Additional Perks, Features Emerge in iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware Betas

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Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 08:00
Category: iPhone, iPod shuffle, Rumor, Software

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Developers working with recent betas of Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 software have uncovered some impressive new features such as changes to Safari’s user interface, new battery status indicators and notification preferences, as well as the advent of data detectors in certain apps.
According to AppleInsider, the following changes have been the most prominent:
Safari:
Safari now allows the user to close out and clear all your open browser windows without having to first create a new blank page to get rid of the contents of the last active window.
The iPhone OS 3.0 beta apparently allows the user to close out the lone remaining page. Once the “x” icon is triggered, the page disappears and a new blank page quickly slides into view.
Battery Indicators:
Improvements have apparently been made to the battery indicators, showing the remaining battery life left on your iPhone or iPod touch as a numerical percentage.
Resource files contained within the new version of the device’s Springboard application include 22 new PNG files to facilitate this option. Half are numerical characters (and a “%” sign) in black typeface for representing healthy battery level percentages while the other half are in red typeface for when battery life falls bellow a certain threshold.
Though this has yet to be confirmed, users will have the option of selecting how their battery status indicator appears in the menubar — such as an icon-only view (per current versions of the software), an icon + numerical view, or a numerical-view only.
Push Notification preferences:
A new Push Notifications preference pane allows users to enable or disable any of the three types of notifications that third party applications can push to your handset: Sounds, Alerts and Badges. Alternatively, notifications can be disabled as a whole.
Data Detectors:
Apple has enabled Data Detectors for several new applications. Data Detectors automatically detect text fragments like email addresses, phone numbers, and street addresses and allow users to execute actions on those fragments via touch selections — like dialing a phone number automatically by clicking on it or adding it to your address book.
Finally, the iPhone OS 3.0 beta firmware apparently also allows users to change scrubbing speeds in the iPod application.
“You press and hold on the little dot to scrub and slide your finger down the screen to get finer scrubbing speeds,” a person familiar with the software said. “There are four options: Hi-Speed Scrubbing (normal slide position), Half Speed Scrubbing, Quarter Speed Scrubbing and Fine Scrubbing (furthest down the screen).”

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QuickerTek Releases External Battery/Charger for MacBook Air Notebook

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Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, 07:38
Category: Accessory, battery, MacBook Air

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Accessory provider QuickerTek announced the release of a new external battery/charger for Apple’s MacBook Air notebook on Tuesday. The external unit powers the pack while simultaneously charging the internal battery and QuickerTek has cited 12 to 16 hours of run time or about 6 to 10 extra hours of power. According to MacNN, the charger is also said to charge the internal battery in only three hours.
The unit measure 7″ x 3.5″ and is housed in a machined aluminum case with an anodized finish. QuickerTek claims the cells are capable of up to 1,000 full recharges.
The MacBook Air external batter can be purchased for US$349.95 but customers must also have a QuickerTek-modified MagSafe adapter, available for US$100. An existing MagSafe adapter can be converted for US$25.

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Your Take on the iPhone OS 3.0 Announcement

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Date: Thursday, March 19th, 2009, 09:04
Category: iPhone

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We asked for your opinions on Apple’s major iPhone OS 3.0 announcement on Tuesday and we got them.
So, here are your opinions in their pure, raw, unedited form brought to you by the PowerPage Server Hamster:

After having moved to the IPhone from the Blackberry, I’ve been astounded at the short battery life I now have. I can’t finish the day without having to plug the little bugger in. I know all the usual reasons (3G, Wifi etc…). What I’m looking for is a firmware update or something that will prolong the IPhone’s life. All those new bells and whistles, while welcome, will further drain the device and make it even more frustrating for road warriors.
Best, André

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iFixIt Disassembles iPod Shuffle, Posts Report

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Date: Monday, March 16th, 2009, 12:13
Category: iPod shuffle

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The uber-geeks of iFixIt.com have completed a full teardown and report of Apple’s recently-released third generation iPod Shuffle music player and discovered the following items of interest, as mentioned over on the Apple Core:

  • Normal headphones can be used without any adapters, except that the user cannot do anything except play music (no pause or volume control).
  • The battery is extremely tiny — about the size of a dime — and consequently has a paltry capacity of 73 mAh. That’s less than half the size of the batteries used in previous shuffles.
  • The weight of the entire shuffle is less than 11 grams, but the headphones add another 9 grams.
  • The rear cover and clip weigh as much as the rest of the shuffle.
  • With the casing removed, the electronics and battery weigh only 4 grams, less than the weight of a single sheet of paper.
  • There is only one screw in the shuffle.
  • The shuffle is not too challenging to open, but the rear cover can deform easily if the user is not careful while opening it.
  • If you’ve had a chance to pick up and play with the new Shuffle, let us know in the comments or forums.

