Intel looking to use its new Medfield chip in the iPhone

Intel is looking to use its recently unveiled Medfield chips in the iPhone, according to The Telegraph. In the report, Dave Whalen, vice president of Intel’s architecture group, told The Telegraph that Intel has talked to Apple and other manufacturers about using the new Medfield chips in iOS devices. Specifically, Whalen said as iOS continues to grow, “We talk to everybody.” Intel is also looking to Android and Windows Phone to use the new chips.

It is worth noting that it is highly unlikely Apple would move to Intel chips in iOS devices, even though the company uses Intel in Macs. Since the iPhone 4, Apple has continued to use its own line of processors—with the help of Samsung. The iPhone 4 was graced with the A4, the iPad 2 had the A5, and most recently— the iPhone 4S got the A5. The iPad 3 is rumored to get the quad-core A6 (mock up on the right), and going off Apple’s recent timeline, the iPhone 5 will most likely have the A6.

The most unique aspect about the Medfield chip is that it is a single core, unlike Intel’s previous chips. The Medfield uses the ARM chips’ strategy, in pulling all processes onto a single chip, which helps to save battery life and other things. For now, it looks Apple will most likely stick with its own proprietary chips. Samsung recently opened a factory in Texas for developing the A5 chip, showing Apple is committed to producing its own goods. Therefore, it is interesting that Intel is trying to make a move.

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Best Buy: Santa better watch his back

Love this Best Buy commercial but I’m not sure Apple’s Retail division does.  Best Buy also undercuts Apple significantly in Mac prices.  For instance, they have the 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros $200 off and $150 off the 13-inch MacBook Pro as well.

They even have $50 iTunes gift cards for $40. (see all discounts)

No offense to our friends at Best Buy, but those price discounts often have a cost: you will almost always get better customer support at an Apple Store.  Read more

Unibody on Ultrabook: Metal on the outside, plastic on the inside


A precision aluminum unibody enclosure gives Mac notebooks structural integrity, providing all of the mounting features in a single part.

Makers of Ultrabooks, ultra-thin notebooks that conform to Intel’s recommended specs, are facing difficulties replicating Apple’s unibody process, citing limited capacity and price restrictions on the unibody process. They’ve come to realize that unibody construction requires expensive CNC equipment to machine a sturdy notebook case from a single block of aluminum, including internal parts and mounting features. Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn and supplier Catcher Technology own thousands of CNC machines and you can imagine where their priorities lie.

According to DigiTimes, the makers of would-be MacBook Air killers are turning to the cheaper high-density fiberglass chassis for the low-end, said to cost up to $30. For the high-end, Apple’s rivals are combining the exterior aluminum enclosure with plastic parts inside. Such a semi-unibody case is said to cost between $40 and $80:

The new aluminum chassis with plastic internal parts design will allow Ultrabooks to feature a metal appearance, but all the internal parts will be made from plastic stuck to metal parts using glue. Read more

You’ll find the top 3 Popular Science “Best of What’s New” award winners in Apple’s Macs

Popular Science Magazine is once again declaring their Best of What’s New Awards for 2011, and not so surprisingly this year’s top three spots in the computing category are all technologies that you will find in Apple’s latest lineup of Macs.

At number one we have OS X Lion which earned a spot for its ability to close the gap between desktop and mobile operating systems with the publication calling it “the first step toward a computing landscape in which one interface can serve all purposes”.

The number two spot goes to Intel Sandy Bridge chips and their ability to reduce “data’s travel time from component to component by replacing lengths of wire with nearly a billion close-knit microscopic transistors”. We know Apple just recently refreshed their MacBook Air and Mac Mini lineup with new Sandy Bridge processors, and future Macs will likely get the same treatment. The new Thunderbolt I/O has also been an emerging technology Apple has adopted for future Macs, and that brings us to number three…

Last but not least, we have Intel Thunderbolt at the number three spot, which we all know Apple teamed up with Intel to help develop and is now being implemented on future iterations of iMacs and MacBooks. Minor limitations aside, its contribution to the tech industry is pretty obvious, as Popular Science puts it, “Thunderbolt’s wires are the first to combine the languages that handle data and display in one channel, making it faster and more versatile than any other connection”.

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LaCie’s anticipated Thunderbolt-equipped Little Big Disk arrives at the Apple Store, along with Thunderbolt updates

Since Apple and Intel’s joint announcement of the Thunderbolt high-speed I/O technology, one of the most anticipated products to make use of the technology has been the Thunderbolt-compatible Little Big Disk from LaCie. The drive – which comes in both HDD and SSD flavors – was announced all the way back in February for a “summer” launch, and is now finally arriving at Apple Stores in both the United States and internationally. LaCie’s description of Thunderbolt and why it is important for a product like the Little Big Disk:

This new high-speed cable technology connects computers and electronic devices together like never before. Thunderbolt technology supports two 10Gb/s bi-directional channels from a single port, the fastest data connection available on a personal computer. At 10Gb/s, a full-length HD movie can be transferred in less than 30 seconds.

Since the drive carries two ports, it can be daisy chained. The drives have already arrived at Apple Stores, which suggest immediate availability, and we are expecting an official announcement from LaCie in the coming days. The hard disk drive variant with 1TB of storage will reportedly cost $399.

Update: here they are.

Apple also announced Thunderbolt updates, another firmware update and a software update for Snow Leopard…

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Thunderbolt Displays now shipping to end users

…in New Zealand anyway.  One 9to5Mac reader said that the Thunderbolt Display he ordered on August 17th was now en route to his home.  If anyone else has a shipping display let us know in the comments or at tips@9to5mac.com.

