Media Event: Apple releases updated MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Aperture 3.1, iLife ’11, Pro Kit refinements and FaceTime for Mac OS X

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Date: Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, 19:05
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Proving good on a good numbers of the rumors surrounding the event, Apple offered a slew of goodies at its October 20th announcements including an updated MacBook Pro, a new MacBook Air and a slew of software goodies.

Without further ado, let’s get down to it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple surprised its audience by releasing a faster build-to-order MacBook Pro. For an additional US$200, customers can upgrade the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro to a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 processor from a 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 chip. The same upgrade is also available for the sole 2.53GHz 17-inch model for a US$400 premium. An upgrade on that model to a 2.66GHz Core i7 remains, priced at US$200.

In addition, Apple on Wednesday released a number of software updates related to the release of the new MacBook Air models, as well as the iLife ’11 suite. Those who pick up the newly released MacBook Air have Software Update 1.0, a 368KB download available via Mac OS X’s Software Update function, already available for them.

The update resolves an issue where the system becomes unresponsive while playing a movie trailer in iMovie. It also fixes a problem where the system becomes unresponsive after waking from sleep when an external display is connected. It is recommended for all late-2010 MacBook Air models.

During the event, Apple also released Aperture 3.1, a 357.55MB download that improves overall stability and performance, and also addresses compatibility with the newly release iLife ’11 suite.

Fixes and changes include the following:
- Performance when opening large libraries.

- Performance when exporting heavily-adjusted images.

- Importing iPhoto Libraries.

- Relinking to referenced images after importing an iPhoto Library.

- Importing photos and videos from iPhone or iPad.

- Upgrading libraries with images containing Spot & Patch adjustments.

- Duplicate detection of audio and video files.

- Face detection on RAW+JPEG pairs.

- Rendering of thumbnails used in Faces view.

- Rendering of images scaled to below 100% in Viewer.

- Image quality on straightened images.

- Applying Red Eye correction.

- Rendering thumbnails when reprocessing masters.

- Searching libraries containing a large number of keywords.

- Applying photos to GPS track paths.

- Export of GPS data when using Export Metadata command.

- Handling of color profiles in Print dialog when using Loupe.

- Applying and removing slideshow Photo Effects.

- Slideshows containing video clips.

- Tethered capture.

- Library database reliability.

- Library repair.

- Updating vaults.

During the media event, Apple also issued ProKit 6.0 for Snow Leopard. The 13.5MB downloadadds the following fixes and changes to Apple’s professional applications:
- Improves reliability for browsing iPhoto libraries in Aperture.

- Addresses cosmetic issue with appearance of disclosure triangles in Aperture.

- Fixes a problem in Logic Pro and MainStage where numeric parameters display incorrect information.

The update is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express, Soundtrack, Logic Studio, Logic Pro, MainStage, WaveBurner and Logic Express.

The highlight of the event came when Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the new MacBook Air, which Jobs came after the company asked itself “What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?” The company then announced the release two new MacBook Airs with 11.6″ and 13.3″ screens, instant-on capabilities, starting at just $999 which are now available.

The new MacBook Air has no optical drive and no hard drive, which allows instant-on capabilities. The MacBook Air has memory up to two times faster that is more reliable and 90% smaller and lighter, Jobs said.

Both models feature a forward-facing FaceTime camera, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics.

The new 13″ model boasts a 7 hour of battery life with 30 days of standby time and features a full-size keyboard and a full-size glass trackpad as well. The 13.3″ display is 1440-by-900 pixels, and the model weighs just 2.9 pounds.

The larger model starts at US$1,299 for 128GB of storage with a 1.86GHZ processor. Doubling the storage to 256GB is US$1,599.

The 11″ model has a display resolution of 1366×768 pixels. It’s just as thin, but is even lighter, at just 2.3 pounds.

The low-end model has a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 64GB of storage for US$999. a higher-end model with a 128GB drive retails for US$1,199.

Memory, rather than being enclosed in a solid state drive, is situated directly on the motherboard, allowing Apple to save space within the notebook. Jobs showed the inside of the MacBook Air, demonstrating that most of the space inside is used for the batteries.

The new MacBook Air measures an incredibly thin 0.11″ at its thinnest point and 0.68″ at its thickest, and weighs just 2.3 pounds for the 11″ model and 2.9 pounds for the 13″. Like the iPad, MacBook Air was designed from the ground up to use flash storage exclusively.

Along with the full-sized keyboard, as well as the standard Multi-Touch trackpad found on Apple’s MacBook Pro, the unit also include built-in FaceTime camera for communication with iOS-based devices as well as other Macs.

Full specs include the following:
Size and weight
Height: 0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
Width: 11.8″ (29.95 cm)
Depth: 7.56″ (19.2 cm)
Weight: 2.3 pounds (1.06 kg)

Processor and memory:
- 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache; or optional 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache.

