Inventory constraints point towards possibility of new 15-inch MacBook Pro notebook on horizon

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Date: Tuesday, April 10th, 2012, 06:12
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

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When the current supplies dwindle, interesting things are about to happen.

Per AppleInsider, multiple authorized resellers this week are reflecting stock-outs of 15-inch MacBook Pros, suggesting that Apple is ramping down production of existing models before introducing redesigned offerings that will largely resemble the company’s increasingly popular line of ultra-slim MacBook Airs.

Among those resellers reflecting backorder status on some of the current 15-inch MacBook Pros is J&R, which is now sold out of both the 2.2GHz model, which is listed as “out of stock,” and the 2.4GHz variety, which is currently advertised as “on order.”

In addition, Best Buy has also stopped accepting online orders for the 2.4GHz model for home delivery. The 15-inch notebook is still available on a store-by-store basis, however a quick check of individual store inventory in cities such as Chicago and Austin similarly indicate that between 40 and 60 percent of those shops are similarly reflecting stock outs.

Earlier this week, MacConnection was temporarily out of stock the 2.2GHz model of Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro, but the notebook has since come back in stock at the online retailer.

Multiple instances of inventory constraints within Apple’s indirect sales channel are often some of the first signs that the Mac maker is drawing down stock and slowing shipments of existing models before replacing them with materially enhanced offerings. This week’s stock-outs come as Intel is gearing up to launch its Ivy Bridge chips, which have been rumored to begin finding their way into Apple’s Mac product line as early as this month or next.

Apple appears to be planning a staggered overhaul of the MacBook Pro lineup, beginning with an updated 15-inch model, followed by the 13-inch, and ultimately the 17-inch by the end of the year.

Recent rumors have claimed production of the 15-inch model will begin this month with 200,000 units, while production of the new the 13-inch MacBook Pro will occur in June with builds of 400,000 initial units.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is rumored to arrive as soon as this month with Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge processors. Reports have suggested Apple’s new notebooks could include Intel’s Core i7-3820QM and Core i7-3720QM models featuring integrated HD 4000 graphics.

There are fewer details on the forthcoming 13-inch MacBook Pro, as one report from March said it was “not clear” if Apple planned to introduce a new MacBook Pro with an entry-level Core i3 Ivy Bridge processor. All of Apple’s current “Pro” laptops feature only higher-end Core i5 and Core i7 processors.

The new MacBook Pros are expected to be noticeably thinner and lighter in design, and will eschew the spinning disc drive to adopt a form factor similar to Apple’s thin-and-light MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro lineup was given a quiet update with faster GPUs and graphics cards last October, while the last major redesign of the lineup came in late 2008.

Separately, in what could be a sign of the end of the Mac Pro desktop line, Amazon is currently out of stock of the 8-core model.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.15094.749908

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Date: Monday, April 9th, 2012, 12:08
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.15094.749908 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 306 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Improved 3D support.

- Ability to easily download and install Fedora 16 from within the Parallels Wizard.

- Support for the Dvorak keyboard, Arabic keyboard and French numeric keyboard layout.

- Improved support for the Swedish keyboard layout.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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

Rumor: Apple to begin production of 200,000 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks in April, 400,000 13-inch MacBook Pro notebooks in June

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Date: Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012, 13:41
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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It won’t be long now.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is gearing up to begin production of its new thinner and lighter MacBook Pros, with production of the new 15-inch model set to begin first in mid-April.

Mass production of the new 15-inch MacBook Pro will see initial monthly shipments of 200,000 units, according to the web site. The new notebooks are expected to be powered by Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge processors.

On the heels of the new 15-inch model, Apple is expected to begin building the thinner 13-inch MacBook Pro in June. For the smaller variant, initial monthly shipments are expected to be greater, reportedly falling between 300,000 and 400,000 units.

The latest report is consistent with previous claims that the 15-inch MacBook Pro would go into production first, and could arrive as early as this month. But Tuesday’s report also suggests initial shipments of the 15-inch model will be slightly greater than was previously expected, as earlier reports claimed that initial monthly shipments would be between 100,000 and 150,000.

