Rumor: Apple Allegedly Lowering Prices for MacBook Notebooks, iMacs

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Date: Friday, May 1st, 2009, 07:00
Category: iMac, MacBook, Rumor

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Apple may be in the process of restructuring its Mac offerings to include a variety of lower-priced models. According to AppleInsider, an anonymous source told the publication that this change could be in effect and that more affordable variations of the MacBook notebook and the best-selling iMac could be en route.
Though specific details weren’t to be found and Apple recently reported its best non-holiday quarter yet, Mac sales have taken a hit as the economic recession continues. Shipments for computers were down 3%, while iPhone and iPod sales contributed to an 8.6% gain in revenue.
According to the article, many analysts believe Apple’s lackluster performance in the PC segment can be explained by its higher ASPs. Although the structural collapse of selling prices has slashed revenues for many companies, the Mac-maker could be experiencing a drop in market share as customers flock to less-expensive systems. While Apple was shipping less Macs for the recent quarter, HP systems showed an 11% gain.
Acer has doubled its market share in the U.S. in recent quarters, this gain being attributed to the popularity of its netbook devices. User spending is also said to have contracted significantly in the first quarter of the year, and it remains unknown if the global PC market has reached its lowest point.
Although revised pricing information has yet to be fully disclosed, it is believed that the first products could arrive as early as this spring with a revamped MacBook line.

OWC Releases Faster Internal Superdrives for 13″ MacBook, 15″ MacBook Pro Notebooks

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Date: Thursday, April 30th, 2009, 13:42
Category: Accessory, MacBook Pro

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Accessory provider Other World Computing announced the release of its new Mercury SuperDrive Internal Upgrade Kits for Apple’s 13″ MacBook and 15″ MacBook Pro notebooks. The new OWC Mercury SuperDrives offer faster burn speeds than factory – up to 8X DVD, 6X DVD-DL (Dual-Layer 8.5GB), 5X DVD-RAM, and 24X CD burn speeds with support for DVD+/-R/RW, DVD+/-R DL (Dual-Layer), DVD-RAM, and CD-R/RW media.
The new SuperDrive Internal Upgrade Kits for MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks available immediately:
OWC Mercury SuperDrive Dual-Layer Internal Drive Kit for the 13″ MacBook and 15″ MacBook Pro(Non-”Unibody”) features up to 8X DVD+/-R burn, 6X DVD-R DL burn, 5X DVD-RAM, 24X CD-R burn, and 1 year OWC warranty and is priced at US$147.99.
The “Value Bundle” of this same SuperDrive Kit, priced at US$159.99, also includes 10 pieces of 8X DVD-R media in jewel cases, Prosoft Data Backup 3 software, and NTI DragonBurn CD/DVD authoring software.

Updates Rumored for Pro Apps and MacBooks at WWDC

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Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 23:05
Category: Rumor

According to 9to5 Mac, Apple plans to introduce minor updates to the MacBook line as well as some significant updates to Final Cut Pro, Aperture, Logic, and Shake.

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There has been some speculation in the last few months, fueled by rumors, that AT&T may be subsidizing MacBooks in much the same way as the iPhone due to built-in 3G connectivity. I am putting this rumor into the “unlikely” column, but 9to5 Mac’s sources suggest the laptop updates may be more than just speed-bumps. This could include changes to the battery, such as making it non-removable. I will want to be out of town if that announcement hits the floor to avoid the rioting.

I for one don’t see Apple handing over any control of the sale of their computers, but stranger things have happened. There are almost 2 more months before WWDC kicks off, so plenty of time for more rumors to bounce around the internet. I think we all agree that a new iPhone (or 3) will be announced, but how about a netbook? Send us your thoughts in the forums!

Apple Begins Taking Bids on Mac Netbook Components

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Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 11:27
Category: News

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Long-time Apple manufacturing and component provider Foxconn is reportedly among a group of frontrunners expected to receive a contract to create a Mac netbook.
According to DigiTimes, sources lose to the story have cited that Foxconn “is in the running to land orders for a netbook from Apple.”
Outside of adding that Mac maker’s 13-inch MacBooks will become Foxconn’s major growth contributor during the second quarter, no further details were included in the report.
DigiTimes began a new wave of speculation earlier this year when it reported that Taiwan-based Wintek would start shipping touch panels to Apple sometime during the third quarter of the year for the launch of an unknown netbook product.
A pair of sources speaking to Dow Jones quickly backed the report, with one saying the panels were sized “between 9.7-inches and 10-inches” while the other said specifications for the project were still “under evaluation.”

