Friday, June 15, 2007

Safari for Windows downloads Top 1 million

More than 1 million copies of Apple Inc.'s Safari web browser for Windows were downloaded in its first two days of availability, the company said Thursday.

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Earlier this week, Apple used its annual developers conference to introduce the Windows browser, a first for the Cupertino-based firm. It touted speed gains in excess of 200 percent when compared to Internet Explorer (IE), the flagship browser of long-time rival Microsoft.

Apple claims Safari 3 is the fastest browser running on Windows, rendering web pages up to twice as fast as IE 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2, based on the industry standard iBench tests.

The software has been available as a pre-release beta for Windows XP and Vista since Monday. Once downloaded, users will receive updates delivered through a Software Update mechanism. Apple issued the first such update on Wednesday, fixing "some early reported bugs."

Safari 3 for Windows requires Windows XP or Windows Vista, a minimum of 256 MB of memory and a system with at least a 500 MHz Intel Pentium processor.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tips on how to prepare for iPhone

In an email to subscribers on Tuesday, Apple Inc. touted its hotly anticipated iPhone, offering prospective customers suggestions on how to best prepare for the device's late-June arrival.

"iPhone arrives on June 29," Apple said. "[It] features an amazing mobile phone, is the best iPod we've ever created, and puts the Internet in your pocket with desktop-class email, web browsing, searching, and maps.

Since iPhone syncs with a PC or Mac just like an iPod, the Cupertino-based company told its customers to behin organizing their content now so they can "start calling, texting, emailing, surfing, listening, and watching even faster" when they get their iPhone.

Apple's suggestions follow:


Making a call with iPhone is as simple as tapping a name. You won't need to re-enter all your contacts because iPhone syncs with the address book you already use on your computer—Address Book or Entourage on a Mac, or Outlook or Outlook Express on a PC. If you keep your contacts on the web using Yahoo! Address Book, iPhone can sync with them, too. To get ready for iPhone, organize your contacts in one of these applications and make sure they're up to date with the latest phone numbers and email addresses. If you don't have contacts on your computer, don't worry. You can still enter them directly into iPhone.


Using its built-in calendar, iPhone lets you check your appointments with the flick of a finger. iPhone uses iTunes to sync with the calendar application you already use on your computer—iCal or Entourage on the Mac, or Outlook on a PC—just like it does with your contacts. If you don't already use one of these applications to manage your appointments, now is a great time to start, so you'll be ready to sync when your iPhone arrives. If you choose not to use a calendar program, that's OK. You'll be able to enter appointments directly into the iPhone calendar.


iPhone is the first phone to come with a desktop-class email application. So now your phone can display rich HTML email with graphics and photos alongside the text. iPhone will even fetch your latest email every time you open the application and automatically retrieve your email on a set schedule, just like a computer does. iPhone works with the most popular email systems—including Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, AOL, and .Mac Mail. If you're not already using one of these services, now would be a great time to get an account. iTunes will make email setup on iPhone a breeze by automatically syncing the settings from email accounts stored in Mail on a Mac or Outlook on a PC. Don't worry if you're not on one of these email services; iPhone also works with almost any industry-standard POP3 and IMAP email system.

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iPhone has a 2-megapixel camera and a gorgeous 3.5-inch display, so it's a great way to enjoy and show off your digital photos. iPhone uses iTunes to sync your photos from iPhoto on a Mac or Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop Album, or any picture folder on a PC. You can carry thousands of photos on iPhone, but you can start by creating an album or two with 50 to 100 of your favorite photos, so that when you first sync your iPhone, you'll be ready to quickly show off some of your best shots.

Music and Video

iPhone is the best iPod ever. Its beautiful, 3.5-inch widescreen display allows you to easily enjoy the music, TV shows, and movies you have in your iTunes library. If you already use iTunes, you can start getting ready for iPhone by creating a playlist of a few hundred of your favorite songs. If you don't have iTunes, now is a good time to download it and start a music and video library. That way, when you sync your iPhone with iTunes, you'll be able to take your favorite music, as well as a few of your TV shows and movies, with you wherever you go.

iTunes account

To set up your iPhone, you'll need an account with Apple's iTunes Store. If you already have an iTunes account, make sure you know your account name and password. If you don't have an account, you should set one up now to save time later. To set up an account, launch iTunes, select the iTunes Store, and click the Sign In button in the upper right corner of iTunes. Sign in and you're ready to go.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Electronic Arts, id Software announce commitment to Mac gaming

In what may have been the only unexpected announcement at Apple's annual developers conference on Monday, chief executive Steve Jobs revealed that two of the PC industry's largest game developers are actively working to bring their most popular titles and latest technology to the Mac platform.

