Rumor: Upcoming MacBook, MacBook Pro notebooks to feature updated Intel processors, other improvements

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, 03:45
Category: News

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You love your MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks but in the recent months of coverage surrounding the iPad (which also makes thousands of delicious julienne-style fries), you’ve wondered if it was due for anything new?

Per Taiwanese blog Apple Daily, sources close to the story say the only reason the MacBook lines haven’t already been updated is because of chip shortages from Intel. The same report claims that all MacBooks will be available with not only the newest Intel processors, but also up to 640 GB hard drives and 8-hour battery performance throughout the line.

The MacBook Pro line’s last significant update was last June — and I know of several people who have been holding off on a new purchase until the line is updated. With Apple the lone remaining major manufacturer yet to integrate Intel’s newest i5 and i7 processors into their portables.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you’d like to see in Apple’s next generation of notebook computers.

Apple schedules iPhone OS 4.0 preview for April 8th, speculation emerges

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Date: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, 03:46
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News

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On Monday, Apple announced that it would hold a special invite-oly press event in San Francisco on April 8th to offer a preview of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 operating system.

“Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS,” the event invitation reads per Macworld UK.

With nothing specific on the table, speculation as to what can be expected has run across the following lines:

Multitasking:
Per recent rumors and reports, Apple has been looking to include full multitasking and may be doing this via an Expose-like approach which will show open programs revealed when the user double-clicks the iPhone’s Home button. Multitasking always seems to have a place on iPhone OS wish lists and it makes sense to match Android OS-based smartphones on their own ground.

Global Mailbox and Home Screen Contacts:
Recent iPhone OS 4.0 rumors have centered around a global inbox that merges multiple e-mail accounts into a unified view, plus the ability to add specific contact names as icons on the iPhone’s home screen. These changes could be useful on a lot of levels but might also be stepping stones to larger feature inclusions.

GPS Navigation:
With Google adding free, turn-by-turn, voice-guided GPS navigation to its Android phones, and Nokia doing the same for several of its handsets, the pressure’s on Apple to offer something similar. Apple acquired mapping company Placebase last summer, and also posted a job ad last November seeking an engineer to help overhaul the iPhone’s Maps app. A major GPS application seems likely and Apple has taken several important steps towards this.

Verizon iPhone, 4G iPhone:
It’s worth pointing out that Apple’s event is aimed at the iPhone’s operating system, not hardware. Don’t expect to hear anything about Verizon iPhones or next-generation iPhones. Just as Apple announced the 3.0 OS in March 2009, and the iPhone 3GS in June, any news on the hardware front is probably a few months away.

Email Attachments, Contact and SMS Groups, Rotation Lock:
Though this is pure speculation, a lot of iPhone OS users have griped about it. To this day, users can’t attach files within the e-mail app (you can only send them from outside apps), and the inability to create groups for contacts or text messages is a pain. With the iPad getting its own handy rotation lock switch, it may be time to build this into the larger iPhone OS.

Stay tuned for additional details and full event coverage come April 8th.

And if you have any changes you’d like to see made to the iPhone OS in version 4.0, please let us know in the comments.

iPad Launch Day Roundup

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, April 3rd, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News, Pictures

Ok, just got back from the iPad launch at the Apple Store in Arlington, Virginia, so bear with me here:

Coming up on the line, you heard cheering from about half a block away. With dozens of blue-shirted Apple employees running about, handing out coffee and water and high-fiving each other and customers, they’ve adopted something of a Wal-Mart employee rally mentality.

Not a bad thing, but a little weird…

Apple Store employees do a victory lap in advance.

Coming up on the line, there were about 75 people in a line to each side of the front door, the lines being divided into those with reservations and those without reservations who were hoping to snag a unit. Apple employees continued high-fiving customers before retreating into the store where their pep rally continued behind closed doors.

“For me it’s something new. The interface has changed enough for me not to say it’s the same thing. I love the fact that Netflix plays on it,” said an attendee at the head of the reservation line who identified himself as a former Apple employee named “Elon”. “It’s a device that lets you touch things and I like to touch things,” he joked.

