On Wednesday, Other World Computing announced new memory and storage options for its Axiotron Modbooks along with a US$200 price reduction on new units. According to MacNN, performance upgrades that are currently available include up to 6GB of memory, up to 820GB storage or 160GB of SSD storage, and a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.
The price reduction offered by Other World Computers delivers a new 13.2″ Modbook tablet starting at US$1,900. The notebook comes standard with a Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of memory, 120GB internal hard drive, and an 8X dual-layer SuperDrive. The company is also providing WAAS-enabled GPS while supplies last. Owners of current Intel Core 2 Duo white and black MacBooks have the option to convert their computer into a full-featured Modbook, starting at US$1,150.
Both the new Modbook and Modservice conversions are backed by a one-year warranty, and allow users to extend to a three-year warranty for an additional US$350.
If you’ve snagged a Mac within the past couple of years, you were probably offered Apple’s ProCare, which has functioned as advanced placement in the Genius Bar’s repair queue, initial setup for new Macs and complimentary training sessions. The service, introduced in 2004, was renamed “One to One” in 2007 when more individual training was offered.
According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, One to One is now being changed to offer new features as well as new limitations. ProCare’s complete Mac setup & data transfer is now included with One to One. Previously, One to One only included a “simple” setup.
Other changes for One to One include exclusive workshops only available to One to One members as well as the new “Personal Projects” session for larger blocks of time. Members can now reserve a session for up to a three hour block of time to create, with an Apple trainer’s assistance. Similar to workshops, Personal Projects are a group activity in that several members will be present; while a workshop includes members working on the same topic, a project session includes members working on individual and unrelated tasks.
One to One is also now only available with the purchase of a new Mac at an Apple store; this is in contrast to the previous One to One and current ProCare services which could be purchased at any time. One to One memberships are also now only renewable two times for a maximum membership duration of three years. Existing memberships (beginning prior to June 2, 2009) in One to One will be renewable only one time.
Customers can purchase a new One to One membership along with a new Mac at any Apple Retail store now. Per Apple, this service’s availability will expand to Apple’s online channel in the near future.
Electronic Arts on Tuesday announced the simultaneous release of The Sims 3 for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch handsets.
The new version allows users to control simulated people inside a virtual world, the application allowing for dozens of unique personality traits as well as extensive customization for your Sims home. According to Macworld, the game bypasses the micromanagement of basic tasks such as bathing and using the restroom (unlike the first two versions) and allows for additional items to be purchased via an in-game store.
The Mac and Windows game also lets you record movies of your Sims, edit the soundtrack, story and transitions, then share the movies you’ve made with friends on The Sims 3 Web sites, social networks, and on your own blog.
The game ships on a hybrid DVD-ROM that contains both Mac and Windows versions of the games, retails for US$50 and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later, 2 GB of RAM, 6.1 GB of hard disk space and an ATI GMA X3100 or Nvidia 7300 GT graphics card or better to install and run.
Per the iPhone version, the application is available for US$9.99 through the App Store and requires iPhone OS 2.2 or later to install and run.
In addition to Microsoft’s Bing preview, Microsoft also announced Project Natal, a technology project developed by 3DV which uses a camera technology to function as an input. The core ideas behind the project include motion recognition, complex voice recognition and scanning body features.
And since a picture’s worth a thousand words, here’s what the guys at Joystiq had to offer…
Now if Apple could do something like this with the iSight, that’d be worth seeing…
On Monday, Apple released the latest version of QuickTime, its multimedia support system for Mac OS X and Windows. The new version, known as QuickTime 7.6.2, is available as a variably-sized download (depending on version chosen through the download page), improves reliability, application compatibility and addresses security issues.
The update requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.
Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 8.2, 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 also includes many accessibility improvements and bug fixes.
iTunes 8.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.
Amid a small series of updates yesterday, Apple released version 9.0.2 of its iWork ’09 productivity suite. The update, a 42.7 megabyte download, improves reliability when saving some iWork documents and when playing some presentations more than once per Keynote session.
The update, which can also be located via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
Late Thursday, Apple Released SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for its 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, an 833 kilobyte download, adjusts the fan behavior in the notebooks when running under high workload conditions.
The updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder, will launch automatically and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 on the Mac OS X 10.4 end and Mac OS X 10.5.7 on the Mac OS X 10.5 end to install and run. As always, the firmware update can be snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.
