Adobe releases Acrobat Reader, Pro 9.4 versions, patches security holes

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Date: Wednesday, October 6th, 2010, 04:06
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Adobe released version 9.4 of its Adobe Reader and Acrobat Pro applications. The updates, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, address security vulnerabilities while providing additional stability.

Acrobat Reader 9.4 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel or PowerPC-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.

Rumor: Apple prepping smaller, lighter MacBook Air

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Date: Friday, September 24th, 2010, 05:27
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

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Things may be about to change for Apple’s MacBook Air, the super-slim notebook perhaps receiving an LED-backlit display nearly two inches smaller than the current model.

Per DigiTimes, Apple has watched sales of its ultra-portable trickle off to levels believed to be immaterial to its bottom line. As such, the product line has received little attention from the company, undergoing just two minor revisions in a 29-month span — the latter of which took place well over a year ago.

At just 0.76″ at its thickest point, the MacBook Air is undoubtedly slim enough for its target audience of business travelers and those consistently on the go. However, sales of the device suggest that its 13.3″ footprint and 3 pound carrying weight may be a bit more than that class of customers would prefer, especially given the resounding success of Apple’s more compact and lighter 9.7″ iPad.

In an effort to make the design of the Air more appealing and further differentiate the notebook from the company’s mainstream 13.3″ MacBook, Apple in 2008 reportedly began experimenting with a partial carbon fiber enclosure that would shave upwards of a 100 grams off its weight.

With plans for such a design failing to materialize over the last two years, it’s believed that Apple returned to the drawing board at some point and began crafting a makeover that would deliver both size and weight reductions, further pushing the envelop of ultra-portable notebook computing.

The first evidence to this end arrived earlier this year when an analyst citing sources in Apple’s Taiwanese component supply chain revealed that the company was placing orders for parts to fit a slimmer and lighter MacBook Air based around an 11.6″ LED-lit display and Intel Core i-series ultra-low voltage processor.

On Friday, a new report appears to further corroborate such claims, alleging that Apple’s primary notebook manufacturer Quanta has landed orders to produce the first 400,000-500,000 11.6″ “MacBooks” for delivery to the Mac maker before the end of the 2010 calendar year.

No further details were available from the report. Apple last updated the 13.3″ MacBook Air back in June of 2009 when it dropped the entry-level price to US$1,499 from US$1,799 for a model with a 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. A $1,799 offering based around a 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 128GB solid state drive was also introduced.

Stay tuned for details as they become available.

Amazon leaks Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 release date

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Date: Monday, September 13th, 2010, 06:16
Category: News, Software

This may not have been the way Microsoft would have chosen to announce its Office for Mac 2011 launch date, but it worked.

Per Macworld, Microsoft will launch the next version of Office for the Mac in just under six weeks, according to Amazon.com.

The Seattle-based online retailer listed Office for Mac 2011’s availability date as October 26th for all versions of the upcoming suite.

Previously, Microsoft had only promised to ship the newest version of Office before the end of October.

Amazon did not display prices for the two new editions, Home and Student 2011 and Home and Business 2011. Each will come in two configurations, a one-license package and a multi-license version.

Last month, Microsoft set the prices of Home and Student 2011 at US$119 and US$149 for the one- and three-license editions, respectively. The Home and Business editions will list for US$199 and US$249 in one- and two-license versions.

Microsoft will not sell discounted “upgrade” versions of Office 2011, as it has for the suite’s predecessors. The decision followed a similar move earlier this year when the Redmond, Wash., software maker dropped upgrade editions and pricing for Office 2010 for Windows, which debuted in May.

Customers can save money by buying the current version, Office for Mac 2008, and then taking advantage of a free upgrade offer that Microsoft also launched last month.

Customers who purchase Office for Mac Home and Student 2008 (listed Friday for US$125 on Amazon) will receive the three-license version of the 2011 suite, a US$25 savings. Purchasers of the 2008 Business Edition, now selling for US$200, will get a free copy of the two-license Home and Business 2011, a savings of US$49.

