Toshiba Announces 64GB Flash Memory Modules, iPhone Likely Candidate for New Component

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Date: Tuesday, December 15th, 2009, 06:20
Category: iPhone, News

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Electronics manufacturer Toshiba has announced its new 64GB embedded flash memory modules (created via a 32nm process technology and featuring a dedicated controller) which should become available in the first quarter of 2010. The chips seem likely to find their way into a future model of iPhone.

The new chips are available for sample now, and mass production of them is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2010. Per AppleInsider, Toshiba said the product will be used in smartphones, mobile phones, netbooks and digital video cameras.

Likely to be a customer is Apple, which has doubled the maximum capacity of the iPhone with a new release every summer. Given the current 32GB iPhone 3GS, next year’s iPhone is likely to offer 64GB of capacity.

In addition, the new 64GB iPod touch, introduced in September, uses a pair of 32GB NAND chips to achieve its maximum capacity. Toshiba’s new chips would allow Apple to release a 128GB iPod touch sometime in 2010.

Toshiba said its new 64GB chip offers up to 1,070 hours of music at 128Kbps,8.3 hours of full-spec high definition video, and 19.2 hours of standard definition video. The chips are said to be 30 micrometers thick, giving them the highest density of NAND flash in the industry.

Apple Cites, Apologizes for Delays on 27″ iMac Model

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Date: Monday, December 14th, 2009, 06:00
Category: News

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This probably isn’t the position Apple wants to be in, but it’s still what they’ve got to deal with at the moment.

Still, the fact that it’s during the holidays doesn’t help any.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has officially acknowledged that it is working to fulfill orders for its new 27″ iMac, though the company has yet to officially address reports of screen flickering for some users.

While Apple did not respond to claims of hardware issues causing the delays, numerous threads on the Apple support forums have reported screen-related issues on the new 27-inch iMac. A number of users in particular have claimed to experience screen flickering on the hardware.

When reached for comment, Apple offered an apology in a statement Sunday to Jim Dalrymple of CNet:

“The new iMac has been a huge hit and we are working hard to fulfill orders as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience or delay in delivery this may cause our customers.”

When it first launched in October, the new iMac was the best-selling desktop machine for the month. The 21.5″ iMac came in first place, while the 27″ iMac took third in overall sales. Overall Mac sales in October were up 7%, suggesting the company could sell as many as 2.9 million systems for the quarter.

But issues related to the new hardware cropped up in November, as some systems showed up with cracked screens or just did not work. Flash video playback issues were also reported soon after the systems debuted.

This weekend, authorized resellers noted that their 27″ iMac shipments had been delayed, as reports of screen flickering have grown. The resellers have been notified of delays of around two weeks.

Rumor: Foxconn Tapped to Build Next-Generation iPhone for Mid-2010 Release

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Date: Friday, December 11th, 2009, 08:56
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Taiwanese manufacturer and Apple favorite Foxconn has reportedly received an order to build the next-generation handset, likely to arrive in mid-2010. Per Mobile Review editor Eldar Murtazin’s Twitter post on Thursday: “Foxconn received order for next generation iphone.”

The timing makes sense, as Apple’s first three iPhone product debuts hit a June launch.

Despite there being some time yet until the next-generation iPhone debuts, there are plenty of rumors surrounding the anticipated device. In November, the first signs of a model “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by a developer in its software usage logs, suggesting Apple was testing a new handset.

Apple has indicated it intends to overhaul its iPhone maps application with in-house developers. The company’s purchase of worldwide mapping company Placebase over the summer would likely play a part in any new features.

Reports have also said Apple is testing RFID swipe support in next-generation iPhone prototypes. Such technology would allow the phone to sense embedded chips without making direct contact. The feature could allow swipe payments with the phone at checkout at a store, or obtaining information from kiosks.

