Apple releases MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0 for mid-2012 notebooks

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 07:27
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

It’s the firmware updates that really make a difference.

Late Friday, Apple released its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0, a firmware update for its June 2012 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, a 76.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- This MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update includes graphics performance and reliability enhancements and improves compatibility with some USB devices.

The update requires a Mac notebook introduced in June of 2012, Mac OS X 10.7.4 or higher and can be downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the firmware update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Analyst: ARM-based Macs “inevitable”, though still a ways off

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Date: Tuesday, November 6th, 2012, 09:24
Category: News, Processors

Apple’s future may be in the hands of ARM some day.

Per AppleInsider, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu has gone on record as saying it’s “inevitable” that Apple will merge its Mac and iOS devices at some point, but such a change is not expected to happen for years.

Wu said in a note to investors on Tuesday that he believes it will take Apple some time to optimize its Mac OS X operating system for the ARM processors currently found in the iPad and iPhone.

Intel processors are currently much more powerful for running intensive Mac applications, as well as for development. But he believes that ARM processors will eventually become powerful enough to replace Intel chips.

In his view, making Apple’s entire product line based on custom-built ARM-based processors would simplify the architecture of its devices, and also help to create a more seamless experience for users.

Wu also noted that the Mac represents just 14 percent to 18 percent of Apple’s total revenue. In comparison, the iPhone accounts for between 45 and 50 percent of the company’s revenue, and the iPad is 20 to 25 percent.

Wu’s take was issued in response to a report that surfaced on Monday from Bloomberg, which indicated that Apple’s engineers are confident that the company’s A-series custom chip designs will one day be powerful enough to run the company’s desktop and laptop machines. ARM-based silicon in Apple devices is currently limited to iOS devices.

Monday’s report also suggested a change to ARM processors is not likely to take place “in the next few years.” But it also portrayed a shift to proprietary chip designs as an “inevitable” transition for the company in the future.

Apple is said to have a team dedicated to the project, with engineers working to design a lineup of machines that rely on a common chip design. Apple already employs this approach with its current lineup of iPhones, iPads and iPods.

A potential switch to ARM chips would pose a challenge to Intel, Wu said. He noted that Apples’ 11-inch MacBook Air gets four to five hours of battery life under heavy use, compared to 10 hours of battery life with an ARM-based iPad.

Reports suggesting Apple could power future Macs with ARM processors are not new. One recent story issued in October also said Apple has “deliberated” moving its lineup of Mac computers away from Intel processors, though such a change was said to not be “imminent.”

Apple has made headway in designing its own custom silicon for the iPhone and iPad. Earlier this year, rumors suggested Apple was looking to use its own ARM processors in upcoming iterations of the MacBook, especially in power-critical applications like the thin-and-light MacBook Air.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 Update for 13″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display, late 2012 21.5″ iMac and Mac mini models

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Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 07:48
Category: iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, News, Software

Where new hardware is released, the software updates will follow.

Per AppleInsider, only one day following the announcement of new iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac mini models, Apple on Wednesday released an OS X Mountain Lion update built specifically for those devices.

While the download is called OS X 10.8.2, just like the most recent update to Apple’s current operating system for all other Macs, Wednesday’s release is “for 13″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display, 21.5″ iMac (Late 2012)Mac mini (Late 2012).”

A quick look at the release notes doesn’t yield much in the way of new information, possibly pointing to issues the new 2012 units are facing with some features in 10.8.2. Of note is the update’s compatibility with the 21.5-inch iMac, a model that has yet to be released, though the no mention was made of the 27-inch version.

The update, a 654 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

Facebook:
- Single sign on for Facebook.
- Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos.
- Facebook friends’ contact information and profile pictures in Contacts.
- Facebook notifications in Notification Center.

Game Center:
- Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages.
- Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations.
- Facebook Like button for games.
- Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement.

Other new features:
- Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010).
- iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac.
- From Safari and Mail on your Mac you can add passes to Passbook on your iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 6.
- New shared Reminders lists.
- FaceTime now receives calls sent to your phone number.
- New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them.
- Dictation now supports Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian.
- The Dictionary application now includes a French definition dictionary.
- Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts.

