Apple patents point to effort to reduce noise on MacBook Pro fan modules

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Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 09:02
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News, Patents

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You know the fans on your MacBook Pro?

They’re about to get quieter.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trio of patent applications discovered on Thursday reveal how the asymmetric fan blade spacing used in the newest MacBook Pro with Retina display models quiet the spinning impeller without sacrificing performance.

The three patent applications, all titled “Centrifugal blower with asymmetric blade spacing” and numbered sequentially (1, 2, 3) cover separate fan designs that feature asymmetrically aligned fan blades, two with 31 blades and one with 61 blades.

Apple first introduced its asymmetric fan design in June with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and a subsequent teardown revealed that the laptop uses a 31-blade unit.

Typical fans incorporate a prime number of blades that are spaced at angles equidistant to each other, an industry standard aimed at reducing unwanted sound. At issue is the blade pass frequency (BPF) which produces harmonics from the pressure wave formed at the tip of each blade. The most noticeable source of noise is the pole pass frequency (PPF) tone, or the “vibration and resulting pressure waves created by the poles in the motor of the fan.”

Apple’s design calls for variably-angled blades that controls the spectral distribution of tones created by the fan. First-hand tests have found the new design to not necessarily quiet fan noise as much as create a less grating sound.

From the patent:
“Dispersing the energy of a tone over a number of discrete frequencies can make the tone seem less noisy to the listener by reducing the perception on the tonal BPF [blade pass frequency]. Spacing fan blades unevenly, while maintaining impeller balance, is one method of controlling pure-tone effects.”

According to the invention, the rearrangement of the fan blade angles cancels some of the noise usually heard in conventional portable computers but allows for the unit to still be balanced as the center of mass is located at the shaft of the impeller. The modified design also allows for the fan system to be smaller, thus permitting a thinner laptop as seen with the Retina MacBook Pros.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds updated OS X 10.8.3 build, focuses on Software Update notification for pre-release builds, other changes

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Date: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012, 08:12
Category: News, Software

It’s hard to knock a beta that’s making the rounds.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday seeded a fresh OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion beta to developers and Apple Seed participants, asking testers to focus on AirPlay, Graphics Drivers and other areas while further detailing the new Software Update feature for pre-release builds.

According to people familiar with build 12D43, the software contains no known issues and the focus areas remain unchanged from the last beta seeded earlier this month.

With the previous build, dubbed 12D38, Apple introduced a new beta installation feature that allows participants to download and install new seeds through the Mac App Store. The company explained the option further in the Tuesday’s release, saying that users will be alerted via OS X notification when new seeds are available, much like consumer versions of the operating system.

In order for developers to take advantage of the Mac App Store tool, they must download and install the “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility,” which grants Software Update access to pre-release builds. Users can also opt out of the Software Update mechanism if they so choose.

Other than the detailed information regarding the seed configuration utility, build 12D43 has no known issues and developers have been tasked with focusing on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers and Safari.

If you’ve gotten a chance to try the new build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases iOS 6.0.2 update, includes fixes for Wi-Fi, security features iPhone 5, iPad mini

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Date: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012, 08:57
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, iTunes, News, Software

Hey, an update’s an update.

Late Monday, Apple released iOS 6.0.2, the latest version of its iOS operating system for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini devices.

The update, a 626 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Fixes a bug that could impact Wi-Fi.

– Assorted security fixes detailed here.

The iOS 6.0.2 update requires the following devices:

– iPhone 3GS / 4 / 4S / 5

– iPad 2 and new iPad

– iPod Touch 4th Gen

– iPad Mini

As always, the update can be acquired via iTunes or the Over The Air software update feature built into iOS 5 or later.

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

Rumor: Apple looking to incorporate Foursquare functionality into iOS 6 Maps application

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Date: Tuesday, December 18th, 2012, 09:28
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

It may not save the iOS 6 Maps app, but at this point, it couldn’t hurt.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple is reportedly in preliminary talks with Foursquare to integrate some of the location-based social network’s date into iOS Maps, with the move purportedly in response to offerings from rival services like Google Maps.

Anonymous sources have stated Apple is looking to use local data provided by Foursquare Labs in a bid to enhance the iOS Maps app.

The sources say Apple Senior Vice President of Online Services Eddy Cue met with the popular social service “in recent weeks,” but failed to detail exactly what was discussed or when the meetings took place.

Although only speculation, Foursquare could provide Apple with a number of business listings, relative popularity and user-generated tips to help enhance the iOS Maps experience. Integration with the social service may also allow iPhone and iPad users to “check in” at various locations, letting friends know where they are around town. Currently, iOS limits such location-based discovery features to Apple’s Find My Friends and Foursquare’s app.

It was reported in June that Apple was working to integrate Yelp reviews and listings, a feature that has already made its way to the Maps app.

Since its release with iOS 6, Apple’s mapping solution has been criticized for its lack of features, most noticeable when compared to Google’s established service which once powered the iOS app, as well as incorrect location information and a number of glitches.

