Rumor: Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update May Feature Nehalem, Radeon HD 4000 Support

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Date: Monday, March 2nd, 2009, 07:27
Category: Rumor

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Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.5.7 update may go beyond its usual complement of expected fixes and incorporate support for Intel’s new Nehalem hardware architecture as well as the ATI Radeon HD 4000 graphics chipsets.
According to netkas, a recent discovery located just five kernel extensions for the video cards and doesn’t appear to work perfectly in a bootleg installation for 10.5.6 meant for hacked Mac OS X installations. The retrofitted version doesn’t recognize DVI ports fully and doesn’t even recognize widescreen resolutions without third-party utilities to force the expanded screen area.
Even so, the extensions are enough to identify support for the Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 chipsets by name but also to enable Core Image and Quartz Extreme acceleration of the Mac OS X interface, which would require the direct involvement of AMD, Apple or both firms to work. They also support the full OpenGL 2.1 specification for 3D graphics.
And while screen captures currently aren’t available to support the claims as with the video hardware, the slip also hints that 10.5.7 is the first edition of Mac OS X to recognize Intel’s Nehalem architecture.
The Nehalem architecture is a major overhaul to Intel’s standard hardware approach to processors and leaves aside the standard system bus in favor of an interface that lets the processors talk directly to memory, peripherals and each other.
Although it’s unknown as to whether Apple will formally include the new hardware support in the release of Mac OS X 10.5.7, such add-ons will eventually become necessary. It’s been rumored that Apple is looking to use Intel’s Nehalem-based Xeon processors at the heart of its next generation of Mac Pro workstations and will eventually filter the technology down to its portables and mainstream desktops through Core i7 processors, which share the same essential design.
Apple has also remained comparatively dormant in its support for AMD’s ATI Radeon graphics and hasn’t used hardware newer than the Radeon HD 2600 found in the iMac and as an option for the Mac Pro; the technology is now approximately two generations old.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Review: Roxio Toast 10 Titanium and Toast 10 Titanium Pro

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Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 15:59
Category: Review

By Robert Kaneko
Roxio has once again updated their flagship authoring software package. The latest update, Toast 10 Titanium, continues the natural evolution of a mature product. It gives the user some hints about where Roxio might go with the product as we begin to approach the end of the general use optical storage era. It also presents users with a choice. Roxio has, for the first time, split the product into two versions. There is Toast 10 Titanium, which is the standard version of Toast that users have come to know and love. There is also Toast 10 Titanium Pro, a new variant that basically includes four extra third party authoring solutions in with the basic Toast package.
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Let me admit up front that I am a long time fan of Toast. It sits on my short list of “must have” applications. As I noted in my Toast 9 Titanium review last year, I find it an invaluable resource for authoring and archiving beyond the basics provided by Apple’s iDVD, iTunes and Finder disc burning features. In addition, Roxio seems to anticipate that one new feature that I didn’t even know I needed that makes me want to open my wallet one more time.
Toast 10 Titanium has joined the growing list of applications that now requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later. The funny thing is, I didn’t know that when I started this review. Sitting comfortably in my world of ignorance, I installed Toast on my trusty PowerBook G4 running OS X 10.4.11. It worked beautifully! I used most of the new features, including the ability to download and convert flash video from sites like YouTube, and they worked perfectly. I might have run into problems with AVCHD support or Blu-ray, but since I don’t have hardware that supports those features I remained blissfully unaware. Toast and SonicFire Pro 5 (part of the Toast 10 Titanium Pro package) both worked flawlessly. It wasn’t until I tried using the new Mac2TiVo feature that I realized there was a problem. That’s when I actually read the system requirements and moved the installation to a Leopard machine.
If you are familiar with any of the recent versions of Toast, especially Toast 9, Toast 10 is nearly identical. Roxio has once again polished the interface, dropping the styling of Toast 9 in favor of a more Leopard-friendly look, but the general structure of the program remains largely unchanged.
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Click the jump for the full review…

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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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Apple Posts Knowledge Base Articles to Help Access RAM/Hard Drive/Battery for Unibody MacBooks

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Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 13:41
Category: How-To

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Recently, Apple posted updated Knowledge Base documents referencing how to access the batteries, hard drive and RAM on the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.
While the 13″ and 15″ computers come with a hatch that provides easy access (at least to the hard drive and battery), the 17″ computers do not have a hatch and many users have complained about the accessibility for user-serviceable hard drives, as well as RAM upgrades for the whole product line.
Per MacFixIt, Apple’s reasoning for removing the access hatch makes sense from a battery engineering standpoint, but it does limit users from otherwise relatively simple repairs, upgrades, and troubleshooting. Despite not having a hatch, the 17″ macbook is still accessible. Users will have to remove the bottom case of the computer, and will need a #0 philips screwdriver.
The Knowledge Base documents can be located at the following links:
17″ MacBook Hard Drive (and RAM) (note that the RAM installation instructions are inscribed on the inside hatch).
15″ MacBook Hard Drive (and RAM).
For users interested in upgrading the RAM on the new 15″ MacBook Pro, the following video guide functions as a very thorough demonstration on how to upgrade the RAM:
www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Upgrade-RAM-in-Unibody-MacBook-Pro—Bleeding-Edge-TV-297–71649299
If you’ve upgraded your unibody MacBook or MacBook Pro and have any tips to offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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QuickerTek Releases 2009 Apple aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro External Battery and Charger

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Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 08:11
Category: Accessory

