Apple Releases Magic Mouse, Says Goodbye to Mighty Mouse

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Date: Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, 04:20
Category: Hardware, News

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If you weren’t sure what to make of Apple’s 2005 Mighty Mouse design, it’s not a concern anymore. Per Macworld, Apple left its 2005 Mighty Mouse design behind and introduced a wireless Magic Mouse that incorporates a multi-touch surface on its top side.

The new mouse, which ships standard with the new iMac models announced today, does more than let you right- and left-click. Users can use a single finger to scroll around in any direction in supported applications.

The Magic Mouse also supports swipe gestures, though not the same ones you’ll find in Apple’s multi-touch trackpads. Swiping left with two fingers in Safari will move you back a page, and in a stack of images in iPhoto, swiping left or right with two fingers will take you to the previous or next photo, respectively.

Users can still pick up a wired version of the Mighty Mouse (which has now been rebranded as the “Apple Mouse after the company lost its rights to use the “Mighty Mouse” trademark earlier this month). In addition, the Magic Mouse uses laser tracking instead of optical tracking to make it usable on different types of surfaces.

The Magic Mouse is powered by two AA batteries, and Apple says they’ll power the mouse for approximately four months. The device can detect when it’s not in use and manage power appropriately—a power switch on the bottom can turn it on or off.

In addition to being packaged with the new redesigned iMac, the Magic Mouse is available on its own for US$69. It requires Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later with Wireless Mouse Software Update 1.0.

Apple Releases Unibody MacBook to Replace White MacBook Design

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Date: Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, 04:21
Category: Hardware, MacBook, News

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Apple Inc. on Tuesday announced an updated, unibody version to its low end MacBook notebook. The new model, available immediately, is still covered in white polycarbonate but features the same unibody construction and bright LED-backlit screens as Apple’s other laptops, as well as the same glass multi-touch trackpad found in the MacBook Pro line.

According to Macworld, the new 13.3″ MacBook still retails for US$999, but is powered by a 2.26GHz processor. It also features 2GB of 1066MHz RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics chip, and a 250GB hard drive.

The new notebook weighs in at 4.7 pounds compared to 5 pounds for the old design and now features a non-swappable battery. Apple says that will boost battery life for the MacBook to seven hours, up from five hours in the previous model; it also means users will have to pay US$129 for replacement batteries from Apple. As a result of the battery change, the bottom of the laptop has no feet—instead, the entire bottom surface is rubberized, save for eight screws.

The redesigned MacBook case introduces at least one other change from the previous model—the FireWire 400 port is gone and Apple’s MacBook Pro offerings are now the only Apple portables with FireWire ports.

If you want to vent your spleen about the new notebook, let us know in the comments.

Apple Posts US$1.67 Profit for Q4 2009

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Date: Tuesday, October 20th, 2009, 04:57
Category: Finance, News

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In spite of a sagging global economy, Apple posted the results to its most profitable quarter ever, the company setting records for both Mac and iPhone sales. According to Macworld, the company reported a net profit of US$1.67 billion, or US$1.82 per share, on revenue of US$9.87 billion for its fourth quarter earnings.

Comparing those numbers to Apple’s year-ago figures, quarterly profits rose 46%, while earnings per share jumped 44%. Revenue increased 25% from the September 2008 quarter. At the end of the corner, the company had US$34 billion of cash on hand.

For the full 2009 fiscal year, Apple’s revenue rose 12% while its income increased 18% from 2008, according to chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer. Those increases come during what the Apple executive called “extraordinary challenging times” which have done little to slow the company’s growth.

“We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings announcement. “We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.”

For the December quarter, Apple told analysts to expect between US$11.3 and US$11.6 billion in sales and earnings ranging from US$1.70 to US$1.78 per share. This guidance was given without accounting for a rule change in the way Apple recognizes revenue from the iPhone and Apple TV. Apple was uncertain when it would adopt the new accounting method, which was OK’d by the Financial Accounting Standards Board last month.

Over the course of the quarter, Apple sold 3.05 million Macs during the quarter (a 17 percent increase over what it sold for the same three-month period in 2008). That 3.05 million figure sets a record for Mac sales, topping the previous high-water mark of 2.61 million Macs sold during the fiscal fourth-quarter of 2008.

During the quarter, Apple sold nearly 2.3 million notebooks, with portables accounting for an astounding 74% of the Macs sold during the last three months.

“Last quarter was the quarter of the portable,” chief operating officer Tim Cook said during a Monday conference call to discuss Apple’s earnings. In response to one analyst’s comment that “the [laptop] price cut worked,” Cook responded loudly, “Yes, it did!”

