Initial Benchmarks Appear for Unreleased Core i7-Powered MacBook Pro

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Date: Monday, February 8th, 2010, 07:23
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro, News, Processors

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There’s a new wave of MacBook notebooks en route.

And it may arrive sooner rather than later.

Per Canadian web site, Geekbench, a recent set of test appears to have show an unreleased Arrandale MacBook Pro notebook running at 2.66 GHz according to MacRumors.

The processor shown is listed as an Intel Core i7 M 620 running at 2.66GHz with a Turbo frequency up to 3.33 GHz. The Intel Core i7 M 620 functions as a high end dual core processor with Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading features.

The MacBook Pro model designation is listed as “6,1″ and has a non-shipping build of Mac OS X 10.6.2 (Build 10C3067).

The original article reports that supplies of MacBooks have been constrained according to international resellers, adding to the belief new Apple laptops are forthcoming.

Intel officially unveiled the Core i3, i5 and i7 processors at last month’s CES trade show in Las Vegas.

The new chips fall under the brands of Core i3 for low-end systems, Core i5 for midrange systems and Core i7 for the fastest systems.

The new processors include dual-core laptop chips under the three brands running between 1.06GHz and 2.66GHz, and desktop chips running between 2.93GHz and 3.46GHz.

According to Intel, the Intel Core i5 processor features: “4-way multi-task processing that allows each core of your processor to work on two tasks at the same time, delivering the performance you need for smart multitasking.”

Last month, Intel pulled an internal ad showing a MacBook running with the Core i5 processor. The MacBook was being offered as a prize as part of the Intel Retail Edge Program, and was sent out in promotional emails. The ad was later replaced with one offering an HP Envy laptop as a replacement.

Apple Posts $3.38 Billion Profit, $15.68 Billion in Sales for Q1 Results

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 26th, 2010, 07:56
Category: Finance, News

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Even if the global economy’s in iffy shape, you can’t tell it by Apple.

Per Macworld, the company posted its best-ever performance for the first fiscal quarter, citing tallied sales of US$15.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of US$3.38 billion. That compares to year-ago figures of $11.88 billion in sales and US$2.26 billion in net quarterly profit.

“We’re extremely pleased with our record-breaking performance, including our 32% in growth in revenue and 50% growth in net income,” Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts during a Monday afternoon conference call to discuss Apple’s quarter numbers.

The company’s quarterly performance translated to earnings of US$3.67 per share, up 47% from the US$2.50 per share that it earned in the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s reports, which may seem a bit off in comparison to last January’s returns, reflect the retrospectively adopted Financial Accounting Standards Board’s amended accounting standards during the 2010 first quarter. Adopting those standards significantly alters how Apple accounts for certain items such as the iPhone and Apple TV sales. The revised standards allow Apple to recognize revenue and product at the time of sale and the company has restated its results for the 2007, 2008, and 2009 fiscal years to reflect this change.

“We believe [the new accounting rules] will better enable us to recognize the underlying economics and performance of our business,” Oppenheimer said.

For the 2010 fiscal first quarter, Apple sold 3.36 million Macs, up 33% from the 2.5 million units the company sold in Q1 of 2009.

The Mac sales figure sets a new record, topping the 3.05 million Macs Apple sold during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2009.

The fall revamp of the iMac line helped boost desktop sales for the quarter. In October, Apple replaced its 20″ and 24″ iMacs with new 21.5″ and 27″ configurations of the all-in-one desktop. Apple sold 1.23 million desktops in its first quarter of 2010, an increase of nearly 70% from the 728,000 desktops it sold a year ago.

Notebook sales came in at just under 2.13 million units sold during the first quarter, a number which accounts for 63% of all the Macs sold during the quarter. Portable sales rose 18% from the 1.796 million laptops Apple sold in the year-ago quarter.

Overall education sales for Mac products grew 16% from last year, reflecting Apple’s best growth rate in that segment since before the start of the current recession, according to chief operating officer Tim Cook. The K-12 and higher-education channels both reported record sales for the December quarter.

“Our whole education business is based on really understanding teaching, learning, and student achievement, and we think we’re the only tech company that really gets that,” Cook said.

iPhone sales reached record heights in the quarter with the company selling 8.7 million iPhones in three months, breaking the record of 7.4 million set in the previous quarter. iPhone sales were twice what they were during the previous year’s first quarter with the sales value of those 8.7 million iPhones exceeding US$5.4 billion. The average selling price of iPhone models was down 5% versus the prior year, likely owing to the existence of the cut-rate US$99 iPhone 3G model.

In response to a question from an analyst, Cook offered praise for often-criticized U.S. wireless partner AT&T. “AT&T is a great partner,” he said. “In the vast majority of locations, we think iPhone customers are having a great experience… AT&T has acknowledged that they’re having a few issues in some cities, and they have plans to address these. We have personally reviewed these plans, and we have high confidence [in them].”

Regarding Apple’s acquisition of Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising company, Cook said that Apple “look[s] forward to providing developers with a great opportunity for advertising,” but that mobile advertising is currently “in its infancy.”

