Apple releases new cheaper iMac with low-end processor, priced at $1099

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As rumored last week, Apple has today released a new model of iMac. These machines are considerably cheaper than their predecessors, priced at $1099. Previously, the cheapest iMac SKU was priced at $1299 (which is now the mid-range model).

The cheaper iMac features a 1.4 GHz dual-core i5 CPU, which represents a significant worsening in performance over the previous base model of iMac, which featured a processor clocked at 2.7 GHz.  The CPU does Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz however, which does make up some of the difference.

Aside from the CPU, the hard drive has also been cut to 500 GB. The new model also features a lower-end integrated graphics chip. All other iMac models continue to use either Iris Pro integrated graphics or dedicated Nvidia cards. Otherwise, the internals of the new machine are unchanged.

Apple’s Press release below…

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FuelBand and other hardware discontinued, development team fired as Nike seeks to exit wearable tech market

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Nike has decided to get out of the wearable technology market entirely, according to a brand-new report from CNET. The company is said to have come to the conclusion that fitness software has a more stable future at the company, leading to the discontinuation of the FuelBand and other wearable fitness products and the firing of most of the 70 employees currently working in that division.

The move is interesting timing. Just a week ago, Nike launched Nike+Fuel Lab in San Francisco, a “new program to develop partnerships and products with NikeFuel” hundreds of miles south of its current location at its Oregon HQ.

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This announcement comes only weeks before Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company is expected to show off its upcoming Healthbook application as part of the next generation of iPhone software in anticipation of iWatch hardware coming later this year. Nike’s new strategy will put it more in line to compete with Healthbook as an application rather than the actual iWatch device.

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Apple takes over its homepage to celebrate 30 years of Mac, with accompanying video, timeline and poll

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In addition to interviews with the press, Apple is celebrating 30 years of Mac with a full-bleed graphic on its homepage, which links to a minisite that plots how the Mac evolved over the years. The message says that Apple made the Macintosh with a promise to get “the power of technology .. in the hand of everyone”. “This promise has been kept.”, it reads. The dedicated minisite depicts a (scrollable) timeline of the major models of Mac since 1984, spanning the PowerBook, the iMac and ending with the Retina MacBook Pro and the brand new Mac Pro.

See the accompanying video after the break.

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Mac Pro shipping estimates slip into March as supply fails to catch up with demand

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Shipping estimates for the Mac Pro have slipped from February to March in many countries, suggesting that Apple has made no progress in reducing lead times from around six weeks. U.S. shipping estimates so far remain in February.

Launched last month to rave reviews, the all-new design has been praised for its upgradability, in sharp contrast to the MacBook range. However, it appears that Apple’s desire to keep its promise of a late 2013 launch date, made at WWDC, led to a repetition of the previous year’s iMac shortages …  Read more

Hours after release, Mac Pro shipment estimates slip to February 2014

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On Apple’s website, only a few hours since it went on sale, delivery estimates for the Mac Pro have slipped to February next year.

This morning, the store opened with delivery estimates of December 30th with some variants quoting a January timeframe. Now, it appears the initial allocation has sold out as Apple’s website now reports February shipment for all models.

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Game on! MOGA officially announces its iOS 7 compatible game controller, available tomorrow

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MOGA have been making gamepad accessories for Android devices for a while. Today, they have announced on their website an adapted version compatible with iPhone and iPod touch. The company is the first to officially announce availability of an accessory that works with iOS 7’s GameController API (but not the last this week ;).

Logitech, ClamCase and others have hinted that they have competing accessories nearing release, but MOGA is the first company to openly announce available. The accessory will be available  tomorrow — priced at $99 — from the Apple retail stores and the Apple Online Store in addition to MOGA’s site.

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Apple fixes 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro trackpad/keyboard issues, graphics bug on 15-inch

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With the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro launch last month, many users have noticed and complained about issues relating to the computer’s keyboard and trackpad becoming unresponsive.

