Apple Releases MacBook Air Update SMC 1.2

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Date: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009, 04:56
Category: Mac, MacBook Air, Software

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Apple released its MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.2 patch yesterday, a 623 kilobyte download that offers the following fixes and changes per the web site:

“This SMC firmware update adds compatibility for the latest service replacement batteries…. After this update has successfully completed, your SMC Version will be: 1.23f20 [for original MacBook Air models, or] 1.34f8 [for more recent models].”

SMC Firmware Updates generally control the System Management Controller on Intel-based Macs. The SMC controls power and thermal management features, including the battery and fans. In this case, new replacement batteries from Apple are apparently different enough that they require the use of this updated version of the SMC firmware.

The update can be downloaded directly or snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Several Original iPhone Owners Report Difficulty Maintaining Wireless Connections Under iPhone OS 3.0

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Date: Monday, June 29th, 2009, 05:37
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS

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As nifty as iPhone OS 3.0 may be, a number of original iPhone owner have reported that their handsets are having difficulty remaining connected to wireless networks.

According to MacFixIt, complaints similar to the following description have been left over on the site’s discussion board:

MacFixIt reader Mark M. reports:
“I’ve been having persistent problems getting my iPhone to remember Wi-Fi networks after the upgrade to 3.0. I’ve been following the Apple User Group discussions (iphone, network) and have followed the suggestions there (restore the phone; forget network settings) to no avail. I have a 1st gen iPhone and currently I have to go to settings, general, reset, reset network settings several times a day to maintain a Wi-Fi connection to my home airport. From the User Group discussions it appears this is a fairly common problem.”

The issue currently appears to be bigger than single cases and has also been reported with many iPhones running iPhone OS 2.2.1 as well as units with the iPhone OS 3.0 update installed.

Over on the Apple Discussions Board, user “GoHawks” reported the following:

“A lot of us, myself included, are all of a sudden having this issue. Mine started a few weeks ago as well, when I was running 2.2.1, and continued on into 3.0. Every once in a while it will work, but it’s a rare occurrence. Unfortunately all the tips and tricks don’t appear to work for me either, things I’ve tried include:
1. Reset Network settings
2. Reset All Settings
3. Restore (done about 12 of them over the last couple of weeks)
4. Deleting various apps to see if that makes a difference
5. Reboots
6. Airplane Mode on/off
7. Toggle WiFi
8. Turn of Bluetooth
9. Resetting the phone by holding the top button and home until it reboots
I’ve done all of this many times and every once in a while one of them will seem to work, but within an hour I’ve lost it again. Even when I have it I’m constantly having to put in my password information for the networks I connect to with encryption.”

Currently there does not appear to be a permanent fix for this issue. Most users report that a combination of any of the above attempts for a solution will temporarily provide relief and decent wireless performance.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and if you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know in the new, revamped and nifty comments section!

Latest High-End MacBook Air Performing Slower Than Predecessor

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Date: Monday, June 29th, 2009, 04:47
Category: MacBook Air

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Taken at face value, the specifications tied to Apple’s most recent MacBook Air updates imply the latest pair of ultra-slim notebooks should handily outperform their predecessors, but a new report claims this notion only holds true for the slower of the two models.

According to Macworld’s review, the most recent MacBook Air notebooks, an entry-level US$1,499 model with a 1.86GHz processor and 120GB hard drive, and a high-end version for US$1,799 that sports a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 128GB solid-state flash drive, have been tested against their predecessors introduced last October: a 1.6GHz model with a 120GB (then priced at US$1799) and a 1.86GHz version with 128GB solid-state flash drive (then priced at US$2499).

While the new low-end 1.86GHz model bested its 1.6GHz predecessor, outperforming it in most tests and recording a Speedmark score of 11 points higher at 156, the same couldn’t be said for the new high-end 2.13GHz MacBook Air, which achieve a score of 175 — a full 4 points lower than the previous-gen 1.86GHz model.

“What’s weird about the new high-end MacBook Air model is that although it cost dramatically less than its immediate predecessor, it was also slower than that model,” wrote Macworld’s editor, Jason Snell. “The late-2008 1.86GHz MacBook Air was faster than the new top-of-the-line model in 11 of our 18 tests, and as a result, the old system’s final Speedmark score was slightly higher.”

Snell also reported that he saw several cases in which the new, low-end MacBook Air, with its slower Core 2 Duo chip and hard disk drive, outperform the high-end model and its sold-state flash drive. He notes that this may be the result of hard drives being known to outperform their solid state drives in certain operations, but added that the slower system also beat the faster model in some video compression and 3D rendering tests.

