Crucial unveils solid-state drives for older Mac notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, July 31st, 2012, 14:34
Category: hard drive, Hardware, News

You should add more solid-state drives to more things, as they are awesome.

Per Macworld, accessory provider Crucial today announced a new solid-state drive (SSD) targeted at users who want to upgrade older computer systems with a flash drive that boasts a price well under US$1 per gigabyte of capacity.

Crucial’s new v4 SSD, which is being manufactured by partner Micron, may not sport top flash-drive speeds. But it outpaces any consumer hard drive by more than twice the performance. The new 128GB SSD sells for US$100; a 256GB model can be had for US$190.

The price of consumer-class SSDs had been expected to drop to US$1 per gigabyte this year. SSD prices further slipped precipitously because of market oversupply. For example, NAND flash memory maker Toshiba recently slashed its production by 30 percent in order to deal with oversupply issues.

Crucial’s new v4 SSD uses the more widely used but older SATA-2, which has the 3 Gbps interface that most pre-2011 computer systems sport for internal drive connectivity. SATA-3 offers 6 Gbps, but only the latest systems (such as the new MacBook Pro) come with it.

Crucial said its v4 SSD has sequential read/write speeds of 230 MBps and 190 MBps, respectively. To put that in perspective, a top-of-the-line hard disk drive, such as Western Digital’s 7200-rpm Scorpio Black, has maximum read/write speeds of around 104 MBps and 101 MBps.

By comparison, an Intel top-of-the-line 520 Series SSD boasts peak read/write speeds of 550 MBps and 520 MBps, respectively. So the new Crucial SSD rests nicely in the middle.

The v4 SSDs are available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities with suggested retail prices of US$50, US$70, US$100, and US$190, respectively. The SSDs can be purchased now through global channel partners, or direct through Crucial’s website.

The Crucial v4 SSD comes with a three-year limited warranty, and is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X systems.

Apple releases MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update v1.0, adds Power Nap feature to Retina Display MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Friday, July 27th, 2012, 15:44
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

In the wake of an enormous operating system release, you can always expect some updates.

Per MacRumors, Apple on Friday rolled out a firmware update for the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display enabling Mountain Lion’s new Power Nap feature two days following the new operating system’s release.

The update, a 190 kilobyte download entitled “MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update,” comes on the heels of a Thursday firmware release which brought the same functionality to mid-2011 MacBook Airs and is available via OS X 10.8′s Software Update feature and enables the new Power Nap feature that comes with Mountain Lion.

Limited to newer MacBook Air models and the MacBook Pro with Retina display, Power Nap keeps Macs up to date and allows for the automatic backup of data while the machine is sleeping. The automatic data-refreshing service, which handles Time Machine and iCloud syncing, is both silent and power-efficient.

This update fixes several sleep/wake issues to improve the stability of MacBook Pro with Retina display (Mid 2012) computers and is recommended for all users running OS X v10.7.4. It also enables Power Nap support for users running OS X v10.8 or later.

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

Apple posts $8.8 billion profit, $35 billion in sales for Q3 2012 returns

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Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012, 06:30
Category: Finance, News

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There’s a nice ring to the words “US$8.8 billion quarterly profit”…

Per Macworld, Apple announced its returns for the third quarter of 2012 yesterday, the company’s sales hitting US$35 billion, up 22 percent from US$28.6 billion last year while profits rose 20.5 percent to US$8.8 billion from US$7.3 billion. Earnings for the quarter were US$9.32 a share, up 20 percent from last year. Reported earnings topped Apple’s forecast, but fell short of Wall Street expectations of US$10.35 per share on projected revenue of US$37 billion.

Apple sold 17 million iPads during the quarter, the most the company has ever sold during a quarter. The company tallied June quarter records for both Mac and iPhone sales—the latter figure coming even as customers have held off on purchasing a new iPhone in anticipation of a new model coming out later this year.

Despite the sales records, the third quarter saw the slowest growth rate for profit since 2009. Still, Apple finds itself better positioned than most tech companies. Sales of Macs, for example, rose during the quarter while the rest of the PC market saw a 1 percent decline, according to figures from market-research firm IDC.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, told analysts during a conference call that the company was “pleased” with its quarterly results.

