Apple Updates Knowledge Base Articles for iPhoto, iMovie and Wireless Input Devices

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Date: Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, 09:50
Category: News

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You’ve gotta love the Apple Knowledge Base, for it sometimes has the answers.

Per CNET, Apple has updated and released a few knowledgebase articles, covering issues with iPhoto and iMovie as well as offering troubleshooting tips for wireless keyboards and mice.

Without further ado, here we go:

iMovie ’09: Referenced videos from iPhoto Library not displayed in iMovie Event Library
This article outlines a problem where even though iPhoto can be set to import a movie and store it in locations other than the iPhoto library, if you do this movies that are kept in the iPhoto library will not show up for use in iMovie. This is because iMovie will reference the iPhoto library file for the movie contents, and if the movie is not directly in the library (even though iPhoto can reference it), iMovie will not be able to find it. To get around this problem, either follow the article’s advice and enable copying of imported items into the iPhoto library, or locate the movie file in the Finder and import it directly into iMovie.

Mac OS X v10.6: Character Viewer / Keyboard Viewer appears with authentication dialogs or Fast User Switching dialogs:
The keyboard and character viewers will open for use with individual applications, rather than being globally on or off. As such, if you have opened one of these viewers with an authentication dialogue box open, they will open every time the system prompts for authentication. To disable them, the next time the system prompts for authentication, choose “hide” for the respective viewer in the input menu (may look like a flag on some systems).

iPhoto, Aperture: Warning icon when ordering photo products:
This article discusses a problem with iPhoto and Aperture where if the resolution of an image is too low or if the caption text for an image is too large, then the program will display a warning symbol next to the picture or caption. There are a few minimum resolution requirements for iPhoto’s pictures, which are outlined in this article.

Troubleshooting wireless mouse and keyboard issues:
This article covers a number of problems people may have with bluetooth input devices, including the device not being recognized by the computer, specific keys or other functions of the input devices not working, or bizarre jumpy or slow input. It is specific for people who use the Apple bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse, but may also be useful for people running other models, be them either from Apple or from a third party.

If you’ve seen any major changes to the Knowledge Base or just found an article that helped you out of a jam, please let us know.

Apple Offers Additional Education Store Discount, Brings MacBook Prices to Below $800 in Some Cases

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Date: Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, 05:09
Category: MacBook, retail

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Sometimes there’s a decent deal to be had if you look for it.

According to MacNN, Apple has offered an educational discount on the current MacBook, dropping the price below US$899. Apple recently dropped the standard educational price by $50, on top of a previous price below the $999 retail cost via its educational store. At at least one school-specific Apple storefront however, the cost has been lowered to US$728. Shipping remains free.

The impetus for the price cuts remains unclear, though it seems likely that Apple just wants to clear out its holiday stock. Apple also sells to most of its educational customers in the run up to September, when many schools begin classes.

The company’s usual “Back to School” promotion offers money towards an iPod when buying a new Mac.

Rumor: Apple Places Orders for Possible Tablet Displays, Connector Devices

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Date: Monday, December 28th, 2009, 06:52
Category: Rumor

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It’s a new week, so let the tablet rumors flow.

Apple has apparently placed mass orders for 10″ displays as well as strong glass panels and connectors to go with them.

According to DigiTimes, manufacturer Foxconn’s panel-making subsidiary Innolux will serve as the primary supplier of 10″ panels for the forthcoming multi-touch device while display panel vendor Wintek will fill many of the remaining orders.

Citing sources close to the story, DigiTimes has reported that Apple has been “seeking solutions to strengthen the glass of the 10-inch panel for the” tablets, a move which contributed to delaying the device’s launch until the first-quarter 2010.

Foxconn’s optical glass processing subsidiary G-Tech Optoelectronics will reportedly provide this unidentified glass strengthening process, while Taiwan-based optical film maker Wah Hong Industrial has also been tapped to supply components that will aid in the effort.

Based on an analysis of the shipping schedules of Apple’s upstream component suppliers, it’s been predicted that Apple could announce its new tablet device in January with volume shipments to follow by March.

