Princeton University analyzes iPad Wi-Fi bug, offers workaround

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Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010, 10:13
Category: How-To, iPad

Following up on the notorious wireless glitch in the iPad wherein an Internet Protocol (IP) address of the iPad fails to correctly refresh, or “lease”, its address, the Office of Information Technology at Princeton University looked into the issue.

On Tuesday, Princeton issued a report stating that the iPad will incorrectly continue using an IP address without renewing the lease, usually for hours. The issue is resolved when the iPad asks for a new DHCP lease, or the iPad disconnects from the network.

The information suggests it is a software issue within iPhone OS 3.2, and is likely something that Apple could repair through an update to its mobile operating system.

The problem was found to be common on Princeton’s campus, with 25 out of 41 of all iPads demonstrating the malfunction as of April 18th. If that ratio bears out on a larger scale, there are likely a huge number of iPad owners experiencing similar issues, as Apple sold more than 500,000 devices in its first week.

The report noted that some devices have demonstrated the malfunction several times, and eight devices were outright blocked from the university’s network.

“When a DHCP client malfunctions this way repeatedly, Princeton blocks the device from using those campus network services which rely on the device’s DHCP client respecting lease times,” the IT office said. “These include our wireless services. We do this to protect other customers of those services from the disruptions caused by the malfunctioning devices.”

The university has published a temporary workaround for the issue, but has stated that it is working with Apple and providing them with technical data in hopes of solving the problem. That data was sent to Apple on April 7th.

The Information Technology office also noted that it has been incorrectly attributed with diagnosing the cause of Wi-Fi signal issues or connectivity issues that have been widely reported by iPad users. The university noted that information is inaccurate, as its documentation relates only to a DHCP client issue, not Wi-Fi signal or connectivity issues.

Princeton has been able to replicate the problem regularly by allowing the iPad to lock its screen before the DHCP lease renewal time, and allowing it to remain locked, with the screen off, until the DHCP lease has expired.

The current workaround has users reconfigure the iPad’s settings so that the screen never locks. This can be accomplished by going to Settings, General, Auto-Lock and choosing “Never.” Users must also turn off Wi-Fi before they manually lock the screen, turn the iPad completely off (rather than just locking it), or simply leave the iPad on without locking the screen.

Soon after the iPad was introduced earlier this month, users began to report connectivity issues with the device. One of the most common problems experienced relates to rejoining a Wi-Fi network after the iPad has been restored from sleep. Apple responded by issuing a support document.

iPad 3G to arrive in stores on April 30th

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Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010, 08:29
Category: News

In the midst of the delays surrounding certain pre-ordered iPad 3G units, Apple announced on Tuesday that the 3G-enabled iPad would arrive for those who have pre-ordered it on Friday April 30th, the same day that it will make its appearance in stores.

According to Macworld, the rush will begin at 5 p.m. at Apple Stores, most Best Buy locations, some Apple Authorized Resellers, and campus bookstores. As with the Wi-Fi models, customers will be able to set up their iPad in the store for free with the help of an Apple employee.

The 3G model comes in at 1.6 pounds to the Wi-Fi iPad’s 1.5. That and a small black plastic antenna window along the top of the unit make up the only real hardware differences between the two. As mentioned before, the 3G model arrives at a US$130 premium and will be available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities retailing for US$629, US$729, and US$829 respectively.

While some have wondered about the impact the 3G capability will have on the iPad’s otherwise stellar battery life, Apple is promising nine hours of battery life while browsing the Web on 3G.

Users will be able to subscribe to and manage 3G service from the device itself, with AT&T offering a US$15 per month plan with a 250MB data cap and a US$30 per month plan offering unlimited usage. Unlike the iPhone, users can subscribe to and cancel 3G service whenever you like.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple demands iPhone 4G prototype be returned from Gizmodo

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Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010, 05:37
Category: iPhone, News

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Following up on Apple’s discovered iPhone 4G prototype: Apple wants it back.

