Apple Releases Performance Update 1.0 Patch for Certain Macs

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Date: Thursday, October 15th, 2009, 03:46
Category: Hardware, Software

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Early Thursday, Apple released Performance Update 1.0, a firmware fix for Macs experiencing occasional hard drive stalls under the Mac OS X 10.5 and Mac OS X 10.6 operating systems.

The patch, a 300 kilobyte download available via Software Update, affects the following machines:

– MacBook Air (Mid 2009)
– MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009)
– MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)
– MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009)
– MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53GHz, Mid 2009)
– iMac (20-inch, Mid 2009)
– MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)
– MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009), MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009)
– MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008)
– MacBook Air (Late 2008)
– MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008)
– iMac (24-inch, Early 2009)
– iMac (20-inch, Early 2009)
– Mac mini (Early 2009)

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or Mac OS X 10.6.1 (for the Snow Leopard version) to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update, please let us know how it worked in the comments.

RadTech Announces ClearCal Anti-Glare Sheets for iMac, MacBook Pro

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Date: Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, 07:05
Category: Accessory, iMac, MacBook Pro

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Accessory provider RadTech announced the immediate availability of its ClearCal anti-glare film sheets for the 17-inch MacBook Pro and 20-inch iMac on Wednesday. Per The Mac Observer, In addition to cutting glare from Apple’s glossy displays, the film sheets also help reduce the visibility of fingerprints and streaks.

ClearCal sheets are reusable and can be cleaned with water.

The sheets’ sizes are available for the 13″, 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro, along with the 20″ and 24″ iMac and the 24″ LED Cinema Display. Pricing starts at US$19.95.

Rumor: Apple to Release New iMacs, MacBooks for Holiday Season

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Date: Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 04:10
Category: iMac, MacBook, Rumor

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A recently report from the Barron’s financial publication alleges that Apple will release new iMacs and MacBook notebooks within a matter of weeks to refresh its offerings before the holiday season.

The report, which surfaced from Wedge Partners, said that the new iMacs will sport a thinner design with smooth edges. However, the MacBook refresh is said to be “limited.”

The document also cited likely price cuts, as tHe company sees the lower prices as a competitive alternative to Windows 7 machines. Wedge Partners predicts that Apple will sell 3 million Macs in the holiday season, riding the wave of price cuts and new products.

While new hardware should come as no surprise, AppleInsider has previously heard word of new iMacs and MacBooks. Last month rumors surfaced that the new Imacs would have compelling new features, one of which was said to have long been on Mac users’ wish lists, and another that would appeal to the semi-professional audio/video crowd.

Other rumors have stated that Apple would retain and redesign its line of plastic MacBooks. With only one non-Pro offering in the lineup, Apple is allegedly redesigning the systems with a slimmer, lighter enclosure and restructured internal architecture. Analysts have long believed that cracking the sub-US$1,000 notebook market would be a huge boon for Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

MyService Now Offering 750GB MacBook Pro Hard Drive Upgrade

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Date: Thursday, September 3rd, 2009, 04:38
Category: News

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Apple service provider MyService has launched a program in which the company will install a 750 gigabyte hard drive in your MacBook Pro notebook. According to MacNN, the US$375 price tag includes round-trip shipping, installation of the drive, and full data transfer. In particular the new drive is a 5400rpm Scorpio Blue model from Western Digital. Its height slightly exceeds the standard 9.5mm for 2.5-inch drives, but still fits in the computers accepted by MyService.

A compatibility list includes all of the unibody MacBook Pros as well as the 13″ basic unibody MacBook, and the 17″ MacBook Pro with a silver keyboard. The company is also promising a 24-hour in-shop turnaround, and the option of installing Snow Leopard for US$30.

The service includes shipping, data migration and the return of the old drive. Other drive capacities are available at varying prices. As MyService is an authorized service provider, upgrades should not void Apple’s warranty.

Apple May Overhaul Entry-Level Polycarbonate MacBook Models

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 03:43
Category: MacBook, Rumor

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Until recently rumored to be headed for the scrap pile, Apple’s entry-level polycarbonate MacBook notebooks may be on the verge of a refresh according to AppleInsider.

Per sources close to the story, Apple is said to be running the 13″ notebooks through an industrial design overhaul that will see them reemerge in the coming months with a slimmer, lighter enclosure and restructured internal architecture to boot.

It’ll be the first time in more than three years that the plastic Mac notebooks will receive a visual tune-up. Introduced in May of 2006, the white and black systems replaced the PowerPC-based iBook and 12-inch PowerBook as part of Apple’s transition to Intel processors and quickly became the best selling Mac of all time, according to statistics from NPD Group.

The MacBook notebooks were also among the first Macs to adopt Apple’s MagSafe power connector while pioneering several other features that would become staples of future Mac notebook designs, such as shrunken soft-touch keyboards, glossy displays, and a non-mechanical magnetic latches (see: Magnet madness to hit Intel iBook line – Feb 2006).

Earlier this spring, Apple restructured its notebook offerings by repositioning its aluminum unibody MacBooks as premium offerings under the MacBook Pro moniker, adding long-requested features such as FireWire and higher-quality displays. This left the company with just a single MacBook offering, a white polycarbonate model that retails for US$999 but sticks out like a sore thumb when positioned alongside its peers.

