Rumor: Additional Tablet Supplier/Content Details Surface

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Date: Wednesday, January 20th, 2010, 07:38
Category: Rumor

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With January 27th and Apple’s expected tablet release date approaching, the rumors are flying in interesting new directions.

First, sources close to Time Inc. have informed MediaMemo that “Apple has only recently started” sharing details about its forthcoming device, and even those discussions have minimal details. Most of the talks between Time and Apple reportedly took place within the last few weeks.

As a result, Time Inc. isn’t expected to have anything to present at next week’s tablet unveiling. The source was quoted as stating that Time remains “intensely interested” in the device.

“But for now, Time Inc. executives are thinking about this stuff in a bit of vacuum, because they don’t know exactly what Steve Jobs has up his sleeve,” the report said. “Tease that out a bit and you can tell the story of most media companies: They’re excited to start taking advantage of the tablet–as soon as they find out what it is, exactly.”

In December, Time Inc. released a video demonstrating how users might read Sports Illustrated on a tablet-like device. Some members of the press were also allowed to test working demos of the concept.

In an interesting development, a new note Wednesday from UBS Investment Research cited industry checks in forecasting that the Apple tablet will be powered by a processor designed by P.A. Semi and built by Samsung. Analyst Maynard Um said it would likely be a complex system on a chip design.

Per AppleInsider, Um pegged Hon Hai Precision Co. as the manufacturer for the tablet, and said LG Display will likely supply most of the screens, with AUO being a second source.

Other parts noted by UBS were:

- Connectors from Chen Uei and Hon Hai.
- Wintek, Sintek and TPK as touch suppliers.
- Batteries from Simplo and Dynapack.
- NAND flash memory from Samsung.
- Broadcom to provide a “combo” chip for connectivity.

The note said the tablet is expected to hit the market at some point in the first half of 2010.

“Key will be timing and price points, in order to asses how material it could be for suppliers,” Um wrote. “In addition, how convincing the device will be could generate debate as per whether the tablet device category could be revived and help overall demand.”

Apple purchased chip designer P.A. Semi for US$278 million in 2008. The company specialized in sophisticated low-power designs.

Finally, Publishers Marketplace has said that “secret” negotiations are taking place between Apple and “nearly all (and most likely all) of the six largest trade publishers” in the U.S. The talks are reportedly underway in New York as Apple preps to unveil its tablet next week.

Those involved said that it’s possible a deal may not be reached in time for the January 27th event. It also noted that publishers could be “seeking greater control over pricing and supply of digital material.”

The rumors follow a report from earlier this week that Apple was in talks with publisher HarperCollins to sell e-books on the tablet, with a business model that would follow that of the existing App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch. Typical bestseller releases could cost about US$9.99, and Apple would give publishers 70% of the revenue, while keeping a 30% share for itself.

It’s speculation at this point, but it’ll be resolved in a week over at the Yerba Buena.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple Releases Security Update 2010-001

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 20th, 2010, 06:58
Category: security, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released Security Update 2010-001 for its Mac OS X operating systems. The updates, which range between a 21 and 159 megabyte download (depending on operating system), address critical vulnerabilities in the system where hackers and malicious software can take advantage and either compromise the system or steal personal information.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later for the Mac OS X 10.5 operating system and Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later for the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system and can also be located and snagged with Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Rumor: Apple to Release iPhone OS 4.0 at Jan. 27th Media Event, Details Leaked

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 19th, 2010, 09:08
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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You’ve got to admit, it’s the rumors that make life interesting.

Boy Genius Report has reportedly received information from a source close to the story claiming iPhone OS 4.0 will be introduced at Apple’s press event next week at the Yerba Buena on January 27th. Per the source, iPhone OS 4.0 will be limited to the iPhone 3G and 3GS (presumably including at least more recent iPod touch models and omitting the original iPhone) and will incorporate solutions for multitasking by running applications in the background and a revamped user interface for easier navigation.

Other changes will include the following:

- There will be multi-touch gestures OS-wide.

- “A few new ways” to run applications in the background — multitasking.

- Many graphical and UI changes to make navigating through the OS easier and more efficient.

- The update will supposedly be available for only the iPhone 3G and 3GS, but will “put them ahead in the smartphone market because it will make them more like full-fledged computers” more than any other phone to date. Everyone is “really excited.”

- A brand new syncing ability for the contacts and calendar applications.

The ability to run iPhone applications in the background has been near the top of many users’ wish lists, but Apple has yet to implement full backgrounding and multitasking due to its effect on performance and battery life, instead opting to deploy push notifications as a means for closed applications to serve data to users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple Releases EFI Firmware 1.4 for Early 2009 Mac Pro

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 19th, 2010, 06:43
Category: Software

Albeit mobile devices are important, never forget your home desktop machines.

