Apple ends Personal Shopping service for retail store locations

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010, 04:29
Category: News, retail

applelogo_silver

Apple has brought an end to its Personal Shopping program in its retail stores, removing all mention of the service online and within its Apple Store iOS app.

Per ifoAppleStore, the elimination of Personal Shopping “became effective yesterday and stems from the belief that every customer should receive the same attention and amount of service.”

Originally set up in 2007 as a way for individuals to reserve an appointment with an Apple retail store employee, the company once described the program as “a whole new way to shop at the Apple Store.”

As a free service “where you and a dedicated Mac Specialist explore and test-drive products to find out which ones are best for you,” the program was intended to foster an environment of personal attention within the company’s retail outlets.

“We know the store can be busy, so when you’re ready to talk, Personal Shopping is a way for us to give you our undivided attention.”

However, as stores got busier, the premise of Personal Shopping became more difficult to deliver. At the launch of iPhone 3G in 2008, Apple suspended the program for iPhone-related visits.

“It is critical that all stores follow the same process to ensure every customer has an equal and fair opportunity to purchase a phone,” the company told its store managers.

Since I went out to the Apple Store yesterday during the middle of a weekday and it was basically overrun, there might be something to be said for this.

As always, let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple releases iOS 4.2 golden master build to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010, 04:28
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Monday, Apple released its golden master build of iOS 4.2 for its entire line of iOS-based devices including the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod touch.

Per AppleInsider, the new OS will sport features such as as AirPlay wireless streaming of audio, video and photos to the new Apple TV or other AirPlay-compliant devices and its AirPrint wireless printing architecture, designed to enable users to create hard copies of web pages, emails and photos managed through a new Print Center app.

The new update will also finally bring multitasking features and iOS Folders to the iPad, along with a variety of other features currently only available on the iPhone and iPod touch, such as support for multiple email aliases, a unified inbox, and messages organized by threads in Mail, and the ability to open attachments in third party apps.

New multitasking features will also incorporate the software orientation lock and music playback controls available on the iPhone running iOS 4, which are accessed via swiping to the left from the list of currently running apps. The iPad also presents a brightness control in this section (as depicted below).

The iPad will also lose its hardware toggle assigned to locking the screen orientation; the button will instead work to mute audio, just like the iPhone. This move has generated some controversy because Apple not only refuses to offer customers a choice of how their hardware buttons work, but has also duplicated mute functionality, as the audio down button already works as to rapidly mute audio playback.

The update will also bring Game Center to the iPad, allowing players to invite friends or find new opponents online to play against, as well as track their own achievements and high scores.

Apple has also outlined enhanced enterprise support features in iOS 4.2, including new device management capabilities, the ability to lock down email account settings, and stronger security enhancements.

iOS 4.2 will also include support for more than 30 new languages in keyboards and dictionaries, including Arabic, Greek and Hebrew.

It also strengthens accessibility features including support for navigating VoiceOver using a wireless keyboard and a wide range of refreshable braille output displays in more than 25 languages. On the iPad, larger text options up to 56 point fonts can also be specified for use in Contacts, Mail, Messages and Notes.

Other major changes include support for Google’s revised YouTube voting, a direct link to launching a FaceTime video call from within the SMS messages interface, and new CoreMIDI music APIs for music-related apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Multitasking/running apps may help deplete batteries on iOS-based devices

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 29th, 2010, 04:26
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News

When Apple released the iOS 4 update, people noted significantly lower battery life on a number of iOS devices. In troubleshooting the problem, it became apparent that Wi-Fi usage was in large responsible for draining the battery, and initially the recommendations were to disable Wi-Fi features.

Per CNET, users may find the device losing battery power if you keep multiple applications open when you put the device to sleep.

MacFixIt reader R.T. Taylor wrote in with a little clarification on the issue:
“Each programmer is responsible for turning on or off multitasking. And evidently they are not paying attention to that tiny detail. That is how you can have a multitasking job running in the background for a flashlight app.

To see what is running in the background, press the home key twice. You will see up to four background apps in the bottom of the display, scroll right to see what else is running. Mine had about 50 apps running.”

Having multiple applications running at the same time will obviously drain the battery to a greater extent when the device is in use, but when the device is in sleep mode, the applications should be suspended; however, people have found that quitting them all before putting the device to sleep seems to solve the low-battery-life problem.