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Accessory maker QuickerTek has begun selling its 2009 Apple aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro External Battery and Charger for Mac notebooks. According to MacNN, the unit is design for use with the latest unibody 13″ MacBooks and 15″ MacBook Pro notebooks. The battery is said to provide between eight and 10 hours of total run time as opposed to the five offered by Apple’s batteries. When attached, internal batteries are depleted before the QuickerTek one takes effect.
The QuickerTek battery is additionally said to charge in only three hours instead of five, as well as significantly extend the useful life of a MacBook by separately lasting between 2,000 and 3,000 recharge cycles. The unit retails for US$450.
If you’ve worked with QuickerTek batteries before or have an external battery of choice, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Customizable Four-Finger Gestures May be En Route for Apple Notebooks in Mac OS X

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Date: Monday, February 16th, 2009, 08:12
Category: News

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There’s some interesting stuff buried within the depths of the Mac OS X file structure. Among these, according to MyAppleGuide, is a bit of code in Mac OS X’s Trackpad preference panethat would allow users of multitouch-capable trackpads such as those on the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros to define their own four-finger gestures.
The file is currently a .nib, meaning it’s currently just installed as part of the interface and no actual code is hooked up to it, but if you have a multitouch-capable Mac (such as a unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air), you can find the same file at /System/Library/PreferencePanes/Trackpad.prefPane/Contents/Resources/ English.lproj/FourFingerSwipeGesture.nib.
Currently, the multitouch trackpad’s four-finger gestures are hard-coded and perform a given set of functions such as activating the desktop, triggering Expose, and bringing up the Application Switcher.
Customization of gestures could be en route in a future Mac OS X update, a feature many users might appreciate.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Monoprice.com to Begin Selling Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter on March 15th

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Date: Thursday, February 12th, 2009, 13:39
Category: MacBook

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If you own a unibody MacBook or MacBook Pro with a Mini DisplayPort and want to export video to a TV or other HDMI device, hang on for just a bit longer.
According to AppleInsider, discount cable outlet Monoprice.com will begin sell Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapters for US$14.25 starting March 15th. Two other new adapters, offering to convert the Mini DisplayPort signal for either DVI or VGA, will also be available that same day. The vast majority of today’s HDTVs have HDMI inputs, but DisplayPort is a relatively new player on the connection standard scene and connectors between the two are rare, especially for Mac owners.
Some users have been able to work around the problem with a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter that in turn feeds a DVI to HDMI cable, though that method may be less than ideal, requires the purchase of two adapters and may not be aesthetically satisfying and may degrade the video to a certain extent.
Apple currently sells a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter for US$29 as well as DVI adapters for US$29 through the Apple Store, but nothing for the HDMI standard.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and feel free to hurl your two cents in via the comments or forums.

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Rumor: Apple May Bundle Professional Features for Free Into Mac OS X 10.6

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Date: Wednesday, February 11th, 2009, 08:38
Category: Rumor

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It came from the rumor mill, so while it’s still unconfirmed, it’s at least interesting.
According to MacRumors, an architectural overhaul to Apple’s QuickTime media software due as part of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard may ship with a media player that bundles once-premium features at no cost.
For over a decade now, Apple has distributed a limited version of its QuickTime Player application with its operating systems, offering the Pro version as a commercial add-on. Once purchased, QuickTime Pro unlocks advanced recording, sharing, saving and exporting functions after users buy a license key, which the company sells for US$29.95 and also bundles with some of its Pro software titles.
The QuickTime Pro licensing system appears due to change, as a source familiar with the latest distributions of Snow Leopard told MacRumors earlier this week that the software arrived with a version of Player that unlocks all QuickTime Pro’s existing features by default.
Though the accessibility of Pro features in the Snow Leopard builds could simply be a means of allowing developers access to test the new version of QuickTime, it was also reported that QuickTime system preference panel has been updated to completely omit the registration pane.
In recent years, Apple has loosened its grip on some legacy QuickTime Pro features while debuting others. In early 2007, the company added a new feature to the professional version of QuickTime that allowed users to export video on their computers in a format suitable for its then fledgling Apple TV media hub. A few months later it unlocked full-screen playback, a feature once exclusive to the Pro software.
Current speculation points to Apple’s shedding its need to directly earn revenue from QuickTime licensing, which may have changed from the days when Apple was generating income solely from its sales of Macintosh computers.
Shortly after the initial development of QuickTime 1.0 in 1991, Apple attempted to cover its development costs by packaging the technology into a US$149 Pro version of its Mac System 7 operating system software in 1993. That plan failed miserably given an expectancy towards free updates as well as other technologies to become acquainted with in System 7.
When QuickTime 2.0 was released in 1994, it was the only version to be released as a paid-only upgrade and was also the first version offered for Windows. By version 2.1, Apple was back to offering QuickTime for free, largely to spur rapid cross platform adoption as it fought with Microsoft to deliver the best video playback platform.
Apple’s inability to successfully license QuickTime as a raw software technology to the broad consumer market helps to explain why the company also makes no effort to sell Mac OS X to other hardware makers or as a retail product, and instead bundles its software with hardware sales.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’re played with a version of Mac OS X 10.6 and can offer any feedback about it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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The Missing Macworld Expo: February 20

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Date: Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007, 16:31
Category: Announcement
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We have just gotten an anonymous tip from a source that indicates that Apple is planning a special event on February 20 to introduce Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), iLife ’07 and iWork ’07 as well as updated Mac Pros. Mac Pros will be available immediately with a free upgrade to 10.5 when it ships, and the ship date for 10.5 will be confirmed for 3/24/07 as we have been predicting for quite some time now.

Apple Special Event on February 20 :: Apple Recon

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