Per Macworld UK, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam has posted an official letter he received from Apple requesting that the device be returned immediately.

Gizmodo believes that such official communication proves the device is real. However, it should be noted that this does not necessarily mean that the device is the next iPhone and could simply be a prototype.

The device was reportedly found by an anonymous bar-goer at Gourmet Haus Staudt, a German beer garden in Redwood City, near San Francisco. The phone was discovered on a barstool at midnight on Thursday, March 19th.

The person who found the phone asked around the bar to see if anyone had lost an iPhone 3GS (the phone had a case on it that made it look like a 3GS), but nobody claimed it. The person then unlocked the phone and found the Facebook page of Apple software engineer, Gray Powell, still signed in. The person decided to try to return it in the morning.

Gizmodo says that the person woke up to find the phone dead thanks to Apple’s MobileMe service, which allows users to wipe their stolen iPhones of all data, remotely. The person then noticed the phone looked different from other iPhones (for instance, the unit’s front-facing camera) and managed to remove the “disguise” case. Upon discovering that this iPhone was not like any other iPhone out there, this person promptly forgot their promise to find Gray Powell and return the phone, and started selling to the highest bidder.

Nick Denton, the head of Gawker Media and publisher of Gizmodo, tweeted earlier Monday, “Yes, we’re proud practitioners of checkbook journalism. Anything for the story!” and “Does Gizmodo pay for exclusives? Too right!”

Per AOL’s Daily Finance, web site Engadget was offered the chance to bid after the site published the first photos of the prototype, but declined. Engadget editor in chief Joshua Topolsky says he doesn’t believe in checkbook journalism as “it encourages awful behavior in tipsters.”

Rumor: Fourth-Gen iPhone likely to use primarily Apple-created processor

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Date: Monday, April 19th, 2010, 12:45
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

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The rumored fourth-generation iPhone (now being tagged the “iPhone HD”) will apparently use Apple’s own custom processor according to the Korea Times, which has quotes anonymous executives close to the story.

Where the iPhone 3GS and earlier models were using primarily Samsung-designed chips with an Apple influence, the next iPhone will supposedly use a primarily Apple-created chip. Features weren’t discussed with the contact, but a variant of the iPad’s A4 processor is the most probable candidate.

A move of the sort was already expected but may be important for Apple, which may be pushing for an HD focus with its new smartphone. The A4 is already capable of 720p video playback and could see that feature, as well as better battery life become present in the iPhone version. It’s uncertain if Apple will have to underclock the A4 or otherwise make significant changes to accommodate the tighter spaces and power requirements of a handset.

The A4 is known to be a modified, system-on-a-chip design based on ARM’s Cortex-A8, much like the processor found in the iPhone 3GS but with a newer PowerVR SGX535 graphics core, a higher clock speed and other optimizations.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple pushes iPad 3G pre-order ship date back to May 7th, ships camera kit

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Date: Monday, April 19th, 2010, 06:32
Category: iPad, News

Right, this is NOT going to make you happy.

Over the weekend, Apple began e-mailing customers to tell them that their iPad 3G orders had been pushed back to May 7th to reassure them that their hardware will ship on schedule in late April. In addition, the company has also begun shipping the iPad camera connection kit to some who ordered.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s online store has been updated to reflect that new orders of the iPad with both 3G and Wi-Fi will not ship until May 7th. But while those ordering new iPads with 3G connectivity will not get their device until a few weeks later, original preorders are still on track for a late April release. To confirm this, Apple began sending the following e-mails to customers who already ordered:

“To Our Valued Apple Customer:

Thank you for your recent order of the magical and revolutionary iPad 3G.

We would like to confirm that your order will be shipped in late April as communicated at the time you placed your order. You will receive a confirmation notice when your order has shipped.

You can get up-to-date information about your order, including shipping status and tracking number, at http://www.apple.com/orderstatus

Thank you for choosing Apple.

