Apple Releases Aperture 2.1.4 Update

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

aperture

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!

Intel May Release Updated Nehalem Processors Next Month

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 05:45
Category: News, Processors

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Processor giant Intel looks ready to deliver a new line of server, notebook and desktop processors based on its new Nehalem microarchitecture next month. According to DigiTimes, the new chips will cut down on bottlenecks that plague its current chips as well as be able to execute more tasks while drawing less power.

An industry source with knowledge of Intel’s plans said the company will deliver new Xeon server processors belonging to the 5500 and 3500 chip families starting early August. Chip specifics weren’t immediately available. The Mac Pro lineup introduced by Apple in March runs on Xeon 5500 ad 3500 chips.

Additional reports have stated that Intel will bring its latest chip microarchitecture to high-end mainstream desktops and laptops starting in September. The company will launch quad-core desktop chips code-named Lynnfield in early September, followed by quad-core laptop chips code-named Clarksfield later in the month, according to the report, which cited industry sources.

Intel officials declined comment, saying the company doesn’t talk about rumors. “But I can say that Lynnfield and Clarksfield are on track for second-half 2009 production,” an Intel spokesman said in an e-mail.

The Lynnfield and Clarksfield chips will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process, according to Intel’s road map, and should be shipped before its shift to the more efficient 32-nm manufacturing process later this year.

The company is also slated to launch chips for new ultrathin laptops (the Celeron SU2300 and Celeron 743 processors) in September per the Digitimes report.

The Nehalem architecture integrates a memory controller into a CPU and provides a faster pipe for the processor to communicate with system components like a graphics card and other chips. It also allows execution of two software threads simultaneously, so a system with four processor cores could run eight threads simultaneously for quicker application performance. The chips will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process.

While the new Nehalem chips may be limited to desktops and laptops on the higher price band, affordably priced systems could see new chips when Intel switches to the 32-nm process. The 32-nm chips will integrate a graphics processor and CPU in one chip, which could boost graphics performance while drawing less power than existing processors.

Hulu Desktop 0.9.6 Released for Mac OS X

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Date: Monday, July 6th, 2009, 03:41
Category: Mac, Software

hulu

Over the weekend, Hulu released Hulu Desktop 0.9.6, a lean application for Mac OS X allowing users to navigate Hulu’s library via the Apple remote control. For users without remotes, the application is keyboard and mouse-enabled.

The application, a 2.2 megabyte download, is currently available as a public beta and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.4 or later with a 2.0 GHz or faster Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM, 2 Mbps Internet connection and Adobe Flash Player 9.0.124 or later to install and run.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5

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Date: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009, 10:01
Category: Mac, Software

elfirefox

Early Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.2 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:
- Support for HTML5 video and audio content embedded directly on a page.
- A private browsing mode.
- Location-aware browsing, which allows you to share your location with Web sites if you so choose.
- Faster JavaScript performance via the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine (2x as fast as Firefox 3 and 10x faster than Firefox 2)
- Support for the latest version of the Gecko rendering platform, which brings faster rendering of onscreen content.

The 3.5 update was supposed to be version 3.1, though according to Macworld, Mozilla decided to change the version numbering, believing that it better reflected the breadth of new features and functionality that the update brought.

Firefox 3.5 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.

Apple Releases MacBook Air Update SMC 1.2

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Date: Tuesday, June 30th, 2009, 04:56
Category: Mac, MacBook Air, Software

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Apple released its MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.2 patch yesterday, a 623 kilobyte download that offers the following fixes and changes per the web site:

“This SMC firmware update adds compatibility for the latest service replacement batteries…. After this update has successfully completed, your SMC Version will be: 1.23f20 [for original MacBook Air models, or] 1.34f8 [for more recent models].”

SMC Firmware Updates generally control the System Management Controller on Intel-based Macs. The SMC controls power and thermal management features, including the battery and fans. In this case, new replacement batteries from Apple are apparently different enough that they require the use of this updated version of the SMC firmware.

The update can be downloaded directly or snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple To Buy Additional 2.2 Million Shares of Imagination Technologies

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Date: Friday, June 26th, 2009, 04:45
Category: Hardware, News

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Apple may be expanding in component companies once again, as Macworld UK is reporting that Apple has upped its stake in British outfit Imagination Technologies, the London-based company that developed the technology used in the 3G iPhone’s graphics chips

Imagination Technologies has stated that Apple is to acquire 2.2 million of its shares at £1.4275 (about US$2.351 per share.

Apple already owned shares in Imagination’s technology. On 18 December 2008, Imagination revealed in a filing with the London Stock Exchange that Apple acquired 8,200,000 shares, equal to a 3.6% stake in the company.

London-based Imagination Technologies develops intellectual property found in systems-on-chip (SOCs), including its Meta processor cores and PowerVR graphics engines.

A graphics chip based on PowerVR provides the graphics for Apple’s 3G iPhone and other companies, including Samsung Electronics and Intel, have licensed Imagination’s graphics technology.