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.

Apple releases Security Update 2010-003 for Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6 operating systems

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Date: Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 04:40
Category: security, Software

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Following up on a slew of recent software updates, Apple released Security Update 2010-003 on Wednesday. The update, which varies in size between 6.2 and 208 megabytes depending on the version used and fixes assorted security holes described here.

The update, as usual, can be located, snagged and installed Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Security Update 2010-003 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve installed the update and noticed any changes, let us know.

Intel: Light Peak could succeed, replace USB 3.0 ports in several years

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Date: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010, 11:14
Category: News

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Representatives from Intel went on record to state that the company’s upcoming Light Peak technology could eventually succeed and replace USB 3.0 in several years. Intel, which announced Light Peak last year, hopes it will be broadly used by devices ranging from PCs to consumer electronics and other gadgets, said Kevin Kahn, an Intel senior fellow, in a speech at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing. Per Macworld, Intel will make the technology available late this year and expects partners to start shipping devices with it next year, Kahn said.

“We view this as a logical future successor to USB 3.0,” Kahn said. “In some sense we’d… like to build the last cable you’ll ever need.”

A trend toward optical instead of electrical links raises the risk that separate optical cables could appear for many protocols, such as USB and serial ATA, said Justin Rattner, the head of Intel Labs, on the sidelines of IDF. Light Peak can run multiple protocols at the same time over one line, so all the data meant for the separate cables could run through one Light Peak cable instead.

Intel insists there is no conflict between Light Peak and USB 3.0 and views the technologies as complementary, as Light Peak enables USB and other protocols to run together on a single, longer cable and at higher speeds in the future, according to a slide in Kahn’s IDF presentation. “We expect both to exist together in the market and perhaps on the same platform at the same time,” the slide said.

A laptop with Light Peak built in was on show during Kahn’s speech. A long, thin Light Peak cable, which linked the laptop to a docking station and a monitor, was used simultaneously to transmit Blu-ray video, a feed from a high-definition camera and a duplication of the notebook’s display onto the other screen. Light Peak can currently transfer data at a speed of 10G bps (bits per second), or fast enough to send a full Blu-Ray movie in less than half a minute, according to Intel. But the technology could be scaled up to 10 times that speed in the next decade according to company representatives.

USB 3.0, the latest version of USB, is far slower than Light Peak with a signalling rate of 5G bps, though it remains much faster than the current version of USB. Still, USB 3.0 is not yet widespread in devices. That is partly because many PC manufacturers will wait on USB 3.0 until support is built directly into the chipsets they buy, which is only expected to happen in late 2011, according to a research note from In-Stat.

Intel, which is a major vendor of PC chipsets, did not immediately reply to a question about whether it will launch chipsets with built-in support for USB 3.0. A spokesman for rival chip maker Advanced Micro Devices said the company will have chipsets with built-in support for USB 3.0 but declined to say when.

When asked if Intel would build Light Peak support into its chipsets, Kahn said the company could do so if Light Peak spreads quickly, but declined to comment further.

Intel expects an industry group promoting Light Peak to launch next year, Kahn said. The company has said it will work with the industry to make Light Peak a standard and speed its adoption.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.3 v1.1 Supplemental Update to address stability problems

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Date: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010, 03:59
Category: News, Software

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This was strange but it’s worth snagging.

On Tuesday, Apple released stability fixes for the client and server versions of its Mac OS X 10.6.3 operating systems via its Mac OS X 10.6.3 v1.1 Supplemental Update. The update, which can be found here, is intended for users who have updated to Mac OS X 10.6.3 directly from Mac OS X 10.6 using the recently issued Mac OS X Update Combined 10.6.3 for Snow Leopard. Users who updated from either Mac OS X 10.6.1 or 10.6.2 to 10.6.3 do not need to install this update.

Per Macworld, the update includes many of the same improvements in Mac OS X 10.6.3, such as updates to QuickTime X, OpenGL-based apps, coloring messages in Mail, and printing reliability. It also addresses issues with opening files with some special characters in Rosetta apps, color problems with HD content in iMovie, recurring events in iCal when connected to an Exchange server, and it improves performance of Logic Pro 9 and Main Stage 2 under 64-bit mode.

The Mac OS X 10.6.3 v1.1 update is available from Apple’s support download site as a 785MB combo updater; there’s also a 897MB combo update for Mac OS X Server 10.6.3 v1.1.

As always, if you’ve tried the update and noticed any significant changes (for better or for worse), feel free to hurl your two cents in.

Apple releases MacBook Pro Software Update 1.3 for mid-2010 models

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Date: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010, 03:41
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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On Tuesday (literally the same day the company released its updated MacBook Pro notebooks), Apple released Software Update 1.3 for the mid-2010 MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, a 258.3 megabyte download, is recommended for all 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro mid 2010 models and contains improvements for graphics stability for high-performance video and gaming applications as well as various bug fixes.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later to install and run and is available for free.

If you’ve tried the fix and noticed any changes, please let us know.