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

Class action lawsuit claims iPhone 4 has defective power button nearly three years after its launch

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Nearly three years after the device first launched, GigaOm points us to a recently filed class action lawsuit that claims Apple’s iPhone 4 has a defective power button. The lawsuit claims that a defective flex cable typically causes the on/off switch to fail shortly after the device’s one year warranty has expired. It also claimsApple is aware of the problem, which is costing users around $149 to fix off of warranty.

Apple of course still sells the iPhone 4 through a number of carrier partners as its low end, $0 down iPhone option.

According to the lawsuit, “thousands of iPhone 4 users have suffered” from the issue that Apple allegedly knew existed before manufacturing and selling the device. The problem has never received a lot of mainstream media coverage or a response from Apple, but the lawsuit notes that a support forum on Apple’s website boasts over 800K views since first popping up in January 2011.                                                                                                        
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Job postings suggest Apple to begin chip development in Orlando, Florida, near chip partners AMD and Qualcomm

Several job postings looking for both hardware and software engineers reveal that Apple is looking to begin its own chip development in Orlando, Florida.

Last week we learned that Apple is hiring software engineers to work on fingerprint technology at Authentec in Melbourne, Florida, which is about one hour south of the future site of the company’s development labs.

The job posting are interesting as Samsung, which works with Apple to develop the custom chips used in iPhones and iPads, continues to compete with Apple in the smartphone and tablet space.

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Apple says small number of Apple TVs have WiFi issues, opens replacement program

AppleTVReplacement

Apple has informed its official retail stores, AppleCare employees, and authorized resellers that a small number of third-generation Apple TV units have WiFi issues. These issues surround not being able to locate a WiFi network, unable to join a network, and dropped or intermittent connections.

Apple has determined that a very small number of Apple TV (3rd generation) products might experience one of these Wi-Fi related connectivity issues: Cannot locate network, Unable to join network, Dropped or intermittent connection.

If an Apple technician determines that an applicable Apple TV has these issues, the unit can be replaced as part of a replacement program that Apple has begun because of these WiFi issues. Apple says that replacements can be offered free of charge up to two years after the device’s purchase date.

Here are the serial number pairs that are eligible:

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Square announces POS ‘Business in a Box’ hardware package for iPad starting at $299 [video]

Mobile digital payment company Square announced today on its blog that it will begin selling a “Business in a Box” solution that will act as a full point-of-sale system for iPad-toting business owners. The hardware package starts at $299 and includes two Square Readers, a Heckler Design WindFall iPad Stand, and an APG Vasario 1616 Cash Drawer (as pictured above). For an extra $300, bringing the total price of the package to $599, Square will throw in a Star Micronics TSP143L Receipt Printer. We were able to find all the pieces of the package online (minus the free Square readers) for around $480, although that’s before any taxes or shipping costs.

Neighborhood merchants are increasingly adopting Square Register for its simple interface, smart analytics, continuous updates, and low processing fees. With Business in a Box for Square Register, merchants can now simplify their countertop with an affordable and comprehensive package that includes two Square Readers, an iPad stand, a cash drawer, and an optional receipt printer. All work wirelessly with Square Register.

Business owners can learn more about the “Business in a Box” package here. Video of how Almond Surfboards use Square register above.
Square-Business-In-a-Box

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First round of 27-inch iMacs expected to arrive as soon as Dec.13

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 12.29.01 PM

Earlier today, a number of customers who ordered the new 27-inch iMac when it went on sale on Nov. 30 started receiving notifications from Apple that their orders have now shipped. Apple quoted estimated delivery dates for these customers ranging from Dec. 18 to the end of the month. However, it appears some might even receive their new iMacs earlier with one 9to5Mac reader receiving an estimated arrival date of Dec. 13.

Apple changed the availability estimates for new 27-inch iMac orders on its website last week from “3-4 weeks” to “January”, indicating some new orders might not be available to ship until the end of next month. Unlike some of the new 21.5-inch iMacs originating from Fremont in the United States, many report orders of the 27-inch models as shipping from Shanghai, China.