Cook also said that Snow Leopard sales were stronger than Apple expected, with twice as many sales of Snow Leopard upgrades during the operating system’s first five weeks on sale than Leopard made during its first five weeks.

iPhone sales rose 7% from the year-ago quarter to nearly 7.4 million units. That compares to a little less than 6.9 million iPhones in the September 2008 quarter—a three-month period that saw Apple roll out the iPhone 3G in a number of markets around the globe.

For the quarter, Apple reported recognized revenue from iPhone handset sales of $2.3 billion, a 185% jump from US$806 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

If Apple had any disappointments in the quarter, it would be in its iPod business, where sales of the handheld music players fell 8% from the year-ago quarter to 10.2 million units. It was the second consecutive quarter where Apple saw iPod sales drop from the year-ago period.

However, Apple saw signs for optimism in its iPod numbers. According to the company, 50% of recent iPod buyers were purchasing their first iPod. What’s more, sales of the iPod touch doubled when compared to the same quarter a year ago, and Apple believes it can attract even more customers to the widescreen music player after cutting the price of the 8GB iPod touch to $199 last month.

“We believe the iPod lineup is attractive positioned for the holiday buying season,” Oppenheimer told analysts during Monday’s conference call. And that’s critical for Apple, which traditionally sees its highest iPod sales during the December quarter. In the December 2008 quarter, for example, Apple sold 22.7 million music players.

Apple Releases Third Beta Build of Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update to Developers

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Date: Monday, October 19th, 2009, 04:38
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple sent its third beta release of the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6.2 update with fixes for QuickTime, iChat, and a widely reported guest account glitch that could delete user data to its developer community.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with build 10C527f said the latest update has only one known issue, and has a number of fixes in 13 different focus areas. It also reportedly provides reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, iDisk, and Safari plug-ins.

The update also reportedly fixes a glitch that could delete user data. This issue is triggered by logging in and out of a guest account on a Snow Leopard machine. Upon logging back in to their regular account, some users may find that it has been wiped of all data. Apple acknowledged the issue earlier this week and has stated that the company is working on a fix.

The latest build allegedly provides a number of GraphicsDrivers fixes, including resolutions for crashes with OpenCL, a screen flickering issue, and stuttering while playing 1080p content with QuickTime Player X.

The update is also said to resolve an issue that did not allow some QuickTime movies to play in QuickTime Player X.

A handful of iMovie-related issues were also addressed, including color shift issues and a crash that occurred when looping previews of titles in the skimming palette.

The update is currently a 483.5 megabyte file, and is the third beta release in less than two weeks. The previous build of Mac OS X 10.6.2 was provided to developers on Oct. 9. The last build addressed nearly 150 general focus areas covering a wide range.

Apple Modifies iPhone BootROM on 3GS Models to Stop Hacking Efforts

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Date: Thursday, October 15th, 2009, 04:56
Category: iPhone, Software

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If you can’t beat them on software, change the BootROM. Per iClarified, Apple has taken an usual step in its efforts to stop groups from hacking its iPhone hardware and installed a modified iPhone 3GS BootROM. The report noted that the new iPhone is no longer vulnerable to the so-called “24kpwn” exploit.

Over the years, it’s this exploit that hackers have used to jailbreak the iPhone. With the most recent update, they will have to find another way to hack the device.

Jailbreaking of the iPhone is nothing new, but it has been an ongoing battle between Apple and the hacking community since the first iPhone was released. It seems whenever a new version of the iPhone OS is released, Apple breaks the most recent hacks.

However, within days or weeks, the hacking community comes out with a “fix” and the cycle starts all over again. There is no word yet on how the community will get around the latest update.

Apple Releases Performance Update 1.0 Patch for Certain Macs

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Date: Thursday, October 15th, 2009, 03:46
Category: Hardware, Software

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Early Thursday, Apple released Performance Update 1.0, a firmware fix for Macs experiencing occasional hard drive stalls under the Mac OS X 10.5 and Mac OS X 10.6 operating systems.

The patch, a 300 kilobyte download available via Software Update, affects the following machines:

- MacBook Air (Mid 2009)
- MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53GHz, Mid 2009)
- iMac (20-inch, Mid 2009)
- MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)
- MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009), MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009)
- MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008)
- iMac (24-inch, Early 2009)
- iMac (20-inch, Early 2009)
- Mac mini (Early 2009)

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or Mac OS X 10.6.1 (for the Snow Leopard version) to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update, please let us know how it worked in the comments.

Apple Reportedly Working on FM Radio Application for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Wednesday, October 14th, 2009, 06:54
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Apple is reportedly developing an FM radio application for the iPhone and iPod touch, with similar functions now available to iPod nano users. Per 9to5Mac, the company is developing an FM radio application that would work in the background, like listening to music via iTunes, while users check email and surf the Internet.

Last month Apple added an FM radio tuner to the popular iPod nano with the ability to pause and rewind your favorite radio stations and shows while on the go.

