Study finds mid-2013 MacBook Air’s 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds throttled by bug in OS X

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Date: Tuesday, June 25th, 2013, 07:51
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software, wireless

Even in the event that the Wi-Fi connectivity issues on the mid-2013 MacBook Air notebooks are hardware-based, the underlying operating system software is apparently throttling potential data speeds on the new networking protocol.

Per AnandTech and CNET, a series of tests by AnandTech confirms that much of the Wi-Fi speed throttling is software-based. The new MacBook Air was announced by Apple at the recent Worldwide Developers Conference, and in addition to extended battery life, the new systems include support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking, which supports up to three times faster data rates in comparison with 802.11n.

In testing, AnandTech noticed that the link speeds of the systems are very high, at an average of about 533Mbps, but when transferring files over standard networking protocols, the speed drops to about 169Mbps at its maximum. This is over three times less than the expected speeds.

In investigating the issue, AnandTech discovered that an apparent bug in OS X limits the TCP window size (the maximum data that can be sent at a time) to a maximum of 64KB, which is far less than the 256KB needed to meet the speed capabilities of the 802.11ac connection.

As a result of this finding, AnandTech shows that in its current state, while the 2013 MacBook Air will still give fast file transfers, these will be limited to about 21MBps, instead of the more than 50MBps expected. Luckily, this limitation being in software means the fix should be easy, and it may be only a matter of a quick update for these systems to realize their full potential.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple looking into mid-2013 MacBook Air Wi-Fi issues, “capturing” units for study

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Date: Tuesday, June 25th, 2013, 07:41
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software, wireless

This might be why your friends, the ones who wait a month or two after a brand new product hits the market, could be right…

Per 9to5Mac, over the past few days, a notable amount of users have complained about Wi-Fi issues plaguing the new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models released during the week of WWDC. Besides less-battery-intensive chipsets, the marquee feature of the new MacBook Air revolves around faster Wi-Fi connectivity thanks to new 802.11ac cards. As with any new product, bugs are plausible. It’s also been noted that new reports claim that the MacBook Air WiFi issues are due to networking issues in Apple’s OS X software.

The following facts are currently in place:

In the United States, Apple Geniuses and Advisors should capture MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013) and MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013) computers with any Wi-Fi issues.

According to a source at Apple, the company is working to independently identify what exactly is causing the new Wi-Fi-related problems. According to the source, AppleCare and Apple Store Genius Bar employees have been instructed to “capture” affected MacBook Air units. These units will then be sent back to Apple for further testing so a solution could hopefully be achieved. While Apple is asking AppleCare and Genius Bar staff to “capture” units facing problems, that does not mean Apple is confirming the new MacBook Air is flawed. This points to Apple pushing to determine why at least some units are seeing Wi-Fi problems.

There have also been reports of at least a couple of customers facing MacBook Air WiFi issues who have successfully swapped out their notebooks for new ones. One of these people has said that AppleCare provided them with a complementary USB-to-Ethernet adapter so the new MacBook Air could connect to the internet without Wi-Fi. Apple also informed these people that their original laptops have been “captured”.

If you’ve picked up Apple’s latest MacBook Air notebook and have any feedback to provide about its 802.11ac Wi-Fi performance, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases second iOS 7 beta to developer community

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Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 10:26
Category: iOS, iPad, News, Software

It’s the beta versions that show the cool stuff around the corner.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the second iOS 7 beta was released today, sources indicating that it contains the usual “bug fixes and improvements.” A document outlining the changes is available to developers at developer.apple.com/ios7/release-notes, although several devs reported that the page is currently offline.

Developers have also noted that the update is available for iPad now, marking the first time that iOS 7 will appear on Apple’s tablet.

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

Apple sets up web site, offers refunds and credits for claimants in iTunes Store class action lawsuit

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Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 06:42
Category: Legal, News, retail, Software

It’s hard to argue with the results of a class action lawsuit.

Still, it might be a refund coming your way thanks to your children purchasing items via the iTunes Store.

Per AppleInsider, Apple appears to have finalized the details of its settlement agreement for a class action suit over in-app purchases on iPhones and iPads, with the Cupertino company offering millions of dollars in refunds and iTunes credits.

