Initial Benchmarks Appear for Unreleased Core i7-Powered MacBook Pro

Posted by:
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.

QuickerTek Releases Wireless nCard for Older MacBooks, Mac Minis

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 06:31
Category: Accessory, MacBook, MacBook Pro, wireless

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It’s not quite as cool as whatever the iPad will become, but it’s useful stuff.

The cool cats at QuickerTek have released a new wireless nCard accessory for older MacBook notebooks and the Mac mini. The nCard extends Wi-Fi compatibility on the A, B, G and N standard and installs in the internal Airport card slot, with similar complexity to installing RAM chips. Per MacNN, the components are claimed to offer higher signal sensitivity and transmission power for potentially faster speeds and a wider reception area. Reception can also be further improved with an optional external antenna.

The nCard is compatible with 2006 through 2009 Mac minis but not the G4-based Minis, however and the 2006 through 2009 black and white plastic MacBook notebooks. The nCard also works in the 2006 through 2008 MacBook Pros in both the 15″ and 17″ inch models, excluding the unibody models.

The nCard is now shipping and is available for US$90.

Notebook Users Report Battery Errors Under Snow Leopard, Workarounds/Fixes Suggested

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 06:43
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

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Since installing it, I have to admit that I like Snow Leopard and it has yet to kick my pets or burn my apartment to the very ground.

These are good things.

Even so, per CNET, a large number of MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have noticed a problem with the computer frequently displaying a “Service Battery” warning in the battery system menu. This also seems to be coupled with relatively short battery life, either with the battery discharging rapidly or with the computer going to sleep but still reporting high percentage of charge left in the battery. As of the Mac OS 10.6.2 update, affected users are still experiencing the problem.

This problem appears to be an issue with Snow Leopard’s handling of the battery hardware, where the services that are supposed to detect battery problems are incorrectly reporting the battery status, and subsequently triggering the system to go into a precautionary sleep mode or claiming the battery is draining. This theory is backed up by the fact that affected people who have downgraded back to Leopard either by reinstalling, restoring from backup, or even booting off the 10.5 Leopard DVD have not had the problem occur on the same hardware.

A recent TUAW article suggests this behavior stems from Snow Leopard being fine-tuned to reveal existing battery problems that Leopard was not aware of. While this may be the case for some people, the sheer number of people reporting the problem indicates there may be errors in the software. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to discern those with pre-existing battery problems from those with healthy batteries.

In order to address the issue, the article offers the following tips to help sort things out via the mighty Apple Knowledge Base:

- Calibrating the battery

- Resetting the PRAM

- Resetting the SMC

Strangely, the battery issues have cleared for a few users who have just shut down and restarted their systems on a regular basis. While keeping the power supply plugged in to prevent any issued with the battery, they’ve turned off the machine and rebooted to see the battery being normally recognized. This suggests the problem may be with a setting more than a specific bug, that hopefully can be reset by a full restart. MacBook owners may tend to sleep their systems instead of restarting them, which will keep various settings from being refreshed.

Further supporting the claim of software issues in Snow Leopard is that some users have cleared the problem by booting into 64-bit mode. If you do not have any software that requires a 32-bit kernel and system extensions, try booting into 64-bit mode by restarting and holding down the “6″ and “4″ keys simultaneously. For some the problem has returned when booted back into 32-bit mode, but for others the switch to 64-bit mode has fixed it even when booted into 32-bit mode.

Another suggestion to address this problem is to remove the power management system preferences, which contains parameters that determine how the system will behave when running on either AC power, battery, or a UPS. This file is called “com.apple.PowerManagement.plist” and is located in the /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ folder, and can be removed without harming anything. This isn’t a fix, however, and those who have done this have found it only seems to temporarily remove the warning in the battery system menu, and does not address the underlying issue.

Lastly, the issue may lie with the upgrade process itself, where settings for Leopard are not working with Snow Leopard. The temporary successes with removal of the Power Management property list suggests this may be a possibility. As a result, try booting off a clean OS installation of Snow Leopard to test the hardware.

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

How-To: How to Fix a Faulty Multitouch Trackpad

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 4th, 2010, 07:23
Category: How-To

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Occasionally the Really Cool Thing on your MacBook or MacBook Pro stops working the way you want it to. And you get frustrated.

Per MacFixIt, a number of users have found that their multitouch trackpads on MacBook and MacBook Pro computers may randomly stop accepting 3 and 4 finger gestures. Although two-finger scrolling, tapping, and clicking will work as expected, the more complex inputs do not seem to be recognized.

This problem could be from a number of factors, including faulty preference files and other system settings and driver conflicts. Take a gander at the following tips to help resolve this issue:

Inherent Trackpad Delays:
If there are multiple confusing inputs being presented to the trackpad, the system may pause input for a second or two while it waits for a clear gesture to be used. These delays may be more prominent for multiple-touch gestures, so if you experience them, wait a few seconds and try the trackpad again with a firm and clear swipe instead of frantically trying to get the trackpad to work.

