Apple releases iOS 4.2 golden master build to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010, 04:28
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Monday, Apple released its golden master build of iOS 4.2 for its entire line of iOS-based devices including the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod touch.

Per AppleInsider, the new OS will sport features such as as AirPlay wireless streaming of audio, video and photos to the new Apple TV or other AirPlay-compliant devices and its AirPrint wireless printing architecture, designed to enable users to create hard copies of web pages, emails and photos managed through a new Print Center app.

The new update will also finally bring multitasking features and iOS Folders to the iPad, along with a variety of other features currently only available on the iPhone and iPod touch, such as support for multiple email aliases, a unified inbox, and messages organized by threads in Mail, and the ability to open attachments in third party apps.

New multitasking features will also incorporate the software orientation lock and music playback controls available on the iPhone running iOS 4, which are accessed via swiping to the left from the list of currently running apps. The iPad also presents a brightness control in this section (as depicted below).

The iPad will also lose its hardware toggle assigned to locking the screen orientation; the button will instead work to mute audio, just like the iPhone. This move has generated some controversy because Apple not only refuses to offer customers a choice of how their hardware buttons work, but has also duplicated mute functionality, as the audio down button already works as to rapidly mute audio playback.

The update will also bring Game Center to the iPad, allowing players to invite friends or find new opponents online to play against, as well as track their own achievements and high scores.

Apple has also outlined enhanced enterprise support features in iOS 4.2, including new device management capabilities, the ability to lock down email account settings, and stronger security enhancements.

iOS 4.2 will also include support for more than 30 new languages in keyboards and dictionaries, including Arabic, Greek and Hebrew.

It also strengthens accessibility features including support for navigating VoiceOver using a wireless keyboard and a wide range of refreshable braille output displays in more than 25 languages. On the iPad, larger text options up to 56 point fonts can also be specified for use in Contacts, Mail, Messages and Notes.

Other major changes include support for Google’s revised YouTube voting, a direct link to launching a FaceTime video call from within the SMS messages interface, and new CoreMIDI music APIs for music-related apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple working to include RFID, near-field computing functions into next-gen iPhone

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Date: Monday, November 1st, 2010, 10:37
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Ok, this could be interesting.

Citing an anonymous source, Mac web site Cult of Mac has reported that Apple is working on adding a near-field communication chip to Apple’s next-generation iPhone would add not only “e-wallet” transactions, but also the ability to securely turn a nearby Mac into your own computer, complete with custom settings and personal passwords.

Citing an anonymous source, Cult of Mac reported Monday that Apple is working on near-field communication technology for both its smartphone and future Macs. The functionality is rumored to appear in Apple’s next iPhone, expected to launch in June 2011.

The source said an iPhone with near-field communications like an RFID chip could be used within proximity of a Mac, allowing users to load applications, settings and data on the Mac from the phone. When the iPhone is taken away from the proximity of the computer, the data would disappear with it.

“The Mac authenticates with the iPhone, which contains a lot of the information the computer needs, such as bookmarks, passwords and other data,” the source reportedly said. “The system would essentially turn any Apple computer into your own — like you’re actually working on your own computer. Same settings, look, bookmarks, preferences. It would all be invisible. Your iPhone would be all you needed to unlock your Mac.”

The information contained on the phone would reportedly include contacts, desktop picture, mouse and keyboard settings, website passwords, and even software licenses. Taking the iPhone away from the proximity of the computer would then restore the Mac to its original state.

The source indicated that Apple is interested in making it easy for users to carry all of their information with them, but that task has become difficult as file sizes and the amount of data continues to grow. They said it’s possible that Apple could store larger files in the cloud, while the basics like passwords and documents would be contained on the phone.

Last week, a report alleged that Apple is developing a new open SIM for its next-generation iPhone, which would allow one handset to work with multiple carriers. It was also speculated that the technology from a partnership with Gemalto could also enable contactless transactions through an integrated RFID chip.

Rumors of an RFID-enabled iPhone have existed for some time, though the product has yet to come to fruition. Apple has also filed patents related to near-field communications, including an application in July that described a system allowing users to rely on NFC functionality in the iPhone to research products and quickly find helpful information, such as an instruction manual.