In the opening minutes of his keynote address, Jobs invited Bing Gordon, CCO and co-founder of Electronic Arts (EA Games), on stage to announce a commitment to bring EA's portfolio of hit games to the Mac OS X operating system.

Gordon said the first EA Mac titles are slated to ship this summer and include the wizarding adventure Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, racing sensation Need for Speed Carbon, military action thriller Battlefield 2142 and the real-time strategy hit Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. Coupon

Being the first Mac OS X games published by EA, the titles are being ported to take advantage of the Mac’s performance to run with stunning visuals and signature gameplay at blistering speeds, Gordon said.

Later this year, EA also plans to ship Madden NFL 08 and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08 for the Mac in sync with their worldwide launches.

Following Gordon was id Software co-founder John Carmack, who used his time on the WWDC stage to offer the first public demonstration of his firm's upcoming Tech 5 technology running live on Mac OS X.

The new rendering technology, which will power id's new internally developed game (of unknown nature), practically eliminates the texture memory constraints typically placed on artists and designers. It also allows for the unique customization of the entire game world at the pixel level, delivering virtually unlimited visual fidelity, Carmack said.

Combined with a powerful new suite of tools designed to specifically facilitate and accelerate this content creation process, id Tech 5 will power games that contain vast outdoor landscapes that are completely unique to the horizon, yet have indoor environments with unprecedented artistic detail.

While shown for the very first time running in real time on a Mac, id Tech 5 will also support the Xbox 360 and Playstation3 console platforms as well as the PC.

Before departing, Carmack said he'd have one more Mac related announcement to make during this July's E3 Media and Business Summit in Santa Monica, Calif.

Apple unveils near final version of Mac OS X Leopard

At its developers conference Monday, Apple unveiled a near final version of Mac OS X Leopard, the sixth major release of what the company calls the "world’s most advanced operating system."

Scheduled to ship in October, Leopard introduces over 300 new features, including a new Desktop and Dock with Stacks, an updated Finder featuring Cover Flow, Quick Look, Time Machine, Spaces and enhanced iChat and Mail applications.

"Leopard is the best release of Mac OS X to date, surpassing even Tiger, and will further extend Mac OS X’s leadership as the most advanced and innovative operating system in the world," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "We think current and prospective customers are going to love Leopard, and that it will help make the Mac even more popular." Coupons

The next-generation Apple OS includes a completely new Dock featuring Stacks, which can help manage a user’s desktop clutter caused by browser and email downloads. With the click of a mouse, users can instantly fan out the contents of a stack to easily see each item.

Leopard’s Finder has been completely redesigned, adding Cover Flow as an innovative way to quickly browse and locate files and applications. Finder’s new Sidebar simplifies the organization of files on a Mac, and adds easy access to shared Macs and PCs on a home network. Subscribers to .Mac can also use the new “Back to my Mac" feature to browse and access files on their remote Macs over the Internet. Also new in Leopard is Quick Look, a new way for users to instantly preview almost any file, and even play media files, without opening an application.

With its unique ability to let users travel back in time to find deleted files, applications, photos and other digital media, Time Machine offers a compelling new way to protect your digital life. With just a one-click setup, Time Machine automatically keeps an up-to-date copy of everything on the Mac. In the event a file is lost, users can use Mac OS X’s Spotlight to search back through time to find and then instantly restore the file. Time Machine can automatically back up a Mac to an external hard drive connected with a FireWire or USB cable, to a server, or wirelessly to an AirPort Extreme base station with an attached hard drive.

Leopard also includes three new technologies that take full advantage of the latest developments in processor hardware: full native 64-bit support to enable applications to take complete advantage of 64-bit processing while still running side by side with existing 32-bit Mac OS X applications and drivers; easy multi-core optimization and scheduling to take advantage of the latest Intel hardware; and Core Animation, helping developers easily create animated user experiences as amazing as Leopard’s Spaces and Time Machine in their own applications.

Apple may see 50 percent margin on each iPhone sale

Each iPhone sold will generate nearly a 50 percent gross margin for Apple Inc. and partner Cingular Wireless, giving the companies a hefty profit, as well as plenty of room for future price cuts, according to research firm iSuppli.