The updated notebooks are rumored to borrow the ultra-thin design the company pioneered with its MacBook Air. One person familiar with the new MacBook Pro designs indicated “they’re all going to look like MacBook Airs.”

Like the highly successful MacBook Air, the new MacBook Pros are expected to ditch the built-in optical drive, allowing them to have a thinner and lighter design.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.12

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Date: Monday, April 2nd, 2012, 11:06
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.12. The new version, a 89.5 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

- VMM: fixed VERR_NOT_SUPPORTED and VERR_RAW_MODE_INVALID_SMP guru meditation due to an invalid reschedule to raw mode (bug #10370).

- VMM: fixed PDMCritSectLeave guru meditation under rare circumstances with SMP guests.

- VMM: proper Math Fault handling with certain legacy guests (bug #9042).

- NAT: fixed a socket leak under certain conditions.

- Storage: better sanity check against reading beyond end-of-file.

- Audio: fixed a crash in the NUL audio backend (bug #10374; 4.1.10 regression).

- HGCM: fixed a crash during savestate under rare circumstances.

- VBoxSVC: several locking fixes.

- VBoxManage: return the correct error code if controlvm savestate failed (bug #10134).

- Guest Additions: VBoxService should not crash on exit (bug #10326; 4.1.10 regression).

- Windows Additions: set the correct time stamp when a file is closed (bug #6473).

- Windows Additions: better help if the DirectX backups are not properly installed.

- Linux Additions: Linux 3.4-rc1 compile fixes.

VirtualBox 4.1.12 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Rumor: Apple to begin mass-producing next-gen 15-inch MacBook Pro in April, 13-inch model in June

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 06:10
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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To be fair, the rumors ARE getting a little more specific.

Per DigiTimes, a new report out of the Far East claims Apple is scheduled to begin mass production of a new 15-inch MacBook Pro in April, while a 13.3-inch model is rumored to enter mass production in June.

The web site reported on Thursday that, according to upstream supply chain sources, Apple is anticipating higher demand for its upcoming 13.3-inch MacBook Pro refresh than its 15-inch version.

Tipsters indicated an April production schedule for the larger version and a June schedule for production of an update to the 13.3-inch notebook. They said monthly production capacity of the 15-inch MacBook will start out at between 100,000 and 150,000 units and “rise gradually.”

Earlier this month, the same publication reported that Apple’s new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros had entered production. The new machines are said to lack optical drives while maintaining “more advanced specs” than the MacBook Air.

Sources have separately told AppleInsider that Apple is gearing up to blur the lines between its current MacBook Air models and its pro series of laptops. It’s not yet clear, however, whether the company will revise its marketing names for the machines and collapse the two lineups under one name.

Reports also emerged on Wednesday that Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge chips, some of which are presumably bound for Apple’s new Macs, are scheduled to launch at the end of April. Earlier reports have claimed that Apple is aiming to launch the 15-inch MacBook Pro also by the end of next month. Intel has experienced some delays with its Ivy Bridge processors, but it remains to be seen to what extent Apple’s schedule will be affected.

Mounting evidence also suggests that Apple is preparing to upgrade its Mac displays to Retina Display quality and could do so as early as the next generation.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 18.0.1025.142

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 06:00
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 18.0.1025.142 for the Mac. The new version, a 35.4 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- Sped up graphics and drawing performance for users on capable hardware, and enabled fancier 3D content for other users on older computers.

Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Apple releases Safari 5.1.5 update

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Date: Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 06:40
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Apple released Safari 5.1.5, an update to its web browser. The new version, a 44.7 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and new features:

- Contains a fix for an issue that could affect website usability when running Safari in 32-bit mode.

Safari 5.1.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Unreleased Intel Ivy Bridge benchmarked on modified version of Mac OS X 10.7.3, promising results reported

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Date: Monday, March 26th, 2012, 06:25
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

The Ivy Bridge architecture is on its way, which will probably be a cool thing.

