O'Grady's PowerPage » Apple

Apple launches iPad 3, includes 4G LTE, Retina Display, faster processor, other features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 12:13
Category: iPad, News

You’ve been waiting for it and it’s here.

Apple on Wednesday announced its next-gen iPad, the new tablet featuring a 2,048-by-1,536-pixel resolution Retina Display that fits 3.1 million pixels into its 9.7-inch display, along with voice dictation and LTE 4G, coming on March 16 to 10 countries.

Per AppleInsider, the new screen on the iPad has more pixels than a 1080p television and fits in 264 pixels per inch, the pixels cannot be distinguished by human eye at a distance of 15 inches.

The tablet also boasts a much-improved, 5 megapixel camera as well as voice dictation, allowing users to input text by speaking rather than typing.

Other new features include the following:
– High-definition Retina Display

– New A5X chip with quad-core graphics

– 5-megapixel iSight camera with advanced optics, shoots 1080p video

– 4G LTE models allow for connections to faster wireless networks

– Still offers the same 10-hour battery life.

The wireless models now 4G connectivity, allowing users to connect to long-term evolution networks from providers like AT&T and Verizon. The new iPad will offer download speeds of up to 73Mbps over LTE and can communicate with international 4G LTE partners such as Rogers, Bell and Telus.

Another improvement highlighted by Apple Wednesday was battery life, as the new iPad will support 10 hours of battery life on Wi-Fi and 9 hours on 4G LTE.

The new tablet is slightly heavier than the iPad 2, weighing 1.4 pounds with a 9.44mm thickness.

The launch will be Apple’s biggest roll-out ever, debuting in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Quick highlights from Wednesday’s event:
The new iPad features an A5X processor with quad-core graphics.
Compared to the Nvidia Tegra 3, Apple says the A5X is twice as fast with four times the performance.

Other interesting tidbits:

– The new iPad also has 44 percent better color saturation on its screen.

– An improved 5-megapixel camera is on the back of the device. The tablet includes an infrared filter and ISP built in to the A5X chip.

– The new iPad’s camera also features auto-focus and auto-exposure, and uses the same optics system found in the iPhone 4S.
– he new camera can also record video in 1080p.

– There will be two different versions of the LTE-capable iPad models: one for AT&T and one for Verizon. Both will be able to roam worldwide in 3G.

– The iPad can also act as a personal hotspot, if supported by a carrier, and can connect up to five additional users via this feature.

– It will also continue to be available in both black and white models.

– The new iPad will be available at the same price points and capacities: US$499 for 16GB, US$599 for 32GB and US$699 for 64GB. 4G models will be an additional US$130 for each capacity.

The new iPad Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of US$499 for the 16GB model, US$599 for the 32GB model and US$699 for the 64GB model.

iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon will be available for a suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB model and US$829 for the 64GB model.

iPad will be sold in the US through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPad will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US Virgin Islands on Friday, March 16.

Customers can begin pre-ordering their new iPad today, and the iPad 2 is now offered for US$399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and US$529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad 3 press event live blog

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 09:22
Category: iPad, News


Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here with the iPad 3 press event live blog, as covered via Macworld.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it and see what’s happening:

– The music is playing, people are filing in and the event should begin at 10 A.M. PST/1 P.M. EST.

– Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage and thanks everyone for coming on out. Begins to discuss the idea of a post-PC world and the devices you carry around with you on a daily basis.

– States that the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are post-PC devices and that last year, Apple sold 172 million post-PC devices, which accounted for 76% of the company’s revenue.

– Apple will add Japanese language support to Siri as part of iOS 5.1, which is available today and will be rolled out in Japan over the next few weeks.

– A new Apple TV device is now being unveiled.

– This is nifty: Movies and TV shows purchased/rented in the iTunes Store will now support 1080p.

– Photo Stream appears to be due for an update and Tim Cook is demonstrating how a picture taken with an iPhone is automatically synced over to an Apple TV in the background at full 1080p.

– Tim Cook is now beginning to discuss the iPad, its effect and the company’s sales numbers for the tablet.

– Building the suspense on the iPad 3…Barnum would be proud.

– “Until you see it, you can’t understand how amazing it is.”

– The iPad 3’s new screen resolution: 2048 x 1536 pixels. Do some nerd math and this is over 3.1 million pixels to gaze upon.

– Phil Schiller has declared that the 2048 x 1536 pixel display is only the first new feature, which is met with applause.

– The camera has been upgraded and the front of the device will now feature a FaceTime camera, complete with auto face detection, auto exposure lock, auto focus lock and HD video recording now at 1080p resolution.