“We’re not quite sure why this is happening, though it’s possible that the Air’s thermal-protection systems are aggressively ratcheting down the speed of the faster, hotter processors when they’re asked to perform those tasks, slowing their performance,” he wrote.

In light of these results, it’s worth noting that several Apple authorized resellers maintain inventory of the previous-generation 1.86GHz MacBook Air, which they’re discounting to a price of US$1,649 (roughly US$150 cheaper than than the new 2.13GHz model they appear to be outperforming).

Mild iPhone 3GS Shortage Reported Models Across Apple Retail Networks

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 29th, 2009, 04:11
Category: iPhone 3GS, retail

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Apple’s retail store chain reported shortages of some models of the company’s recently released iPhone 3GS handset on Sunday. According to Macworld UK, the company’s own inventory tracking tool showed a milder repeat of last summer, when Apple’s stores quickly exhausted supplies of the then-new iPhone 3G, a situation that persisted for several weeks until the company could refill the pipeline.

On Sunday, Apple’s stock-checking tool indicated that 13 of the 211 stores in the US, or 6% of the total, were completely out of the iPhone 3GS.

Another 31 stores, or 15%, had only one of the four models for sale.

The hardest-to-find iPhone 3GS was the US$199 white 16GB model, which was out of stock in 121 stores, or 57% of the locations. Supplies of the US$299 32GB black iPhone 3GS were also short, as 84 stores, or 40% of the total, reported it unavailable.

Customers on Sunday were most likely to find the US$199 black 16GB iPhone 3GS and the US$299 white 32GB model in stock, as only 23% of the stores reported being out of either of those configurations.

The iPhone 3GS has been available since June 19, but Apple only recently re-activated the inventory tool. Last summer, users were told to use the tool after 9 pm local time each day to check availability for the next day. This year, there is no such instruction, since the tool has been changed to offer better information.

“You can check the most up-to-date availability right here,” said Apple on the tool’s Web page. “Shipments of iPhone 3GS arrive most days and availability is updated hourly.”

All stores currently have the US$99 8GB iPhone 3G in stock, Apple added.

AT&T, which last year also ran through its inventory soon after the iPhone 3G’s July launch, and took much longer to restock, has some spot shortages in its 2,200 retail stores as well. The carrier, however, was vague about the extent of the problem.

“There are AT&T stores that do not currently carry iPhone,” AT&T said in an message accompanying its online store finder. The remainder of the text was identical to last year: “This store locator is made specifically for finding iPhone at an AT&T store. It does not, however guarantee that there will be iPhones in stock at the particular store at this time. To make sure iPhone is at the store closest to you, call that store’s number.”

Best Buy and Wal-Mart are selling the 3GS handset as well. However, neither sells the iPhone online or offers any information about availability online. Instead, customers must call or visit a brick-and-mortar store to see whether the smartphone is in stock.

Prior to the June 19 launch, AT&T and Best Buy said that they had exhausted their pre-order supplies of the iPhone 3GS.

Microsoft Announces Windows 7 Pricing, Upgrades, Release Date

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 26th, 2009, 04:00
Category: News

windows7

Microsoft let the Windows 7 details fly on Thursday with news of lower Windows 7 upgrade prices as well as a concession that lets owners of the now 8-year-old Windows XP move up to the new operating system at a lower price.

According to AppleInsider, Microsoft detailed the pricing for the three editions of Windows 7 that customers would be likely to find in stores.

In a bid to placate those upset by elevated Vista pricing, some versions of Windows 7 will be less expensive than Vista has been in the past. At retail, a Home Premium upgrade will cost US$120 (US$40 less than it did when Vista was new) while its stand-alone version has dropped a similar amount to US$200. Buying a copy of Professional will retail for US$200 (upgrade) or US$300 (full) as it has in the past, but Windows 7 Ultimate will cost US$220 to upgrade versus the US$260 for Vista Ultimate in 2007. A full copy of the new Ultimate release costs US$320 versus US$400 two years ago.

Customers eager enough to pre-order the new OS before it ships on October 22nd will pay even less. Starting Friday, advance orders for Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional upgrades will retail for US$50 and US$100 each in the United States and should last until July 11th or until stock runs dry. Many PC vendors, including HP, will also offer upgrades to Windows 7 for free or for a small cost on any PC sold from Friday until Windows 7 comes preloaded on the new computers.

