Apple Apparently Reconsidering Matte Displays on iMacs, Notebooks

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 05:56
Category: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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When Apple began to slowly convert its notebook and iMacs displays to highly-reflective glass surfaces shortly after the release of the original iPhone in 2007, opinions were mixed as to the change. In short, Jason pretty much Hulked Out given the annoyance. And there may have been smashing.

The screen, which has been considered almost as reflective as a mirror, has drawn complaints from users using the notebooks in outdoor environments.

According to AppleInsider and the Apple Core, in January 2009, Apple appeared to concede the point that glossy screens aren’t for everyone when they announced the new 17″ MacBook Pro with a matte screen option. The company included a US$50 upcharge for anti-glare but offered users a choice. Apple then went on to release the rest of the unibody MacBook Pro line with glossy-only displays.

Per the AppleInsider article, Apple may have realized the error of its glossy ways, as the company is “mulling the possibility of extending anti-glare display options to more of its Macs” and that “the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros would be the most likely candidates.”

Apple Legal Department Asks Microsoft to Stop Airing “Laptop Hunter” Ads

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 04:24
Category: retail

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In what may be considered a triumph depending on which side you’re on, Apple has apparently responded to Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunter” series of television commercials. Per Ars Technica, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner was quoted as stating at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference on Wednesday that “two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying [...] ‘Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.’” Turner further went on to note that “they took like $100 off or something,” before stating to applause that it “was the greatest single phone call in the history that I’ve ever taken in business.”

Turner also confirmed that Microsoft is indeed “just going to keep running them and running them and running them.”

I’m not sure if this is effective marketing or not, as no one has actually mentioned enjoying these commercials to any extent of the imagination…

Let us know what you think over in the comments.

Apple Releases iTunes 8.2.1, Cripples Palm Pre iTunes Syncing with Update

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 04:14
Category: iTunes, Mac, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 77.3 megabyte download, offers support for the iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. The update offers a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned “verification of Apple devices” toes the line as to which handhelds can sync to iTunes and which can’t. According to Macworld, the fact that the update “addresses an issue with verifying Apple devices,” essentially means that Apple’s drawn up a list of which devices are allowed to sync and which aren’t—and the Palm Pre is public enemy number one on the latter.

Back in May, prior to the Pre’s official release, Palm executives announced that the device would be able to sync with iTunes, pulling down your music, podcasts, and videos. The trick? As far as iTunes was concerned, the Palm Pre was an iPod.

While the media sync worked pretty well in previous tests, it was unclear as to whether Apple would allow it to sync to iTunes should future versions be released. Apple may have toed the line via a Knowledge Base article describing third party media players being supported by iTunes.

With iTunes 8.2.1, Apple seems to have stopped the Palm Pre from syncing to iTunes altogether, a move confirmed by the company in a statement to the Dow Jones Newswire. Also speaking to Dow Jones, a Palm spokesperson seemed to suggest that not upgrading iTunes is a good solution—but it seems unlikely most users will be willing to do that, especially over the long term as Apple adds more iTunes features.

While the Pre also works as a USB drive, it’s possible to just copy songs over manually, though it can be a laborious process. There’s also the option of third-party syncing software, such as Mark/Space’s The Missing Sync for Palm Pre, doubleTwist, and the forthcoming Salling Media Sync 1.1, which is currently in beta.

Apple Posts iPhone OS 3.1 Beta 2, New Mac OS X 10.6 Seed

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Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:30
Category: News

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Last night, Apple distributed iPhone developers with a second beta of its upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 firmware as well as offered Mac developers a new incremental build of its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system.

According to ArsTechnica, iPhone OS 3.1 beta 2 is only accessible to those with an existing developer account and provides a number of fixes and features, including the ability to connect to and work with a system wirelessly, without the tether of a USB cable.

No official information is available regarding the upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 as developers are currently under a non-disclosure agreement. The second beta is available at the iPhone Dev Center Web site.

Though the new feature does free up a USB port and allows more flexibility for developers, Apple has reportedly warned that physically tethering is still the preferred method, as it is faster and consumes less power.

As revealed with the first release, iPhone OS 3.1 is expected to add Bluetooth and video features. Users can now invoke Voice Control using a Bluetooth headset rather than a wired headset or the built-in microphone. When editing video clips, users can save a copy of the trimmed video instead of permanently losing the discarded ends.

The article reports that developers cannot install applications from Xcode or debug them via WiFi.

