Apple releases fourth-gen 128 gigabyte Retina Display iPad

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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

Posted by:
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

Posted by:
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

applelogo_silver

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.

Adobe releases Retina Display updates for Illustrator CS6 13.0.3, Photoshop CS6 13.0.2

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 11th, 2012, 07:38
Category: News, Software

adobelogo

You’ve been hankering for it since the Retina Display came on the market and now it’s arriving.

Per AppleInsider, in conjunction with its Create NOW event, Adobe on Monday released an update to all users of Creative Suite 6 that brings support to HiDPI screens like the Retina displays found in Apple’s top-of-the-line MacBook Pros.

It was first speculated that Adobe woud be releasing HiDPI versions of its professional image editing software in November when the company posted a video that showed a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display running Photoshop CS6 in a native high-resolution mode.

With the new capabilities, Adobe made good on a promise in August to bring Retina support for both Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 by the end of the year. Adobe introduced a release candidate of Lightroom 4.3 earlier in November with support for both the 13-inch and 15-inch Retina display MacBook Pro models.

The updates can be downloaded and installed via Adobe Creative Suite 6′s updater application (pull down the “Help” menu, click “Updates…”) and this will open.

Along with Photoshop and Illustrator, Adobe plans to offer Retina display support for its entire suite of software, including Dreamweaver, Prelude and Premiere Pro, among others. No launch timeline has been announced, but updates are expected soon.

Adobe’s Create NOW Live event is scheduled to start on Tuesday with a keynote from Vice President of Products Jeffrey Veen, which will be followed by discussions ranging from new Creative Cloud features to design talks from industry professionals.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve tried the new versions, please let us know what you make of them in the comments.

Rumor: Video lends support to Retina Display-ready version of Photoshop to be released on December 11th

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 28th, 2012, 09:35
Category: News, Software

adobelogo

This could lead to something useful.

Per Mac Otakara, an announcement on Adobe’s website regarding the company’s upcoming “Create Now Live” contains a video> that appears to show a Retina Display MacBook Pro running Photoshop CS6, suggesting the photo editing software will finally be getting native high-resolution screen support.

The embedded video shows a MacBook Pro with Retina display running Photoshop CS6 in what looks to be the laptop’s native Hi-DPI screen resolution.

The most telling evidence is the screenshot above, which clearly shows incredibly smooth font and mouse cursor reproduction indicative of the MacBook’s Retina display.

In August, Adobe announced that it would be bringing support for both Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 by the end of the year. Adobe released Lightroom 4.3 earlier in November with support for both the 13-inch and 15-inch Retina-toting MacBook Pro models.

Adobe is slated to kick off “Create Now Live” on Dec. 11, with a keynote from Vice President of Products Jeffrey Veen. Among the topics of discussion will be new Creative Cloud features and design talks from industry professionals.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available. And hey, a Retina Display version of Photoshop…how can that possibly NOT rock?

Target, Best Buy handing out iTunes gift cards with purchase of iPod touch, iPad units

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 23rd, 2012, 07:45
Category: iPad, iPod Touch, iTunes, News, retail

You’ve digested your turkey…now go snag those technology savings.

Per AppleInsider, discount retailer Target is giving away US$60 gift cards with each iPad with Retina display purchase, while Best Buy is offering up a US$50 gift card of its own with each new iPod touch. You can also get a US$100 iTunes Gift Card for US$80.

The retailer is giving away a $60 gift card with each iPad purchase (excluding the iPad mini) while supplies last. Most of the 4th-generation iPads remain available for sale online, but the 16GB models have sold out and shoppers must go to a Target retail store for those models.

Meanwhile, Best Buy is serving up US$50 gift cards with the purchase of the latest generation iPod touch (all colors) (US$294.99) and 4th generation iPod touch ($194.99). A similar deal on the iPod nano throws in a US$20 gift card (US$194.99).

Also, as in years past, Best Buy is selling US$100 iTunes Gift Cards for US$80.

If you’ve found some nifty technology savings for this Black Friday, please let us know in the comments and good luck out there.