Flip4Mac updated to 3.1.0.24

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Date: Monday, February 25th, 2013, 07:29
Category: News, Software

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Late last week, software developer Telestream has released version 3.1.0.24 of Flip4Mac, its QuickTime components package which allows for Windows Media files to be viewed, imported and converted under Mac OS X. The new release, a 66.3 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and changes:

New Features:
- Added support for Retina displays.

- Added the ability to export to iTunes from Flip Player, including exporting both audio and video, or exporting just the audio portion of a movie.

- Added iPad mini and iPod Nano scaling presets.

Fixes and Enhancements:
- Fixed a bug that prevented Flip4Mac from playing ASX files with a bad first entry but a valid second entry.

- Fixed a bug that prevented exports from the Mac App Store version of ScreenFlow due to a sandboxing violation.

- Fixed a bug that could cause Flip Player to crash if a movie was closed while being loaded for trimming.

Flip4Mac 3.1.0.24 is available for free but can go as high as US$179 depending on the version purchased. The new version requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple posts updated specs, reduced prices for Retina Display MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, February 13th, 2013, 07:45
Category: MacBook Pro, News

It never hurts to wait a bit.

Per AppleInsider, Apple said Wednesday that it’s making the MacBook Pro with Retina display faster and more affordable with updated processors and lower starting prices, starting at US$1,499 rather than US$1,699.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now starts at US$1,499 for 128GB of flash, and $1,699 for a new 2.6 GHz processor and 256GB of flash. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now also features a faster 2.4 GHz quad-core processor, while the top-of-the-line 15-inch notebook comes with a new 2.7 GHz quad-core processor and 16GB of memory.

Apple today also announced that the 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of flash has a new lower price of US$1,399.

The revised units are available over on the Apple Store and immediately available.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

128 gigabyte fourth-gen iPad now available for purchase

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, 07:01
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

You know that enormous fourth-gen iPad you’ve been hankering for?

It’s here.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday updated its online store to reflect availability of the new high-capacity 128-gigabyte iPad with Retina display.

The new high-end iPad model retails for US$799 for the Wi-Fi-only model, or US$929 with cellular connectivity. It’s available in both black and white, just like every other capacity, and is advertised to ship in one to three business days.

Apple first announced the product, which doubles the previous maximum capacity of 64 gigabytes, a week ago. Prior to the announcement, evidence of a larger capacity iOS device had just been discovered in the newly released iOS 6.1 software update.

In announcing the 128-gigabyte iPad, Apple suggested the expanded storage would be particularly appealing to enterprise users, educators, and artists. The company also noted that virtually all Fortune 500 and more than 85 percent of the Global 500 are currently deploying or testing the iPad.

Aside from the increased storage capacity, the 128-gigabyte iPad with Retina display is unchanged from the previous fourth-generation models. It includes the Apple-designed A6X processor, a 9.7-inch Retina display, and a forward facing FaceTime HD camera.

If you’ve snagged the 128-gigabyte fourth-gen iPad and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases fourth-gen 128 gigabyte Retina Display iPad

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013, 07:02
Category: iPad, News

This came out of nowhere, but it’s appreciated.

Following up on a series of software updates, Apple on Tuesday announced it has launched a new 128-gigabyte model of the fourth-generation iPad with Retina display, doubling the previous maximum capacity offered.

The 128-gigabyte version of the fourth-generation iPad are available starting Tuesday, Feb. 5 in black or white. They will have a suggested retail price of US$799 for the Wi-Fi-only model, while the cellular-capable model will sell for US$929.

Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad lineup now extends to four different capacities, starting at 16 gigabytes for the entry-level model. The smaller iPad mini still tops off with a 64-gigabyte model.

The announcement of the new iPad model comes only a few days after it was discovered in the newly released iOS 6.1 software update that Apple had included references to a new iOS device with a storage capacity of 128 gigabytes. Previously, the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad lineups all maxed out at 64 gigabytes.

Aside from the higher storage capacity, the new 128-gigabyte iPad with Retina display is unchanged from the previously released fourth-generation models. It includes the Apple-designed A6X processor, a 9.7-inch Retina display, and forward facing FaceTime HD camera.

If you get your mitts on the 128 gigabyte iPad in the next few days, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Mozilla releases Firefox 18.0.1 update

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Date: Monday, January 21st, 2013, 07:25
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Never knock a decent update on a web browser you’re fond of.

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 18.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 36.6 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

Bugs Fixed:
- Problems involving HTTP Proxy Transactions.

- Unity player crashes on Mac OS X (bug 828954).

- Disabled HIDPI support on external monitors to avoid rendering glitches (bug 814434).

