Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSD upgrade boosts MacBook Air speed more than 3X

If you really want to turn your new MacBook Air out, OWC is offering up a new SSD upgrade option that promise up to 4X read/write performance (>500MB/s) over Apple’s factory installed SSDs. The SSDs, priced at $350 for 120GB and $600 for 240GB use a Sandforce 2200 controller.

• Tier 1/Grade A Toggle Synchronous NAND
• SandForce 2200 Series Processor
• Offers nearly 4x factory SSD capacity.**
• Compatible with 2011 MacBook Air
• Utilizes 6G SATA bus in 2011 MacBook Air to deliver over 500MB/s data rate performance

.

In other OWC news, they mention that yesterday’s MacBook Pro update fixed lingering issues with the 6GB SATA port on the MacBook Pros (not to be confused with the 3GB Optical port.)

See performance benefits, below:
Read more

Mac Mini Vault provides colocation of 140 Mac minis for a high-density data center

Mac Mini Vault just announced a customized 48U APC cabinet that accommodates colocation of up to 140 Mac Minis, allowing for a high-density, high-efficiency data center solution.

Shelves specifically designed for the machine make for easy access to all power buttons and ports, with individual slots pre-wired for internet connectivity and power. Tied to the network connection are several Cisco Gigabit Switches with “redundant fiber connections to the data center’s backbone network”.

Each cabinet provides remote power cycling capability thanks to six APC switched Power Distribution Units. The PDUs themselves are powered by an APC UPS with Generac generators for back up.

Also on offer is the Mac Mini Vault RAID Storage Vault service, which will allow you to expand up to 9TB of direct-attached storage for $350/monthly. The Mac Mini Vault colocation service starts at $29.99/monthly (which includes 500GB transfer and 15Mb/s burstable speeds) and also offers an Enterprise package for $50/month (1TB transfer, 30Mb/s). You can check out the sign-up page here.

The company has also recently posted a “Why a Mac Mini?” page detailing the efficiency of their solution and running Apple’s new i5/i7 Mac mini as a cost-effective e-mail server, ftp server, offsite backup, web server etc. Mac Mini Valut is operated by CyberLynk Networks with data centers located 80 miles north of Chicago. You can get a good look at the Mac Mini Vault cabinet in the gallery after the break.
Read more

Hello again from Big Nerd Ranch!

[Editors note: Big Nerd Ranch has sponsored two posts on 9to5mac allowing readers to go to Nerd Camp for free – previous post]

Hello one final time, 9to5Mac readers.

Greetings from the environs of greater Atlanta. I’m writing to you from the airport following an altogether enjoyable week at Big Nerd Ranch. My previous two entries to you offered a glimpse of the overall experience of iOS Bootcamp at Big Nerd Ranch, along with a look at how the class sessions can fulfill the promise of a well-rounded education in iOS. For my final report to you, I’d like to say something about the people and social experience of iOS Bootcamp. Read more

Lion Recovery USB sticks start arriving

Readers have alerted us that their Lion Recovery Sticks have started arriving.  Interesting upgrade from the Snow Leopard Stix that come with the MacBook Airs.

We discovered that you don’t necessarily need to buy these for the list price of $69, Apple will send these free in special cases.

Rather than spend $69 on one of these, you could drop $8 on this fugly Kingston 8GB USB stick and add a bit of this.

Backside below: Read more

App Store volume purchase program for businesses goes live in the U.S.

As pointed out by The Loop, Apple’s App Store volume purchase program for businesses has gone live. The program, which is currently exclusive to the United States, allows businesses to easily purchase and distribute applications – with volume-based pricing – to employees. Businesses that are interested can now enroll and you will need the following to get started:

  • Basic contact information to verify your business
  • Dun & Bradstreet number (D-U-N-S) number
  • Corporate credit card or PCard to purchase apps

App Store distribution through this program consists of iTunes redemption codes:

The Volume Purchase Program makes it easy to distribute apps within your organization. When you buy apps in volume or custom B2B apps, you will receive redemption codes for each app. You can control who gets the apps by providing these codes to users via email or an internal website. You can also use third-party Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions to manage redemption codes centrally.

A guide with all the instructions is also available from Apple.