Further additions appear to improve battery life, greater access to video recording features for developers, and possible preparation for adding MMS support for AT&T subscribers.

The first iPhone OS 3.1 beta and SDK reportedly included roughly a dozen new extensions for the OpenGL ES graphics library, allowing developers to improve graphics on the iPhone 3GS. Beta 2 reportedly includes fixes for the OS Xcode, as well as other facets of the software.

Where the conventional Mac OS X operating system is concerned, developers testing Snow Leopard received build 10A411 of the operating system over the next-gen system’s Software Update mechanism.

“This Snow Leopard Developer Preview Update is recommended for all users running the Snow Leopard Developer Preview Build 10A402 or later,” Apple reportedly told developers. “This update includes general operating system fixes for stability, compatibility, and security.”

The latest update weighs in at roughly 730 MB, about half the size of build 10A402a distributed last week.

Other World Computing Releases Free Online Library of DIY Videos for Apple Notebook Owners Looking to Upgrade Components

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Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:51
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, PowerBook G4, PowerBook G4 Aluminum, PowerBook G4 Titanium

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Accessory manufacturer Other World Computing announced the completion of its series of Do It Yourself videos for Apple’s entire MacBook and MacBook Pro product line on Tuesday. The videos cover all of the DIY options for these laptops, including memory, hard drive and/or optical drive components for all of Apple’s laptop line from the Titanium PowerBook G4 to the latest Unibody line as well as include warnings for the issues customers should be considering and other instructions needed to do the upgrade.

The installation videos are being offered for free, and OWC has made them available in low, medium, and high resolutions.

MacBook Air Overheating Issue Noted, Fixes Suggested

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Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:38
Category: MacBook Air

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Over on the mighty MacFixIt, reader “Martin V.” wrote in to desribe an ongoing issue wherein his new MacBook Air notebook began to experience a “kernel_task” process that caused his system to run abnormally hot.

“A few months ago I bought a MacBookAir1,1 (standard hard disk, no solid state) which was then hugely reduced in price (€999). Lately it has been nearly impossible to watch youtube video’s (for instance). If I do the machine gets really hot and slows down dramatically. A process called ‘kernel_task’ uses almost all resources. Just do a search on “macbook air” and “kernel_task” and you’ll see this is a widely spread problem”

Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, a large number of users appear to be encountering the same issue with the following solutions being offered:

“it seems to be temperature issue, i.e. the system tries with the kernel task to avoid an overheating of the cpu/gpu.
those guys here (Plasma Design) recommend a cpu undervolting to reduce this heating. they use CoolBook
you can get it for $10. i just installed it and hope that it helps.”

In addition to the Apple Discussions Board back and forth on this, you can also find a full MacRumors forum thread as to how to use CoolBook to best deal with the overheating issue.

Intel May Release Updated Nehalem Processors Next Month

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 05:45
Category: News, Processors

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Processor giant Intel looks ready to deliver a new line of server, notebook and desktop processors based on its new Nehalem microarchitecture next month. According to DigiTimes, the new chips will cut down on bottlenecks that plague its current chips as well as be able to execute more tasks while drawing less power.

An industry source with knowledge of Intel’s plans said the company will deliver new Xeon server processors belonging to the 5500 and 3500 chip families starting early August. Chip specifics weren’t immediately available. The Mac Pro lineup introduced by Apple in March runs on Xeon 5500 ad 3500 chips.

Additional reports have stated that Intel will bring its latest chip microarchitecture to high-end mainstream desktops and laptops starting in September. The company will launch quad-core desktop chips code-named Lynnfield in early September, followed by quad-core laptop chips code-named Clarksfield later in the month, according to the report, which cited industry sources.

Intel officials declined comment, saying the company doesn’t talk about rumors. “But I can say that Lynnfield and Clarksfield are on track for second-half 2009 production,” an Intel spokesman said in an e-mail.

The Lynnfield and Clarksfield chips will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process, according to Intel’s road map, and should be shipped before its shift to the more efficient 32-nm manufacturing process later this year.

The company is also slated to launch chips for new ultrathin laptops (the Celeron SU2300 and Celeron 743 processors) in September per the Digitimes report.

The Nehalem architecture integrates a memory controller into a CPU and provides a faster pipe for the processor to communicate with system components like a graphics card and other chips. It also allows execution of two software threads simultaneously, so a system with four processor cores could run eight threads simultaneously for quicker application performance. The chips will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process.

