Tales of Getting a MacBook Pro Battery Replaced

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Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 07:29
Category: battery, MacBook Pro, Opinion

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Blogger David Alison describes a process many of you have been through: going to an Apple Store with a nigh-dead MacBook Pro battery here and the details therein.

The piece also links to Apple’s terms as to which batteries are covered under an AppleCare plan, the company’s page on battery care and how to do a battery calibration via an Apple Knowledge Base article.

It’s a useful read, so give it a gander and if you have any MacBook Pro battery replacement stories of your own, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple Tablet Said to be “Shockingly Inexpensive”

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Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 12:09
Category: Rumor

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If it came from the rumor mill, the really awesome parts must be true.

Internet and television personality Alex Albrecht claimed to have insight on the price of Apple’s rumored tablet during the latest episode of Diggnation, which also featured actor John Hodgman from Apple’s “Get a Mac” commercials.

During the course of episode 231 , co-host and Web entrepreneur Kevin Rose asked Hodgman, who plays the bumbling “PC” in Apple’s commercials, if he has any inside information on the tablet.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Hodgman said. “You think they’d tell me?”

According to AppleInsider, Rose then turned his attention to Albrecht, and insinuated that the co-host had privately revealed supposed information on Apple’s long-rumored touchscreen device. After pestering from Rose, Albrecht eventually conceded: “I was shocked at how cheap the price point is going to be.” He declined to reveal anything further.

Typically it is Rose who reveals Apple-related rumors on Diggnation, with varying degrees of accuracy. In 2008, Rose revealed a leaked photo of the fourth-generation iPod nano in advance, though his iPhone-related leaks have been hit or miss.

The episode featuring Hodgman, queued to the segment discussing the tablet, is included, courtesy of Revision3:



Price predictions for the tablet have varied with some guesses placing it around US$500, to compete with the low-cost netbook market. Others have predicted its price would be comparable to a MacBook at around US$1,000. Another recent rumor placed a supposed OLED screen equipped version of the hardware at US$2,000 retail.

In other tablet news, a new survey of booksellers released Wednesday has found that industry officials expect Apple’s tablet to boost the electronic book market significantly. In fact, most said they expect the still-unseen device to be the top-selling e-reader.

As part of its digital conference held Wednesday in London, The Bookseller revealed the results of its survey of more than 1,000 trade book professionals. Among them, 52% said they believe that Apple will emerge victorious with its tablet, with Amazon’s Kindle coming in second, and Sony a “distant” third.

In addition, 42% of industry members said they believe “most” people will read e-books on a dedicated device in the future. More than 88 percent of respondents said they believe bookshops will lose out as digital sales grow.

In recent months, rumors have persisted that Apple will portray the multifunction device as a high-quality e-reader. Anonymous industry officials have claimed that the Cupertino, Calif., company has contacted numerous print publications about the forthcoming device.

Other sources have guessed at a 10″ touchscreen as well as full 3G connectivity.

If you have any guesses of your own, let us know.

Kaufman Bros. Analyst Predicts Apple, Verizon Alliance Less Likely Than Anticipated

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Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:27
Category: iPhone, News

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Even if Apple is striking a deal with Verizon (currently the largest carrier in the U.S.), competitors T-Mobile and Sprint might be more likely to carry the iPhone in 2010, one analyst believes. Per AppleInsider, Verizon is the top prize in terms of the four major U.S. carriers. Apple is currently in an exclusive deal with the No. 2 carrier, AT&T, which has 82 million customers. But that agreement is believed by many to expire in 2010.

In a new note to investors Wednesday morning, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said although many believe the iPhone will come to Verizon in 2010, it’s likely wishful thinking. The problem, he said, is both Verizon and Apple have found success by focusing on “customer control.” Their similarities are what he believes will keep them apart.

“Apple runs its own App Store and VZ has aspirations to do so,” Wu said. “Apple controls the media experience with iTunes and VZ with its V CAST service. Moreover, Apple gets very favorable economics with an overall iPhone (average selling price) of US$611 and at AT&T, we estimate it is higher at roughly US$700. RIM, who is by far VZ’s largest smart phone supplier, only has an ASP of $340. Palm’s ASP is US$436 and we estimate Motorola’s Droid ASP is roughly US$450.”

Because Apple and Verizon have conflicting interests, Wu said he believes that a deal between the two companies would take longer than many currently expect. That would make a potential 2010 deal unlikely.

Instead, Wu said that Apple could strike deals with both Sprint, which has 48 million wireless subscribers, and T-Mobile, which has 33 million customers. Both companies are more likely to be agreeable with Apple’s practices in order to offer the iPhone.