The company has also hired experts on near-field communications, and was even rumored to be testing iPhone models with RFID chips as recently as August.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Second-gen iPad to include front, rear cameras

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Date: Monday, November 1st, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple’s second-generation iPad, set to appear in the first quarter of 2011, will include a forward-facing camera for FaceTime video chat as well as a second rear camera, according to an unconfirmed rumor from an investment firm.

Per Barrons, a note issued from Detwiler Fenton & Co. claims that OmniVision will supply CMOS image sensors for the second-generation iPad. The report alleges that the next iPad will have a forward-facing VGA camera for FaceTime video chat, like the iPhone 4 and latest iPod touch.

The firm also claims that OmniVision will supply a second, 5 megapixel camera, presumably to be placed on the rear of the new iPad. One competing touchscreen tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, sports two cameras, with the rear lens highlighted for use in augmented reality applications.

Detwiler said that Apple is expected to build 2.5 million units of the next-generation iPad in the first quarter of 2011. OmniVision also supplies sensors for Apple’s iPhone.

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans have stated that a version of Apple’s iPad with a built-in video camera and FaceTime support had already progressed to advanced testing stages by September. It was indicated that a FaceTime-equipped iPad would be introduced no later than the first quarter of 2011.

White iPhone 4 yanked from Apple Store web sites

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Date: Thursday, October 28th, 2010, 04:46
Category: iPhone, News

Apple today quietly pulled the white iPhone 4 from the online Apple Store, the web site’s international versions that offer the iPhone online now only show the black iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. The white hue is still visible in the store’s image gallery and in the regular product page.

Per Electronista, Apple had maintained the white iPhone 4 on the store and had simply said it was “currently unavailable” to buy despite multiple delays. The decision to delay white iPhones to the spring has given the company little incentive to keep the unavailable color scheme in its store.

Unconfirmed rumors have suggested that Apple has cancelled the white iPhone 4 altogether and that the spring date amounted to a white version for the next-generation model instead. Blame has shifted alternately between the difficulty of getting consistently colored phones in high production numbers and the unintentional effect of the white, reflective glass on the camera flash.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: White iPhone 4 construction process allowing light leaks, may need to be reworked prior to release

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Date: Wednesday, October 27th, 2010, 19:18
Category: iPhone, Rumor

You’d think making a white iPhone 4 would require, well, certain parts to be white.

End of story.

It might be more complicated than that.

Per Cult of Mac, a recent rumor has stated that the white glass planned to be used for the delayed iPhone 4 model allows in too much light, resulting in poorer quality digital pictures.

Apple announced this week that its white iPhone 4 was delayed yet again this time until spring of 2011. Apple has not offered any reason for the delays, except that the device has proven “more challenging to manufacture” than the company had originally anticipated.

The story cited an anonymous source “with connections at Apple” indicated that the white model takes poor pictures due to its white glass. That person indicated that the white case allows light to leak in, causing washed out pictures.

“The white iPhone 4 can’t take accurate photographs,” author Leander Kahney wrote. “The handset’s semi-translucent glass case leaks light in, ruining pictures taken with the internal camera, especially when the built-in flash is used.”

The source reportedly indicated that Apple has been “struggling to isolate the camera sensor,” and may have to completely redesign the iPhone 4 to address the issue. The problem was reportedly found at the last minute at a secret testing facility Apple uses to allow case manufacturers to qualify for its “Made for iPhone” certification.

Previous reports had alleged that the white iPhone 4 experienced delays due to light leakage, but suggested the issue was light leaking from inside of the case. Another report alleged that Apple’s overseas manufacturing partners were struggling to achieve the right balance of paint thickness and opacity to color the glass front and back of the device.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple now offering free laser engraving on iPads sold through apple.com for the holidays

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Date: Tuesday, October 26th, 2010, 04:28
Category: iPad, News

With the holiday shopping season coming up, Apple is now offering free iPad engraving for its online store orders.

Per AppleInsider, the company will allow up to 2 lines of free engraved text on the back of an iPad purchased from Apple.com as an “Apple Online Store exclusive,” confirming a July rumor that Apple would extend its free laser-engraving option from the iPod to the iPad this fall. Custom engraved iPods have been available from the Apple online store for several years.

