Apple’s 27″ iMac retail supply dwindling, Ivy Bridge update expected soon

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 07:45
Category: Hardware, iMac, Rumor

There’s a chance of spiffy new iMac goodness on the horizon.

And that’s never a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, with Apple’s iMac lineup due for an upgrade to Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, stock of the larger 27-inch all-in-one desktop has become even more depleted ahead of a possible refresh.

Availability of the 27-inch iMac is now limited at most retailers seen in the AppleInsider pricing guide. In particular, the low-end 2.7-gigahertz model is currently out of stock at Amazon, MacMall, MacConnection, Best Buy, and J&R. For now, the desktop remains in stock at B&H.

Availability of the high-end 3.1-gigahertz model is slightly better. That configuration is currently sold out at Best Buy and J&R, while limited stock is available at Amazon.

A shortage of 27-inch iMacs was also noted on Friday by MacRumors which found that the base-level machine is currently sold out at 120 of Apple’s 249 U.S. retail locations, while the high-end configuration is unavailable at 135 retail stores.

While supply of the 27-inch iMac has dwindled, there are no such signs of constrained inventory for the 21.5-inch model. Both Apple’s retail stores and authorized resellers show the smaller iMac model to have adequate availability.

Supply of the 27-inch iMac first began to dry up last month, as resellers started to see limited availability of the big-screen desktop. Supply constraints at Mac resellers is often one of the first signs that Apple is drawing down inventory ahead of a product update.

The iMac line’s most recent refresh arrived over a year ago, in early May of 2011. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in July that he expects Apple to refresh its iMac lineup with Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors as soon as September.

Earlier this month, internal configuration files in Mountain Lion were discovered to make apparent references to unreleased new generations of the iMac, as well as the Mac Pro. The new iMac was labeled as (iMac13,0), while the Mac Pro was identified as (MacPro6,0).

In addition, a new 13th-generation iMac identified as “iMac 13,2” has already appeared in Geekbench benchmarks. That machine was seen running Mountain Lion with an Intel Core i7-3770 processor clocked at 3.4-gigahertz with 4 gigabytes of 1600-megahertz DDR3 RAM.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Evidence of unknown iPad models surface in developers notes, speculation of forthcoming “iPad mini” grows

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Date: Friday, August 31st, 2012, 06:39
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

When in doubt, there’s always some interesting stuff in the logs.

Per the cool cats at MacRumors and his own blog, developer Marco Arment he noticed the two “curious entries” in Instapaper’s device stats on Friday, positing the device identifiers could offer clues to the supposed tablets’ internal hardware.

As a side note, Arment said, “There were also a few iPhone5,1 devices, but that’s not a surprise — that’s almost certainly next month’s new GSM iPhone,” but didn’t give specifics.

While Arment concedes the unknown “iPad2,5” and “iPad2,6” identifiers can conceivably be spoofed, he has “never had a device show up [on the logs] that didn’t end up being a real, about-to-be-released Apple device.”

Arment goes on to explain that when Apple first launched the iPad 2 in 2011, the Wi-Fi, GSM and CDMA versions were tagged with the internal designations iPad2,1, iPad2,2 and iPad2,3, respectively. Alongside the release of the New iPad in March, Apple unveiled a quietly updated iPad 2 Wi-Fi model with a new A5 processor manufactured on the 32nm process, identifying it as “iPad2,4.”

It is possible that the new “iPad2,5” and “iPad2,6” devices discovered by Arment could simply be GSM and CDMA versions of the iPad 2 carrying the 32nm A5 chip, but the developer believes such a move would be unusual so late in the product’s lifecycle.

If the unknown devices turn out to be a smaller iPad, Arment said, the Apple-assigned identifiers suggest “the iPad Mini is, effectively, an iPad 2” with an A5 processor and 512MB of RAM.

“This is all speculation, of course,” Arment writes, “but I’m convinced: like the leaked Dock connector, this move is so ingenius that it’s most likely to be what Apple has really done.

Apple is rumored to debut the so-called “iPad mini” at a special event in October. Many expect the tablet to sport a 7.85-inch screen and boast a design resembling an iPod touch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases second OS X 10.8.2 beta to developer community, focuses on upcoming Facebook integration

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Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012, 06:48
Category: News, Software

Hey, betas are still hip.

