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All posts tagged "hardware"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Apple Uses "DRM" In Headphones For New Shuffle

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 10:00 AM

"Sigh, it looks like Apple's habit of squeezing iPod accessory manufacturers for license fees has now extended to freaking headphones -- iLounge is reporting that the new iPod shuffle can only be controlled by headphones with a special hardware authentication chip. That means that third parties will have to pay Apple for the privilege of making shuffle-compatible accessories, and you can bet they'll just pass that cost right on to consumers -- we wouldn't expect any cheap headphone adapters or inexpensive replacement headphones for this thing."

I'm so tired of the idiots making this uproar. Really. There's no requirement to buy a new Shuffle. If your old one works, fine. Enjoy it. If it doesn't, but an old one if you simply must use your $4,000 custom moulded headphones on a $79 music player. As usual, the "everything must be free" people forget to examine the obvious: these aren't regular headphones. They're the remote control for the player unit that sits in your pocket. They do more than just put the music into that cavernous void you call a skull; they actually are the controls for the device, so of course they aren't going to be standard buds, and of course Apple is going to put a chip in there to do its thing.

Has Apple "locked out" third parties? Nope. The same ones who proudly stamped that "Made for iPod" logo on their stuff can still make Shuffle headphones or adapters if they so choose. If you weren't in that program and just producing plain vanilla headphones, then your buds ain't gonna work here. Sorry.

Am I happy that Apple took the controls off the Shuffle itself? Not terribly, but the frothing seething outrage over this stupid little chip and the association of it with the most famous boogeyman of the modern era, DRM, is laughable to say the least. Get over it people and tell the guy next to you with a gun at your temple that you're an independent enough thinker to not buy a device you don't like.

End rant.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Apple Making Inroads in Enterprise Computing

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 09:00 AM

"A group of enterprise-class software developers have launched a new organization to help IT departments integrate Macs into the corporate environment—has conducted a survey of over 300 IT administrators and found that more Macs are coming to the enterprise."

It won't be an overnight rousing success for Apple, but it's good news for them that corporations have finally gotten over the "computers run Windows" thing to some extent. There are lots more operating systems appearing both in server racks and on end users' desktops and there's no way to look at that as a bad thing. Read the study for some interesting stats about the future of Macs in the corporate world.

Apple Unleashes New Talking 4 Gig Shuffles

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 06:03 AM

"The new iPod shuffle is jaw-droppingly small. It's half the size of the previous generation. Yet there's room for so much more. With 4GB of storage, it now holds up to 1,000 songs,1 and lets you enjoy multiple playlists, too. Introducing VoiceOver,2 the feature that gives iPod shuffle a voice. With the press of a button, it tells you what song is playing and who's performing it. It can even tell you the names of your playlists, giving you a new way to navigate your music."

Okay, first of all that thing looks smaller than the battery holder on the Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones (like the PXC 250's). Secondly, the voice feature, if it works as advertised, is undeniably cool. I also like that they've taken all the buttons off the device itself. Everything is built into the headphones, which makes more sense to me. A lot of people are going to balk at the idea of using only Apple's buds, but that's the tradeoff for a device this small and slick.

I've already ordered one and should have it somewhere around the 18th for review. Keep your eyes peeled here for the full skinny (pun intended) once I get my hands on it.

Anyone else getting one?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Palm Aims To Calm Controversy By Loudmouthed McNamee

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"In a rather unusual SEC filling, Palm has composed a free writing prospectus on the subject of Roger McNamee's recent Bloomberg TV interview and subsequent article. The SEC document includes ten itemized "Clarifications and Corrections" about remarks made by Mr. McNamee from everything from Palm Pre functionality, comparisons with competing products and various market statistics."

We covered McNamee's comments last week, and frankly, it's hysterical seeing Palm come out themselves and contradict them. In total, Palm "clarified" ten different remarks made by McNamee about the upcoming Palm that brought the expectations more in line with that interesting thing we call reality.