- 800MHz frontside bus.

- 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM onboard (4GB maximum).

Storage:
- 64GB

- 128GB

Display:
11.6″ (diagonal) high-resolution LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors

Supported resolutions:
1366 by 768 (native), 1344 by 756, 1280 by 720, 1024 by 576 pixels at 16:9 aspect ratio; 1152 by 720, 1024 by 640, and 800 by 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 by 768, 800 by 600, and 640 by 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 by 480 pixels at 3:2 aspect ratio

Graphics and video support:
- Mini DisplayPort

- Pure digital video output

- DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (sold separately)

- VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (sold separately)

- Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately)

- HDMI output using a third-party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (sold separately)

- NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main
memory

- Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

- FaceTime camera

Keyboard and trackpad:
- Full-size keyboard with 78 (U.S.) or 79 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys and 4 arrow keys (inverted “T” arrangement)

- Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities

Peripheral connections:
- USB 2.0

- Mini DisplayPort

- MagSafe

- USB 2.0

- Headphone

- Microphone

Audio:
- Stereo speakers

- Omnidirectional microphone

- Headphone minijack

- Support for Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic

Communications:
- AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking4 (based on IEEE 802.11n specification); IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible

- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology

- Apple USB Ethernet Adapter (sold separately)

Battery and power:
- Built-in 35-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

- 45W MagSafe power adapter with cable management system

- MagSafe power port

Environmental:
Per Apple, the MacBook Air achieves EPEAT Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements. Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed of recyclable materials.

Pricing & Availability:

The 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air are immediately available through the Apple Store at apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The 1.4 GHz 11-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $999 (US) with a 128GB model for US$1,199 (US).

The 1.86 GHz 13-inch MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage starts at a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US) with a 256GB model for US$1,599 (US).

Configure-to-order options and accessories include faster processors, 4GB of memory, MacBook Air SuperDrive and a USB Ethernet Adapter.

Next-gen MacBook Air pics leaked

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 18th, 2010, 04:12
Category: MacBook Air, photos, Rumor

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It’s three days ahead of Apple’s scheduled “Back to the Mac” media event, but photos obtained by Engadget show a possible next-generation MacBook Air notebook with a unibody frame and what appears to be for a 13.3″ screen. The computer appears to have USB plugs on both the left and right sides, Mini DisplayPort and an SD card reader.

Engadget’s source claims the rest of the machine is also unibody, including the “large single mouse button,” but the screen will keep the current MacBook Air style, instead of the “edge-to-edge glass with black edges” that current MacBook Pro models have.

The laptop allegedly runs the same 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor as the current MacBook Air notebook, which could demonstrate that the photos are of an early prototype. Engadget’s source claims “the model dates back to at least April.”

The unverified photos represent “just one SKU,” so Apple may have something else in store as well, wrote author Paul Miller.

Additional sources have claimed that Apple will release a smaller 11.6″ MacBook Air this Wednesday at the company’s “Back to the Mac” special event.

Another source familiar with the matter believes the smaller form factor will forgo conventional hard-disk drive (HDD) or solid state drive (SSD) storage options in favor of an “SSD Card”, though details are still vague as to this possible feature.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think of the photos:





Rumor: Second-gen iPad could feature 128GB of memory, Retina Display, USB port

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Date: Friday, October 8th, 2010, 04:40
Category: iPad, News

Coming this holiday season, round two of the iPad.

Per AppleInsider, Taiwanese component suppliers have indicated that Apple’s next-generation iPad will sport a 7-inch high-resolution Retina Display, a camera, and 128GB of capacity as well as the guesstimate that it could sell 45 million in 2011.

Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities said this week that suppliers contacted during a trip to Taipei indicated that Apple plans to launch a new iPad in the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year. In addition to having a smaller 7″ size, he also said the device will have a “micro or mini USB” port.

The information is similar to what Goldman Sachs said in late September, including the addition of a USB port. If true, the addition of a new port could be a result of the European Union making MicroUSB the default charging method for mobile devices.

White said the next-generation iPad will replace the first-generation iPad when it is released next year. He made no mention of Apple maintaining its 9.7″ model, though Goldman Sachs said the new 7″ variety would be in addition to the current screen size.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 6.0 out the door, boasts speed improvements, new features

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Date: Wednesday, September 15th, 2010, 05:26
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop 6.0 for Mac OS X. The software allows Mac users to run Windows within Mac OS X. The company says that Parallels Desktop 6 has over 80 new features and improvements, the most prominent being an increased speed in addition to faster performance when handling files over USB or on a network. Per Macworld, the developer says that the new software can boot Windows 41% faster than the previous version, and 3D graphics performance gets a 40% increase. Parallels Desktop 6 also has full 64-bit support.