Microsoft will also sell a US$99 academic edition of Office for Mac 2011 to college students, faculty and staff. The discounted version will include the same applications as Home and Business, but will not be sold at general retail.

The final system requirements for Office 2011 for Mac are as follows:

– A Mac computer with an Intel-based processor.

– Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later.

– 1 GB of RAM or more.

– 2.5 GB of available hard disk space.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop 5.0.9376 Released

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Date: Thursday, September 2nd, 2010, 04:42
Category: News, Software

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Parallels Desktop, the popular virtualization application that allows users to run the Windows and Linux operating systems simultaneously alongside Mac OS X, reached version 5.0.9376 on Thursday. The new version, available here, sports the following major fix:

– This version of Parallels Desktop fixes compatibility with new Mac Pros based on Intel Xeon Westmere processors.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac retails for US$79.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run.

Intel purchases Infineon’s wireless unit for $1.4 billion, gains access to new chipsets in deal

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Date: Monday, August 30th, 2010, 04:59
Category: News, wireless

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Processor giant Intel on Monday confirmed its plans to buy Infineon’s wireless division for US$1.4 billion in cash. The deal will see the company’s Wireless Solutions group work as a stand-alone company on Intel’s behalf and will give the company access to both 3G chipsets and a faster path to LTE-based 4G. It plans to use these not only for full-size notebooks but also Atom-based smartphones and tablets.

Per Electronista, Infineon claimed the selloff was a win as it allowed a new focus on car, industrial and security technology. The sale is widely known to be prompted by the company’s struggles with making its wireless section profitable.

The deal should be finished by early 2011.

In an attempt to head off concerns, Intel said the stand-alone nature of the wireless group would let it keep serving existing customers, including those who use ARM chips. Concerns had been raised that the buyout would be used to force Apple to seek alternate suppliers for 3G chipsets in the iPad and iPhone, although the iPhone 4 is exempt as it has switched away.

Intel’s plans are due to come together until 2011, when its Oak Trail platform for Atom chips should be efficient enough to be competitive.

Intel to further combine CPU, GPU components, support Blu-Ray 3D playback in future notebook chips

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 27th, 2010, 06:47
Category: News, Processors

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It’s hard to say when this might find its way into an Apple notebook, but it could be amazing when it does.

Processor giant Intel announced that its next-generation laptop chips will have a dozen new features to improve graphics performance and will be able to play Blu-ray 3D movies, the company said on Thursday.

Laptops with processors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture will play Blu-ray 3D movies while preserving battery life, said Nick Knupffer, an Intel spokesman. Users won’t need to buy a separate graphics processor to specifically view 3D content.

Sandy Bridge chips are due to go into production later this year, Knupffer said. Company officials have said that PCs with the new chips could hit store shelves in the first half of next year.

Per Macworld, the company is expected to shed more light on Sandy Bridge’s graphics performance at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco from September 13th through the 15th.

Intel for the first time will integrate the CPU and graphics processor on a single chip, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. The current generation of chips based on the Westmere architecture have the CPU and graphics core on one piece of silicon, but as separate units.

The higher levels of integration will also help Intel include additional transistors to improve graphics performance, Brookwood said. The Sandy Bridge CPUs and GPUs will be made using the 32-nanometer process, while with current chips, the CPU and GPU are made using the 32-nm process and the 45-nm process, respectively.

Graphics performance typically doubles from one chip generation to the next, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

Intel’s current laptop chips are capable of 1080p video, and improvements in Sandy Bridge chips could bring a noticeable graphics improvement to PCs, McCarron said.

Now it remains to be seen what Apple has to say about Blu-Ray support and how this might be integrated into future generations of Apple laptops…

Adobe releases Acrobat Reader, Pro 9.3.4 versions, patches security holes

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Date: Friday, August 20th, 2010, 05:21
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Adobe released a long-awaited patch that addresses a number of vulnerabilities in versions of its Acrobat Pro and Reader offerings.

The updates, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, address security vulnerabilities while providing additional stability.

Acrobat Reader 9.3.4 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel or PowerPC-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.