Apple is also expected to build its own proprietary iPhone chips based off of ARM’s A9 reference designs, thanks to the US$278 million purchase of chip designer PA Semi in 2008. The new iPhone could have multi-core ARM chips powering it.

Finally, the question of a Verizon-capable CDMA iPhone has surfaced. Conflicting reports have differed on the possibility of a dual-mode CDMA and GSM world phone debuting in 2010, though Verizon and chipset maker Qualcomm are said to have been in talks.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

First Builds of Mac OS X 10.6.3 Update Due This Week

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Date: Thursday, December 10th, 2009, 07:42
Category: Software

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The first external builds of Mac OS X 10.6.3, the next incremental update to Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system, should be seeded to developers this week. Per AppleInsider, sources close to the story say the forthcoming builds are likely to be released to some developers in the next 48 hours, and carry the expected prefix of 10Dxx. It is not yet known what issues Apple hopes to address with the latest update.

A month ago, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.2, which corrected a guest account bug that could potentially delete a user’s account data, triggered by logging in and out of a guest account on a Snow Leopard machine. The update also included native support for the Mac maker’s new multi-touch Magic Mouse.

That update was in beta for just over a month, before its release to the public on Nov. 9. A timeframe for the potential Mac OS X 10.6.3 release is not yet known.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Tablet Rumors Point to March/April Launch Date, 10.1″ Screen

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Date: Thursday, December 10th, 2009, 06:51
Category: Rumor

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Checks within Apple’s supply chain have led to a new round of tablet-related rumors from Yair Reiner, an analyst with Oppenheimer, who believes the device will launch in March or April of 2010 with a 10.1″ LCD screen. Per AppleInsider, Reiner also said that Apple has been reaching out to book publishers with a “very attractive proposal” for offering content on a forthcoming ebook platform.

Reiner believes the tablet could provide an additional 50 cents to 75 cents in earnings per share for AAPL stock.

“Our checks into Apple’s supply chain indicate the manufacturing cogs for the tablet are creaking into action and should begin to hit a mass market stride in February,” the note said. “At this stage Apple appears to be sizing its supply chain to support production of as many as 1M units per month.”

Reiner said Apple would likely need at least five or six weeks of inventory built up before it can release the product, positioning a likely launch in March or April. Such a launch would assume there are no production issues, like the one believed to have led to the last-minute removal of a camera from the latest iPod touch.

He also said that the device will have a 10.1″ multi-touch display using LTPS LCD technology, the same as on the iPhone. He specifically disputed an earlier report that a high-end model would sport an OLED display.

Apple is also said to be offering publishers a deal that will allow them to release their content on other online stores, such as for Amazon’s Kindle, or for new, forthcoming digital storefronts from major publishers. But Apple could sweeten the pot by offering a better deal than some companies, like Amazon, currently offer.

“Contacts in the U.S. tell us Apple is approaching book publishers with a very attractive proposal for distributing their content,” Reiner said. “Apple will split revenue 30/70 (Apple/publisher); give the same deal to all comers; and not request exclusivity. We believe the typical Kindle split is 50/50, rising to 30/70 if Kindle is given ebook exclusivity.”

Reiner went on to say that the Kindle has “disgruntled the publishing industry” by strong-arming companies into exclusivity through a “wolfish cut of revenue” taken if they sell their content elsewhere. The Kindle also does not allow advertising in content it sells for its device.

“The tablet is set to change that,” Reiner said. “It should also make ebooks more relevant for education by simplifying functions such as scribbling marginalia.”

Apple Releases AirPort Client Update 2009-002

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Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, 08:55
Category: Software

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Rounding out yesterday’s sexy update-o-rama, Apple also released its AirPort Client Update 2009-002. The update a 13 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Inability to turn AirPort on or off in some cases after upgrading from Mac OS X Leopard.
- An occasional loss of network connection when using Wake on Demand.
- Inability to create a computer-to-computer network, or share the Internet connection on some MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini computers.

