Apple premieres Mac mini without optical drive

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 21st, 2011, 03:59
Category: Mac mini, News

It’s not the end times, but it is a change.

For the first time ever, Apple’s new Mac mini models, released on Wednesday, lack an optical drive for CDs or DVDs, as the Mac maker continues to move away from physical formats like discs.

Per AppleInsider, Apple boasted in unveiling the new Mac mini hardware that the systems were “designed without an opitcal disc drive.” The company noted that the Mac mini can access optical drives on other PCs and Macs, and also works with the MacBook Air external SuperDrive accessory.

While the new Mac minis lack optical drives, they did gain Apple’s new high-speed Thunderbolt port, allowing it to connect to high-performance storage devices, RAID arrays, and the new 27-inch LED Thunderbolt display.

Apple began to move away from optical drives in its Mac lineup in 2008, when the first MacBook Air was released without any built-in disc reader. But the Air remained a relatively niche product in Apple’s lineup until 2010, when the product was redesigned to be thinner and lighter, and was expanded to screen sizes of both 11.6 inches and 13.3 inches, all at a lower price.

For those who bought last year’s MacBook Air, the notebook came with a USB reinstall drive for its built-in Snow Leopard operating system. Its inclusion eliminated the need for any optical media to restore the system.

Apple is moving away from legacy formats in favor of digital downloads, and is pushing its own Mac App Store as the default way to obtain software. Apple’s new operating system upgrade, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, launched on Wednesday exclusively on the Mac App Store.

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

Adobe releases Photoshop Elements 9 via Mac App Store

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, 04:15
Category: News, Software

Amid all the hubbub about the arrival of Mac OS X Lion, Adobe has released a version of Photoshop Elements 9 for the Mac App Store.

Per MacCentral, the offering is Adobe’s first foray onto the Mac App Store, which many of Apple’s competitors have chosen to avoid.

The US$79.99 consumer-focused photo editor lacks the Adobe Elements Organizer that the version on Adobe’s website has, but otherwise has the same features. The 1.02GB download requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 and is available only in English.

According to Adobe, Photoshop Elements 9 is meant to “complement iPhoto” by offering more advanced photo editing tools, such as Group Shot, Panorama and Style Match Photomerge.

The software giant recently brought some of its Photoshop tools to iOS with a series of iPad apps. In addition to the Photoshop Express tool, Adobe offers Eazel, Color Lava and Nav apps for integrating with Adobe CS5.5.

For its part, Apple opened the Mac App Store for business in January with the release of Mac OS X 10.6.6. The company has moved aggressively to make the digital storefront the primary source for Mac software, as evidenced by Wednesday’s Mac App Store-exclusive launch of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

If you’ve snagged the new version of Photoshop Elements and have any feedback about it, let us know.

Apple confirms Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Migration Assistant update for Mac OS X 10.6 systems

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, 04:53
Category: News, Software

Things to do today: Upgrade your operating system to Mac OS X 10.7.

Per AppleInsider, Apple confirmed that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will launch on the Mac App Store on Wednesday.

The company also released Migration Assistant Update, allowing users to prepare their Mac for the update to Lion through the Mac App Store. The update is a 312kb download available via Software Update or direct from Apple.

“This update addresses an issue with the Migration Assistant application in Mac OS X Snow Leopard that prevents transfer of your personal data, settings, and compatible applications from a Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard to a new Mac running Mac OS X Lion,” the official description reads.

Apple has been holding off on the introduction of new Mac hardware until it finally releases Lion. The company had not previously not offered a specific launch date for the operating system, only promising that it will become available on the Mac App Store for US$29.99 at some point in July.

Signs of an impending launch continued appear as the week went on, with Lion said to have arrived at Apple retail stores on hard disks this week for installation on demo machines, and photos of promotional materials at third-party stores.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any feedback about the upgrade experience, please let us know.

Apple posts $7.31 billion profit for third quarter

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 13:44
Category: Finance, News

applelogo_silver

A combination of record iPhone and iPad sales combined with continued growth of its Mac business pushed Apple to reported sales of US$28.57 billion and net profit of US$7.31 billion for the three-month period ended June 25, 2011.

Per Macworld, the sales and profit figures—both quarterly records—increased last year’s third-quarter performance by 82 percent and 125 percent, respectively. Apple reported earnings of US$7.79 per share, which beat analyst estimates of $5.85. Analysts had also been looking for Apple to reach US$24.92 billion in sales for the quarter—a figure the company topped by nearly US$4 billion.

“We are extremely pleased with the momentum of our business,” chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts during a conference call to discuss the earnings report on Tuesday. Oppenheimer noted that during its 2011 fiscal year, Apple has recorded US$35 billion in year-over-year revenue growth and US$9.5 billion in year-over-year earnings growth—increases of 78 percent and 99 percent, respectively.

Apple says it sold 20.34 million iPhones during the just-completed quarter, a 142 percent increase from the phones it sold during the same period last year. That’s also the most phones Apple has ever sold during a quarter, topping the 18.65 million mark set just three months ago.