Read more

Apple discontinues boxed versions of several software titles at physical stores

Today Apple announced End of Life (EOL) status for several boxed software titles. As of 7/20/11 Apple will be discontinuing boxed versions for the following software at Apple retail and Authorized reseller stores:

  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server
  • iLife
  • iWork
  • Aperture
  • Apple Remote Desktop
  • Xsan
  • GarageBand Jam Packs
  • Mac Box Set

*Retail boxed versions of Logic Express and Logic Studio will still be available in-stores

The aforementioned software titles will only be available from the Apple online store.  The only exclusions are “GarageBand Jam Packs” and “Mac Box Set,” which will no longer be available through any channels.  This is certainly another move by Apple to decrease the Mac user’s dependence on physical media.  Not one of today’s Macs has an optical media drive.  Apple announced this immediate change via a “U.S. Field and Channel Sales” email sent to resellers, Apple consultant Network, and others.  This news comes hot off updates to the MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and OS X Lion release. Read more

Apple Retail has 3 Lion install images and a possible dedicated Lion Caching Server

As we get close to the Lion launch, several tipsters have provided more information regarding the Apple retail overnight and  days after.  Tonight, Apple retail will hold an overnight from approximately 11pm – 7 am to give the retail staff enough time to update the stores visual elements with new marketing materials and re-image all display Macs with Lion.

As previously reported, our tipsters say most stores have recently received an external LaCie hard drive containing Lion installs, but we have received new information that the drives contain 3 different install images for Lion; Normal, Pro, and Joint Venture. 

JointVenture is an enterprise membership program to support businesses running Macs and iDevices.  It is believed that each of these installs will include unique software titles, and some of which could be new.

Furthermore we’ve heard rumblings that some stores will be receiving maxed out Mac Pro towers to be used as Lion distribution caching centers (speculation here).  Some believe that these stations would allow customers to purchase Lion (3.5GB) from the Mac App store and download it directly from the store server in minutes rather than hours it takes over a normal broadband connection.

MacOS X Server and internal builds of Time Capsule allow for Software Update Caching, so this is certainly something within Apple’s capabilities.  Also, Apple told Computerworld that users could come into the store to download Lion last month.

This would also be a huge help to customers who do not have access to a broadband Internet connection or users who want to walk through the install process with an Apple employee during a personal training session.  It would obviously also save Apple some internet bandwidth which at 3.5GB per user adds up.

Read more

Is the AppleTV 2 the future of low-CPU use servers? Desktops?

Why run a family pictures website, DNS or any other low CPU-use server on power-hungry Intel-based hardware when an AppleTV2 does the trick?  The folks at MacMinivault.com have set up a webpage on a AppleTV 2 (go ahead, try to take it down) jailbroken with httpd as an example of what can be served off of the little 6 watt, A4-powered dynamo.  Put 10 of these together and you’ll be using the same power as a single 60 Watt light bulb.

The Apple TV is running iOS 4.2.2 (obviously jailbroken) with lighttpd for a web server. You can see the webpage we set up by visiting atv.macminivault.com. We’ll keep an eye on the CPU load and watch the analytics to record how much traffic the Apple TV receives.

They say this won’t be a cost effective solution for their customers (8 GB of storage won’t cut it) but is a ‘fun experiment.’

What’s interesting is that Apple likely has an dual core A5-platform AppleTV coming out shortly which may push a little more into the Intel server space.  Perhaps more interesting is that the A5 chips could also make nifty little ChromeOS-busting terminals or even cheaper laptops.

If you want to create your own little AppleTV 2 server, they recommend the following: Read more

Apple consortium wins Nortel patents with $4.5B bid

A consortium including Apple Inc, Microsoft, EMC Corp, Sony, Ericsson, and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion bought bankrupt telecommunications gear maker Nortel Networks Corp’s remaining portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion, in an auction that began early this week.

RIM reportedly paid $770 million, Ericsson paid $340 million.  It wasn’t immediately clear how much Apple paid.

Google had originally opened bidding with a $900 million bid.  The consortium of strange bedfellows will split up the portfolio based on the split of the purchase price.

The sale is subject to Canadian and U.S. court approvals which will be sought at a joint hearing expected to be held on July 11.  Full press release follows:

Read more

Import of previous Final Cut Pro XML coming soon to Final Cut Pro X

.

There has been a big stink (several actually) about Final Cut Pro X’s lack of ‘Pro’ features.  One such glaring omission has been the lack of Final Cut Pro 7 XML imports.  MacMagazine.br did some digging and found that the code for doing Final Cut Pro 7 imports is actually inside Final Cut Pro X and for some reason hadn’t been enabled for shipping.

 

As per usual, Apple will likely enable that functionality (and many others that are missing) in updates to Final Cut Pro X.  If you are daring, MacMagazine offers a workaround that might be able to import now (they haven’t yet tested).

Read more

Apple selling Promise Thunderbolt products alongside Mac Pros

As we broke last night, Apple is now carrying Thunderbolt parts. The Pegasus RAID units just showed up but we noticed something a little odd:

.

Interesting combo.  Currently the Mac Pro doesn’t have a Thunderbolt port.

.

So yeah, Apple art team either jumped the gun, used the wrong equipment, or pre-announced the new Mac Pros.  We were hoping for a slight redesign which doesn’t look to be the case (see what I did there?)… Read more