Rumor: Second-gen iPad to surface in early 2011, feature both front and rear cameras, SD card slot

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Date: Friday, December 10th, 2010, 03:28
Category: iPad, Rumor

Component suppliers for Apple’s iPad are planning to begin a new round of iPad production in the first quarter of 2011, with one source saying that the next-generation iPad will have front- and back-mounted cameras, a new report claims.

According to a Reuters report published on Friday, sources claim the next-gen iPad will sport dual cameras, and could begin production as early as the first quarter of 2011.

The report further confirms the likelihood of a FaceTime-capable iPad. Additionally, on Thursday, new iPad cases were spotted with cutouts for a rear-facing camera and space for what could be an SD card slot.

Reuters’ sources pegged touchscreen chip designer Wintek Corp, battery maker Simplo Technology and AVY Precision, “an unlisted maker of covers for electronic products,” as suppliers for the next batch of iPads.

Camera component suppliers Genius Electronic Optical CO and Largan Precision Co were also reportedly starting new “supply deals” with Apple, though sources were unable to confirm for which products.

The report lined up with what RBS analyst Steven Tseng has been hearing. “It makes sense for these suppliers to begin delivering their goods in February,” he said. “I think Steve Jobs will announce the new product in January, and we should see the new product hitting shops in about April.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air EFI firmware update 2.0 for 2010 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Thursday, December 9th, 2010, 05:38
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple issued a MacBook Air EMI firmware resolving an issue where the ultra-thin laptop boots or wakes to a black screen or becomes unresponsive.

Per AppleInsider, the MacBook Air EFI firmware update 2.0 is recommended for all 11″ and 13″ MacBook Air (late 2010) models and requires Mac OS X 10.6.5 to install and run. The update addresses a “rare issue” where the MacBook Air is unresponsive or displays just a black screen after booting or waking.

Apple launched the redesigned MacBook Air in October at its “Back to the Mac event.” As predicted by AppleInsider the Mac maker released an 11.6″ version of the ultra-portable notebook and abandoned mechanical hard disk drives in favor of custom solid state storage.

On the day of the revamped MacBook Air’s unveiling, Apple released a software update for the product, resolving a problem where the MacBook Air became unresponsive after waking from sleep when an external display was connected.

Shortly after the release of the MacBook Air, reports emerged that users were experiencing problems ranging from faulty logic boards to display issues. One issue, detailed on an Apple support thread, involved a flickering or frozen screen. It is not clear whether Apple’s EFI firmware update specifically addresses this issue.

Despite scattered reports of issues with the MacBook Air, the laptop has continued to sell well, especially the 11-inch model. The US$999 11.6″ MacBook Air’s ship times slipped from within 24 hours to 1-3 business days in the first week after its release.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Rumor: Mac App Store may launch on Monday, December 13th

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Date: Monday, December 6th, 2010, 05:02
Category: Rumor, Software

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You’re hankering for the Mac App Store.

And it may be here in exactly a week.

Per a rumor on AppleTell, Apple has apparently told developers to have their applications ready for a launch as soon as today. A source told the site that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs wanted to launch even sooner than today.

“That obviously didn’t happen, but Apple appears to be way ahead of schedule on the Mac App Store nonetheless, and looks to take advantage of the Christmas rush,” author Kirk Hiner wrote.

Last week, Apple issued its second beta of Mac OS X 10.6.6 with support for the forthcoming Mac App Store. Developers with the early build were reportedly told that the latest update to Snow Leopard “contains developer support for fetching and renewing App Store receipts.”

The Mac App Store was announced in October, and Jobs said it would launch within 90 days. To meet that launch window, Apple has until late January.

Apple is rumored to hold a media event in the coming days to announce the ability to subscribe to publications on the iPad through an iTunes account. It’s possible that Apple could also launch the Mac App Store at the apparent event.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patents describe possible convertible tablet, next-gen MagSafe power/optical connector

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Date: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010, 05:46
Category: iPad, MacBook, Patents

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A pair of patents that went public on Tuesday reveal that Apple could be working on a device that converts from standard laptop form to tablet form as well as a magnetic connector that provides both power and an optical data connection.

Per freepatentsonline, a November 30 patent entitled “Application Programming Interfaces for Scrolling Operations” has surfaced, the patent depicting an Apple notebook that slides into tablet form as an example of a device that would take advantage of the patent’s scrolling operations.