A home page for the settlement program went live recently, laying out the options available for claimants in the class action suit over Apple’s in-app purchase policies. That suit, filed in 2011, alleged that Apple’s structure for processing in-app purchases was insufficient to stop minors from charging tens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars to their parents’ accounts without permission.

Under the settlement agreement, Apple will provide a single US$5 iTunes Store credit to claimants in the suit or a credit “equal to the total amount of Game Currency that a minor charged to your iTunes account without your knowledge or permission within a single forty-five day period.” For claimants that no longer have an active iTunes account, a cash refund is available, as is the case for those whose claims exceed US$30 in total.

All United States residents are eligible for an award from the settlement, provided that, prior to May 2, 2013, they paid for an in-app purchase in a qualified app. The purchase must have been charged to their iTunes account by a minor without their knowledge or permission. The deadline to submit a claim is January 13, 2014, and the deadline to object to or opt out of the settlement is August 30, 2013.

In-app purchases stepped into the spotlight over the last few years as developers looked for a way to further monetize their apps. As the option became more popular, complaints arose that it was too easy for children to rack up sizable charges on their parents’ accounts.

Apple already had some protections in place to stop minors from abusing in-app purchases, but the company was forced by the attention from several cases to modify its iTunes Store listings in order to warn users which apps featured additional paid content. The company has since stepped up its educational efforts in order to bring parents up to speed on what they can do to head off unwanted expenditures.

If you feel you meet the criteria for a claim, head over to the web site and let us know how your experience panned out in the comments.

Growing number of users cite Wi-Fi connectivity issues with 802.11ac-equipped MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Friday, June 21st, 2013, 05:15
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software, wireless

To be fair, this is what they invented firmware updates for.

Per Gizmodo, some early adopters of Apple’s latest MacBook Air models have found their new thin-and-light notebook will unexpectedly and repeatedly drop its wireless connection.

A growing discussion thread on the Apple Support Communities website details the connectivity problems being experienced by numerous users. The problems appear to apply to both the 11- and 13-inch varieties of the recently updated notebook lineup.

In addition, an anonymous source from an Apple retail store in London said that their store has had complaints about wireless connectivity for the new MacBook Airs that are “well above average.”

In the thread, users say they’re experiencing the problems across a range of routers, including Apple’s own AirPort accessories. Users say they can initially connect to a Wi-Fi network, but that connection will drop after a short period of use.

At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be an available solution that addresses the problems seen by all users, though some have had success with various routers or even different placement of the MacBook Air.

The updated MacBook Air lineup launched last week at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. In addition to faster 802.11ac connectivity, the notebooks also feature Intel’s latest Haswell processors, helping to enable battery life as great as 12 hours.

The new MacBook Airs are also priced US$100 less than their predecessors, with the new low-end US$999 11-inch model packing 128 gigabytes of flash storage.

If you’ve picked up the new MacBook Air and noticed any issues with Wi-Fi connectivity, please let us know in the comments.

Best Buy recalls select third party MacBook Pro batteries after reports of fires

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 07:37
Category: battery, Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

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The MacBook Pro battery fire issue has reared its ugly head yet again…

Per Macworld, Best Buy has recalled about 5100 replacement batteries for Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops, after 13 reports that the battery caught fire, a U.S. consumer safety agency said.

The ATG lithium-ion batteries can catch fire while charging, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement Wednesday.

The recall covers both black and white ATG lithium-ion replacement batteries for MacBook Pro laptops. “Model number ‘MC-MBOOK13B’ is on the label of the black battery and model number ‘MC-BOOK13W’ is on the label of the white battery,” CPSC said. The ATG logo is on both batteries.

Best Buy has received 13 reports that the battery caught fire, including one of a serious burn to a consumer’s leg, according to CPSC.

Consumers have been advised to immediately stop using the recalled battery, remove it from the computer and contact Best Buy for a replacement Apple brand battery or a US$50 Best Buy gift card as a full refund. Best Buy is contacting its customers directly, it said.

Best Buy and Apple could not be immediately reached for comment. The batteries were manufactured in China and imported by a company in Las Vegas, called BTI.

