Apple announces September 12th media event

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 17:07
Category: Hardware, iPhone, iPod, MacBook Pro, News

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You’ve been waiting for this for about a year now.

Per The Loop and MacRumors, Apple has sent out invitations for a media event scheduled for next week Wednesday, September 12. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern. The tagline on the invitation is simply “It’s almost here.”



The image sort of says it all, as a conspicuous “5” appears in the shadow, the company being expected to deliver a long-awaited iPhone 5 handset. Apple’s iPod lineup is also rumored to be seeing an update at one of the two events, while rumored iMac updates and the launch of a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro are likely to appear separately.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and full coverage of the event come September 12th.

Apple awarded carbon fiber manufacturing patent, could make future MacBooks lighter, more shock resistant

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 07:06
Category: Hardware, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Patents

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The way your new MacBook notebook is manufactured is about to change.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent for a carbon fiber molding process that could one day be used to produce parts made from the lightweight material, like laptop casings or mobile device chassis.

The patent, number 8,257,075, for a “Carbon composite mold design” describes the systems and methods needed to manufacture “aesthetically pleasing” parts from carbon fiber and other resin based composites.

While the applications of carbon fiber composite materials are many, Apple specifically notes that the invention can be used to “form outer housings for a laptop computer or other similar device.” The patent may prove useful as an increasing consumer demand has pushed the industry toward slim and sleek portables with relatively heavy large screens. For example, the weight of the much-rumored next-generation iPhone’s expected 4-inch screen could be offset by a carbon fiber monocoque.

It seems that the invention is aimed at larger devices like Apple’s MacBook line, however, much like Sony’s carbon fiber Vaio Z thin-and-light series.

The patent is described as follows:
“As but one example, it would be particularly helpful if portable electronic device housings and components could be stronger and more durable than what is now typically provided in plastic parts that are formed via ordinary plastic injection molding processes. In particular, it would be beneficial if laptops, notebook computers, and other relatively large and heavy portable computing devices could have outer housings that are better able to protect the entire device from drops and other mechanical shocks.”

The patent notes that traditional resin-based composites are made by layering resin-impregnated sheets of into or over a mold, which then cures under increased heat and pressure. Removal of the part can prove a hassle as the resins stick to the mold surfaces, which often requires manual prying and peeling from an operator. As a result, surface blemishes and other defects often occur.

Apple’s proposed method looks to enable the mass-production of carbon fiber parts that have a consistent visual appearance by streamlining the manufacturing process.

The invention calls for a two-part mold, one a cavity and another portion “adapted to mate with the first,” allowing composite parts to be formed in between. After curing, ejector pins located on one or both of the mold portions are used to separate the material from the mold body.

In another embodiment, a mold can have one or more internal fluid lines to help with cooling, a permanent release coating, and guide pins to accurately align the fiber sheets. Either a fluid or gas-actuated ejection system can also be employed for easy removal of the cured parts.

While Apple has shown no signs of using the advanced carbon fiber molding techniques in any future devices, the company may very well choose to do so in its push toward lighter and stronger products.

So, if nothing else, your future MacBook could become lighter, stronger and perhaps shoot lasers at those who oppose you.

Which is never a bad thing.

Next-gen iMacs expected for holiday season, may lack Retina Display

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 07:52
Category: Hardware, iMac, Rumor

Yes, the potential of a new iMac is cool…but it might not have a Retina display.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s iMac will reportedly receive a hardware redesign before the end of the year, but the desktop won’t receive a high-resolution Retina display.

Two new iMac models in sizes 21.5 and 27 inches were detailed on Friday by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities as two of the eight new products Apple is reportedly preparing to release this fall. Kuo, who has a reliable track record, believes the new 21.5-inch iMac will debut in September, while a larger 27-inch iMac is expected to debut in late October.

According to Kuo, the new iMac will not feature a Retina display this year, but he expects the new Macs to “still prove attractive to consumers.” Interest in the new models, beyond the anticipated Ivy Bridge processors, will come from what Kuo said will be a “brand new design.”

Display quality on the new iMacs will reportedly be improved with a new “full-lamination process,” attaching the display panel to the protective cover glass.

