Amazon runs out of 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, rumors hint at new model to be announced at WWDC

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 3rd, 2013, 06:29
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

macbookpro15

When the inventories run low, there’s generally some cool stuff around the corner.

Or the retailer REALLY needs to order some more stock.

Per AppleInsider, just hours after new details surfaced suggesting that Apple could introduce a slimmed-down version of its popular 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display next week, one of the company’s largest resellers — Amazon.com — is sold out of the current entry-level model.

The high-profile stockout comes just a week before Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference with a keynote presentation — a stage frequently used to unveil new products and innovations. This year, the company is expected to showcase its new next-generation operating system software for the Mac and iOS devices — OS X 10.9 and iOS 7 — in addition to highlighting some new Mac notebooks powered by Intel’s new Haswell processors

Well-connected industry watch Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities revealed on Sunday that Apple plans to launch a slimmed-down 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display at WWDC. He said the tweaked design will feature a thinner chassis, giving the professional-grade notebook a more portable form factor.

In addition, it’s said that the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro will sport an improved FaceTime HD camera, which could move from a current resolution of 720p to 1080p, or “full HD.” For his part in attempting to predict Apple’s future product plans through insight into the company’s operations out East, Ming-Chi Kuo sports one of the industry’s most respectable track records in recent years.

Amazon’s stockout applies to Apple’s entry-level 13-inch model, sporting a 2.5-gigahertz Intel Core i5 processor and 128 gigabytes of flash storage. Low inventory levels at authorized resellers are often one of the first signs of new hardware on the horizon, as Apple draws down its available inventory ahead of a new product launch.

While the entry-level model is sold out, Amazon still has remaining inventory of the higher end models with 256 gigabytes of flash storage, at processor speeds of 2.5 gigahertz and 2.6-gigahertz.

In addition, other resellers still have inventory of the two default configurations of Apple’s larger 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, which are the 2.4-gigahertz model with 256 gigabytes of storage and 8 gigabytes of RAM, and the 2.7-gigahertz variety with 512 gigabytes of storage and 16 gigabytes of RAM. The latest rumors have not offered any indication that Apple plans to update the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro next week, suggesting that a refresh to add Intel’s Haswell processors may come at a later date.

However, Apple is expected to bring Haswell to its MacBook Air lineup at WWDC next week, with new models sporting dual microphones for better voice recognition. AppleInsider was first to report on widespread stockouts of MacBook Air models at resellers in recent weeks leading up to WWDC.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop corroborated rumors of new Macs at WWDC last week when he signaled that updated hardware will likely be unveiled. The company is also planning to show off new versions of iOS and OS X, but is not expected to launch any new iPhone or iPad models.

Stay tuned for up to the minute coverage come WWDC next week.

Rumor: Updated Retina Display MacBook Pro with 1080p camera, MacBook Air with improved microphone expected at WWDC

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 3rd, 2013, 06:12
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

It’s the rumors that make life interesting.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities listed his forecast for MacBook Pro and Air updates expected at WWDC. Apple’s annual developer-centric conference begins on June 10th with a keynote. The biggest change is Apple will move to Intel’s Haswell processors. These chips dramatically reduce power consumption, which in turn could allow Apple to need fewer batteries in the Retina MacBook Pros:

“We expect the new MacBook, featuring an upgrade to Intel’s (US) Haswell processor, will be in the spotlight for Apple at the upcoming WWDC from June 10. Along with the new processor, we expect the following modifications to each product line:

Retina MacBook Pro to be slimmer slightly, along with a camera upgrade. We expect the 13” Retina MacBook Pro will have a slightly slimmer form factor for increasing its portability. Also, we think the camera spec will be upgraded from HD to full HD. This will improve Facetime and video conference quality in the high resolution Retina display.”

The 1080P camera would match the capabilities of the rear-cameras in recent iOS hardware, but this would represent the first time in which Apple shipped a 1080p-capable front-facing sensor.

If Apple does choose to keep the same batteries and size of the Retina MacBook Pro, the new Haswell chips could push battery life up over 10 hours.