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    MCE Ships 500GB OptiBay Hard Drive for Unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 07:04
    Category: hard drive

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    Accessory maker MCE Technologies announced that the company is now shipping its OptiBay hard drives for Apple’s unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook line.
    Per MacNN, the drives range in capacity from 250GB to 500GB and arrive with an 8MB buffer. The 350GB and 500GB drives run at 5400rpm, while customers can choose a 7200rpm option for the 320GB model. The company claims that the OptiBay components consume less power than the original drives, contributing to a 10 to 15% extension of the battery life. The drives also support status monitoring and spin-down commands from the Mac OS.
    The OptiBay hard drives are now available starting at US$190 and an optional enclosure can be used to convert the existing drive into an external storage device.
    Customers can also purchase an OptiBay kit for the unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro, allowing the use of any standard 2.5″ HDD. The kit can be purchased for US$130.
    If you’ve used an OptiBay kit before, let us know how the experience went in the comments or forums.

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    iFixIt Posts Full 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro Disassembly/Report

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 08:16
    Category: MacBook Pro

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    Tech guru and Mac-centered repair outfit iFixIt has fully disassembled Apple’s new 17″ MacBook Pro notebook, as mentioned over on the Apple Core.
    The new notebook features a battery that is not accessible without removing the notebook’s entire bottom panel. Apple has apparently secured the 12820mAh battery with three tri-wing screws to discourage removal, although the battery can be swapped using the correct tools and weighs approximately 1.25 pounds, which is 20% of the computer’s total mass. Aftermarket battery manufacturers are likely to offer a replacement soon.
    Apple has also shifted the notebook’s Bluetooth board from its previous location and the component now resides behind the optical drive.
    Other changes included the unit’s Sunon fan being physically larger than the 15″ unibody MacBook Pro fan and featuring “MagLev” technology which incorporates magnetic bearings to suspend the fan shaft without any contact between parts. This change is claimed to offer improved rotational stability, reduced vibration and increased resistance to high temperatures.
    The new 17″ MacBook Pro still displays an internal layout similar to the 15″ MacBook Pro. Finally, Apple has also decided not to include a Mini DisplayPort Adapter, in its latest model.
    Head on over to the link for the full tear-down and if you’ve gotten your hands on the new notebook, please let us know what you make of it in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Releases SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for 13″ MacBook

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 08:29
    Category: MacBook

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    Late Tuesday, Apple released its SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for the company’s 13″ polycarbonate (black and white non-unibody) MacBook notebooks released in early 2009. The update, a 557 kilobyte download, works to clear a performance issue wherein the notebook may slow down when booted while using battery power only. This SMC Update improves startup time when starting up from the battery.
    The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Posts Knowledge Base Articles to Help Access RAM/Hard Drive/Battery for Unibody MacBooks

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 13:41
    Category: How-To

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    Recently, Apple posted updated Knowledge Base documents referencing how to access the batteries, hard drive and RAM on the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.
    While the 13″ and 15″ computers come with a hatch that provides easy access (at least to the hard drive and battery), the 17″ computers do not have a hatch and many users have complained about the accessibility for user-serviceable hard drives, as well as RAM upgrades for the whole product line.
    Per MacFixIt, Apple’s reasoning for removing the access hatch makes sense from a battery engineering standpoint, but it does limit users from otherwise relatively simple repairs, upgrades, and troubleshooting. Despite not having a hatch, the 17″ macbook is still accessible. Users will have to remove the bottom case of the computer, and will need a #0 philips screwdriver.
    The Knowledge Base documents can be located at the following links:
    17″ MacBook Hard Drive (and RAM) (note that the RAM installation instructions are inscribed on the inside hatch).
    15″ MacBook Hard Drive (and RAM).
    For users interested in upgrading the RAM on the new 15″ MacBook Pro, the following video guide functions as a very thorough demonstration on how to upgrade the RAM:
    www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Upgrade-RAM-in-Unibody-MacBook-Pro—Bleeding-Edge-TV-297–71649299
    If you’ve upgraded your unibody MacBook or MacBook Pro and have any tips to offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Another Bulging MacBook Pro Battery

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2007, 00:27
    Category: battery

    Here’s another picture of a bulged MacBook Pro battery from PowerPage reader “Abe.”

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    I called Apple on Monday and got a replacement with a pre-paid airbill for the return today. Zero problem with them on the phone. Once I told them what had happened he did not even ask any questions. Said a new one is on the way. That makes me think there have been many and that they’d rather keep it quiet. Anyway, these pics on the old and the replacement should give you an idea of how much it expanded. It measures more and a quarter of an inch of expansion right in the middle.

    Three more pics after the jump…

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    Getting The Most Out of Your Laptop Battery

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, February 12th, 2007, 09:06
    Category: battery

    Anyone who has purchased an Apple laptop knows that the battery life is significant. I specifically remember getting four hours of life (full screen brightness) with my first G4 Powerbook. As time advances, the battery, processor, and electronic technology grows; and with it comes the ability to produce a portable that is more efficient and energy conservative, yet still has the performance that consumers require.

    As time with your laptop advances however, the battery on your system may begin to lose its charging capabilities. What was once four hours of life, turns into three and a half, then to two and a half, and so on and so on. Throughout your system life, the greater portion of the time you will never use your laptop until the battery is empty. More or less you will use it for a little, then plug it back in, take it off, plug in again and so forth. The process of doing this can miss-calibrate the battery to the point where it will not allow maximum storage capability and lower your battery life.

    Getting The Most Out Of Your Laptop Battery – Macinhack

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