This new production method apparently comes at a cost, though: According to Kuo, the larger 27-inch iMac has a lower yield rate with the new full-lamination method. Thus, Juo expects the 27-inch iMac to debut 6 to 8 weeks after the 21.5-inch model.

Another big seller in the holiday season, Kuo believes, will be the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. He has predicted that Apple will aggressively price the new MacBook Pro under US$1,300, which will help drive strong demand at launch.

Kuo’s predictions call for Apple to ship nearly 1.5 million iMac units in the fourth quarter of calendar 2012. With all other Mac models thrown into the mix, he believes Apple will ship a total of 5.5 million units in the holiday shopping quarter.

If Apple can achieve that number, it would likely ensure a new sales record for the company. Apple’s previous best quarter for Macs came in the holiday season of 2011, when the company sold 5.2 million Macs in a three-month span.

Only time will tell, so hang tight and we’ll bring you additional information as it becomes available.

Apple’s 27″ iMac retail supply dwindling, Ivy Bridge update expected soon

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 07:45
Category: Hardware, iMac, Rumor

There’s a chance of spiffy new iMac goodness on the horizon.

And that’s never a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, with Apple’s iMac lineup due for an upgrade to Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, stock of the larger 27-inch all-in-one desktop has become even more depleted ahead of a possible refresh.

Availability of the 27-inch iMac is now limited at most retailers seen in the AppleInsider pricing guide. In particular, the low-end 2.7-gigahertz model is currently out of stock at Amazon, MacMall, MacConnection, Best Buy, and J&R. For now, the desktop remains in stock at B&H.

Availability of the high-end 3.1-gigahertz model is slightly better. That configuration is currently sold out at Best Buy and J&R, while limited stock is available at Amazon.

A shortage of 27-inch iMacs was also noted on Friday by MacRumors which found that the base-level machine is currently sold out at 120 of Apple’s 249 U.S. retail locations, while the high-end configuration is unavailable at 135 retail stores.

While supply of the 27-inch iMac has dwindled, there are no such signs of constrained inventory for the 21.5-inch model. Both Apple’s retail stores and authorized resellers show the smaller iMac model to have adequate availability.

Supply of the 27-inch iMac first began to dry up last month, as resellers started to see limited availability of the big-screen desktop. Supply constraints at Mac resellers is often one of the first signs that Apple is drawing down inventory ahead of a product update.

The iMac line’s most recent refresh arrived over a year ago, in early May of 2011. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in July that he expects Apple to refresh its iMac lineup with Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors as soon as September.

Earlier this month, internal configuration files in Mountain Lion were discovered to make apparent references to unreleased new generations of the iMac, as well as the Mac Pro. The new iMac was labeled as (iMac13,0), while the Mac Pro was identified as (MacPro6,0).

In addition, a new 13th-generation iMac identified as “iMac 13,2” has already appeared in Geekbench benchmarks. That machine was seen running Mountain Lion with an Intel Core i7-3770 processor clocked at 3.4-gigahertz with 4 gigabytes of 1600-megahertz DDR3 RAM.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Evidence of unknown iPad models surface in developers notes, speculation of forthcoming “iPad mini” grows

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Date: Friday, August 31st, 2012, 06:39
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

When in doubt, there’s always some interesting stuff in the logs.

Per the cool cats at MacRumors and his own blog, developer Marco Arment he noticed the two “curious entries” in Instapaper’s device stats on Friday, positing the device identifiers could offer clues to the supposed tablets’ internal hardware.

As a side note, Arment said, “There were also a few iPhone5,1 devices, but that’s not a surprise — that’s almost certainly next month’s new GSM iPhone,” but didn’t give specifics.

While Arment concedes the unknown “iPad2,5” and “iPad2,6” identifiers can conceivably be spoofed, he has “never had a device show up [on the logs] that didn’t end up being a real, about-to-be-released Apple device.”

Arment goes on to explain that when Apple first launched the iPad 2 in 2011, the Wi-Fi, GSM and CDMA versions were tagged with the internal designations iPad2,1, iPad2,2 and iPad2,3, respectively. Alongside the release of the New iPad in March, Apple unveiled a quietly updated iPad 2 Wi-Fi model with a new A5 processor manufactured on the 32nm process, identifying it as “iPad2,4.”