The number that probably pleased Apple the most came from its surging iPad business, where Apple saw sales of its tablet grow 84 percent from the year-ago quarter. This was the first full quarter of sales for Apple’s third-generation iPad, which debuted on March 16. Apple is currently selling iPads in 97 countries.

Recognized revenue from the iPad lineup hit US$9.2 billion for the quarter, up 53 percent from the US$6 billion in revenue Apple recorded last year. Apple says it sold twice as many iPad as Macs to its education customers—and Apple just happened to set a record for Mac sales to U.S. educational institutions for the quarter.

As for its Mac business, Apple sold 4 million computers, up slightly from the 3.9 million Macs it sold in the year-ago quarter. Even with slight 2 percent gain, Apple still sold more Macs in this three-month period than in any June quarter before.

Those sales were largely driven by the revamped MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models Apple released, even though those notebooks came out less than three weeks before the end of the June quarter. According to Cook, prior to the release of those models at June’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple’s Mac sales were off last year’s pace. Once the updated MacBooks hit the market, though, Apple’s weekly sell-through increased, allowing it to beat last year’s figure and outpace PC industry growth for a 25th straight quarter.

In particular, Cook noted that the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has been “incredibly well-received. We still have not caught up with demand, but we anticipate doing so next month.”

Mac sales are usually dominated by portables, and this quarter was no exception. Notebooks accounted for three-fourths of the Macs Apple sold.

In addition to the June record for overall Mac sales, Apple executives noted that the quarter was the best ever for Mac sales to U.S. education institutions.

Apple sold 26 million iPhones during the quarter, compared to 20.3 million last year—another June quarter record for the company. The 28 percent growth in iPhone sales was also ahead of the amount Apple factored into its quarter guidance, Oppenheimer noted.

While Apple hasn’t made any iPhone hardware changes since it rolled out the iPhone 4S last year, it has been expanding the reach of its smartphone. During the June quarter, for example, the company added a number of regional carriers in the U.S. More than 250 carriers now provide service for the iPhone in 100 countries.

Recognized revenue from the iPhone rose 23 percent from last year to US$16.2 billion.

Despite the record sales, this quarter’s iPhone figures represent something of a blip for Apple. Both unit sales and iPhone revenue were down sequential in the third quarter; in 2011, unit sales and revenue rose from the second quarter to the third quarter. That’s largely a sign that customers may be holding off on iPhone purchases in anticipation of a new smartphone from Apple.

Pressed by analysts about the impact iPhone rumors might have on Apple’s bottom line, Cook said that while the company goes to great lengths to keep its product road map under wraps, he doesn’t put any value in clamping down on speculation about product releases.

“That’s just the environment we’re in,” Cook said. “I’m glad that people want the next thing. I’m super happy about it.”

Apple may have less reason to happy with its iPod sales, which saw another dip. The company sold 6.8 million music players, down from 7.5 million iPods in the year-ago quarter. Average selling price for iPods was also down for the quarter. Still, Apple notes that the iPod continues to hold a 70 percent share of the music-player market.

Combining iPod touch numbers with iPhone and iPad figures, Apple says that cumulative iOS device sales have reached 410 million units.

Revenue from the iTunes Store topped US$1.8 billion for the quarter; Apple brought its online music, movie, TV, and app store to 12 more countries.

Cook said that Apple sold 1.3 million Apple TVs during the quarter, bringing total sales for the fiscal year to 4 million units. The set-top box is “still at a level that we would call it a hobby, but we’ll continue to pull the string to see where it takes us,” Cook added.

During Tuesday’s briefing, Apple also unveiled the details of the stock dividend plan it first announced in March. The company will pay out US$2.65 per share on August 16, 2012 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 13. Subsequent dividends will be announced at the same time as the company’s results, with future payouts subject to declaration by the board of directors. Apple will begin buying back stock starting in its 2013 fiscal year, which starts September 30, 2012.

Both the dividend and the stock buyback program are part of Apple’s efforts to dispense with the massive amounts of cash the company has on hand. Apple ended the June quarter with US$117.2 billion in cash and short- and long-term securities, up from US$110 billion the previous quarter.

In terms of future performance, Oppenheimer told analysts to expect revenue of US$34 billion during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter and earnings of US$7.65 a share. That compares to 2011 fourth-quarter revenues of US$28.27 billion and earnings per share of US$7.02.