Customers are given the option to engrave their iPad after selecting an iPad model and any desired accessories from the online store. Engraved iPads are non-returnable, so prospective buyers are cautioned to double-check their spelling.

Also, customers should take note that adding the engraving option currently lengthens the shipping time from “Within 24hrs” to “1-3 business days.”

In preparation for the holiday season, Apple has greatly broadened the retail availability of the iPad. The device will be available for sale at Walmart, Target, AT&T and Verizon stores.

Rumor: Verizon hiring call center workers for possible AT&T launch

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Date: Monday, October 25th, 2010, 17:21
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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If you’re fed up with your iPhone on AT&T’s network, you might just like this.

Per CNET, Verizon is reportedly hiring hundreds of call center staff through third-party hiring companies, adding to speculation that the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. is preparing to launch the iPhone.

Customer service call center staffing companies Teleperformance and Ryla are looking for thousands of customer service representatives to field calls for a “major wireless cell phone service retailer,” per the article. Posts to the Careerbuilder website as well as the companies’ own websites reveal that the positions will be dedicated to “either a wireless, cell phone, or communications company,” with additional positions offering technical support for “personal computers and portable devices like MP3 players and smartphones.”

One Teleperformance call center in Augusta, Georgia, will double its employees through the hiring campaign. “It is for a major wireless company that we have secured a new line of business, one of our existing clients,” Marcie Ballard, vice president of recruiting for Teleperformance, told the Augusta Chronicle, although she declined to say which provider.

Both companies have prior experience supporting Verizon. Teleperformance also works with Apple, in addition to Verizon Wireless and the other major cell phone carriers in the past, the report notes. Ryla has worked with Verizon for over 10 years, a source told CNET.

While the connection between a flurry of call center recruiting and a Verizon iPhone remains tenuous, the rumor was bolstered by Friday’s news that Verizon had lost more ground to rival AT&T than expected in the third quarter. Third-quarter earnings reports from Verizon and AT&T this week show that Verizon netted 584,000 new monthly-bill paying customers during the quarter, compared to AT&T’s 745,000 additions according to Reuters.

Verizon CFO John Killian told Reuters that Verizon expects to add 550,000 to 600,000 new monthly-bill paying customers in the fourth quarter, less than half of last years’ number. Killian also stressed the importance of converting standard users into smartphone users in order to increase revenue through sales of data plans.

Though Verizon Wireless still holds the No. 1 spot as the largest telecommunications network in the U.S. with 93.2 million subscribers as of October, AT&T is close to overtaking the provider with 92.8 million subscribers of its own.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple forecast to sell 700,000 MacBook Air units for holiday season

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Date: Monday, October 25th, 2010, 17:32
Category: MacBook Air, News

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Regarding the updated MacBook Air… Apple’s expected to sell a few of them.

Per DigiTimes, Apple’s new 11.6″ and 13.3″ MacBook Air notebooks have been forecast as selling 700,000 units in the holiday quarter, a Wall Street analyst anticipating gross margins of about 32%.

The research department of Concord Securities has reportedly predicted that the MacBook Air will account for 17% of an estimated 4.1 million Mac shipments this fall. In addition, Mingchi Kuo, vice president of the firm’s research department, believes the new, smaller model with an 11.6″ screen will account for 60% of MacBook Air sales.

Sales of 4.1 million Macs in the quarter would be yet another record for Apple. Just this week, the company revealed it sold 3.89 million Macs in the previous quarter, the best three-month frame for the company yet.

Apple’s Mac business was on display this week at the “Back to the Mac” event, where the new MacBook Airs with instant-on capabilities were unveiled. The notebooks start at US$999 for the 11.6″ model.

Analyst Brian Marshall of Gleacher & Company said in a note to investors this week that he believes Apple’s new MacBook Air models carry a gross margin profile of greater than 30%. If true, that would be greater than his estimated blended margins of more than 20% for the rest of Apple’s notebook line.

Marshall estimated that the blended gross margins for the new MacBook Air models will be 32.1%. He sees the low-end US$999 model with a total cost to Apple of US$718, while the high-end 13.3″ model with 256GB of storage retailing for US$1,599 likely costs Apple US$1,007.40 to produce.

