Samsung reportedly ends flow of MacBook, iPad battery supplies

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Date: Monday, November 26th, 2012, 09:24
Category: Hardware, iPad, MacBook Pro, News

The feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys continues.

Per the cool cats at The Mac Observer and China Business News, Apple has apparently turned to Amperex Technology Limited and Tianjin Lishen Battery for its laptop and iPad battery needs after Samsung reportedly stopped supplying the components. If true, it underscores the ongoing tension between the two companies over patent infringement claims.

This latest claim follows reports that Samsung stopped selling display parts and raised the cost for manufacturing Apple’s custom chips — both of which Samsung has denied. Apple has, however, moved away from working with Samsung on future custom processor designs and instead is using the electronics giant just as a manufacturing partner.

“Samsung’s agreement with Apple is limited to manufacturing the A6 processors,” a senior Samsung executive said in October. “Apple did all the design and we are just producing the chips on a foundry basis.”

Apple and Samsung have been fighting in courts around the world over claims they are using each other’s mobile device patents without proper licensing. Apple managed to win a major victory in August when a U.S. Federal Court ruled Samsung was infringing on a long list of patents and awarded the Cupertino-based company over US$1 billion in damages.

Apple has also reportedly been grooming Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to take over its processor manufacturing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

eBay begins Cyber Monday sale, offers $989 deal for mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Pro, other offers

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Date: Monday, November 26th, 2012, 09:38
Category: iPad, MacBook Pro, News, retail

Hey, a deal’s a deal.

Per AppleInsider, eBay, which is currently undergoing a rebranding itself to be in more direct competition with Amazon via a push towards more direct sales, is hosting a Cyber Monday sale offering 5% off iPads with Retina display and 18% off the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro (US$989), as well as significant discounts on other consumer electronics like cameras, game systems and more.

The US$989 price (US$210 savings) on the 2.5GHz 13″ MacBook Pro (MD101LL/A) is the lowest price that’s currently been published, and presents an exceptional value proposition for consumers in the market for a sub-US$1000 Apple notebook that still retains a CD/DVD optical drive.

Other notable deals include 5% off 16GB iPads with Retina display (US$474.99, 56% off, 42% off a new Canon T3i Digital SLR Camera with 2 Canon IS lenses 747.25 (US$551.75 savings), and 74% off a 32GB SanDisk SDHC TM Memory Card for US$17.99 (US$52 savings).

Meanwhile, retailers including Amazon, MacMall, B&H Photo, MacConnection and Best Buy have launched their own Cyber Monday sales with pricing on Macs and iPads similar to pricing seen on Black Friday. Additionally, MacMall continues to advocate inventory of the vast majority of Apple’s iPad mini product line (see chart), while Wal-Mart recently received all flavors of the AT&T iPad mini which its shipping out today.

For users looking for a new Mac with 3-years of AppleCare extended protection, B&H Photo’s Buy Together & Save (bundle prices, instructions) offer savings of up to US$450 with its Cyber Monday pricing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Some users complain of issues after MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0, Apple pulls software from web site

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Date: Friday, November 23rd, 2012, 08:17
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Sometimes it pays to wait a few days before installing a fairly hefty firmware update…

Per the Apple Core, a number of users have reported issues with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0, which was recently offered for 2012 models. Worse, late last week, Apple pulled the support page about the update as well as the download link, indicating a recall on the software.

Some users report issues with video memory as well as with Keychain operation, while on the VMware Fusion Blog, a post warned that the update may cause virtual machines to stop working when a 3D application is run.

Users who have already applied this update and are affected by this issue can work-around it by disabling the “Accelerate 3D Graphics” option under Virtual Machine > Settings > Display.

In other news, Apple this week released a new update for Mountain Lion, OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 Supplemental Update 2.0, which may address some of the Keychain issues separately.

This update is recommended for all Mac systems introduced in 2012 and, fortunately, the issue appears to be a problem with Mountain Lion and not the hardware on the notebooks themselves.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen issues with your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro and the firmware update, please let us know in the comments.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard install DVDs surface in Apple online store, available for $19.99

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Date: Friday, November 23rd, 2012, 08:45
Category: News, retail, Software

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In as much as it’s useful to keep operating systems on thumb drives and recovery partitions, there are times where you miss having an emergency DVD on hand.

That being said, this should be useful.

Discovered by French web site MacGeneration and the mighty Mac Observer, Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard has returned to Apple’s Online Store as a physical disc purchase after being removed upon the launch of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in July.

