Some Users Cite Cracked Screens, “Dead on Arrival” Status for 27″ iMacs

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Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, 06:59
Category: News

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Apple’s newest and snazziest 27″ iMac, complete with a brand new Intel Core i7 processor, has apparently been showing up dead on arrival or with cracked screens for some purchasers.

Per the Apple Discussions Board (1, 2) and Engadget, some users have claimed that the iMac chimes when the power button is pressed, but the screen displays nothing. Various users on Apple’s support forums have expressed frustration that they returned their iMac and are now waiting an estimated two weeks for a replacement machine.

There are also a handful of reports of cracks on the bottom left screen of the new iMac. Various customers stated the box containing their new system arrived in excellent condition, only to remove the packaging and discover the hardware had been damaged. It has led some to speculate that there is a flaw in the current packaging that causes the screen to crack in the bottom left corner.

“There’s no apparent damage to the styrofoam or box so it looks like that’s a weak spot in the screen and how they are being packed in the boxes,” user ‘scopro’ said. “Hopefully Apple will improve their packaging for these larger iMacs as it may take until Dec. 7 for my replacement to arrive.”

The new 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860 processor-equipped 27″ iMacs are available as a US$200 built-to-order option, which means they are not available in Apple retail stores. Apple also offers a 2.66 GHz Core i5 750 iMac with a suggested retail price of US$1,999. Both quad-core machines began shipping earlier this month and include 8MB of L3 cache.

The newly redesigned iMac includes a large 16:9 screen with a 2560×1440 pixel resolution. It offers a capacity of 16GB of RAM and comes standard with a wireless keyboard and the new Magic Mouse.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Hack Finds Ways to Reenable Atom Processor Support for Mac OS X 10.6.2

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Date: Friday, November 20th, 2009, 06:34
Category: News

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If Apple says you can’t do it, then someone out there will find a way.

Per Macworld, hackers have found a way to circumvent the changes in Mac OS X 10.6.2 to allow the latest upgrade to Apple’s Snow Leopard to run on netbooks with Intel Atom processors. When Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.2 earlier this month, Intel Atom support was missing from the release. Though no Apple-sanctioned hardware uses the Atom processor, some low-cost netbook users would use the hack to install Mac OS X on their systems.

The hack applies only to a select number of “Hackintosh” users, as not all who install Mac OS X on unauthorized machines use netbooks with Intel Atom processors. Atom is a low-voltage microprocessor used in inexpensive portable computers.

According to MacWorld, support for Mac OS X 10.6.2 has been brought to the Atom processor thanks to a complicated hack that requires use of the Terminal and replacing the kernel of the operating system.

As developer builds of Mac OS X 10.6.2 were released, the status of Atom support fluctuated, leaving hackers wondering Apple’s purpose.

For those of you willing to tear your Mac OS X kernel apart and spend a considerable amount of time in the Terminal program, go to this Insanelymac forum thread and follow the directions to the letter to reenable Atom support for Mac OS X 10.6.2 on your Atom-based netbook.

And please don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Still unknown is whether Apple actually had any intent in disabling Atom processor support. It’s possible the situation could be much like the cat-and-mouse game with Palm, where Apple released minor updates to iTunes that served only to break compatibility with the Pre smartphone. Or, since Apple likely does not test its software on products it does not ship, the Cupertino, Calif., company may have accidentally broken compatibility with Atom processors.

Intel Atom Processor Support Missing From Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update

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Date: Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, 05:55
Category: News, Processors

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As much as the Hackintosh community may love Mac OS X, Apple doesn’t always love them back.

Per OSXDaily, support for Intel’s Atom processor is confirmed to be missing in the final release of 10.6.2.

Apple’s latest update for Snow Leopard has broken support for Intel’s Atom processor line. Mac OS X 10.6.2 was released Monday afternoon, and was Apple’s second major update for Snow Leopard.

OSXDaily reported that various netbook and “hackintosh” forums are “blowing up with problems of 10.6.2 instant rebooting their Atom-based notebooks.” Systems using the Atom processor will go into a startup-loop if the 10.6.2 update is installed.

Support for Atom fluctuated over the course of 10.6.2 development, and Apple was mum about the subject.

It is recommended that anyone using OS X on Atom-based systems should not install the update. Many believe that a community-generated fix will be developed soon. Prominent hackintosh blogger StellaRola commented, “Just an FYI, this is OSx86 after all and none of the scenes hackers really let down on support. The latest kernel may not be “officially” supported but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a modded kernel around the corner.”