It is possible that the new “iPad2,5” and “iPad2,6” devices discovered by Arment could simply be GSM and CDMA versions of the iPad 2 carrying the 32nm A5 chip, but the developer believes such a move would be unusual so late in the product’s lifecycle.

If the unknown devices turn out to be a smaller iPad, Arment said, the Apple-assigned identifiers suggest “the iPad Mini is, effectively, an iPad 2” with an A5 processor and 512MB of RAM.

“This is all speculation, of course,” Arment writes, “but I’m convinced: like the leaked Dock connector, this move is so ingenius that it’s most likely to be what Apple has really done.

Apple is rumored to debut the so-called “iPad mini” at a special event in October. Many expect the tablet to sport a 7.85-inch screen and boast a design resembling an iPod touch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases second OS X 10.8.2 beta to developer community, focuses on upcoming Facebook integration

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Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012, 06:48
Category: News, Software

Hey, betas are still hip.

And cool.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday provided developers with the second beta of OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion, less than a week after the first beta became available.

Sources familiar with the latest beta of OS X 10.8.2 indicated it is known as build 12C35. Developers have reportedly been asked to focus on the new Facebook integration coming to the updated version of Mountain Lion.

Other areas of focus highlighted by Apple for developers are said to be Messages, Game Center, Safari and Reminders. The latest build of OS X 10.8.2 reportedly contains no known issues.

The first beta of OS X 10.8.2 was provided to select developers last Thursday. Those who participated in the beta were invited to do so by Apple via e-mail.

The biggest change in OS X 10.8.2 is expected to be Facebook integration across the entire Mountain Lion operating system. The new feature will work similar to how Twitter is currently integrated, with the ability to post pictures and other content directly to a user’s Facebook account with the operating system’s Share Sheets button.

The latest public release of Mountain Lion, OS X 10.8.1, also launched last Thursday. It resolved an issue that caused Migration Assistant to unexpectedly quit, improved compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail, and addressed an issue playing audio through a Thunderbolt display.

Just two developer previews of OS X 10.8.1 were made available to developers before the software officially launched. Mountain Lion became available on the Mac App Store just over a months go, on July 25.

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

Analyst: Java 1.7 zero-day less likely to affect Mac users due to lack of current installed base on platform

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012, 07:53
Category: News, security

Yesterday, we posted as to a new Java vulnerability that could open the gates for additional malware on the Mac.

Today, there’s some better news regarding this.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, online backup service CrashPlan co-founder Matthew Dornquist had the following to offer about the new Java vulnerability and what it could mean for the Mac.

In a recent study of a random sample of 200K recent users; Dornquist’s numbers showed that the overwhelming majority of CrashPlan’s Mac users are on Java 1.6 (92%) and a small minority on the older 1.5 version. The percentage on the 1.7 version targeted by the malware? Approximately zero.

Research shop FireEye identified a Java zero-day exploit this weekend that is already targeting fully patched versions of the Java JRE version 1.7 running on Windows machines. The exploit attempts to install a dropper executable (Dropper.MsPMs) on the machines it attacks. In theory, a separate dropper could be crafted to attack Mac or Linux systems, although none has yet been observed in the wild.

That’s a reason for Mac users to rest a little more easily, but it’s not the big one. As noted by CNET, the vulnerable edition of the JRE — 1.7 — isn’t installed by default in a stock configuration of OS X. The Java that Apple delivers on Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion is JRE 1.6 (and on Lion and Mountain Lion, it’s only installed on demand when needed to run Java applications); in order to be on 1.7 and be theoretically susceptible, you’d have to install the Oracle beta build manually.

If you did install the Oracle build and you’re concerned about the new exploit, you can disable the Java plugin in each of your browsers individually, or uninstall 1.7 entirely. While it bears repeating that there is no evidence of a Mac payload for this exploit at this time, if you don’t have a specific reason to run the new version then it’s probably safest to stick with JRE 1.6 instead (or turn off Java completely if you don’t need it). In response to past exploits including Flashback, Apple’s Java web plugin is now set to auto-disable when it isn’t used for some time, further reducing the attack surface for Mac users.