The batteries were sold through Bestbuy.com and Partstore.com, a Best Buy brand, or shipped to customers through the Geek Squad Protection fulfillment at Best Buy from September 2008 through June 2012. A Best Buy spokesman said that it may be one of other companies also selling the batteries, according to reports.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Pegatron CEO: “Low-cost” iPhone may not be as cheap as expected

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:02
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, retail

The long-rumored low cost iPhone may not be as affordable as you’d like it to be.

Per the China Times and Mac Otakara, speaking at his company’s shareholders meeting on Thursday, Pegatron CEO T.H. Tung said Apple’s much rumored low cost iPhone won’t be a budget offering, seemingly confirming speculation that the handset will be sold as a higher-end middle tier device.

Tung disagreed with rumors that called Apple’s lower-end offering “cheap,” saying the “price is still high.”

The executive said products currently on the market can carry a number of names, but “cheap” is not one that should be associated with Apple’s less expensive iPhone. He went on to say that, compared to feature phones, smartphones are increasingly offering more value for the price.

The statements appear to confirm previous reports that Pegatron is handling at least a portion of the as-yet-unannounced iPhone’s manufacture. A report in May claimed Pegatron is reportedly preparing to hire some 40,000 workers sometime in the second half of 2013, adding fuel to the low-cost iPhone fire.

Analysts and media sources are divided as to which of Apple partners will be responsible for the majority of production, with some claiming Foxconn is to pull most of the burden.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in March said the two companies will nearly split manufacturing duties for the low-cost version, while Pegatron would take on a bigger share of continued iPhone 4 and 4S production.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV update offers HBO Go, ESPN, Sky News, other changes

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:18
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

The new Apple TV update is in.

And it offers some nifty stuff.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple expanded its content lineup for Apple TV on Wednesday when it announced that HBO GO and WatchESPN are both available directly through the home entertainment device. Along with HBO and ESPN, Apple also added Sky News, Crunchyroll and Qello to the Apple TV lineup.

Adding the new stations to Apple TV requires a software update that will install automatically as part of the weekly update check cycle, or you can force the update to install now by navigating to Settings > General > Update Software on your Apple TV.

Earlier this year CW announced that it will be bringing its shows to Apple TV as well. At the time, CEO Mark Pedowitz said viewers won’t need a paid subscription to watch the network’s shows, although he didn’t say exactly when they’ll be available.

HBO GO and WatchESPN require cable TV subscriptions just like other premium channels, so be sure to check with your cable provider and set up a login and password as needed.

If you’ve tried the new update and have any feedback, let us know what you think over in the comments.

Apple releases first OS X 10.8.5 build to developer community

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:03
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.8.5 development is underway.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday seeded the first OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion beta build to developers, with the latest maintenance update possibly looking to stabilize the operating system ahead of an OS X 10.9 Mavericks launch this fall.

Sources familiar with the beta, dubbed build 12F9, said Apple is asking developers to focus on existing Mountain Lion features, including Wi-Fi and graphics.

The latest beta comes two weeks after Apple issued the OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4 maintenance update to Mac users, which brought Wi-Fi improvements, compatibility with Microsoft Exchange and a host of bug fixes.

Apple is expected to release the next-generation OS X 10.9 Mavericks this fall, and a preview has already been seeded to the development community.

If you’ve gotten your hands on this build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Java 2013-004 update for Mac OS X 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

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Date: Wednesday, June 19th, 2013, 05:00
Category: News, security, Software

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A well-timed security update never hurts.

On Wednesday, Apple released its Java 2013-004 update for its Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 operating systems. The update, a 64 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
– Java for OS X 2013-004 supersedes all previous versions of Java for OS X.

– This release updates the Apple-provided system Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_51 and is for OS X versions 10.7 or later.

– This update uninstalls the Apple-provided Java applet plug-in from all web browsers. To use applets on a web page, click on the region labeled “Missing plug-in” to go download the latest version of the Java applet plug-in from Oracle.

– This update also removes the Java Preferences application, which is no longer required to configure applet settings.

The Java 2013-004 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 to install and run. If you’ve installed this new update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.