Rumor: NVIDIA May Bring Changes to Dual Graphics Architecture for Future MacBook Pro Notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 08:50
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

nvidialogo.jpg

Apple may be planning an enhancement to its next-generation MacBook Pros that will allow for automatic switching between integrated and discrete graphics processors based on whichever is the more optimal technology (power consumption vs. performance) at any given time.

Per AppleInsider, Apple, which has offered two NVIDIA graphics processors in its 17″ and higher-end 15″ MacBook Pro models, one discrete processor and one integrated processor. Users of these machines have been able use the Energy Saver pane in System Preferences to select whether they prefer “better battery life” with the integrated graphics or “higher performance” with the discrete graphics, although switching between the two requires users to log out of their accounts temporarily.

A current rumor states that NVIDIA may bring its Optimus technology to the MacBook Pro, which would allow for seamless switching between graphics processors based on automatic software settings. NVIDIA reportedly developed the technology in response to a dispute with Intel over NVIDIA’s ability to build chipsets for Intel’s latest processors, a dispute that has led to NVIDIA exiting the chipset business. NVIDIA’s Optimus technology offers computer manufacturers a means of pairing NVIDIA’s well-regarded discrete graphics processors with integrated processors provided by Intel as part of its chipsets.

The report notes that the source is not 100% certain that the change will be made in time to appear in Apple’s next-generation MacBook Pro, which is widely expected in the near future. Apple’s pressing need for a solution to the situation presented by the Intel-NVIDIA dispute, however, makes it very likely that the technology will be included in the forthcoming models.

Apple Improves 27″ iMac Ship Time, Raises Cap on 3G Downloads

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 05:33
Category: iMac, iPhone, News

applelogo1.jpg

Following Apple’s recent troubles with its 27″ iMac and a wait time of up to three weeks, AppleInsider is reporting that the company has dropped the ship time to five to seven days, suggesting that the company has managed to address the video issues that haunted the desktops. The change applies to both the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 powered versions of the computer.

Early adopters of the big-screen iMac have seen a number of hardware issues pertaining to the screen, with reports of flickering and yellow discoloration. The company released two software updates to fix the issues, and also reportedly offered some customers a 15 percent refund for their troubles.

Supplies of the 27-inch iMac have been constrained for months, with Apple in December even apologizing for delays, citing considerable demand form consumers. 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-inch iMac took third in overall sales.

In other news, Apple quietly doubled the download limit for files from the iPhone App Store and iTunes via 3G. Users can now download files up to 20MB in size from a wireless carrier’s data network. The previous cap was 10MB for “over the air” downloads.

In addition to applications, the new limit also applies to multimedia files, such as podcasts available through iTunes. The update expands beyond AT&T in the U.S., with international reports stating the 10MB cap has also been lifted.

If you’ve played around with the new limit, let us know.

Rumor: Apple Considering Samsung AMOLED Screens for Fourth-Gen iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 18th, 2010, 05:09
Category: iPhone, Rumor

3gs.jpg

Apple’s fourth generation iPhone may switch to Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen technology per oled-display.net and rumors in the display business. Although Apple has purportedly been hesitant to use OLEDs due to their high power draw on bright backgrounds for e-mail and web browsing, the new screens used in the Wave and Beam could potentially overcome this problem. Apple is said by OLED-Display to have a “lifetime” deal with Samsung for AMOLED screens but to have held back on using it for now.

Apple is publicly known to have a US$500 million deal with LG Display, though the company isn’t believed to have enough capacity to produce AMOLEDs at volumes the iPhone would need.

Whether or not Apple would use the specific display technique isn’t known, although Super AMOLED is potentially ideal. The technology builds capacitive touch directly into the organic display itself and is not only thinner than the existing, two-layer LCD plus touch of the current iPhone but is potentially much more viewable. In addition to providing a much deeper color gamut and higher contrast, Super AMOLED largely overcomes the problems OLEDs have with visibility outdoors and can often be easier to read in bright sunlight than an LCD.

A choice of the sort would potentially be supported by part leaks showing a taller iPhone, which recent rumors and leaked photos have supported.

Alleged MacBook Pro Prototype with Red Motherboard Found on eBay

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 17th, 2010, 04:58
Category: Fun, MacBook Pro

Ok, this is interesting.

An alleged prototype of a 17-inch MacBook from the previous generation without an aluminum housing, has appeared for bidding on eBay. According to MacNN, the device allegedly integrates a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, indicating that it may have been a prototype for the MacBook Pros released early in 2008.

redboard

Although pictures of the prototype device do not show a housing dissimilar to the MacBook Pro design that was chosen for production, the EMC number has been left blank.

The seller claims the device was purchased from a Craigslist ad posted by a “guy in San Jose.” After taking the MacBook to an Apple Store for servicing, the staff reportedly told the owner that the MacBook “doesn’t exist” and the red motherboard indicates a prototype instead of a production model.

Although it is uncommon for prototype products to surface on the market, it is routine for Apple to distribute such devices to certain employees. Possessors are typically prohibited, however, from selling the device or attempting to have it repaired.

The unit has a US$255 reserve which has yet to be met, so you could take home a cool piece of history if you wanted to…

Apple Offers Extended Warranty Program for MacBook Hard Drives

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 17th, 2010, 04:15
Category: hard drive, MacBook, News

If the hard drive on your older MacBook Pro was starting to go south, Apple may have something for you.

Per CNET, Apple is now offering the MacBook Repair Extension Program for hard-drive issues on machines purchased roughly between May 2006 and December 2007. Customers experiencing hard-drive issues should take their machines to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Reseller to have it diagnosed.