Based on a preliminary functional Bill of Materials (BoM) estimate, the firm calculates that the 4Gbyte version of the Apple iPhone will carry a $229.85 materials and manufacturing cost and a $245.83 total expense, yielding a 50.7 percent margin on each unit sold at the $499 retail price.

Meanwhile, it said the 8GByte model will sport a $264.85 materials cost and a $280.83 total expense, amounting to a 51.3 percent margin at the $599 retail price.

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"While iSuppli has a high degree of confidence in its conclusions, these figures are considered preliminary until we perform an actual physical teardown and analysis of the iPhone," the firm said in a report released Thursday.

The firm added that such a strong hardware profit is par for Apple's course, with the company having achieved similar margins of 45 percent and more in products including the iMac and iPod nano. But with extensive competition in the music-phone market, it may need to cut into those margins to reduce pricing in the future.

"With a 50 percent gross margin, Apple is setting itself up for aggressive price declines going forward," said Jagdish Rebello, PhD, director and principal analyst with iSuppli.

iSuppli noted in its report that Apple is due to face a bevy of competitors in music phones, with 835 models expected to be introduced by various competitors in 2007. It estimates that 14 music-enabled mobile phones with features that compete closely with the Apple iPhone already are shipping from manufacturers including Nokia, Motorola Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and LG.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

MacBook Pro benchmarks

The updated MacBook Pros released by Apple this week are performing in line with what you might expect, given the changes to the laptop line. But one puzzling result in a test we run to gauge graphics performance prevents us from making a definitive claim about the new MacBook Pros’s performance just yet.

We got our hands on two 15-inch MacBook Pros—the 2.2GHz configuration and the 2.4GHz offering—nearly immediately after Apple’s Tuesday announcement. Though outwardly identical to the previous generation of professional portable Macs, these updated models have undergone something of a major overhaul underneath the hood. All MacBook Pros now ship with 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, up from the 1GB that was standard on all old models; memory capacity has been boosted to 4GB. The updated models also have a faster frontside bus running at 800MHz (up from 667MHz). They’re the first Intel-based Mac laptops to feature Nvidia graphics—specifically the GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor with either 128MB of dedicated video ram in the 2.2GHz model or 256MB in the 2.4GHz model.

Another change to this generation of MacBook Pros is something that Steve Jobs hinted at in his open letter on Apple’s environmental policies: LED-backlit screens. Featured in the 15-inch models, LED backlights can help improve battery life while being more environmentally friendly by eliminating the mercury found in the fluorescent lamps behind most LCD screens. (We haven’t had a chance to measure the battery life impact just yet—those results will come later.)

So how do the other changes affect performance? As we’ve seen in previous testing, adding RAM doesn’t always mean better benchmark scores, as most of our tests perform just fine with 1GB of RAM. We added 1 GB of RAM to all of the baseline systems to level the playing field. But our recent tests of the 2.16GHz black MacBook with its standard 1GB of RAM yielded an identical Speedmark score with or without the extra RAM.

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15-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Benchmarks

Adobe Photoshop CS3 Cinema 4D XL 9.5.21 Compressor 2.3 iMovie 6.0.2 iPhoto 6.0.3 iTunes 7.1.1 Zip Archive

15-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.4GHz 1:07 0:54 2:02 0:49 0:53 0:56 2:14
15-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.2GHz 1:28 1:00 2:12 0:51 0:55 1:01 2:32
17-inch MacBook Pro 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 1:16 0:57 2:07 0:50 0:54 0:59 2:20
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2.16Ghz (black) 1:27 1:02 2:16 0:52 0:55 1:10 2:26

Best results in bold. Reference systems in italics.

Adobe Photoshop, Cinema 4D XL, iMovie, iTunes, and Zip Archive scores are in minutes:seconds. All systems were running Mac OS X 10.4.9 with 2GB of RAM, with processor performance set to Highest in the Energy Saver preference pane when applicable. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 15 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 70 percent and History was set to Minimum. We recorded how long it took to render a scene in Cinema4D. We used Compressor to encode a 6minute:26second DV file using the DVD: Fastest Encode 120 minutes - 4:3 setting. In iMovie, we applied the Aged video effect to a 1-minute movie. We converted 45 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTunes’ High Quality setting. We created a Zip archive in the Finder from a 1GB folder.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

iPhone may become king in cellphone chip ban

The US International Trade Commission has issued a ruling against Qualcomm late this week that would bar many of its 3G cellular network chipsets from export to the US, potentially creating a ripple effect in the cellphone business that may help the iPhone as much as it hurts rivals.

