Rumor: Next-Gen MacBook Pro units to feature fast solid-state drives, larger trackpads

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011, 04:05
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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A new rumor attributed to unnamed sources says the coming refresh of MacBook Pros will feature larger trackpads and boot from SSD, even on models equipped with a conventional hard disk drive.

Per Boy Genius Report, the “new laptops will contain glass trackpads that are even larger than the pads found on current-generation MacBook Pro models.”

It then adds that “next bit of information doesn’t quite make sense to us,” but describes an 8 to 16GB Solid State Drive being used as the Mac OS X startup volume even on base models, which will retain a regular hard drive as well.

Higher end models are said to use SSD exclusively, much like Apple’s existing MacBook Air line.

The advantage to using a hybrid SSD/HDD configuration, of course, is that the main benefit afforded by SSD is read speed, while its greatest drawback is expense per gigabyte of storage. SSD also has issues related to rewriting data as efficiently as conventional mechanical hard drives.

By combining both types of drives, Apple could provide rapid boot and “instant on” features currently available on the iPad and MacBook Air, while also providing large amounts of general storage for power users’ large documents.

The report also noted the new models are about a half pound (0.2 kg) lighter than existing models. It also describes five different SKUs, harmonizing with existing reports on the new models.

Kind of strange stuff but you never know.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases fifth Mac OS X 10.6.7 beta to developer community, directs focus to Safari

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Date: Friday, February 18th, 2011, 05:08
Category: News, Software

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This week, Apple issued the fifth beta of Mac OS X 10.6.7 on Thursday, directing developers to focus on Safari.

Per AppleInsider, build 10J858 was released as a 1008.8MB combo update and a 434.4MB delta update. According to people familiar with the beta, the update was released with no known issues as usual, though the Safari web browser has been added to the list of Focus Areas.

In addition to Safari, Apple has asked developers to look into the Mac App Store, Airport, Bonjour, SMB and Graphics Drivers.

Apple seeded the first beta of Mac OS X 10.6.7 on Jan. 20, just weeks after releasing Mac OS X 10.6.6 and the Mac App Store. The most recent build came a week ago on Feb. 10.

Mac OS X 10.6.7 is expected to have only minor fixes and few new features, as Apple plans to release a major operating system upgrade, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, this summer. Lion will incorporate features such as a home screen and full-screen applications from the Apple’s iOS back to the Mac.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on the new beta or have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

VirtualBox updated to 4.0.4

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 18th, 2011, 04:44
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.0.4. The new version, a 80.6 megabyte download, sports a list of fixes and changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 4.0.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Adobe Reader updated to 10.0.1

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Date: Wednesday, February 9th, 2011, 10:14
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Adobe released version 10.0.1 of its Adobe Reader application. The update, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Numerous security fixes as well as improvements to Protected Mode, QTP support, Flash, and support for SCCM via newly released SCUP catalogs.

Acrobat Reader 10.0.1 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.

Google Chrome updated to 9.0.597.84

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Date: Friday, February 4th, 2011, 05:33
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 9.0.597.84 for the Mac. The new version, an 32.2 megabyte download, offers the following the following changes:

- WebGL is a new technology which brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser. With WebGL in Chrome, you can experience rich 3D experiences right inside the browser with no need for additional software.

- With Chrome Instant (à la Google Instant), web pages that you frequently visit will begin loading as soon as you start typing the URL. (“Look, Mom – no enter key!”). If supported by your default search engine, search results appear instantly as you type queries in the omnibox.

- Lastly, the Chrome Web Store is now open to all Chrome users in the United States. As part of this, we’ve now added a link to the Chrome Web Store on the New Tab page, along with two sample apps. (If you don’t use these sample apps, they will automatically disappear after some time).

Google Chrome requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve played with it and have an opinion, let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple releases third Mac OS X 10.6.7 beta to developer community, no known issues cited

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011, 06:58
Category: News, Software

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The third Mac OS X 10.6.7 beta shipped this week, developers actually citing no known issues.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the latest build of Mac OS X 10.6.7 say it is known as 10J850, and was released late Tuesday. The delta update is reportedly a 376.9MB download.

Those people say Apple has asked developers to again focus their testing on the Mac App Store, as well as AirPort, Bonjour, SMB, and Graphics Drivers. The latest build has no known issues.

The last beta of Mac OS X 10.6.7, Apple’s forthcoming maintenance and security update for Snow Leopard, was released just over a week ago. That build, dubbed 10J846, was a 372MB download that asked developers to concentrate on the Mac App Store — the only change from the previous build.

And less than a week before that, on Jan. 20, the first beta of Mac OS X 10.6.7 was issued to developers. None of the releases have reportedly contained any known issues.

The last update for Snow Leopard, Mac OS X 10.6.6, was released in early January, and included access to the Mac App Store feature.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on the third Mac OS X 10.6.7 beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Users report bugs in iChat video recording on current-gen MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Monday, January 31st, 2011, 06:16
Category: MacBook Air, News

You love your new MacBook Air.

You would have asked it to prom if it had been around back then.