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As expected new iMac lineup sees delays, shipping in November and December

Apple just finished unveiling its all-new iMac design that we previously unveiled leading up to the event. We told you at the time that Apple is shipping two refreshed models of its 21-inch and 27-inch iMacs, but we would unfortunately likely see delays on at least some models. Apple decided to take the wraps off its refreshed iMacs today, but as we predicted, the models will not ship right away.

Apple did not confirm during the unveiling, but it has now listed the new iMacs on its website with availability dates listed as November for the 21-inch model and December for the 27-inch model. You will no longer be able to get your hands on the last-generation iMac, except through Apple’s refurbished section. Hopefully Apple can get enough of these out before the holidays, especially the 27-inch model that will not ship until weeks before.

Also of note for the new iMacs is the fact that the 21-inch model comes with no user accessible RAM slots, while the 27-inch model has 4 slots accessible from the back of the machine. The 21-inch model is configurable up to 16GB through Apple, but the 4 slots on the 27-inch can handle up to 32GB:

The 21.5-inch iMac comes with 8GB of memory and can be configured online with 16GB. On the 27-inchiMac, 8GB of memory comes standard, and you can upgrade to 16GB or 32GB. Configure and buy your iMac at the Apple Online Store and it will arrive with the memory already installed. Or add more memory to the 27-inch model yourself by popping open the easy-to-access memory panel on the back.

You can get full details on the all-new iMacs in our full coverage of the unveiling here.

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ZAGG launches super-thin backlit Bluetooth keyboard for iPad, ships Sept. for $130

ZAGG, perhaps best known for its invisibleShield screen protector, is adding two new additions to its also popular lineup of keyboards and cases tonight with the unveiling of two super-thin Bluetooth keyboards designed specifically for iPad.  The keyboards, ZAGGKeys PRO for $99 and PRO Plus for $129, feature the usual iOS specific functions such as media playback and volume controls, copy and paste keys, as well as keys for the Home button, search, etc.

Think the backlighting might drain the battery? HA! If you use the keyboard for eight hours a day, you will get up to three weeks of normal use…and remember that is the backlit model! The keyboard will come in English, French, and German models at launch.

We got our hands on the new keyboards tonight at the ShowStoppers IFA press event and were quiet impressed with the overall build quality. They do not feel cheap (the opposite), which is not too surprising given ZAGG’s reputation of building military grade screen protectors and other quality protective accessories.

The two models are identical to one another, including a magnetic closure that allows it to act as a screen protector when not in use. However, an extra $20 will upgrade you to the Pro Plus model with a backlit keyboard, which is a feature that has noticeably been missing from the go-to iPad keyboards currently on the market.

Will Zagg leapfrog our current favorite ultrathin iPad keyboard from Logitech?

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OWC Mercury Accelsior PCI-SSD benchmarked

For those of us still with pre-Thunderbolt Mac Pros or Xserves (or Hackintoshes), there are not a lot of inexpensive choices for getting super fast data access onto our machines. Sure, you can buy a SATA 3 hard drive like my favorite Samsung 830 series, but the built in SATA 2 on these old machines is a bottleneck that will “only” yield 250 MB/second read speeds.

Along comes OWC last month with its first-ever Mercury Accelsior Mac-bootable PCI SSD card that is actually a PCI-to-striped RAID SATA array. The two SATA3 cards you see above actually look like (but aren’t – don’t try it) the same super high-speed Sandforce 3 drives that OWC sells as MacBook Air updates.

By the way, the cards are a snap to install and configure. If you have ever added a PCI video card, this is the same thing. Even better, there are no drivers to install, and the drive automatically shows up as a mounted disk that can (and should!) be booted from.

How did they compare to the single MacBook Air SSDs?

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New Apple Mac Mini $530 at MacConnection

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, MacConnection has the Mac Mini base configuration for $529.95 with free shipping. That’s $70 off retail and the lowest price we’ve seen (refurb is $519 at Apple).

Add 8GB of Corsair RAM from Amazon for $41.99 and you are still $30 below Apple’s original retail price.

Get a little tricky by adding a super speedy Samsung 830 SSD (review) via iFixit’s second drive kit.

We have other Mac Desktops at lowest available prices here. Read more