Apple announces 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012, 18:18
Category: MacBook Pro, News

You’ve been waiting for this for a long time now.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday took the wraps off its redesigned 13-inch MacBook Pro, featuring a high-resolution Retina display.

Apple executive Phil Schiller noted that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is Apple’s best selling Mac in its entire product lineup. With that in mind, the company has high expectations for its new MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The pixel count on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is so high that it is now the second highest resolution notebook, ahead of all competitors’ models with larger 15 or even 17 inch screens, the company said. The new screen features rich color, deep blacks, a 29% higher contrast ratio, a 75% reduction in reflection, uses IPS for 178 degree viewing, and delivers 300 nits of brightness.



“The 13-inch MacBook Pro is our most popular Mac, and today it gets completely reinvented with a new thin and light design, fast flash storage and a gorgeous Retina display,” Schiller said. “With vivid colors, razor sharp text and more pixels than anyone else’s 15 or 17-inch notebooks, the Retina display completely changes what you expect from a notebook.”

The new model weighs just 3 lbs, almost a full pound lighter than the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro, and is 0.75 inches thick, 25% thinner than before and the lightest ever. Schiller noted that the MacBook Pro’s Retina display has more than 4 times as many pixels than its predecessor.

The 13-inch Retina display has a pixel density of 227 pixels per inch. It also uses IPS technology for a 178-degree-wide viewing angle, and has 75 percent less reflection with 28 percent higher contrast than the current generation.

Beyond the screen, it has a FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, a backlit keyboard, and glass multi-touch trackpad, as well as the new MagSafe 2, dual Thunderbolt ports and USB 3.0.

Schiller said the “most exciting” part of the computer is on the inside: It’s been re-engineered from scratch, with asymmetric battery technology, Intel Core i5 or i7 “Ivy Bridge” processors, and Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics.

It also has up to 7 hours of battery life and comes with 8 gigabytes of RAM. Like its 15-inch brethren, the new MacBook Pro is only available with flash storage, which can be upgraded to 768 gigabytes.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is available with a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, 8GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage starting at US$1,699; and with 256GB of flash storage starting at US$1,999. Configure-to-order options include faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors and flash storage up to 768GB. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at apple.com/macbook-pro. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is available today through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VirtualBox updated to 4.2.2

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Date: Friday, October 19th, 2012, 07:02
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.2. The new version, a 102.3 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:
- VMM: adapted to changes in Mac OS X 10.8.2 (bug #10965).

- GUI: restored VM item tool-tip functionality (4.2 regression).

- GUI: added group item tool-tip functionality.

- GUI: fixed handling of the .ova/.ovf file name association (4.2 regression).

- GUI: it was not possible to change any setting before the first VM was created (bug #10928).

- GUI: disable grouping action if all the selected items are full children list of the same group already.

- GUI: added menu for runtime drag-and-drop option change.

- GUI: cleanup shared-clipboard menu on visual-mode change.

- GUI: make sure VM receives keyboard focus on entering fullscreen-mode on Win host (bug #11051).

- GUI: disable proxy authentication for security reasons.

- 3D Support: DrawIndexedPrimitiveUP implementation fixes for the Windows WDDM video driver (bug #10929).

- Storage: fixed a release assertion in the AHCI emulation when requests where canceled with asynchronous I/O disabled.

- Storage: fixed a hang during VM reset under certain circumstances (bug #10898).

- NAT: fixed a crash under rare circumstances (Windows hosts only; bug #10128).

- NAT: automatically use the host resolver if the host name server is set to some unusual loopback value (bug #10864).

- E1000: fixed a VirtualBox crash during intensive network transfers (4.2 regression; bugs #10936, #10969, #10980).

- ICH9: fixed PCI bridge initialization.

- USB mouse: ensure that the last mouse event doesn’t get lost if no URBs are available.

- BIOS: certain legacy guests (e.g. Windows 95) didn’t find the boot device after a warm reboot.

- BIOS: don’t trash the palette in text modes when setting the border color.

- EFI: fixed OS X guest autoboot (4.2 regression).

- VBoxManage: fixed output of showvminfo –machinereadable (bug #10973).

- VBoxManage: fixed parsing of storageattach –discard (bug #11023).

- VBoxManage: fixed wrong output of the HPET setting in showvminfo (bug #11065).

- VBoxManage: fixed closing the guest session after executing a guest process via guest control.