Snow Leopard, released in August of 2009, was the first Apple operating system to run exclusively on Intel processors. It was also the last version of OS X to include Rosetta, Apple’s translation software that allowed applications written for PowerPC-based Macs to run seamlessly on Intel-powered machines.

Most importantly for owners of older Macs, Snow Leopard represented a crucial transition point for Apple. The Mac App Store, which launched in early January 2011 exclusively on Snow Leopard 10.6.6, inaugurated a new era of digital software distribution. Starting with the launch of OS X 10.7 Lion in July 2011 and continuing with Mountain Lion in July 2012, the primary method for Mac owners to receive new versions of OS X became the Mac App Store (there were indeed other methods of acquiring a new version of OS X, such as the short-lived official USB installer or by making your own, but these were limited options for relatively advanced users).

For users who had already upgraded their eligible Macs to Snow Leopard, the upgrade to Lion or Mountain Lion was simple: purchase and download it from the Mac App Store. But if users were still on OS X 10.5 Leopard or 10.4 Tiger, they would first have to install Snow Leopard to gain access to the Mac App Store, and then purchase and download Lion or Mountain Lion.

As a result, Apple kept OS X Snow Leopard for sale in its online store until the launch of Mountain Lion when, for reasons unknown, the company removed it. Now, thankfully, the Snow Leopard installation DVD is back for US$19.99, and is currently in stock with free shipping.

While it is true that most Mac owners who are eligible to upgrade to Lion or Mountain Lion have already done so (or have at least upgraded to Snow Leopard), for the remaining holdouts who want to try a newer version of OS X, or for current users who want a copy of Snow Leopard in case they ever need to run a PowerPC app via Rosetta, now is the time to snag it while it’s still available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 Supplemental Update 2.0

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Date: Wednesday, November 21st, 2012, 09:22
Category: News, Software

Sometimes a random system update is what’s needed.

On Wednesday, Apple released OS X 10.8.2 Supplemental Update 2.0, an intermediary update which addresses an issue with Keychain that can affect 2012 Mac systems.

The update, a 1.3 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
– This update addresses an issue with Keychain that can affect 2012 Mac systems.

– This update is recommended for all Macs introduced in 2012.

The OS X 10.8.2 Supplemental Update 2.0 requires an Intel-based Mac from 2012 running OS X 10.8.2 or later to install and run and can also be located, downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Apple posts Black Friday teaser

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Date: Tuesday, November 20th, 2012, 08:59
Category: News, retail

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Following the gluttony, there’s the shopping.

And the savings.

Per Mac|Life, Apple has started teasing its one-day shopping event this Friday, November 23, which is better known as “Black Friday,” a post-Thanksgiving tradition coined by retailers who hope to get their balance sheet into profit for the year at the beginning of the holiday season.

“Get ready to give,” the Apple teaser webpage reads. “Start shopping online after midnight PST or visit your favorite Apple Retail Store during our extended hours. We’ll help you make the most of the day, no matter how you shop.”

Unlike other retailers, Apple won’t be opening its doors at midnight, but they will be offering extended hours at brick-and-mortar locations across the country. Apple discounts are historically quite stingy on Black Friday, but hey, even 10 percent off that gadget you’ve had your eye on might be worth it.

As always, if you see any killer deals on Apple stuff this Black Friday, please let us know via e-mail or the comments and we’ll do what we can to post it.

Nokia releases “Here” map application to iOS App Store, offers alternative to Apple’s iOS 6 Maps program

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Date: Tuesday, November 20th, 2012, 08:40
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

If you’re looking for an alternative to Apple’s iOS 6 Maps, Nokia just delivered.

Per The Next Web, Nokia on Tuesday made good on a promise to bring its new “Here” mapping service to iOS as it launched a free app complete with offline caching and voice-guided walking directions.

The “Here” app comes exactly one week after Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced that the app would be available for iPhones, iPads and iPods sometime in the coming weeks.

According to Nokia, the HTML5-based mapping solution includes offline capabilities and, unlike Apple’s own Maps app, voice-guided walking navigation and public transportation directions.

“Maps are hard to get right – but location is revolutionizing how we use technology to engage with the real world,” said Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Location & Commerce Michael Halbherr, who is responsible for Here. “That’s why we have been investing and will continue to invest in building the world’s most powerful location offering, one that is unlike anything in the market today.”

The Finnish company also noted that future updates will come with 3D capabilities akin to Apple and Google’s solutions, which will come from technology acquired by earthmine. Nokia is rolling out the mapping service on its Microsoft Windows Phone handsets as well as versions for Google’s Android and Mozilla’s Firefox OS.