Analyst pegs Apple to release 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, updated iMac this fall

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Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, 06:13
Category: iMac, MacBook Pro, News

Just hang on a few months and that Retina Display goodness should find its way to the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Per AppleInsider, a Retina display-toting 13-inch MacBook Pro is expected to join the recently-released 15-inch model sometime this September and may be accompanied by an iMac refresh, writes analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note shared with investors.

Rounding out the KGI analyst’s forecast for the second half of 2012, Kuo expects Apple to bring a Retina display-resolution display to its 13-inch MacBook Pro line in September though demand may outweigh supply as components for the high-pixel density display are limited.

The reports is in line with two previous findings, both from online computer benchmarking sites that pointed to an unknown MacBook Pro fitting the description of a 13-inch Retina display model.

Kuo believes the device will be an attractive option to consumers looking to purchase the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air due to the Retina display’s high-quality image reproduction. The analyst also claims customers will be drawn to the balance of power consumption and form factor as well as the unit’s price which should be somewhat similar to Apple’s non-Retina MacBook Pro.

While the laptop is expected to do well at launch, Kuo thinks sales growth won’t be meaningful as many consumers will gravitate toward iOS devices, especially so if Apple debuts a smaller, more affordable iPad in September. He goes on to say supply of the smaller high-resolution MacBook Pro will likely be constrained due to panel and assembly yield rates, a problem Apple is only now beginning to overcome with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

As for the iMac, Kuo believes a refreshed model could debut close to the end of September but qualifies the statement by saying indicators from the supply chain point to a later release. Shipments of Apple’s desktop products will dip in July due to inventory adjustments but are expected to dramatically rise in August as the new iMac starts shipping out from factories.

Regarding Apple’s overall financial outlook, Kuo sees zero growth across the line for Apple in the second quarter of 2012 on smartphone competition from Samsung, slow MacBook sales, a weakened global economy and the iPad’s late entry into China. Quarter three of the calendar year will likely pick up, however, as new product launches are expected to lead moderate growth ahead of the lucrative holiday shopping season.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adium updated to 1.5.2

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2012, 06:17
Category: News, Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.5.2.

The new version, a 23.7 megabyte download adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed an issue where the log indexer would never finish.

- Fixed a number of crashes that could occur after closing the Transcript Viewer. (#15984, #15823)

- Fixed crash at startup. (#15787)

- Fixed crash upon cancelling the “Confirm quit” window. (#15900)

- Fixed crash when closing the Novell Groupwise account options. (#16041)

- Fixed a problem on retina Macbook Pros causing Adium to send too large user icons to the server, causing disconnects. (#16063)

- Updated the Ukrainian localisation. (#16062)

Adium 1.5.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later and an Intel-based Mac to run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any comments, let us know.

Because alpacas are amazing…and use MacBook Pros

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 20th, 2012, 13:34
Category: Fun

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Friday, and we must treat it as such:



The only question is if someone will readily donate a Retina Display MacBook Pro to the alpaca? And they should as alpacas love their iPhoto collections and a higher resolution is awesome for any species.

Happy Friday and have a killer weekend!

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.3

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2012, 11:07
Category: News, Software

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Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.3. The new version, a 10 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and improvements:

- Added support for the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.7.5.

- Fixed a bug that could prevent SpamSieve from auto-launching on the forthcoming OS X 10.8.

- SpamSieve is now able to recover from certain unexpected system errors on OS X 10.8.

- Fixed a layout bug in the German-localized Statistics window.

- Improved the Automatically Deleting Old Spam Messages instructions.

- SpamSieve now tells the system that it can use the integrated GPU, which should reduce battery use on newer MacBook Pros.

- SpamSieve’s disk image background is now displayed at Retina quality on eligible Macs running Mac OS X 10.7 or 10.8. (On Mac OS X 10.6, due to an OS bug, it will incorrectly display at double size.)

- Fixed a regression where SpamSieve’s disk image icon didn’t display properly.

SpamSieve retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Adobe releases InDesign fix to alleviate crash on Ivy Bridge-equipped MacBooks

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2012, 06:19
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

It never hurts to issue a bug fix.

Per AppleInsider, Adobe on Monday issued a ZIP file complete with instructions to manually fix an API bug that would crash the company’s InDesign professional layout software on Intel Ivy Bridge-equipped MacBooks.