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Apple Quietly Admits Hairline Crack Issue on White MacBook, Offers Repairs

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Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2009, 07:44
Category: MacBook

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After months of contention, Apple has privately acknowledged an issue within some of its 13″ MacBook notebooks in which hairline cracks have arisen during normal usage patterns.
According to AppleInsider, Apple issued a bulletin to its authorized service providers in March that essentially reversed its stance on replacing the bottom casing of notebooks that may be experiencing these symptoms.
Initial reports surfaced in November that Apple was refusing to cover repairs for the bottom casing of the notebooks despite its willingness (on occasion) to address identical problems with the top portion of the casings containing the keyboard and palmrests.
The bulletin apparently identified four key areas prone to hairline cracking, including the case front below the palmrests and trackpad, the portions around the I/O ports, the back rear corners, and the back rear ventilation area.
Apple has also noted that other portions of the case could be affected by hairline cracking and has asked service providers to determine whether the cracks themselves were due to the owner’s negligence.
In the event that providers are unable to identify signs that the user is at fault for the cracks, they’re advise to escalate the notebook for coverage by Apple, regardless of whether its one-year limited warranty has expired.
The exception also applies to the black plastic 13-inch MacBook that was discontinued last year, but does not extend to any other member of the MacBook family, according to those familiar with the matter.

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Sleep Tips for MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks Published

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Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 09:03
Category: How-To

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Albeit generally reliable, putting your MacBook or MacBook Pro notebook to sleep can be a bit of a gamble. When you open the notebook back up, you want to make sure the computer will wake up again or your day just got that much worse.
Over on the Apple Core, David Morgenstern has offered the following tips in getting his MacBook Pro to wake from sleep under both Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5.
Per Mac OS X 10.4:

1. Before I put the machine to sleep, I unplug anything connected, such as an Ethernet cable, hard drive or mouse.
2. Next I use the Sleep command under the Apple Menu to put the MacBook to sleep and I wait until the screen actually goes blank before closing the lid. I don’t just close the lid.
3. When I go to wake the MacBook, I open the machine and make sure that I don’t plug anything into the machine before I wake it.

Interestingly enough, Mac OS X’s Energy Saver panel allows for multiple types of sleep (“computer sleep,” which is what we commonly think of as sleep, where the system sleeps; “display sleep,” where the screen goes black; and “hard disk” sleep, where the drive spins down).
The column then mentions that the following types of sleep can be used:

Sleep, where the Mac saves the state in RAM, which means it can go to sleep and wake up quickly, but could bring trouble if the battery runs down or is removed.
Hibernate, where the state is written to the hard disk (the safest for your data), but takes the longest time to be put to sleep and to wake up.
Combination Sleep and Hibernate, which Apple calls Safe Sleep. It may take the longest time to sleep but it also can wake quickly. And if your MacBook supports it, you can swap in a fresh battery.

For users looking to specify the sleep type used, software developer Patrick Stein’s SmartSleep lets you choose between the modes.
For users experiencing problems getting their MacBook notebook to sleep, Apple’s “Why Your Mac Might Not Sleep or Stay in Sleep Mode” Knowledge Base article offers the following tips:

There are reasons why you may want your Mac to stay awake even though you are not using the keyboard or mouse, such as when you are:
Watching a DVD movie
Listening to your iTunes music library
Running an automated backup
Away from your computer while downloading large files

The article also mentions that using Bluetooth devices can disrupt a MacBook’s sleep function:

You can allow Bluetooth devices to wake a sleeping computer by enabling “Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer” in Bluetooth preferences. A bluetooth device paired correctly should not typically prevent a computer from sleeping. However, some Bluetooth mice can interfere with sleep.

Finally, applications themselves can affect sleep:

If an application uses a custom font to display text but the font resource is marked purgeable, then at some point the memory manager will purge the font from memory. When the application tries to draw text using that font again, it will be loaded from the hard drive, resetting the sleep timer.
Applications can be designed to keep the system awake and prevent idle sleep indefinitely. In developer lingo, an application may explicitly prevent system sleep by calling IORegisterForSystemPower(), and calling IOCancelPowerChange() when it receives a power management kIOMessageCanSystemSleep notification.

