per share or about US$356 million. That’s a premium of 58 percent over AuthenTec’s Thursday closing value. While largely unknown to the public, the firm makes fingerprint sensor chips used in computers, and various other forms of security software and chips for cellphones; some of the company’s clients include Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and Samsung. Notably, the company also produces chips involved in near-field communication (NFC) technologies.

For a long time rumors have suggested that Apple is working on adding NFC support to the iPhone, and talk has revived for the sixth-generation model. NFC could have several uses; while the main one would likely be e-wallet/ticketing transactions, it might also be used to enable device-to-device file transfers, or carrying settings between multiple computers.

According to Bezinga, AuthenTec’s board unanimously approved the takeover earlier this week. The deal still isn’t fully complete, however, because it requires majority shareholder approval, as well as a few other steps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Best Buy now offering iPhone 4 for $50 with 2-year contract

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 27th, 2012, 07:46
Category: iPhone, News

You can’t argue with a cheap price.

Per AppleInsider, Best Buy is now selling Apple’s 8-gigabyte iPhone 4 for US$49.99 with a new two-year contract.

The new price is half that of the regular US$99 price for the iPhone 4 with a new service contract. Reseller Best Buy is offering the US$49.99 upgrade price on both the GSM iPhone 4 model, compatible with AT&T, as well as the CDMA variants, available for both Verizon and Sprint.

Best Buy’s website does not identify the new price as a temporary sale. The new price is the same that Best Buy charges for a refurbished iPhone 4, and the discount is available in both black and white models.

The price cut comes only days after Apple announced it sold 26 million iPhones in the June quarter, representing 28 percent growth over the same period a year prior. Investors viewed that number as disappointing, and AAPL stock took a hit as a result.

Apple executives said during their quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday that they believe the growth slowdown, particularly with respect to iPhone sales, was at least somewhat attributable to rumors of new products. The company is widely expected to launch its next-generation iPhone with a slightly larger 4-inch display later this year.

The iPhone 4 was first released in mid-2010 and marked the debut of the high-resolution Retina display, as well as the forward-facing FaceTime camera. It is currently Apple’s mid-range handset, resting between the newest model, the iPhone 4S, and the low-end iPhone 3GS, available for free with a two-year contract. Verizon and Sprint do not offer the iPhone 3GS, which means the iPhone 4 is Apple’s entry-level handset with those two carriers.

So, yeah…an iPhone 4 for 50 clams. Not the worst thing that’s ever happened…

Apple releases SMC firmware updates, enables Power Nap feature for mid-2011, mid-2011 MacBook Air notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 06:47
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

At long last, your mid-2011 and mid-2012 MacBook Air notebooks will be able to nap.

Per AppleInsider, a pair of firmware updates released by Apple on Wednesday enable the Power Nap in certain MacBook Air models that were promised the feature but found it missing when OS X Mountain Lion launched on Wednesday.

Apple rolled out the new firmware via Software Update in conjunction with the release of OS X Mountain Lion after the company previously noted Power Nap may not be able to work on certain Macs without such an update.

First outlined in June during Apple’s WWDC, Power Nap enables Macs to stay up to date and allows for the automatic backup of data while the machine is sleeping. The automatic refreshing of data, including Time Machine and iCloud syncing, is reportedly silent and power efficient though compatibility is limited to Macs with solid state drives like the MacBook Air.

When OS X Mountain Lion was released earlier in the day, some MacBook Air users noticed that the touted feature was missing. The problem has apparently been remedied in the Software Update which is for some “MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.6” for the mid-2011 MacBook Air and “MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.5” for the mid-2012 MacBook Air.

After the firmware is download through Software Update the Power Nap feature can be found in the Energy Saver pane in System Preferences once installed.

The firmware updates can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Safari 6.0 update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 06:11
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, Apple released Safari 6.0, an update to its web browser. The new version, a 40.2 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and new features:

– Smart Search Field: Safari now has one field for typing both searches and Web addresses.

– Offline Reading List: Safari saves entire webpages in your Reading List so you can catch up on your reading even when you don’t have an Internet connection.

– Do Not Track: Safari can send the websites you visit a request not to track you online.

– Password pane: Manage your saved website logins with the new Password pane.

– Baidu: The leading Chinese search engine Baidu is now a built-in option for Chinese users.

Safari 6 for OS X Lion also includes improvements to stability, compatibility, usability and security, including changes that:

– Make the swipe to navigate gesture work with PDFs.

– Restore the state of Reading List when Safari is launched.

– Fix an issue that affected full screen video in webpages that have positioned content.

– Restore the user’s previous cookies after Private Browsing without requiring a Safari relaunch.

Safari 6.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run and can also be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple releases OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on Mac App Store

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012, 07:27
Category: News, Software

You’ve been hankering for it.