The drawings first show a laptop with a traditional keyboard, body, display frame and display. Then, according to the patent, “the laptop device can be converted into a tablet device” by sliding the display across the keyboard.

Since the patent relates to scrolling operations, it would presumably not cover the convertible laptop to tablet form factor. Apple does, however, disclaim in the application that the patent contains “specific exemplary embodiments.”

“It will be evident that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the disclosure as set forth in the following claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative sense rather than a restrictive sense,” reads the patent.

In its recent revision. to the MacBook Air line, Apple took features from the iPad, such as “solid state storage, instant-on, amazing battery standby time, miniaturization and lightweight construction.”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during the ultra-thin laptop’s unveiling that he and his company had asked themselves, “What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?” With both a touchscreen and a keyboard, laptop and tablet configurations, these figures from the scrolling operations patent reveal the possibility of an even closer integration between the two products.

In another patent awarded Tuesday, Apple seeks to reduce the number of cables connected to a laptop device to a single connector that would provide both a power and data connection.

One drawing of the invention depicts what appears to be a MagSafe-like connector attached to a “power and data adapter” with optical, USB, Ethernet, and DVI ports. The adapter would function as both a power brick and a port hub.

Another drawing features a MagSafe connector that splits off into a fiber optic cable with a data adapter and a DC power cable with a power transformer.

The patent could be a first look at Apple’s planned implementation of Intel’s Light Peak optical cable technology. Intel is reportedly readying Light Peak for an early 2011 release, and Apple is expected to quickly incorporate the technology into its Mac line of computers.

Intel claims Light Peak has a bandwidth of 10Gbps and will scale up to 100Gbps over the next decade. “Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible,” states Intel on its website.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on the patents, please let us know.

Adobe looking to settle battery life argument, currently testing MacBook Air-specific version of Flash

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Date: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, 20:27
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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Following a brief period of controversy regarding Flash and its relationship with specific hardware, Adobe’s chief executive revealed this week that his company is currently testing an optimized version of Flash built specifically for Apple’s newly released MacBook Air.

Per Engadget, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said that Adobe is looking to improve battery life on the MacBook Air with a new custom build of Adobe Flash, currently in beta testing in the company’s labs. According to Engadget, he noted that battery life performance depends on hardware acceleration.

“When we have access to hardware acceleration, we’ve proven that Flash has equal or better performance on every platform,” he said.

His comments come after testing of the new MacBook Air found that ditching Flash improved battery life by two hours. The new notebook gets six hours of uptime loading pages in the Safari browser, but that dips to four hours once Adobe Flash is installed.

Apple caused a stir in October, when it released its newly redesigned MacBook Air models, but shipped them without the Flash plugin preinstalled. Apple portrayed the change as an advantage to consumers, as leaving the user to install Flash ensures they have the latest version.

Apple and Adobe have been at odds in 2010, in a feud that gained considerable steam after Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs published an open letter criticizing Flash as old technology that is unfit for the modern era of mobile computers. Apple does not allow Flash onto its iOS-powered devices, including the iPhone and iPad.

Jobs also revealed that Flash is the number one reason for crashes on the Mac platform. For its part, Adobe fired back and said that any crashes of Flash in Mac OS X are not related to its software, but are instead the fault of Apple’s operating system.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Entire Beatles catalog now available via iTunes Store

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Date: Tuesday, November 16th, 2010, 08:41
Category: iPod, iTunes Music Store, News

On Tuesday, Apple announced that the entire Beatles catalog is now available via the iTunes Store. Per Macworld, the group’s complete box set is now available for US$149 with many individual tracks selling for $1.29 apiece. Single albums cost $13 each, with double albums such as the Past Masters compilation going for $20.

Each of the 13 remastered albums also sport iTunes LP features, including a mini-documentary on the making of the album. The complete box set also features an exclusive: the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964” film of the Beatles’s first U.S. concert. However, if you’re not ready to pony up the full cost of the complete discography, don’t worry: everybody will be able to stream the video from iTunes for free for the rest of 2010.

The appearance of the Beatles on iTunes is the culmination of years of rumors, half-starts, and legal disputes between Apple and the Beatles’s Apple Corps. In a day and age where most new music is released online, the Beatles have long been the most prominent holdout from digital downloads. The closest the lads from Liverpool got was last year, when a limited edition of the band’s remastered discography was released on a USB flash drive with high quality digital tracks.