Sincerely,
The Apple Store Team”

The 3G-enabled iPad models carry a US$130 premium and offer wireless connectivity with the AT&T 3G network in the U.S. No-contract data plans are available for US$15 per month for 250MB of data, and US$30 a month for unlimited access.

Though U.S. orders remain on track to ship on time, last week Apple announced that international customers will have to wait, as a shortage of devices caused the launch to be delayed until the end of May. Apple shipped more than a half-million Wi-Fi only iPads in its first week of availability in the U.S. alone.

In the U.S., online orders of the Wi-Fi-only iPad ship in five to seven business days. All orders remain limited to just two per customer.

Finally, some who preordered the camera connection kit for the iPad have been notified that their order has finally shipped. Apple first gave the connection kit a shipping date of late April on its Web site at the end of March.

Fourth-Generation iPhone prototype discovered, analyzed

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Date: Monday, April 19th, 2010, 05:19
Category: iPhone, photos, Rumor

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A series of new photos of an alleged fourth-generation iPhone prototype surfaced over the weekend, the device sporting dual cameras with flash, a high-resolution screen, and a slot for a MicroSIM card.

Per Engadget, the device was allegedly found laying on the floor of a San Jose bar and sports a front-facing camera, 80GB of storage, and aluminum sides. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber spoke with sources who reaffirmed to him that the device is legitimate, and “Apple is very interested in getting it back.”

“I am not certain this is the actual production unit Apple intends to ship to consumers,” he wrote. “I think it’s a testbed frame — thicker, with visible (un-Apple-like) seams, meant to fit into 3GS cases so as to disguise units out in the wild. It’s hard to tell from the photos. But I think it is the real deal in terms of the internals and the display being next-gen hardware, and the new glass back.”

He also went on to mention a patent regarding radio-transparent zirconia CE casings. Such casings could allow wireless signals to pass through an enclosure uninhibited and could improve reception on future iPhone models. Gruber theorized that the glass-looking back seen on the iPhone prototype could be a “high-durability” ceramic enclosure, similar to what was mentioned in the patent, as having glass on both sides of the new iPhone would make it very fragile if dropped.

The alleged prototype iPhone, reportedly dubbed “iPhone HD,” sports a double-resolution 960 x 640 pixel display. Previous reports suggested the new handset would, like the iPad, sport a custom-built processor from Apple.

The back of the device has Xs in place of certain numbers, such as the amount of storage and Federal Communications Commission ID number. It was also said to be previously running with a “decidedly new” operating system, though it is no longer booting. The device also has a “button” on its side, which sources told Engadget is for holding a MicroSIM card for connectivity with a GSM network, suggesting it is not the CDMA compatible model Apple is purportedly working on.

When Apple introduced the developer preview of its forthcoming iPhone OS 4 mobile operating system, users found references to iChat and frameworks containing the strings “front facing” and “back facing,” providing even more potential evidence of a new model with video chat. Apple was also said to be looking to secure large quantities of LED camera flash components for a forthcoming iPhone, and data discovered in the iPhone OS 4 beta suggests that the next-gen device will indeed include a camera flash.

Apple is expected to introduce the fourth-generation iPhone at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Last week the head of a Canadian wireless carrier said Apple will ship the device that same month, while AT&T employees have been restricted from taking vacations in the same month.

iFixit tears into 15″ mid-2010 MacBook Pro

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Date: Friday, April 16th, 2010, 03:04
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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Once again, the cool cats at iFixit have torn into an Apple device, this time shredding the new 15″ mid-2010 MacBook Pro notebook. Per Engadget, the teardown didn’t reveal anything too stunning and aside from the obvious processor upgrade, not much has changed since 2009 model except the odd antenna mounted on the optical drive frame and tri-wing screws in place of the Torx 5, but it appears that the AirPort/Bluetooth assembly now resembles that of the 13″ unibody MacBook.

Among the more interesting finds was the Intel BD82HM55 S LGZS Platform Controller Hub, which seems to function as an intermediary chip between the Intel and NVIDIA graphics cards.

Beyond this, it seems to be business as usual with the new notebook.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on a new mid-2010 MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know.

