32GB Capacity iPhone Listed in AT&T Upgrade Program

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Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 07:56
Category: iPhone, News

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You might want to file this under “premonitions”.
According to Phone Arena, an AT&T upgrade program for BlackBerries has listed a 32GB iPhone as a trade-in option. Simultaneously, Canadian cellular provider Rogers may be preparing for another summer iPhone release.
The potential discovery occurred on Friday when a BlackBerry Bold trade-up program run on behalf of AT&T, albeit via a third party, showed an “iPhone 32GB 3G” as one of the phones that can be exchanged for cash towards the Research in Motion smartphone. The RIM handset is listed as worth US$335, though it’s unlikely this is connected to any final pricing.
It’s currently unknown as to whether this is a genuine addition or a speculative move on behalf of the company running the ad. None of the other iPhones in the list are unreleased models. However, it does follow an accidental post of a similar sort by T-Mobile Austria, which briefly showed a 32GB iPhone in its “coming soon” section only to pull it shortly afterwards.
The 32GB iPhone listed as a trade-in choice for moving to an AT&T BlackBerry Bold.

AT&T Considering Cheaper, Capped Data Plans for iPhone

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Date: Friday, May 22nd, 2009, 08:00
Category: iPhone

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When in doubt, offer something cheaper.
Per Reuters, AT&T has signaled that the company is looking to offer lower data rate plans for the iPhone, especially in a market where users are more sensitive to price.
Ralph de la Vega, AT&T’s current chief executive officer, remarked this week at the Reuters Global Technology Summit that he could see AT&T setting a cap on the amount of data used in a given month in return for a lower fee. One example, though not necessarily what AT&T would use, is the company’s netbook strategy: while the mini notebooks still have access to the usual 5GB monthly data plan, subscribers can pay US$20 less per month if they’re willing to put the cap at 200MB before overage fees kick in.
The executive went on to mention the iPhone as possibly affected by any switch in strategy but that it wasn’t Apple’s device alone that would prompt demand. Instead, smartphone adoption in a difficult climate was the important concern.
“Right now we continue to study what is the best thing that is available, not just from an iPhone point of view, but what you can do to stimulate additional demand,” de la Vega said.
The news echoes rumors that, among other things, AT&T may offer a US$20 iPhone data plan that would save customers US$10 a month but put a ceiling on data access.
De la Vega ruled out simply cutting the price without restrictions on Internet use, however. AT&T recently declared itself the leader in smartphones and has steadily become more reliant on data as a source of income. The provider’s goal is to profit from services, he said, and with the iPhone’s price already being heavily subsidized, dropping the price would only hurt AT&T’s bottom line.

32GB iPhone Placehole Appears on T-Mobile Austria Web Site, Quickly Removed

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 22nd, 2009, 07:13
Category: iPhone

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This is a bit strange, but it may be something. According to AreaMobile, a “iPhone 32GB” placeholder appeared in the “Coming Soon” section of T-Mobile Austria’s web site.
Though this was quickly removed, a similar slip occurred at T-Mobile Germany that accurately foretold the coming of the original iPhone two years ago.
In addition to this, wireless carrier Vodafone Australia recently sent out a notice stating that the 16GB iPhone has been deemed “End of Life” by Brightpoint, the company’s supplier.
So, nothing definite, but there’s some interesting happenings out there.

Analyst Sees Strong Signs of Apple Moving Towards $500-$700 Tablet

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Date: Thursday, May 21st, 2009, 12:13
Category: News

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With Apple execs having openly slammed the idea of creating a conventional netbook, Piper Jaffray analysts stated today that mounting evidence exists that Apple will introduce its own take on the netbook in 2010 via a tablet device that will sell for US$700 or less.
“Between indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents relating to multi-touch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from [chief operating officer] Tim Cook on the April 22nd conference call, and Apple’s acquisition of P.A. Semi along with other recent chip-related hires, it is increasingly clear that Apple is investing more in its mobile computing franchise,” analyst Gene Munster and his team wrote in lengthy research note to clients.
According to AppleInsider, Munster has said these investments will likely culminate with the launch of a touch-screen tablet with a display somewhere between 7″ and 10″ at a special event sometime in the first half of 2010. Such a move, he added, would be consistent with management’s comments that Cupertino-based company has no interest in catering to the existing segment for “cheap” miniaturized notebooks and its spoken desire to differentiate in a market currently dominated by cramped computers with razor thin margins and a subpar user experience.
To date, Munster’s contacts in the component supply chain have yet to see a prototype of the device but say there’s ongoing discussions between the company and its suppliers about the parts that will eventually be required to build the product.
Munster has stated that he believes the device will end up retailing somewhere in the range of US$500 to US$700, bridging the gap between the US$399 iPod touch and the US$999 MacBook. He expects that it will be driven by a proprietary microprocessor designed in-house by engineers Apple adopted in the acquisition of P.A. Semi and others it’s known to have hired in recent months.
Click the jump for the full story…

