Apple Quietly Drops Certain iPod Model Prices Ahead of Media Event

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 03:38
Category: iPod, News

ipodclassic

With things gearing up for Apple’s iPod-focused media event, Apple appears to have begun quietly cutting the prices of certain existing iPods ahead of the event. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the following changes have just taken place:

-The iPod nano is now US$129 for 8GB and US$149 for 16GB.
-The iPod classic is now US$229.
-The iPod touch is now US$189 for 8GB, US$249 for 16GB and US$279 for 32GB.
-There is no change to the price of the iPod shuffle.

Stay tuned for additional news from the media event throughout the day.

Early Mac OS X 10.6.1 Update Details Emerge

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, 05:32
Category: Software

applelogo1.jpg

As spiffy as Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) is, there will always be patches. Per AppleInsider, Mac OS X 10.6.1 will deliver a number of fixes and tweaks focusing on Mail, networking, Bluetooth, Flash and more.

The first external pre-release build, labeled Mac OS X 10.6.1 build 10B503, began making its way to Apple’s broad Apple Developer Connection community Thursday evening in the form of a 74.1MB delta image.

The update apparently addresses some problem areas with fixes such as Bluetooth, the Dock, Mail, printing services, Software Update, and System Preferences.

Once released, Mac OS X 10.6.1 should allow users to delete manually-entered DNS values for DHCP configurations via the system’s Network Diagnostics, people familiar with the software say. Meanwhile, a couple of SMTP-related tweaks to Mail.app will tackle issues with blank server responses and upgrades on email accounts that require authentication.

Also planned are a number of printer-related enhancements. For example, local Bluetooth printers should properly connect to Snow Leopard-based Macs on startup. Additionally, printer drivers for both Bonjour and USB printers will be delivered over Software Update, while generic drivers should become visible from printer driver list.

Following this week’s news that the retail version of Mac OS X 10.6 bundled an older, less secure version of Adobe Flash, those familiar with with the first builds of 10.6.1 say the update will bump the plug-in to version 10.0.32.18.

Other focal areas of Mac OS X 10.6.1 include graphics drivers, wireless WAN cards and the DVD player. In all, 11 specific issues with Mac OS X 10.6 have been addressed thus far by 10.6.1.

Boot Camp Sound Bug Found for 13″ and 15″ Unibody MacBook Pro Notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, 04:11
Category: MacBook Pro, Software

el17.jpg

A number of owners of Apple’s latest 13″ and 15″ unibody MacBook Pro notebooks have reported speaker failures when running Windows via Boot Camp according to an article on MacNN. The problems have affected many gamers who use Mac OS X for daily computing, then switch to Windows to play games. The problem appears to have begun with Boot Camp v2.1, which was launched in June. The recent Boot Camp 3.0 release, designed for Snow Leopard, does not seem to have helped resolve the issue.

Per testimonies on the Apple Discussion Forums, the latest 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros exhibit the issue with Windows XP, Server 2008 x64, Vista x32 and x64, and Windows 7 RC x32 and x64. Users have complained of very low sound volumes from the built-in speakers, even at full volume, along with a red light emanating from the speaker jack. Several systems are also unable to recognize microphone input. Although the specific source of the problems remains unknown, user reports suggest the Cirrus Logic CS4206A sound driver could be the culprit.

Forum posters (starting on page 10 of the forum) have posted workarounds that outline a user-hacked replacement for the Cirrus drivers which requires command-line work in Windows to resolve the issue. Frustrations have run high in the forums and the 270+ posts have not yet received any comments or help from Apple representatives in the three months the issue has been commented on.

Failure to address the issue in Snow Leopard’s Boot Camp 3.0 revision has also caused negative sentiment from posters, some of whom describe themselves as first-time Mac buyers who bought the new notebooks expressly because of Boot Camp support for their Windows games.

If you’ve seen this bug on your end or discovered your own fix or workaround, please let us know.

Apple Releases Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 5

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 4th, 2009, 03:59
Category: Software

applelogo1.jpg

Late Thursday, Apple released an update to Java for Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”). Apple Java for OS X 10.5 Update 5, a 161.3 megabyte download, includes fixes from all previous updates and brings with it improved reliability, security, and compatibility for the cross-platform technology.

According to Macworld, the update patches many Java-related security vulnerabilities, including some which allow untrusted Java applets to obtain elevated privileges via a Web page and potentially execute arbitrary code. There’s also a patch for Java Web Start that prevents a buffer overflow from quitting an application or executing arbitrary code.

The security patches in this fix were released by Java-maker Sun Microsystems in early August, marking an improvement in turnaround time for Apple. In the past, the company has lagged at rolling out fixes for Java, such as this past June, when Apple finally issued an update for a bug that Sun had patched over six months prior. Per Computerworld, the’s update does not fold in Sun’s most recent patch of August 11, which plugs further security holes.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and can also be snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software update feature.