Apple posts position for iPad camera expert

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Date: Friday, April 16th, 2010, 03:28
Category: iPad, News

If you’re hankering for your iPad to have a built-in camera, you may not have too long to wait. Per Cult of Mac, Apple is apparently searching for a performance quality assurance engineer to work on still and video capture in the iPad Media department.

The job, posted back on February 9th is for a “Performance QA Engineer, iPad Media,” to work within Apple’s Interactive Media Group. The software quality engineer must have a strong technical background in order to test still, video and audio capture and playback frameworks.

“Build on your QA experience and knowledge of digital camera technology (still and video) to develop and maintain testing frameworks for both capture and playback pipelines,” the job description reads. “You will work together with the development team to ensure quality. Your focus will mainly be on performance testing and developing performance measurement test tools.”

The full-time position is based in Cupertino, Calif., at Apple’s corporate headquarters. It requires candidates have a bachelor of science in computer science or equivalent experience, with three or more years experience in software quality assurance.

The job listing is yet another piece of evidence that Apple has plans for a camera in future iPads. A potential spot for a forward-facing camera was found in a replacement part for the iPad soon after the device was unveiled. But later, a teardown of the iPad post-release found that spot was actually used for the device’s ambient light sensor.

The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK has also been found to include mentions of video chat, suggesting that Apple explored the possibility of a forward-facing camera in its multi-touch device.

Introduced last week, the beta of iPhone OS 4.0 also features references to iChat, including framework strings referencing “front facing” and “back facing.” Evidence of iChat sounds has also been found in the pre-release software. While it will hit the iPhone this summer, iPhone OS 4.0 is scheduled to be available for the iPad this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you make of this from your end.

Mid-2010 MacBook Pros selling well, 13″ model becoming harder to find

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Date: Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 05:41
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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The new MacBook Pro notebooks are out.

And if you can find a 13″ one, you’re in luck.

Per AppleInsider, demand for Apple’s newly upgraded line of MacBook Pro notebooks was strong on the first day, with scattered reports of the low-end 13″ model selling out in some retail locations.

Analyst Maynard Um with UBS Investment research said checks with various Apple stores indicated that the Mac maker is sold out of the new 13″ MacBook Pro model, introduced Tuesday. The Core 2 Duo-equipped machine has the Nvidia GeForce 320M, a graphics processor created especially for Apple’s new low-end MacBook Pro machine.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 250GB hard drive priced at US$1,199; and one with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 320GB hard drive priced at US$1,499. It has graphics 80 percent faster than its predecessor, and offers an Apple-estimated 10 hours of battery life.

Customers ordering the new 13″ MacBook Pro from Apple’s online store have also reported that shipping times have lagged to between one and three business days, instead of a standard 24 hours according to MacNN. The 24-hour cap still applies to Apple’s more powerful and expensive 15- and 17-inch systems.

Um said he has also found that some stores are out of stock of iPads, supporting the announcement made earlier Wednesday by Apple, that a hardware shortage would delay the device’s international launch until late May. The analyst said this news means it is likely his estimate of 1.2 million iPads sold in the June quarter will likely prove conservative, depending on manufacturing constraints.

Apple releases firmware updates for 27″ iMacs

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Date: Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 04:12
Category: iMac, News, Software

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Apple’s in one of its update-o-rama sprees again and late Wednesday, the company released firmware updates for its popular 27″ iMac line.

The first update, the 27″ iMac SMC Firmware Update 1.0, a 397 kilobyte download, fixes Target Display Mode compatibility issues on 27″ iMac computers.

The second update, the 27″ EFI FW Update 1.0, a 2.0 megabyte download, addresses the newer Intel Core i5 and i7 iMacs and fixes the following issues:

- Resolves an issue that sometimes caused high processor utilization while playing audio through the headphone output mini-jack.

- Resolves an issue that prevented the display backlight from turning on after powering on the iMac.

Both updates can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the updates and noticed any differences, please let us know.