And it’s here.

On Wednesday, Apple released its long-awaited OS X Mountain Lion upgrade through the Mac App Store. The download is 4.05GB, and retails for US$20.

The software incorporates a number of apps previously exclusive to iOS, including Notes, Reminders, Game Center, and the Notification Center. It also more deeply integrates iCloud, and introduces Gatekeeper, a new security system designed to prevent malware from being installed. In all, Apple claims that over 200 new features have been added including the following:

Messages:
– Send messages from your Mac to friends with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

– With iMessage, you can start a conversation on your Mac and pick it up on your iPhone or iPad.

– Messages also supports traditional instant messaging services like AIM, Yahoo! Google Talk and Jabber.

iCloud:
– Documents in the Cloud lets you create and edit your documents on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

– The new Reminders app makes managing tasks easy. Jot down your thoughts with the new Notes app. And iCloud keeps your Reminders and Notes up to date across all your devices.

Safari:
– Type both searches and web addresses in the new Smart Search Field.

– Pinch to see tabs with Tab View and swipe to switch between them.

– iCloud Tabs makes the last websites you looked at accessible on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.*

Notification Center:
– New notifications appear in the top right corner of your screen.

– Open Notification Center from anywhere in OS X to see recent notifications.

– Configure your notifications to receive just the ones you want.

Sharing:
– Share links, photos, videos, and other files right from the app you’re in.

– Share with Mail, Messages, and AirDrop.

– Sign in to Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo once to start sharing.

– Tweet right from your apps with the Tweet sheet.

Game Center:
– Play live multiplayer and turn-based games against friends on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.

– Log in to the Game Center app to see friends in your gaming network.

– Check out leaderboards and achievements.

– See what games your friends play and track your progress against them.

Other Mountain Lion features:
– Dictation lets you talk anywhere you can type–no setup or training required.

– AirPlay Mirroring shows your Mac screen on your HDTV with Apple TV.

– Power Nap keeps your Mac up to date while it sleeps so it’s instantly ready to go.

– Gatekeeper makes it safer to download apps from the Internet by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac.

– New features for Chinese users include improved text input, leading search engine Baidu as an option in Safari, sharing to microblogging service Sina Weibo and video websites Youku and Tudou, eight new fonts, and a new Chinese dictionary.

OS X 10.8 requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 and access to the Mac App Store to download and install.

If you guys have downloaded, installed and played with OS X 10.8, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

iPhoto 9.3.1 updated to 9.3.2

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012, 06:04
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its iPhoto 9.3.2 update. The update, a 600 megabyte download which can be found via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Supports compatibility with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

– Sharing options now include Messages and Twitter.

– Includes performance and stability improvements.

iPhoto 9.3.2 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple posts $8.8 billion profit, $35 billion in sales for Q3 2012 returns

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012, 06:30
Category: Finance, News

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There’s a nice ring to the words “US$8.8 billion quarterly profit”…

Per Macworld, Apple announced its returns for the third quarter of 2012 yesterday, the company’s sales hitting US$35 billion, up 22 percent from US$28.6 billion last year while profits rose 20.5 percent to US$8.8 billion from US$7.3 billion. Earnings for the quarter were US$9.32 a share, up 20 percent from last year. Reported earnings topped Apple’s forecast, but fell short of Wall Street expectations of US$10.35 per share on projected revenue of US$37 billion.

Apple sold 17 million iPads during the quarter, the most the company has ever sold during a quarter. The company tallied June quarter records for both Mac and iPhone sales—the latter figure coming even as customers have held off on purchasing a new iPhone in anticipation of a new model coming out later this year.

Despite the sales records, the third quarter saw the slowest growth rate for profit since 2009. Still, Apple finds itself better positioned than most tech companies. Sales of Macs, for example, rose during the quarter while the rest of the PC market saw a 1 percent decline, according to figures from market-research firm IDC.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, told analysts during a conference call that the company was “pleased” with its quarterly results.

The number that probably pleased Apple the most came from its surging iPad business, where Apple saw sales of its tablet grow 84 percent from the year-ago quarter. This was the first full quarter of sales for Apple’s third-generation iPad, which debuted on March 16. Apple is currently selling iPads in 97 countries.

Recognized revenue from the iPad lineup hit US$9.2 billion for the quarter, up 53 percent from the US$6 billion in revenue Apple recorded last year. Apple says it sold twice as many iPad as Macs to its education customers—and Apple just happened to set a record for Mac sales to U.S. educational institutions for the quarter.

As for its Mac business, Apple sold 4 million computers, up slightly from the 3.9 million Macs it sold in the year-ago quarter. Even with slight 2 percent gain, Apple still sold more Macs in this three-month period than in any June quarter before.