What’s perhaps most interesting about this shipment information is that these displays aren’t shipping directly from China as most Apple products do. They are shipping from a holding spot in Australia (below) perhaps indicating that the wait on these displays isn’t because of hardware, but in fact software, which, incidentally was updated last night on Thunderbolt MacBook Pros and Mac Minis.

Peripherals aplenty as Apple preps to ship its Thunderbolt Display

Usually, when a brand new industry standard debuts on Macs, there’s a period of shortage before compatible devices begin trickling in. Thunderbolt is no different. Intel partnered with Apple on Thunderbolt earlier this year and it took Apple several months to update its notebooks, iMac and Mac mini families with Thunderbolt I/O. The offering of supported peripherals was initially limited to Apple’s $49 Thunderbolt cable, LaCie and Promise RAIDs, Matrox gearBlackMagic’s solution for field video editing and a couple other devices.

Following Intel’s release of the Thunderbolt development kit, more companies are announcing Thunderbolt-ready products. By the way, 9to5Mac, MacRumors and other publications received tips that Apple began shipping its new $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display to stores. Now, among the upcoming Thunderbolt gadgets, Magma’s ExpressBox 3T, seen in the above image, caught our attention. Basically a three-slot expansion chassis allowing any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac to connect to PCIe 2.0 cards, the box also lets you power up your MacBook Air’s integrate Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with any PCIe graphics cards, useful if you’re going to do some serious video-related work or play latest games on your Air. The accessory is to be demoed at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum which runs September 13 – 15 in San Francisco.

Magma joins Sonnet, which also unveiled a similar Thunderbolt box last month. The $150 Sonnet ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt adapter accepts ExpressCard peripherals and also expands your Air’s connectivity with eSATA, USB 3, Firewire 800, Gigabit Ethernet and SDXC and CF cards. More product highlights after the break…

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Project “Fatih” could see Apple build fifteen million iPads for Turkish schools

Apple, Microsoft and Intel are locked in a bid for a contract to supply Turkish schools with up to fifteen million iPads. The government-funded project is nick-named “Fatih”, a Turkish word for “conqueror”. The government will require the winner to build the tablets and/or peripherals in the country, however. This little nugget has been officially confirmed to Anatolia news agency by the country’s trade minister Zafer Caglayan. Bloomberg has the story:

Apple officials told Caglayan during his visit to the U.S. that the Cupertino, California-based maker of smart devices may also decide to use some Turkish manufacturers to make some peripheral equipment such as covers, earphones for its iPad and iPhone models, Caglayan said at a news conference with Turkish reporters in Seattle, according to the Ankara-based agency.

Frankly, we somehow don’t see Apple building fifteen million iPads in Turkey as the country may lack the manufacturing capacities necessary to produce such a precisely engineered gadget that is the iPad. As for Microsoft and Intel, the Windows maker “may inquire about the project” and Intel could be interested in opening a research and development center in Turkey.

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Apple threatening to leave Intel behind for next MacBook Air (A6?)

(Substitute PowerPC for Intel and Intel for ARM)

There are a lot of people who think Apple is going to eventually move its “Mac” line to iOS. In fact we found it curious when Apple turned ‘MacOSX’ to ‘OSX’ as of Lion earlier this year.

Steve Jobs and Apple in general are very sensitive to CPU power issues with their push to make high end devices thinner.

As part of the WSJ article on Intel spending $300 million on developing MacBook Air alternatives (a hint in itself – why does Intel need to create competition for its own Air), it was revealed that Apple was threatening to leave Intel’s ‘low power’ processors if they didn’t drastically cut power.

Welch said Apple informed Intel that it better drastically slash its power consumption or would likely lose Apple’s business. “It was a real wake-up call to us,” he said.

What are the alternative processors for the MacBook Air? AMD? Not likely (though not impossible).

The big alternative is a platform switch to ARM which certainly schools the Atom Chip in terms of power consumption. It would also mess with a lot of non-App Store Apps built on legacy code.

But, you know Apple would love to create a cheaper, thinner, more power efficient iAir type of hybrid device that still operated like a laptop. In fact, Lion seems to already be heading in that direction.

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Apple cutting prices internationally on upcoming Mac hardware

We’ve been getting word from some international Apple retailers that not only are MacBook Airs, Minis and White MacBooks getting updated soon, but those Macs are also going to see modest-significant price drops in some countries we’ve polled.  While we can’t get into the specifics of where and how much, we can tell you some models are being reduced more than the equivalent of $100.

A few things to consider: One, the US Dollar has dropped significantly against Pacific currencies like the Japanese Yen and Korean Won (below) in the past year.  Apple has in the past adjusted its products against currency fluctuations.

Also, Apple has been streamlining operations across the globe over the past few years and has been able to bring its prices more in line with US prices.

While these price drops are great news for our friends overseas, it doesn’t necessarily correlate to price drops in the US.

But we wouldn’t rule price drops out either, there have been unreliable reports of a $899 base price of a MacBook Air. Read more

New MacBook Air features (Poll)

New MacBook Airs are right around the corner and just about everyone is expecting to see a Thunderbolt port, FaceTimeHD and Sandy Bridge processors.  Apple could even update storage and RAM pricing.

But what else could these new Airs have under the hood?  Put your answers below and any additional items in the comments.

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