Problems, Solutions Reported with 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro

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Date: Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, 11:46
Category: MacBook Pro

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Apple’s 17″ unibody MacBook Pro notebook has been out for about a week or so and if you have one, it may just qualify as the Coolest Thing Ever. Still, according to MacFixIt, a number of users have reported experiencing problems with their new notebooks. Though the problems aren’t widespread, here’s what you should know and be aware of should you encounter these issues:
GPU Issues:
Apple’s recent history has drawn attention to a batch of GeForce graphics processors that caused their notebook displays to randomly shut off. While the current laptops do not appear to suffer this problem, several users have reported what appears to be GPU overheating, as well as some instances of persistent graphical artifacts. These artifacts appear as either green or pink patches, grids, or lines on the display which primarily happens when users run graphically intensive applications such as games. Other users have found similar artifacts when running high-definition video.
The issues was described by poster “dallen33″ on the Apple Discussions board:

“Just got my new 17″ MBP unibody. I was watching an episode of 24 in 720p and green lines started appearing over the video. I felt the notebook and it was incredibly hot.”

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iPhoto 8.0.1 Update Released

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Date: Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, 10:59
Category: Software

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Capping off the update-o-rama, Apple also released version 8.0.1 of its iPhoto image editing and categorization application yesterday. The update, an 11.6 megabyte download, improves overall stability and addresses minor issues in a number of areas, including internet connectivity, keyword import, and slideshow export.
The update is available via direct download as well as through Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5 to install and run.
If you’ve tried the update and have anything to offer about it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Releases iLife Support 9.0.1 Update

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Date: Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, 10:16
Category: Software

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Amid a slew of product releases yesterday, Apple also released its iLife Support 9.0.1 patch. The update, a 50.6 megabyte download, improves overall stability and addresses a number of other minor issues. It is recommended for all users of Aperture, iLife ’09, and iWork ’09.
The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and is also available through Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.
If you’ve tried the patch and can offer any feedback on it, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Updates Mac Pro, Mac Mini and iMac Computers

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Date: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009, 14:22
Category: News

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Today, Apple updated everything short of your Labradoodle and since I just got back from an hour in the dentist’s chair and rocking out to an hour of their easy listening selection, let’s have at it…
Mac Mini:
Apple released a revised Mac mini today, the new systems featuring improved graphics, faster memory and additional enhancements while retaining a US$600 and US$800 price tag depending on features.
According to Macworld, the new mini still boasts a 6.5″ x 6.5″ x 2″ footprint but now features two video interfaces on its back (a Mini DisplayPort and a mini-DVI connector) as well as five USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port (which replaces the FireWire 400 interface, gigabit Ethernet, audio line in and audio line out ports.
The new units now feature 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors with 3MB shared L2 cache as well as Nvidia’s GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chipset, the same graphics that are featured on Apple’s MacBook laptop line. Apple claims that this enables the Mac mini to produce 3D graphics at up to five times the rate of the model it’s replacing; the previous-generation Mac mini was the last Apple product to ship with Intel GMA 950 graphics. Both models also feature 8x slot-loading “SuperDrives” capable of burning DVD media and have the usual complement of AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR built in, as well.
Click the jump for the full story…

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Apple Gives MacBook Pro Small Speed Bump

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Date: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009, 10:57
Category: MacBook Pro

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Following up on Apple’s associated product releases today with revisions to the Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pro, Apple also adjusted the specifications of its 15″ MacBook Pro. According to Macworld, Apple is currently offering its top-of-the-line standard configuration of the 15″ MacBook Pro with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor at US$2,499. This serves as a slight boost from the previous 2.53GHz speed. For those who crave the most power possible in a 15-inch MacBook, there’s a US$300 build-to-order option that will top out the system at 2.93 GHz, up from the previous top speed of 2.8 GHz.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and, as always, let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Apple Releases Battery Update 1.4 for 13″ MacBooks

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Date: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009, 10:04
Category: MacBook

