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Apple's WWDC 2012: New MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iOS 6

clock June 12, 2012 01:09 by author Jeremy

Apple's WWDC 2012 finally arrived at our doorstep, and it didn't disappoint. During their opening keynote earlier today, Tim Cook and other Apple representatives introduced a myriad of goodies in both hardware and software-form.

We start off with an introduction to the latest array of notebooks: the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are getting some great upgrades in every department. The biggest contender here, though, is the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display. That's a 15.4-inch display, 2880 x 1800, with reduced glare. This behemoth can have up to a 2.7GHz quad-core, 16GB RAM, a Kepler GT 650M graphics card, and 768GB of internal flash storage. The battery life is rated at 7 hours, but we'll see if other benchmarks prove that wrong. There's no optical drive, but by trading that away, Apple was able to create this latest MacBook Pro with a thickness of 0.71-inches.

All the latest laptops, however, will include the new MagSafe 2 adapter. This features a new (or old, technically) T-connection tip, rather than the barrel-style that Apple has used previously. A new $9.99 adapter is available at Apple stores to use in conjunction with your old charger, rather than having to buy a new one completely. Also included in all laptops are USB 3.0 slots, and the latest OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Previous customers will be able to purchase this for $19.99, and is upgradable from Lion and Snow Leopard.

On the software side, we'll be getting iOS 6 in the fall, which is available for the iPhone 3GS and up, the 2nd and 3rd-generation iPad (aka the New iPad), and the 4th-generation iPod Touch. iOS 6 includes the following:

  • Siri is now available for the iPad: it can launch apps, and even tell the current scores of sports games. Capable of providing sports fact via search and can place restaurant orders and see reviews via Yelp.
  • Facebook, like Twitter before, is now fully integrated into iOS 6, with its contacts and notifications.
  • A new call-feature has been added that allows text-replies from the call screen via pre-written messages. Do Not Disturb mode allows certain callers while blocking out the rest, and it has an emergency mode that permits a call to go through if two or more calls are placed by the same user within a short amount of time.
  • FaceTime is now available over cellular/mobile. No word on which networks this applies to.
  • Maps have been updated since leaving Google's network, but will feature turn-by-turn navigation.

This is only a small bit of what's available, and Apple says there are over 200 new features.

Last but not least, a partnership with several automobile manufacturers was announced, including BMW, Mercedes, GM, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda, Audi, Jaguar, and Land Rover. These companies will make use of the phone-button built into the steering wheel, making it Siri-compatible. Once the button is pressed, Siri will come up and you can search by voice on your car's microphone. Your iPhone will, of course, have to be plugged into the car, but still a nifty feature nonetheless.

There's still four days left of WWDC, too. What else can Apple surprise us with? While a new iPhone was rumored, it seems unlikely that the 4S will be replaced already.

Source: The Verge (pictures)



New iPad May Have Heat Issues

clock March 22, 2012 01:15 by author Jeremy

New iPad owners, beware: there's been a lot of talk revolving around whether iPads are now "too hot". Forums have been abuzz with Apple customers repeating this complaint, but the question remains: does it get dangerously hot?

According to tests run by Consumer Reports, "The New iPad gets up to 13 degrees hotter than the iPad 2 when playing a game." This was tested by running the famous iPad game Infinity Blade II for 45 minutes while propped up and charging. Overall, the New iPad hit a high of 116 degrees Fahrenheit!

Previous tests and reports by Consumer Reports also concluded that laptops/netbooks could reach up to 120 degrees, at which point it may begin to damage bare skin over time. However, that doesn't seem to be a major point of worry, as most users also note that the iPad only gets "overly warm".

Apple's PR Truly Muller commented to AllThingsD, "The new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications. If customers have any concerns they should contact AppleCare." Whether this turns out to be as bad as the iPhone 4's AntennaGate scandal remains to be seen.

Sources: ConsumerReports 1, ConsumerReports 2, AllThingsD



iPad Battery Specs and Drop Tests

clock March 19, 2012 23:49 by author Jeremy

The latest iteration of Apple's tablet, the New iPad, is just as good at staying alive as its predecessors. Ever wonder how it manages to stay on for so long though? Especially in today's age, when battery-life is definitely a major factor in people's choices for laptops, smartphones, and other accessories.

Turns out, the New iPad has a whopping 42.5Whr battery. Quick flashback: the original 1st-generation iPad had a 24.8Whr battery, while the iPad 2 had a 25Whr battery. And while the New iPad is only 0.6mm thicker than the iPad 2, one just has to wonder: how in the world did Apple do that? According to arstechnica's teardown (note: Consumers should not try this at home), Apple simply managed to "more efficiently pack in the components - and increase the overall device thickness ever so slightly". No magic here, folks.

No matter how much you want to stare at the battery out of curiosity, tearing the device apart is always dangerous and likely shouldn't be done. And as fun as it is, professionally taking it apart is definitely still a better option than dropping it - which is proven to be fatalfor the iPad, if squaretrade's blog and video is any indication.



Apple Reveals the "New iPad"

clock March 7, 2012 00:16 by author Jeremy

Earlier today in an Apple-event, the "New iPad" (which, so far, is the official name) was unveiled with all its specs and glory. Alongside the New iPad was also the new Apple TV (priced at $99) and a price-drop for the iPad 2 (lowest price being the 16GB WiFi model at $399).

So what is it that makes the New iPad so special? For starters, lying at the very core of the tablet itself is the new A5X processor. The iPad 2 ran off of the A5 chip, which performs twice as fast as the Tegra 3; now, the new A5X will offer four times the performance that the Tegra 3 does. Along with quad-core graphics, the New iPad is sure to run a multitude of apps much faster.

But why would we need faster speeds when the iPad 2 was fast enough already? To handle the new Retina Display, of course! The New iPad runs a 2048 x 1536 display, with 3.1 million pixels - that's over a million more pixels than a 1080p, 1920 x 1080 display! And to match these new graphics and settings, Apple has bumped up the resolution of previously-existing apps and games by themselves, with no trouble to the developers whatsoever. 

Of course, another good way to test out the new speed, is to test out the new camera: the New iPad touts a 5 megapixel rear camera, with an illuminated sensor, 5-element lens, IR filter, and ISP built into the A5X chip. That same camera can also start recording in 1080p.

Consumers must be wondering, however, whether this will all affect the battery life, which previously lasted for 10 hours on the iPad 2. The New iPad comes with a new Li-Poly battery though, rated at 42.5WHr, which is enough for Apple to claim the 10-hour mark yet again (though it's 9 hours if running on 4G).

Speaking of 4G: the New iPad is considered to be "World-Ready", meaning it can roam world-wide and still have 3G access, due to having numerous bands implemented into it. However, while on a 4G network, Apple claims it will have 21Mbps HSPA+ and 42Mbps DC-HSDPA. Both AT&T and Verizon have been confirmed as carriers for 4G models.

And the icing on this cake? Siri is back - however, she doesn't play as large of a part on the New iPad as she does on an iPhone 4S. Currently, Siri will only perform voice dictations; a new voice-button is located at the bottom of the keyboard for those who simply can't be bothered to type. 

Pre-orders start today, and the New iPad is available starting March 16th.

Sources: engadget



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