Friday, March 6, 2009

When Delusion Meets Hyperbole

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 07:00 AM

"March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Palm Inc.’s new Pre smart phone will lure customers away from Apple Inc.’s iPhone when subscribers’ contracts start expiring in June, Palm investor Roger McNamee said. “You know the beautiful thing: June 29, 2009, is the two- year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone,” McNamee said today in an interview in San Francisco. “Not one of those people will still be using an iPhone a month later.” Sprint Nextel Corp., the phone’s exclusive carrier, and Palm have said they will start selling the device in the first half of the year. Palm, which pioneered mobile devices with its Pilot products more than a decade ago, is counting on the Pre to help reverse six straight quarters of losses totaling more than $650 million."

Don't worry, Roger. We'll be checking back in with you come June. I don't envision lines around the block at the Sprint Store, though.

There's a name for these kind of hyperbolic baiting quotes in sports. "Bulletin board material."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Macs Not Much Faster

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Desktops" @ 11:00 AM

"When clock speeds are identical between systems, such as with the new low-end 2.66GHz iMac and a mid-range predecessor from last year, the difference in test scores becomes almost unnoticeable, coming down to 11 points in the case of the two all-in-ones. Even the 2.93GHz iMac, which replaces a 2.8GHz model, has only a 189-point advantage -- or about a 5 percent speed difference that directly maps to the higher clock rate."

Apple Insider does note that there's probably a big leap in video performance due to the new Nvidia chips inside, but in operations where there's a lot of CPU and memory throughput, there isn't that big of a difference between the current model iMacs and the new ones. That's food for thought if you're planning on purchasing one of the newer systems. A caveat, of course, is that we don't know how much this will change when Snow Leopard rolls around, so choose your weapon carefully!

App World (The BlackBerry App Store) To Open Soon

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 09:00 AM

"Developers can sign up to begin submitting their apps for inclusion in the launch of App World if they haven't already and consumers can now register to stay notified of updates. To purchase from App World a PayPal account will be required, and RIM has tossed a page up on the site directing people to create their accounts."

Ugh. Paypal? Five bucks says it won't work with my security key. Something tells me this knock-off of the App Store isn't going to take off the way Google's knock-off did on the G1. The funniest part about App World is that when the iPhone came out, we were told that there were thousands of available apps for BlackBerry devices and the ecosystem for apps was very vibrant. I guess that was just hooey and no one was actually using them, otherwise why create a new distribution model? I reckon most BlackBerry owners have never added one single app to their phones up until now (I work in a company filled with "stock" BlackBerry handhelds). Amazing how it took Apple demonstrating the obvious (if you make it easy, people will buy) to get RIM, Microsoft, and Google to follow along.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Apple Updates Almost Everything; Settles Rumor Mill Down

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple News" @ 08:00 AM

Well, suprisingly, the rumor mill did very well. While they didn't get the timing right, they definitely got the updates right. Apple refreshed a bunch of hardware yesterday, and here are a few of the highlights.

The New iMacs

The new iMacs are a solid deal. The 20" inch model is nicely priced now at $1,199 and the 24" monster is perfect for power users at $2,199. While I'm not convinced there's a big market for desktop computers any more, if you are a Mac user and want some oomph on your desk, this is the place to get it. Another notable is that even the base configuration now has 2 gigs, and most of the desktops have 4. That's definitely in preparation for Snow Leopard.e

Cosmetically, nothing's changed aside from the keyboard, which is utterly baffling to me. Apple seems to be phasing out numeric keypads, now, and even the wired one now doesn't have a numeric keypad. I wanted the Bluetooth wireless keyboard really badly for my MBP so I sucked it up and tolerated the fact that it didn't have the keypad, but I just don't get this move at all. In some ways, this adds fuel to the fire of people who hate Apple and their "our way or the highway" approach to computer design.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Apple Products Banned From Gates Household

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 01:00 PM

"When the topic of their children comes up, Mrs. Gates admits that world richest parents have banned iPods from their home, giving this irresistible quote: "There are very few things that are on the banned list in our household. But iPods and iPhones are two things we don’t get for our kids." When pressed on the topic Mrs. Gates admits that she’s been tempted by the iPhone, saying: "Every now and then I look at my friends and say ‘Ooh, I wouldn’t mind having that iPhone’."