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MacBook LCD Mod Tutorial Goes Online

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Date: Thursday, April 2nd, 2009, 08:17
Category: Hack, MacBook

It’s a matter of how comfortable you are taking your notebook apart and soldering new components into place, but for MacBook owners looking to make the Apple component of their LCD screen look like this:
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check out the tutorial created by Mac user Eddie Zarick.
The tutorial includes a full list of supplies and materials you’ll need, including a US$200 Century Plus One sub-monitor, but this should yield some fairly cool results.
If you’re about to take this on or have performed a similar mod, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Users Reporting Dropped Internet Connections During Time Capsule Backups

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Date: Thursday, March 26th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Software, Time Capsule

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In the category of “it should be working perfectly forever but isn’t”, a number of users have reported that their Time Capsule units are dropping Internet connections during the backup process. According to MacFixIt, the AirPort Utility does not see the Time Capsule during the dropped out period. Even so, the backup continues and completes despite the Internet connection not working. Time Capsules may also be dropping Internet connections more frequently than during backup sessions as multiple users report anywhere from 5 minute to 30-minute increments between drops.
One user, identified as “Zzooomm”, described the situation as follows:

“Time Capsule V7.4.1 loses Internet/Wireless Connection with my MacBookPro2,2 Core 2 Duo 10.5.6 during backup. It appears the backup continues successfully. Opening Airport Utility shows my second Airport Extreme but not the Time Capsule. Within 10 minutes of completing the backup, the TC reappears. Suggestions?”

Strangely enough and on an apparently-unrelated note, Apple has acknowledged that the Real Player Downloader has been causing communications complications between airport cards and Time Capsules. To repair this, head over to System Preferences, Accounts, Login Items, highlight the RP Downloader and click the (-) button. This is a solution that many of the users on the discussion threads acknowledge solves the issue.
If you do not have the Real Player Downloader installed and are still having problems, be sure you have Apple’s latest update to the Time Capsule firmware, 7.4.1. If you do not have it, download the update from Apple and install it.
If you have the firmware updated and do not have Real Player Downloader installed and are still having issues, try resetting your Time Capsule following instructions in the User’s Manual or read this Apple Knowledge Base article.
If you’ve seen this issue on your end or have an opinion to offer on it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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iFixIt Offers New Mac Mini First Look Guide, Guide to Adding Second Internal Hard Drive and 1 TB Upgrade Kit

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Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 08:45
Category: Mac Desktop

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Computer outfitter iFixIt has released a slew of new items in the wake of Apple’s recent Mac mini refresh. First, the company’s First Look guide has been rewritten to include the following highlights:

  • Both the hard drive and RAM are easily upgradeable once you remove the upper case.
  • The processor is now soldered to the logic board. Those people who had grown accustomed to upgrading mini processors will be greatly disappointed by this.
  • As usual for the mini, a putty knife is required to disassemble it.
  • The SuperDrive used in the new Mac mini is finally SATA, as in the new iMacs and MacBooks.
  • If you install 2GB RAM in a $599 low-end mini, it recognizes and uses 256 MB of video memory.
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    MCE Ships 500GB OptiBay Hard Drive for Unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks

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    Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 07:04
    Category: hard drive

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    Accessory maker MCE Technologies announced that the company is now shipping its OptiBay hard drives for Apple’s unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook line.
    Per MacNN, the drives range in capacity from 250GB to 500GB and arrive with an 8MB buffer. The 350GB and 500GB drives run at 5400rpm, while customers can choose a 7200rpm option for the 320GB model. The company claims that the OptiBay components consume less power than the original drives, contributing to a 10 to 15% extension of the battery life. The drives also support status monitoring and spin-down commands from the Mac OS.
    The OptiBay hard drives are now available starting at US$190 and an optional enclosure can be used to convert the existing drive into an external storage device.
    Customers can also purchase an OptiBay kit for the unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro, allowing the use of any standard 2.5″ HDD. The kit can be purchased for US$130.
    If you’ve used an OptiBay kit before, let us know how the experience went in the comments or forums.

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