“While we believe VZ is likely inevitable at some point when 4G technology rolls out in 2012 or so, we believe Sprint and/or T-Mobile are more willing partners for Apple in helping maintain margins and customer controls,” he said. “From a technology perspective, we believe T-Mobile may have an advantage with a similar 3G UMTS/WCDMA network as AT&T.”

This marks the second time this week an analyst has predicted Apple will jump to T-Mobile in 2010. In terms of technology, T-Mobile would be the simplest choice: Though carrier’s high-speed 3G connectivity operates on a unique 1700MHz spectrum that is incompatible with the current iPhone, the addition of that frequency to a future hardware model would be much simpler than adding compatibility with Verizon or Sprint’s CDMA networks.

Recent rumors have suggested Apple is working on an agreement with chip maker Qualcomm to add CDMA connectivity to a new iPhone in 2010. But both Verizon and Sprint use a technology that, unlike the GSM network of AT&T and T-Mobile, is not widely used abroad.

Another possibility noted by Wu is that Apple could extend its contract with AT&T through 2011. The analyst said he believes AT&T’s agreement ends in the summer of 2010, but a last-minute extension remains a possibility. Earlier this year, there were reports that AT&T was working to extend the contract with Apple for one more year.

Apple Takes Control of “TabletMac” Trademark

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Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:56
Category: News

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A few years ago, Axiotron began to offer an aftermarket modification for the MacBook notebook that converted it into a tablet. The modification remains for sale at US$699 and takes a stock MacBook, removes the keyboard and screen, and adds a Wacom pen-based screen to give the device a tablet form factor.

During this process, Axiotron originally began marketing the devices as a “TabletMac” as referenced in this 2007 press release and filed a trademark for the term. Sometime in the past year, however, the trademark was transferred from Axiotron to Apple, and Apple is now listed as the owner of the trademark.

Per MacRumors, the transfer of ownership may not mean Apple has plans on using the term for their own long-anticipated tablet device. Apple may have simply contested the trademark due to the potential for confusion between “TabletMac” and their own trademarks.

Even so, the trademark has now been snagged and Apple may be drawing some lines in the sand as to product identification in the upcoming consumer market.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think!

Apple Posts Tips for Sudden Motion Sensor, Trackpad Use on Recent MacBooks

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Date: Tuesday, December 1st, 2009, 05:04
Category: MacBook

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Apple has recently updated a couple of its knowledge base articles which may prove useful for MacBook notebook owners. Per CNET, the articles cover how to enable and disable the built-in sudden motion sensor in MacBook and PowerBook computers, and also how to use the glass multi-touch track pad.

Advanced tips for Sudden Motion Sensor:
Apple included sudden motion sensor technology in PowerBook and MacBook computers to protect components such as hard drives when the computer is moved. Additionally, there are some third-party security programs that interface with the sensors, which will alarm when enabled if the computer is moved. Despite the conveniences, there are situations where the sensor may be inadvertently activated, causing the hard drive to repeatedly pause while it parks the drive heads. This KB article covers how to disable it in various MacBook and PowerBook models in various versions of OS X.

Using the Multi-Touch trackpad (Video).

Tips for using the Multi-Touch trackpad:
The multi-touch trackpads in Apple’s MacBooks are built to be intuitive; however, some new users inconvenience themselves by not using the trackpads properly by clicking with all fingers, or developing awkward two-hand methods for doing routine tasks. These articles cover the details on the trackpads, and how to best position your fingers when using them.

It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it should be useful and if you or if a friend or family member snags a new MacBook this holiday season, give the links a gander.

Rumor: Apple Working on Next-Gen iPhone, Expanding Maps Application with New Hire

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Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:39
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Hints as to a new iPhone hardware model have emerged online with a handset identifying itself as “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by PinchMedia in its application iBART for San Francisco public transportation. Per MacRumors, iPhone 3,1 appeared in its usage logs during November.

The reference could signify a new iPhone model with major hardware changes, as Apple only changes the first number in a product’s identifier string when a significant upgrade is en route. The current iPhone 3GS carries the identifier iPhone 2,1 while the original iPhone identifies itself as iPhone 1,1, and the iPhone 3G (which featured minor architectural changes from its predecessor) is iPhone 1,2.

Apple’s use of the 3,1 indicator could imply major and distinct changes, a practice that it also uses with its Mac lineup. References in software to an iPhone 3,1 have existed for some time, but the alleged use of the unreleased hardware would be a first.

Early this year, signs of iPhone 2,1 began appearing online. That hardware was eventually released months later, in June, as the iPhone 3GS.

Apple has released all of its iPhone updates in the summer. Recent rumors have suggested that the company could release a Verizon-capable phone in 2010.

Also revealed this weekend was a new job listing from Apple for a software engineer to work on the iPhone Maps application. The listing seeks a full-time employee to work in Cupertino, Calif., on the software:

“The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has changed people’s lives and we want to continue to do so,” the listing reads. “We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We’ve only just started.”