In Addition, the Economic Daily has reported that manufacturer Cheng Uei Precision has received large orders for new flat-panel Tablet PC connector parts. Strangely enough, the article suggests the company is unlikely to start delivering those parts to Apple until the third quarter of 2010.

A media event thought to be related to the Apple tablet has been scheduled for January 26th at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Arts Center.

AT&T Cuts Off NYC-Area Online iPhone Sales, Has Yet to Explain Why

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Date: Monday, December 28th, 2009, 05:03
Category: iPhone, News

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As of last night, something odd happened.

It apparently became impossible to purchase an iPhone from AT&T’s online store if you live in New York City, and as of right now, the carrier isn’t saying why. In addition, some online customer representatives have offered comments that New York wasn’t “ready for the iPhone,” while, per Engadget, others were fed a line about credit card fraud causing a ban on online sales.

Hop out of your home and apartment and both New York City-area Apple and AT&T store locations are happily selling the iPhone, which is still in stock.

So far, the closest thing to an official explanation is the following “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

If you’ve experienced this or have any ideas of your own, please let us know.

Apple Files Patent for Touch-Surface Keyboard with Tactile Feedback

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Date: Thursday, December 24th, 2009, 10:55
Category: News

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Ok, this could be really interesting.

Recently, Apple filed for a patent on a touch-surface keyboard with tactile feedback. Per AppleInsider, a problem with typing on touchscreens is that users must typically look at the keys to know what is being pressed; by contrast, most physical keyboards allow people to gauge where their fingers are through bumps and ridges. Apple’s solution would pop up an “articulating frame” whenever typing is engaged, and move it out of the way when it is not.

Such a frame could be based around ridges or concave depressions, much as on a normal keyboard, or alternately on dedicated feedback mechanisms. Another proposed option is a non-articulating frame, which would provide more resistance the further a finger moves away from a key center. Activation of the frame could be triggered by placing fingers in the right place, or simply engaging in typing-like activity. A frame could be lowered when taps or slides are detected.

The technology could conceivably be used in Apple’s long-awaited tablet and a former Apple employee has suggested will surprise people in how they can interact with it. The patent filing is also not the first of its kind from the company, as a similar one was submitted as far back as 2007.

Rumor: Apple Books Media Event for Late January, Tablet Release Speculation Escalates

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Date: Thursday, December 24th, 2009, 06:10
Category: Rumor

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It’s almost Christmas and since speculation makes life interesting, here you go:

Apple has reportedly scheduled a media event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on Tuesday January 26th, 2010, for a major product announcement. Per the Financial Times, Apple has reportedly rented the stage for “several days” at the end of January. Officials with Apple and the center declined to comment.

Although it’s currently unknown what the media event will center around, reports have emerged from the Times stated that Apple’s long-awaited tablet device was due for a January, 2010 unveiling and would go into mass production soon after. Additional reports have surfaced that Apple is in negotiation with TV networks to hash out subscription plans and content for video on the iTunes Store.

Another report stated that a tablet with a 7″ screen was due to be announced in January. This differs from long-standing reports of a device with a 10″ touchscreen, albeit Apple could be manufacturing two differently sized units.

Web blog Silicon Alley Insider was reportedly told by a source that Apple asked developers to prepare full screen versions of their apps for a January demo. Apple has apparently requested that the software in question scale beyond the 320 x 480 pixel size of the current iPhone and iPod touch screen, but said that applications that can accommodate the larger screen size will run “just fine” on the new device.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Next-Gen iPhone Expected to Include 5 Megapixel Camera

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Date: Thursday, December 24th, 2009, 05:37
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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If you’re hankering for a better camera on the iPhone, you may not have too much longer to wait.

Per a report on DigiTimes, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to ship with an improved 5-megapixel camera.

According to the report, OmniVision Technologies is expected to see CMOS image sensor orders for Apple’s iPhone devices grow to 40-45 million units in 2010 from 20-21 million estimated this year, according to sources close to the story. These figures include 5-megapixel CIS orders for the next-generation iPhone model according to those sources.

The company currently supplies the 3.2-megapixel CIS found in the iPhone 3GS.