As always, Software Update is your friend in snagging and installing this.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried it and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple Releases SuperDrive 3.0 Firmware Update

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Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, 08:20
Category: iMac, Mac mini, MacBook, Software

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Amid its slew of updates, Apple also released its SuperDrive 3.0 firmware update. The update, an 18.4 megabyte download, helps eliminate the noise made by the optical disk drive during system startup and wake from sleep on your Mac. The update applies to some MacBooks, the iMac and the Mac Mini and requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 to install and run.

The SuperDrive 3.0 update can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.

Apple Releases Firmware Updates for MacBook, MacBook Pro

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Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, 07:36
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released its MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.4 for its MacBook notebook. The update, a 3.1 megabyte download, eliminates the noise made by the optical disk drive during system startup and wake from sleep on MacBook computers.

The company also released its MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.8 for some MacBook Pro models. The update, a 3.4 megabyte download, also eliminates the noise made by the optical drive during startup and emerging from sleep.

Both updates can be snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.

Apple Purchases Lala Streaming Service, Analyst Predicts Steps Towards Mobile iTunes Content

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Date: Monday, December 7th, 2009, 07:39
Category: iTunes, News

Apple’s purchase of the Lala streaming music service could set up an infrastructure for iTunes content and purchases to be accessed from multiple locations via a Web browser, one analyst has predicted.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research stated in a note that the purchase of Lala supports the idea that Apple is building a cloud-based system to allow access of content across all of its products on Monday morning. The purchase could tie in to Apple’s $1 billion server farm project which found a home in North Carolina this past summer.

“We believe the Lala acquisition fits into our view that Apple is building a data center for a service to provide seamless access & mobility of digital content across all of its products, including media-focused content of iTunes and user-generated content of MobileMe,” Um said. “Lala gives Apple browser/Web-based technology to access music anywhere.”

Apple made its first integration between the browser and iTunes in November, when iTunes Preview was quietly released. Links generated via iTunes direct to a Web site that gives customers the option to view content without launching Apple’s desktop media suite. Previously, users who did not have iTunes installed were prompted to do so in order to view content.

Apple’s purchase of Lala was confirmed last week, though the terms of the agreement have not been revealed. The , Palo Alto, California-based company has a catalog of over 8 million songs, and allows users to match songs on their PCs to its licensed content, and then play them anywhere on the Web through a browser. DRM-free songs can be downloaded for about 89 cents, while Web-only streams are about 10 cents.

“Lala also allows users to browse friends’ collections, create/listen to playlists, & get updates when new or recommended music is added to their sites,” Um said. “The service is similar to Apple’s Genius feature except driven by real people (vs. algorithms).”

He believes that the purchase of Lala will widen Apple’s “halo” that draws consumers to purchase Apple products. By allowing iTunes content to be more easily accessed across a variety of Apple-branded devices, the purchase could further future hardware sales.

In October, Lala, along with iLike, entered a partnership with Google to allow users to quickly discover song previews, artist info, pictures, video and more. Currently, Google searches for artists or songs can return a full, streaming, embedded song at the top of results, courtesy of Lala.

Apple to Launch Second Annual “12 Days of Christmas” Giveaway for European iTunes Store

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Date: Friday, December 4th, 2009, 05:07
Category: News

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If you’re in Europe, you have a reason to be slightly smug this month. Per Macworld UK, Apple is once again offering a selection of free downloads as the iTunes 12 Days of Christmas promotion starts for a second year.

The 12 Days of Christmas free giveaway runs from December 26th to January 6th when each download will be available for just 24 hours. Last year the offer included “rare singles, live tracks and free music videos” with music from Katy Perry, Lily Allen and The Ting Tings.

iPhone apps, free TV shows, movies and music videos are expected to be amongst the free offerings this year.

Users can also receive email alerts for each free offer from 26 Dec by entering their details at www.itunes12daysofchristmas.co.uk.

No word has been released yet as to whether there will be an American version of this offer.