Intel’s Atom processor is a low-cost, low-power chip intended for notebooks, netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs. Although current Apple products do not sport the Atom chips, a dedicated community has formed around the practice of installing Snow Leopard on Atom netbooks.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5.4 Update

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Date: Wednesday, October 28th, 2009, 07:09
Category: Software

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Early Thursday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5.4 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.7 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:
– Fixed several security issues.
– Fixed several stability issues.
– Added the ability to re-submit crash reports (bug 378528).
– After using Clear Recent History some SSL sites would not load all images and styles without pressing reload (see bug 480619).

Firefox 3.5.4 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

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

Intel Working on Apple’s “Light Peak” Brainchild to Eventually Replace Multiple Connection Cables

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Date: Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 04:10
Category: Hardware, News

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Ok, this is interesting. A new interconnect technology called Light Peak is being developed by Apple as a potential replacement for FireWire, USB and traditional monitor cables. Engadget reports that Apple brought the technology to Intel and asked them to create it.

Per Engadget, Apple had reached out to Intel as early as 2007 with plans for an interoperable standard which could handle massive amounts of data and “replace the multitudinous connector types with a single connector (FireWire, USB, Display interface).”

According to documents reviewed by Engadget, Light Peak would enable users to connect a variety of devices into a single Light Peak port. Longer-term, Light Peak has the potential to replace almost all the ports that are on your current computer, including networking, display driving, and general connectivity.

The technology is centered around fiber optics capable of transferring data at 10Gbps . At this speed, you could transfer a full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds. According to Intel, Light Peak can scale to 100Gbps over the next decade and has a number of other benefits.

Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible. Light Peak also has the ability to run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable, enabling the technology to connect devices such as peripherals, workstations, displays, disk drives, docking stations, and more. The technology is faster than the recently ratified SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) which can transfer data at 4.8Gbps and could wind up in Apple systems as soon as Fall 2010 in a line of Macs destined for back-to-school shoppers. Following the initial launch, a low-power version of Light Peak is planned for 2011, which could find its way into tablets and mobile phones.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a gander at the video from the lab…



Apple Releases Aperture 2.1.4 Update

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Date: Friday, August 28th, 2009, 03:34
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released Aperture 2.1.4, the latest version of the company’s professional image editing application. The new version, which can be downloaded here or via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, boasts the following fixes and changes:
– Addresses general compatibility, improves overall stability and fixes a number of issues involving import, web publishing, and the creation and ordering of books.

Aperture 2.1.4 retails for US$199.00 requires the following specifications to install and run:
– 1.25 GHz G4, G5 or Intel-based processor
– 1.5 GB of RAM
– Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later.

Apple May Overhaul Entry-Level Polycarbonate MacBook Models

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 03:43
Category: MacBook, Rumor

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Until recently rumored to be headed for the scrap pile, Apple’s entry-level polycarbonate MacBook notebooks may be on the verge of a refresh according to AppleInsider.

Per sources close to the story, Apple is said to be running the 13″ notebooks through an industrial design overhaul that will see them reemerge in the coming months with a slimmer, lighter enclosure and restructured internal architecture to boot.

It’ll be the first time in more than three years that the plastic Mac notebooks will receive a visual tune-up. Introduced in May of 2006, the white and black systems replaced the PowerPC-based iBook and 12-inch PowerBook as part of Apple’s transition to Intel processors and quickly became the best selling Mac of all time, according to statistics from NPD Group.

The MacBook notebooks were also among the first Macs to adopt Apple’s MagSafe power connector while pioneering several other features that would become staples of future Mac notebook designs, such as shrunken soft-touch keyboards, glossy displays, and a non-mechanical magnetic latches (see: Magnet madness to hit Intel iBook line – Feb 2006).

Earlier this spring, Apple restructured its notebook offerings by repositioning its aluminum unibody MacBooks as premium offerings under the MacBook Pro moniker, adding long-requested features such as FireWire and higher-quality displays. This left the company with just a single MacBook offering, a white polycarbonate model that retails for US$999 but sticks out like a sore thumb when positioned alongside its peers.

Interestingly, sales of the sub-US$1000 system have remained surprisingly brisk amid the economic crunch, leaving management little choice but to allocate R&D expenses in its favor. As of press time, Apple’s online store indicates that the white MacBook is outselling all other Macs with the exception of the iMac, while similar rankings from high-volume resellers like MacMall also consistently place it in the top 10 best selling Apple-related products overall, ahead of all desktop-based Macs.