In its ruling, the ITC determined that Qualcomm had infringed on a single patent held by one of its chief opponents in the communications business, Broadcom. The patent, which addresses a power-saving process that kicks in when cellular coverage runs dry, was deemed important enough by the trade bureau that a ban will be imposed in 60 days on any future device found to contain an infringing chip -- including many cellphones from the world's largest electronics firms.

The New MacBook Pro with intel Core 2 Duo

Kyocera, LG, Motorola, and Samsung have already protested the ruling, pointing to the dead end it would create for the companies' US release schedules. LG in particular would suffer the greatest immediate blow from its heavy dependence on 3G chipsets for current and future American phones and has joined Qualcomm in formally protesting the decision.

But regardless of the number of phones affected by the ban, the impact may be especially hard for cellphone creators whose new phones will launch at or shortly after the deadline. Motorola's heavily promoted RAZR2 phone has so far been set to arrive in the US during the summer but would be forbidden under the new import rule, potentially sabotaging the company's marketing campaign.

None of the manufacturers created would be fatally wounded by the ban in the near term, according to research group iSuppli. Only 4.4 percent of North American phones shipped this year would face the restriction. However, virtually all would be forced to sell their existing phones at cut rates to prop up sales rather than take advantage of cutting-edge devices that would command a premium.

Most carriers would face more serious consequences, say reports. Verizon claims that 80 percent of its current devices alone use the patent and has joined Qualcomm in seeking a reversal of the ban during its review, which would be handled directly by President Bush. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have yet to weigh in on the new ban but have already voiced complaints earlier this spring that bans would hurt profits.

Two companies, however, may find the ban comes at an ideal time.

While a small portion of AT&T's current and upcoming phones use the offending Qualcomm chips, the 2.5G-only iPhone is exempt by using alternate components. This guarantees a smooth launch for the Apple-made device but should also give both Apple and AT&T an unexpected edge in the market, iSuppli analyst Jagdish Rebello has told AppleInsider.

"In the near term the benefits to [the] Apple iPhone will be positive," he says. "The ban will force competing carriers to AT&T to rethink plans to introduce enhanced 3G models to compete with the iPhone. If these new models have Qualcomm chipsets, then the carriers will not be able to offer them in the US under the current ban."

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The prohibition would force other carriers, and even cellphone makers outside of Apple who also produce phones for AT&T, to instead push months-old equipment. Many of the phones now in jeopardy due to the ITC ruling are supposed to be the iPhone's main competitors, iSuppli adds, but will have to rest by the sidelines should the ban escape a Presidential veto.

And if it does, Apple's first cellphone will face near-ideal conditions for its June 29th introduction that could leave the device largely unopposed for its critical first months on the shelves.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Apple Boot Camp 1.3 beta updates drivers

Apple has released Boot Camp 1.3 beta, an updated version of the software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows. It’s available for download from Apple’s Web site now.

Still a free public beta from Apple at this point, Boot Camp emerged as one of the first ways Intel-based Macs could run Windows as well as Mac OS X. Since then commercial solutions have appeared, including Parallels Desktop for Mac, CrossOver Mac, VMware Fusion and TransGaming Cider. All leverage newer Macs’ Intel microprocessor architecture in order to run Windows or Windows applications or games much faster than was ever possible using emulation. - The #1 Apple Direct Reseller!

Boot Camp 1.3 adds support for keyboard backlighting on MacBook Pros, and now supports Apple Remote pairing, updates graphics drivers, improves Boot Camp driver installation, improves international keyboard support, fixes localization issues, and updates Windows Help for Boot Camp.

Updating to the new version does not require you to repartition your hard drive or reinstall Mac or Windows software or documents, but you do need to update the Boot Camp Assistant software, create a new Mac Drivers CD and install the updated software it contains onto Windows.

System requirements call for an Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X v10.4.6 or later, the latest firmware updates, 10GB free hard disk space, a recordable CD or DVD, a printer for the instructions, and a “bona fide full version” of Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 2, Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business or Ultimate.

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YouTube Coming to Apple TV

Apple® today announced that it’s bringing the Internet’s most popular originally-created content from YouTube to the living room with Apple TV™. Beginning in mid-June, Apple TV will wirelessly stream videos directly from YouTube and play them on a user’s widescreen TV. Using Apple TV’s elegant interface and simple Apple Remote, viewers can easily browse, find and watch free videos from YouTube in the comfort of their living room.