Nokia’s app is one of the first major no-cost mapping submissions to rival Apple’s Maps app, which caused a flap with consumers and the media when it was released as part of iOS 6 in September. With Maps, Apple chose to move away from its longstanding partnership with Google Maps to a proprietary solution built completely in house. Upon launch, however, the program was fraught with problems like rendering issues and incorrect location data.

The internet search giant is said to be planning its own standalone iOS app that may see release soon as rumors claim the company is distributing near final versions of the software to outside testers. One of the major gripes with Apple’s solution is the lack of Google’s Street View option, however that feature was brought back to mobile Safari with the Google Maps web app in October with limited functionality.

Nokia’s Here is available now for iOS as a free download from the App Store.

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

Apple to seed OS X 10.8.3 beta to developers for week of November 26th

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Date: Tuesday, November 20th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

Look, let’s face facts: it’s Thanksgiving week, which leads into a four day weekend that’s only preceded by gluttony.

In short, this week’s kind of a lost cause and you’re more likely to get stuff done NEXT week.

Per AppleInsider, in a note to developers on Friday, Apple revealed that it will be seeding one of the first beta builds of OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion sometime after Nov. 26.

Sources close to the story stated that the email was sent out to members of AppleSeed, the group of developers selected to test Apple’s next Mac update, and said the invites the company sent out last month were “too early.”

From the email:
“Thanks for accepting our invitation to test OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3. The invites were sent out a little too early! We are working hard to provide you with a seed build soon, but we wanted to let you know that you have not missed any seed announcements. Please enjoy the USA Thanksgiving holiday! The Seed Team will be enjoying a break as well. Look for more information about the 10.8.3 seed during the week of November 26th.”

AppleSeed participants began receiving invites on Oct. 31, signaling that a beta for the next version of Mountain Lion was nearing completion. In the past, AppleSeed members have receive builds of new Mac versions alongside registered OS X developers.

The most recent Mountain Lion update came in September when OS X 10.8.2 was released, bringing system-wide Facebook integration and other features.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

eBay launches Apple certified refurbished products storefront

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Date: Monday, November 19th, 2012, 08:48
Category: News, retail

This could come in handy.

Per AppleInsider, eBay earlier this month introduced a new section to its website dedicated to Apple certified refurbished products, including numerous iPads, MacBooks and iPod touches.

The company’s new Apple Certified Refurbished Product store currently lists a variety of MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iPad and iPod touch products. The online retailer and auction house says each product has passed through the same quality inspection as those refurbished products available on Apple’s own online store, and each comes with the same full one-year warranty. Additionally, all iPads and iPods include a brand new battery.

For example, an Apple-certified, third-generation, Wi-Fi-only iPad with 32 gigabytes of storage can be had for US$469. And a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.4-gigahertz processor, 4 gigabytes of RAM and a 750-gigabyte hard drive is US$1,699.

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

Users report second iMessage, FaceTime outage in one week

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Date: Monday, November 19th, 2012, 07:04
Category: News, Software

Sometimes a network runs perfectly, other times it flops over and takes a prolonged nap a la Seabiscuit…

Per AppleInsider, users reported that iMessage and FaceTime experienced outages across the U.S., the second time in a week that services attached to Apple’s iCloud saw issues.

A number of users reported on Sunday that they could not send or receive iMessages from their iPhones and iPads, a problem that is becoming more common since the company’s newest iOS 6 was released in September.

According to Apple’s iCloud system status webpage, “some” users unable to use iMessage or place FaceTime calls, with the error coming less than two days after an issue appeared with iCloud storage upgrade payment transactions. Apple said service will return to normal “ASAP.”

Sunday’s downtime marks the fourth such outage in the past three months, with one incident in September and two in October affecting users of iMessage on both iOS and OS X clients. At the time, messages sent through Apple’s proprietary service were pushed through as SMS texts.

While iMessage and FaceTime appear to be the most prone to errors, iCloud’s email service has also seen problems, the latest being a September outage that affected 1.1 percent of all users.

Introduced alongside iOS 5, iMessage is Apple’s smartphone-integrated answer to online messaging services like AOL Instant Messenger and Google Chat. The service is data based, allowing iOS device users to communicate with each other and Macs running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, without racking up text fees.

The services were apparently restored as of 4:41 AM PST on Monday.

If you noticed the outage on your end, please let us know in the comments.