Late Monday, Apple released EFI Firmware 1.4 for the early 2009 Mac Pro desktop workstations. The update, a 1.9 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Improves compatibility with virtualization products utilizing VT-d.
- Improves storage performance under Windows XP for Boot Camp users.
- Improves system reliability during the boot process.

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Once downloaded, please follow the instructions in the updater application (/Applications/Utilities/MacPro EFI Firmware Update.app). The updater will launch automatically when the installation is complete.

The update requires an Intel-based early 2009 Mac Pro and Mac OS X 10.5 to install and run. The update can also be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update utility.

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

Rumor: Apple Holding Talks with HarperCollins Over Potential Tablet Content

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Date: Tuesday, January 19th, 2010, 06:50
Category: Rumor

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I’d like to think that the upcoming Apple tablet could save both the publishing and journalism industries as well as paint your house on the weekend if need be.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple and publisher HarperCollins are reportedly conducting talks over possible e-book offerings for Apple’s new tablet device, with pricing that would follow the current App Store model.

The deal could offer enhanced e-books containing video, author interviews, and social-networking applications. These releases could command a higher price than the current e-book standard of US$9.99 for a typical bestseller.

It is unknown as of now if the e-books would be offered though the existing iTunes store or if a specialized e-book storefront would be created.

“Amazon created the e-book market by making the US$9.99 price for best sellers an integral part of its introduction of the Kindle e-book reader in November 2007,” the report said. “But the Kindle lacks color and video capabilities, two elements that are likely to be crucial to the future of enhanced e-books.

“Amazon could be shut out of enhanced e-books until the Kindle offers those features. The standard Kindle costs US$259, however, while analysts expect Apple’s tablet to cost about US$1,000.”

Back in early December, it was reported that Apple was offering publishers a deal that would allow them to release their content on other online stores, such as Amazon’s Kindle or the forthcoming multi-publisher digital storefront that would offer content from Conde Nast, Hearst, News Corp., Time, and Meredith for use on portable digital devices. It was reported then that Apple was planning on splitting the revenue 30/70 (Apple/publisher), compared to the 50/50 split offered by Amazon for publishing to its Kindle e-reader.

Apple is expected to announce a long-awaited tablet device at its upcoming January 27th media event at the Yerba Buena in San Francisco. Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iPhone Developer Hints at “Imminent” iPhone OS 4.0 Release

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 18th, 2010, 05:15
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Additional evidence of iPhone OS 4.0′s release being just on the horizon emerged Friday when Rick Broid of CNET’s iPhone Atlas stated that he received an e-mail from a “prominent app developer” regarding an update to the iPhone operating system. “Just wanted to give you a heads up that we’ve submitted an updated app for the new iPhone OS 4.0 software,” the e-mail allegedly said. Additional details on the supposed software were not given.

Earlier this month, it was alleged that Apple’s rumored January 27th media event at the Yerba Buena could include the introduction of iPhone OS 4.0. One report claimed the new software developer kit includes a “simulator” that makes it easy for developers to adapt to different screen resolutions.

Apple is widely expected to introduce its long-rumored tablet device at the event. This week, one rumor claimed that Apple has not issued any updates for the iPhone in some time because the next version has many tablet-related references that the company did not want to leak in advance of its planned unveiling.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: Next-Gen iPhone to Go Into Production Earlier, Feature Magic Mouse-Like Casing

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 15th, 2010, 07:26
Category: News

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If it wasn’t for rumors, things would be factually accurate.

And sort of boring.

Per Bloomberg News, Apple will introduce a new iPhone in 2010 that will employ a touch-sensitive plastic back casing similar to the one used on the company’s new Magic Mouse, one analyst has said.

In a recent interview, Robert Chen with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the new iPhone will go into production as early as April, and will be available to customers in June or July. Chen said the plastic back panel of the phone could have a touch-sensitive solid shell, much like on the Magic Mouse.

The new hardware could also include an updated version of the iPhone operating system, Chen said.

“Apple’s going to put a lot of innovation, not just on the hardware, but also on the software of the new iPhone,” he told Bloomberg.

Chen’s predictions are more in line with conventional thinking than a report from earlier this week, in which executives at a South Korean wireless provider claimed a fourth-generation iPhone could see a limited debut in April with a dual-core processor and potentially a removable battery.

Contrary to that rumor, Apple typically announces new iPhone hardware at its annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference. It is believed Apple could hold that event starting June 28, coinciding with Chen’s claims of a June or July debut for the new iPhone.

The Magic Mouse, which was introduced in October, lacks any physical buttons on its solid acrylic surface. It allows multi-touch controls that are closer to that of a MacBook trackpad, allowing secondary clicks and finger-based gestures.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of the scheduled Yerba Buena media event on January 27th.