The radio supports tagging in the US, with listeners able to buy songs they hear on air via iTunes.

According to 9to5Mac: “The holdup on this app is that Apple is trying to integrate the Mobile iTunes Store purchases into the functionality of the program.”

The website suggests Apple could could add some Shazam technology to help with those stations that don’t support tagging, which appears to be the majority of them.

Apple’s iPhones and iPods are already able to receive FM radio signals but the function has only be used for the Nike+ ecosystem until now according to 9to5Mac.

Apple Acknowledges Snow Leopard Data Loss Issue

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Date: Tuesday, October 13th, 2009, 07:35
Category: News, Software

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Since the release of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), a number of users have reported that their personal data has gone missing after logging into their guest accounts. According to CNET, Apple now says it’s working on finding a fix.

“We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix,” an Apple representative said in a prepared statement Monday.

The statement marks the first time Apple has said it is looking into the issue. In early September, a handful of Mac users reported the issue on Apple’s discussion boards. The problem, when it occurs, goes like this: when logging into the guest account on their Mac first and then logging into their regular account, some users are finding all their data to be missing and their accounts completely reset.

This doesn’t appear to be a widespread problem and there are currently less than 100 posts on several current discussion threads on the issue. Microsoft is currently dealing with a massive data loss at its Danger subsidiary, the company it acquired that makes the Sidekick mobile phone.

Apple’s data loss issue marks the most recent significatn bug with the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system, including the Finder hanging or crashing, incompatibility with certain apps, and the AirPort connection dropping.

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

Apple Releases Second Mac OS X 10.6.2 Developer Build, Focuses on Wide Array of Fixes

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Date: Monday, October 12th, 2009, 11:38
Category: News, Software

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Apple’s second beta of its Mac OS X 10.6.2 update hit the developer circles recently, the new build incorporating numerous fixes for a wide variety of issues.

Sources familiar with the latest build, dubbed 10C519f, said the update addresses nearly 150 “general focus areas” ranging from applications like Address Book, Photo Booth and QuickTime Player to core services including Front Row, Spaces, and Time Machine.

The update also specifically targets WWAN support for mobile data services and enhances Exchange support, MobileMe and iDisk features, as well as NTFS and WebDAV file system support.

The new beta also addresses specific issues related to the app switching in the Dock, performance and stability issues tied to graphics drivers and the OpenCL compiler, as well as patches impacting bugs in Parental Controls Preview, printing, and the software update mechanism itself.

Apple Updates MobileMe Service, Revises File Sharing and iPhone Services

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Date: Monday, October 12th, 2009, 04:20
Category: Software

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In a behind-the scenes fix, Apple’s MobileMe cloud services package has been updated to improve its public file sharing features and make it easier to locate the Find My iPhone page. The web apps still can’t be accessed from the iPhone however. Per AppleInsider, The company issued the update Friday. Users who login will notice a new “radar sweep” icon in the navigation bar, which serves as a direct link to pull up the Find My iPhone page. This feature was previously hidden in under the Settings page.

The update also addresses Public shared files in the user’s iDisk, which can be made fully available to anyone or restricted to users who know a Public password set by the user. The revamped interface now allows users to password-protect their Public folder and provides the option to enable visitors to upload, move and delete any publicly shared files.

However, the new settings are hidden behind a Preferences item within the drop down menu displayed by the “gear icon” action button.

Apple also gave the public iDisk page MobileMe’s SproutCore treatment, which provides a cohesive look and feel and supports direct drag and drop of files between folders within the web page (but not to or from the desktop). The update also enables users to connect to another user’s Public folder while being currently logged into their own MobileMe account.

As with the previous version, MobileMe makes access personal and public iDisk files available from the desktop as a WebDAV file share on Windows or via the Finder using the Go/iDisk menu, and viewable from the iPhone using the free iDisk app.

Apple still has yet to address the most bizarre problem with MobileMe: the web service is completely and intentionally blocked to iPhone users. Rather than providing web-based access to the site via the iPhone’s browser, users attempting to pull up me.com are sent to a special landing page that tells them to use the phone’s native Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Photos apps instead.

This prevents iPhone users from accessing their MobileMe account information (such as changing their password), looking up the location of other iPhones attached to their MobileMe account with Find My iPhone, logging into an alternative account (such as offering a guest web access to their own account on the iPhone) or troubleshooting problems with email connectivity (such as local SMTP mail delivery problems in a given location that could be resolved with direct webmail access).

Apple has also added some custom support for accessing MobileMe features from the web, including a mobile-optimized Gallery for viewing shared pictures. Apple’s refusal to support access to more or most of MobileMe from the iPhone or iPod touch is particularly strange given the company’s marketing that referred to the iPhone’s browser as providing access to the “real Internet.”

If you’ve played around with the new version, let us know what you make of it.