MyService Now Offering 750GB MacBook Pro Hard Drive Upgrade

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 3rd, 2009, 04:38
Category: News

wdscorpio

Apple service provider MyService has launched a program in which the company will install a 750 gigabyte hard drive in your MacBook Pro notebook. According to MacNN, the US$375 price tag includes round-trip shipping, installation of the drive, and full data transfer. In particular the new drive is a 5400rpm Scorpio Blue model from Western Digital. Its height slightly exceeds the standard 9.5mm for 2.5-inch drives, but still fits in the computers accepted by MyService.

A compatibility list includes all of the unibody MacBook Pros as well as the 13″ basic unibody MacBook, and the 17″ MacBook Pro with a silver keyboard. The company is also promising a 24-hour in-shop turnaround, and the option of installing Snow Leopard for US$30.

The service includes shipping, data migration and the return of the old drive. Other drive capacities are available at varying prices. As MyService is an authorized service provider, upgrades should not void Apple’s warranty.

DivX Player 7.0.1 Now Available

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 3rd, 2009, 04:39
Category: Software

divxicon.png
DivX for Mac, the shareware player that allows users to view high definition H.264 (.mkv) videos with AAC audio and video, hit version 7.0.1 yesterday. The new version, a 23.3 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), contains the followings changes and features:

- DivX Player 7.0.1 now supports playback of DivX Plus files (.mkv/H.264/AAC) and has an updated UI.
- Use of the DivX Codec 6.8.3.
- Up to 50% faster decoding on multi-core computers for better HD Playback.
- New custom matrices that allow for better fine tuning of encoder for specific content type.
- DivX Converter 1.3.1 has been updated to work on Leopard (and to work in general).

DivX Player 7.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

How-To: Work Around Snow Leopard Installation Issues

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, 04:09
Category: How-To, Mac, Software

snowleopard

As nifty as Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) may be, according to MacFixIt, a number of users are reporting a problem where the installer will not recognize the current boot drive as a valid destination for Snow Leopard. Instead, it will display the drive with a yellow triangle on it, indicating something is wrong with that drive. When the drive is selected, the installer claims the system cannot boot from the drive.

Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, poster “redpola” writes:

“I closed all my apps. I ran the installer. I agreed to the terms. I am asked where to install Snow Leopard. Only one disk is available – my boot disk. It has a yellow triangle on it.

Selecting the disk tells me ‘Mac OS X cannot be installed on Macintosh HD, because this disk cannot be used to start up your computer.’ Rebooting and attempting an install direct from CD yields the same results.”

The issue occurs when the Snow Leopard installer detects a small discrepancy in the partition table of the drive, and assumes booting off the drive may not be successful. The fixes involve rewriting the table without formatting the drive, but if that does not work then formatting should definitely work (provided you have a backup).

Fixes:
1. Run drive checks.

The first thing to do is run Disk Utility or, even better, run a third-party utility program to check out the drive to ensure it is functioning correctly. Fixing any errors may require booting off a volume other than the boot volume (i.e., the Snow Leopard DVD or a Drive Genius DVD), and performing the fixes from there.

2. Repartition the drive.

This problem might happen even if the drive checks out with various disk utility software. The way around this is to have Disk Utility repartition the drive, which, luckily, can be done without having to format the drive. To do this, boot from the Snow Leopard DVD and select your language. Then launch “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” menu and perform the following steps:

Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the “Partition” tab.

Resize the partition by selecting the volume name in the rectangular volume representation and drag the bottom-right corner of it to change its size.

Click “Apply” to change the partition’s size.

Revert the change by dragging the same resizing corner back to the bottom, and click “apply.”

After this is done, quit out of Disk Utility and try installing Snow Leopard again. Since you are booted from the Snow Leopard DVD you should be able to continue immediately without having to reboot your system.

Workarounds:
1. Format and install.

If you have a full system backup via Time Machine or a drive clone, you can format your boot drive and do a clean install of OS X. To do this, first be sure your backups are complete and accessible, and then boot off the Snow Leopard DVD (click the “Utilities” button instead of “Continue” in the Leopard installer, or reboot and hold the “C” key to boot off the CD/DVD drive). When the installer loads, select your language and then launch “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” menu and perform the following steps:

Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the “Partition” tab.

Select “1 partition” from the drop-down menu, and then give the partition a name and format it as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Click the “options” button and select “GUID” for the partition table.

Close this window and click “Apply” to repartition the table.

Close “Disk Utility” and continue with the Snow Leopard installation.

