June 7, 2012

June 5, 2012


iOS Firmware reports that Apple just updated Apple TV’s software.

device current version date found
AppleTV(2G) (AppleTV2,1) 5.0.2 (9B830) 06/05/2012 16:19:01
AppleTV3,1 (AppleTV3,1) 5.0.2 (9B830) 06/05/2012 16:19:01

We are not seeing any new features or apps (MobileMe is still there for instance). With WWDC so close, updates are carefully scrutinized.

Apple also released Mainstatge 2.2.2 on the Mac App Store today, bringing with it the following performance and stability improvements:

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May 29, 2012

AOC E2251FWU 22-inch USB display

USB DisplayLink monitors are a relatively new breed of peripheral for Macs and PCs. The technology creates a virtual display on your Mac/PC, compresses it, and then sends it over USB 2.0 to a monitor that uncompresses it. You would think this could cause a lag, but the transfer is almost un-noticeable by the naked eye. It is basically an extra monitor that connects to your USB port and frees your monitor port for other uses.

A few years ago, the photo frame-sized displays started appearing as small external USB DisplayLink monitors. Then came 16-inch 720p monitors last year that thin clients could use as terminals for about $100.

This month, however, a company called AOC released an impressive 22-inch 1080p DisplayLink monitor for both Mac and PC. To put it in perspective, those are the same pixels and inches as the current, smaller iMac. It really is a lot of extra monitor for playing. The AOC retails for $200, but it is currently selling for around $160.

What is exciting about this monitor is that it is powered entirely by the USB port. There is no AC adapter on this monitor or VGA/DVI/DisplayPort/etc.—just one, thin USB 2.0 cable running from the computer to the back of the monitor. USB solely powers the 22-inch 1080p display. I have been using the AOC on a 2010 MacBook Air and was surprised that it was fully functional, even when the MacBook Air was not plugged into the AC adapter.

I set up my 2010 Air with a monster 30-inch 2,560-by-1,600 DisplayPort monitor and plugged in the AOC DisplayLink 1080p display for an absurd amount of pixels coming out of the Air. How did it fare?

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May 9, 2012

May 3, 2012

Amazon prices

I have a 720P projector, which I was hoping to buy a cheaper 720P Apple TV for as an Airplay device. I figured when the 1080P Apple TV released, I’d be able to pick up an older one at a significant discount. But no.

Something strange is occurring among most United States-based retailers: The older 720P Apple TV is selling at a significantly more expensive price than its A5-rockin’ 1080P-having sibling. At Amazon, for instance, a new 720P Apple TV will cost $178, but a new 1080P Apple TV is a mere $99. Buy.com has the 720P version for $168 on its marketplace.

It is the same drill on eBay…and just about anywhere else that you can find the 720P version. The 720P is demanding a higher price than the 1080P version. Buy why?

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April 6, 2012

Depending on your network connection, the Vimeo App Store application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will now play video up to 1080P quality. The player will also fallback to 720P HD on slower connections. Playback and buffering is also described by Vimeo as more reliable. The update is free on the App Store right now. 

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March 15, 2012

March 14, 2012

Some Apple third-party resellers are just now getting direct shipments from Foxconn. We are told that these (above) are hundreds of new iPads and Apple TVs delivered straight from China via plane.

Below, other third parties, such as Best Buy, are opening up their stock. Apple announced today that iPads would be available not only at Apple Stores and online, but also at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart, AT&T, and Verizon Stores.

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Along with Apple’s refreshed Apple TV capable of 1080p video output, iTunes movies also got a bump up to 1080p with the introduction of iTunes 10.6. While there were some concerns over increased file sizes, iTunes users for the most part seem to be quite pleased with the quality of iTunes movies encoded in 1080p compared to the 720p they were stuck with before. On that note, Ars Technica decided to find out exactly how the 1080p movies compare to the same content on a Blu-ray. Here is what it found:
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March 13, 2012

In the weeks and months before Apple’s media events, the newswires are stormed by tons of reports about Apple’s upcoming announcements. Due to the frenzy, it is hard to keep track of who said what and when. Therefore, we are putting together the more notable calls and how those reports turned out:

We did this for the iPhone 4S in October 2011, and this is our Apple iPad and Apple TV media event rumor wrap-up:

What came true?

March 7 keynote: In early FebruaryAllThingsD called for an Apple iPad media event during the first week of March. At that time, we speculated a March 7 keynote due to the availability at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center (the location where Apple likes to hold these events) and Apple’s recent fondness for Wednesday events. iMore later outright reported on a March 7 third-generation iPad announcement.