As for the MacBook Air, at least one improvement is expected by Kuo:

“MacBook Air to share dual built-in microphone design of Retina MacBook Pro. We forecast that this year’s new MacBook Air model will also have dual built-in microphones as a result of positive feedback on this feature in Retina MacBook Pro, which delivers clear voice quality on Facetime and VoIP service.”

Apple previously noted that the dual-microphone setup is ideal for voice apps like the included Dictation function.

Kuo expects the older, non-Retina MacBook Pros to freeze and be taken out of the spotlight, much like the iPod Classic. The computer would continue to be sold but with the current Ivy Bridge processors, optical drive slots, and high-capacity hard drives.

The report also notes that MacBooks in general are not immune from the overall global slowdown in PC purchasing caused by the iPad and other tablet cannibalization. The expectation is that 2013 will see 12M units sold, off 1.6M from 2012′s 13.6M total.

Finally, Kuo notes that Apple’s move away from optical and hard drive based storage continues to shift orders to SSD producers:

SSD to be mainstream storage solution for MacBook. We estimate the market share of MacBook with SSD to rise from 45% in 2012 to 64% in 2013, far ahead of the industry’s 15-20%. We also expect SSD penetration to continue to trend up, with SSD eventually replacing conventional hard disk drive and optical disc drive.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Review: Game Dev Tycoon

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 31st, 2013, 07:14
Category: Review, Software, Software

By Mr. S

Tycoon… What is a Tycoon? Websters defines a Tycoon as “A top leader (as in politics) or a businessman of exceptional wealth and power”. So basically a capitalist that can make something out of nothing. A leader of men and a maker of things.

At some point we have all said to ourselves “I would do a much better job if I was in charge, gob smack it!” and that’s the basis of attraction for “Tycoon” games. They put you in charge and say “Here ya go, sonny! Make it happen or lose it all! It’s up to you!”. This is where Game Dev Tycoon falters big time and it’s heartbreaking considering the amount of love that went into its creation.

But more on why I don’t like it later. Lets talk about the things it does right.

Starting off in the garage of your mystery house you start the journey of a fledgling game designer from the golden era of video games, the 70’s. Like the legendary game designers from that period, you start on your Commodore 64 or PC, pumping out games for a few thousand enthusiasts. The first hour of gameplay in Game Dev Tycoon genuinely captures the magic of those times. When men wore pleats, and code was assembly. In those days, a man could spend a couple grand and start cranking out software to a very earnest and attentive audience.


Because every game studio needs a Delorean in the garage...

Because every game studio needs a Delorean in the garage…


The art direction, while simplistic, has a wonderful charm and watching your company grow from backwoods garage operation to full-on ten person studio is very rewarding at first, but that’s exactly when things start to fall apart.

The game turns into a choir of frustrating guesswork that inevitably leads to total studio failure unless you’re good friends with the app’s “save” and “load” buttons or a Web-based wiki to help guide you.

Instead of giving you a well-presented and balanced system, you’re presented with a single mystery path that forces you to try randomly at success. The game never gives you specific details as to why one of your games failed or succeeded, thereby making a core element of the experience feel hollow and luck-based. Why does having the ability to have steering wheel functionality make my football game engine better? Found a great combo? Don’t use that one again or your game will get panned into oblivion even if the game’s setting is completely different and the last game you put out with that combo was ten years ago.


The critics will love you or hate you...

The critics will love you or hate you, but good luck getting details as to why.


You’re given little room for failure, because every game has to be somewhat of a success to pay a staff necessary to sustain the studio. It feels Sisyphean when your workers have to take a week off every four weeks just to keep them happy, and then you have to waste precious time training these layabouts too. You simply fail or succeed with seemingly no rhyme or reason. Try to experiment and your studio goes bankrupt.


Expand staff where you can and you might just crank out a hit.

Expand staff where you can, and hopefully you’re lucky enough to pay them.


