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.

Rumor: Intel to Release Three New Arrandale Processors for Notebooks on January 3rd, 2010

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Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 06:52
Category: News

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It came from Rumorville, but it’s a good rumor, so hang on in there.

Fudzilla is reporting that Intel is planning on launching three Arrandale-based processors on January 3rd, 2010. These Arrandale processors are based on the advanced Nehalem architecture first introduced into desktop Macs earlier this year, and should represent a significant performance improvement over the Core 2 Duo processors that are currently found in Apple’s MacBook Pros.

The new processors will be branded under the “Core i5″ and “Core i7″ names and range from 2.4GHz to 2.66GHz with prices ranging from US$225 to US$332 in quantities of 1,000. Their TDP (thermal design power usage) of 35W as “not so attractive”, as it matches up with the current high-end processors used in the MacBook Pro and implies that Apple could use these processors in a new MacBook Pro update.

These new processors are said to eventually arrive in low-voltage variants that will also make them suitable for ultra-thin notebooks such as the MacBook Air.

Apple Authorized Resellers Launch Black Friday Sales Early

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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.

Axiotron Drops Modbook Prices for Holiday Sale

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Date: Friday, November 6th, 2009, 06:09
Category: Modbook

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Late Thursday, Axiotron announced a reduced price for the company’s Modbook tablet Mac. The price fell to US$699 for Modbooks built from a customer-supplied MacBook base system and US$1,599 for Modbooks that include a dealer-supplied 2.13Ghz MacBook base system. The holiday discount program runs through December 31, 2009.

Axiotron today also announced that the Modbook Pro tablet computer, unveiled during the Macworld Expo 2009, is planned for release at the end of the second quarter of 2010.

Every Modbook includes a 90 day Modcare warranty on the entire system (including the MacBook base system, whose warranty is voided during the Modbook conversion). Extended warranty options for one or more years are available through participating Axiotron sales partners. Servicing and repair of the Modbook are provided by Axiotron’s service provider network.

Some MacBook, MacBook Pro Users Report Overheating Under Snow Leopard

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Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 04:30
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro

A number of MacBook and MacBook Pro users are reporting that their systems running inordinately hot after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, causing their fans to work exceptionally loud. According to CNET, users in this thread on the Apple Support Discussions forums focus the issue primarily on MacBook Pros, though some scattered entries from MacBook owners suggest the issues may be noticed in many of Apple’s notebooks.

Users’ machines tend to run extremely hot, causing the fans to cycle at a high rate and deplete battery power at an accelerated clip. ASD forum user “Ryan83″ reports:

“Fans running constantly at 6000 RPM without any program running – - just letting it idle or running solely iTunes. iPhoto 09 unusable – - when you edit in full screen – - the screen shows colored artifacts all over. Internet has been very spotty and misbehaves.”

Similar symptoms are reported by many of the thread contributors. Typically, CPU usage will spike when users do media-heavy actions with their systems, such as editing photos with Photoshop, cutting movies with Final Cut Pro, or watching media online at sites like YouTube or Hulu. Some users suggest that it could be a hardware issue with the actual fans, though this is unlikely (at least at first). Because most users report the problem after their upgrade to Snow Leopard, chances are it is a software issue. If left unattended, the problem could eventually lead to the fans, logic board, or other hardware becoming corrupt.

Some things to check :
- Be sure all your programs are Snow Leopard compatible. Several users reported that updating the notification utility, Growl, to the Snow Leopard ready version, 1.2, solved their overheating issues. Users should open Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities) and take a look at any background processes that may be running. If any of those programs are not Snow Leopard compatible, they could be causing the excessive CPU usage and heat production.

- When in doubt, especially if you are under AppleCare, taking your machine to an AppleCare Authorized Technician or an Apple Store is a good idea. You will want to avoid any future damage to your hardware as soon as possible. Keep in mind that a solution may involve reinstalling Snow Leopard. Be sure you have a stable and current backup of all your important data. As we have mentioned in recent articles, the 10.6.2 update for Snow Leopard is expected very soon and includes (based on information from beta releases) a myriad of fixes that may include a solution to the overheating issue. When the update is made available, drop by MacFixIt to get a rundown of all the included fixes.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or found a workaround or fix of your own, please let us know in the comments.

Apple Releases Pro Application Support – 2009-01 Update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 23rd, 2009, 03:34
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released Pro Application Support – 2009-01, its Revision to Final Cut Studio 7. This update includes Final Cut Pro 7.0.1, Motion 4.0.1, Soundtrack Pro 3.0.1, Color 1.5.1, and Compressor 3.5.1 and addresses general compatibility issues, improves overall stability, and addresses a number of other minor issues.

The update can be found via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature provided you have an application installed that requires it and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Posted by:
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

Posted by:
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.