This update also includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac, including the following fixes:
- An option to discard the changes in the original document when choosing Save As.
- Unsent drafts are opened automatically when launching Mail.
- Receive Twitter notifications for mentions and replies from anyone
- URLs are shortened when sending tweets from Notification Center
- Notifications are disabled when AirPlay Mirroring is being used
- SSL support for Google searches from the Smart Search Field in Safari
- New preference to have Safari launch with previously open webpages
- Graphics performance and reliability enhancements
- USB 3.0 reliability enhancements

As always, the update can be located and installed via the Mac App Store or OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Rumor: Apple may be looking to move away from Intel chipsets, begin using its own processors for certain products

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Date: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012, 07:15
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, Processors, Rumor

intellogo.jpg

It’s been six years.

Maybe it’s time for a change.

Per Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple has reportedly “deliberated” moving its lineup of Mac computers away from Intel processors, though such a change apparently isn’t “imminent.”

The details come from a profile of Apple’s current state under CEO Tim Cook published Wednesday by Bloomberg Businessweek. Citing two unnamed sources familiar with Apple’s discussions, the report indicated that Apple would like to move away from Intel’s CPUs in its Macs.

“Such a shift would be difficult and isn’t imminent, though it would allow Apple to further distinguish its laptops and desktops from competitors that run Intel’s chips and Microsoft’s Windows software,” authors Brad Stone, Adam Satariano and Peter Burrows wrote.

Apple’s interest in moving away from Intel is not new, but Wednesday’s report is an indication that the desire still exists at the company. Per AppleInsider, Apple had discussions with Intel’s chief competitor, AMD, about switching to its chips for future Macs.

Apple previously differentiated its Mac lineup from Windows PCs by utilizing PowerPC chips built by IBM and Motorola. But in 2005, Apple announced it would switch to Intel microprocessors for all of its Mac hardware. The transition was complete by August of 2006, and starting with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in 2009, support for legacy PowerPC Macs no longer existed.

While Intel currently powers Apple’s Mac lineup, the company is absent from Apple’s more popular iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad. Intel has instead pushed its own “Atom” processors for mobile devices, but tests have shown that Apple’s latest A6 CPU found in the iPhone 5 outperforms Atom.

While AMD would be an option if Apple were to abandon Intel, Apple has made headway in designing its own custom silicon for the iPhone and iPad. Earlier this year, rumors suggested Apple was looking to use its own ARM processors in upcoming iterations of the MacBook, especially in power-critical applications like the thin-and-light MacBook Air.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 update

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Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, 10:21
Category: News, Software

You’ve been hankering for this for a while now.

On Wednesday, Apple released version 10.8.2 of its OS X Mountain Lion operating system. The new version, a 665 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Facebook:
- Single sign on for Facebook.
- Adds Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos.
- See Facebook friends’ contact information and profile pictures in Contacts.
- Facebook notifications now appear in Notification Center.

Game Center:
- Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages.
- Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations.
- Added Facebook “Like” button for games.
- Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement.

Other new features:
- Adds Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010).
- iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac.
- You can now add passes to Passbook (on your iPhone or iPod touch) from – Safari and Mail on your Mac.
- FaceTime can now receive calls sent to your phone number.
- New shared Reminders lists.
- New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them.
- Dictation now supports additional languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian.
- Dictionary app now includes a French definition dictionary.
- Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts.

General fixes:
- Adds an option to discard the changes in the original document when choosing Save As.
- Unsent drafts are now opened automatically when launching Mail.
- Receive Twitter notifications for mentions and replies from anyone.
- URLs are shortened when sending tweets from Notification Center.
- Notifications are disabled when AirPlay Mirroring is being used.
- Adds SSL support for Google searches from the Smart Search Field in Safari.
- Adds a new preference to have Safari launch with previously open webpages.
- Resolves an issue that may cause the “Enable Autodiscover” checkbox to always remain checked.
- Enables access to the Mac App Store when Parental Controls are enabled.
- Support for @icloud.com email addresses.
- Resolves a video issue with some VGA projectors when connected to certain Mac notebooks.
- Addresses an issue that may prevent Active Directory accounts from being locked out.
- Resolves an issue that may cause the policy banner to re-appear prior to logging in.
- Improvements to SMB.
- Addresses an issue with NIS users when auto-login is enabled.
- Addresses an issue in which the Keychain may not be accessible.
- Ability to pre-authenticate a FileVault protected system.
- Addresses an issue that may cause Xsan to not automatically start after migrating from Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

OS X 10.8.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8 to install and run, the update itself being attainable by using OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new operating system and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

OS X 10.8.2 beta focuses on improving Power Nap, other features

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Date: Thursday, September 6th, 2012, 07:45
Category: News, Software

Come OS X 10.8.2, your Mac will take more efficient naps.