And cool.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday provided developers with the second beta of OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion, less than a week after the first beta became available.

Sources familiar with the latest beta of OS X 10.8.2 indicated it is known as build 12C35. Developers have reportedly been asked to focus on the new Facebook integration coming to the updated version of Mountain Lion.

Other areas of focus highlighted by Apple for developers are said to be Messages, Game Center, Safari and Reminders. The latest build of OS X 10.8.2 reportedly contains no known issues.

The first beta of OS X 10.8.2 was provided to select developers last Thursday. Those who participated in the beta were invited to do so by Apple via e-mail.

The biggest change in OS X 10.8.2 is expected to be Facebook integration across the entire Mountain Lion operating system. The new feature will work similar to how Twitter is currently integrated, with the ability to post pictures and other content directly to a user’s Facebook account with the operating system’s Share Sheets button.

The latest public release of Mountain Lion, OS X 10.8.1, also launched last Thursday. It resolved an issue that caused Migration Assistant to unexpectedly quit, improved compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail, and addressed an issue playing audio through a Thunderbolt display.

Just two developer previews of OS X 10.8.1 were made available to developers before the software officially launched. Mountain Lion became available on the Mac App Store just over a months go, on July 25.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Analyst: Java 1.7 zero-day less likely to affect Mac users due to lack of current installed base on platform

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Date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012, 07:53
Category: News, security

Yesterday, we posted as to a new Java vulnerability that could open the gates for additional malware on the Mac.

Today, there’s some better news regarding this.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, online backup service CrashPlan co-founder Matthew Dornquist had the following to offer about the new Java vulnerability and what it could mean for the Mac.

In a recent study of a random sample of 200K recent users; Dornquist’s numbers showed that the overwhelming majority of CrashPlan’s Mac users are on Java 1.6 (92%) and a small minority on the older 1.5 version. The percentage on the 1.7 version targeted by the malware? Approximately zero.

Research shop FireEye identified a Java zero-day exploit this weekend that is already targeting fully patched versions of the Java JRE version 1.7 running on Windows machines. The exploit attempts to install a dropper executable (Dropper.MsPMs) on the machines it attacks. In theory, a separate dropper could be crafted to attack Mac or Linux systems, although none has yet been observed in the wild.

That’s a reason for Mac users to rest a little more easily, but it’s not the big one. As noted by CNET, the vulnerable edition of the JRE — 1.7 — isn’t installed by default in a stock configuration of OS X. The Java that Apple delivers on Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion is JRE 1.6 (and on Lion and Mountain Lion, it’s only installed on demand when needed to run Java applications); in order to be on 1.7 and be theoretically susceptible, you’d have to install the Oracle beta build manually.

If you did install the Oracle build and you’re concerned about the new exploit, you can disable the Java plugin in each of your browsers individually, or uninstall 1.7 entirely. While it bears repeating that there is no evidence of a Mac payload for this exploit at this time, if you don’t have a specific reason to run the new version then it’s probably safest to stick with JRE 1.6 instead (or turn off Java completely if you don’t need it). In response to past exploits including Flashback, Apple’s Java web plugin is now set to auto-disable when it isn’t used for some time, further reducing the attack surface for Mac users.

So, yeah, try to avoid manually updating to Java 1.7 on your Mac until this is sorted out and we’ll have additional details as they become available.

Apple to file injunction against certain Samsung smartphones on December 6th

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Date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012, 07:22
Category: Legal, News

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Come December 6th, Apple will be looking to take punitive action against Samsung.

Per Reuters, Apple v. Samsung presiding Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday set the date on which the Court will hear Apple’s request for a permanent sales ban against certain Samsung smartphones.

According to a court order filed on Tuesday, the judge is slated to hear arguments on Dec. 6 regarding Apple’s move for a permanent injunction against eight Samsung handsets identified on Monday.

The order also outlines the deadlines by which both parties must submit their respective replies and oppositions regarding post-judgment filings. In the interest of expediency, Judge Koh has consolidated other post-trial motions for the Dec. 6 hearing. Apple and Samsung were initially scheduled to meet on Sept. 20 to discuss the injunction, but that date is now reserved for the Korean company’s request to dissolve a sales ban against the Galaxy 10.1.