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Late Monday, Apple released its Battery Update 1.4 patch for its older 13″ polycarbonate (black or white) MacBook notebooks. The 210 kilobyte download improves the ability of MacBook batteries to maintain a charge when the system is shut down and not used for an extended period of time.
Users can determine whether their notebook requires this update by following these directions:
1. From the Apple menu, choose About this Mac.
2. Click More Info to start the System Profiler.
3. Locate the Hardware section and select Power.
4. Batteries with this information in the Battery Information section need this update:
1. A device name “ASMB016″ or “ASMB013″ in the serial number
2. A Pack Lot Code is 0002
3. A battery firmware version of 0110
The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 to install and run.
If you’ve tried the update and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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iPhone Cases Roundup

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Date: Monday, March 2nd, 2009, 17:59
Category: Cases, iPhone

By David Klein
We all know the iPhone is sexy. Apple succeeded in maintaining its tradition of sleek, innovative design. A separate tradition that follows Apple releases is a slew of accessories. Every time I purchase an iPod I also get a matching case for both protection and to make it unique. Naturally, I wanted to purchase a case for my iPhone too.
I quickly realized that the iPhone is the first Apple product that is with me all the time. Of course we all listen to music on our iPods and other mp3 players (I owned a Rio 500 back in the day), but constant presence is not guaranteed like that of a cell phone. The iPhone is also more versatile. At the gym it’s an mp3 player. In meetings it’s a note taker. This is different when compared to an iPod which is always an mp3 player. One case will suffice. The iPhone can be more effectively used with different cases to match the tasks. Similar to my headphones post, I believe there are three case/task categories: style, gym, and productivity.
Style – Moshi iGlaze 3G
The best iPhone 3G case available is the Moshi iGlaze 3G. This is my everyday case. It’s thin and light so your iPhone doesn’t become bloated. It has a circular hole in the back to reveal the Apple logo. It comes in black, cramberry, and white. On the bottom is Moshi’s logo which is gracefully placed on all of its products. You can see it on my review of their Celesta keyboard. Included in the package is a film cover to protect the screen from scratches and smudges. The iGlaze’s beat feature is the smooth, rubber material. For US$23 you won’t be disappointed. I highly recommend this case even if you already own one. Moshi continues to impress me with its beautiful products.

http://www.moshimonde.com/iglaze_3g.htm

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Gym – Griffin Elan Form
When I exercise at the gym I want to be sure that my iPhone is safe in my pocket. Of course nothing will stop complete destruction if one drops a barbell onto the screen, but it’s still possible to prevent damage from drops. Yes, occasionally I accidentally get something caught on the headphones wire and the iPhone does a little dance onto the floor. That’s why I need a case that’s more rugged than the iGlaze. The answer is Griffin Technology’s Elan Form. Leather on the outside; hard shell on the inside. It comes in both black and pink. The Elan Form is not nearly as smooth to the touch as the iGlaze, but it’s definitely harder. It’s very easy to slide on and off (compared to another case I had which actually required a nickel to pry open and remove). On Griffin’s website the Elan Form costs US$30, but you can find it for US$18 on Amazon. If you’re looking for extra protection for activities like running, biking, or lifting weights, I recommend this case.

http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/elanform3g#

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Productivity – Pogo Stylus
I loved the Palm Pilot. I had one high school (yes I was that guy). I also had an iPaq phase in college. I never had any complaints while using a stylus. Now, you can use one with your iPhone. The Pogo Stylus includes two pieces: the stylus and piece of plastic that snaps onto the back and sides of the iPhone. Clearly this sounds foreign since we are all so accustomed to tapping on the screen with our fingers. However, there’s something oddly familiar about pressing on the screen with a tool instead of a finger. It’s faster, more accurate, easy to learn how to use, and it’s soft tip won’t hurt the screen. Within minutes you’ll be swiping across the screen like the good old days of the Palm products. The Pogo Stylus is great for taking notes during meetings or writing longer emails than you can normally tolerate while using your fingers. It comes in black, gunmetal, silver, and cranberry. Pogo makes different size clips for both the first and second generation iPhones and the iPod Touch. Although this is not exactly a case, I still find it attached often. For US$15 I think this is a fun way to improve the iPhone.

http://www.tenonedesign.com/stylus.php

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CBS Mobile Launches TV.com, Allows Free Streaming to iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Monday, March 2nd, 2009, 07:34
Category: iPhone