I guess I wouldn't want a competitor's massive success rubbed in my face either. This shouldn't be too surprising, though. Remember the iPod Amnesty Bin that was stationed inside Zune HQ?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rumor: Apple Event on March 24th

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 11:00 AM

"A source has disclosed to World of Apple that Apple is planning to hold an event on March 24 to unveil new desktop hardware. The source which has been confirmed to be in reach of such information stated that the event would be similar to the notebook event held by Apple last October. World of Apple’s source was unable to offer any details on hardware specifics but did speculate that the Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pro would all be refreshed."

Why not, right? I'm still fiending for the new Mini, the iMac is a bit long in the tooth, and the Mac Pro hasn't been updated since Dinosaurs were buying them, so maybe this has some legs. It'll be interesting to see what comes of this one or if another "event" goes by without an actual event.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

AppleTV Updated to 2.3.1; Functionality Unknown

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Other Apple Hardware" @ 09:00 AM

"The Apple TV support page had not been updated at press time with fixes and improvements in software version 2.3.1. Readers are invited to let us know in comments what amazements, if any, come with the update."

In fact, the only thing we do know is that third party add-ons and hacks have been wiped out for people who did the updates. That's to be expected, of course, and is nothing new from previous updates, but nonetheless if you're running Boxee or ATV or any of the other hacks, you may want to hold off on this one. Maybe eventually Apple will gift us with the knowledge of what this one fixes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rumor: Verizon Version of iPhone Coming

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 11:00 AM

"We've fielded a couple of tips (some more sketchy than others) about EVDO iPhones floating around Cupertino in the past, but today's tipster seems a little bit more sure of himself. Besides having some Verizon insider credentials, he seems to know way too much about Verizon-Apple politics. According to him, Apple will be announcing iPhones for Verizon Wireless in 2009, perhaps as early Macworld 2009. Negotiations between Apple and Verizon are ongoing but they expect to hammer out agreements by the end of the year."

9 to 5 Mac has been one of the darlings of Mac sites since they nailed the fatty Nano long before anyone believed Apple would make such an ugly nubby little thing. Since then, almost every rumor they publish gets attention just by virtue of coming out of their mouth. The problem with this rumor is that there's no basis for it other than a "tip." Their supporting evidence is nothing new, and is just a list of cobbled together facts and figures from things we already knew and know. I'm not ready to believe that the iPhone's on its way to Verizon based on anything I see in that article, but I guess if it makes you feel hopeful or whatever, then go for it.

It should be noted that the iPhone is still going to be an exclusive AT&T device until, at the very minimum, 2010, so I find it hard to believe Apple would announce a CDMA version of the iPhone a year before they plan to release it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

iPhone and Bluetooth Keyboard Playing Nice

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 02:00 PM

"Here is a short video showing the interacting devices (Apple wireless keyboard, iPhone, communicating over Bluetooth) in operation."

I have to say my heart skipped a beat when I saw this. I may have to jailbreak my iPhone now because, honestly, if I could type with my Apple BT Keyboard on my iPhone, I'd have much less of a need to carry around my MBP all the time. Anyone else salivating?

Turn Your Dell Mini 9 Into a Hackintosh

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 11:00 AM

"There are a lot of netbooks on which you can install and run OS X, but if you're mindful of the handy comparison chart those lads at Boing Boing Gadgets have compiled, you'll know that the Mini 9 is about as ideal a platform as you'll find for a Hackintosh ultraportable: Everything from wi-fi, sound and the function keys down to the optional integrated mobile broadband card and the SD card reader are supported and work as they should. No hardware compromises at all. It's awesome."

Yet again the folks at Gizmodo deliver the goods. This is an excellent and extremely detailed explanation not only on how to get your Hackintosh Mini 9 working, but how to deal with every pitfall you may come across in doing so. I had a Mini 9 and the only reason I sold it was to get a few extra sheckles in hand to pay for my newly-purchased MacBook Pro. Had I stuck with my older Macs, I'd still have my Mini 9 today. If you've been holding off on doing this process for lack of a helping hand, I think you can safely take the plunge now (at your own risk, of course!).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rumor: Next Gen Mac Mini Photographed

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Desktops" @ 11:00 AM

"A photo making the rounds on the Internet appears to conform to descriptions of a next-generation Mac mini published by AppleInsider earlier in the year. The photo shows the rear of a Mac mini that includes five USB ports instead of 4, both mini DVI and Mini DisplayPort connectors, and FireWire 800 instead of 400 -- all of which were specifications for a next-generation Mac mini first published by AppleInsider back in January. For what it's worth, this is the second picture of a Mac mini seen by AppleInsider with such a port makeup, the first of which we were asked not to publish. While we cannot vouch for the authenticity of this new photo, it shows a Mac mini that is identical in every way to the system in the unpublished photo, which was said to be a prototype from last fall."