- VBoxShell: adaptions to interface name changes.

- Guest Additions device: fixed a Guest Additions hang when a machine was reset after a crash.

- Linux hosts / guests: Linux 3.7-rc1 fixes.

- Linux Additions: support X.Org Server 1.13.

- Linux Additions: fixed a hang when the X server was restarted with old guest kernels.

- Linux Additions: fixed a VBoxService crash during CPU hot remove (bug fixed in … (new)”>#10964).

- Windows Additions: fixed automatic screen resize issue for NT4 guests.

- OS/2 Additions: fixed shutdown hang.

- OS/2 Additions: fixed mouse driver panic.

- Solaris hosts: fixed autostart service going into maintenance mode after all VMs started.

- Solaris hosts: fixed linking the host driver with the dtrace module.

VirtualBox 4.2.2 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Apple begins shipping Lightning adapter orders

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Date: Monday, October 8th, 2012, 08:05
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

With any luck, that Lightning adapter you ordered should be arriving soon.

Per MacRumors, Apple on Monday sent out emails notifying a number of Australian customers that their Lightning to 30-pin Adapter orders had shipped, with an expected arrival date coming almost four weeks after sales of the iPhone 5 went live in September.

At least one buyer of Apple’s new adapter, which is currently only compatible with the iPhone 5, told MacRumors that his shipment is due for delivery on Oct. 9, more than three weeks after the handset went up for preorder in mid-September.

According to Apple, the move away from the legacy 30-pin plug to the 80 percent-smaller proprietary Lightning connector was required to build devices as slim and compact as the iPhone 5 and products from the next-generation iPod line. To help ease the transition to the new format, which effectively renders nearly a decade’s worth of “Made for iDevice” accessories obsolete, Apple is offering the US$29 Lightning to 30-pin Adapter along with a US$39 cabled version.

The reversible Lightning port dynamically assigns pins and uses only those signals required by a connected accessory, such as audio or USB data for a dock. The advanced protocol also carries authentication hardware, making it difficult for third-party manufacturers to build accessories without paying royalties to Apple.

It appears that Apple’s Lightning adapters will be indispensable for users tied to their accessories for some time, as Apple is said to have made significant changes to the “Made for iPhone” rules expected to be presented in November, allowing little to no room for accessory makers to build new products before Christmas.

If you’ve gotten your Lightning adapter and can offer any sort of feedback on it, please let us know how your experience went in the comments section.

Analyst: Apple’s new Lightning connector should have product lifespan of 5-10 years

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 21st, 2012, 06:01
Category: Hardware, iPhone, iPod, News

If you’re irked about having to buy a new Lightning adapter for your iPhone 5 or updated iPod, at least it’ll be around for a while.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s new Lightning connector, introduced alongside the iPhone 5 last week, is thought to be a key longterm investment for the company, and will possibly have a lifetime of ten years.

In a research note shared with clients, well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo broke down the cost of components used in the iPhone 5, and found the Lightning’s ASP (average sales price) to have risen the most compared to parts in the iPhone 4S.

Kuo notes the new Lightning connector’s cost of US$3.50 represents a huge 775 percent rise in ASP compared to the legacy 30-pin dock connector’s last price of US$0.40. Concurrently, the Lightning cable’s US$6.00 ASP is a 233 percent jump from the previous standard’s US$1.80 model.

The spike is to be expected as Lightning is a new technology, replacing the nearly decade old 30-pin dock connector first introduced with the third-generation iPod.

While Apple’s new plug is similar in size to the Micro USB standard, Kuo believes the Lightning’s specs are higher, making the connector more difficult to manufacture. Included in the new high-tech part is a unique design which the analyst says is likely to feature a pin-out with four contacts dedicated to data, two for accessories, one for power and a ground. Two of the data transmission pins may be reserved for future input/output technology like USB 3.0 or perhaps even Thunderbolt, though this is merely speculation.

As for Lightning’s expected lifespan, the format is estimated to be in use for the next five to ten years, almost identical to the now-defunct 30-pin standard.

While ASP may be high in the first one to two years following deployment, the cost is acceptable as Apple will likely make back its investment in royalties from accessory sales. Apple is thought to be using a Texas Instruments chip for accessory authorization, making it difficult for third party manufacturers to build and sell Lightning-compatible products without paying royalties.