Judge Koh is once again pushing for strict adherence to her mandates regarding post-judgment motions, a position she took during the trial to avoid an onslaught of filings. During the trial, the judge fought to keep the case on track as her “rag tag” team was having trouble keeping up with filings from the two companies’ “legion” of lawyers.

From the order:
“The page limits set forth herein will be strictly enforced. Any argument that is not explicitly articulated within the briefing page limits will be disregarded. Any supporting documentation shall be for corroboration purposes solely and shall not be used as a vehicle for circumventing the Court’s page limits. Any citations to the record must include the relevant testimony or exhibit language. Any single-spaced bullets in an attempt to circumvent the briefing page limits will be disregarded.”

Apple on Friday won a sweeping victory over Samsung as a jury found Samsung in violation of six Apple design and utility patents, assigning damages of nearly US$1.05 billion for the offense.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds fourth Mac OS X 10.7.5 beta to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012, 10:18
Category: News, Software

Mac OS X 10.7.5 is en route, or at least that’s what the betas would have you believe.

Per MacNN, Apple has released a fourth beta of OS X 10.7.5 to developers. The download, build 11G45, is about 1.16GB as a delta, or 1.93GB as a combo update. As with the previous build there are no known issues, and Apple is again asking developers to test graphics quality and performance, as well as media importing, viewing, and editing.

Mac OS X 10.7.5 could be the last major update for OS X Lion, since Apple is now concentrating development work on Mountain Lion, which was launched late in July. Subsequent Lion updates will probably be intended to patch specific components.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Samsung vows to appeal, fight injunctions sought by Apple

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Date: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012, 06:59
Category: Legal, News

When you get thrashed to the tune of US$1.05 billion in open court, it’s generally good form to go for the appeal…

According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung has vowed to fight back and keep some of its best selling products on the market.

Samsung will combat Apple’s attempt to ban the sales of eight smartphones with “all necessary measures,” the company said in a statement issued on Tuesday. Among the options available to Samsung are filing to stop the injunction, appealing if the injunction is granted by Judge Lucy Koh, and modifying its products to circumvent any bans.

Citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter, Tuesday’s report also indicated that officials from Samsung have begun talking to wireless partners about “removing or modifying infringing features to keep products on the market if the injunctions are granted.”

In a filing on Monday, Apple asked the court to bar the sale of 8 Samsung smartphones, including the company’s U.S. Galaxy S II lineup. In all, the phones Apple wishes to bar from sale accounted for US$1.3 billion of Samsung’s U.S. sales during the first six months of 2012, documents disclosed in Samsung’s lawsuit with Apple have revealed.

The eight smartphones Apple hopes to ban accounted for the lion’s share of Samsung’s American profits in the first half of the year. A total of 28 devices were included in the Apple-Samsung case, which earned a collective US$1.5 billion in U.S. sales in the first six months of 2012.

A jury determined last week that Samsung’s products have infringed upon Apple’s patented inventions. The jury awarded Apple nearly $1.05 billion in damages from Samsung as well.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Java vulnerability discovered, researchers warn of potential new malware for Mac OS X platform

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Date: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012, 06:53
Category: News, security, Software

You’ll never lack a job in IT security…

Per Computerworld, researchers announced on Monday that hackers are taking advantage of a zero-day vulnerability in Oracle’s Java 7, with the newly discovered flaw able to exploit any platform, including Apple’s OS X.

According to Tod Beardsley, engineering manager for open-source testing framework Metasploit, hackers can use the bug to compromise any system through a web browser running the latest Java software.

While there have yet to be reports of the new exploit affecting Macs, Errata Security confirmed the Metasploit exploit is effective against the latest Java 1.7 runtime on Apple’s latest OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Mac users running older versions of OS X, like Snow Leopard or Leopard, could be more vulnerable as those operating systems came bundled with Java, however the new exploit is actually in Oracle’s latest software, dubbed “Update 6.”

“The vulnerability is not in Java 6, it’s in new functionality in Java 7,” said Beardsley.