In line with Apple’s promise, a fix has been delivered:

This update is recommended for MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, late 2013) models.    This update addresses an issue where the built-in keyboard and Multi-Touch trackpad may become unresponsive.

The solution comes in the form of the MacBook Pro Retina EFI Update 1.3, and this update is available via Software Update in the Mac App Store. Apple has also released an update for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro to fix issues relating to NVIDIA Graphics chips:

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CableLabs Senior VP with mobile TV experience heads to Apple

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Jean-Francois Mule, who recently served as a Senior Vice President at CableLabs, has joined Apple, according to his LinkedIn profile. The move was first noted by MultiChannel News. CableLabs is a consortium made up of cable providers that works with these providers in order to bring new TV-related technologies to life. At Apple, Mule will work as an Engineering Director, but it is currently unclear was his precise role will be. Apple has Engineering Directors in many departments across the company, so it is unclear if his role will actually be connected to TV-development.

According to his CrunchBase Profile, Mule worked on the technology side of TV operations at CableLabs:

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New Apple TV software likely coming next week, but don’t expect fresh hardware (yet)

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Apple won’t announce a new piece of Apple TV hardware next week (as had been previously rumored), but AllThingsD says that Apple will debut some new software for the existing device. Of course, an Apple TV software update is already expected, but ATD says that there could be some neat new AirPlay-related functionality:

Sources say that one new feature in the works will let people who’ve bought content from Apple play that stuff on other users’ Apple TVs, via Apple’s Airplay system. So if you’ve bought a TV show or movie from Apple’s iTunes store, you could watch it at a friend’s house, by calling it up on your iPhone, and telling your friend’s Apple TV to start streaming it.

The new Apple TV software update will also unlock iTunes Radio, the ability to setup an Apple TV over Bluetooth 4.0, and OS X Mavericks multi-display support.

We’ve heard that Apple has some Apple TV related announcements up its sleeves for the coming months, but major hardware changes aren’t expected until at least next year. Sources say that Apple has been working on ways to control the Apple TV (whether that be a full on display – or just a box) via motion…

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Bob Mansfield reduced role to focus on chips, senior execs given new responsibilities

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Apple executive Bob Mansfield’s unexplained departure from Apple’s leadership team is due to the long-time engineer’s desire to focus on chipset design plus future products and less on executive duties, according to sources with knowledge of the change.

As part of Mansfield’s leave from the executive team and role change to “special projects” under Apple CEO Tim Cook, Mansfield’s former duties as Senior Vice President of Technologies have been split between two Senior VPs: Hardware chief Dan Riccio and Operations head Jeff Williams, according to these sources.

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Corning says sapphire ‘not a major threat’, posts video showing why Gorilla Glass is superior

In case you needed some proof that the rumors of Apple switching from Corning glass to sapphire crystal are unlikely, Corning has posted a video on its website showing how its current Gorilla Glass is superior to sapphire for mobile devices.

Recently, speculation has arisen that manufactured sapphire crystal might become an alternative to Corning’s Gorilla Glass.  “Sapphire’s performance as a cover for high-end watches probably leads to the current speculation.  But those covers are much smaller than a mobile phone and are two to three times thicker than Gorilla Glass.  In one of our commonly accepted strength tests, sapphire breaks more easily than Gorilla Glass after the same simulated use.  Additionally, sapphire’s cost and environmental hit are huge issues,” Steiner said.

There have been a couple rumors floating around that smartphone makers are looking into using sapphire crystal as a replacement for other cover glass solutions. With Apple using the material as a cover for its camera lenses on iPhone 5 and the latest iPod touch, some have speculated it could use sapphire for other parts of its devices, such as the display’s cover glass or home button. However, that’s not likely, according to Corning, Gorilla Glass is “about half the weight”, requires 99 percent less energy in manufacturing, provides brighter displays, and “costs less than a tenth” of sapphire.  Read more