Not every product segment saw growth during the quarter and iPod sales fell 8% from Q1 of 2009, as Apple sold 21 million music players during the quarter. However, Oppenheimer characterized that decline as expected. Indeed, overall iPod sales growth has been flat for some time—sales have declined for three consecutive quarters now.

Still, Apple executives didn’t sound particularly bothered on Monday by the iPod’s quarterly performance. The music player continues to gain market share internationally, and its share of the U.S. market remains at more than 70%, according to Oppenheimer.

Despite the lower iPod numbers, Oppenheimer said Apple sold 55% more iPod touches this year than it did in the first quarter of 2009. The average selling price of the iPod increased by 9% during the quarter, driven by sales of the touch.

Oppenheimer told analysts on Monday that the iTunes Store had enjoyed a “record-breaking quarter,” though the company provided no revenue figures for its online retail arm for music, movies, TV programs, and mobile apps.
Retail and other figures

Apple finished the first quarter with 283 retail stores, after opening 10 new outlets during the quarter. Those openings included high-profile stores near the Louvre in Paris and New York’s Upper West Side. Apple also remodeled 32 stores during the quarter, for a total of 100 remodels during the 2009 calendar year.

Retail revenue rose 17% to US$1.97 billion for the quarter. Average revenue per store was US$7.1 million, up from US$7 million in the year-ago quarter. The brick-and-mortar stores sold a record 680,000 Macs, with half of those sold to customers who were new to the Mac.

Apple is expected to open between 40 and 50 stores during the 2010 fiscal year, Oppenheimer said, with half of those outlets located outside the U.S.

Even after a quarter of cash outlays that included the purchase of online music streaming company Lala, the company reported that it now holds cash and short-term investments totaling US$39.8 billion, up $5.8 billion from the previous quarter.

Looking ahead to the March quarter, Oppenheimer told analysts to expect sales between US$11 billion and US$11.4 billion. That compares to restated sales of US$9.1 billion for the fiscal second quarter of 2009. Apple expects earnings between US$2.06 and US$2.18 per share for the upcoming quarter; that compares to US$1.79 per quarter a year ago, after adjusting for the new accounting rules.

“The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we’re really excited about,” CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement accompanying Monday’s earnings release.

Case Study Points Out How to Avoid RSI-Causing Positions to Avoid When Using a Notebook

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009, 06:56
Category: Uncategorized

Let’s face it, as convenient as notebook computers are, if you use them in the wrong position, you’re in for a fair amount of repetitive stress injury pain. The guys over at the Core77 blog highlighted ten common usage positions and marked the pain points you’re asking for down the road with each.

Take a gander and let us know if you have a best or worst computing position:

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Apple Releases Firmware Updates for MacBook, MacBook Pro

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Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, 07:36
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released its MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.4 for its MacBook notebook. The update, a 3.1 megabyte download, eliminates the noise made by the optical disk drive during system startup and wake from sleep on MacBook computers.

The company also released its MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.8 for some MacBook Pro models. The update, a 3.4 megabyte download, also eliminates the noise made by the optical drive during startup and emerging from sleep.

Both updates can be snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.

Seagate Releases 7 Millimeter Notebook Hard Drive

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Date: Tuesday, December 8th, 2009, 07:18
Category: hard drive, News

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If you can fit more data onto a notebook hard drive, more power to you. Per PC World, hard drive manufacturer Seagate seems ready to launch a 7 millimeter high notebook drive as part of its Momentus lineup this January at CES.

Although Seagate has yet to release specifics, it’s thought that the drive will be spinning a single platter. Given that dual-platter 2.5″ disks currently max out at 640GB (or 320GB per platter), Seagate is expected to at least match this or even demonstrate an improvement in the amount of data that can be placed on each platter.

It’s anyone’s guess, but it’s cool stuff and we’ll be following this up until its release.

Apple Takes Control of “TabletMac” Trademark

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:56
Category: News

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A few years ago, Axiotron began to offer an aftermarket modification for the MacBook notebook that converted it into a tablet. The modification remains for sale at US$699 and takes a stock MacBook, removes the keyboard and screen, and adds a Wacom pen-based screen to give the device a tablet form factor.

During this process, Axiotron originally began marketing the devices as a “TabletMac” as referenced in this 2007 press release and filed a trademark for the term. Sometime in the past year, however, the trademark was transferred from Axiotron to Apple, and Apple is now listed as the owner of the trademark.

Per MacRumors, the transfer of ownership may not mean Apple has plans on using the term for their own long-anticipated tablet device. Apple may have simply contested the trademark due to the potential for confusion between “TabletMac” and their own trademarks.

Even so, the trademark has now been snagged and Apple may be drawing some lines in the sand as to product identification in the upcoming consumer market.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think!

