Some users complaining about Wi-Fi signal strength on third-generation iPad units

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 07:54
Category: iPad, News

A firmware update or two may be in order for the iPad 3.

Per the Apple Support Communities forum, a number of users have reported that wireless reception with their new iPad is notably inferior than with Apple’s previous iPad models.

In a growing thread, dozens of users have posted about their troubles with Wi-Fi connectivity on the new iPad. Reports claim that areas that previously achieved strong Wi-Fi signals are now weak, or have no reception at all.

Some users have also compared the reception of their new iPad to their iPhone or MacBook Pro. While the other Apple devices might receive a strong signal in a particular location, they say the new iPad has weak or no connectivity.

“MacBook Pro as well as iPhone 4S show ‘Full Fan’ — new iPad (16GB WIFI) shows ‘one dot’ or just flat drops the wifi connection (and is often unable to search and find it),” user ‘aka_srp’ wrote in a post over the weekend.

Another user, ‘gdtobm,’ said they bought a new iPad from Best Buy on last Friday’s launch and experienced Wi-Fi connectivity issues. The iPad was returned later that day, and the new model they received did not have any problems.

Still another person who posted to Apple’s forums, ‘Andrew Mclaughlin2,’ compared the performance of the new iPad to a first-generation iPad and an iPhone 4S. The tests conducted at Speedtest.net reportedly found that the third-generation iPad has half the throughput of the other devices.

Some of those posting in Apple’s forums have attempted to resolve their issues with AppleCare representatives, while others have talked to personnel at the company’s retail stores. One user, ‘HealthClif,’ said they switched back to a previous-generation iPad 2 after experiencing Wi-Fi connectivity issues with multiple replacements of the new iPad.

Complaints of Wi-Fi-related issues also cropped up with the launch of the first iPad in 2010. Two years ago, some users said they experienced weak Wi-Fi reception, dropped signals, and difficulty connecting to a network.

Apple eventually resolved those issues with an iPad software update. The company acknowledged that a “very small number of iPad users” had experienced issues with Wi-Fi connectivity on the first-generation iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Additional third-generation iPad thermal testing continues with some reports indicating temperatures as high as 97 degrees Fahrenheit

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 07:48
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

There’s a plus side to the iPad 3: you’ll always be able to reheat your favorite foods with it.

Per AppleInsider, a new analysis has found the A5X chip in the new device runs as much as 16 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the A5 chip in the iPad 2.

According to a series of tests conducted by Repair Labs, the A5X chip registered temperatures up to 36 degrees celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to A5 readings of 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F). The experiment involved opening up the tablets in order to directly measure the temperatures of the chips.

Technicians measured multiple components inside the new iPad in order to verify that the A5X was the part putting out the most heat. The report speculated that a difference in materials between the A5 and the A5X may be a contributing factor, as the A5 is believed to be ceramic, while the A5X is “obviously metallic.”

An external test involved having the two iPads to play movies on Netflix. The third-generation iPad started at 27 degrees C (80.6 degrees F) and warmed up to 32-33 degrees C (89.6-91.4 degrees F), while the iPad 2 started at 24 degrees C (75.2 degrees F) and only climbed to 25-26 degrees C (77-78.8 degrees F).

Repair Labs said it was was unable to reproduce the 116 degree F temperatures that Consumer Reports noted earlier on Tuesday, though it did note that holding the new iPad 3 “could be noticeably warmer after only a few minutes use,” especially if held where the A5X is located.

Writing for Consumer Reports, Donna L. Tapellini said that the new iPad felt “very warm” when at its hottest, but not “especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period.” The story was quickly picked up by other outlets, some of which dubiously claimed that Apple’s new tablet could cause burns.

Consumer Reports is no stranger to controversy with Apple’s devices. The consumer advocacy group retracted its recommendation of the iPhone 4 in 2010 because it was able to reproduce a signal-loss problem in the device. With the release of the iPhone 4S last year, the group announced that Apple had resolved the issue.”

Separate tests conducted by Tested found a maximum temperature of 82 degrees F on the third-generation iPad when playing “Infinity Blade II,” the same app used by Consumer Reports in its tests.

Display expert Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate attributes the new iPad’s extra warmth to the fact that the device has approximately twice as many LEDs as its predecessor. “The LEDs give off 2.5 times as much heat as the iPad 2 and so will the battery and power electronics on the new iPad compared to the iPad 2,” he said.

An infrared test conducted earlier this week by a Dutch site found the new iPad to have reached 92.5 degrees F during a GLBenchmark test, almost 10 degrees hotter than the 83 degrees F measured on the iPad 2 during the same test.