10458136-macbook-hard-drive-upgrade

The primary sign of hard drive troubles on your MacBook is the flashing question mark when starting up. Should your machine fall into the eligible model range, you will be given a replacement drive, free of charge.

Apple has published a knowledge base article relating to the program and listed the following models as affected units:

- 13-inch black and white MacBook models with the following processor speeds and hard-drive capacities:
- Processor speed – 1.83GHz, 2GHz, or 2.16GHz
- Hard drive capacity – 60GB, 80GB, 100GB, 120GB, or 160GB

If you’ve already paid for an out-of-warranty repair, Apple also offered the following:

“Some customers may have paid for out-of-warranty repairs that qualify under this program. Apple will contact affected customers (where contact information is available) with details on the reimbursement process. If you believe that you paid for a repair covered by this program and you have not been contacted, you may contact Apple Technical Support.

This worldwide Apple program does not extend the standard warranty coverage of the MacBook but covers affected MacBook models for 3 years from their original date of purchase or until August 15th, 2010, whichever provides longer coverage. Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions if needed.”

As always, hurl in your two cents and let’s see how Apple handles this.

Apple Set to Offer Fairplay DRM Access to Book Publishers

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 16th, 2010, 04:19
Category: iPad, News

apple-ipad1-420-90

Digital Rights Management software has never been universally popular, though Apple is offering publishers a crack at it.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple will use the DRM to prevent piracy of titles sold on the multimedia device. Apple abandoned restrictive DRM for music titles last year when it removed FairPlay from the iTunes Music Store.

FairPlay restricted the number of devices that could have access to purchased content. Its use was the subject of great debate and criticism until Apple removed it in 2009.

While the content of the iTunes Music Store is currently DRM-free, Apple still uses the technology for movies and TV shows purchased through iTunes. Now, similar restrictions could reportedly be extended to some e-books sold for the iPad, though the article suggested publishers will have a choice.

“The majority of publishers are expected to embrace FairPlay, along with other copy protection software such as Adobe’s Content Server 4, as a means to squelch incipient book piracy as the e-book market begins to take off.”

When it introduced the iPad last month, Apple highlighted five major publishers that will offer content for the device. The iBooks application includes the iBookstore, where bestsellers are expected to be priced between US$12.99 and US$14.99.

The price range has been the subject of debate for publishers, who were previously unhappy with the standard US$9.99 price for new hardcover bestsellers sold on the Amazon Kindle e-reader. Amazon has reluctantly agreed to publisher demands and is expected to offer higher e-book prices with the release of the iPad in March.

Apple Pins Down Comprehensive Patent for iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 06:06
Category: News

applelogo1.jpg

In other news, Apple has finally nailed down the most comprehensive trademark registration for the iPhone. According to Patently Apple, the company, which was already entitled to use the brand name under international categories 9 (mobile phone and digital audio player) and 38 (electronic data-transmitting device), has now added category 28, which reads shortly and sweetly as a ‘handheld unit for playing electronic games.’

Apple initially filed the claim for this trademark way back in December 2007.

Apple Now Offering iPhone OS 3.0 Update to iPod Touch Users for Free

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 05:25
Category: iPod, News

When Apple first released the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware update and informed iPod touch users they’re need to pay for the upgrade, the user base went slightly nuts.

And for good reason, as a new accounting practice that no one really understood seemed to require this and Apple simply looked like they wanted a bit more money in their pockets.

iphone-os-3

Apple appears to now be offering the iPhone 3.0 Software Update free to iPod touch users running the iPhone 2.0 Software Update.

According to Pocket Gamer, an older iPod touch updated without the request for a fee.

“Syncing a second generation iPod touch today with an older version of the software prompted me to accept the free upgrade. How exciting,” the author writes.

“Just as when asked to download and install the latest firmware on an iPhone, iTunes simply asks for confirmation – no signing in to pay for the software.”

As Pocket Gamer notes, this is good news for iPod touch gamers reluctant to upgrade due to the additional fee, which iPhone users didn’t have to pay.

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

Rumor: Apple May Opt for Bing as iPhone Search Engine

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 12th, 2010, 08:16
Category: iPhone, Rumor

bing

With relations between Apple and Google growing strained, a new set of rumors places Apple as having gone into discussions with Microsoft towards making Microsoft’s Bing search engine the default for the iPhone.

According to Businessweek, a source close to the story offered the following: “Though Microsoft did not confirm or deny any chatters on the likelihood of Microsoft wining Apple search deal for iPhone, [Microsoft executive] Mr. Apter told us that for right economics Microsoft would like to win the Apple search deal.”

In a recent note, Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, also commented: “In our view, Apple search deal can be strategically very significant win for Microsoft not only because of Google and Apple’s history of working together but also because Microsoft has been lagging behind in terms of making in roads on fast growing mobile Internet market.”

As mentioned yesterday, Apple’s inclusion of the Google search engine on the iPhone platform nets the company about US$100 million a year from Google as part of a revenue-sharing deal, making it less likely Apple would want to develop its own search engine.

South Korean Users Resort to Frozen Sausages as Makeshift iPhone Styluses

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 12th, 2010, 04:06
Category: Fun, iPhone

Even with Apple and HTC working to patent their own capacitive stylus, the South Koreans might have come up with a better solution: frozen sausages.

Per Gearfuse, snack sausages from the CJ Corporation have proven to be electrostatically compatible with the iPhone’s capacitive touchscreen, leading many to use them as a “meat stylus” in the cold weather, rather than remove a glove.

02-11-10meatstlyus

As a result, South Korean snack sausage sales are apparently soaring.

We’re not sure what other deli items constitute an adequate iPhone stylus, but if you play around with this and find something new, please let us know.