New:
- Faster JavaScript performance via IonMonkey compiler.

- Support for Retina Display on OS X 10.7 Lion and up.

- Preliminary support for WebRTC.

Changed:
- Experience better image quality with our new HTML scaling algorithm.

- Performance improvements around tab switching.

Developer:
- Support for new DOM property window.devicePixelRatio.

- Improvement in startup time through smart handling of signed extension certificates.

HTML5:
- Support for W3C touch events implemented, taking the place of MozTouch events.

Fixed:
- Disable insecure content loading on HTTPS pages (62178).

- Improved responsiveness for users on proxies (769764).

Firefox 18.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple to release all-Retina iPad, MacBook Pro lineups in 2013

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 16th, 2013, 08:09
Category: Apple TV, Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, MacBook Pro, Rumor

Even though it’s a rumor, there’s got to be a nugget of truth in there somewhere.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has made his Apple hardware predictions for the upcoming year, and expects a bevy of new iOS and Mac product releases will help the iPhone maker address a wider swath of the market

Kuo, who has seen previous success in predicting future Apple products, says the company will introduce a number of new iOS devices in 2013, including an inexpensive iPhone 5, upgraded iPhone 5S, Retina display-toting second-gen iPad mini and a redesigned fifth-generation iPad, among others. He goes on to say that Apple will retire the non-Retina MacBook Pro line and replace it with an all-Retina lineup at a lower price.

Kuo is quick to note that none of the product forecasts are expected in the first quarter of 2013 and says “many” will be introduced in the second half of the year.

According to the analyst, Apple will release both an iPhone 5S with updated internals as well as an inexpensive version of the current iPhone 5 design with a thicker plastic chassis available in six colors. The iPhone 5S, which Kuo believes will launch sometime in June or July, will have largely the same aesthetic as the existing model, but will boast a built-in fingerprint sensor, improved camera and more powerful A7 SoC. A slightly revamped “new design” iPhone 5 is expected to go on sale as a less-expensive alternative to Apple’s flagship handset at around the same time, with the affordable price tag attributed to a plastic exterior that will be available in multiple colorways.

Kuo believes a new fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad will launch with lighter frame and a more refined look, borrowing the narrow bezels seen on the iPad mini. In turn, the smaller tablet will move to generation two and get a Retina display that sports the same 2,048-by-1,536 pixel screen resolution as the existing full-size iPad. By using an identical resolution, app makers won’t have to make software changes to fit a new native format. The same thinking was used when the iPad mini was released with a resolution identical to the iPad 2.

As for Apple’s MacBook, the analyst sees an end of life for non-Retina MacBook Pros, which will be replaced by an all-Retina lineup that eschews optical drives. Pricing should be reduced to help move units. The MacBook Air will see little change besides a bump in internal specs as sizing down the high-resolution Retina display is seen as too steep a challenge at this time. Because the Air will not see a significant design change, the tweaked models are expected to arrive earlier in the year, with the all-Retina MacBook Pro line coming in quarter three.

In respect to the iPod product line, Kuo isn’t expecting much in the way of revolutionary changes. With the fifth-gen iPod touch released, Apple will likely introduce a cheaper variant of the current design without a camera and less built-in memory to reach a target price of US$199.

Finally, 2013 is expected to be the last year in which the Apple TV is considered a “hobby,” but Kuo doesn’t believe the company will introduce a full-fledged television set in the next 12 months. The existing media streamer is likely to morph into a serious business — possibly a full-fledged HDTV — in 2014, as Apple already has the infrastructure to support such a device with iTunes, the App Store and iCloud services. What the company lacks, however, is experience in the industry, especially concerning the establishment of a reliable supply chain. Kuo looks to the much-rumored “iTV” as a source of growth in the coming years.

Mozilla releases Firefox 18.0 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013, 07:31
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

You can’t knock a solid update.

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 18.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 38.4 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

New:
- Faster JavaScript performance via IonMonkey compiler.

- Support for Retina Display on OS X 10.7 and up.

- Preliminary support for WebRTC.

Changed:
- Experience better image quality with our new HTML scaling algorithm.

- Performance improvements around tab switching.

Developer:
- Support for new DOM property window.devicePixelRatio.

- Improvement in startup time through smart handling of signed extension certificates.

HTML 5:
- Support for W3C touch events implemented, taking the place of MozTouch events.

Fixed:
- Disable insecure content loading on HTTPS pages (62178).

- Improved responsiveness for users on proxies (769764).

