Second-gen Apple TV may be causing video distortion on older TVs

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Date: Monday, October 4th, 2010, 05:54
Category: Apple TV, News

Apple’s long-awaited second generation Apple TV may be spiffy, but there may be bugs to sort out.

Per CNET, the set-top box may cause video distortion and users have reported that the new Apple TV may not be compatible with some television sets only five years old.

User jitterysquid first posted the issue in the Apple Support Discussions board:
“I got my new Apple TV gen 2 today and hooked it up in place of the old one. The picture was wavy. I removed the HDMI switch from the equation, no dice. I swapped cables, no dice.

The only issue I can think of (besides bad hardware) is that I use an HDMI->DVI cable for the last leg to my TV. It’s not a converter, it is fully HDCP aware, and it works fine with ATV G1 and a Roku for Netflix HD streaming.”

Other users have chimed in, stating that they are having the same issues and that a straight HDMI > HDMI cable has not solved the issue. The common theme, though, seems to be the age of the television sets that users are attempting to connect the new Apple TV to–approximately five years or older.

The official tech specs on the new Apple TV on Apple’s Web site read:
“Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI and capable of 720p 60/50Hz,2 including popular models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse”

Though many all of the forum posters claim their televisions are capable of full 720p, there still seems to be an issue. Most users have also reported that the same Apple TV unit works on newer HD TVs they tested. It is possible the issue could lie in a setting on the TV itself. Be sure your set is not configured to stretch incoming signals to 1080i. If so, set it to 720p and you should get a clearer picture.

The other possibility is that the Apple TV software is not sending a signal that is completely usable by older HD TV models. If this is the case, expect Apple to release updates that continue to include television compatibility (along the line of printer driver updates).

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Rumor points to touchscreen displays for next-gen iMacs

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Date: Monday, October 4th, 2010, 04:02
Category: iMac, Rumor

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With rumors of a new generation of iMac on the horizon, one of the more interesting details has pointed to a potential new touchscreen display for the upcoming desktop.

Per DigiTimes, component supplier Sintek Photronics has sent samples of capacitive touch panels to Apple for a new touchsreen all-in-one iMac desktop computer. The report claimed that the new hardware will have screen sizes of 20″ and greater.

“The new iMac is rumored to have a good vertical and horizontal viewing angle, and its projected capacitive touch panel will adopt a one-glass solution, which integrates the touch sensor and cover glass, to reduce thickness and weight,” the report said.

It noted that most touch panels are made by placing the sensor over the panel, and are then covered with glass. But it is said this method is costly, complex, and results in a dimmer screen.

It was said that Sintek Photronics “has a good chance” of becoming a supplier for the alleged new line of iMacs. No projected release date for the rumored hardware was given.

In January of this year, rumors indicated that a 22″ touchscreen iMac would launch this year. But the claims in Friday’s report that Apple is still testing touch panels would suggest that a 2010 launch is not likely.

A number of patent applications from Apple this year show touch-capable iMac-style desktop computers. One interesting filing shows a machine that could operate in a traditional format, but with a hinge on the back that would allow it to be tilted for easier access for a user’s fingertips.

Another application described a desktop screen that could detect shapes and objects pressed against it. It described a machine that would allow new types of input, such as a security system that required a physical key to be pressed against the screen and detected.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent shows efforts towards expanded cloud-based syncing

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Date: Friday, October 1st, 2010, 02:40
Category: News, Patents

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A new Apple patent published this week, entitled “Configurable Offline Data Store”, shows that future mobile devices from Apple could sync and save large amounts of data over the Internet, allowing future access to information when an Internet connection is no longer available and removing the need to tether to a PC.

The invention, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 14th, 2010, would synchronize data for offline use when an Internet connection is not available.

Per AppleInsider, the patent describes a system that would allow users to access content from a remote computer or server, but also save that information locally for use when an Internet connection is not available. The application also notes that users may want to disable their Internet because constant syncing and updating may result in poor performance.

It describes individual applications that would be able to access this cloud-stored data, dubbed “savvy applications.” These are distinguished from “non-savvy applications,” which would not have access to the remote data.

The smart syncing system would predetermine which data might be “reasonably requested” when the two machines are reconnected, having it queued an ready to go immediately. The system would also allow for other “requested records,” which would occur when changes are made to lesser-used files.