Proper feedback and getting just enough understanding of what’s going on under the hood is imperative to a good tycoon experience, and it’s this essential feedback that is totally missing from Game Dev Tycoon. Sure, you get the reviews from the press, but “meh” or “feels derivative” does not tell you why your Zombie Dinosaur Football Racer tanked. You know when you make a good combo, but you can’t use it again without getting horrible reviews for copying something you already did. It’s why you see little pop-up emoticons in “Roller Coaster Tycoon”: instant feedback. You know the people are digging your new toilet because they go in looking miserable and come out looking great. Vis a vie toilets are good whereas a “meh” reaction tells me next to nothing.

Game Dev Tycoon puts a blindfold on your head and chides you for not knowing the way.
It has all the elements of a great tycoon game, but ultimately fails in providing a rewarding tycoon experience. Its scope needs to be widened with a much larger emphasis on player feedback and much better info on what a certain element will add or subtract from the product you’re making in the game. Greenheart Games is an independent company with a clear love of the craft of game making and is probably painfully aware of its shortcomings. As an early supporter of the game, I hope to see it grow from this interesting idea to a more compelling experience with time, but as it stands right now it’s just not fun being a Game Dev Tycoon. 🙁

Game Dev Tycoon retails for US$7.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

A full demo is available here for your consideration.

Apple reduces non-Retina MacBook Pro prices by $100 for education market buyers

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 31st, 2013, 06:48
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

macbookpro15

Yet another reason to be in the education market if you can help it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday dropped the education buyer price for its default configuration non-Retina MacBook Pros by an additional US$100, and customers can now pick up the notebooks starting at under US$1,000.

The Apple Store for Education changed its pricing on Thursday, dropping an additional US$100 off the regular cost of a 2.5-gigahertz 13-inch MacBook Pro. That model now sells for US$999, or US$200 below the retail cost for non-educational customers.

The 2.9-gigahertz MacBook Pro is also available for US$200 off retail, starting at US$1,299. The discount, so far, applies only to Apple’s non-Retina MacBook Pro models.

The 2.5-gigahertz model has an Intel Core i5 processor that can Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz. It also comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM, a 500-gigabyte 5400rpm hard drive, an Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip, and a 7-hour battery life.

The 2.9-gigahertz model has a Core i7 chip that can Turbo Boost up to 3.6-gigahertz, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and a 750-gigabyte hard drive.

Apple’s latest discounts are meant only for educational customers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.06

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 31st, 2013, 06:03
Category: News, Software

eliphoto

Late Thursday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.06, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 6.1 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:
– Canon EOS-1D C

– Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D / Kiss X7

– Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D / Kiss X7i

– Hasselblad Lunar

– Nikon COOLPIX A

– Nikon D7100

– Nikon 1 J3

– Nikon 1 S1

– Sony Alpha NEX-3N

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.

Apple releases updated FujiXerox printer drivers for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013, 08:35
Category: News, Software

Never doubt an updated printer driver.

On Tuesday, Apple released its FujiXerox Printers Drivers 2.4 package. The update, a 42.4 megabyte download, adds updated drivers for assorted FujiXerox printers, scanners and multifunction devices.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new drivers and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Intel cites possible 50% battery life improvement in upcoming MacBooks under Haswell architecture

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013, 06:45
Category: Hardware, MacBook, MacBook Pro, News, Processors

intellogo.jpg

What a difference a next-gen architecture can make.

According to PCWorld, Intel’s next-generation processor in Apple’s MacBook line could see 50 percent greater battery life thanks to the processors expected to go into them, according to Intel.

In a media briefing ahead of the launch of its Haswell processor platform, Intel chief Rani Borkar said that the chipmaker had designed the line with notebooks and tablets in mind. That focus on mobile devices led to dramatic increases in battery life, with 50 percent longer operation in normal use and extending idle and standby battery life by up to 20 times.

That could mean that battery life for future MacBooks — already near the top of the industry — will see considerable improvements. A 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro’s battery life could jump from about six hours and 15 minutes to Apple’s seven-hour estimate under normal use.

The Haswell line is the latest in the chip giant’s instruction set architecture. The rise of smartphones and tablets has hobbled the PC industry, the main source of Intel’s sales. Increasingly, consumers are opting for mobile devices rather than traditional computing form factors, and Intel has struggled to gain a foothold in the mobile device segment.