Firefox 18.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Workaround discovered for poor graphics performance/frame rates on 15-inch MacBook Pro

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Date: Friday, January 4th, 2013, 08:54
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

In as much as you love your 15-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro notebook, there are times where things aren’t always perfect. Per CNET, some Mac users are finding that some of the latest MacBook systems from Apple are sometimes showing drastic drops in graphics performance, which are particularly notable when playing graphically intensive applications like video games.

The issue seems to be that while at first launching the game will show the expected smooth performance, it may suddenly drop to a very low frame rate and be essentially unplayable. Usually when systems drop to low frame rates it suggests they are being overworked for some reason and are struggling to make the computations necessary for smooth gameplay, and as a result will usually be relatively hot as the graphics card is taxed; however, in these systems this is not the case and in testing some users have noticed that various monitoring tools show the system at a relatively idle state, suggesting the system is not being taxed much and instead is just not performing the computations at hand.

Apple’s 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro systems ship with two graphics cards (a discrete Nvidia Geforce GT 650M for graphics intensive operations and an on-board Intel HD 4000 GPU for standard everyday tasks), which it switches between dynamically to get optimal energy savings and increase battery life. However, it appears that the problem at hand is with how the system is handling this switching behavior, where it will switch back to using the lower power Intel graphics and therefore not be able to manage the demands of fancier games.

The mighty Topher Kessler has listed how to reset the SMC and thus regain some of your graphics frame rate via the following steps:

- Shut down the computer.

- Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

- On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

- Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

- Press the power button to turn on the computer.

After these steps have been performed, the system should perform as expected with graphics-intensive applications.

If you’ve tried this fix with your 15-inch MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple patents point to effort to reduce noise on MacBook Pro fan modules

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 09:02
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News, Patents

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You know the fans on your MacBook Pro?

They’re about to get quieter.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trio of patent applications discovered on Thursday reveal how the asymmetric fan blade spacing used in the newest MacBook Pro with Retina display models quiet the spinning impeller without sacrificing performance.

The three patent applications, all titled “Centrifugal blower with asymmetric blade spacing” and numbered sequentially (1, 2, 3) cover separate fan designs that feature asymmetrically aligned fan blades, two with 31 blades and one with 61 blades.

Apple first introduced its asymmetric fan design in June with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and a subsequent teardown revealed that the laptop uses a 31-blade unit.

Typical fans incorporate a prime number of blades that are spaced at angles equidistant to each other, an industry standard aimed at reducing unwanted sound. At issue is the blade pass frequency (BPF) which produces harmonics from the pressure wave formed at the tip of each blade. The most noticeable source of noise is the pole pass frequency (PPF) tone, or the “vibration and resulting pressure waves created by the poles in the motor of the fan.”

Apple’s design calls for variably-angled blades that controls the spectral distribution of tones created by the fan. First-hand tests have found the new design to not necessarily quiet fan noise as much as create a less grating sound.

From the patent:
“Dispersing the energy of a tone over a number of discrete frequencies can make the tone seem less noisy to the listener by reducing the perception on the tonal BPF [blade pass frequency]. Spacing fan blades unevenly, while maintaining impeller balance, is one method of controlling pure-tone effects.”

According to the invention, the rearrangement of the fan blade angles cancels some of the noise usually heard in conventional portable computers but allows for the unit to still be balanced as the center of mass is located at the shaft of the impeller. The modified design also allows for the fan system to be smaller, thus permitting a thinner laptop as seen with the Retina MacBook Pros.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Next-gen iPad mini to include higher resolution display

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 14th, 2012, 08:44
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, Rumor

The nice thing about rumors: there’s a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is rumored to be focusing on upgrading the resolution of its recently released iPad mini to Retina display specifications, with the changes said to be arriving in the next generation of the small form factor tablet’s next generation.

The Taiwanese publication cited sources from the backlighting industry as saying Apple’s next-gen iPad mini will boast a higher resolution display. It is not yet clear if the 7.9-inch tablet will feature a screen on-par with current Retina offerings, but “market observers” said a HiDPI display is likely the next step for the mini.

If the rumors are true, the next-generation tablet will move to a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which would yield a higher pixel density than the full-size iPad’s 264 ppi due to the discrepancy in screen size.

Sources also said Apple will be modifying the 9.7-inch iPad’s existing LED backlighting system, going from dual light bars to one in an effort to cut weight and slim down the tablet’s profile.

Although DigiTimes has a spotty record when it comes to forecasting upcoming Apple products, the publication’s sources in the display industry are a bit more reliable. In October, it correctly noted that AU Optronics would be tapped as a suppler of the current generation of iPad mini displays, while a second report said weak yields were delaying the release of the iPad mini, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and the new iMac.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.