It is possible that even though the applications are suspended, their being active when the device is put to sleep may prevent some hardware components such as the Wi-Fi adapter from being put to sleep at the same time. This may result in items like the Wi-Fi adapter staying active during sleep, and may also be a reason why when people specifically turn off Wi-Fi before sleep, that the battery level no longer drains rapidly.

Most people run applications and then press the home button to quit them and run alternative applications, but this does not fully quit the application. Instead, if you want to fully quit an application, press and hold it until the icon jiggles, and then press the X and the full application process will shut down.

As always, the peanut gallery is open for business and let us know what’s on your mind.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.5 build 10H562 to developer community for testing

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 22nd, 2010, 06:16
Category: News, Software

snowleopard

Late Thursday, Apple released a new beta for its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6.5 update. The new build, labeled “10H562″ was released to developers late Thursday as a 616MB delta update. According to the release notes, there are no known issues. With new builds coming steadily for several months now, the update is expected to arrive in advance of the November release of iOS 4.2.

Per AppleInsider, the seed note accompanying the build specifies Printing as a “Focus Area.” 10.6.5 will work with iOS devices running iOS 4.2 to enable the new AirPrint wireless printing functionality. 10.6.4, the last update to Mac OS X 10.6, came in June with fixes to Adobe Creative Suite 3 issues and a resolution for unresponsive keyboards and trackpads.

Stay tuned for additional details as we get it and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new build for testing, let us know.

Apple posts over $20 billion in sales, $4.31 billion profit for fourth quarter

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 06:56
Category: Finance, News

applelogo_silver

Apple on Monday reported a “great fiscal quarter,” citing a quarterly profit of US$4.31 billion, compared to US$2.53 billion for the same period last year. Over the quarter, Apple recored US$20.34 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 67 percent from the year-ago quarter’s sales figure of US$12.21 billion.

Apple’s earnings of US$4.64 per diluted share handily beat estimates by Wall Street analysts who were expecting the company to report earnings of US$4.06 a share on $18.86 billion in revenue for September quarter.

“We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of the calendar year,” said CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings. Apple has scheduled a press event for this Wednesday where the company is expected to focus on the Mac.

Per Macworld, Apple executive Peter Oppenheimer credited record iPhone sales, enthusiasm for the iPad, and a new quarterly sales record for Mac sales as the drivers behind Apple’s strong quarterly performance. In particular, Apple sold 4.19 million iPads during the first full quarter of sales for the tablet; all told, the company sold 7.5 million iPads during its 2010 fiscal year.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple recorded US$2.8 billion in sales of iPads and related accessories, with the iPad accounting for US$2.7 billion of that figure. That translates to an average selling price of around US$645 for the tablet, Oppenheimer said.

iPad sales may disappoint some analysts, who were expecting Apple to sell close to 5 million tablets. One of the issues may be with inventory—Apple says it has three-to-four weeks worth of channel inventory, which is below its target range of four-to-six weeks. The company plans to expand its iPad distribution efforts, adding retailers like Verizon, Walmart, Target, and AT&T into the mix as well as launching in additional countries.

As for the iPhone, Apple managed to sell 14.1 million units during the quarter. This marks a 91% increase over the 7.4 million phones sold during the year-ago quarter and a new quarterly record for smartphone sales for the company.

For the 2010 fiscal year, Apple sold 40 million phones, a 93 percent jump over 2009. During September, the company says it passed the 125 million mark for cumulative iOS sales of its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch offerings.

Apple also saw a record quarter for its Mac business. The company sold 3.89 million computers, up 27% from its year-ago sales. Fourth-quarter Mac sales topped the previous high-water mark of 3.47 million mark set during the June quarter. Year-over-year sales growth was more than double the growth rate projected for the overall PC market by research firm IDC, according to Oppenheimer.

Notebooks continue to drive Mac sales, with portable products, accounting for 71% of the Macs sold during the September quarter. However, sales of desktops rose nearly 28% to a little more than 1 million units, on the strength of the company’s iMac and Mac Pro updates over the summer.

Despite the largely positive news, the iPod segment continues to shrink, with Apple selling 9.05 million music players during the quarter (an 11% drop from last year’s figures). Apple updated its iPod line in September, though the company usually sees the fruits of those efforts during the holiday quarter.