Per AppleInsider, Apple seeded a new OS X 10.8.2 beta on Wednesday, asking developers to focus on a number of areas including the Power Nap feature introduced with Mountain Lion.

Build 12C43 of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 beta was seeded with no known issues, however it appears Apple is looking to improve operability of the Power Nap feature introduced with the operating system in July.

Power Nap enables Macs to stay up to date and allows for the automatic backup of data while the computer is in sleep mode. Time Machine and iCloud syncing are supported, though compatibility is limited to mid-2011 or later MacBook Airs and the MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The newest 12C43 build comes one week after Apple seeded the second 10.8.2 beta, asking developers to focus on system-wide Facebook sharing integration.

As always, if you’ve gotten your mitts on an early copy of the beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.1 beta to developers, looks to focus on Thunderbolt display noise bug, others

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Date: Monday, August 13th, 2012, 06:26
Category: News, Software

If you’re looking for Mountain Lion bug fixes, they’re en route.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Friday evening began providing its developers with the first maintenance update to its Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system released just weeks ago.

Sources familiar with the matter say the 38.5MB beta release was accompanied with a set of release notes identifying no known issues.

Instead, the Mac maker asked developers to focus their testing efforts around USB, PAC proxies in Safari, Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange support in Mail.

Apple also made a specific request for testers to evaluate Wi-Fi and audio when connected to a Thunderbolt display, suggesting it has attempted to address problems in this area after MacBook Air users said they were experiencing audio issues — static, distortion and crackling — when they connect their notebooks to the company’s latest 27-inch LED display.

Apple has historically aimed to push out its first maintenance release for major operating systems milestones in a swift manner, suggesting we could see a formal release of the software in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Guide: How to troubleshoot PowerNap weirdness under OS X 10.8

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Date: Friday, August 3rd, 2012, 11:13
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

There’s been a lot written about OS X 10.8′s new PowerNap feature, wherein your 2011-2012 MacBook Air and 2012 Retina Display MacBook Pro notebooks can perform various background tasks (such as synchronization and updates) while in Sleep mode, but it’s hard to say what to do when things go wrong.

With that in mind, the mighty Topher Kessler has written a spiffy PowerNap troubleshooting guide over on CNET.

Go.

Take a gander.

Check it out.

And even though the guide goes through the somewhat frightening steps as to how to reset your notebook’s SMC should circumstances require it, it’s worth reading.

That is all and enjoy your Friday.

Apple Store for iOS updated to 2.3, adds new shopping features

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Date: Friday, August 3rd, 2012, 07:24
Category: News, Software

It’s not the most exciting news in the world, but it’s sort of a helpful update.

On Friday, Apple released version 2.3 of its Apple Store app for iOS. The new version, a 5.6 megabyte download via iTunes, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Now get the option to have Pages, Keynote and Numbers pre-installed on any MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro.

- Performance enhancements to make it easier to shop for Apple products on the go.

The Apple Store app is available for free and requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 5.0 or later.

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

Apple releases SMC firmware updates, enables Power Nap feature for mid-2011, mid-2011 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 06:47
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

At long last, your mid-2011 and mid-2012 MacBook Air notebooks will be able to nap.

Per AppleInsider, a pair of firmware updates released by Apple on Wednesday enable the Power Nap in certain MacBook Air models that were promised the feature but found it missing when OS X Mountain Lion launched on Wednesday.

Apple rolled out the new firmware via Software Update in conjunction with the release of OS X Mountain Lion after the company previously noted Power Nap may not be able to work on certain Macs without such an update.

First outlined in June during Apple’s WWDC, Power Nap enables Macs to stay up to date and allows for the automatic backup of data while the machine is sleeping. The automatic refreshing of data, including Time Machine and iCloud syncing, is reportedly silent and power efficient though compatibility is limited to Macs with solid state drives like the MacBook Air.

When OS X Mountain Lion was released earlier in the day, some MacBook Air users noticed that the touted feature was missing. The problem has apparently been remedied in the Software Update which is for some “MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.6″ for the mid-2011 MacBook Air and “MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.5″ for the mid-2012 MacBook Air.

After the firmware is download through Software Update the Power Nap feature can be found in the Energy Saver pane in System Preferences once installed.

The firmware updates can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new firmware and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.