“With Parallels Desktop 6, gaming and graphics was a priority,” said Jack Zubarev, President of Marketing and Alliances for Parallels in a press conference. In addition to the graphics enhancements, Parallels Desktop 6 now supports 5.1 surround sound.

Parallels Desktop 6 also has new security features. Parental controls now work so that the setting you apply on your Mac are also carried over to Windows. The virtual machine encryption feature helps maintain the privacy of your data. Parallels also provides the Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 (Windows) and Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac software packages, as well as the Acronis True Image Home 2010 backup and file recovery program, and Acronis Disk Director 2011 Home hard drive utility (both for Windows).

Other new features include the ability to use Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts in Windows and the ability to use Spotlight to find Windows programs.

Parallels Desktop 6 retails for US$80 while a student version is available for US$40. Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac will also be packaged in a US$100 Switch to Mac bundle targeted at new Mac users who are switching from a Windows PC computer. The Switch to Mac bundle includes a USB cable for transferring files between a Mac and PC.

Existing Parallels users can upgrade to version 6 for US$50. If you bought Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac after August 15 from an authorized dealer, you will be able to upgrade to version 6 at no additional cost.

A direct download of the new version is available here.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback about it, let us know.

Missing Sync for Android 1.4.3 released

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Date: Monday, September 13th, 2010, 05:06
Category: News, Software

Late last week, software developer Mark/Space released The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.6, a 20.4 megabyte download (via MacUpdate). Like the other Missing Sync apps, Missing Sync for Android allows you to sync your Android devices music, photos, contacts and other data with your Mac.

The new version adds the following fixes and changes:

- Corrected application behavior when a sync is initiated from the phone or by Proximity Sync™, The Missing Sync will launch on the Mac in the background (it was not already running) and quit after the sync has completed.

- Added support for syncing multiple alarms in events.

- Reduced memory usage when syncing large sets of data.

- Improved reliability of syncing read-only (subscribed) iCal calendars.

- Improved handling of special (extended) characters within the body of contacts or events.

- Enhanced the user interface for the Music and Photos plugin settings.

- Improved Sync History log messages to better indicate problem records.

- Resolved an issue where extra lines (line feeds) in event and contact records could cause sync errors.

- The companion Android phone apps, Fliq Notes, Fliq Calendar and The Missing Sync were also updated to provide necessary support and compatiblity with the 1.4.3 Update.

The Missing Sync 1.4.3 retails for US$39.95 and requires the following elements to install and run:

- Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later

- iTunes 7.4 or later required to sync music

- iPhoto 5.0 or later required to sync photos

- iCal 2.0.5 or later

- QuickTime, version 7 or later required to sync video

- Android phone and Mac must be on the same Wi-Fi network to sync contacts

- Internet access required for product registration and device pairing

- Bluetooth contacts syncing requires phone running Android OS 2.0 or later

Two new Apple patents emerge pertaining to cloud-based sorting, syncing

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Date: Friday, September 3rd, 2010, 08:21
Category: Apple TV, News, Patents

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Two days after Apple’s media event unveiled a new cloud-based Apple TV, two patent applications from the company describe methods to improve the experience of over-the-air syncing, and browsing of Internet-based content.

Per AppleInsider, the documents describe wirelessly syncing data between a server in the “cloud,” and a client device owned by an individual user. They also detail methods that aim to improve the navigation, browsing, search and playback of digital media that is hosted on a remote server.

One patent application, entitled “Media and User Interface for Accessing Groups of Media Assets,” relates to browsing content through scrolling lists, searching for specific content, or viewing by category types. The other, named “Data Synchronization Protocol,” describes the syncing of data over the Internet to portable devices like the iPhone, and stationary ones like a Mac.

The timing of the publishing of the documents is noteworthy, as the new Apple TV focuses exclusively on streaming from external devices and over the Internet. Apple will allow TV episode rentals for 99 cents, and first-run HD movies for US$4.99 over the device, as well as access to other Internet-based content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe.

The new Apple TV aims to simplify the browsing experience by relying solely on the cloud, and not saving data on the device itself. In addition to streaming video, the new Apple TV also helps users catch shows they may have missed by keeping viewed content synced with the cloud.

Wednesday’s Apple TV announcement is expected to be only the beginning for Apple’s cloud-based initiative, as the company is reportedly looking to offer an Internet-based iTunes service. Apple has reportedly been in talks with content providers and aims to obtain the necessary licenses to allow users to stream their content to their devices, even with limited or no storage like the Apple TV.

The new application related to data synchronization describes syncing across a number of devices, including Macs and iPhones. It describes allow over-the-air syncing of portable devices, like the iPhone, that currently must be tethered to a computer via USB to sync.