While iPod sales growth stalled throughout 2010, Apple opted to focus on the positive Monday. It noted that the iPod’s share of the MP3 player market in the U.S. continues to top 70% according to research firm NPD’s figures. And Apple says its music player gained market share internationally from the year-ago quarter. The company also reported that its iTune Store brought in more than US$1 billion in revenue for the September quarter.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a minute during the conference call to comment on the company’s “hobby” product, the Apple TV, announcing that it had moved more than 250,000 units since the device went on sale. That’s the first time the company has ever revealed sales information for the device, which has gone through a number of iterations since its original introduction in 2007. Jobs confirmed that Apple had moved to an all-streaming model for content for the device, which will allow streaming of media from iOS devices in November when Apple ships iOS 4.2.

Apple’s retail segment had what Oppenheimer called a “record-breaking quarter,” with revenue rising 75% to US$3.57 billion. Apple sold 874,000 Macs through its retail arm, an increase of 30% from the year-ago quarter. The company sales that half of the Macs sold through its brick-and-mortar outlets continue to be to customers who are new to the platform.

Apple ended the fourth quarter with 317 stores, 84 of which were outside the U.S. The company opened 24 new stores during the quarter, with 16 of those opening outside of U.S. borders. In fact, with new store openings in Spain, Apple now has retail outlets in 11 countries.

The company also stated that it plans to open 40 to 50 stores during the coming fiscal year, with half of those slated for outside the U.S. The company also plans to start renovating several of its U.S. stores during 2011.

Monday’s earnings report closes the book on Apple’s 2010 fiscal year, which saw the company record US$65.2 billion in sales, a 52% increase from the US$42.9 billion in revenue recorded in 2009. Apple turned a US$14 billion profit in 2010, an increase of 72% from the previous year.

“The September quarter was the culmination of a monumental year for Apple,” Oppenheimer said.

Apple launches updated MobileMe calendar, removes membership requirements

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:14
Category: News, Software

Apple announced Thursday that its new web-based calendar application for MobileMe subscribers has officially exited the beta stages and is now available to all members.

Users looking to become new calendar members simply need to sign in to me.com/calendar, click “Upgrade now” in the lower left corner of the Calendar web application, and follow the instructions. Current members who’ve been using the Calendar since it was a beta product don’t need to do anything.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has stated the new MobileMe Calendar was designed to integrate more fluently with the built-in calendar app on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches by always keeping it in sync with a Mac or PC. New events or changes are automatically pushed to iOS 4 devices so the calendar stays up to date. Users who schedule a meeting on their iOS devices will also see that meeting pushed everywhere too.

The new version also makes it easier for users to share calendars with one or more MobileMe members to keep everyone on the same page. For example, users can create a shared calendar called “Family” for weekend activities, then allow family members to edit events, and then receive email notifications informing them of those changes.


Another new features lets users share a read-only public calendar, which Apple says is ideal for publishing an events calendar such as a child’s sports team schedule. Once set up, a link to view the calendar can be sent to other team members for viewing on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.


Users can also invite guests to an event by adding their email address to the event (they don’t have to be a MobileMe member) and guests will get an invitation email they can respond to directly by clicking a link. The event then automatically updates, making it easy to track RSVPs right in the calendar.

These features tie into new web application at me.com with redesigned day, week, and month views, as well as a new list view to make scanning events easier.

Apple says the new web application works best with the Safari 5, Firefox 3.6, and Internet Explorer 8 web browsers. Compatibility with iPhone or iPod touch requires iOS 4.1, while iPad users must be running either version 3.2 or 4.2 (due this November). Mac users must have Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later installed and PC users will need MobileMe Control Panel version 1.6.3 and Outlook 2007 or 2010.

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

Apple releases third iOS 4.2 beta, adds SMS ringtones, changes AirPlay functionality

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 13th, 2010, 04:47
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Late Tuesday Apple released the third beta of iOS 4.2 to developers alongside the second beta of iTunes 10.1, making subtle changes to the distributions of the former for both the iPhone and the iPad.

Per fscklog, the iOS 4.2 build releases seem to be following a two week cycle, as the first iOS 4.2 beta was released four weeks ago, with the second beta arriving two weeks after.

People familiar with the latest iOS beta said it is known as build 8C5115c.

The beta contains several significant changes, including an updated version of the modem firmware. Noticeably missing from the beta were AirPlay features from previous builds. The AirPlay button has disappeared from the Photos, Videos, and YouTube apps on the distribution for the iPad.

Developers have noticed a bug with the AirPrint functionality. When printing from an iPhone, the image sometimes prints as just the size of the iPhone’s screen, not the original image size.