Elon waiting in line for the Apple’s iPad.

“I do agree Flash does bog down my system, a lot of the naysayers it’s 95% of the web. I do fine with my videos and I don’t have to worry about Netflix. For someone who likes to play games, then yes, Flash will probably be a bummer.”

He then went on to comment that he’d arrived at the store around midnight the night before and was planning to buy the iPad, hop on the Metro, go home, sync it to iTunes and get to work on it.

Others were there for less direct reasons. Angela Lucas of Arlington, Virginia, snagged the top spot in the reserve line to buy an iPad for her husband’s birthday in two days’ time. “He wants to be the first among his friends to have it,” she said, smiling.

Tom Bridge, a local resident and owner of welovedc.com, seemed more excited about the iPad’s potential than anything else.

“I do have some hesitations, I’m not wild about the closed off development platform but I do know that there are a lot of awesome apps on day one and that people will find a way to make this work,” said Bridge, who then cited that he was looking forward to finding ways to blend the iPad with his business functions.

Upon the opening of the Apple Store’s doors, the staff eased the crowd in, limiting the number of people in the store, where almost all of the displays had been switched over to iPad demo units. Unlike the iPhone launches, customers were able to purchase their iPads quickly without any registration concerns and could either buy the iPad and leave or do an initial sync to iTunes in order to set the device up.

First out the door was Brad Gardner, a Washington, D.C. resident who was promptly swamped by interviewers and seemed more intent on getting home and setting the iPad up:

A few customers later, the ever-helpful Dominic Gohla exited the store and was happy to unpack the iPad for the cameras. Gohla had coordinated an arrival from Germany to pick up a reserved iPad and sat down in a nearby Starbucks to hop on the AT&T wireless network to offer the following demo and interview to a German web site (in German, so if any of you have a friend that knows German, yank them over to translate – I’ll be slamming my head against the desk):


Perhaps one of the coolest moments of the morning, Dominic demoed Apple’s new iBooks app with the complimentary copy of “Winnie The Pooh” that arrives with the program. The word “smooth” is applicable here and the pages not only turn easily, but can be grabbed and slowly turned from any portion of the page. Nice touch.

Prior to heading out, an attendee who identified himself as “Simon” perhaps summed up the hopes of the line the best. “This is a traveler’s dream device. I can take it on a flight and never get bored again,” he said. Simon then went on to offer that in spite of the lack of native Adobe Flash support for the device, he was reassured in that a lot of the big media companies seem to be turning around and supporting the HTML5 standard.

From a personal perspective, there’s a lot to be impressed with. The iPad is light, speedy, the screen is everything the user could ever want, the interface is responsive and the accelerometer seems to be working overtime, happily shipping between vertical and landscape views with only a slight turn of the tablet.

We’ll have a full review up in about a week’s time, but for the time being, this is definitely something cool and Apple seems to have taken its time to create a unique product that could, in fact, blow its tablet competition out of the water.

Apple launches iBooks app for iPad

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 03:40
Category: iPad, Software

The day before the official U.S. launch of the iPad, Apple’s long awaited iBooks app is now available in the App Store. Per MacRumors, the app offers both a book reader, an online bookstore to purchase new books and the following:

- Complimentary copy of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.

- Read a free sample of any book on the iBookstore.

- Change font size, pick from five different included type faces.

- Highlight your favorite passages with the built-in bookmarking feature.

- Accessibility features such as speaking words on a given page.

iBooks requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later and an iPad to install and run.

Rumor: iPhone OS 4.0 could support multitasking via Expose-like user interface

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

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Earlier reports surrounding Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 firmware focused on the idea of multitasking for the operating system. Per AppleInsider, these rumors have expanded to state that the supported multitasking will be resemble the Expose function in Mac OS X.