Wireless carrier AT&T has formally announced plans to deploy its 7.2 Mbps HSPA 7.2 network this year, the deployment supporting faster iPhone models expected for release this summer.
According to AppleInsider, AT&T has stated that the HSPA 7.2 upgrade will deliver theoretical peak speeds twice that of the company’s current 3G network. The company has stated that installation will continue through 2011 and that AT&T will begin trials of LTE (Long Term Evolution), with deployment of that technology to begin in 2011. LTE plans to eventually reach theoretical peak speeds of 20 Mbps.
Both HSPA and LTE are components of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies, which include GSM/EDGE and UMTS, the worldwide “3G” service supported by the iPhone 3G.
Because AT&T’s network is currently based on 3GPP standards, the company can deliver the upgrade to HSPA 7.2 service immediately to support faster smartphones prior to the buildout of LTE, which isn’t expected to become widely available until at least 2011-2012.
AT&T has stated that its current 3G service is available in 350 major US metro areas, with deployment in another 20 planned this year. The company stated that its new HSPA 7.2 technology “will be deployed widely in the network, with the benefits of the network upgrade to be announced on a local basis as the faster speeds are turned up.”
The company also said it will introduce “multiple HSPA 7.2-compatible laptop cards and smartphones beginning later this year.” Apple is expected to release a new iPhone model in June that supports HSPA 7.2 service. In addition to having access to a faster network, the new iPhone model is expected to have a significantly faster processor, enabling it to better handle the data it can receive, resulting in faster overall operation.
Along with the upgrade to HSPA 7.2, AT&T also reported plans to build out other network improvements this year as part of a capital investment plan costing $17-18 billion.
Near-Doubling Radio Frequency Capacity: In 2008 and 2009 to date, high-quality 850 MHz spectrum has been deployed in more than half of AT&T’s 3G network footprint to improve overall coverage and in-building reception, with additional markets planned for later in the year.
More Bandwidth to Cell Sites: AT&T is adding fiber-optic connectivity and additional capacity to thousands of cell sites across the country this year, expanding the critical connections that deliver traffic from a cell site into the global IP backbone network. These upgrades will support the higher mobile broadband speeds enabled by both HSPA 7.2 and LTE.
More Cell Sites: Deployment of about 2,100 new cell sites across the country.
Wi-Fi Integration: Many AT&T smartphones will be able to switch seamlessly between 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. AT&T customers with qualifying smartphone and 3G LaptopConnect plans have access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network – more than 20,000 hotspots, including locations in all 50 states – at no additional charge. AT&T’s global Wi-Fi footprint covers more than 90,000 hotspots, and AT&T also can create permanent or temporary extended Wi-Fi zones in areas with high 3G network use, like a grouping of hotels or a festival.
MicroCells: Customer trials leading toward general availability of AT&T 3G MicroCell offerings, which utilize femtocells to enhance in-building wireless coverage.
Joker/dancer/Apple co-founder apparently had the opportunity to speak with Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently and has reported that Jobs sounded “healthy” and “energetic” with a little over a month prior to his scheduled return to the company.
Woz’s comments appeared yesterday at on the Wall Stree Journal’s web site, and though Wozniak admitted to having never asked Jobs about his health directly, he told representatives for the financial paper that his one-time pal “doesn’t sound like he’s sick,” nor does he appear to be battling a dire health problem.
The upbeat comments contrast with those made by Jobs’ real estate attorney Howard Ellman last month during a town council meeting to determine whether the chief executive should be free to demolish a historic but abandoned mansion he owns in the Woodside Hills.
“I don’t think he would be strong enough if we were here until 1 a.m., and I think there’s a strong possibility of that,” Ellman said, referring to the time it would take for the local review board to hear all arguments on the matter.
On January 14th of this year, Jobs stated that he would take a medical leave from his daily role at Apple through the end of June in order to attend to health issues that turned out to be “more complex” than he originally thought.
Although he underwent successful surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004, Jobs’ health would again emerge as a topic of public concern when he appeared increasingly gaunt during Apple media events in 2007 and 2008.
Wall Street analysts have used recent quarterly conference calls to press members of Apple’s leadership for an update on Jobs’ health, to which they’ve responded by saying they still expect Jobs to return at the end of June.
It remains unclear as to what capacity Jobs will return to the company in and some analysts have speculated that if he does return, it will be in the form of a reduced role such as Chairman.
Stay tuned for further information as it becomes available.