The Haswell line, then, is intended to address both traditional computers and tablets as well. Some components of the line have had their power consumption reduced to as low as 7W. Intel’s tablet-tailored offerings are said to offer better performance than non-Intel chipsets, but with comparable battery life.

Intel has been talking up the possibilities of the Haswell line for months ahead of its launch. Most recently, the chipmaker released a document showing that Haswell will double or triple graphics performance compared to previous models.

Apple’s expected refresh of its MacBook line of devices is widely expected to feature Intel’s latest and greatest processor set.

Currently, retailers are running low on supplies of some MacBooks, and many Apple observers expect the company to announce the next generation during the keynote of its Worldwide Developer Conference in June.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe Flash Player updated to 11.7.700.203

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 24th, 2013, 11:46
Category: News, Software

Never look an update in the mouth.

On Friday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.7.700.203 for Mac OS X, a 16.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:

Fixed:
– Audio stream cuts off on certain websites after 10-60 seconds(3541383).

Known Issues:
– Some newer AMD Graphics Processing Unit drivers exhibit rendering issues in certain circumstances (3431502).

– Webcam fails when used in conjunction with Microsoft Kinect (3482709).

– In AIR for iOS, cannot package localized swf names (3518195).

– In AIR for iOS, giving focus to a Spark TextArea component can cause text to be truncated (3514889).

– Long application description in AIR installation dialog causes the buttons to not be visible (3515305).

– Slight lag in FLVPlayback video looping (3515066).

– Large bitmaps which are scaled down do not render correctly when published (3520589).

– On AIR, custom context menu items fire extra events (3493614).

– In the Chrome browser, Swapping microphones at runtime fails (3493587).

– In Internet Explorer, when flash content is scrolled out of view, audio can be garbled (3520586).

– AAC audio becomes distorted when you attach an enhanced microphone with AEC (3523551).

Adobe Flash Player 11.7.700.203 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new Flash Player and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome updated to 27.0.1453.93

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

You can’t knock an application that’s updated this frequently.

On Wednesday, Google released version 27.0.1453.93 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 49.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
– Web pages load 5% faster on average

– Chrome.syncFileSystem API

– Improved ranking of predictions, improved spell correction, and numerous fundamental improvements for Omnibox predictions. Please see the Help Center for more information on our updated policies.

Security fixes:
– [235638] High CVE-2013-2837: Use-after-free in SVG.

– [235311] Medium CVE-2013-2838: Out-of-bounds read in v8.

– [230176] High CVE-2013-2839: Bad cast in clipboard handling.

– [230117] High CVE-2013-2840: Use-after-free in media loader.

– [227350] High CVE-2013-2841: Use-after-free in Pepper resource handling.

– [226696] High CVE-2013-2842: Use-after-free in widget handling.

– [222000] High CVE-2013-2843: Use-after-free in speech handling.

– [196393] High CVE-2013-2844: Use-after-free in style resolution.

– [188092] [179522] [222136] [188092] High CVE-2013-2845: Memory safety issues in Web Audio.

– [177620] High CVE-2013-2846: Use-after-free in media loader.

– [176692] High CVE-2013-2847: Use-after-free race condition with workers.

– [176137] Medium CVE-2013-2848: Possible data extraction with XSS Auditor.

– [171392] Low CVE-2013-2849: Possible XSS with drag+drop or copy+paste.

Google Chrome 27.0.1453.93 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Delicious Library updated to 3.0.2

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 21st, 2013, 12:07
Category: News, Software

dlicon

On Tuesday, software company Delicious Monster released version 3.0.2 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The new version, an 80.3 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
– Items without a cover show title and creator on shelf.

– Synopses can be added and edited. Custom synopses imported from Delicious Library 2 now display.

– Many changes to make details more sensible. You can now open the details window and keep it on the right, for behavior like Delicious Library 2.

– “Paste” changes the cover of the selected item.

– Added help manual (also on our website).

– Add “Export To: Delicious Library 3”, to back-up and merge libraries.

– Add two-word cloud charts.

– Bug fixes and other improvements.

Delicious Library 3.0.2 retails for US$40 and requires OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.