The fix comes less than a week after Adobe acknowledged a problem with its program and Apple’s OS X 10.7.4 which comes pre-installed on all 2012 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. According to a user support forum thread started in mid-June, the issue can be traced back to an API that handled InDesign’s system icons which was removed in the latest update to OS X.

The problem caused blank dialogue boxes to pop up as InDesign failed to retrieve the correct icon assets which in turn crashed the program.

It appears that the issue is confined to mid-2012 MacBooks that have “MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Software Update” installed. Previous to Monday’s response some users created a workaround by rolling back the machine’s operating system to factory defaults.

Adobe is working closely with Apple on both their current and future OS releases to resolve this issue in a more comprehensive manner.

Adobe’s pseudo-patch involves the running of a script that installs three InDesign icons automatically or, for cases where the script does not run, a manual installation of the files directly into the application’s resources folder.

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

Retina Display MacBook Pro shipping times drop to 2-3 weeks

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Date: Friday, July 13th, 2012, 06:36
Category: MacBook Pro, News

It never hurts to catch up to demand for your product.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has begun catching up with demand for its popular new MacBook Pro with Retina display, as estimated shipping times have improved to two-to-three weeks.

Shipping times advertised at Apple’s online store for both models of the 15-inch Retina display MacBook Pro were shortened this week, and as of Friday, both the 2.3 gigahertz and 2.6 gigahertz models ship within two-to-three weeks.

The latest shipping estimate from the Apple Store is a slight improvement from the three-to-four weeks that were previously advertised. It’s also the shortest estimated shipping time seen since mid-June.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display was announced last month, and was heralded by Apple as “the most beautiful computer we have ever made.” It takes design cues from the MacBook Air by ditching the optical disc drive and relying solely on flash memory, allowing it to have a thinner design while maintaining long battery life.

The standout feature of the new MacBook Pro is its 2,880-by-1,880-pixel Retina display that features 220 pixels-per-inch on the 15.4-inch screen. The new design also cuts glare by 75 percent by removing the glass cover found in previous models.

Apple’s top-of-the-linenotebook also features two high-speed Thunderbolt ports, USB 3.0 connections, a dedicated HDMI port, and a built-in SD card reader. The 2.3-gigahertz model with 256 gigabytes of flash storage has a suggested price of US$2,199, while the 2.6 gigahertz model with 512 gigabytes of flash storage runs US$2,799.

Alternatively, the MacBook Pro with Retina display is also available and in stock at Apple Authorized Resellers. Prices through these resellers can be found included below.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe confirms InDesign app crashes under 2012 MacBook portables

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 10:31
Category: News, Software

This is why they invented the software update…

Per AppleInsider, users running Apple’s latest MacBooks featuring Intel Ivy Bridge processors are experiencing system crashes with Adobe’s popular InDesign software.

The issue has been documented by InDesign users on Adobe’s official website where a forum thread has been growing since mid-June. The problem appears to be limited to users who are running just-released MacBook Pros or MacBook Airs featuring Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors and Mac OS X 10.7.4.

Adobe technical support employee Scott Worthington confirmed in the thread that the issue is related to a change made by Apple in OS X 10.7.4 The latest MacBook models, including the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, ship with OS X 10.7.4 preinstalled, making it difficult to “roll back” the operating system to a previous version.

“At this time it appears the update is removing an API we use to control our use of system icons,” Worthington wrote. “At present the solution appears to be to rollback the update for the software to continue to function as expected.”

Worthington added in a subsequent post that he’s unsure if the problem will persist when Apple releases OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion later this month. He did not attempt to explain why the issue appears to be isolated to new 2012 MacBook models with Ivy Bridge processors.

“We’re taking this issue very seriously,” he said. “I wish we had more to share at this time but I’ll be sure to share what comes down the line from the engineers relating to solutions or any workarounds they can find.”

User “arminvit,” who started the thread on June 15, found that they were able to address the problem by restoring their 2012 MacBook to factory settings and not installing the “MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Software Update” available from Apple that includes OS X 10.7.4.

When running the latest version of OS X on their 2012 MacBook Pro, that user found that InDesign would crash when trying to delete a page that has content, and also when packaging a file. Users in the thread said the issue occurs with both Creative Suite 5 and Creative Suite 6.

When the crash occurs, InDesign attempts to post a warning box. However, the box is displayed blank except for the text “Warning,” and InDesign promptly crashes.

If you’ve seen this crash on your end, please let us know.