According to “people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new firmware,” a keystroke combination consisting of hitting the Home button twice will bring up the icons of currently running apps, allowing users to quickly choose the one they want to switch to.

The article notes that this sounds more like the basic “Command + Tab” app switcher (similar to Microsoft Window’s “Ctrl + Tab” option) than Expose, which scales all open windows down to tiny little versions of themselves, but their sources insist that the new iPhone multitasking will exhibit “several characteristics of the Expose brand.”

Multitasking, or its absence, has long been an issue for iPhone OS-based devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and, come Saturday, the iPad. Although number of bundled iPhone apps, including the phone and the iPod functions, are perfectly capable of running in the background while the user performs other tasks. Third-party app multitasking currently isn’t supported, which means that users must quit any third-party app they are using in order to run another third-party app.

Apple addressed the multitasking issue (sort of) in its iPhone OS 3.0 update, when it introduced push notifications. Push notifications notify users of changes in third-party apps (email, instant messages, and so on), so that users can switch over to that app if necessary.

Currently, multiple smartphone operating systems support multitasking. Compatible devices include Palm’s WebOS, Google’s Android OS, RIM’s BlackberryOS, and Windows Mobile (though the new Windows Phone 7 series will reportedly not support multitasking), leaving Apple is a bit behind.

Rumor: Hulu may offer “all-you-can-eat” subscription model for iPad

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Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 04:07
Category: iPad, Rumor

With the iPad’s release a mere two days away, Hulu will reportedly embrace the platform with an iPad app that may offer an all-you-can eat subscription service to challenge Apple’s al a carte model.

Per the New York Times, four sources has stated that they ‘believe’ Hulu may test a subscription approach to its catalog of streaming TV shows through the forthcoming app, which wasn’t given a release date.

A joint venture of NBC Universal, the News Corporation and the Walt Disney Company, Hulu has seen its ad-supported, browser-based streaming service generate revenues of more than US$100 million and triple monthly streams to 903 million over the past year.

According to the article, many of Hulu’s content suppliers who are now pressuring the company to increase their share of the revenues and open doors to better monetization techniques, such as a subscription service that asks consumers to pay a monthly fee to gain unlimited access to a broad assortment of shows.

Apple held similar aspirations in the lead-up to this weekend’s iPad launch but was forced to table its own US$30 per month subscription efforts due to opposition from its network partners, which were said to have concerns that this could ultimately hurt their business and jeopardize “the tens of billions of dollars in subscription fees they are paid by cable and satellite companies for their traditional TV networks.”

Rumors of Hulu’s plans for the iPad have been circulating since the company was reported to be developing an Apple-friendly version of its website that would operate without the need for Adobe’s Flash video format, which isn’t supported on Apple’s mobile devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases AirPort Utility 5.5.1, updated firmware for Time Capsule, late 2009 AirPort Extreme units

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 04:28
Category: Software, wireless


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Late Wednesday, Apple released AirPort Utility 5.5.1, a 10.2 megabyte download which offers the following fixes to the AirPort Utility software:

- Not importing all settings when importing a configuration.

- Not propagating MAC address control lists when using an extended network.

The company also released a firmware update for its Time Capsule and late 2009 AirPort Extreme Base Station devices. The updated firmware repairs a problem with wireless performance in the 5GHz band and an issue with creating a Guest Network in that same band.

Both updates require Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run and the AirPort Utility update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature or via the update feature in Airport Utility itself.

Apple “rejiggers” iPhone to ease load on AT&T network

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Date: Wednesday, March 31st, 2010, 05:25
Category: iPhone, News

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A new report profiling AT&T’s bandwidth troubles posed by millions of iPhone units reveals that AT&T had Apple modify the handset to ease strain on the company’s network. Per the Wall Street Journal, AT&T Chief Technology Officer John Donovan said he and other executives flew to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus to give the handset maker a “crash course in wireless networking.” With regular return meetings at Apple, AT&T employees helped the iPhone designers create new technologies to limit the strain on the wireless provider.