Current mobile devices from Apple like the iPhone have a number of options for users to sync basic data, such as iPhone contacts, with Internet-based services. But the company is also said to be interested in offering a cloud-based streaming service for purchased iTunes content, like music and movies.

The technology described within the patent application would allow such data to be stored locally, and synced from anywhere with an Internet connection, rather than on a local network or via a USB cable.

Such a feature could also be used with Apple’s App Store, where software downloads greater than 20MB in size are not allowed over cellular data networks. When on a 3G network, the client-side machine (an iPhone or iPad) could save an intended download for later, when it can be obtained over a Wi-Fi network.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds updated Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta version to developers

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Date: Friday, October 1st, 2010, 02:22
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple seeded Mac OS X 10.6.5 build 10H548 to developers Thursday with no known issues.

Per AppleInsider, The first beta of Mac OS 10.6.5 was issued on Friday, August 13th, Apple initially released weekly builds of the OS, but builds have recently been coming two weeks apart.

Sources familiar with the build have reported that the focus areas are:

- 3D Graphics.

- iCal.

- Mail.

- QuickTime.

- Time Machine.

- USB Devices.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new build, let us know what you make of it and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Second-gen Apple TV teardown posted, 8GB flash drive, 256MB of RAM located

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 30th, 2010, 03:33
Category: Apple TV, News

The second-generation Apple TV is almost here and the cool cats at iFixit have posted a complete teardown of the device, which apparently includes a small 8GB of onboard storage and the same 256MB of RAM found in the iPad and fourth-generation iPod touch.

Per the report, the new Apple TV uses a Samsung K9LCG08U1M 8GB NAND Flash chip, which is the same part found during the site’s iPad teardown. The memory is likely used to cache content that is being streamed.

“This is a pretty remarkable amount of storage for a US$99 device,” the solutions provider wrote.

Interestingly, logic board on the hardware shows solder pads that would fit an iPod 30-pin dock connector, perhaps implying what could come in future versions of the hardware.

“This Apple TV seems to be a couple of connectors shy of a full-on computer,” they wrote. “Perhaps this logic board will be used in future iPads?”

Other findings noted that the A4 processor is marked K4X2G643GE, which is identical to the processor found in the first-generation iPad and fourth-generation iPod touch. The iPhone 4, however, has a different chip with 512MB of onboard RAM.

The internal Wi-Fi board is from Panasonic, which might be the first time the company has supplied a Wi-Fi board for an Apple device. Panasonic is, however, usually responsible for optical drives in the Mac maker’s notebooks.

The Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip is the same part found inside the iPad: BCM4329XKUBG 802.11n. It also includes an FM radio, which is not used by the device.

iFixit graded the new Apple TV with a score of 8 out of possible 10 for ease of repairability. The one mark against it is that the electronics are housed on one singular board.

If your new Apple TV has arrived recently, let us know what you make of the device, for better or for worse.

Nvidia settles class action lawsuit, some MacBook Pro owners eligible for compensation

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 29th, 2010, 14:39
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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Sometimes litigation comes in handy.

Per CNET, a number of users who discovered that their 2007 and 2008 MacBook Pro systems contained graphics problems that showed either scrambled video output or sometimes black screens are in for some compensation.

A recent class-action lawsuit against Nvidia over faults in the GeForce 8600M graphics processors included in a variety of notebook models primarily from Dell and HP, but also in Apple’s 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro notebooks.

Users who have MacBook Pro systems manufactured between 2007 and 2008 and who are experiencing video problems (black or scrambled output) will be eligible to have their systems fixed for free. Reimbursements will be paid to people who have had these problems fixed at their own expense.

If you feel you are entitled to the benefits of this settlement, you can register to have your system fixed at the Nvidia GPU Litigation Web site. The site features a specific model check section where you can see if your computer is eligible for repairs, so take a gander and let us know how it goes.

Apple releases updated iOS 4.2, iTunes 10.1 betas to developer community

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Date: Wednesday, September 29th, 2010, 03:44
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released new betas of two major upcoming software releases, the upcoming versions of iOS 4.2 and iTunes 10.1.

Per AppleInsider, Tuesday’s release of iOS 4.2 marks the second beta of the software update, due for a public release in November. It is available for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and second-, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch.

