Rumor: “Gulftown” Processor Could Hit Mac Pro Line as Early as Tuesday

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Date: Thursday, March 11th, 2010, 06:47
Category: News, Processors

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Intel this week previewed its 32 nanometer Core i7-980X processor, a six-core CPU known as “Gulftown” and fueled rumors that the CPU could make its way to Apple’s Mac Pro line as early as March 15th.

Per ZDnet, tips have been received from sources close to the store stating that the hexacore processor could be just around the corner.

“If you’re thinking of buying a Mac Pro, you might want to wait a few days,” wrote Adrian Kingsley-Hughes.

The new processor carries a speed of 3.33GHz, six cores capable of 12 threads, and 130W thermal design power. He also noted that he’s heard no reports of impending changes to the MacBook Pro line.

The new six-core Mac Pro with the Core i7-980X has been rumored for months, with the chip set to arrive on the open market sometime this month. The new 32 nanometer chips feature 12MB of L3 cache. Apple usually doubles the processors in its high-end professional workstations, so it’s possible the new Mac Pro system could have a total of 12 cores and 24 threads.

The “Gulftown” processor will be sold under the Intel Core i9 name, while the server version, which has been adopted by Apple in the past, will fall under the Xeon 5600 series.

The last major refresh to the Mac Pro equipped it with its Nehalem Xeon processors, with a high-end eight-core Mac Pro offering two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 chips. Last year, Apple quietly upgraded that to a potential maximum 2.93GHz eight-core system.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

EFF Publishes Full Apple iPhone Developer Agreement, Blasts Apple Over Key Points

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Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPhone, News

Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation both posted a recent version of Apple’s confidential license agreement to which all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch developers must agree as well as took a critical stance against the document.

Per AppleInsider, the foundation came to the conclusion that by controlling the App Store and preventing rival competition by blocking competing options, Apple’s “future of computing” is headed towards an era that could stifle innovation. It suggested the Cupertino, Calif., company’s actions have been that of a “jealous and arbitrary feudal lord.”

“Overall, the Agreement is a very one-sided contract, favoring Apple at every turn,” the EFF wrote. “That’s not unusual where end-user license agreements are concerned (and not all the terms may ultimately be enforceable), but it’s a bit of a surprise as applied to the more than 100,000 developers for the iPhone, including many large public companies.

“How can Apple get away with it? Because it is the sole gateway to the more than 40 million iPhones that have been sold. In other words, it’s only because Apple still “owns” the customer, long after each iPhone (and soon, iPad) is sold, that it is able to push these contractual terms on the entire universe of software developers for the platform.”

The EFF noted that public copies of the license agreement are “scarce,” in part because the agreement itself prohibits its release. The foundation managed to obtain a copy by making a request to NASA under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, and presented what it felt were “a few troubling highlights.” They include:

- Developers, including government agencies such as NASA, cannot make public statements about the iPhone OS developer agreement.

- Applications created through the development kit can be sold on the App Store only.

- The iPhone OS cannot be reverse engineered, and the foundation asserts this even applies to methods that courts have recognized as fair use.
- Apple can remove an application at any time. In 2008, a researcher discovered a “kill switch” in the iPhone software that would allow the company to remotely deactivate an application.

- No matter what, Apple is never liable to a developer for more than $50 in damages. “That’s pretty remarkable,” the foundation said, “considering that Apple holds a developer’s reputational and commercial value in its hands — it’s not as though the developer can reach its existing customers anywhere else.”

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and if you have something to offer on this, please let us know.

Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.2 SDK Kit Beta 4 for iPad

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Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, 05:40
Category: iPad, News

Yesterday, Apple released beta 4 of its iPhone OS 3.2 Software Development Kit for iPad development. Per iPhone Alley, the new beta includes several fixes for the SDK, including a fix for Safari’s bookmark feature within the simulator. Additionally, it seems that Apple has removed the “Camera” tab from the Photos app within the iPad simulator. The tab led many to believe that the iPad may ship with a camera, however Apple clarifies by saying in the release notes, “The Camera tab represents photos available via the Camera Connection Kit for iPad, and is not relevant for the Simulator. The Camera tab will disappear after a few seconds.”