While the new Nehalem chips may be limited to desktops and laptops on the higher price band, affordably priced systems could see new chips when Intel switches to the 32-nm process. The 32-nm chips will integrate a graphics processor and CPU in one chip, which could boost graphics performance while drawing less power than existing processors.

T-Mobile, Orange May be Arranging to Sell iPhones to UK Marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 04:56
Category: News

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Across the pond, wireless carrier O2′s exclusivity deal within the UK marketplace may be coming to an end within the next few months. According to MacNN, competitor T-Mobile stated that it’s already in negotiation with Apple and could begin carrying the iPhone 3G within a matter of months. The iPhone 3GS has not been mentioned by T-Mobile so far, nor is it said to have been brought up by Orange, also rumored to be pushing for UK sales.

Like the United States, the UK has had only one official iPhone carrier since 2007, in spite of an increasing number of foreign countries hosting multiple carriers. The existence of competitive iPhone providers is thought to be beneficial to both Apple and the public, driving down prices and forcing carriers to bend to Apple’s restrictions. For carriers however the open market can hurt profit margins, and invalidate millions in currency paid to secure exclusive rights.

Multiple US carriers may not arrive until at least 2011, when LTE (4G) networks are slated to go live through AT&T and Verizon.

Apple Releases New Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6 Builds Over Weekend

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 04:45
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple released new builds of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.5.8 and Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) Server operating systems.

According to AppleInsider, Mac OS X 10.5.8 build 9L25 may show signs of capping development of Mac OS X 10.5. Users have stated that each new build has arrived with a focus area noticeably distinct from the last, with lower-level technologies and frameworks seeing greater attention than usual. As such, it’s been speculated that the Mac maker may be giving its Leopard OS a final once-over.

This trend appears to have culminated with this past weekend’s release of build 9L25, which no longer asks that developers focus their attention on a small subset of Leopard’s components. Instead, it groups together the more than three dozen components that had been isolated into smaller focus groups in earlier betas.

The latest build also lists no known issues and addresses just two new bugs, one related to saving mail messages as individual message documents and another to URL localization.

Developers were also granted access to a new build of Mac OS X 10.6 Server, labeled build 10A403. With it, Apple asked that they test upgrade installs of the server software itself, in addition to upgrade installs of Calendar server. Where testing was concerned, users were also reportedly asked to spend some time with the system’s new Podcast Producer, evaluating as many third-party video and web cams as they possibly can. Included with the software is a new Web Podcast Capture which leverages a new Dual Source Video Capture feature for allowing users to create picture-in-picture format podcasts.

Finally, Mac OS X 10.6 Server build 10A403 arrived on the heels of Mac OS X 10.6 Client build 10A402a earlier in the week. That build introduced some widely-reported interface tweaks to the Dock’s pop-up menus and Expose.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the new builds, please let us know what you think in the comments!

Apple Applies for Wireless License in China

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Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple may have finally cleared a major hurdle in bringing its iPhone handset to China, as the company has reportedly applied for a Network Access License in the Asian country. The moves could put a release just a few months away, albeit without Wi-Fi.

According to AppleInsider, Wedge Partners analyst Matt Mathison claims that the application was filed on Friday, July 10th, but doesn’t make any mention of onboard Wi-Fi. Rumors have repeatedly hinted that Apple may be forced to remove Wi-Fi to appease the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which would prefer that iPhone owners use local networks.

Apple has supposedly been “hellbent” on shipping the iPhone to China with Wi-Fi but appears to have relented in order to get the phone into the populous nation.

If the process moves along as usual, this revised iPhone would take between four to six months to receive the green light and go on sale. This would put a launch no later than January, and Mathison seemed confident that the device would arrive before the Chinese New Year, which in 2010 will start in mid-February. Mathison stated that he views the licensing as partly a negotiation tactic that would help bring Apple closer to a deal with China Unicom, the carrier recently pegged as the most likely candidate for an iPhone due to its inherent compatibility with the iPhone’s existing 3G standards.

While it’s rare to have an estimate that narrows the release window for an iPhone in China, whether or not this latest prediction is accurate remains debatable. Local carriers have been in talks with Apple since at least late 2007, and one-time favorite China Mobile has often tried making multiple special requests that have likely stalled hopes for a quick agreement, such as demanding that the American company either use the government-backed TD-SCDMA standard for 3G or cede control of the App Store.

Apple has so far only stated that it wants to have the iPhone in China within the next year and has been silent on the progress of negotiations.