People familiar with the latest iOS beta said it is known as 8C5101C.

The first beta of iOS 4.2 was released earlier this month, and marked the debut of AirPrint, Apple’s new wireless printing standard for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. AirPrint will allow iOS device users to print to a shared printer connected to a PC or Mac, or directly to some printers that are compatible with the format.

The previous beta also packed a number of small fixes, including improvements to YouTube and FaceTime. Its release in November will also be the first time iPad owners have had access to the iOS 4 features iPhone and iPod touch users already enjoy, including multitasking and home screen folders.

A beta of iTunes 10.1 was also issued for testing Tuesday, and people familiar with the build said it also supports printing. Just this past weekend, iTunes 10.0.1 was publicly released, bringing improvements to Ping.

If you’ve had a chance to play with either beta, let us know and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Remote 2.0 app for controlling iTunes, Apple TV

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 15:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

In the midst of shipping the Apple TV, Apple has released Remote 2.0, the newest version of its iOS app for controlling iTunes and Apple TV.

Per Macworld, Remote 2.0 introduces several new features, not the least of which is a long-awaited interface designed for the iPad. The new software also features a gestures tab for controlling an Apple TV with iOS-like flick and drag motions.

The new app also supports Home Sharing, an easier method for sharing and streaming your media that Apple introduced in iTunes 9. If you enable Home Sharing in Remote 2.0 on your iPhone or iPad, it will automatically discover and let you control shared libraries on your network from a Mac or PC running iTunes, or a new Apple TV.

Remote 2.0 also boasts high-res graphics for the iPhone 4’s Retina display, multitasking support under iOS 4, support for iTunes 10 (including a new icon similar to iTunes 10’s), and a round of bug fixes.

The app is available for free in the App Store and requires an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 3.1.2 or later to install and run.

Apple, Google ink deal to have Google remain default search engine on iOS-based devices

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 05:00
Category: News, Software

Internet search giant Google recently extended its contract with Apple, making the outfit the default option on devices running iOS, including the iPhone.

Per BusinessWeek, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt talked about his company’s relationship with Apple. Rose asked about tension between Google and Apple since Google began partnering with smartphone makers for the Android mobile operating system.

“Apple is a company we both partner and compete with,” Schmidt said. “We do a search deal with them, recently extended, and we’re doing all sorts of things in maps and things like that.”

He continued: “So the sum of all this is that two large corporations, both of which are important, both of which I care a lot about, will [remain] pretty close. But Android was around earlier than iPhone.”

Schmidt also characterized the iPhone as a “closed” model controlled by Apple. He portrayed Android as a “turnkey solution with similar capabilities” to the iPhone, but one that gives vendors the “alternative” they seek.

Early this year, rumors suggested that Apple was in talks with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine for the iPhone. Though that never came to be, the option to utilize Bing search was added to iOS 4.

However, Google has remained the default search provider for iOS devices, and Schmidt’s recent comments would suggest that the company will remain the standard search provider for some time to come.

Official Google Voice app approved, should arrive in App Store in a few weeks

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The official Google Voice application for iPhone has finally been granted acceptance into the App Store by Apple.

Per TechCrunch, a source stated that the application will be released in the next few weeks. Apple reportedly accepted the application submitted in mid-2009, though Google plans to update it to support the iPhone 4 and multitasking capabilities in iOS 4.

Last week, applications that access the Google Voice service began appearing in the App Store, after being banished for more than a year. The first two that became available were GV Mobile + and GV Connect.

The opportunity for Google Voice applications to return to the App Store came after Apple revised and published its own App Store Review Guidelines, giving developers an idea of what kind of software will or will not be allowed for iOS devices.

Google Voice applications were previously available in the App Store, but were pulled in July of 2009 after Google submitted its official application. Apple refused to accept the official Google Voice app into the App Store, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

In a letter to the FCC, Apple claimed it was reviewing the Google Voice application, but had not outright rejected it. Google, on the other hand, said the software was rejected. Over a year passed, however, with no word on its official acceptance or rejection.

Instead, Google opted to release a Web-based application for Google Voice, which allows users to access the service from the Mobile Safari browser on the iPhone. Unlike the App Store, where Apple controls what content is available, basic Web content is not filtered or restricted.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.