– Apple has added a voice dictation feature to the iPad 3.

– The new interface features a microphone icon at the bottom of the screen (a la the iPhone 4S) that allows the user to tap and begin speaking.

– Siri will be available on the iPad 3 and the device currently supports U.S., British, Australian English, French, German, and Japanese languages.

– It was expected but you’ll like it: The iPad 3 features 4G LTE with EV-DO support and a maximum downlink of 3.1Mbps while also supporting HSPA (with a maximum downlink of 7.2 Mbps).

– If your carrier supports it, you can turn your iPad 3 into a hotspot and allow up to five users to connect at once.

– Faster processor time: The iPad 3 will use the A5X quad-core chip.

– Apple is citing 10 hours of battery life (nine hours with 4G activated).

– The new iPad is now 9.44mm thick and weighs 1.4 pounds.

– The iPad 3 will be available on March 16 and is priced at US$499 for 16GB, US$599 for 32GB, US$699 for 64GB. And US$629, US$729, and US$829 for 4G (these are the same prices as the iPad 2).

– The iPad 3 will be available in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and more. One week later, 25 more countries.

– From what’s being said, the new resolutions of the iPad 3 look absolutely beautiful.

– Garage Band and iMovie for the iOS have been updated, will remain at their US49.99 price points.

– Ok, this is interesting: The new GarageBand adds smart strings joins smart guitars, smart keyboards, smart drums and a Note Editor. The app can sync in with iCloud to share data and a new “Jam Session” feature allows four iPads to play together to create a new song over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

– The updated GarageBand is available today as a free update for current owners and US$4.99 for new users.

– The updated iMovie for iOS allows users to easily create movie trailers as needed (select styles, templates, etc). The new version is a free update for current owners of US$4.99 for new users.

– Apple is introducing iPhoto for iOS, the current speech highlighting sharing tools, editing tools, brushes, support for both left-handed and right-handed users, etc.

– Once edited in iPhoto for iOS, photos can be shared via Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.

– Photos can be shared to your iCloud and then viewed by anyone with a web browser.

– iPhoto for iOS is available for US$4.99 starting today.

– Apple WILL keep the iPad 2 in stock, but drop its starting price down to US$399.

And that about wraps it up. Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and thanks for reading!

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 5th, 2012, 15:49
Category: News, Software

They may come from out of nowhere, but supplemental updates are a good thing.

On that note, Apple has released its Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update. The update, a 38k download (provided you have Mac OS X 10.7.3 already installed), resolves an issue when restoring a Mac from a Time Machine backup.

As usual, the update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. The software requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and run.

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

iPad 3 accessories begin to arrive at Best Buy ahead of next-gen tablet’s product launch

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 5th, 2012, 09:45
Category: iPad, News

Even if you’re one of the largest tech companies on earth, you never quite control when a soon-to-be-launched product’s accessory line arrives.

Per PhoneArena.com, a number of Best Buy stores have reportedly begun to receive cases sealed in boxes for Apple’s third-generation iPad ahead of Wednesday’s anticipated unveiling.

The cases have shipped in boxes with a pink sticker stating “Do not display until official iPad 3 launch,” an anonymous tipster told the site. Cases for the so-called “iPad 3” are said to be shipping in bulk, as third-party manufacturers are planning for Apple to begin selling its next iPad soon after it is officially announced.

“The shipment is not of just a few cases — there’s over 1,000 Targus Versavu 360 stands for the next-gen iPad shipping to Best Buy, meaning that it won’t be long until the actual tablet hits shelves,” the report said.

Multiple leaked components from Apple’s supply chain have suggested the next iPad will feature an external design largely the same as the current iPad 2. The third-generation iPad is expected to be slightly thicker, with edges more tapered than the iPad 2.

Despite minor tweaks to the design, its expected that Apple’s magnetic Smart Cover will still work with the next iPad. But Apple’s protective accessory only covers the front, flat screen of the iPad, while many third-party cases cover the aluminum back.

The rumor that third-party cases are being delivered to Best Buy is supported by a picture that surfaced last week, showing the retailer’s inventory system listing “iPad 3” accessories set to be in stock by next Sunday, March 11. The leaked inventory listings included ZAGG’s InvisibleSHIELD.

The next iPad is expected to be unveiled at Apple’s media event this Wednesday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif. The event will kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Updated JavaScript interpreter to help boost WebKit’s performance by 2, 2.5x

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 2nd, 2012, 08:22
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t argue that WebKit’s been good for Apple and iOS in general.

Apple’s WebKit JavaScriptCore is now a “triple tier virtual machine,” offering the potential for 2-2.5 times faster JavaScript performance in Safari.