The description is particularly interesting given that Apple quietly purchased a Google Maps competitor, Placebase, this summer. The worldwide mapping company offered products that would aggregate data on subjects such as demographics, home sales, crime, mortgage lending, school performance and more.

In addition, the existing Maps application has also served as a point of contention between Apple and Google. Apple rejected the Google Latitude app because it was reportedly thought the software would only be confused with the default Maps application. Google instead released a Web-based version of the software.

Google has added additional functionality to its own Android-powered handsets with Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn voice guidance system part of the new Motorola Droid. Google has stated its intent to bring the software to the iPhone, if Apple approves.

Apple Launches U.S. Black Friday Sale, Modest Discounts Seen

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Date: Friday, November 27th, 2009, 08:27
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

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Black Friday is upon us and while the sales aren’t extraordinary, there’s a couple bucks to be saved if you know where to look. Per CNET, the latest updates are as follows:

- Apple’s U.S. Black Friday sale is up, and while not spectacular, there are some rare discounts to be found. To go back to the same examples we used for the UK and Australian Apple stores, the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro is US$1,098, down from US$1,199.

All MacBook Pro models are exactly US$101 off, while the US$999 white MacBook is not discounted at all. The 32GB iPod Touch is currently US$268, down from US$299.

This sale is good online and in Apple’s retail stores and runs until 3 AM EST on Saturday, November 28th.

If you see any killer sales in your area (up to and including someone selling MacBook notebooks from the back of a van near the highway), please let us know.

Apple Releases iPhoto 8.1.1 Update

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Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:51
Category: iPod, Software

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Apple on Tuesday released iPhoto 8.1.1, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 12.3 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), adds the following fixes and changes:

- This update addresses issues affecting face recognition performance and accuracy.

- It also fixes minor issues in the areas of book ordering, and iPod touch support.

The update can be installed via the direct link or located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

iPhoto 8.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Some Users Cite Cracked Screens, “Dead on Arrival” Status for 27″ iMacs

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Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, 06:59
Category: News

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Apple’s newest and snazziest 27″ iMac, complete with a brand new Intel Core i7 processor, has apparently been showing up dead on arrival or with cracked screens for some purchasers.

Per the Apple Discussions Board (1, 2) and Engadget, some users have claimed that the iMac chimes when the power button is pressed, but the screen displays nothing. Various users on Apple’s support forums have expressed frustration that they returned their iMac and are now waiting an estimated two weeks for a replacement machine.

There are also a handful of reports of cracks on the bottom left screen of the new iMac. Various customers stated the box containing their new system arrived in excellent condition, only to remove the packaging and discover the hardware had been damaged. It has led some to speculate that there is a flaw in the current packaging that causes the screen to crack in the bottom left corner.

“There’s no apparent damage to the styrofoam or box so it looks like that’s a weak spot in the screen and how they are being packed in the boxes,” user ‘scopro’ said. “Hopefully Apple will improve their packaging for these larger iMacs as it may take until Dec. 7 for my replacement to arrive.”

The new 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860 processor-equipped 27″ iMacs are available as a US$200 built-to-order option, which means they are not available in Apple retail stores. Apple also offers a 2.66 GHz Core i5 750 iMac with a suggested retail price of US$1,999. Both quad-core machines began shipping earlier this month and include 8MB of L3 cache.

The newly redesigned iMac includes a large 16:9 screen with a 2560×1440 pixel resolution. It offers a capacity of 16GB of RAM and comes standard with a wireless keyboard and the new Magic Mouse.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Apple Sets Policy On Smoke and Warranties

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Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, 06:00
Category: News

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Well, you’ve got another reason to quit smoking.

On Friday, Consumerist reported that Apple set policy when the company denied several users repairs under its AppleCare Protection Plan (APP) because the machine had been exposed to smoke.

The first case involved a Mid-2007 MacBook under APP that was brought to the Jordan Creek Apple Store in West Des Moines, Iowa, for overheating. Apple voided the warranty because the computer was used in a house where there was smoking. It also refused to work on the machine due to the “health risks of second hand smoke.”

In another case, an iMac under AppleCare was refused repairs because it was deemed “contaminated” by tobacco smoke and and considered a “bio-hazard.”

Apparently nicotine is on OSHA’s list of hazardous and toxic substances and Apple will not force an employee to work on anything deemed hazardous to their health because of the obvious legal exposure that could create.

Apple has yet to release any formal disclosures regarding this new policy and it’s unknown as to whether this is forthcoming.

So, yeah, that habit that’s as addictive as heroin, you might want to quit it if you want to get your money’s worth that you put into an AppleCare plan…