Apple is slated to release the iPad on April 3rd of this year.

iPhone “Electronic Key” Patent Surfaces

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Date: Tuesday, March 9th, 2010, 06:49
Category: iPhone, Patents

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The Daily Telegraph is reporting that a new Apple patent has recently been published which describes a method in which the iPhone, or another Apple portable, could act as a sort of electronic key. The technique could be used for cars, offices, homes, or lockers and almost anything that could have an electronic receiver mounted to it in place of a metal tumbler-style lock could then use an iPhone as a key.

The patent application itself describes a means by which almost “any suitable electronic device such as a portable media player, personal data assistant or electronic lock” that could open up any number of physical lock types just by communicating wirelessly.

Electronic key fobs already exist for certain models of cars, most notably the Toyota Prius, which not only allow keyless entry but also allow you to start the car without a traditional metal key. If Apple actually implements this patent and allows iPhones and iPods to act as an “iKey,” carrying a ring of metal keys and fobs around in your pocket could eventually seem as passé as a pocketwatch or pager seems today.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iPad May Ship Without Standard Apps Such as Stocks, Weather, Clock and Voice Memos

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Date: Tuesday, March 9th, 2010, 05:38
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple’s recent announcement regarding the iPad’s April 3rd ship date suggests that Apple might not ship the device with the full set of apps that arrive standard on the iPhone. Per Wired, the company may omit several applications such as Stocks, Calculator, Clock, Weather and Voice Memos.

While Apple had pushed several iPad-optimized versions of the apps through internal testing developers reportedlyhad problems scaling up the iPhone-size interfaces without making sacrifices to the overall look and feel of the apps. Sources close to the story claim Steve Jobs was behind the decision to drop the utilities for the initial iPad launch.

Earlier reports suggested that Apple pulled the apps because they would be converted to widgets. The sources claimed iPhone OS 3.2 will also lack the rumored widgets.

It is still unclear if Apple plans to bring the apps or widgets with a firmware update, such as OS 4.0, sometime later in the year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve heard anything from your end, please let us know.

Jobs Confirms That iPad Won’t Offer Tethering Functionality

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Date: Monday, March 8th, 2010, 06:55
Category: iPad, News

You’ve got to love Steve Jobs for one reason alone: he gets to the point.

Per 9 to 5 Mac, Apple CEO Steve Jobs answered a customer question on Friday, his reply making it quite clear that the iPad will not support tethering to the iPhone.

A Swedish Mac user emailed Jobs directly to ask whether or not he could tether a Wi-Fi only iPad to his iPhone to provide an Internet connection. Jobs simply replied, “No.”

On some jailbroken iPhones it is possible to create a Wi-Fi network, allowing other devices to connect and use the 3G data plan. This option isn’t available unless the phone is jailbroken.

Tethering is something that AT&T users have long desired that the company has never delivered on. A possible reason is that AT&T is worried about tethering bringing its network down. The company’s network has been brought down in major cities around the U.S. before, so this may be a likely concern.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Denies iPhone App Which Measures Radiation Exposure, Cites Interface Issues

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Date: Monday, March 8th, 2010, 05:57
Category: iPhone, News

As cool as the App Store can be, sometimes it’s the rejected applications that prove the most interesting.

Last week, the TechCrunch reported that Apple rejected an application that promises to measure and minimize a user’s exposure to cell phone radiation.

The application, which had been developed by Israeli company Tawkon, had spent 18 months in development with the firm looking to sell it for between US$5 and US$10.

“Our message is moderate, we don’t claim to try to stop users from using their phones,” said Tawkon co-founder Gil Friedlander. “We just say to do so responsibly.”

In rejecting the application, Friedlander was told by Apple the information about radiation levels provided by the application may be confusing for users despite an excellent interface. “They are very clear about the fact that they make content decisions about what they want to post or not.” An Apple spokesman reportedly declined to comment about the issue.