The iPhone racked up strong sales despite Apple skipping its customary summer introduction of a new model, after releasing the iPhone 4 in the summer of 2010 and the iPhone 3GS the summer before that. The last new iPhone released by Apple was a CDMA version of the smartphone compatible with Verizon’s wireless network; that model came out in February. The long-awaited white version of the iPhone also shipped in April.

Apple sold 9.25 million iPads during the third quarter, the first full quarter of sales for the iPad 2, which arrived in March. Apple says its iPad sales topped last year’s figures by 183 percent. It also set a new record for quarterly iPad sales, besting the previous mark of 7.3 million during the 2010 holiday shopping season.

Mac sales rose 14 percent from last year, with Apple selling 3.95 million computers. That’s a record for the third quarter, Oppenheimer said. Growth of Mac sales also outpaced market-research firm IDC’s forecasted PC market growth by more than four times, Apple pointed out.

The quarter saw Apple introduce new iMacs with quad-core processors, improved graphics, and Thunderbolt connectivity. All told, Apple sold 1.15 million desktops, accounting for about 30 percent of the Macs sold during the quater. The company sold 2.79 million portable Macs during the quarter, with the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air driving those sales, according to Oppenheimer.

iPod sales continued to decline from the heights of previous years. Apple says it sold 7.54 million iPods, a 20 percent drop from last year, though Oppenheimer said that was above the company’s expectations. The iPod touch accounts for about half of all iPods sold, according to Apple’s figures.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.0

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 05:07
Category: News, Software

virtualbox.png

VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.0. The new version, a 82.8 megabyte download, sports the following list of fixes and changes:

- Support for cloning of VMs (bug #5853, see the manual for more information): full clones can be created through the GUI and VBoxManage, linked clones only through VBoxManage.

- GUI: enhanced wizard for creating new virtual disks.

- GUI: new wizard for copying virtual disks.

- GUI: keep the aspect ratio in scale mode (Windows and OSX hosts only; bug #7822).

- VMM: raised the memory limit for 64-bit hosts to 1TB.

- Experimental support for PCI passthrough for Linux hosts, see the manual for more information.

- Windows guests: Experimental WDDM graphics driver, supporting Windows Aero (bug #4607) and providing
- Direct3D support using a cleaner approach (no need to install the guest drivers in Safe Mode anymore).

- Guest Additions: status of modules and features can now be queried separately by the frontends.

- Networking: new network attachment mode “Generic Driver”, which offers an open plugin architecture for arbitrary and separately distributable virtual network implementations.

- Host-only Networking: fixed host crash in kernels prior to 2.6.29.

- New Networking Mode UDP Tunnel: allows to interconnect VMs running on different hosts easily and transparently, see the manual for more information.

- Experimental support for SATA hard disk hotplugging available with VBoxManage.

- Solaris hosts: New Crossbow based bridged networking driver for Solaris 11 build 159 and above.

VirtualBox 4.1.0 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 slated to release Mac OS X 10.7, next-gen MacBook Air on Wednesday

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 05:49
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor, Software

It’s the rumor mill that keeps life interesting…

Per AppleInsider, Apple could launch both its Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and its widely anticipated Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Air notebooks on Wednesday.

According to sources with proven track records, the new product launches are set to occur later this week. Specifically, one person said the products would be released on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

The latest details align with what rumors that have been circulating this month, when it reported that new MacBook Air models with backlit keyboards and Thunderbolt ports would launch the week of July 21.

Those details were reaffirmed late last week in a separate report that corroborated other details, including the fact that Apple is expected to do away with the entry-level 64GB solid-state flash hard drive option. Instead, the new MacBook Airs are expected to have a minimum of 128GB in capacity.

The new notebooks, according to Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, are also expected to come with 4GB of RAM as the standard. That extra memory will allow the systems to better run Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple’s next-generation operating system, also said to become available this week.

Apple has been holding off on the introduction of new Mac hardware until it finally releases Lion. Apple has not offered a specific launch date for the operating system, only promising that it will become available on the Mac App Store for US$29.99 at some point in July.

A few weeks ago, Apple began undertaking preparatory measures to unveil Lion. While it was initially believed that the operating system could have gone on sale as soon as last week, there have been rumors of last-minute holdups associated with the logistics and infrastructure related to Apple’s switch to a digital distribution method through the Mac App Store.

The Golden Master of Lion was seeded to developers on July 1. The term “Golden Master” means that the software is viewed as a final build that will be identical to the software released to the general public.

While Lion and the new MacBook Air models are said to be set to launch this week, there has been no specific indication given regarding any other hardware. However, Apple provided its own evidence of a forthcoming refresh to its LED Cinema Display last week, when it posted images on its site showing a Thunderbolt-equipped display with the new part number “MC914.”

Supply of Apple’s white MacBook has also been severely constrained since late June, suggesting a change to the product could be forthcoming. Since then, there has been no indication of an imminent hardware refresh.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Copies of Mac OS X 10.7 begin arriving at Apple Store locations

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 03:40
Category: Rumor, Software

You’ve waited a while and it’s almost here.

Per MacRumors, hard disk drives bearing the Golden Master version of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion have arrived at Apple’s retail stores ahead of an imminent launch, according to a new report.