Microsoft also announced that those using the now two generations old Windows XP OS can upgrade their OS rather than pay full retail pricing. However, due to the change in architectures between Windows XP and 7, buyers will have to perform a clean install rather than the in-place upgrade Vista owners can use.

Current builds of Windows 7 function well under Apple’s Boot Camp technology and are expected to be supported by virtualization programs such as Parallels Desktop and VMware.

Apple To Buy Additional 2.2 Million Shares of Imagination Technologies

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 26th, 2009, 04:45
Category: Hardware, News

applelogo_silver

Apple may be expanding in component companies once again, as Macworld UK is reporting that Apple has upped its stake in British outfit Imagination Technologies, the London-based company that developed the technology used in the 3G iPhone’s graphics chips

Imagination Technologies has stated that Apple is to acquire 2.2 million of its shares at £1.4275 (about US$2.351 per share.

Apple already owned shares in Imagination’s technology. On 18 December 2008, Imagination revealed in a filing with the London Stock Exchange that Apple acquired 8,200,000 shares, equal to a 3.6% stake in the company.

London-based Imagination Technologies develops intellectual property found in systems-on-chip (SOCs), including its Meta processor cores and PowerVR graphics engines.

A graphics chip based on PowerVR provides the graphics for Apple’s 3G iPhone and other companies, including Samsung Electronics and Intel, have licensed Imagination’s graphics technology.

Elgato Releases EyeTV 3.1.2 Update

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Date: Friday, June 26th, 2009, 04:01
Category: Mac, Software

eyetv2

Late Thursday, Elgato Systems released version 3.1.2 of its EyeTV software application, which finds and tracks all television programming you want to see and allows users to pause live television and save content to file.

The new version, which can be found here (and can also be found through EyeTV 3.0′s update feature), adds the following fixes and features:

  • For EyeTV Hybrid (US 2009 and EU 2008 models), as well as some older devices, when capturing analog video, the timeshift setting in Preferences > Devices is now applied while recording. When timeshifting is off, recordings will use less CPU, and will display with a lower latency.
  • Quit and Sleep commands were added to EyeTV’s overlay menu.
  • Pressing the “Stop” button on the infrared remote control while playing back a recording in the EyeTV overlay menu now features an option to delete the recording.
  • Added support for widescreen (16:9) analog capture for all recent Elgato branded hardware. To enable widescreen capture, select “Stretch” from the View > Aspect Ratio menu. This feature is for capture of sources set to output 16:9 pictures squeezed into a standard definition output, usually set top boxes and DVD players. The output device should be set to 16:9 or “wide” output (as if it were feeding a widescreen TV).
  • To cycle through EyeTV’s different aspect ratio options, select View > Aspect Ratio > Rotate or press Command-Option-5.
    For NTSC set top boxes connected via RF modulation, EyeTV now supports channels 2 through 69 instead of 3 and 4.
  • To aid in solving problems downloading TV Guide data, EyeTV now features a Gemstar Program Guide Diagnostics window, accessible from the Help menu. In order to obtain the most current TV Guide data, EyeTV now additionally downloads data for the second and seventh day out.

New Hardware:

  • Support was added for the Devolo dLAN TV Sat, a DVB-S2 network tuner.

Bug Fixes:

  • A problem where EyeTV for DTT was not recognized by the EyeTV Setup Assistant has been resolved.
  • Problems detecting channels on DVB-S and DVB-S2 transponders with very high data rates have been resolved.
  • Teletext highlighting now work when viewing in transparent mode.
  • A crash at launch with corrupt preferences has been fixed.
  • Crashes while using the auto-update feature have been eliminated.
  • Invalid TitanTV Remote Scheduling account settings were not being reported correctly.
  • For improved compatibility with Remote Buddy, direct AppleScript access to some overlay menus was added.
  • The Apple Remote can no longer put the Mac to sleep while EyeTV is recording.
  • A problem where EyeTV would not wake up for recordings if the Energy Saver System Preference contained scheduled sleep/shutdown times has been fixed.
  • Problems exporting recordings with multiple Dolby Digital audio tracks have been resolved.
  • Several crashes while exporting have been fixed.
  • Added support for Eastern European ISO-8859-2 and ISO-8859-5 encodings for channel names and programming guide data.
  • EyeTV no longer cancels downloading the programming guide when encountering minor errors.
  • EyeTV now displays the file size number formatting in the international display format selected by the user.
  • Teletext in subtitle (“transparent”) mode no longer inhibits the timeshift overlay.
  • EyeTV now correctly sorts SmartGuide results by the “Where” column.
  • France 2 HD and Arte HD are now automatically assigned to tvtv.
  • A hang while quitting EyeTV in the middle of a program guide download has been eliminated.
  • The EyeTV MPEG Support Component has been updated to fix an incompatibility with Perian and other MPEG-4 decoders that resulted in the first frame always being green.
  • Exports to H.264 now include the QuickTime color info extension and the field info extension when the source is interlaced. This resolves dark playback in QuickTime Player.
  • EyeTV now supports DivX 7.
  • EyeTV is now compatible with the latest release of Flip4Mac Windows Media QuickTime components.
  • The overlay menu now responds to infrared commands after changing inputs.
  • A problem with white stripes at the edges of Apple TV exports with close captioning has been resolved.
  • EyeTV no longer crashes at launch when there is a corrupted text-to-speed voice installed.
  • After automatically updating to the latest version, the old version of EyeTV is always moved to the Trash.