Apple announces updated Mac Pro line to arrive in August

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 06:36
Category: Mac Pro, News

It’s been a long time coming, but it could be awesome when it hits next month.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s update to Apple’s Mac Pro desktop was announced Tuesday, with the new tower sporting up to 12 processing cores with Intel Xeon processors, making it up to 50% faster than its predecessor. The hardware arrives in August.

The new Mac Pro desktops feature quad-core and 6-core Intel Xeon processors, all-new ATI graphics and the option for up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD). The processors run at speeds up to 3.33GHz and use a single die design so they can share up to 12MB L3 cache, improving efficiency while increasing processing speeds.

The systems include an integrated memory controller for faster memory bandwidth and reduced memory latency; Turbo Boost to dynamically boost processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz; and Hyper-Threading to create up to 24 virtual cores. The Mac Pro now comes with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics processor with 1GB of memory and customers can configure-to-order the faster ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of memory.

Mac Pro customers also have the option to order a 512GB SSD and can potentially install up to four SSD drives in the system’s internal drive bays.

The Mac Pro also now features two Mini DisplayPorts and one dual-link DVI port. The additional Mini DisplayPort output allows customers to connect two LED Cinema Displays without an additional graphics card or adapter and the dual-link DVI port supports legacy DVI-based displays up to a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

Pricing & Availability:
The new Mac Pro will be available in August through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new quad-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of US$2,499 (US), includes:
– One 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3530 processor with 8MB of fully-shared L3 cache;
– 3GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 16GB;
– ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
– Two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
– 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
– 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
– Four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
– Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
– AirPort Extreme® 802.11n;
– Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
– Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

The new 8-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of US$3,499 (US), includes:
– Two 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5620 processors with 12MB of fully-shared L3 cache per processor;
– 6GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
– ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
– Two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
– 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
– 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
– Four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
– Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
– AirPort Extreme 802.11n;
– Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
– Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include:
– One 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3565 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
– One 3.33 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon W3680 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
– Two 2.66 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5650 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
– Two 2.93 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5670 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
– Two ATI Radeon HD 5770 cards with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
– One ATI Radeon HD 5870 card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
– Up to 16GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the quad-core Mac Pro;
– Up to 32GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the 8-core Mac Pro;
– Up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD); or
– Up to four 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm;
Mac Pro RAID card;
– Dual-channel or quad-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel card; and
– Up to two 18x SuperDrives with double-layer support.

Accessories include: Magic Trackpad, Apple Battery Charger, wired Apple Mouse, wireless Apple Keyboard, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, the AppleCare Protection Plan; and pre-installed copies of Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server; iWork, Logic Express 9, Final Cut Express 4 and Aperture 3.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases updated iMac models, includes Core i3, i5, i7 processors, ATI graphics cards

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 06:32
Category: iMac, News

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After weeks of anticipation, Apple on Tuesday refreshed its iMac line, bringing Intel’s Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors, along with ATI Radeon graphics to the new machines.

Per AppleInsider, the new models begin at US$1,199 and boast dual-core processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz, quad-core speeds up to 2.93 GHz and discrete graphics including the ATI Radeon HD 5750.

Dual-core Intel Core i3 and Core i5, and quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 bring the best performance yet to the iMac line, Apple said. The processors feature an integrated memory controller to access the system memory directly, allowing the new iMac to take full advantage of its faster 1333 MHz memory.

A new feature, the updated iMac displays feature IPS technology to deliver images across a wide 178 degree viewing angle.

The SD card slot on the iMac now supports the SDXC format to handle the latest high-capacity storage cards. Customers of the 27″ iMac have the option to order a 256GB solid state drive (SSD) as a primary or secondary drive. The iMac SSD supports up to 215 MB/s data transfer rates for faster startup and application launch times.

The new iMac line is shipping now and available through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new 21.5″ 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,199 (US), includes:
– 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display;
– 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
– 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
– ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete graphics with 256MB GDDR3 SDRAM;
– 500GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
– Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
– Mini DisplayPort for audio and video output (adapters sold separately);
– AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
– iSight video camera;
– Gigabit Ethernet;
– Four USB 2.0 ports;
– One SDXC SD card slot;
– One FireWire 800 port;
– Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
– Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.
– Configure-to-order options include up to 8GB of RAM.