He went on to call the bug “super dangerous” and said a potential piece of malware can feasibly compromise the security of a Mac by simply having a user visit a website that is host to the attack code. This means both purpose-built malicious sites as well as those which have been hacked can compromise a system.

“What is more worrisome is the potential for this to be used by other malware developers in the near future,” said antivirus vendor Intego. “Java applets have been part of the installation process for almost every malware attack on OS X this year.”

As Oracle has not yet released a patch for the exploit, Beardsley recommends users disable Java until one is pushed out.

Mac users can visit Java’s site here to check if they have the 1.7 runtime installed. Alternately, the “Java Preferences” application can also be used to make sure the software is disabled.

The new flaw is the latest in a number of security holes found in Java code on OS X, including the infamous Flashback trojan that reportedly affected some 600,000 Macs worldwide. Apple released a removal tool specifically tailored for the malware, later disabling the Java runtime in subsequent versions of Safari. Java was removed from OS X when Lion was released last year, forcing users to authorize a browser request to download and install the software if an applet for the runtime appears.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Jury rules in Apple’s favor, Samsung ordered to pay $1.05 billion fine for patent infringement

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2012, 17:16
Category: Hardware, Legal, News

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It went on for months, it got about as ugly as a legal case could possibly get, but in the end, the jury mostly sided with Apple.

Per Wired and Mac|Life, the verdict came in on Friday with Samsung being ordered to pay US$1.05 billion in damages for violating Apple’s patents for its iPad tablet design.

The court ruled that Samsung had infringed upon patents relating to user interface design (like scrolling and multi-touch), as well as physical design. Samsung could not convince the court that it hadn’t taken its design ideas from Apple’s iPad.

Samsung has vowed to appeal the case while Apple has stated that the company will file for injunctions against Samsung products it believes currently violate its patents.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you make of the case in the comments.

Analyst: Apple producing 13-inch Retina Display screens, may launch 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro this fall

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2012, 06:27
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

You love the MacBook Pro with the Retina Display.

Get ready for it in a smaller size.

Per CNET, an analyst citing upstream supply chain sources claims that a high-resolution display bound for a rumored 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is now in production, with initial output volumes expected to be higher than the current 15-inch version.

According to NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim, the display purportedly being produced for the smallest MacBook Pro features a resolution of 2,560-by-1600 pixels, compared to the current iteration’s 1,280-by-800 pixel screen.

“The supply chain indications are that it’s for a MacBook Pro 13.3 — not a MacBook Air,” Shim said.

The analyst goes on to say Samsung, LG Display and Sharp are all churning out the new 13-inch panel to meet a higher initial volume compared to the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display’s launch in June. Stock of Apple’s top-of-the-line laptop quickly dwindled as supply couldn’t meet demand due to low display yield rates, and only recently has the company been able to catch up, with shipments now quoted at two to four business days.

“With 15.4 it’s production of a few hundred thousand units versus one to two million for the 13.3,” Shim said. He prefaced the estimates by noting volume depends on yield rates, noting that if the manufacturers are able to reach rate of 70, 80, or 90 percent, output of the 13-inch panel will likely be in the “million and a half range.”

Shim also pointed out that the manufacturing capabilities of the three different suppliers can factor into how many displays will be ready for assembly.

“With Samsung, if you look at the new [Retina] iPad, they had fewer issues reaching the higher resolution requests from Apple,” he said. “They were the first vendor to get to volume with that panel.”

The production timeline could point to a fall debut for the rumored 13-inch Retina display-packing MacBook Pro, which is in line with previous reports that Apple would be launching the laptop in September.

Sunday’s rumor comes on the heels of multiple sightings (1, 2) of an unknown MacBook Pro seen on online benchmarking site Geekbench.

Currently, the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is identified as “MacBookPro10,1,” while the legacy 15-inch model is “MacBookPro9,1.” The “10,2” identifier, first spotted in the logs of an online battery testing site, hints at a Retina version of the 13-inch laptop as the recently updated non-Retina version carries the “MacBookPro9,2” designation.

While it is unclear when Apple will decide to launch the purported device, the company is expected to debut the next-generation iPhone at an as-yet-unannounced Sept. 12 event. Further rumors suggest a smaller iPad will also be launched in October ahead of a revamped iPod touch and iPod nano.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.