The beta also packs a number of smaller additions. According to fscklog, the new beta adds “a larger number” of tones for receiving text messages on the iPhone 4. The 17 new SMS ringtones include tones such as “Calypso,” “Choo Choo,” “Sherwood Forest,” and “Tiptoes.”

In a minor change to the iPad, the Connect to iTunes recovery screen now uses the controversial new iTunes 10 icon.

The iTunes 10.1 beta released alongside the iOS 4.2 beta continues to support printing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it.

Happy Columbus Day from the PowerPage!!!

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 11th, 2010, 11:45
Category: Announcement

It’s Columbus Day, a relatively nifty holiday once you put the politics aside and with that in mind, the staff of O’Grady’s PowerPage will be taking the day off to get some decent food, grab a nap and dream of nifty iOS-based devices on the horizon.

We encourage you to do the same.



Have a safe and happy Columbus Day and we’ll be back tomorrow with the mobile Apple technology news you’re hankering for.

Rumor: Current MacBook Air supplies being depleted, next-gen model said to be forthcoming

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 7th, 2010, 04:19
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

mba2

With current supplies of Apple’s MacBook Air notebook drying up through the company’s indirect sales channels, rumors are spreading that a next generation model is on the horizon.

Per AppleInsider, all but one of the Apple Authorized Resellers that the web site tracks tracks as part of its Mac Price Guide have run out of low-end 1.83GHz MacBook Air, including Amazon.com, MacConnection, MacMall and J&R. In addition, at least two of those resellers are also reflecting no stock of the high-end 2.13GHz configuration.

This marks the first time the web site has witnessed this abnormal trend in regards to the Air since it began tracking availability of Apple’s Mac line on a daily basis over two years ago. For weeks now, the websites of certain resellers have indicated that inventory of the low-end MacBook Air was on the verge of depletion, urging shoppers to “order soon,” as only a handful of units remained in stock.

Sources familiar with the buy side of operations for big box retailers like Best Buy and Amazon.com say that Apple has indicted to them that it will not replenish supply of the notebooks until October 12th through October 16th at the earliest. Such expansive delays on low volume products like the MacBook Air are common only when Mac maker is preparing to overhaul the product line, these people say.

Mid-October hardware updates have become something of an annual tradition for Apple, who last year unveiled a redesigned line of iMacs and unibody MacBook on October 20th, 2009. Though last year’s products were introduced without a formal event, in 2008 the company held a special gathering for the media on October 14th to introduce new MacBooks. Back in 2005, the company similarly held two events in mid-October to introduce a new iPod, iMac, and a lineup of PowerBook notebooks.

All these signs seem to support persistent rumors out of the Far East that Apple is gearing up to overhaul the MacBook Air line with a newly designed 11.6″ display this fall, creating a more aggressively priced notebook for students and the business traveler. It’s reported that Apple plans to ship around a half-million units before the end of the 2010 calendar year. The current MacBook Air sports a 13.3″ display.

Rumors of a MacBook Air with an 11.6″ display first surfaced in July. The rumored hardware was anticipated to be even slimmer and lighter, and will be powered by an Intel Core i-series ultra-low voltage processor.

There’s also been a mixture of chatter regarding a much cheaper, thinner 11.6-inch Apple notebook that would weigh as little as 2.7 pounds due to the possibility of new carbon fiber unibody construction, though this and defined technical specifications have yet to be confirmed on any level.

The introduction of a new MacBook Air would likely come alongside an update to Apple’s iLife suite, a product that has also become long in the tooth. The last update, iLife ’09, was launched in January of 2009.

Recent rumors have suggested that a presumed iLife ’11 refresh will be written entirely in 64-bit code, will include a rewritten iWeb, and will drop the iDVD application. It has also been suggested that the software will be available for iOS-based devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple strips AirPrint support for second-gen iPod touch devices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 4th, 2010, 10:42
Category: iPod Touch, News, Software

Per 9 to 5 Mac, Apple has revised its original AirPrint announcement, removing promised support for the second-generation iPod touch device. Still in development, AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks that can print text, photos, and graphics wirelessly over Wi-Fi networks without the need for additional drivers or software.

Apple’s original documents stated that printing would only be supported on iOS devices that support multitasking, yet listed the second-generation iPod touch as compatible. The second-generation iPod touch has since been removed from the compatible device list.

This marks the second incident in the last few months where Apple has revised its list of supported devices before a software update’s official launch, as it removed Game Center support for the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G while it was still in beta testing, only to once again include support for the second-gen touch shortly before the feature’s debut in iOS 4.1.