Nvidia Admits to “Ongoing” Failure Problem in Some Notebooks During SEC Filing

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Date: Thursday, May 21st, 2009, 08:22
Category: Finance

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Graphics processor firm Nvidia formally stated that some notebooks utilizing its chips continue to have “failure” issues, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
Per cnet, Nvidia stated that though it does not continue to see “abnormal failure rates” in systems using Nvidia products,” some notebooks are still affected.
“We continue to not see any abnormal failure rates in any systems using Nvidia products other than certain notebook configurations. However, we are continuing to test and otherwise investigate other products,” Nvidia said, adding, “there can be no assurance that we will not discover defects in other MCP or GPU products.” (MCP stands for Media and Communications Processor; GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit.)
On July 2 of last year, Nvidia announced that the company was planning to take a one-time charge to cover costs associated with problems with materials used in certain versions of its laptop graphics chips. Subsequently, a US$196 million charge was recorded in the second quarter of its 2009 fiscal year to “cover anticipated customer warranty, repair, return, replacement and associated costs” with the problem.
In the company’s 10-Q filing, Nvidia cited a “balance of US$145.7 million associated with incremental repair and replacement costs from a weak die/packaging material set.” and “US$31.2 million for the three months ended April 26, 2009 in payments related to the warranty accrual associated with incremental repair and replacement costs from a weak die/packaging material set.”
Nvidia paid or incurred US$50.3 million against the original “warranty accrual” in its fiscal third quarter and fourth quarter 2009, such that the remaining balance of the “bump-crack accrual” (defect) was US$145.7 million at the end of its fiscal fourth quarter, according to Nvidia.
Nvidia is also negotiating with insurance companies over payments to PC makers regarding GPU failures, according to a report filed by TGDaily.
As early as 2007, Hewlett-Packard listed notebook models affected by the graphics chip glitch. In August 2008, Dell also listed affected models with Apple stating in October that it would repair faulty graphics chips.
In the 10-Q filing, Nvidia also stated that “in September, October and November 2008, several putative consumer class action lawsuits were filed against us, asserting various claims arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of our previous generation MCP and GPU products used in notebook systems.”

Intego Warns of Unrepaired Security Vulnerability in Mac OS X

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Date: Thursday, May 21st, 2009, 08:48
Category: Software

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Security firm Intego has warned that a critical security vulnerability within the current version of Java has gone unrepaired for months and may place Mac OS X users at risk.
According to the company’s web site, the current version of Java incorporates a serious flaw that could allow local code on a user’s Mac to be executed remotely.
“This can lead to ‘drive-by attacks,’ where users are attacked simply by visiting a malicious web site and loading a web page,” the firm said.
The exploit could allow a third-party to execute code, access or delete files, or run applications on the compromised machine. Combined with other exploits, outside parties could even potentially run system-level processes and gain total access over the affected Mac.
Given that the vulnerability relies solely on Java, no native code is required to execute the flaw, which theoretically exists in all browsers on all platforms that have not been patched. This is the case with Mac OS X 10.5.7 and earlier, meaning the vulnerability affects even the update released just a week ago.
The firm claims that Apple has been aware of the exploit for at least five months, when it was publicly disclosed and fixed by Sun, but has yet to issue a security patch. The exploit was first discovered by Landon Fuller, who has released a proof of concept via his blog that outlines the security hole.
Intego has stated that it has not found any malicious applets in the wild thus far, but the publicity around this vulnerability may entice hackers to target the exploit before Apple issues a security update. The firm’s VirusBarrier X5 already blocks potential malware but unless users are sure they trust the site they’re viewing, simply disabling Java in the browser may provide the best protection while Apple works on a fix.
To disable Java, launch Safari, choose Safari > Preferences, click the Security tab, and uncheck “Enable Java” if it is checked. In Firefox, this setting is found on the Content tab of the program’s preferences. It is safe to leave JavaScript activated, since the vulnerability only affects Java applets.