Pre-orders and availability: The first clue at when Apple would publicly release the new iPad was when we broke the news that Apple would open a new store in London’s Harrods on March 16. In the days leading up to the event, our sources confirmed a March 16 launch in the United States and other countries, and these sources also pinpointed more international launches for the following Friday. In terms of pre-orders, we pinpointed a March 7 pre-order date for the new iPad.

The design: iLounge, which typically offers accurate Apple design information, perhaps because of its close relations with case manufacturers, was first to pinpoint an iPad 2-like design for the new iPad. It also said that this new design would be roughly half a millimeter thicker than the iPad 2’s design–which it is. In the weeks running up to the iPad’s announcement, The New York Times chimed in and said the design would be very similar to the iPad 2’s design.

Apple TV announcement: We first noticed shortages in the Apple TV supply chain on Feb 12. While some called the launch of an Apple TV at the iPad event ludicrous (30:00), “because it would take the focus away from the main attraction,” we broke the news that Apple would launch a new Apple TV model at the third-generation iPad event. At the time, we said that the new iPad would launch with a 1080P video service, and we pinpointed the device’s new Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities and J33 codename in the months’ prior. We also found Apple TV 3,1 references several months ago.

Siri Dictation: One of the notable features of the new iPad is its Siri Dictation support. It is a feature that allows users to dictate what they would like to type instead of using Apple’s touch-screen keyboard. In January, we broke the news that Siri Dictation would make its way to the new iPad thanks to some leftover strings in the early iOS 5.1 beta.

LTE: One of the most important upgrades in the new iPad is the new wireless system. Besides the new Bluetooth 4.0 and HSPA+ capabilities, the new LTE integration will do wonders for attachment loading, web browsing, and video watching. In August 2010, way before the “iPad 3” rumors started running at full-force, we reported that Apple was field-testing iOS 5 devices with LTE chips. We also said that the next-generation iPad was a very likely candidate to be a LTE device. In January, Bloomberg reported that the new iPad would sport LTE connectivity, then WSJ, iMore, and Reuters each followed up in the weeks after. The morning of the iPad event, Mr. X “confirmed” that 4G iPads would be sold worldwide.

The cameras: Alongside the third-generation iPad casing leaks came speculation surrounding the new iPad’s cameras. With the hole being bigger for the camera lens in the case leaks, many figured the new iPad would sport either the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S camera. In the end, Apple merged the two ideas into what it is calling the “iSight” camera. As for the new iPad, this means the merging of the iPhone 4’s 5-megapixel shooter and the iPhone 4S’s advanced, custom optics system.

Retina Display: The Retina Display was perhaps the most rumored feature in the new iPad. After all, the 2,048-by-1, 536-resolution screen is the new iPad’s headline feature. Several news websites threw in their own sourcing for a Retina Display “iPad 3,” but it seems that the very first reports on a Retina Display iPad 3 (not iPad 2) came from analysts. The first major publication to confirm a Retina Display was the WSJ in August 2011, and MacRumors notably acquired a 2,048-by-1, 536 display in the weeks preceding Apple’s early March media event.

Pricing: We were able to report that new iPad prices would stay at the original iPad and iPad 2 price points ($499 to $829) a week before the event. We also said capacities would stay the same–which they did.

B82: We had all kinds of high-hopes for this $39 mystery accessory, but it turned out to be an updated Apple Digital AV Adapter (this)

Processor: The new iPad’s processor situation came to an atypical end. While reliable publications like Bloomberg and iMore claimed that the new iPad would include a quad-core processor, The Verge reported that it would stay dual core but would include better graphics performance. The result was actually a combination of the two: The new iPad sports an A5X processor with a dual-core processing unit, but it adds quad-core graphics. Confusion and situations involving “broken telephone” between sources and publications seems likely here, but do not worry… Apple is still working on that promised quad-core CPU.

What did not happen?

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March 7, 2012

Apple just announced at a media event occurring in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that an updated Apple TV set-top box is capable of 1080p video output. Of course, 9to5Mac was the first to call that one. What is better: iCloud now streams movies in 1080p—an upgrade from the previous and often criticized 720p video resolution. Even more importantly, you can now access purchased movies in iCloud any time you want, just like with music and television shows.

Also updated is the Apple TV’s user interface. It is now more streamlined and taking advantage of the full 1080p video resolution. The new interface takes clues from iOS with its shiny new icons and the beautiful Cover Flow view. The new Apple TV has the same low price of just $99 and is available for pre-order today with shipments beginning March 16. In addition to the new Apple TV, Apple has tweaked its pricing matrix for movies and television shows on iTunes to reflect 1080p content. More on that below.