The site wrote on Monday it had confirmed that Apple retail stores “have begun receiving final copies” of Lion. The company has reportedly shipped the OS on hard drives intended for store demo computers.

The “Golden Master” build of Lion was first seeded to developers on July 1. Lion, which contains hundreds of new features, will be the first OS X release to be distributed through the Mac App Store, where it will sell for US$29.99.

Sources also indicated that Apple will release Lion alongside new Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Airs as early as Wednesday. According to one person familiar with the matter, the products will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday.

Apple began retail preparations for Mac OS X Lion earlier this month. Though various reports had suggested that Lion would arrive last week, rumors then emerged that last minute issues with the upgrade had pushed it back to the week of July 21.

In addition to high-speed Thunderbolt ports, the new MacBook Air models are expected to include Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors and minimum RAM and SSD specs of 4GB and 128GB respectively.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

CrossOver updated to 10.1.0

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 18th, 2011, 14:55
Category: News, Software

CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 10.1.0. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed several known issues with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

- Don’t move cursor on display mode change, start up, or quit.

- Simplify user interactions when Quartz-WM is missing.

- Fixed check printing in Quicken 2011.

CrossOver 10.1.0 retails for US$69.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Elgato releases EyeTV 3.5.3 update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 15th, 2011, 06:21
Category: News, Software

eyetv2

On Friday, Elgato Systems released version 3.5.3 of its EyeTV software application, which finds and tracks all television programming you want to see and allows users to pause live television and save content to file.

The new version, a 130.3 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- TIvizen now features a Home Network Mode option to integrate into your existing Wi-Fi network. Use Tivizen in your existing Wi-Fi network rather than using the hotspot that Tivizen creates on its own. This enables you to stay connected to the Internet and watch TV at the same time. If you are on the road, and Tivizen does not find any of the stored home networks, it will switch into the regular hotspot mode. When you return home and switch on Tivizen, it will automatically join the last used home network.

- In USB Mode, you can connect Tivizen to a Mac or a PC and use it as a coventional USB TV tuner. Tivizen’s Wi-Fi network capability remains available when not connected via USB. When enabling either Home Network or USB mode, Tivizen will update its firmware. Follow the instructions on screen, then wait about 30 seconds until the Tivizen hardware has restarted. See below for further details. 


Bug Fixes:
- A problem with Cinergy Piranha hardware has been resolved.

- EyeTV now properly scans for the BBC HD transponder on DVB-S2.

- Improved UI, stability and overall performance After installing this update, please open the new software, then unplug and replug your device.

EyeTV 3.5.3 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run. The program retails for US$39.95.

Rumor: Next-gen MacBook Air to receive hard drive, RAM capacity boosts

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 14th, 2011, 14:39
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

There may be yet another reason to hanker after Apple’s next-gen MacBook Air notebook.

Per AppleInsider, the new MacBook Air may up the value proposition for customers through increases to the notebook’s standard memory and storage components, in addition to the latest ultra-low voltage Sandy Bridge mobile chips, should checks within the company’s supply chain prove accurate.

In a recent note, Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said his industry checks suggest Apple is no longer placing orders MacBook Airs with 2GB of RAM. Instead, those checks indicate that all new 11.6- and 13.3-inch models will include 4GB of RAM as standard, as it will improve performance of Mac OS X Lion, also due to ship on each model.

Similarly, Kuo cited the same checks in suggesting that Airs with just 64GB solid-state-drives may go away in favor of Apple shipping only 128GB and 256GB models as standard, given that the bulk of Apple’s shipments have been for models containing those larger drives. Contrary to some reports, however, the analyst and proven insider said his checks indicate the SSD drives will remain pluggable, and won’t be soldered to the logic board.

In terms of which Sandy Bridge CPUs Apple has chosen for the Air, Kuo pointed to three specific Intel ultra-low-voltage chips (comparison chart) that launched just last month as prime candidates based on his checks: the Core i5-2467M (1.6GHz), i7-2637M (1.7GHz), and i7-2677M (1.8GHz). Each of the chips consume only 17 watts, making them suitable for the slim design of the Mac Book Air, and support systems with up to 8GB of total memory.

While these details can’t currently be corroborated, Kuo has a respectable track record of producing accurate predictions for Apple’s future hardware designs. For instance, he was the first to accurately predicted the launch of an 11.6-inch MacBook Air and iPod touch with camera last year, and this year followed up with accurate specifications for the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4 production, among other products.

The redesigned MacBook Air launched last October with a thinner and lighter design and a new 11.6-inch model with a US$999 entry level price. The major changes, including the adoption of only solid-state flash hard drives, took the MacBook Air from being a relatively niche product in Apple’s lineup to one of its hottest selling Macs.

In particular, the sub-US$1,000 11.6-inch MacBook Air was said to be a major hit with consumers for both its price and lightweight design. In the first quarter of availability at the end of 2010, Apple shipped more than a million of the new MacBook Airs, making it one of the company’s most successful Mac product launches ever.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have something you’d like to see on the upcoming MacBook Air, please let us know in the comments.