Test The Trackpad:
The utility “BetterTouchTool” has a “Live View” feature that can be used to visualize trackpad inputs. After installing and launching the preferences (from the BetterTouchTool menu extra), if the trackpad driver is recognizing multiple inputs you should see the dots representing those inputs on the Live View display. Keep in mind the BetterTouchTool is very experimental at this point, and while it does work it may crash; however, this feature should let you know whether or not the trackpad and driver are still working.

BetterTouchTool Live View: After installing and opening, select the “Touchpad” tab and click “Show Live View” to see the finger inputs on the trackpad.
(Credit: Screenshot by Topher)

Change Trackpad Settings: If the trackpad is not loading settings properly, try toggling some settings in the “Trackpad” system preferences. This should spur the system to load the new settings and hopefully get the trackpad working again.

Remove Third-Party Drivers:
If you have other input drivers, such as USB Overdrive, Logitech Control Center, or enhancers such as jiTouch or Multiclutch, try removing them and restarting the computer. Many times incompatibilities between input drivers may cause problems.

Try removing the .GlobalPreferences.USER-UUID.plist file:
The user account’s .GlobalPreferences file is a hidden preference file used for device settings such as colorsync profiles, default printers and monitors, and trackpad settings. After deleting this file and logging out and back in, you may need to ensure these items are setup correctly again. To do this, open the Terminal and follow these steps:

1. Type the following command (do not press enter): rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences

2. Press the Tab key twice, and you should see an output of the files containing “.GlobalPreferences” in their name.

3. Locate the one with the UUID in it (the UUID will look something like this: 6F77B0D6-8208-4977-8B45-EB1ADF6714BA) and start entering part of the UUID portion into the terminal so the command looks like the following: rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.6F77B

4. When you have entered part of the UUID section of the file name, press the Tab key once and the file name should automatically complete, so the command looks something like the following: rm ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.6F77B0D6-8208-4977-8B45-EB1ADF6714BA.plist

5. After the full filename has been typed, press enter to remove the preference file, and then log out and log back in to your user account.

Reset the PRAM: The system’s PRAM contains a number of settings, including those for mouse and trackpad input. Resetting the PRAM should clear any problematic settings that may interfere with the trackpad. To do this, reboot the system and immediately hold down the options-command-P-R keys. Hold the keys until the system resets a couple of times, and then release them and allow it to boot normally.

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

Etsy: Now Selling MacBook, MacBook Pro Vinyl Decals for Cheap

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 28th, 2009, 08:12
Category: Fun, MacBook, MacBook Pro

You love your MacBook or MacBook Pro, but sometimes there’s the feeling that it could be a little cooler looking. The guys at The Unofficial Apple Weblog have completed a quick roundup of custom vinyl decals for your road machine.

The cool cats contributing to Etsy seem to have their work cut out for them, the company making a wide assortment of decals for as little as US$10 before shipping and handling.

Take a gander and if I can’t sell you on them, maybe Yoshi can:

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QuickerTek Announces Whip Antenna Upgrade for MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 14th, 2009, 12:31
Category: News

Accessory manufacturer QuickerTek announced the release of its 5dbi whip antenna for the latest crop of Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. Per MacMegasite, the US$49.95 antenna upgrade attaches to the internal Apple AirPort card through the ExpressCard slot or the security slot-depending on the MacBook/MacBook Pro. A detailed installation manual and all the tools required are included with the kit.

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There’s no additional software to install and the upgrade moves the antenna up and out of the MacBook/Pro case which boosts the wireless range and speed with the powerful 5dbi antenna which has a removeable antenna clips to the screen of the computer. The Whip Antenna for the MacBook/MacBook Pro upgrade is designed for the unibody MacBook/Pro 13″, 15″ and 17″ models including the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation laptops. It also works with all Apple AirPort Base Stations, all 802.11a/b/g/n wireless access points from Belkin, Cisco, DLink and most others as well. Compatibility includes wireless devices in the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz ranges-which covers most any wireless network users are likely to encounter when going mobile. Like most QuickerTek products, the 5dbi Whip Antenna Upgrade is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Apple Releases AirPort Client Update 2009-002

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, 08:55
Category: Software

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Rounding out yesterday’s sexy update-o-rama, Apple also released its AirPort Client Update 2009-002. The update a 13 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Inability to turn AirPort on or off in some cases after upgrading from Mac OS X Leopard.
- An occasional loss of network connection when using Wake on Demand.
- Inability to create a computer-to-computer network, or share the Internet connection on some MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini computers.

As always, Software Update is your friend in snagging and installing this.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried it and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple Releases Firmware Updates for MacBook, MacBook Pro

Posted by:
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

Posted by:
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

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.