Walmart offers free Smart Covers/$50 iTunes with iPad 2 (also Target)

From 9to5Toys.com:

Walmart today lists the iPad 2 in all sizes and varieties with a “Starter Accessory” which include previous generation Smart Covers or USB wall chargers (or $50 iTunes Gift Cards when ordered and picked up site-to-store).

If your shopping tastes take you to Target, you can get a $40 Target GiftCard with iPad 2 purchase (or $450 iPad 1 32GB 3G/GPS). They also have various other iTunes/Apple device offers via circular including this 10% off printable coupon, below:

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Apple releases Thunderbolt, printer drivers and Aperture updates

Apple has today updated Thunderbolt (again), printer drivers, and Aperture.

Today’s updates come after yesterday’s MacBook Pro EFI update firmware 2.3.

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Apple updates Smart Covers, kills the Orange but adds a lovely dark gray (and “color-matched fiber lining”)

New MacBook Pros weren’t the only thing updated quietly in the Apple Store this morning. Apple has updated the whole line of Smart Covers for iPad. You’ll notice the Orange Smart Cover is now gone and Apple has added a lovely Dark Gray Polyurethane model. Apple has added “color matched microfiber lining” to the description of the leather products (gone are the gray lining across the board) as you can see in the images below:


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Apple has also improved the colors of the Smart Covers as well:



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The whole line gets new part numbers but prices have not changed. Notice the subtle color change comparisons below:

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Apple quietly updates MacBook Pros with faster processors and bumped specs

As leaked by Mr. X (and it didn’t take until November) Apple quietly updated its MacBook Pro line this morning. There are slight processor speed improvements across the board with updated hard drives and video cards peppered throughout. Compare today’s MacBook Pros, above, with yesterday’s MacBook Pros, below:

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Hitachi G-Speed series drives and enclosures deliver professional-level reliability and performance

This is a sponsored post

Until recently, I merely thought of Hitachi as the company that builds the OEM hard drives that are found in some Apple and other high end PCs.  It turns out that Hitachi makes very high quality enclosures for those same hard drives that companies like Apple demand for their machines.

Hitachi’s drives that range from the G-Drive portable hard drives (which I reviewed earlier this year, above) to the newer G-Speed for high end A/V professionals.  Take for instance the G-Speed FC XL, shown below:

The SAN Ready G-SPEED FC XL offers industry leading Fibre Channel performance and easily supports multi-stream ProRes, uncompressed HD and 2K Film video editing work flows. A 16-drive G-SPEED FC XL connected to a dual-channel 4 Gbit Fibre Channel host bus adapter will pump out over 550 MB/second to support the most demanding post production environments.  Upgrade mini SAS model,  back panel below, and expect up to 800MB per second.   That’s uncompressed 60 frames 1080P with room to spare and virtually unlimited space for drives with its stacking functionality.

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If Apple did make printers…

The Onion joked that Tim Cook’s first order of business as CEO would be to begin making printers again.  Of course that is a bad idea.  But, let’s say that we’re in some alternate reality.  The above SWYP: See What You Print concept created by Artefact is a very Apple-y solution to printers.  Perhaps the HP/Canon/Epsons of the world should take note.

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More confirmation of white iPod touches

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We’ve been rambling on about white iPod touches for awhile now. Back in June we postulated that Apple would create a white iPod touch after successive launches of white iPhone and iPad and launched a survey (over 80% of you wanted that guy above).

In July we told you they were coming at the next refresh and then later we showed you the front panel (below).

After that, Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo bravely forecasted that a White iPod touch was en route.

Today, MacRumors has joined in with their own information:

MacRumors has received information indicating that the next iPod touch revision will be a very minor change, with the primary addition being the introduction of a new white model. Only minor changes are expected for the existing hardware, with the addition of an oleophobic coating for the display and a revised ambient light sensor seemingly being the main differences. Otherwise, we expect the models to be nearly identical to the current fourth-generation iPod touch model.

Could we put in a request for a better backside camera? Just give us 2-3 megapixels and auto-focus like an early iPhone and we’ll shut up.

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‘Late 2011 iMacs’? (Updated)

Update: Apple has pulled the listing

Some eagle-eyed commenters noted that the Support document about Thunderbolt Displays included an interesting addition.  Apple says that iMac (Mid 2011 and Late 2011) can both support two Thunderbolt displays.

There’s only one problem:

Apple hasn’t released a Late 2011 iMac…yet.

Apple released an EDU-only  iMac in August which is sometimes called “Late 2011 iMac” but that device has no Thunderbolt so that wouldn’t make sense.  Apple last updated the iMacs in May to Sandy Bridge processors.

Rumors of a late 2011 MacBook Pro refresh perhaps could also point to an iMac refresh as well.

Here is Apple’s current support doc on how to identify iMacs:

Interesting to say the very least. Read more

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

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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:
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Get your MacBook Air ready for Thunderbolt with EFI firmware update 2.1

Apple’s Thunderbolt hardware pieces are coming together and to get ready, Apple is updating MacBook Air firmware. The 4 MB update promises to enhance the stability of Lion Recovery from an Internet connection, and resolve issues with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibility and Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode performance on MacBook Air (mid 2011) models.

Thunderbolt parts have already began shipping and new products include Docks, external PCI Card adapters, as well as storage.

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Seagate announces industry’s first 4TB hard drive

We’re big fans of the Seagate GoFlex series of hard drives and, as of this evening, Seagate has pushed the size limit to an impressive 4TB on a single physical disk.

Currently the 4TB disk is only available in the form factor to the right for a significant $249 price tag. Obviously, the added density drives will filter down into other form factors including bare drives and RAID arrays in the coming weeks and months.

Seagate’ GoFlex enclosure got a facelift as well but alas, no Thunderbolt action for a few more months according to the press release.

As for the USB Desktop version pictured, we’re looking to get our hands on one for a review as soon as possible.  It is available for pre-order now for $229 at Amazon.

Full press release below:
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Apple fixes Lion video lock-ups on iMacs, improves hardware support in Boot Camp for Windows

Apple has released a pair of new updates meant to fix video-locking issues on iMacs that run Lion and improve hardware compatibility when running Windows in dual boot mode on your Mac. The iMac Graphic FW Update 3.0 is now available for download, weighing in at a paltry 482KB. Apple says the firmware update “fixes a graphics issue that may cause an iMac to hang under certain conditions”. You can also download this update by choosing Software Update from the Apple menu, in which case the update mechanism will determine whether your iMac’s graphics card needs updating and offer the refreshed software appropriately. Also, Boot Camp got a small update for Windows 7 (version 3.3).  The 200MB download includes critical bug fixes and hardware support. It is recommended for all Boot Camp 3.2 users and requires Windows 7 plus an existing installation of Boot Camp 3.2 on your system.

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