For its part, Apple issued a statement on Tuesday that the new iPad operates “well within [its] thermal specifications” and urged customers with concerns to contact its support service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Software Installer Update 1.0 for Mac OS X 10.6.8 operating system

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Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 06:11
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Apple released its Software Installer Update patch. The upgrade, a 1.3 megabyte download, addresses an issue that may prevent certain Apple software from installing under the Mac OS X 10.6.8 operating system.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.6.8 to install and run.

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

Early thermal testing shows iPad 3 running 10 degrees hotter than previous generations

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Date: Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, 07:19
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

You may love your new iPad 3, but it’s been commented as a toasty beast.

Per Engadget, thermal imaging of a side-by-side comparison of the third-generation iPad and the iPad 2 found Apple’s latest tablet running 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) hotter than its predecessor.

Dutch site Tweakers.net performed the GLBenchmark test on the two generations of iPads for five minutes to measure a heat difference. Using an infrared camera, the publication discovered that the hottest part of the new iPad was 33.6 degrees Celsius (92.5 Fahrenheit), while the iPad 2 measured 28.3 degrees Celsius (83 Fahrenheit).



Though the new iPad does appear to run warmer than the iPad 2, it should be noted that the temperatures are still well within Apple’s specified operating temperature of 32 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 35 Celsius).

The report went on to speculate that the new GPU is the likely cause for the added heat in the third-generation iPad. The new iPad features an A5X chip with quad-core graphics, presumably from the PowerVR SGX543MP4. A teardown of the tablet late last week revealed a new metal heat spreader affixed on top of the A5X.

Anecdotal evidence from iPad users on the Apple Support Communities forum shows that some users have found the new iPad to be warmer than the previous generation. One discussion had generated nearly 19,000 views and 219 replies as of Monday evening.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Teardown reveals new A5 processor, second antenna, additional RAM in new Apple TV unit

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 07:16
Category: Apple TV, Hardware

It’s the teardowns of new products that make technology interesting.

The new Apple TV unit has gone through a full teardown courtesy of XBMC community member “aiciofs” to discover the following components:

– A custom-built A5 processor that, unlike the A5 CPU found in the iPhone 4S or iPad 2, features only a single processing core.

– 512 MB of upgraded RAM.

– The internal flash memory remains at 8 gigabytes.

– Second antenna (as opposed to the single antenna of the previous Apple TV unit). Its exact purpose is unknown, but it was suggested that the antenna could be to improve Wi-Fi connectivity and speed.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to spend $45 billion over next three years on stock share, repurchase program, offer dividends

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 07:05
Category: Firewire, News

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So what DO you do with those fat stacks of cash laying about?

Per AppleInsider, following up on today’s financial news, Apple will initiate a dividend and share repurchase program, spending US$45 billion over the next three years.

Apple’s new quarterly dividend will amount to US$2.65 per share. Assuming it is approved by the company’s board of directors, it will be initiated at some point in the company’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1 of this year.

The dividend will be joined by a US$10 billion share repurchase program that will start with Apple’s fiscal 2013. The share repurchase program has already been authorized by the company’s board of directors.

Apple plans to repurchase shares over three years, with the primary objective to neutralize the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employe stock purchase programs.

“We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said. “You’ll see more of all of these in the future. Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program.”

More details on the new initiatives will be discussed during a conference call that Cook and Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer will participate in at 9 a.m. Eastern, 6 a.m. Pacific Monday morning. The company will not, however, provide any updates on its current quarter, and no topics other than cash will be discussed.

“Combining dividends, share repurchases, and cash used to net-share-settle vesting RSUs, we anticipate utilizing approximately US$45 billion of domestic cash in the first three years of our programs,” Oppenheimer said. “We are extremely confident in our future and see tremendous opportunities ahead.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple AV adapter “not optimized” for use with iPad 3, some magnetic sensor elements may have changed with new tablet

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Date: Friday, March 16th, 2012, 12:37
Category: Accessory, Hardware, iPad, News

The new iPad is out.

Now it’s time for the devices, the accessories and peripherals (first party or otherwise) to catch up to it.

Per MacOtakara, attempting to use an old Apple Digital AV Adapter with the new iPad results in an alert that it is “not optimized” for the device, though the accessory still works once the alert is dismissed. Apple also appears to have slightly modified the Smart Cover-compatible magnets on the right side of the iPad, possibly affecting some third-party covers.

The blog reported on Friday that the older version of the Apple Digital AV Adapter, part number MC953ZM/A, displays a “This accessory is not optimized for this iPad” alert when connected to the just-released third-generation iPad.

Apple is selling a new version of the adapter, part number MD098ZM/A, that is compatible with the new iPad. It’s not immediately clear, however, what changes will be made.