Apple Releases MobileMe Gallery App for iPhone, iPod Touch

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 15th, 2010, 07:19
Category: iPhone, Software

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On Thursday, Apple released its MobileMe Gallery app, an application which allows users to view photos and videos from the cloud-based service on their iPhone or iPod touch.

Per AppleInsider, the MobileMe Gallery app allows users to select an album with a tap and flick back and forth through photos, pinch to zoom, or rotate into landscape view. The software also automatically stores photos that have been viewed, so they can be accessed again even without a network connection.

Users can access publicly shared content by choosing names from contacts or entering their MobileMe member name. The application also includes a scrolling sampler at the top that gives users access to recent photos.

Users must enter their MobileMe member name and password to see their list of published movies and photos. A MobileMe subscription is required.

The application is available for free and requires iPhone OS version 3.1 or later.

Apple Patent Applications Discovered for iPhone Stylus, Contextual User Interfaces

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Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2010, 06:03
Category: Patents

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A series of recently published patent applications shows that Apple has been looking into creating a stylus for use on a touch-sensitive panel like the iPhone, and creating dynamic user interfaces for mobile devices that would adapt to location and use.

Per AppleInsider, the first patent application addresses the idea of a conductive tip for a stylus that would be recognized by such a screen.

“A metallic or otherwise conductive disk may be attached to one end of the stylus,” the application reads. “The disk may be sized so as to guarantee sufficient electrical interaction with at least one sensory element of the touch sensor panel.”

The application also presents the option of a powered stylus that would provide the stimulus signal required by a capacitive touch screen. A powered stylus could also include sensors that would measure elements like force and angle that would transmit additional information to the device.

“This additional data can be used for selecting various features in an application executing on the host device (e.g., selecting various colors, brushes, shading, line widths, etc.),” the application reads.

The invention is credited to John G. Elias, an Apple employee and co-founder of FingerWorks, the firm acquired by Apple during the development of the original iPhone. The application is titled “Stylus Adapted For Low Resolution Touch Sensor Panels.” It was submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 11th, 2008.

The other application focuses on the idea that future portable devices could have different input methods and user interfaces depending on where they are located.

For example, using the device in the car or in the gym could show a different design on the screen. Devices could also be controlled in different fashions when they are docked and less portable, and a different design and input method might make more sense.

“Each mode may define different features and content that are customized for a particular mode,” the application reads. “Based a selected mode, the media player may provide access to only content, features, hardware, user interface elements, and the like that the user wishes to have access to when the mode is enabled. The media player may provide the user different experiences, looks, and feels for each mode.”

Users would be able to customize each of the different GUIs available. The goal, the application states, is to create a “cleaner, more focused user experience.”

Custom layouts and playlists could be created for use at the gym or while driving, which would automatically be reconfigured when a particular mode is enabled.

“The mode may further specify how applications relevant to the mode may be displayed, such as backgrounds, icons, style information, themes, or other information that provides a visual indicator of the active mode,” the document reads.

The application, entitled “Multi-Model Modes of One Device,” is credited to William Bull and Ben Rottler. It was submitted on Sept. 9th, 2008.

Users Report Window Rendering Bug on MacBooks Under Mac OS X 10.6.X

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Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2010, 06:18
Category: MacBook, Software

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As much as you may like Mac OS X, there may still be some bugs to hash out. Per CNET, several MacBook users have reported experiencing a problem in OS X where the system shows areas of graphics corruption around windows. The corruption appears to be a black area of blocky lines in no particular pattern, and seems to be in the area of the window’s shaded region, moving with the window when it is moved.

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The behavior seems to be specific for computers that are running Intel GMA X3100 graphics chipsets. It started occurring with Mac OS X 10.6 for some people, though for others the 10.6.1 update spurred the problem, and as of the latest 10.6.2 release this problem has not been addressed. The issue seems to happen most when multimedia files are being played, especially with beta versions of Adobe flash are being used. From user descriptions, the problem seems to stem from a bug waiting to be fixed in the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system.

Recent reports suggest Apple is working on significantly improving support for more OpenGL 3.0 functions and extensions in OS X 10.6.3, which implies Apple will be updating the graphics drivers in the next update. Hopefully the bug that is causing this problem will be addressed then.

In the meantime, you can try the following fixes and workarounds:

- Reset PRAM and SMC.

- Boot into safe mode and clear caches with OnyX or other maintenance utility.

- Try a different user account.

- Try different graphics settings (bit depth, resolution).

This glitch won’t hurt anything and only affects the MacBook’s rendering of window shadows, which can still be interacted with normally. If you’ve seen this issue on your end and found your own fix or workaround, please let us know.