Cue is said to be “racing” to improve Maps after taking control of the project when former iOS chief Scott Forstall was ousted from the company in October.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple gets regulatory clearance to sell cellular-enabled iPad mini, fourth-gen iPad in Chinese marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, December 18th, 2012, 08:32
Category: iPad, iPad mini, News

It never hurts to get all your telecom and regulatory ducks in a row.

Per Techweb, a filing with China’s telecommunications regulation body discovered on Tuesday reveals that Apple has acquired the network licenses needed to start sales of its cellular-enabled iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad.

The Chinese Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center (TENAA) granted Apple two licenses on Dec. 13 for devices carrying the model numbers A1455 and A1460, which are noted on the company’s website as being the iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular and fourth-generation iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular, respectively.

Per the article, the licenses allow the two iPad models to run on China Unicom’s WCDMA network as well as China Telecom’s CDMA2000 bands.

After announcing a Dec. 7 rollout date for the Chinese market, Apple debuted Wi-Fi only versions of the tablets to uncharacteristically small crowds. The company followed up the iPad release with the iPhone 5 on Dec. 14, which saw over two million sales over its first weekend of availability.

So, if you’re headed to the Chinese frontier in the near future and were hoping to snag a cellular-enabled iPad mini or fourth-gen iPad, you should be in luck in the near future.

Apple releases MacBook Pro Retina EFI Update 1.1 firmware for late-2012 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, December 18th, 2012, 08:28
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

You might want to snag this.

Late Monday, Apple released its MacBook Pro Retina EFI Update 1.1 firmware update for the late-2012 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro notebook. The update, a 5 megabyte download, improves sleep performance, enhances Thunderbolt router support, fixes an HDMI display issue, and improves compatibility when using the 5GHz band in Wi-Fi.

The update can be located, snagged and installed via OS X’s Software Update features and requires a late-2012 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro running OS X 10.8.2 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Mac Wi-Fi Update for late-2012 Macs

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Date: Tuesday, December 18th, 2012, 07:54
Category: News, Software

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A firmware update never hurt anyone.

Late Monday, Apple released its Mac Wi-Fi update, a 1.6 megabyte download that improves compatibility when using the 5GHz band in Wi-Fi.

The upgrade, like similar software, can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires a late-2012 Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8.2 or later.

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

Amazon currently offering new 21-inch iMac delivery for Christmas

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Date: Monday, December 17th, 2012, 09:16
Category: iMac, News, retail

It’s coming down to the wire if you want to snag a new 21-inch iMac for Christmas Day.

Per AppleInsider, with Apple still reflecting backlog of 7-10 business days on new 21-inch iMacs, users looking to purchase one of the super slim desktops for guaranteed delivery ahead Christmas can place orders for either standard configuration from Amazon.com, which is actively shipping out both models for delivery as early as Tuesday.

The online retail giant has stated that it’s currently shipping out both the 2.7GHz 21.5-inch iMac (MD093LL/A) for US$1,299.00 and the 2.9GHz 21.5-inch iMac (MD094LL/A) for US$1,499.00. Customers who choose one-day shipping (US$3.99 for Prime Members) can get either model delivered by this Tuesday.

Additionally, Amazon is also promising delivery by December 24th for all shoppers who purchase by Tuesday, December 18th and select FREE Super Saver Shipping as their delivery method. B&H Photo is the only other Apple Authorized Reseller to reflect any available stock of the new iMacs, offering only the 2.9GHz 21.5-inch model for US$1,499 or US$1,560 when bundled with 3-years of AppleCare extended warranty protection (US$108 savings).

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple launches iPhone in China, 32 additional countries

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Date: Monday, December 17th, 2012, 08:57
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The iPhone 5 world introduction tour continues.

Per The Next Web, Apple kicked off sales of the massively popular iPhone 5 handset in China and 31 other countries on Friday, fending off supply constraints as the company continues its fastest rollout ever.

Concerning the China launch, the usual long lines seen at past Apple product launches in China were staunched, largely in thanks to the combination of a snow storm and the preorder system instituted by the country’s two official partner carriers.

The Sanlitun Apple Store, the company’s first retail outlet in China, saw workers milling about waiting to greet customers that never came. The lack of walk-in purchases is in stark contrast to reports of strong pre-sale number that had cellular carrier China Unicom sitting at over 300,000 preorders days before Friday’s launch.

China is now Apple’s second-largest market, and holds the world’s biggest base of mobile subscribers. While the Cupertino, Calif., company has been able to broker deals with China Unicon and China Telecom, Apple has yet to tap into the vast pool of the world’s largest carrier China Mobile. An arrangement has been rumored to be in the works for years and China Mobile’s president recently acknowledged that the two companies are in talks, but chances are slim that a partnership will be reached in the near future.

Along with China, the iPhone 5 also launched in the following countries on Friday:
Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The smartphone will debut in over 50 countries in December with the next wave of releases scheduled for a week from today.

Apple releases Epson 2.28 drivers for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7

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Date: Friday, December 14th, 2012, 08:01
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released version 2.28 of its Epson printer drivers.

The updated driver provides updated support for Epson’s entire line of printers, scanners, fax machines, and multi-function machinery when connecting to a Mac running OS X 10.6. The update is available as a 1.04 gigabyte download size from Apple’s Support website.

The updates can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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