So, yeah, try to avoid manually updating to Java 1.7 on your Mac until this is sorted out and we’ll have additional details as they become available.

Apple to file injunction against certain Samsung smartphones on December 6th

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012, 07:22
Category: Legal, News

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Come December 6th, Apple will be looking to take punitive action against Samsung.

Per Reuters, Apple v. Samsung presiding Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday set the date on which the Court will hear Apple’s request for a permanent sales ban against certain Samsung smartphones.

According to a court order filed on Tuesday, the judge is slated to hear arguments on Dec. 6 regarding Apple’s move for a permanent injunction against eight Samsung handsets identified on Monday.

The order also outlines the deadlines by which both parties must submit their respective replies and oppositions regarding post-judgment filings. In the interest of expediency, Judge Koh has consolidated other post-trial motions for the Dec. 6 hearing. Apple and Samsung were initially scheduled to meet on Sept. 20 to discuss the injunction, but that date is now reserved for the Korean company’s request to dissolve a sales ban against the Galaxy 10.1.

Judge Koh is once again pushing for strict adherence to her mandates regarding post-judgment motions, a position she took during the trial to avoid an onslaught of filings. During the trial, the judge fought to keep the case on track as her “rag tag” team was having trouble keeping up with filings from the two companies’ “legion” of lawyers.

From the order:
“The page limits set forth herein will be strictly enforced. Any argument that is not explicitly articulated within the briefing page limits will be disregarded. Any supporting documentation shall be for corroboration purposes solely and shall not be used as a vehicle for circumventing the Court’s page limits. Any citations to the record must include the relevant testimony or exhibit language. Any single-spaced bullets in an attempt to circumvent the briefing page limits will be disregarded.”

Apple on Friday won a sweeping victory over Samsung as a jury found Samsung in violation of six Apple design and utility patents, assigning damages of nearly US$1.05 billion for the offense.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds fourth Mac OS X 10.7.5 beta to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012, 10:18
Category: News, Software

Mac OS X 10.7.5 is en route, or at least that’s what the betas would have you believe.

Per MacNN, Apple has released a fourth beta of OS X 10.7.5 to developers. The download, build 11G45, is about 1.16GB as a delta, or 1.93GB as a combo update. As with the previous build there are no known issues, and Apple is again asking developers to test graphics quality and performance, as well as media importing, viewing, and editing.

Mac OS X 10.7.5 could be the last major update for OS X Lion, since Apple is now concentrating development work on Mountain Lion, which was launched late in July. Subsequent Lion updates will probably be intended to patch specific components.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Samsung vows to appeal, fight injunctions sought by Apple

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Date: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012, 06:59
Category: Legal, News

When you get thrashed to the tune of US$1.05 billion in open court, it’s generally good form to go for the appeal…

According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung has vowed to fight back and keep some of its best selling products on the market.

Samsung will combat Apple’s attempt to ban the sales of eight smartphones with “all necessary measures,” the company said in a statement issued on Tuesday. Among the options available to Samsung are filing to stop the injunction, appealing if the injunction is granted by Judge Lucy Koh, and modifying its products to circumvent any bans.

Citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter, Tuesday’s report also indicated that officials from Samsung have begun talking to wireless partners about “removing or modifying infringing features to keep products on the market if the injunctions are granted.”

In a filing on Monday, Apple asked the court to bar the sale of 8 Samsung smartphones, including the company’s U.S. Galaxy S II lineup. In all, the phones Apple wishes to bar from sale accounted for US$1.3 billion of Samsung’s U.S. sales during the first six months of 2012, documents disclosed in Samsung’s lawsuit with Apple have revealed.

The eight smartphones Apple hopes to ban accounted for the lion’s share of Samsung’s American profits in the first half of the year. A total of 28 devices were included in the Apple-Samsung case, which earned a collective US$1.5 billion in U.S. sales in the first six months of 2012.

A jury determined last week that Samsung’s products have infringed upon Apple’s patented inventions. The jury awarded Apple nearly $1.05 billion in damages from Samsung as well.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.