Per webkit.org, recent changes in Apple’s WebKit open source project (used by Safari on OS X and iOS, and to power a wide variety of other browsers) include the incorporation of the efficient new LLInt (Low Level Interpreter), which is now used by JavaScriptCore (JSC) to attempt executing code before passing it to the standard interpreters, either the bytecode virtual machine or the JIT (Just In Time complier) which builds native machine code on the fly.

“JSC will now will start by executing code in LLInt and will only tier up to the old JIT after the code is proven hot,” a change report on the new interpreter describes.

“LLInt is written in a modified form of our macro assembly. This new macro assembly is compiled by an offline assembler (see offlineasm), which implements many modern conveniences such as a Turing-complete CPS-based macro language and direct access to relevant C++ type information (basically offsets of fields and sizes of structs/classes).”

The new interpreter “is 2-2.5x faster than our old interpreter on SunSpider, V8, and Kraken [benchmarks],” the report states. “With triple-tiering turned on [to allow the LLInt to interpret code], we’re neutral on SunSpider, V8, and Kraken, but appear to get a double-digit improvement on real-world websites due to a huge reduction in the amount of JIT’ing.”

JavaScript performance in web browsers is a primary focus for optimization, as the faster and more efficiently code can be executed, the more fluid animations can run and the more sophisticated and responsive cross platform web applications can be.

The LLInt enhancements to JavaScriptCore appear to have been contributed by Filip Pizlo, who joined WebKit as a reviewer in December after acting as a “major contributor” to improvements to the JavaScriptCore JIT and Garbage Collector. Pizlo filed a bug report in January noting that “JSC should be a triple-tier VM,” and subsequently solved the issue by the end of February.

The new changes to JavaScriptCore will take some time to make it into the mainstream version of Safari, following similar WebKit enhancements of previous years. Enhancements in Apple’s next release of Safari 5.2 have been profiled in reports describing its new user interface and sharing enhancements and new privacy settings and website alert features.

In 2008, WebKit announced a rewriting of JavaScriptCore as a direct-dispatch register based, high-level bytecode virtual machine originally named SquirrelFish. It compiled JavaScript into native machine code. The project was later enhanced to gain the codename SquirrelFish Extreme.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may include Intel Sandy Bridge processors in near-term Mac Pro update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 2nd, 2012, 07:27
Category: Mac Pro, Processors, Rumor

Even if you’re hankering for a new iPad 3 or an updated MacBook Air, there’s always your Mac Pro tower to keep in mind.

Per The Inquirer, Intel’s new Sandy Bridge update for its Xeon line of high end CPUs is due next week, suggesting the potential for Apple to refresh the Mac Pro, which hasn’t changed since the middle of 2010.

The new Xeon E5 chips incorporate the Sandy Bridge micro architecture that first appeared in MacBook Pros and iMacs early last year, followed by a mobile variant used by Apple in the MacBook Air last summer.

Apple’s latest Mac Pro models currently use Intel Xeon Bloomfield or Gulftown processors based on the Nehalem and closely related Westmere microarchitectures.

The latest release of OS X 10.7.3 Lion included support for AMD’s high end Tahiti graphic cards, which are expected to arrive in the market around the same time as Intel’s new Xeon chips.

However, sources famliar with the matter have said that Apple’s management, as far back as last May, were in limbo over whether to put any additional resources toward the Mac Pro product line.

Internal discussions at Apple were said to focus on the fact that sales of the high-end Mac Pro workstations have dropped off so considerably that the desktop machines are no longer particularly profitable for the company.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases App Store 2.1 update for iOS, includes carrier selection and account management features

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 1st, 2012, 08:12
Category: News, Software

It’s not the most amazing update to ever hit the Internet, but it helps.

Per AppleInsider, Apple released version 2.1 of its Apple Store iOS app on Wednesday, bringing with it a number of new features including iPhone carrier selection for new customers as well as a feature that allows users to change account preferences.

While Apple Store version 2.1 leaves the general user interface of Apple’s virtual storefront mainly intact, the notable updates implemented behind the scenes coincide with the app’s introduction to users in the Netherlands.

Other changes and fixes include:
– Choose iPhone plans from all three U.S. carriers — AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint (U.S. Only).

– Make your shopping experience even more convenient with new account management editing and billing options.

– Choosing an iPhone plan is limited to U.S. customers who are purchasing a new handset. With the update, iPhone buyers can now select the capacity, color and carrier without leaving the Apple Store app.

– Account managements allows customers to change billing information and shipping addresses in-app, whereas users previously had to navigate to Apple’s website in order to change these settings. The changes will update accounts associated with a current Apple ID, which will in turn be reflected across any services that use the login data.