“Apple rejiggered how its phones communicate with AT&T’s towers,” the report said. “As a result, the phones now put less of a load on the network for such simple tasks as finding the closest tower or checking for available text messages.”

Donovan told the Journal that Apple’s designers are now “in a Master’s class” on networking, having learned the basics and worked with AT&T to improve the iPhone dramatically. Exactly what changes were made, and whether they were hardware or software based, were not revealed.

The article also revealed that AT&T executives set up a 100-day play in December of 2009 to improve the company’s network in large cities where users most commonly experience dropped calls. A random performance test released in February found that AT&T’s 3G network speeds had improved by 84%.

But the Journal also noted Tuesday that AT&T is still “racing” to improve its network as Apple is rumored to be working on a CDMA capable iPhone that could be headed to the Verizon network as soon as this year.

Apple releases iPhone OS 3.2 SDK gold master

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Date: Tuesday, March 30th, 2010, 04:56
Category: iPad, iPhone, Software

Late Monday, Apple release the Gold Master version of its iPhone OS 3.2 SDK, which will act as the final version of the development kit. Per MacNN, developers can also now download the official iPad 3.2 firmware and corresponding licensing agreement with the agreement hints at terms for future firmware upgrades.

“Apple will provide you any iPad OS software updates that it may release from time to time, up to and including the next major iPad OS software release following the version of iPad OS software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPad, for free,” the agreement reads.

While iPhone owners have been permitted to download every major firmware update at no charge, the iPod touch requires a modest fee for similar downloads. The iPad appears to balance both models, providing one major revision at no cost but charging for further updates.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple working on standard fourth-gen iPhone for summer, CDMA iphone for Verizon

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 30th, 2010, 03:44
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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In addition to the anticipated release of a fourth generation iPhone this summer, the Wall Street Journal has stated that Apple is also working on a CDMA-capable version that could run on the Verizon network in the U.S.

In a report issued Monday evening, Journal reporters Yukari Iwati Kane, Tin-I Tsai and Niraj Sheth reported that Apple “appears” to be working on a new iPhone model for Verizon Wireless. The report suggested that the CDMA iPhones might come after Apple introduces a new handset this summer, as the CDMA iPhones are not scheduled to go into mass production until September. The report noted it was “unclear when Apple might make the model available.”

“The people briefed on the matter said one of the new iPhones is being manufactured by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which produced Apple’s previous iPhones,” the report said. “The model that has CDMA capability, used by Verizon Wireless, is being manufactured by Pegatron Technology Corp., the contract manufacturing subsidiary of Taiwan’s ASUSTeK Computer Inc., said these people.”

Apple is expected to introduce a fourth generation iPhone at its Worldwide Developers Conference this summer. A calendar listing for San Francisco’s Moscone Center, where the event is usually held, has led some to believe that WWDC 2010 could take place between June 28 and July 2.

In January, Apple executives made a clear effort to demonstrate they are happy with their partnership with AT&T. The company also aimed to downplay speculation that the iPhone would become available on multiple carriers in the with Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook stating that multi-carrier strategies are not the best option for every country.

“I don’t want to imply that would happen in every market or that we are headed that way in every market,” Cook said in the company’s quarterly earnings call. He also specifically defended AT&T and said the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier is working to alleviate coverage concerns across the country.

The rumored September manufacture date reported would fit with rumors that Apple could launch a UMTS/CDMA hybrid iPhone in the third quarter of calendar 2010. However, some have speculated that the technology will not be ready for the iPhone until 2011 at the earliest.

Earlier this year, one report alleged that Apple and Verizon were in negotiations for a summer 2010 CDMA iPhone launch, but the two companies were said to be at odds over pricing. That report alleged that Apple could still make a CDMA phone for other markets like China and Japan, even if a deal with Verizon couldn’t be reached.

Other sources have stated that the new iPhone to be introduced this summer will bring the latest update to its mobile operating system, iPhone OS 4.0, and with it support for full-fledged multitasking with third-party applications.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.