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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)



D10 Interview with Tim Cook

clock June 1, 2012 01:26 by author Jeremy

Like his predecessor before him, Tim Cook took to the stage on Tuesday night, May 29th, for an inside look as the new head of Apple. The D10 Conference opened up with the classier-than-ever Jane Lynch, accompanied by a full gospel choir and a marching band.

Tim Cook appeared on-stage soon afterwards and sat down with hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. In his interview, he spoke of the late Steve Jobs and what he learned. "You can only do so many things great, and you should cast aside everything else." This, as Cook says, is, "embedded in Apple," and that only the best will suffice. Cook also spoke of the difficulty of moving on from Jobs' passing. "It was absolutely the saddest day of my life when he passed away... I love museums, but I don't want to live in one."

Apple's direction has obviously changed since Jobs' departure. "We're going to double down on secrecy on products," says Cook, while also admitting that Apple will be transparent in other aspects regarding suppliers and environmental impact. When asked if Apple would ever have manufacturing plants in the U.S. (as opposed to their current locations in China), Cook replied, "I want there to be," adding that currently the engines and glass parts for the iPhone and iPad are built in Texas and Kentucky, respectively.

On the topic of the infamous patent wars, Cook claims that our system today is currently broken. "From our point of view, it is important for Apple not be the developer for the world. We just want other people to invent their own stuff." When countered that Apple themselves are suing other companies in the patent wars, Cook replied, "The vast majority of [lawsuits Apple receives] are on standards-essential patents... No one should be able to get an injunction off a standards-essential patent."

Apple's famous voice recognition program, Siri, received praise from Cook, who noted that Siri has a personality the adds to her likeability. "...there's more that it can do, and we have a lot of people working on this. And I think you will be really pleased with some of the things you'll see over the coming months on this."

To see the entire interview, check out D's interview with Tim Cook in the source link below.

Source: allthingsd (published by Ina Fried)



The Rare "iPad 2,4" Brings Improved Battery Life

clock May 5, 2012 00:25 by author Jeremy

With the New iPad out, the iPad 2 recently experienced a price-cut on its models, with the lowest 16GB WiFi iPad 2 available for $399. And therein lies the difference between models: their connectivity. The 1st type of iPad 2 is WiFi only (iPad 2,1), the second is WiFi and GSM (iPad 2,2), while the third is WiFi and CDMA (iPad 2,3). Which brings us to the topic at hand: the fourth-type, known as "iPad 2,4".

So what's the difference in connectivity? Like the 1st iteration, the iPad 2,4 is WiFi only. It's specialty, however, lies in the SoC (System on a Chip); in the iPad's case, it's more commonly known as the A5 chip, or the processor. Previous iPad 2's all had the same 45nm A5 SoC, while our new contender uses a 32nm A5 SoC.

How does this affect you? A 32nm processor is going to be more efficient overall than a 45nm processor. The end result is that owners will get (according to AnandTech) slightly better battery life.

The only downside is that there's no real way to tell outside of the box whether you're getting one of these new models. Once you open up the box, however, you can run a benchmark test or a battery test to see the specs of your iPad. So if you're going to purchase an iPad 2 sometime soon, start hoping you'll get the better end of this bargain.

Source: anandtech



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.



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