EyeTV 3.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run. The program retails for US$79.95.

Apple Releases Apple TV 2.4 Firmware

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Date: Thursday, June 25th, 2009, 05:52
Category: Apple TV, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released version 2.4 of its firmware for the Apple TV set top box. The new firmware, which can be downloaded via Apple TV’s Software Update feature, boasts the following fixes and changes:

  • Remote app directional control: Control your Apple TV with simple finger gestures via the Remote app. This feature requires Remote 1.3 running on an iPhone or iPod touch with iPhone OS 3.0.
  • Flickr Search: Search Flickr photo tags to find recently updated photos of interest. Save searches to quickly find new photos or use as a screen saver for Apple TV.
  • New view options: View movies By Genre, By Movie, or Unwatched. View TV Shows and Podcasts By Date, By Show, or Unwatched.
  • Updated transport and chapter modes: During video playback, click right or left to fast forward or rewind. Additional clicks increase the speed. Click down to show chapter markers.

If you’ve downloaded the new firmware and tested it out, let us know how it works in the fabulous and rebuilt and functional comments section!!!

Jobs Acknowledges Liver Transplant, Cites Good Condition

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 24th, 2009, 04:35
Category: News

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Working to settle the question of his health once and for all, Apple chief Steve Jobs has acknowledged that he did undergo a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital and that he has come out of surgery in good condition.

Per AppleInsider Jobs gave permission to the Tennessee hospital to publish the news after a leak on Friday had all but confirmed the operation in the southeastern state.

Program director Dr. James D. Eason justified the transplant, which can sometimes be controversial due to its uncertainty, by noting that Jobs likely needed it. He was the patient with the greatest likelihood of developing an end-stage liver disease among those with a blood type matching the next available donor liver; as such, he was a prime candidate for the operation.

Even so, as he was the patient with the greatest risk in the waiting line, Jobs is now believed to have come out of his surgery with an “excellent prognosis” and a strong recovery.

Jobs declined to provide more information on the reasons for the surgery or his current state, but experts may have answered these questions themselves. Physicians speculating about the operation suggest that, like the majority patients who recovered from the form of pancreatic cancer he had in 2004, the cancer had metastasized in his liver, creating the “hormonal imbalance” that ultimately forced Jobs to take leave of his normal office for the past six months.

Tennessee is known to have been chosen for the small size of its transplant waiting list. Where the median number of days a patient would have to wait for a procedure in the US was 306 as of 2006, Tennessee’s list was just 48. Methodist University Hospital also points out that it’s one of the ten largest locations offering liver transplants in the U.S. and that Jobs specifically chose the hospital due to its strong reputation for patient survival rates.

Though it’s currently unknown just how healthy the Apple CEO is or when his surgery actually took place, Jobs has purportedly been seen on campus this week. He was also quoted in a press release for the first time in months on Monday.

VMWare Releases Fusion 2.0.5

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Date: Wednesday, June 24th, 2009, 04:27
Category: Mac, Software

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Late Tuesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 2.0.5 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 289 megabyte download, offers the following new features and fixes:

  • Supports Mac OS X Server guest operating systems on Macs with Intel Xeon 5500 and 3500 Series processors (based on Nehalem micro-architecture).
  • Provides experimental support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server as a guest operating system (32-bit only).
  • Provides experimental support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard as a host operating system (32-bit only).
  • Supports Ubuntu 9.04 as a guest operating system, including features such as VMware Tools pre-built modules and Easy Install.
  • Reduces CPU usage when a virtual machine is idle under VMware Fusion.
  • Contains fixes for more than 80 bugs.

The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.