Those sales were largely driven by the revamped MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models Apple released, even though those notebooks came out less than three weeks before the end of the June quarter. According to Cook, prior to the release of those models at June’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple’s Mac sales were off last year’s pace. Once the updated MacBooks hit the market, though, Apple’s weekly sell-through increased, allowing it to beat last year’s figure and outpace PC industry growth for a 25th straight quarter.

In particular, Cook noted that the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has been “incredibly well-received. We still have not caught up with demand, but we anticipate doing so next month.”

Mac sales are usually dominated by portables, and this quarter was no exception. Notebooks accounted for three-fourths of the Macs Apple sold.

In addition to the June record for overall Mac sales, Apple executives noted that the quarter was the best ever for Mac sales to U.S. education institutions.

Apple sold 26 million iPhones during the quarter, compared to 20.3 million last year—another June quarter record for the company. The 28 percent growth in iPhone sales was also ahead of the amount Apple factored into its quarter guidance, Oppenheimer noted.

While Apple hasn’t made any iPhone hardware changes since it rolled out the iPhone 4S last year, it has been expanding the reach of its smartphone. During the June quarter, for example, the company added a number of regional carriers in the U.S. More than 250 carriers now provide service for the iPhone in 100 countries.

Recognized revenue from the iPhone rose 23 percent from last year to US$16.2 billion.

Despite the record sales, this quarter’s iPhone figures represent something of a blip for Apple. Both unit sales and iPhone revenue were down sequential in the third quarter; in 2011, unit sales and revenue rose from the second quarter to the third quarter. That’s largely a sign that customers may be holding off on iPhone purchases in anticipation of a new smartphone from Apple.

Pressed by analysts about the impact iPhone rumors might have on Apple’s bottom line, Cook said that while the company goes to great lengths to keep its product road map under wraps, he doesn’t put any value in clamping down on speculation about product releases.

“That’s just the environment we’re in,” Cook said. “I’m glad that people want the next thing. I’m super happy about it.”

Apple may have less reason to happy with its iPod sales, which saw another dip. The company sold 6.8 million music players, down from 7.5 million iPods in the year-ago quarter. Average selling price for iPods was also down for the quarter. Still, Apple notes that the iPod continues to hold a 70 percent share of the music-player market.

Combining iPod touch numbers with iPhone and iPad figures, Apple says that cumulative iOS device sales have reached 410 million units.

Revenue from the iTunes Store topped US$1.8 billion for the quarter; Apple brought its online music, movie, TV, and app store to 12 more countries.

Cook said that Apple sold 1.3 million Apple TVs during the quarter, bringing total sales for the fiscal year to 4 million units. The set-top box is “still at a level that we would call it a hobby, but we’ll continue to pull the string to see where it takes us,” Cook added.

During Tuesday’s briefing, Apple also unveiled the details of the stock dividend plan it first announced in March. The company will pay out US$2.65 per share on August 16, 2012 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 13. Subsequent dividends will be announced at the same time as the company’s results, with future payouts subject to declaration by the board of directors. Apple will begin buying back stock starting in its 2013 fiscal year, which starts September 30, 2012.

Both the dividend and the stock buyback program are part of Apple’s efforts to dispense with the massive amounts of cash the company has on hand. Apple ended the June quarter with US$117.2 billion in cash and short- and long-term securities, up from US$110 billion the previous quarter.

In terms of future performance, Oppenheimer told analysts to expect revenue of US$34 billion during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter and earnings of US$7.65 a share. That compares to 2011 fourth-quarter revenues of US$28.27 billion and earnings per share of US$7.02.

Apple offers final notice, warns users of July 31st iWork.com closure

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, 11:46
Category: News, Software

Ok, it’s time to stop procrastinating…

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday issued what it called a “final reminder” to users that they must save their iWork.com documents before July 31 or lose them forever.

The iWork.com beta website will close in one week’s time, after which users will no longer be able to access their documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web.

Apple has recommended once again that users immediately sign in to iWork.com to download documents and ensure tehy are not lost. An accompanying support article also details how users can save a copy of their documents onto their computer.

“Moving forward, you can use iCloud to store your documents and make them available across your computer and your iPHone, iPad or iPod touch,” the e-mail sent out on Tuesday by Apple reads.

Apple has sent out numerous reminders, including one earlier this month, encouraging users to back up their documents. Apple first notified customers in March of its intent to shutter the iWork.com website by the end of July.

The iWork.com service first launched as a beta in early 2009, offering iWork users on the Mac the ability to more easily collaborate with others using Windows and Microsoft Office. Now, the iWork suite of applications is become available on iOS, with Pages, Numbers and Keynote among the most popular downloads on the iPad App Store.

So, yeah, snag those files, put them somewhere else and perhaps head out and grab a really good bagel between now and the 31st, because Apple has decided to move on.