Apple Launches U.S. Black Friday Sale, Modest Discounts Seen

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Date: Friday, November 27th, 2009, 08:27
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

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Black Friday is upon us and while the sales aren’t extraordinary, there’s a couple bucks to be saved if you know where to look. Per CNET, the latest updates are as follows:

- Apple’s U.S. Black Friday sale is up, and while not spectacular, there are some rare discounts to be found. To go back to the same examples we used for the UK and Australian Apple stores, the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro is US$1,098, down from US$1,199.

All MacBook Pro models are exactly US$101 off, while the US$999 white MacBook is not discounted at all. The 32GB iPod Touch is currently US$268, down from US$299.

This sale is good online and in Apple’s retail stores and runs until 3 AM EST on Saturday, November 28th.

If you see any killer sales in your area (up to and including someone selling MacBook notebooks from the back of a van near the highway), please let us know.

Apple Authorized Resellers Launch Black Friday Sales Early

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, 06:05
Category: News

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As was the case last year, several Apple authorized resellers are getting an early start on the 2009 holiday shopping season by launching early Black Friday sales that offer up to US$220 off Mac desktops and $250 off Mac notebooks.

Per AppleInsider, outfits such as MacMall, ClubMac, and OnSale.com have each begun 72-hour Black Friday sales at midnight that are scheduled to run through 11:59 p.m. pacific time on Friday. Meanwhile, others like MacConnection and Best Buy have similarly put into effect their lowest prices on Macs this calendar year.

MacBooks and Mac minis:
Thus far, MacConnection is offering the lowest price we’ve seen this year on Apple’s white MacBook notebook at US$884.99, a savings of US$114 after rebates. And for its part, MacMall is extending the deepest discounts on new Mac minis, selling the 2.26GHz model for US$549.99 and the 2.53GHz model for US$744.98, also after rebates.

MacBook Pros and iMacs:
For MacBook Pros and iMacs, MacMall, ClubMac, OnSale, and MacConnection, the prices are fairly competitive. Some noteworthy standouts include the 2.26GHz 13″ MacBook Pro and 3.06GHz Dual 21″ iMac, each for US$1,069.00 at MacConnection (a US$130 savings). Meanwhile, MacMall is offering the 2.66GHz 15″ MacBook Pro for US$1,798.97 (US$200 savings) and the 3.06GHz Dual 27″ iMac for US$1,584.99 (US$130 savings). The best price on the 2.80GHz 17″ MacBook Pro is US$2,249.00, a savings of US$250. Best Buy is also offering the new 3.06GHz 21.5-inch iMac for US$1,099 (a $100 savings without a rebate, unlike many reseller deals).

MacBook Airs and Mac Pros:
Finally, MacMall is extending the lowest prices on MacBook Air notebooks at US$1,398.98 for the 1.86GHz model and US$1,689.98 for the 2.13GHz configuration. Discounts on Mac Pros span US$200 to US$220 from the vast majority of the resellers.

If you’ve seen any killer sales on your end, please let us know.

Intel Atom Processor Support Missing From Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update

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Date: Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, 05:55
Category: News, Processors

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As much as the Hackintosh community may love Mac OS X, Apple doesn’t always love them back.

Per OSXDaily, support for Intel’s Atom processor is confirmed to be missing in the final release of 10.6.2.

Apple’s latest update for Snow Leopard has broken support for Intel’s Atom processor line. Mac OS X 10.6.2 was released Monday afternoon, and was Apple’s second major update for Snow Leopard.

OSXDaily reported that various netbook and “hackintosh” forums are “blowing up with problems of 10.6.2 instant rebooting their Atom-based notebooks.” Systems using the Atom processor will go into a startup-loop if the 10.6.2 update is installed.

Support for Atom fluctuated over the course of 10.6.2 development, and Apple was mum about the subject.

It is recommended that anyone using OS X on Atom-based systems should not install the update. Many believe that a community-generated fix will be developed soon. Prominent hackintosh blogger StellaRola commented, “Just an FYI, this is OSx86 after all and none of the scenes hackers really let down on support. The latest kernel may not be “officially” supported but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a modded kernel around the corner.”

Intel’s Atom processor is a low-cost, low-power chip intended for notebooks, netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs. Although current Apple products do not sport the Atom chips, a dedicated community has formed around the practice of installing Snow Leopard on Atom netbooks.

TechRestore Now Offering MacBook Glossy to Matte Screen Conversion for $200

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Date: Tuesday, October 13th, 2009, 04:42
Category: MacBook, News

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You either love Apple’s glossy displays or hate them with the fury of a thousand suns.

Until now, shoppers could get either a glossy or matte display with the 15″ MacBook Pro, but not the 13″ model. Per Cult of Mac, TechRestore (disclaimer: a PowerPage sponsor) has stepped in to do the “repair.” For US$200, they’ll remove your 13″ MacBook or MacBook Pro’s glossy display and slap a matte screen in its place. The work comes with a 1-year warranty and TechRestore says they’ll have your notebook back to you within 24 hours of receipt. Note that this requires a trade-in of your existing screen and it’s theirs forever.

If you’ve tried this service before, let us know in the comments.