The new 21.5″ 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,499 (US), includes:
– 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display;
– 3.20 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
– 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
– ATI Radeon HD 5670 discrete graphics with 512MB GDDR3;
– 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
– Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
– Mini DisplayPort for audio and video output (adapters sold separately);
– AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
– iSight video camera;
– Gigabit Ethernet;
– Four USB 2.0 ports;
– One FireWire 800 port;
– One SDXC SD card slot;
– Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
– Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.
– Configure-to-order options include a faster 3.6 GHz Core i5 processor, 2TB hard drive and up to 8GB of RAM.

The new 27″ 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,699 (US), includes:
– 27″ 2560 x 1440 LED-backlit display;
– 3.20 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
– 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
– ATI Radeon HD 5670 discrete graphics with 512MB GDDR3;
– 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
– Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
– Mini DisplayPort for audio and video input and output (adapters sold separately);
– AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
– iSight video camera;
– Gigabit Ethernet;
– Four USB 2.0 ports;
– One FireWire 800 port;
– One SDXC SD card slot;
– Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
– Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include a 3.6 GHz Core i5 processor, 2TB hard drive, 256GB solid state drive (SSD) and up to 16GB of RAM.

The new 27″ 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:
– 27″ 2560 x 1440 LED-backlit display;
– 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor with 8MB shared L3 cache;
– 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
– ATI Radeon HD 5750 discrete graphics with 1GB GDDR5;
– 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
– Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
– Mini DisplayPort for audio and video input and output (adapters sold separately);
– AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
– iSight video camera;
– Gigabit Ethernet;
– Four USB 2.0 ports;
– One FireWire 800 port;
– One SDXC SD card slot;
– Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
– Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include a 2.93 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor, a 2TB hard drive, 256GB solid state drive (SSD) and up to 16GB of RAM.

Additional accessories include: Magic Trackpad, Apple Battery Charger, wired Apple Mouse, wired Apple Keyboard, wired Apple Keyboard with numeric keypad, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, the AppleCare Protection Plan; and pre-installed copies of iWork, Logic Express 9, Final Cut Express 4 and Aperture 3.

If you happen to snag one and have any comments about it, please let us know.

iMac retail shortages hint at new models on the horizon

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 26th, 2010, 04:14
Category: iMac, News

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A number of Apple retail stores have apparently run out of stock of both current 21.5″ and 27″ iMac models, ahead of an expected refresh to the desktop Mac hardware.

Per AppleInsider, a reader sent word Sunday that the 21.5″ iMac, and quad-core 27″ model are both unavailable for the Reserve and Pick Up option at the company’s retail store in Buffalo, N.Y. In addition, some desktops are unavailable in other locations, including Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in New York City, where the quad-core 27″ is not available for pick-up.

However, for those shopping on Apple’s online store, the hardware is still scheduled to ship within 24 hours.

The changes to the company’s Reserve and Pick Up option come soon after Apple warned its direct and indirect sales channels of near-term shortages of the iMac. The company is drawing down its inventory ahead of the launch of new models, expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

Among those out of stock in some locations are the 3.06GHz 21.5″ iMac, of which Apple has told distributors not to expect any further stock, implying that production of the model has ceased.

Potential configurations of the new hardware include a dual-core Core i5 model and quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 configurations. Sources close to the story had previously indicated that Intel’s low-end Core i3 processor would also find its way into the iMac line.

Earlier this month, it was alleged that the forthcoming iMac update would add USB 3.0, as well as faster FireWire connectivity. The new hardware is not expected to have support for Blu-ray discs.

Signs of another hardware update also came through Apple’s online store Reserve and Pick Up option last week, when customers discovered limited availability of the company’s other line of desktop machines, the Mac Pro. Users found that multiple retail stores showed no availability of either the Quad-Core or 8-core Mac Pro models.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.