That being said, you might want to put a new MacBook Air on reserve if at all possible…

Teardown of late-2010 MacBook Air finds six battery cells, other new features

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Date: Friday, October 22nd, 2010, 06:42
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News

mba2

Ok, now this is interesting.

True to form, the cool cats at iFixit performed a complete teardown of Apple’s newest instant-on, 11.6″ MacBook Air and found now less than six separate lithium-polymer battery cells.

The internal components are slightly different from those found in the 13.3″ model, a prototype of which was spotted before the device was even revealed on Wednesday. That larger MacBook Air has four separate batteries, which are bigger and provide up to 7 hours of active battery life.



In its teardown, the solutions provider found that the onboard 64GB of flash storage easily disconnects from the logic board, but the part is completely custom, meaning an off-the shelf part cannot be used to replace it.

The unique 64GB of onboard memory is made up of six main chips (four 16GB flash memory chips and a solid state drive controller from Toshiba), and a Micron OKA17 D9HSJ DDR DRAM cache. The proprietary solid state drive is just 2.45 mm thick and weighs 10 grams, while the previous MacBook Air’s hard disk drive was 5.12 mm thick and weighed 45 grams.

The new MacBook Air also uses the same Broadcom Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip found on the current MacBook Pros. However, to fit into the tiny frame of the MacBook Air, it comes in a different form factor.

All of the cooling of the new notebook is accomplished with a single, small internal fan. Ribbon cable connection points found inside were also discovered to have epoxy on them that acts as an insulator, perhaps to prevent issues if their protective plastic wears out over time.

Included on the logic board are the MacBook Air’s Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz processor, Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics, and 2GB of Elpida J1108EFBG RAM. Just as with MacBook Air models, the RAM is soldered to the logic board, making it non-upgradable.

If you’ve picked up the new MacBook Air and have any impressions of it, let us know.

Media Event: Apple releases updated MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Aperture 3.1, iLife ’11, Pro Kit refinements and FaceTime for Mac OS X

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Date: Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, 19:05
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Proving good on a good numbers of the rumors surrounding the event, Apple offered a slew of goodies at its October 20th announcements including an updated MacBook Pro, a new MacBook Air and a slew of software goodies.

Without further ado, let’s get down to it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple surprised its audience by releasing a faster build-to-order MacBook Pro. For an additional US$200, customers can upgrade the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro to a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 processor from a 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 chip. The same upgrade is also available for the sole 2.53GHz 17-inch model for a US$400 premium. An upgrade on that model to a 2.66GHz Core i7 remains, priced at US$200.

In addition, Apple on Wednesday released a number of software updates related to the release of the new MacBook Air models, as well as the iLife ’11 suite. Those who pick up the newly released MacBook Air have Software Update 1.0, a 368KB download available via Mac OS X’s Software Update function, already available for them.

The update resolves an issue where the system becomes unresponsive while playing a movie trailer in iMovie. It also fixes a problem where the system becomes unresponsive after waking from sleep when an external display is connected. It is recommended for all late-2010 MacBook Air models.

During the event, Apple also released Aperture 3.1, a 357.55MB download that improves overall stability and performance, and also addresses compatibility with the newly release iLife ’11 suite.

Fixes and changes include the following:
- Performance when opening large libraries.

- Performance when exporting heavily-adjusted images.

- Importing iPhoto Libraries.

- Relinking to referenced images after importing an iPhoto Library.

- Importing photos and videos from iPhone or iPad.

- Upgrading libraries with images containing Spot & Patch adjustments.

- Duplicate detection of audio and video files.

- Face detection on RAW+JPEG pairs.

- Rendering of thumbnails used in Faces view.

- Rendering of images scaled to below 100% in Viewer.

- Image quality on straightened images.

- Applying Red Eye correction.

- Rendering thumbnails when reprocessing masters.

- Searching libraries containing a large number of keywords.

- Applying photos to GPS track paths.

- Export of GPS data when using Export Metadata command.

- Handling of color profiles in Print dialog when using Loupe.

- Applying and removing slideshow Photo Effects.

- Slideshows containing video clips.

- Tethered capture.

- Library database reliability.

- Library repair.

- Updating vaults.