A next generation iPhone is predicted to be available possibly by June next year with other rumors pointing towards iPhone OS 4.0 testing evidence emerging on the web logs of various larger web sites.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Epic Games Demonstrates Working Version of Unreal 3D Game Engine on iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009, 03:02
Category: iPhone, News

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If you wondered where the iPhone might be going as far as a gaming platform, you might be surprised.

Per AnandTech, Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, creators of the Unreal Engine, demonstrated a working proof of concept to the web site with a playable demo of Unreal Tournament. The game ran a modified level from the popular first-person shooter and employs dual-touch controls.

The game has a virtual thumbstick on the left side of the touch screen to control character movement. Using their right thumb, users can aim and shoot at enemies on screen.

The demo employs Open GL ES 2.0, which is only available on the iPhone 3GS and new iPod touch. The PowerVR SGX GPU has been found to make the hardware, in some cases, to be twice as fast as its predecessors.

The report noted that the game ran with a smooth framerate and the controls worked well. It added, however, that the demo clearly needs polishing, but that it is “just a starting point.”

“Epic isn’t announcing any sort of iPhone engine licenses nor are they entering the iPhone game market,” the report said. “Porting UE3 to the iPhone is simply one of many projects being worked on inside a newer, more svelte and innovative Epic Games (wait till you see what’s next…).”

As Epic Games does on the PC side, the company apparently intends to license its Unreal Engine to third-party companies for use on the iPhone and iPod touch. This will allow an advanced framework for companies to build original games around. Epic, at the moment, has no plans to release any games for the platform.

Rein also told AnandTech that Unreal Engine 3 will be demoed on another mobile platform at CES 2010 in early January. The company reportedly intends to take its plans beyond the iPhone and iPod touch.

“This isn’t a platform specific thing,” the report said, “it’s about bringing Unreal Engine 3 to the entire portable market.”

Recently, Apple exhibited signs that the company may be looking to get more directly involved in game development, the company posting a job opening for a game and media software engineer for its iPhone and iPod touch team. Apple has traditionally backed off from first-hand game development, so some degree of change may be in the air.

CBS, Disney Show Interest in Apple’s iTunes-Based Subscription Proposal

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Date: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009, 08:15
Category: News

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Following up on Apple’s intention to create a subscription-based service, both CBS and Walt Disney hae expressed interest in the idea, which is slated to roll out sometime in 2010.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. are considering participating in Apple’s future plan to offer subscriptions for television shows through iTunes. CBS would offer programs from its parent network as well as CW, while Disney would offer programs from its ABC, Disney Channel, and ABC Family networks.

Apple would pay the content providers US$2 to US$4 a month per subscriber for a broadcast network like CBS or ABC, and about US$1 to US$2 a month per subscriber for a basic-cable network.

The report also stated that Apple has briefed companies on its long-anticipated tablet device, which it calls a “multimedia gadget.” The touchscreen device, which is stated to be larger than an iPhone but smaller than a laptop, is reportedly expected to arrive by the end of March 2010.

Back in November Apple reportedly pitched a US$30-a-month iTunes TV subscription plan to major networks in hope of gaining support for an “all-you-can-eat” subscription plan. At that point it was suggested that Disney would be the first to opt in. Disney was the first company to provide its programs over iTunes in 2005, and the company has close ties with Apple – CEO Steve Jobs is the company’s largest single shareholder.

It is possible that Apple has altered its strategy due to push-back from some of the larger media companies. Many of the companies in question also have cable TV interests, meaning a potential deal with Apple could result in a decrease in traditional cable revenues. With Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal earlier this month, it would be unlikely that the company would be willing to participate in a deal, and would therefore weaken a potential “all-you-can-eat” subscription plan.

Apple Releases Firmware Update for 27″ iMac Graphics Bug

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Date: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009, 06:11
Category: News

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Following up on reports of graphical errors with its best-selling 27″ iMac model, Apple recently released a firmware update to help resolve the issue. The update, a 683 kilobyte download, updates the graphics firmware on ATI Radeon HD 4670 and 4850 graphics cards to address issues that may cause image corruption or display flickering.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the firmware update and noticed any changes, please let us know.