“This is the first time users can easily browse, find and watch YouTube videos right from their living room couch, and it’s really, really fun,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “YouTube is a worldwide sensation, and Apple TV is bringing it directly from the Internet onto the widescreen TV in your living room.”

Thousands of the most current and popular YouTube videos will be available on Apple TV at launch in mid-June, with YouTube adding thousands more each week until the full YouTube catalog is available this fall. With Apple TV’s stunning interface and simple Apple Remote, users can easily navigate through YouTube’s familiar video browsing categories or search for specific videos. YouTube members can also log-in to their YouTube accounts on Apple TV to view and save their favorite videos.

Apple TV seamlessly integrates with iTunes® to wirelessly play a user’s favorite content from a PC or Mac® on their widescreen TV, including movies, TV shows, music, photos and podcasts. Apple TV users can choose from over 500 movies and 350 TV shows in near DVD quality; over five million songs; 5,000 music videos; 100,000 podcasts; and 20,000 audiobooks from the iTunes Store ( Users can enjoy their favorite music on a home entertainment system and view slideshows of their photo albums on a widescreen TV.

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Apple today also announced that it is offering a new Apple TV build-to-order option with a 160GB hard drive. The new larger hard drive offers four times the storage for up to 200 hours of video, 36,000 songs, 25,000 photos or a combination of each.* Apple TV is easy to connect to a broad range of widescreen TVs and home theater systems and comes standard with HDMI, component video, analog and optical audio ports. Using high-speed AirPort® 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking, Apple TV can auto-sync content from one computer or stream content from up to five additional computers right to a TV without any wires.**

Pricing & Availability

Apple TV, which includes the Apple Remote, is available through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $299 (US). Apple TV with a 160GB hard drive will be available tomorrow for a suggested retail price of $399 (US). The YouTube feature for Apple TV will be available as a free software update in mid-June.

Apple TV requires iTunes 7.1 or later running on a Mac with Mac OS® X version 10.3.9 or later, or a Windows PC with Windows XP Home/Professional (SP2).

An 802.11b/g/n wireless network using AirPort, AirPort Extreme® or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking is required. Internet access is required and a broadband connection is recommended, fees may apply. Apple TV requires an enhanced definition or high-definition widescreen TV. iPod® games will not play on Apple TV. The iTunes store is available in the US and select countries.

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*Video playback based on 640x480 iTunes video content. Music capacity based on four minutes per song and 128-Kbps AAC encoding. Photo capacity based on Apple TV viewable photos transferred from iTunes. Actual capacity varies by content.

**Based on an IEEE 802.11n draft specification. Compatible with 802.11b/g/n, wireless video streaming requires an 802.11g/n network.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and will enter the mobile phone market this year with its revolutionary iPhone.

Apple UPDATES MacBook Pro

Apple has today announced an update to their high-end Apple MacBook Pro notebook. The 15-inch inch version will also offer an LED backlit screen for even backlighting and lower power consumption.

Both the 15-inch and the 17-inch version will offer new versions of Intel's processor platform -- codename Santa Rosa. The Santa Rosa platform offers an 800MHz front side bus and 4MB L2 Cache in addition to faster clock speed options. The 15-inch version will offer the 2.2GHz or 2.4GHz Intel processor and the the 17-inch version will simply offer the 2.4GHz Intel processor.

The specs on the 15.4" MacBook Pro are as follows:

  • 15.4" 1440 x 900 resolution display with LED backlighting technology
  • 2.2GHz or 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor
  • Weight: 5.4lbs
  • 8 x double layer-burning Super Drive
  • Ports: Two USB, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, ExpressCard/34, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Graphics: NVidia 8600M GT graphics (128MB or 256MB)
  • Hard Drive: 160GB with 5400RPM
  • Memory: 2GB, up to 4GB

The specs on the 17-inch MacBook Pro are as follows:

  • 17" 1680 x 1050 resolution display (not LED), 1920 x 1200 display option
  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Weight: 6.8lbs
  • 8 x double layer-burning Super Drive
  • Ports: Three USB, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, ExpressCard/34, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Graphics: NVidia 8600M GT graphics 256MB
  • Hard Drive: Up to 250GB
  • Memory: 2GB, up to 4GB

You of course still get things such as the slot loading optical drive, 802.11n wireless and MagSafe Power Adapter.

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