Per the tonymac86 Blog, a modified version of OS X 10.7.3 has been tested with an unreleased Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge chip, giving a first indication of how Apple’s next-generation Macs will perform.

An anonymous tipster provided screenshots of benchmarks conducted with a Core i7-3770K processor to the blog. The Core i7 CPU is one of Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge processors, and was tested at its stock speed of 3.5GHz.

The early test, which used a Z77 motherboard, found that OS X runs well on Intel’s forthcoming Ivy Bridge processors. However, while the tests give an idea of how Ivy Bridge will perform with new Macs, the “Hackintosh” benchmarks do not represent any real Apple products.

The person testing the new Intel processor had to modify the boot kernel of OS X 10.7.3 Lion in order to get it to run on the chip. In addition, the Core i7-3770K is a high-end desktop chip that may never find its way into any of Apple’s shipping products.

Still, the tests offer the first look at Apple’s OS X operating system running on an Ivy Bridge chip. It’s also the first glimpse at Intel’s HD Graphics 4000, which previous tests running Windows 7 found is 55 percent faster than the 3000 series graphics integrated with the Sandy Bridge processors released by Intel last year.

The “Hackintosh” machine earned an overall Geekbench score of 13,453, led by a score of 20,250 for its processor floating point performance. The tests gauged the quad-core processor with 8 gigabytes of 2400MHz DDR3 RAM.

Apple’s new Macs with Ivy Bridge processors are expected to begin debuting in the coming months, starting with new, slimmer 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros that are rumored to already be in production. The new 15-inch model is expected to be offered in variations powered by Intel’s mobile Core i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge CPUs.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple’s use of double-resolution icons in Mac OS X 10.8 previews hint at Retina Display-equipped Macs

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Date: Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 09:59
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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When in doubt, go with the Retina Display.

Additional evidence has surfaced that high-resolution Retina display Macs are in Apple’s near future has been discovered in an early developer build of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Per Ars Technica, double-resolution icons were found in “unexpected places” of Mountain Lion according to sources who wished to remain anonymous. Their inclusion was interpreted to suggest Apple could release Retina display MacBooks as soon as this summer.

One double-resolution icon was found in the new Messages application. In the second developer preview of Mountain Lion, released a week ago, some icons are incorrectly displaying at twice their normal size.

Their appearance in the latest build of Mountain Lion led the source to suggest that new MacBooks equipped with Retina displays could appear as soon as this summer, to coincide with the release of OS X 10.8.

Evidence of Retina display Macs cropped up in February when Apple released OS X 10.7.3 with new high-DPI user interface elements. Specifically, a number of cursors in the operating system were updated to scale to larger sizes on higher resolution screens.

Apple added HiDPI modes to OS X Lion last year, but they were previously only accessible by installing Xcode. HiDPI is modeled after the UI resolution doubling that Apple does with its Retina display iPhones, the iPod touch and the new iPad.

Rumors began to crop up late last year that Apple is preparing new versions of its MacBook Pro lineup with double-resolution displays. The resulting display for a 15-inch MacBook Pro would be 2,880 by 1,800 pixels.

Support for higher resolution Macs will come with Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge processors. Those chips will support up to the 4K resolution, which allows 4,096-by-4,096 pixels per monitor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC updated to 2.0.1

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to a release candidate version of 2.0.1. The new version, a 25.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Support for MxPEG files and streams.

- New features in the Mac OS X interface for more customization.

- Numerous fixes in the Qt, the Mac OS and the skins interfaces.

- Fixes for HTTP Live Streaming, CDDB, UDP/RTP support.

- Security issues SA-1201 and SA-1202.

- Limited support for Bluray discs menus.

- Numerous fixes for MKV support.

- Fix for splitted RAR files playback.

- Numerous fixes for more than 120 bugs.

- Codec and 3rd party libraries security updates.

VLC 2.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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