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June 10, 2011

From 9to5toys.com:

Staples offers the Acer G215HAbd 21.5″ 1080p Widescreen LCD Monitor, model no. ET.WG5HP.A01, for $119.98. Coupon code “69882” cuts it to $89.98. With free shipping, that’s $39 under our mention from last fall and the least expensive 1080P 22″ LCD we’ve ever seen by $10. (It’s also a current price low by $47.) Sales tax is added where applicable. Features include a 1920×1080 (1080p) native resolution, 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 5ms response time, 300 cd/m² brightness, and DVI and VGA inputs.

Step up to a Acer P236H 23″ 1080p Widescreen LCD HD Monitor with the same Coupon code “69882” for $119.98.

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Media framework strings in iOS SDK have added a new 1080p video export preset

In addition to the newly discovered ability to render 1080p videos on A4-powered devices by scaling down high-definition content on-the-fly, a tipster pointed out that the iOS 5 software development kit ups the maximum resolution for video exports from 720p all the way up to 1080p. The iOS 5 media framework now rocks a new video export option: A 1920-by-1080 full HD preset. Previously, programmers calling system APIs were only able to export video content in 720p. The change has been spotted in export preset strings of AVAsset, an abstract class of AV Foundation framework which has been around since iOS 4.

Programmers use the AVAsset class to work on a detailed level with timed media assets such as videos and sounds. It lets them examine, create, edit or reencode media files, get input streams from devices, manipulate video clips during realtime capture and playback and more. It is now clear that iOS 5 enables devices such as iPhone 4, iPad 1 and 2 and fourth-generation iPod touch (all powered by the A4 chip) are now able to both decode and encode 1080p content. This completes the picture and is another indication that the rumors of an eight-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture on iPhone 5 are likely true because there is no point in iOS 5 supporting 1080p video exports if users won’t be able to acquire full-HD content on their iPhone 5.

iOS 5 can render 1080p videos (try this out by emailing yourself a short 1080p clip) and third-party apps are no longer limited to exporting video files in 720p

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June 8, 2011

iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad have long missed out on 1080P HD video playback through their respective native video viewing applications. In iOS 5, Apple is looking to change all that as 1080P video now syncs to the iPad 2  and is playable in the full 1080P format. Prior to iOS 5, iTunes would not even sync video of the 1080P quality. According to first hand accounts, playback is very smooth and looks great. End users will be able to get their hands on this new feature in fall, when Apple officially delivers iOS 5 to customers.

Thanks, Jamie!

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May 24, 2011

If this product works as advertised, I see huge potential.  The new $99 Kanex mLinq adapter (PDF) does something pretty simple and incredible.  It plugs into your Intel-based Mac’s USB port and outputs to HDMI at full 1920×1080 (1080P)  HD resolution…with sound.  The device is even powered by the USB port so there are no messy extra wires to contend with.  You will need to install some software first (provided) but if it works at a respectable frame rate, this product is a winner in our book.

The device will do smaller display resolutions as well.

For older Macs that don’t have the Audio built into the Mini Displayport/Thunderbolt port, this may be the best option for HDMI video out.  For newer Macs that have maxed out their display ports, another one is now available.

We’re working on getting a demo and hope to have a review up shortly. expand full story

May 18, 2011

OmniVision Technologies, Apple’s prime supplier of CMOS sensors for iOS gear, has outed a new image sensor today. The OV5690 module has a slimmer profile, a valuable treat for tiny gadgets where space is at premium. The OV5690 isn’t just a five-megapixel camera in a smaller package. According to OmniVision, the module touts improved image quality with full HD 1080p video capture at thirty frames per second. Both features make the OV5690 a prime candidate for next-gen iOS devices…

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April 20, 2011

As developer Firemint promised a month ago, racing game Real Racing 2 HD is now live on the App Store with support for real 1080p video output that lets you enjoy action on your big screen in native 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution, without upscaling. It’s a first for iPad 2 and a testament to the power of the A5 chip. TouchArchade got a chance to test out this feature and they walked away impressed with the overall polish and frame rates. Check out a video demo right after the break…

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March 29, 2011

AirPlay, a technology from Apple for wireless streaming of media from iOS devices to the Apple TV, would be awesome if it wasn’t for one huge drawback: it’s only 720p. That didn’t stop enthusiasts Eric Govoruhk and Kelly McAteer to develop a full HD 1080p video mirroring for iPad 2 by using a wireless HDMI transmitter and a USB battery pack.

Check out the awesomeness in the above video. First OEM to do this gets a post here. Eric explained how they pulled it off over at the MacRumors forums:
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