The Retina iPad Mini teardown reveals cross between iPad Air & iPhone 5s

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Following close behind its teardown of the iPad Air, iFixit has now taken its toolkit to the Retina iPad Mini. While the company understandably focuses on repairability – that’s how it makes it’s money – we’re betting most people just want to have a peek inside.

Unsurprisingly, the new iPad Mini is essentially a cross between the iPad Air and the iPhone 5s …  Read more

iPad Air teardown: never mind the repairability, feel the tech

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iFixit has done its usual trick of hopping over to Australia to get its hands on an iPad Air in the first time-zone to open its doors for business to bring us a look at the innards of the new device. The device is now on sale in the U.S. too, with supplies expected to be good.

No surprise that the company found little prospect of success for DIY repair, reporting that even opening the casing was a challenge: when you pack that much technology into so small a space, there’s going to be a lot of glue involved.

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Some details of what the company found and more photos below the fold …  Read more

New MacBook Air software issue artificially limiting 802.11ac transfer speeds

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In its extensive review of the new 2013 MacBook Air, AnandTech notes an issue with the machine’s new 802.11ac WiFi capabilities that it says is limiting the faster Wi-Fi chip’s potential. While it was able to get an average of 533Mbps using the iPerf networking tool, Anand found real world file transfers would only get 21.2MB/s or 169.6Mbps:

I disabled all other wireless in my office. Still, no difference. I switched ethernet cables, I tried different Macs, I tried copying from a PC, I even tried copying smaller files – none of these changes did anything. At most, I only saw 21.2MB/s over 802.11ac. I double checked my iPerf data. 533Mbps. Something weird was going on. I plugged in Apple’s Thunderbolt Gigabit Ethernet adaptor and saw 906Mbps, clearly the source and the MacBook Air were both capable of high speed transfers. What I tried next gave me some insight into what was going on. I setup web and FTP servers on the MacBook Air and transferred files that way. I didn’t get 533Mbps, but I broke 300Mbps. For some reason, copying over AFP or SMB shares was limited to much lower performance. This was a protocol issue.

According to the review, the problem is likely with the OS X networking stack that is for some reason artificially limiting the capabilities of 802.11ac: Read more

MacBook Air refresh looks set for WWDC, potentially with faster Wi-Fi

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Apple appears set to release new versions of its MacBook Air notebook computer at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, according to information provided by a source. Earlier this week, we reported that Apple is planning to release four new Mac models at WWDC, and we narrowed this down to either new MacBook Pro with Retina display models or MacBook Air models.

Today, we have received specific pricing for the aforementioned SKUs, and the price-points correspond to Apple’s current pricing for the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models. We have yet to receive pricing information that points to the imminent availability of new MacBook Pros (as some had hoped), but perhaps the next refresh to Apple’s Pro portables will arrive in the coming months. Supply constraints to the Retina MacBook Pro line seems to imply that…

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Next Mac ‘Gigabit Wifi’ spotted? Broadcom BCM94360CD PCI-E mini WLAN+Bluetooth card in the wild

There have been plenty of hints over the past months that indicate that Apple’s incoming next round of MacBook Air/Pros would contain 802.11AC Gigabit wifi chips, not the least of which was code we found referencing ‘802.11AC‘ in 10.8.4 Betas.

TonyMacx86, found some interesting parts on Chinese VR-Zone today that could be the next 802.11AC boards in Macs, widely expected to be announced at WWDC next month. The Broadcom BCM94360CD PCI-E mini custom combo WLAN+Bluetooth card supports IEEE 802.11ac, the next standard in wireless computer networking. Interestingly, it also looks like it may fit in current iMacs/MacBooks which could mean aftermarket updates could be possible.

This compares to the current iMac cards via iFixit below: Read more

Broadcom announces BCM4335 chip that will likely power 2013’s iPad and iPhone to Gigabit ‘5G’ Wi-Fi

Broadcom just announced its next round of portable device wireless chip, the BCM4335, which includes the ability to connect to the superfast 802.11ac networks. Apple exclusively uses Broadcom chips in this family for its iOS devices (and a different family for its Macs). The current iPad and iPhone use the Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n baseband/radio with integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and an FM transceiver—and the xxx5 is just a minor step up.

We found some code that indicates the next iPhone will use the Broadcom BCM4334, which adds the 40nm process and Wi-Fi Direct capabilities (perhaps opening some Airdrop capabilities too).

The 40nm chip will continue to deliver Bluetooth 4.0 and FM, but its 802.11ac networking could save some power using the new standard. It also features the “industry’s most advanced idle power consumption performance, which significantly extends a mobile device’s battery life.”

Sample chips are already available with a full production expected to be delivered in Q1 2013, just in time for next year’s iPads.

The press release follows: Read more

Former Broadcom GM Mobile Platforms says we’ll see 802.11ac on PCs and access points later this year

Giving a talk at Gerson Lehrman Group’s G+ community, the former EVP & FM of Mobile Platforms at Broadcom Scott Bibaud offered the above explanation about the benefits 802.11ac would bring to all devices. We have discussed Gigabit Wi-Fi before, but we did not really get a handle on when the new Wi-Fi standard would be hitting technology we now use. Apple is usually an early adopter of such technologies, but it is not likely—as you can hear above— that Apple’s next round of products will include this feature. Just think Airports and Macs at the end of this year, and iPad 4 /iPhone 6.

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Broadcom launches next-gen 5G Wi-Fi chips with gigabit ethernet speed and increased range

Broadcom Corporation is a global innovator for wired and wireless communications, and today the company announced its first family of 802.11ac chips designed for a broad range of product segments.

The chips, also called “5G Wi-Fi” by Broadcom, do not correlate with 3G and 4G cellphone networks. The BCM4360, BCM4352, BCM43526 and BCM43516 chips improve Wi-Fi’s range and are significantly more efficient. Perhaps, the most tantalizing aspect is that the 5GHz-based technology has speeds beyond 1Gbps and is currently in the high-end range of consumer Ethernet.

Apple currently uses Broadcom Wi-Fi Chips in its Mac line and in its iOS devices, including iPad and iPods.  The latest MacBook Airs have the Broadcom BCM4322 Intensi-fi® Single-Chip 802.11n Wi-Fi Transceiver.  Maybe we will see something a little faster later this year…

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