Despite Jobs’s well known love of the Beatles, Apple and Apple Corps have had a tortuous legal history spanning more than three decades. The companies first met in 1978, shortly after Apple’s inception, when Apple Corps sued the nascent computer company for trademark infringement; the two settled a few years later, with Apple agreeing to stay out of the music business. That lasted until 1989, when Apple started selling a Mac that could synthesize music; Apple Corps sued , saying that the move violated the earlier deal.

The two companies settled for a second time in 1991. That lasted until 2003, when Apple launched the iTunes Store, over which Apple Corps launched a new suit, once again pointing to Apple’s entry into the music business as a clear violation of the two companies’ settlement. That court case dragged on for several years until 2007, when the two companies struck a new deal to settle the breach. By the terms of the new deal, Apple would own all rights related to Apple trademarks and would in turn license those rights back to Apple Corps.

Light Peak could arrive for the Mac in early 2011

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Date: Thursday, November 4th, 2010, 05:10
Category: Hardware, News

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Intel’s Light Peak optical cabling technology is on track to make its first appearance in products in early 2011, with Apple expected to follow soon after, according to a new report.

Per CNET, Apple has expressed a very strong interest in Light Peak after Intel approached them with it several years ago. According to sources, Apple Chief Steve Jobs and Intel CEO Paul Otellini allegedly fleshed out the Light Peak standard after Apple intimated that it was looking into optical signaling as a single port solution.

Light Peak, as we’ve outlined before, is a high-speed optical cable technology with bandwidth of 10Gbps, with the possibility of scaling up to 100Gbps in the future. A full-length Blu-Ray movie could transfer over Light Peak in less than 30 seconds, Intel states on its website. The company “expects to see Light Peak in PCs and peripherals in 2011.”

Per the report, sources claim that Light Peak will make its debut in the first half of 2011, and “likely earlier in the year than later.” Apple, which is described as an “innovating force in the industry,” is expected to incorporate Light Peak quickly after its release.

Early versions of the technology have already been tested on Macs. In 2009, “an Intel demonstration at its developer conference used a machine running Apple’s Mac OS X,” wrote author Brooke Crothers.

Optical cabling would provide Apple an alternative to USB 3.0. Though the Cupertino, Calif., company was rumored to be adding USB 3.0 to its Mac Pro and iMac desktops this summer, the updates failed to materialize. Apple has had the USB 3.0 specification for almost a year and a half. Intel has also resisted adopting USB 3.0, holding off on supporting the standard in its chipsets, despite one Intel spokesperson assuring that Intel remains “absolutely committed to USB 3.0 and beyond that.”

A continued Apple/Intel partnership for Light Peak would make mainstream adoption of the technology highly likely. Intel has the reach needed to drive costs down, and Apple is willing to take risks with new standards. Intel may also be looking to work with Apple to develop a mobile version of Light Peak, which would help it break into the mobile space, where Intel’s Atom processors have struggled for years.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Jobs states Apple won’t support USB 3.0 in the near term via e-mail reply

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Date: Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010, 04:48
Category: Hardware, News

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It’s hard to say exactly what Steve Jobs will do next, so this may have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Per Tech2.0, a recent Steve Jobs e-mail sent as a reply to Mac user Tom Kruk stated that Apple has no plans to add USB 3.0 connectivity to Macs any day soon.

In the e-mail, Jobs allegedly wrote: “We don’t see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example.”

Mac users will be missing out, for now at least. Following tests, the speed benefits of USB 3.0 are clear, particularly for high-definition video, music, and digital imaging applications. USB 3.0 offers a theoretical 10X jump over current USB 2.0 hardware, which maxes out at 480Mbps. USB 3.0, in contrast, can handle up to 5Gbps.

Intel is expected to roll out USB 3.0 sometime in 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple delays white iPhone 4 model until spring 2011

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Date: Wednesday, October 27th, 2010, 03:18
Category: iPhone, News

If you’ve been dreaming of a white iPhone 4, well…it’s good to have dreams, because you’ll have to keep doing so.

Per Digital Daily, Apple on Tuesday announced it was again forced to delay the launch of its white iPhone 4, this time past the holiday buying season until spring 2011.