Looking at other critical parts in the iPhone 5, Kuo notes Apple’s quest to make high-quality products has boosted the ASP of other components as well, including the sapphire camera lens cover, upgraded baseband system, the A6 processor and the 4-inch in-cell touch panel. The second-highest ASP rise comes from the iPhone 5′s all-aluminum back casing’s $17 price which represents a 240 percent increase from the US$5 “metal band” design seen in the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VirtualBox updated to 4.2.0

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 13th, 2012, 07:42
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.0. The new version, a 96.6 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

New Features:
- Improved Windows 8 support, in particular many 3D-related fixes.

- GUI: VM groups (bug #288).

- GUI: expert mode for wizards.

- GUI: allow to alter some settings during runtime.

- Support for up to 36 network cards, in combination with an ICH9 chipset configuration (bug #8805).

- Resource control: added support for limiting network IO bandwidth; see the manual for more information (bug #3653).

- Added possibility to start VMs during system boot on Linux, OS X and Solaris; see the manual for more information (bug #950).

- Added experimental support for Drag’n’drop from the host to Linux guests. Support for more guests and for guest-to-host is planned. (bug #81).

- Added support for parallel port passthrough on Windows hosts.

- Enhanced API for controlling the guest; please see the SDK reference and API documentation for more information.

In addition, the following items were fixed and/or added:
- Mac OS X hosts: sign application and installer to avoid warnings on Mountain Lion.

- VMM: fixed a potential host crash triggered by shutting down a VM when another VM was running (only affected 32-bit hosts and 64-bit OS X hosts, 4.1 regression, bug #9897).

- VMM: fixed a potential host crash under a high guest memory pressure (seen with Windows 8 guests).

- VMM: improved VM context switch performance for Intel CPUs using nested paging.

- VMM: added support for FlushByASID features of AMD CPUs (Bulldozer and newer).

- VMM: fixed unreal mode handling on older CPUs with VT-x (gPXE, Solaris 7/8/9; bug #9941).

- VMM: fixed MP tables fixes for I/O APIC interrupt routing relevant for ancient SMP guests (e.g. old OS/2 releases).

- VMM: support recent VIA CPUs (bug #10005).

- VMM: fixed handling of task gates if VT-x/AMD-V is disabled.

- VMM: page fusion fixes.

- GUI: network operations manager.

- GUI: allow taking screenshots of the current VM window content (bug #5561).

- GUI: allow automatically sorting of the VM list.

- GUI: allow starting of headless VMs from the GUI.

- GUI: allow reset, shutdown and power off from the Manager window.

- GUI: allow to globally limit the maximum screen resolution for guests.

- GUI: show the full medium part on hovering the list of recently used ISO images.

- GUI: do not create additional folders when a new machine has a separator character in its name (bug #6541).

- GUI: don’t crash on terminate if the settings dialog is still open (bug #9973).

- GUI: consider scaled DPI values when display fonts on Windows hosts (bug #9864).

- GUI: if a bridged network interface cannot be found, don’t refuse to start the VM but allow the user to change the setting immediately.

- Snapshots: fixed a crash when restoring an old snapshot when powering off a VM (bugs #9364, #9604, #10491).

- Clipboard: disable the clipboard by default for new VMs (see the manual for more information). It can be enabled at any time using the VM menu.

- Settings: sanitize the name of VM folders and settings file (bug #10549).

- Settings: allow to store the iSCSI initiator secret encrypted.

- NAT: improvements for the built-in TFTP server (bugs #7385, #10286).

- NAT: fixed memory leak when disabling the NAT engine (bug #10801).

- E1000: 802.1q VLAN support (bug #10429).

- Storage: implemented burning of audio CDs in passthrough mode.

- Storage: fixed audio CD passthrough for certain media players.

- Storage: implemented support for discarding unused image blocks through TRIM for SATA and IDE and UNMAP for SCSI when using VDI images.

- Storage: added support for QED images.

- Storage: added support for QCOW (full support for v1 and readonly support for v2 images).

- Storage: added readonly support for VHDX images.

- USB: don’t crash if a USB device is plugged or unplugged when saving or loading the VM state (SMP guests only).

- Solaris additions: added support for X.org Server 1.11 and 1.12.

- Solaris additions: switched to using an in-kernel mouse driver.

- Windows hosts: no need to recreate host-only adapters after a VirtualBox update.