Interestingly, sales of the sub-US$1000 system have remained surprisingly brisk amid the economic crunch, leaving management little choice but to allocate R&D expenses in its favor. As of press time, Apple’s online store indicates that the white MacBook is outselling all other Macs with the exception of the iMac, while similar rankings from high-volume resellers like MacMall also consistently place it in the top 10 best selling Apple-related products overall, ahead of all desktop-based Macs.

While it’s unclear how many models or configurations Apple will introduce as part the redesign, Ben Reitzes — an analyst with Barclays Capital who’s been following the Mac maker for years — sees the company offering several, at various price points.

“We [...] believe the MacBook line needs to be revamped (there is only one MacBook available now, an old white model) and that we could see a lower priced line soon, positioned below the new MacBook Pro models,” he said.

Though details are few and far between, Apple is expected to achieve these markdowns through largely existing tactics, such as using lower-end components and previous-generation Core 2 Duo chips and architectures from Intel. Battery life should receive a boost from cutting-edge technology that recently found its way into the company’s other notebook offerings, while high-end legacy features like FireWire connectivity are likely to be sacrificed in the tradeoff.

Apple’s new line of low-end MacBooks could be viewed as the last piece to the puzzle in Apple’s top-to-bottom line of product offerings, transitioning the company from a premium PC and phone manufacturer to one that offers truly competitive prices on products in both categories.

Apple Notebook Guide for the College-Bound Published

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Date: Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, 04:32
Category: Any Laptop Computer, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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With August wrapping up and new students getting ready to head off to college, the Mac Observer’s John Martellaro has written an outstanding guide as to how to safely bring your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to campus, how to keep it safe and the various levels of security, backup and recovery to keep it safe.

Because, and take my word for it, if something happens to your laptop and you lose your data or the laptop itself, then nothing short of fifteen simultaneous miracles (including winning three separate multimillion dollar lotteries) is going to brighten your day.

The guide also features links as to bags, accessories and external hard drives worth considering to keep your notebook in good shape with its data safely backed up in an alternate location.

Take a gander and if you have any suggestions of your own, please let us know.

NewerTech Releases Intelligent Battery Charging Station for Apple Unibody Notebook Batteries

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Date: Friday, August 7th, 2009, 06:26
Category: Accessory, MacBook, MacBook Pro, News

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Yesterday, accessory provider NewerTech announced the release of its Intelligent Battery Charging Station, a peripheral designed to charge and condition the batteries used by Apple’s 13″ and 15″ unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.

The unit features two bays (one that charges while the other charges and conditions) and NewerTech claims that by conditioning the battery, you can get longer runtimes and better lifetimes from your laptop batteries. The charger retails for US$150 before shipping and handling.

Report Finds Running Windows 7 on MacBook Pro Drains Battery Life Quickly

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Date: Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 04:55
Category: MacBook, News

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Users hoping that the arrival of Windows 7 will lessen the power drain on Apple’s MacBook Pro notebook may have some hard news to face up to, as CNET’s Eric Lai discovered for a recent article he wrote. Running Windows 7 in Boot Camp caused one CNET reviewer’s battery life to fall by more than two-thirds.

In addition to this, virtualization software such as VMware Fusion suffer from the same complaints. Some blame Apple’s Boot Camp drivers (the last ones were released in April 2008) while others blame Windows’ bloated codebase. With Apple and Microsoft both trying to avoid responsibility for improving the experience, Windows 7’s reported improvements in power management will be moot for MacBook Pro users for a while.

If you’ve tested the Windows 7 beta on your MacBook and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

MacBook Sales Jump 25% in June Year-Over-Year Comparison

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Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, 04:02
Category: News

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Apple’s sales of the MacBook saw a 25% jump in the June year-over-year comparison according to NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker. The growth is attributed to Apple’s revised MacBook Pro line, which has not only changed specifications but absorbed some basic MacBooks, and fallen in price. “The Apple marketing machine is firing on all cylinders,” says Baker. “With almost every launch of new machines, sales get a boost.”

According to MacNN, the U.S. desktop sales grew 16% in the same month, in spite of slumping quarterly performance. Apple has not refreshed its desktop computers since March, when it updated its iMac, Mac Pro and Mac mini lines simultaneously. That event triggered a brief rise in sales, only to be followed by a now-common 30% decline.

TechTool Pro 5.0.5 Released

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Date: Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009, 04:03
Category: Software

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On Tuesday, Micromat released version 5.0.5 of TechTool Pro, its best-selling utility software for the Mac. The new version, a 56.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

  • Improved RAID volume support.
  • Fixed TechTool Protection system preference loading issue.
  • Added Trash History subcategory to the TechTool Protection system preference.
  • Added low-level file defragmentation to the Volume Optimization tool.
  • Fixed RAM display issue in Memory Test.
  • Enhancements to Volume Usage in the TechTool Protection system preference.
  • Fixed shared VRAM size display issue in Video Memory.
  • Fixed incorrect eDrive size for Mac OS X 10.4.x.
  • Fixed VRAM card display issue under Mac OS X 10.4.x.
  • Fixed selection issue in the Reports category.
  • Fixed Cache size reading for Mac Pro 2009.
  • Enhancements to the File Structures test.
  • Added Backup dialog warning upon launch of the application.
  • Updated Surface Scan to only show physical devices.
  • Updated SMART Check to show volumes names associated with the tested physical hard drive.
  • Updated main application interface to show Processors (PPC) or Cores (Intel).
  • Updated French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese (Simplified) localization.
  • Added more machine identification strings for Check Computer.

TechTool Pro 5.0.4 retails for US$98 and requires a Mac with a G4, G5 or Intel-based processor running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to install and run.