– iOS device users in the Netherlands will also be granted access to the app as the final preparations are being made for the grand opening of Amsterdam’s first Apple Store.

The Apple Store 2.1 application weighs in at 7.9 MB and requires iOS 4.3 or higher.

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

Rumor: Apple may be considering 14-inch MacBook Pro form factor for Asian marketplace

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 29th, 2012, 12:47
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor


The rumors may not always be right, but they keep things interesting.

Per DigiTimes, Apple may be weighing the prospect of a new 14-inch MacBook Air model designed specifically to cater to the Asian PC market.

Currently, the MacBook Air is only available in screen sizes of 11.6 inches and 13.3 inches. There have been rumors that Apple is planning to launch a new 15-inch model of the MacBook Air at some point this year, expanding its ultraportable lineup to a larger screen size.

But while Western countries prefer the 15-inch screen size, in the Asia market, 14-inch notebooks account for as much as 40 percent of sales. It’s because of the market’s “fondness for 14-inch models” that Apple is said to be considering a screen size specifically for that region.

“The sources analyzed that Apple is currently turning its targets from North American and Europe to Asia, and is eyeing the China market as its major market since the company still has strong potential in the country,” the report reads. “The consideration of a 14-inch MacBook Air would be an indication the company will become even more aggressive about the China market.”

With Apple expected to dramatically redesign its high-end MacBook Pro lineup this year, there has been some question as to whether a new thin-and-light 15-inch notebook would be an “Air” or a “Pro” notebook. Earlier this month, AppleInsider quoted a person familiar with Apple’s new MacBook Pro designs who indicated: “They’re all going to look like MacBook Airs.”

Apple’s next generation of notebooks are expected to be powered by Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors. This week, an official from the chipmaker stated that the CPUs have been delayed, and will go on sale eight to 10 weeks later than originally planned, likely in June.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Thinner, 13 and 15-inch next-gen MacBook Pro units could arrive as early as April

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 29th, 2012, 08:02
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor


The new stuff’s en route, you’ll just have to be a bit patient.

New 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros with a thinner and lighter design are expected to launch in April “at the soonest,” with an initial shipment of just under a million units.

Per DigiTimes, sources in Apple’s upstream supply chain have indicated indicated that the company will launch upgraded MacBook Pros as early as April, with about 900,000 units expected to be shipped at launch. A redesigned version of the 17-inch MacBook Pro is apparently not expected at launch, as it was not mentioned in Wednesday’s report.

The rumor is consistent with stories published earlier this month, revealing that Apple will launch a larger 17-inch model later than the 15-inch model the company is said to be prioritizing. Apple employed the same approach when it redesigned its MacBook Pro lineup in 2008, as the lower-volume 17-inch model became available a few months later.

Apple’s upgraded MacBook Pro lineup along with new MacBook Airs and the forthcoming OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Mac operating system upgrade are expected in the industry to pose a “significant threat” to notebooks designed to Intel’s thin-and-light Ultrabook specification.

“Since Intel is delaying the mass supply of its Ivy Bridge CPUs from April to June, notebook vendors are concerned about… the postponed launch schedules of their ultrabooks, as it may give Apple advantages in terms of time-to-market,” the report said.

Earlier this week, an Intel executive indicated that the company’s next-generation Ivy Bridge chips are expected to debut eight to 10 weeks later than previously planned. That would push the launch of those chips from April until June.

It’s possible that Apple could still launch new notebooks powered by Ivy Bridge as early as April, if Intel were to give the Mac maker early access to its first run of processors. In the past, Apple has been given early availability of Intel’s latest technology before other PC makers.

As Apple gears up to revamp its MacBook Pro lineup and borrow design cues from its successful MacBook Air, PC makers are still hoping to capitalize on the Ultrabook specification being pushed by Intel. Ultrabooks are intended to be less than 21 millimeters thick, weigh no more than 3.1 pounds, use flash-based solid-state drives, and offer 5 to 8 hours of battery life.

But initial Ultrabooks from Windows-based PC makers struggled to compete with Apple on price, as the entry-level 11.6-inch MacBook Air carries a US$999 cost. And they also felt the squeeze from Apple on components, as PC makers struggled to obtain unibody metal notebook chassis for their products.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.8 for late 2008 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2012, 16:08
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software


Late Tuesday, Apple released MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.8 for its late 2008, 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks. The update a 3 megabyte download, resolves a graphics issue that may cause the internal display to flicker.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and run.

As always, if you’ve tried the new firmware and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.