- Windows Additions: fixed memory leak in VBoxTray (bug #10808).

VirtualBox 4.2.0 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.22

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 07:40
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.22. The new version, a 96.6 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

- VMM: fixed a potential host crash triggered by shutting down a VM when another VM was running (only affected 32-bit hosts and 64-bit OS X hosts, 4.1 regression, bug #9897)

- VMM: fixed a potential host crash under a high guest memory pressure (seen with Windows 8 guests).

- VMM: respect RAM preallocation while restoring saved state.

- VMM: fixed handling of task gates if VT-x/AMD-V is disabled.

- Storage: fixed audio CD passthrough for certain media players.

- USB: don’t crash if a USB device is plugged or unplugged when saving or loading the VM state (SMP guests only).

- RTC: fixed a potential corruption of CMOS bank 1.

- Mac OS X hosts: installer fixes for Leopard (4.1.20 regression).

- Windows Additions: fixed memory leak in VBoxTray (bug #10808).

VirtualBox 4.1.22 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Apple releases OS X 10.8.1 beta to developers, looks to focus on Thunderbolt display noise bug, others

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Date: Monday, August 13th, 2012, 06:26
Category: News, Software

If you’re looking for Mountain Lion bug fixes, they’re en route.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Friday evening began providing its developers with the first maintenance update to its Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system released just weeks ago.

Sources familiar with the matter say the 38.5MB beta release was accompanied with a set of release notes identifying no known issues.

Instead, the Mac maker asked developers to focus their testing efforts around USB, PAC proxies in Safari, Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange support in Mail.

Apple also made a specific request for testers to evaluate Wi-Fi and audio when connected to a Thunderbolt display, suggesting it has attempted to address problems in this area after MacBook Air users said they were experiencing audio issues — static, distortion and crackling — when they connect their notebooks to the company’s latest 27-inch LED display.

Apple has historically aimed to push out its first maintenance release for major operating systems milestones in a swift manner, suggesting we could see a formal release of the software in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion resource files hint at possible next-gen iMac, Mac Pro models without optical drives

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Date: Friday, August 10th, 2012, 07:28
Category: Hardware, iMac, Mac Pro, Rumor

It’s the internal files that hint at the upcoming cool stuff.

Per AppleInsider, internal configuration files in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion make apparent references to yet-unreleased new generations of Apple’s iMac (iMac13,0) and Mac Pro (MacPro6,0), both in the context of USB booting options that indicate the new Mac desktops could, for the first time in nearly 20 years, lack built-in optical drives.

The discovery, made by a source close to the story, appears in a configuration plist file used by Boot Camp Assistant to designate the Mac model versions capable of supporting either a optical boot disc, or alternatively, a USB flash drive volume capable of installing Windows to a Boot Camp partition.

While all modern Macs can boot OS X from a USB drive, Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant references the plist to display a listing of newer Mac models with EFI-level support for booting a legacy operating system from a USB flash drive. The primary advantage to using a USB flash drive to create a bootable Windows 7 volume from an ISO (disc image file) is if you lack an optical drive burner.

The file lists a series of Mac models that support USB flash drive booting, referring to each model by its initials and its internal architectural version number. While it includes MacBook and MacBook Pro models with optical drives, most of the Macs in the supported list are optical free.

The list of models (below) include the “MM50″ (the Mac mini 5,x series, also known as the “Mid 2011 Mac mini”, which is the first non-Server version of the Mac mini to lack an optical drive), along with other optical-free models including the MacBook Air.

Two of the models in the USB-boot support listing refer to Macs that haven’t been released yet: the MP60 (the six generation Mac Pro, or MacPro6,x) and IM130 (pointing to the 13th generation iMac, or iMac13,x).

The current Mac Pro, updated only slightly in June during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, hasn’t changed enough over the previous model for Apple to assign it a new architecture designation; it is still internally referred to as the “Mac Pro 5,1″ just like the Mac Pros that originally shipped back in August 2010.

Apple’s conspicuous lack of timely updates for the Mac Pro (and its relatively small and shrinking proportion of Apple’s Mac sales mix) has created the expectation that the company might eventually discontinue its full sized desktop the same way it terminated its rack mounted Xserve, an idea Apple reportedly evaluated as an option.

However, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook confirmed in June that Apple would not be killing the Mac Pro, stating instead in an email to a concerned customer, “Our Pro customers like you are really important to us. Although we didn’t have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro at today’s [WWDC] event, don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year. We also updated the current model today.”