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Following up on other streaming-television efforts, CBS Mobile has released application currently offers CBS shows, CBS Sports programming and content such as episodes of “Late Show with David Letterman, “Star Trek: the Original Series,” “CSI,” and “The Young and the Restless,” among many others. The mobile application also serves up a selection of shows from the CW including “Smallville” and “90210,” a half dozen shows from Showtime including “The L Word” and “The Tudors,” and a variety of CNET and GameSpot podcasts.
While the current programming selection is rather limited, the app can accommodate all the new content CBS serves up as it works to make more of its library of content available. The app uses the iPhone’s standard QuickTime player.
According to AppleInsider, CBS is currently pushing TV.com in competition with the Viacom-backed Joost and Hulu, a joint effort between NBC and Fox, to reach audiences beyond the TV and deliver a “direct to users” model of web-oriented offerings. Hulu currently lacks a mobile app for the iPhone like TV.com’s offering but Joost does provide a player app for its content, though it has yet to use the standard QuickTime player on the iPhone.
TV studios have rushed to set up their own web-based operations to create an alternative to seeing their content distributed (at no benefit to them) to web audiences via sites like YouTube. Joost, TV.com, and Hulu are supported by ads. Like YouTube, all three websites use Adobe Flash to deliver their video content on the web.
The TV.com application requires iPhone OS 2.0 or later to install and run.
If you’ve downloaded the application and played with it, please let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Rumor: Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update May Feature Nehalem, Radeon HD 4000 Support

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Date: Monday, March 2nd, 2009, 07:27
Category: Rumor

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Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.5.7 update may go beyond its usual complement of expected fixes and incorporate support for Intel’s new Nehalem hardware architecture as well as the ATI Radeon HD 4000 graphics chipsets.
According to netkas, a recent discovery located just five kernel extensions for the video cards and doesn’t appear to work perfectly in a bootleg installation for 10.5.6 meant for hacked Mac OS X installations. The retrofitted version doesn’t recognize DVI ports fully and doesn’t even recognize widescreen resolutions without third-party utilities to force the expanded screen area.
Even so, the extensions are enough to identify support for the Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 chipsets by name but also to enable Core Image and Quartz Extreme acceleration of the Mac OS X interface, which would require the direct involvement of AMD, Apple or both firms to work. They also support the full OpenGL 2.1 specification for 3D graphics.
And while screen captures currently aren’t available to support the claims as with the video hardware, the slip also hints that 10.5.7 is the first edition of Mac OS X to recognize Intel’s Nehalem architecture.
The Nehalem architecture is a major overhaul to Intel’s standard hardware approach to processors and leaves aside the standard system bus in favor of an interface that lets the processors talk directly to memory, peripherals and each other.
Although it’s unknown as to whether Apple will formally include the new hardware support in the release of Mac OS X 10.5.7, such add-ons will eventually become necessary. It’s been rumored that Apple is looking to use Intel’s Nehalem-based Xeon processors at the heart of its next generation of Mac Pro workstations and will eventually filter the technology down to its portables and mainstream desktops through Core i7 processors, which share the same essential design.
Apple has also remained comparatively dormant in its support for AMD’s ATI Radeon graphics and hasn’t used hardware newer than the Radeon HD 2600 found in the iMac and as an option for the Mac Pro; the technology is now approximately two generations old.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Softbank Begins Giving Away Free iPhones to New Customers

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Date: Friday, February 27th, 2009, 08:41
Category: iPhone

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Softbank Mobile, Apple’s iPhone carrier in Japan, plans to introduce a new program Friday that will give some iPhone handsets away for free with a new two-year contract.
The 8GB iPhone 3G handset will be offered for free to new subscribers starting a calling plan today, though this may be likely to disappoint those who paid the equivalent of US$235 (22,782 yen). According to CrunchGear, Softbank is also reducing the price of the 16GB version from US$350 to US$118 as part of the new “iPhone for everybody Campaign.”
The wireless carrier has also cut the cost of its cost of its maximum data plan rate from US$62 a month to US$45.60 a month. Voice calls and texts are free among Softbank customers, but if your friend or colleague is an NTT DoCoMo customer, charges can start to accumulate quickly at 20 cents for a 30-second call.
There’s no clear indication as to whether Softbank is cutting prices in response to demand, but Apple COO Tim Cook noted during last month’s earnings conference call that the company considers the price of the iPhone “clearly elastic,” meaning that every time it has dropped the price, demand has increased.
If you’re in or around the Japanese marketplace and have noticed this offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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