Per the cool cats at MacRumors, Apple could be preparing to refresh the MacBook Pro product line amid reports that stocks of the 15″ and 17″ models are running low.
The site is claiming that both Apple Stores and third-party retailer supplies are dwindling, suggesting that stocks are being run down in preparation for new models.
Amazon.com says that customers ordering some variants of the MacBook Pro, particularly the 17″ model, will have a long wait, quoting delivery times of between one and two months.
There appear to be some left on the site, though several lines are down to the last few units.
The MacBook Pro line got its last refresh in April of 2010 with the introduction of Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors. It is widely expected that the next refresh of the MacBook Pro line will happen in the next few months.
With Verizon en route to sell the iPhone come February 10th, this is where competition becomes interesting.
Per the Wall Street Journal, Verizon COO Lowell McAdam confirmed that it will offer its US$30 unlimited data plan during the launch of the iPhone but stated the plan will only be available for a limited time. McAdam did not specify a cutoff date for offering the plan, but he reiterated statements the company made in June 2010 that Verizon will soon follow AT&T’s lead and drop unlimited data plans altogether in favor of a tiered pricing model.
Even though Verizon plans to eventually drop its unlimited data plans, this comes as good news, as iPhone owners are known to gobble much more data than users of competing devices.
A recent Bloomberg report claims that Apple will be incorporating NFC (Near Field Communication) hardware in the next iPhone and iPad, allowing customers to use the iPhone and iPad to make purchases:
The services are based on “Near-Field Communication,” a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4″, due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2, said Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisioneering Group. Both products are likely to be introduced this year, he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.
Apple could potentially tie this payment system into people’s existing iTunes accounts. The technology has been described as allowing customers to walk into a store and make payments directly from their iOS device. Apple may also incorporate loyalty rewards and credit systems into iTunes as well. Other possibilities include using location-based transactions to improve iAd targeting.
According to the source, Apple has already made created payment terminals intended for small businesses to scan NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads. These terminals could be subsidized or even given away to encourage adoption.
Apple has been hiring NFC experts as well as applied for several patents on the technology. A couple of previous reports have also pegged the next generation iPhone as having NFC technology built in.
Stay tuned for any information on this as it becomes available.
If you’re hankering for a Verizon iPhone and worried about needing a bumper case, Apple may be a step ahead of you.
Per Engadget, Apple has apparently worked around the problem of needing two versions of its Bumper case with the pending launch of the iPhone 4 on Verizon’s network by creating a universal Bumper. The new Bumper case includes a larger switch slot that accommodates the slightly different positions of the mute switch on the two iPhone 4 models.
The iPhone 4 bumper Apple shipped months ago for GSM-based networks like AT&T, O2 and Orange, the handset using a different antenna configuration than the new CDMA-based model that will sell for Verizon’s network. That change meant Apple needed to reposition the mute switch that sits just above the iPhone’s volume buttons, making the company’s current Bumper cases incompatible with the new model.
It’s unknown whether the bumper will be free (as was the case with the iPhone 4) or available via retail.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
If you were hoping to buy a new iPhone 4 and tinker with it, you might have some problems.
Per the mighty iFixIt, Apple has begun replacing the standard phillips head screws that hold together most iPhones sold in the U.S. with tamper-resistant “pentalobe” screws. The result is a device that most users are unable to open which also proves difficult for third party battery replacement services to replaces the battery in the device.
The pentalobe screw is a design controlled by Apple, and getting a screwdriver is very difficult, unless you’re an Apple Certified repair technician. Apple is apparently replacing the old screws with the new ones whenever an iPhone is brought into an Apple Store for repair, and users aren’t alerted to the change before or after it takes place.
Pentalobe Screw from iFixIt’s explanatory video
The new screws have begun to surface in recently shipped iPhones and iPhone 4 models shipped with the screw in Japan from the get-go.
These same screws are used on some MacBook Pro and Air models, and are likely to make their way to more Apple products in the future.
A video’s worth a couple thousand words and quite a bit of argument:
Late Thursday Apple issued the first beta of Mac OS X 10.6.7, the next security and maintenance update for its Snow Leopard operating system, to its developers community for testing.
Per AppleInsider, the first beta is dubbed Build 10J842 is a 338.6MB download in its delta form. People familiar with the first beta said that its documentation notes there are no known issues with the software.
Developers have reportedly been asked to focus on AirPort, Bonjour, SMB file sharing, and graphics drivers.
The first beta arrived just weeks after Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.6 for Snow Leopard. That update brought the Mac App Store, a new digital download destination to obtain software for the Mac platform.
While it is unknown what new features or fixes might come in Mac OS X 10.6.7, the Mac App Store will likely prove to be the last major feature added to Snow Leopard. Apple has already begun to hype Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, its next major operating system release. Lion will bring features from iOS, including a home screen, full-screen applications and new multi-touch gestures, to the Mac platform when it debuts this summer.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
Late Wednesday, Apple released to developers the second external beta of its upcoming iOS 4.3, as well as a new pre-release copy of Apple TV software designed to support the mobile operating system’s new AirPlay feature for third-party programmers. The company also informed developers that some features present in the initial beta won’t make it into the 4.3 release.
Per AppleInsider, the new beta of iOS 4.3 carries build number 9F5135d and is available for all three of Apple’s iOS devices. At this point, it’s too early to tell what changes may come baked into the release when compared to the first beta, released exactly one week ago.
The first beta of iOS 4.3 introduced a personal hotspot control panel, new multitouch gestures for the iPad, and updated SMS alert settings. Resource files accompanying the release also provided hints at a handful of new iPad and iPhone models, as well as a potential “Find My Friends” social networking feature.
It should be noted, however, that the multi-touch gestures that made their debut in the first beta won’t be ready for prime time by the final release of iOS 4.3, according to a note to developers accompanying the release of the second beta.
“This feature will not be enabled in iOS 4.3 for customers,” the documentation reads, “but we are providing this preview to gather input on how these gestures work with your apps.”
Still, a picture’s worth a thousand words and gestures on the iPad could prove interesting:
As always, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.
The cool cats at iLounge have received an anonymous tip stating that the Personal Hotspot feature of iOS 4.3 will work on both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. Per the source, who claims to have tested it using the first beta version of iOS 4.3, the feature works on the 3GS exactly as it works on the iPhone 4, including the ability to share the device’s 3G network connection over Wi-Fi.
While it’ll be up to the individual wireless carriers to support the feature, the feature may be present in the OS but not show up in users’ Settings app unless it has been enabled by their carrier. In addition, while the feature is present in the current 3GS build of iOS 4.3 beta, it is possible that Apple could remove the feature prior to the public release of the update.
Even if it’s just a rumor, this could lead to something useful down the line.