And it might not be able to record video chats despite having the hardware to do so.

According to MacFixIt, a reader wrote to state has not been able to record video chats in iChat on his new MacBook Air notebook. While video chats work fine, for some reason the “Record Chat” option in the “Video” menu does not work and the program will not allow video chats to be recorded. This is in contrast to both prior MacBook Air models, all other Mac systems that support video chatting.

MacFixIt reader “Joseph” writes:
“I’ve just discovered that the new MacBook Air, unlike every other current-vintage Apple laptop and desktop, is unable to record a video iChat. My local Apple Store tells me that the problem lies within the hardware itself. Can anyone tell me more specifically what that problem is, and whether there might be any workarounds?”

In the midst of diagnosing the problem, the article suggests creating a new user account on the system to test iChat with and see if any user-related settings were contributing to the problem.

On systems that support recording, a green check will appear. On the MacBook Air systems experiencing this problem an “Insufficient CPU” error will be shown.

Apparently other users have reported experiencing this problem, and in a call to AppleCare, one reader was told it is caused by the latest model of MacBook Air having a hardware incompatibility with iChat that prevents video chats from being recorded. To see this, if you go to the “Video” menu and choose “Connection Doctor,” select “Capabilities” from the drop-down menu and the “Record video chat” option will show “Insufficient CPU” instead of a green check.

Some MacBook Air systems that are experiencing this problem have been able to record video when running Mac OS X 10.5.x, indicating this issue may be with the previous 2009 models that shipped with Mac OS X 10.5 in addition to the 2010 models that shipped with Mac OS X 10.6.

The hardware in the latest MacBook Air should be fully capable of recording video chats.

Therefore, this is likely a bug in iChat that is preventing this feature from working. It appears Apple uses a specific feature of certain CPUs in iChat’s recording feature, and this feature is either not present in the CPUs used in the latest MacBook Air systems, or it has been disabled in firmware or by how the CPU interfaces with the other hardware changes in the latest MacBook Air systems.

Meanwhile if you are affected by this issue, one workaround that’s been located is to use QuickTime Player’s video chatting capabilities. To do this, start up a video chatting session and launch QuickTime Player. Then start a screen recording session, switch to iChat, and set the video to be full screen. This will record the screen and your audio input which you should then be able to import into iMovie or any other editing software.

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

Apple releases iTunes 10.1.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 28th, 2011, 04:05
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 10.1.2, the latest version of its digital jukebox/digital hub software. The new version, an 90.4 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and new features:

- Use AirPlay to instantly and wirelessly stream videos from iTunes to the all-new Apple TV.

- Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.2.

- The update also allows for syncing with Apple’s CDMA iPhone (a.k.a., the Verizon iPhone available on February 10th).

iTunes 10.1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new version and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Onyx 2.2.3 released

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Date: Thursday, January 27th, 2011, 04:25
Category: News, Software

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Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.2.3. The new version, a 16.4 megabyte download (courtesy of MacUpdate), adds the following fixes and changes:

- Misc display bugs corrected.

- Deleting the Fonts Cache improved.

- Deleting the logs improved.

- Help improved and updated.

- Individual deleting the .DS_Store files in the hidden folders.

- Restore Defaults Option in the Parameters > Dock panel improved.

- Bug corrected while checking the volume in some cases.

- Bug corrected in the Parameters panel (Mac OS X Server).

- Bug corrected when OnyX quit all the applications.

Onyx 2.2.3 requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

Drive Genius 3.1 update released

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Date: Wednesday, January 26th, 2011, 05:38
Category: News, Software

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Prosoft Engineering has released Drive Genius 3.1, an updated version of its drive repair and recovery program for Mac OS X.

The new version, a 16.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and features:

- The system startup volume can now be defragmented without the need of a DVD or alternate startup volume (“live” defrag).

- DrivePulse™ verifies the preference files of the logged in user and the global preferences located on the startup volume.

- DrivePulse™ displays visual error and warning status hints in its menu.

- Up to one month of DrivePulse™ event history can be browsed.

- Repartition offers the option to add HFSX volumes. UFS volume support has been removed as Apple is moving away from supporting UFS.

- ExFAT volume support. (10.6.5+ only)

- Drobo devices are officially not supported for most tools. Drobos are proprietary devices and due to the way they store and manipulate data on multiple physical drives, Drive Genius cannot safely manipulate that same data. It is the decision of Data Robotics, Inc to not share the technical information necessary to safely support Drobo devices.

- Bug Fix: Possible spurious failures when defragging an 8TiB or larger volume.

- Bug Fix: Missing fragmentation information in the Defrag overview for volumes that contain a very large number of files (such as Time Machine volumes).

- Bug Fix: Stability improvements to DriveSlim™while searching and while slimming files.

- Bug Fix: The DriveSlim™ Universal Binary slimming plan could spuriously fail.

- Bug Fix: If DriveSlim™ found an application that matched multiple slimming plans and one of the plans was Universal Binary slimming, only the Universal Binary plan would be run on the application.

Drive Genius retails for US$99 and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.3 or later installed to install and run.