As I've made clear on here on numerous occasions, I'm anxiously awaiting the new Mac Mini. I was hoping that this machine, which is, to me, the ultimate gateway drug into Mac computers wouldn't be discontinued or put out to pasture. Now it seems like every day we're hearing a new rumor about the next version of the Mini. I'm all for it, and honestly if there is a new Mini with a nVidia GPU on board, I'll be buying it the day it comes out; no questions asked. Anyone else?

80% of WinMo Devices Made by HTC

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 09:00 AM

"While playing up the fact that 50 phone makers around the world have licensed the company's Windows Mobile platform, Microsoft inadvertently let it slip out that a full 80% of all Windows Mobile phones ever made have actually come from a single maker: HTC."

Why did I pick to post this? Shortly after the first iPhone was released, Don Reisinger of C-Net did an interview with someone from the Windows Mobile team at Microsoft who reminded us that Apple was the only maker of devices with the iPhone OS, but Microsoft had tons of licensees that would develop a wide range of diverse devices. The only problem is that 20% of the devices are being built by 49 out of 50 of those licensees.

I bring this up because this is yet another time that the iPhone and Apple were criticized for something when out rolls another device or company with the same shortcomings. For another shining example, see the Palm Pre and its web apps compared to the iPhone and its initial web apps model.

Microsoft loves the diversity of its platform, but no matter how you look at it, one company making 80% of your handsets isn't a diverse market.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Apple Leads in Customer Satisfaction

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 11:00 AM

"ChangeWave's survey also asked recent buyers to rank their new PC purchase as being very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat unsatisfied, or very unsatisfied. Apple claimed the top spot with 81% saying they were very satisfied, compared to figures of 67% to 50% from other top PC manufacturers."

Those numbers are astonishing. Only half of Lenovo buyers are happy with their 90 day old purchases? I'm sorry, but when the best numbers for PC manufacturers are held by ASUS at 67% satisfaction, that's a problem. The challenge for PC manufacturers will be figuring out what exactly people are unhappy with and making changes to fix it. No one should be that unhappy with their new computer that close to the return period.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flashback: A Collection of Old Apple Ads

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Classic Apple" @ 03:00 PM

I found these on YouTube today. Enjoy!

17" MBP Disassembled, Freakishly Large Battery Found

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 09:00 AM

"Our MacBook Pro 17" Unibody arrived on February 17. We immediately got to work disassembling it and posting teardown photos here. We comment on interesting changes and show some comparisons with other MacBook parts."

No wonder the battery lasts so long. It's 1.25 pounds (the difference in weight between the 17" MacBook Pro and the 15.4" model) and 12,820 mAh. That's a ton of juice! iFixit also notes that Apple did some cool stuff like moving the Bluetooth adapter out of the display bezel to save you from having to replace the screen if the BlueTooth fails.

This is a truly awesome teardown so if you want to see how that monster ticks, don't take yours apart; just hit the link and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New MacBook Pros Can Take 6 Gigs of RAM

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 02:00 PM

"If you own one of the new unibody/Late 2008 MacBook Pros or one released November 2007 or later you can use up to 6GB of RAM – the most on a portable Mac. The new MacBook Pros have two slots and the 2GB model ship with a 1GB SO-DIMM in each. The 6GB upgrade requires replacing the two 1GB modules with one 4GB SO-DIMM (the expensive one) and one 2GB module (~$30)."

Now that I'm using virtualization for work-related stuff a lot more often, this might be a move I make. I can give 2 GB to the virtual machine in Parallels and still have the four that my MBP came with from the factory. Hmmmm...

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