During the media event, Apple also issued ProKit 6.0 for Snow Leopard. The 13.5MB downloadadds the following fixes and changes to Apple’s professional applications:
- Improves reliability for browsing iPhoto libraries in Aperture.

- Addresses cosmetic issue with appearance of disclosure triangles in Aperture.

- Fixes a problem in Logic Pro and MainStage where numeric parameters display incorrect information.

The update is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express, Soundtrack, Logic Studio, Logic Pro, MainStage, WaveBurner and Logic Express.

The highlight of the event came when Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the new MacBook Air, which Jobs came after the company asked itself “What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?” The company then announced the release two new MacBook Airs with 11.6″ and 13.3″ screens, instant-on capabilities, starting at just $999 which are now available.

The new MacBook Air has no optical drive and no hard drive, which allows instant-on capabilities. The MacBook Air has memory up to two times faster that is more reliable and 90% smaller and lighter, Jobs said.

Both models feature a forward-facing FaceTime camera, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics.

The new 13″ model boasts a 7 hour of battery life with 30 days of standby time and features a full-size keyboard and a full-size glass trackpad as well. The 13.3″ display is 1440-by-900 pixels, and the model weighs just 2.9 pounds.

The larger model starts at US$1,299 for 128GB of storage with a 1.86GHZ processor. Doubling the storage to 256GB is US$1,599.

The 11″ model has a display resolution of 1366×768 pixels. It’s just as thin, but is even lighter, at just 2.3 pounds.

The low-end model has a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 64GB of storage for US$999. a higher-end model with a 128GB drive retails for US$1,199.

Memory, rather than being enclosed in a solid state drive, is situated directly on the motherboard, allowing Apple to save space within the notebook. Jobs showed the inside of the MacBook Air, demonstrating that most of the space inside is used for the batteries.

The new MacBook Air measures an incredibly thin 0.11″ at its thinnest point and 0.68″ at its thickest, and weighs just 2.3 pounds for the 11″ model and 2.9 pounds for the 13″. Like the iPad, MacBook Air was designed from the ground up to use flash storage exclusively.

Along with the full-sized keyboard, as well as the standard Multi-Touch trackpad found on Apple’s MacBook Pro, the unit also include built-in FaceTime camera for communication with iOS-based devices as well as other Macs.

Full specs include the following:
Size and weight
Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
Width: 11.8″ (29.95 cm)
Depth: 7.56″ (19.2 cm)
Weight: 2.3 pounds (1.06 kg)

Processor and memory:
- 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache; or optional 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache.

- 800MHz frontside bus.

- 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM onboard (4GB maximum).

Storage:
- 64GB

- 128GB

Display:
11.6″ (diagonal) high-resolution LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors

Supported resolutions:
1366 by 768 (native), 1344 by 756, 1280 by 720, 1024 by 576 pixels at 16:9 aspect ratio; 1152 by 720, 1024 by 640, and 800 by 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 by 768, 800 by 600, and 640 by 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 by 480 pixels at 3:2 aspect ratio

Graphics and video support:
- Mini DisplayPort

- Pure digital video output

- DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (sold separately)

- VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (sold separately)

- Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately)

- HDMI output using a third-party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (sold separately)

- NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main
memory

- Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

- FaceTime camera

Keyboard and trackpad:
- Full-size keyboard with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys (inverted “T” arrangement)

- Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities

Peripheral connections:
- USB 2.0

- Mini DisplayPort

- MagSafe

- USB 2.0

- Headphone

- Microphone

Audio:
- Stereo speakers

- Omnidirectional microphone

- Headphone minijack

- Support for Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic

Communications:
- AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking4 (based on IEEE 802.11n specification); IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible

- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology

- Apple USB Ethernet Adapter (sold separately)

Battery and power:
- Built-in 35-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

- 45W MagSafe power adapter with cable management system

- MagSafe power port

Environmental:
Per Apple, the MacBook Air achieves EPEAT Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements. Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.

Pricing & Availability:

The 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air are immediately available through the Apple Store at apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The 1.4 GHz 11-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $999 (US) with a 128GB model for US$1,199 (US).

The 1.86 GHz 13-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US) with a 256GB model for US$1,599 (US).

Configure-to-order options and accessories include faster processors, 4GB of memory, MacBook Air SuperDrive and a USB Ethernet Adapter.