Cook’s choice of the words “working on something really great,” indicates Apple plans to significantly update its Mac Pro model, which has carried forward the same basic aluminum box design introduced for the 2005 PowerMac G5.

While removing its optical drive would do much less to save space and thickness compared to Apple’s notebook designs, it’s likely that an all new Apple desktop aimed at professionals would rethink its use of slow, bulky and essentially obsolete optical drive devices and perhaps instead incorporate high performance SSD RAID options for a reduced profile.

Apple’s current iMac (referred to internally as the iMac 12) was last refreshed in May 2011, indicating that it’s overdue for a refresh. A new 13th generation iMac generation identified as “iMac 13,2″ has already appeared in Geekbench benchmarks.

Similarly, patent filings reveal Apple has also been working to once again slim down the peripherals that ship with its industry-leading all-in-one desktop, with the designs referenced in those filings having the potential to accompany the next iMac update.

The appearance of new Mac Pro and iMac models in the USB booting support list doesn’t definitively mean the models won’t have optical drives, as it also lists MacBook and MacBook Pro models that do incorporate an optical drive.

At the same time, Apple has clearly indicated in the newest Mac mini and Retina Display MacBook Pro that it plans to get rid of optical disc drives as soon as possible across the board, providing an external USB drive as an option for users who need one.

Users increasingly have fewer opportunities to use optical drives, as the bulk of third party software is now available as a digital download either directly from the vendor or through Apple’s App Store. Apple also sees digital distribution as the future of music and movies, as exemplified in Apple TV, which has never included an optical drive.

The company has never supported any new HD optical disc formats on its products, including Microsoft’s ill fated HD-DVD or Sony’s Blu-ray format, despite initially being involved in the Blu-ray standardization process. Instead, Apple has put its resources behind developing increasingly higher definition audio and video formats that it can distribute electronically through its own iTunes Store.

Apple even developed an alternative iTunes Extras web based multimedia format to deliver the same kind of interactive menus supported on DVDs, with a parallel solution for albums it called iTunes LP.

In addition, Apple introduced technologies intended to wean its Mac platform from optical disc dependance with the MacBook Air, which was designed to remotely share disc drives available on the local network (even remotely install OS X) via Remote Disc and handle Migration Assistant tasks over a wireless network connection.

Modern Mac models can now apply system updates, such as OS X Mountain Lion, entirely via digital downloads, while Apple’s newest Mac models can boot legacy operating systems from USB flash drives.

By ditching the need for a built in optical drive, Apple can not only make new Macs smaller, thinner and more energy efficient, but will also increase their overall reliability, as optical drives become one of the last complex physical mechanisms inside computers.

Apple has similarly helped to pioneer the mainstream adoption of Solid State Drives as an alternative to the more fragile mechanical design inherent in conventional Hard Disk Drives. Its most popular general computing device, the iPad, makes no use of either optical drives or HDD mechanisms.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 1.0 for 2012 notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2012, 15:44
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

This could be helpful.

On Wednesday, Apple released its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 1.0 for its 2012 notebooks. The update, a 76.6 megabyte download, fixes an issue that can lead to increased CPU power consumption, and it improves compatibility with some USB devices.

As always, the update can also be found and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The update requires a 2012 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro notebook and Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

Obviously, this is a significant firmware update, so please let us know how it went for you via feedback in the comments section.

Axiotron announces Modbook Pro products, points towards early fall launch

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Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 09:35
Category: Hardware, Modbook, News

It’s been a while since we covered this.

Per MacRumors, Axiotron, creators of the famed Modbook tablet, has announced a new generation of Modbook Pro products.

Built from a unique enclosure conversion kit, the Modbook Pro incorporates and completely encases the original hardware of a new Apple MacBook Pro 13.3-inch base system. Its Wacom digitizer delivers 512 levels of pen pressure sensitivity — more than any other tablet computer on the market. And its ForceGlass screen provides an etched, paper-emulating drawing surface.



The Modbook Pro components connect to the original MacBook Pro through one of its two USB 3.0 ports, with the entire assembly being enclosed in a new casing for an integrated OS X-based tablet solution that also supports Windows 7.

The Modbook Pro is scheduled to launch in “early fall 2012″, with pricing and retail partners yet to be announced.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.