When the installation completes, migrate your data from your backup to the new system.
In this procedure, you can migrate from either your Time Machine backup, or from a cloned drive. Keep in mind that when you do this you may need to reinstall some programs since a clean install may break some application dependency links to system files.

Rumor: Apple TV Could Receive Changes at September 9th Event

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, 04:09
Category: Apple TV, Rumor

appletv

Altering an earlier opinion that surprise announcements weren’t to be expected at Apple’s anticipated September 9th media event, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster released a second note Tuesday suggesting an Apple TV upgrade could debut at next week’s event.

Per AppleInsider, Munster stated that he believed an appearance by Steve Jobs would be the biggest news out of the iPod-centric event. Munster has now said stated that he has reason to believe there will be an Apple TV-related announcement next Wednesday. In a note, he pointed out that Apple’s online store has a wait time of one to two weeks for the 40GB model at US$229. Munster said he has never seen a delay for the Apple TV since it debuted in March of 2007. The analyst suggests that Apple is either phasing out the 40GB model, as the 160GB offering is still available, or is selling its remaining inventory before a new product launches.

“We believe the company is most likely phasing out the 40GB model and possibly reducing the price of the 160GB model,” he said, “but a new model is possible given the hardware has been the same for 2+ years.”

Munster does not believe that a major upgrade to the Apple TV will happen next week because he expects such an announcement to coincide with a subscription service that would need to be negotiated with content providers. Weeks ago, Munster reiterated his belief that Apple is working towards a new Apple TV with iTunes show subscriptions and possibly DVR capabilities.

“It is unlikely that negotiations for new content are finished,” he said.

Given the age of the Apple TV hardware, Munster said he wouldn’t rule out a new lineup as a “wildcard” announcement at the media-centric event.

Munster went on to re-state his belief that Apple will launch a full-fledged television set in two to five years. Such a device, he said, would have DVR and home media functionality built in, and would sync content with Macs, iPhones and iPods wirelessly. He said an Apple television could also play games, with an iPhone or iPod touch acting as the wireless controller.

“Such a device would command a premium among a competitive field of budget TVs,” he said. “We believe Apple could differentiate itself with software that makes home entertainment simple and solves a pain point for consumers.”

Apple, China Mobile Still in Talks Over iPhone Distribution

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, 04:43
Category: iPhone

3gs.jpg

Following up on the story that Apple settled on wireless carrier China Unicom to distribute the iPhone in China last week, Apple is apparently still in talks with China Mobile to sort out a distribution deal with the company.

According to Macworld UK, the talks between Apple and China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier by subscribers, have reached no conclusion yet, a China Mobile spokeswoman said Tuesday. An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the company’s three-year distribution deal with China Unicom is not exclusive, but did not say if the company is in talks with other potential partners.

China Unicom will offer the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, with the first handsets going on sale in the fourth quarter. The company began its talks with Apple two years ago, but China Unicom, which operates a 3G network compatible with the iPhone, became seen as the favorite for an iPhone deal in recent months.

One snag in China Mobile’s talks with Apple was the carrier’s plan for its own mobile application store, which was seen as a potential competitor with the iPhone App Store. Another was China Mobile’s use of a mobile standard for its 3G network that was domestically developed and is not compatible with current iPhone models.

The app store and 3G standard snags could remain in any talks. The China Mobile download store went online last month and supports handsets including “Ophones,” or devices that run a China Mobile operating system but have a layout very similar to an iPhone.

Some details of the iPhone launch could still pose problems for China Unicom as well, including how and whether revenue from the App Store should be shared, one analyst said.

Apple Releases Firmware Updates for Mac Mini, Assorted iMac Models

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, 04:40
Category: iMac, Mac mini, News, Software

applelogo1.jpg

Late Monday, Apple released two firmware updates, one for certain models of its popular iMac desktop and the other for Mac Mini computers that address problems with noises from optical disk drives during startup and compatibility with memory upgrades.

Per MacFixIt, the Apple Mac Mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2 patch “improves compatibility with the latest Apple memory kits on Mac mini computers.” Oddly though, there is no specific memory upgrade for the Mac Mini on Apple’s memory selector over at http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/mac_accessories/memory.

The Apple SuperDrive 3.0 firmware update will eliminate noise made by optical drives during system startup and when systems wake from sleep. This update will only work with the following firmware updates and Mac system models:

- iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.4
- Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.2
- iMac (20-inch, Mid 2009), iMac (24-inch, Early 2009), Mac mini (Early 2009)

As with any firmware update, you should only install it if you are experiencing the problems they address. If you do install it, be sure to not interrupt the installer. If the system lags do not press the power button to shut down, since an interrupted firmware update can irreparably damage your system.

The updates are available through Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.