Report author Danbo wrote that tapping “Dismiss” would allow the older adapter to be used, but users will see the alert each time they connect the part.

Apple released the original US$39 Digital AV Adapter alongside the iPad 2 last year, adding HDMI output to for the iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch and the iPad and iPad 2. The accessory features an HDMI port and a Dock passthrough.

MacOtakara also reported that Apple has made changes to the magnetic sensor that interacts with the Smart Cover to put the new iPad to sleep, though Apple’s own Smart Covers still work with the device.

“However, since the position or sensitivity of magnetic sensor was changed, 3rd party’s cover which has magnetic sleeping feature may not work perfectly,” the report read.

Danbo pointed out that Apple has yet to outline the changes in its “Dimensional Drawings” resource on its developer website, so case makers will have to do their own research to identify the exact nature of the changes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Thinner, optical-drive-free 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks currently in production

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 16th, 2012, 10:09
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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The new MacBook Pro units are coming and their optical drives may be a thing of the past.

Per DigiTimes, initial monthly shipments of the next-generation notebooks will be between 100,000 and 150,000 and sources have indicated that the new MacBook Pros will ditch the optical drive in favor of the “more advanced specs” than the MacBook Air, suggesting that the 13- and 15-inch Pro models will continue to exist alongside the Air.

The new MacBook Pros are said to feature stronger CPU performance and larger storage capacity than their MacBook Air counterparts. Shipments of the new notebooks to Apple will begin this month, the report said.

As suppliers ramp up production of the new MacBook Pro, monthly shipments are expected to eventually reach 900,000 units, well up from the current numbers in limited production.

Supply chain sources suggested that the new MacBook Pro models might arrive around the same time as new Windows Ultrabooks also based on Intel’s latest-generation Ivy Bridge processors.

This week, a pair of reports suggested that Apple will debut a new MacBook lineup in April based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors. In particular, much attention has been paid to a new 15-inch notebook model. Reports have differed on whether it will be a 15-inch MacBook Air, expanding the thin-and-light product line to a new form factor, or if it will simply be a new MacBook Pro with a thinner profile.

One report on Thursday claimed that Apple will debut a new, thinner 15-inch MacBook Pro based on Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs. It was said that the new MacBook Pro would still be thinner than the different MacBook Air lineup.

That was somewhat in contrast to a separate report issued on Wednesday that claimed Apple was to launch a new 15-inch MacBook Air in April, “effectively killing the Pro.” It was suggested that the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air models could even completely replace their MacBook Pro counterparts in the same screen sizes, leaving only the 17-inch MacBook Pro as the only “Pro” laptop from Apple.

Whether Apple’s new 15-inch notebook is known as a “Pro” or an Air,” the model has been rumored since last year. Like the MacBook Air, it is expected to lack a built-in optical drive and Ethernet port, as Apple continues its push for digital distribution of software through the Mac App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to debut thinner 15-inch MacBook Pro with Ivy Bridge, i7 processor this April

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Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2012, 07:02
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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The nice thing about the rumor mill is as follows: there has to be a part of the truth in there somewhere.

Per the How To Arena, a “reliable source in the Far East Asian supply chain” relayed to the web site that Apple is planning to release a new, thinner 15-inch MacBook Pro by the end of April. The details corroborate with a separate report that surfaced on Wednesday, though there remains confusion as to whether the new notebook will be a “Pro” or an “Air.”

Thursday’s newest take said the new 15-inch MacBook Pros will be powered by Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge processors. That would be a change from the existing Sandy Bridge-based MacBook Pros, as both 15-inch models feature high-end Core i7 processors, while an Intel Core i5 CPU is found in the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The report said it is “not clear” if Apple plans to introduce a new MacBook Pro with an entry-level Core i3 Ivy Bridge CPU from Intel. It’s possible that, like the current MacBook Pro lineup, all of the company’s “Pro” laptops could feature only Core i5 and Core i7 processors.

Finally, the anonymous supply chain source also reportedly indicated that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro will be “thicker than currently available MacBook Airs but thinner than MacBook Pros.”

Thursday’s report does stand in contrast to an earlier rumor which characterized the forthcoming notebook update as a 15-inch MacBook Air, rather than a MacBook Pro. The confusion likely stems from the fact that Apple’s next MacBook Pros are expected to feature the same design as the ultraportable MacBook Air and ditch the optical disc drive to create a thinner device.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and we’ll sort this out eventually…

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.10.0, adds support for new camera formats

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Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2012, 06:11
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.10.0, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 7.5 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:

– Canon PowerShot G1 X

– Nikon D4

– Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX1

– Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ35

– Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ38

– Samsung NX200

– Sony Alpha NEX-7

– Sony NEX-VG20

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.