The described invention includes “fast,” “slow” and “reset” sync modes, determined based on a request received from the mobile device. The sync modes can be applied to different types of data classes with different file sizes (say, contacts vs. photos) to more efficiently conduct the cloud-based sync.

The application related to browsing on the Apple TV describes providing a list of information to users, and allowing them to expand that list or seek additional information via a remote control.

It describes methods for quickly sorting content that can be streamed from the cloud, based on criteria set by the user when they browse based on category, or conduct a search.

The application pertaining to syncing was filed on May 13, 2010 and is credited to Brendan A. McCarthy and Carsten Guenther. The application related to browsing of content was originally filed for on May 12, 2010, and is a continuation of a patent filed on May 28, 2007. It is credited to Rachel Clare Goldeen, Jeffrey Ma, Michael Margolis, Rainer Brodersen, Calin Pacuraiu, and Jeffrey L. Robbin.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta four to developer community

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Date: Friday, September 3rd, 2010, 04:39
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple seeded Apple on Thursday seeded its fourth beta of Mac OS X 10.6.5 to developers, as the security and maintenance update continues to be tested before its public release.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the latest build, said to be known as 10H535, indicated that it features the same focus areas as the previous build, issued exactly one week ago Developers have reportedly been asked to concentrate on 3D Graphics, Mail, iCal, QuickTime, Time Machine and USB Devices.

The latest build is also said to have the same known issue as before, in which having VMWare or Parallels installed may prevent the use of devices connected to a USB port.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta 3, focuses on lone remaining issue

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Date: Friday, August 27th, 2010, 07:06
Category: News, Software

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Apple on Thursday seeded the third beta of Mac OS X 10.6.5 to developers, its latest security and maintenance update for Snow Leopard, with just one known issue.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the latest build, reportedly known as 10H531, said the lone issue is associated with VMware and that having the software installed can cause USB devices to not work when the Mac is awoken from sleep mode.

The sources said said Apple has asked developers to focus on a few key areas for the latest beta, including iCal, Mail, USB Devices, QuickTime, Time Machine and 3D graphics. The delta update is said to be a 557MB download.

The latest beta comes just a week after the last build was supplied to developers. And the previous, first build arrived only six days before that.

Recently unearthed iPad configuration policies provide additional evidence to forthcoming camera

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Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010, 06:43
Category: iPad, News

You’re hankering for a camera on the iPad and it may be forthcoming.

Per AppleInsider, iPad management profile policies available to corporate users include the capability to disable use of its camera, providing evidence of future intent to include a camera on upcoming models.

Apple’s configuration profile tools for iOS devices include a variety of settings and restrictions that companies can impose to regulate how the devices are used and to configure services such as VPN and wireless networking access or email, calendar and directory services.

These policies can also force strong passwords and set security features such as the number of times a password attempt can fail before the device wipes its data. Similar to parental controls, the policy settings can also be used to block access to features such as the iTunes Store, Safari, YouTube, or the use of its camera.

While iPhones do have cameras to disable, the current iPad lacks this. However, among the profiles specifically included in its iPad documentation, Apple notes the ability to restrict camera use on the iPad.

Prior to launch, it was widely rumored that the iPad might include a camera. When it shipped, Apple only provided the ability to connect to external cameras through its Dock connector, either via USB or using an SD Card reader adapter.

API support for camera, flash, and zoom functions were discovered in developer builds of the iPad-only iOS 3.2 in February.

While those APIs may have been added as part of software development work performed to support iPhone 4, Apple also posted job listings for a “Performance QA Engineer, iPad Media” which stated, “Build on your QA experience and knowledge of digital camera technology (still and video) to develop and maintain testing frameworks for both capture and playback pipelines.”

Taken together, it appears likely that future versions of iPad will incorporate a camera, most likely a front-facing unit intended to support FaceTime. That video conferencing feature is currently limited to iPhone 4, but Apple plans to make it a widespread standard among mobile devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

We Have a Winner: Outlet Charging Proves Faster for iPhone 4

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Date: Monday, July 12th, 2010, 04:02
Category: iPhone, iPod, News

Among the great debates of computer technology (along with whether or not to shut your computer down for the night or put it to sleep and how this affects the hardware) is the question as to whether or not to charge an iPhone or similar device via an outlet or USB port. Even in the case of charging an iPad, where the user receives a “not charging” message near the battery indicator, the device is charging, but slowly.

The guys over at When Will Apple? took the time to do a pretty decent job of comparing charging times on the iPhone 4, comparing USB to AC outlet. The conclusion: USB charging takes 23% longer to charge an iPhone 4 than charging via an AC outlet. If you’re in a rush to charge your phone, that’s a pretty significant difference.

The little flaw in this test is not knowing the amount of charge coming from the USB port used, as not all USB ports are created equal.

If you’ve found a different result on your end, please let us know.