While it’s unclear how many models or configurations Apple will introduce as part the redesign, Ben Reitzes — an analyst with Barclays Capital who’s been following the Mac maker for years — sees the company offering several, at various price points.

“We [...] believe the MacBook line needs to be revamped (there is only one MacBook available now, an old white model) and that we could see a lower priced line soon, positioned below the new MacBook Pro models,” he said.

Though details are few and far between, Apple is expected to achieve these markdowns through largely existing tactics, such as using lower-end components and previous-generation Core 2 Duo chips and architectures from Intel. Battery life should receive a boost from cutting-edge technology that recently found its way into the company’s other notebook offerings, while high-end legacy features like FireWire connectivity are likely to be sacrificed in the tradeoff.

Apple’s new line of low-end MacBooks could be viewed as the last piece to the puzzle in Apple’s top-to-bottom line of product offerings, transitioning the company from a premium PC and phone manufacturer to one that offers truly competitive prices on products in both categories.

Apple Releases Security Update 2009 – 003

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Date: Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 04:34
Category: security, Software

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Along with yesterday’s release of the long-awaited Mac OS X 10.5.8 update, Apple also released four security updates for users of OS X 10.4.

According to Macworld, the updates for the PowerPC version of Tiger, the Intel version of Tiger, the PowerPC version of Tiger Server, and the Universal version of Tiger Server address security issues that could have cause applications to quit unexpectedly or arbitrarily execute code. Those issues include decompressing maliciously crafted data, viewing a maliciously crafted image with an embedded ColorSync profile, viewing a maliciously crafted OpenEXR, or processing a maliciously crafted PNG image. The update also addressed a format string issue in Login Window that could lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.

The updates can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.4.11 to install and run.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5.2 Update

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Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 04:00
Category: Software

elfirefox

Early Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5.2 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.5 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:
* Several security issues.
* Images with ICC profiles now render properly on all monitors.

Firefox 3.5.2 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

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

Early Predictions Arrive for Apple Q3 Earnings

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Date: Monday, July 20th, 2009, 04:30
Category: News

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Apple’s Q3 numbers come out tomorrow and per CNET, while results have been both eventful and mixed, analysts are expecting more positive than negative numbers when it’s said and done.

During the quarter, which ended June 30, the company released the third-generation iPhone, the iPhone 3GS, which can be regarded as a success, though its Mac and iPod divisions may not see identical results.

Throughout the quarter, Apple did pay a nod to consumers’ tight budgets, lowering prices on its Mac notebook lineup although keeping other prices about the same.

Analysts are expecting revenues for the quarter between US$7.88 billion and US$8.44 billion, and earnings per share between US$1.02 and US$1.31. Apple itself, which always gives guidance on the low side, is anticipating revenue between US7.7 billion and US$7.9 billion and earnings per share between 95 cents and a dollar.

Over the quarter, Apple’s stock jumped 21.4%, rising to US$147.52, since its last earnings report in late April. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who stood in for CEO Steve Jobs, has received high marks for keeping the company running smoothly in its leader’s absence. Jobs has been back at work, at least part-time, since the end of June.

Apple announced that the company had sold 1 million iPhones worldwide in the first weekend the 3GS was on the market, and AT&T said the first day the phone was available marked the best sales day in the carrier’s history. Analytical firm Piper Jaffray jumped in on this, specifically stating that it anticipates total iPhones sold for the quarter will be 5 million.

Mac revenue will show if price cuts are helping. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple sold 2.2 million Macs during the quarter, and says it is getting a boost from the price cuts it applied when it upgraded its entire aluminum MacBook line to MacBook Pros. Per recent counts from IDC, which only tracks Apple’s sales in the U.S., showed that Mac shipments dipped more than 12% during this quarter while the entire PC industry was down 3.1% worldwide.

For those wanting a cool new item, the iPods’ annual tuneup is expected in September, when it has taken place the past few years. Where the iPod business has also been slowing down a bit, Piper Jaffray predicts sales to be down 7% from a year ago, though Apple has been increasingly focused on its iPod Touch, which has access to the popular App Store and is expected to get a reboot in September similar to the iPhone 3GS.

Apple also continues to put away cash during the quarter. As Brian Marshall of Broadpoint AmTech pointed out, Apple added US$800 million in cash during the last quarter, bringing its total to US$28.9 billion. Only Cisco’s US$29 billion in cash is better among technology companies.

Stay tuned for full Q3 coverage tomorrow and let us know what’s on your mind via the comments!