According to the company, Tawkon’s RRI patent pending technology alerts the user when radiation levels cross a predefined threshold and provides simple, non-intrusive suggestions to reduce exposure to radiation. The application leverages various smart-phones capabilities including the built-in Bluetooth, motion and proximity sensors, GPS and compass to determine the results.

The technology collects and analyzes your phone’s dynamic SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) levels, network coverage, location, environmental conditions and phone usage at any given moment to help determine those results.

Apple to Release Wi-Fi iPad on April 3rd, 3G-Capable Models to Arrive in Late April

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 08:46
Category: iPad, News

Apple finally announced that it will release the Wi-Fi version of its long-awaited iPad on Saturday, April 3rd (full press release available here) in the U.S. with 3G-capable units arriving in late April. All models of the device will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK come late April.

Users will be able to pre-order both the Wi-Fi and the 3G-capable units from Apple’s online store come March 12th or reserve a Wi-Fi model to pick up on Saturday, April 3, at an Apple retail store.

Prices are slotted at US$499 for the 16GB unit, US$599 for the 32GB unit US$699 for 64GB unit. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of US$629 for 16GB, US$729 for 32GB and US$829 for 64GB.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know if you plan to snag an iPad at launch or wait a bit…

Apple Dramatically Lowers Pricing for Mac OS X Developer Program

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 05:19
Category: News

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Following a brief outage on Thursday, Apple’s developer site came back online offering a restructured developer program for the Mac modeled after the US$99/year iPhone development program according to MacRumors:

“Modeled after the highly successful iPhone Developer Program, we’ve relaunched the Mac Developer Program to offer members technical resources, support, access to pre-release software, developer forums and more, all for just $99 per year. As our developer base continues to grow in leaps and bounds, we’re working hard to ensure we provide our developers with everything they need to create innovative applications for both the iPhone OS and Mac OS X.”

Apple had previously offered assorted tiers at much higher prices (Select and Premier for US$499 and US$3,499 a year, respectively), but also offered hardware discounts and assorted membership perks. The company may be looking to tempt the large number of iPhone developers to easily jump to Mac development. Existing ADC members accounts will continue as is until they expire, at which time members can then join the new $99/year program. Prospective Mac developers can still download the Xcode tools for free, but without access to the pre-release software and technical support.

Wall Street Journal Developing iPad Content, Keeping Prototype Under Lock and Key

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Date: Thursday, March 4th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s legendary secrecy around its products continues as Rupert Murdoch revealed that the Wall Street Journal, in developing its iPad edition, has a pre-release model that is checked in on nightly by Apple.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch confirmed during a speech in New York on Tuesday that his News Corp. publication will be offered on Apple’s forthcoming iPad. According to a report in the Journal, the executive also gave insight into Apple’s secretive practices as the paper has had access to a pre-release iPad.

“In fact, we’ve been allowed to work on one, and it’s under padlock and key. The key is turned by Apple every night,” Murdoch was quoted as saying. “But we will be on that with The Wall Street Journal.”

The Journal and Apple had an iPad-related altercation last month when editor Alan Murray posted to Twitter from the device when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs visited the paper to pitch its e-reader capabilities. That incident reportedly upset Jobs, who was said to be “furious” and allegedly had the editor delete the post. In a subsequent e-mail, Murray would not confirm the incident, but merely said that “Apple’s general paranoia about news coverage is truly extraordinary.”

The Journal stands as one of the high-profile publications developing content for the iPad and last week, the Associated Press revealed that it is also creating an app for the iPad centered around a subscription model.

How much to charge for content on the iPad and other devices remains a point of contention. While reports have suggested that Times executives cannot agree whether to charge $10 per month or closer to $30 per month, the Journal began charging users of its iPhone application late last year. Murdoch has previously said that News Corp. intends to charge for all of its online news sites, noting that “quality journalism is not cheap.”

Murdoch added that he believes the iPad is just the first in a number of devices that many will use to read newspapers on a daily basis. He reportedly said there will be a “half dozen or more” introduced in the next year.

As always, feel free to hurl your two cents in…