Wal-Mart Redesigning Electronics Department, May be Looking to Carry Apple Products

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 08:31
Category: retail

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A recent Wal-Mart move to overhaul the chain’s electronics department in many of its retail locations with Apple-designated shopping areas is being seen as a sign that the mega-retailer is making a pitch to eventually carry Apple’s product line.
According to AppleInsider, the chain began revamping the electronics departments in approximately 3,500 of its locations last week, including 2,600 Supercenter locations. The move is being seen as a bid to capture a large portion of big-screen TV market share vacated by the closing of Circuit City, which shut down its operations after filing for bankruptcy back in November.
As part of the renovations, which should provide for a more spacious and interactive shopping experience, Wal-Mart will also be rolling out specialized in-store boutiques for popular brands such and Nintendo and Apple, similar to the Apple store-within-a-store layouts found in Best Buy retail stores.
Ben Reitzes, an analyst with Barclays Capital, offered a view that the move as a precursor to Wal-Mart extending its reach beyond iPods, iPhones, and accessories to Apple’s Mac line of computers.
“We believe Wal-Mart is actively pitching Apple to carry more products,” he said. “With Wal-Mart improving its retail displays, we believe that the mega-retailer could eventually earn the right to sell select Mac products without diluting Apple’s brand.”
Upon last check, Apple had under 10,000 distribution points for the Mac worldwide, so a move into Wal-Mart would increase Mac exposure significantly. Reitzes also noted that many of Wal-Mart’s stores are located in rural areas not near one of Apple’s own company stores.
The analyst also commented that while he doesn’t see the existing Mac line as a particularly good fit for the discount retailer outside of its US$599 Mac mini and US$999 MacBook offerings, but said he believes the company is working on more sub-US$1000 products that may eventually appeal to Wal-Mart’s customer base.
“We have recently stated that Apple could reposition the low-end of it Mac lines to be more affordable as well as eventually introduce an ultraportable touchscreen tablet device as early as this year,” Reitzes said. He’s likely referring to a couple of AppleInsider reports on those respective matters, including plans for more affordable Macs later this year and a Newton-like web tablet sometime thereafter.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen or heard anything on your end, let us know.

Speck Releases SeeThru, SeeThru Satin Cases for 17″ MacBook Pro Notebook

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Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 08:27
Category: Accessory, MacBook Pro

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Accessory manufacturer Speck has released two fitted cases for Apple’s 17″ MacBook Pro notebook via its SeeThru and SeeThru Satin designs.
According to MacNN, both models feature a fully-vented hard shell for protection against everyday bumps and scratches. Users can still access all ports and controls on the computer without removing the case.
The SeeThru case offers a clear shell that form-fits to the Macbook, while the SeeThru Satin features the protection but includes a soft-touch outer finish, offering more of a grip as well as a semi-translucent frosted appearance. Both cases can fully open or close, while rubberized feet help to prevent sliding on smooth surfaces.
The SeeThru and the SeeThru Satin are available from Apple stores or directly from the company for a retail price of US$50.

CrossOver Reaches Version 7.1.2

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Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 08:31
Category: Software

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CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 7.1.2. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following change:

  • Fixed an incompatibility with the quartz-wm packaged in XQuartz 2.3.3.2.
  • CrossOver retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and Intel-based hardware to run.

    Apple to Begin Stress-Testing iPhone OS 3.0 Push Notification Functions

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, May 19th, 2009, 09:03
    Category: iPhone, Software

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    This week, Apple joined forces with the Associated Press and called upon some of its iPhone developer community to help stress test a Push Notification service scheduled to arrive with iPhone OS 3.0 later this year.
    According to AppleInsider, the e-mail stated that “We have selected a pre-release version of the Associated Press app for iPhone OS 3.0 to create a high-volume test environment for our servers.”
    The test application, which requires iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5, will activate over the next week and then expire. During this week, “AP will be sending a high-volume of real news alerts” to give Apple an opportunity to monitor how well the system works and what optimizations can be made.
    The Push Notification system, which was originally slated to arrive in the fall, was delayed after Apple had apparently underestimated the demands third parties would make of the system. Given these new conditions, Apple pulled the plug and began designing a system that could simultaneously address an audience of tens of millions of iPhone and iPod touch users.
    The planned iPhone OS 3.0 Push Notification system for sending alerts from third party application developers to mobile users is believed to use the same technology as its push notification system for MobileMe and the push notification system planned for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server.
    In all cases, the alert being “pushed” is minimal, essentially a tweet that indicates more information is ready. The notification alerts act like an instant message because that’s exactly what they are; an analysis of MobileMe push messages indicates Apple is using the open source XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), used in Jabber.
    The XMPP feature can allow a variety of applications to alert the user as to changes and updates and the technology could find its way into e-mail, calendar and contact changes via Apple’s MobileMe cloud services.