The article stated that the white iPhone 4 won’t arrive until next year. The news comes after some speculated the device’s inclusion in an update to the Apple Store application on the App Store could imply an imminent launch.



“We’re sorry to disappoint customers waiting for the white iPhone yet again, but we’ve decided to delay its release until this Spring,” an Apple spokesperson reportedly said.

Apple has publicly delayed the white iPhone 4 numerous times. In late July, the company issued its last update on the hardware, stating that it would go on sale in late 2010.

In July, Apple said that manufacturing of the white hardware proved “more challenging to manufacture” than the company had originally anticipated. That reveal came just a week after Chief Executive Steve Jobs publicly said the white iPhone 4 was on track to launch by the end of July.

Some reports have claimed that Apple and its manufacturing partners have had difficulty creating glass with the right shade of white for the handset. Apple, however, has not offered specifics on the issues, though the white model has not been available for sale anywhere since the iPhone 4 launched on June 24th.

If you have any feelings about this, please let us know what’s on your mind.

Apple previews Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” at media event

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Date: Thursday, October 21st, 2010, 01:53
Category: News, Software

In the midst of Apple’s product announcements yesterday, the company previewed its next-generation operating system, Mac OS X 10.7, dubbed “Lion”.

Per AppleInsider, the update will bring iOS features to the Mac platform, including multi-touch gestures, the App Store and Home screens, and will arrive in the summer of 2011.


Features of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” highlighted by Jobs Wednesday include:
- Multi-touch gestures

- App Store

- App Home screens

- Full screen apps

- Auto save

- Apps resume when launched

The preview highlighted just a few of Lion’s features, including the Mac App Store, a new way to discover, install and automatically update desktop apps; Launchpad, a new home for all of your Mac apps; system-wide support for full screen apps; and Mission Control, which unifies Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces and full screen apps into an innovative new view of everything running on your Mac, and allows you to instantly navigate anywhere.

“Lion brings many of the best ideas from iPad back to the Mac, plus some fresh new ones like Mission Control that Mac users will really like,” Jobs said in a press release. “Lion has a ton of new features, and we hope the few we had time to preview today will give users a good idea of where we are headed.”

Multi-Touch:
Jobs said that touchscreens don’t work when in front of a user, which is why devices like the iPhone and iPad are successful. Given that, Jobs said Macs will stick with products like the trackpad and Magic Mouse for input.

“This is how we’re going to use multi-touch on our Mac products,” he said.

Mac App Store:
Lion will bring the Mac App Store, which, like on iOS, will include one-click downloads, free and paid downloads, and revenue sharing with developers. The Mac App Store will also include automatic updates, and software will be licensed for use on all personal Macs.

Apple said the Mac App Store brings the App Store experience to OS X, making discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier than ever. Like on iPad, you purchase apps using your iTunes account and they download and install in just one step. App updates are delivered directly through the Mac App Store, so it’s easy to keep all of your apps up to date. The Mac App Store will be available for Snow Leopard within 90 days and will be included in Lion when it ships next summer.

A demo showing off the Mac App Store showed off the ability to purchase and install Pages with just one click. Applications can also be added to the Launch Pad, which can be selected from the Mac OS X Dock and brings an iPad-style grid of icons and pages onto the screen as an overlay.

Mission Control:
Jobs also announced a new feature, Mission Control, which allows users to view anything running on a Mac and instantly navigate to anywhere. He said this will combine existing features, like Expose, with new ones like full screen.

Apple said that Mission Control presents you with a unified view of every app and window running on your Mac, so you can instantly navigate anywhere. Mission Control also incorporates the next generation of Exposé, presenting all the windows running on your Mac grouped by application, alongside thumbnails of full screen apps, Dashboard and other Spaces.

Mission Control clusters alike apps, making them easy to select when in Mission Control.

LaunchPad:
Similar to the Home screen on iPad, you can see all the apps on your Mac elegantly displayed just by clicking the Launchpad icon in the dock. Apps can be organized in any order or grouped into folders, and you can swipe through multiple pages of apps to find the one you want.

Lion includes system-wide support for full screen applications. With Lion, you can enter full screen mode with just one click, switch from one full screen app to another with just a swipe of the trackpad, and swipe back to the desktop to access your multi-window applications.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.