New Haswell MacBook Pro teardowns beautiful but prove almost non-repairable by mortals

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MacBook Pro 13

Teardowns of the new  13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models reveal lots of shiny technology, but with the machines following the construction lead of the MacBook Air, it’s no surprise to see IFixIt giving both models low scores for repairability. The extreme difficulty in removing both battery and trackpad mean both models get even worse scores than the Air, at just 1 out of 10.

As with the Air, RAM is soldered directly to the logic board, so if you think you may need more in the future, take a deep breath and pay Apple’s price for the 16GB upgrade as there is no way to upgrade it later. IFixIt also draws particular attention to the difficulty of replacing the battery,

The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it’ll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

More details and photos below the fold …  Read more

Apple releases Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1 for mid-2012 MacBook Air, launches replacement program for affected drives

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Apple has released a firmware update for the mid-2012 MacBook Air. The update attempts to resolve an issue that affects 64 GB and 128 GB models sold between June 2012 and June 2013. Apple says that the problem could lead to data loss. As this is a serious issue, the company has agreed to replace any affected drives that are unable to be updated. If the update installer detects that your drive is one of the models needing to be replaced, it will direct you to a page on Apple’s website that will allow you to obtain a replacement …  Read more

Coming from Apple in 2014: 12-inch Retina MacBook, sharper iPad, cheaper iMac?

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According to typically-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, Apple has a slew of new products in the works for 2014. The analyst has summarized his expectations for these new products in a new research note, and has also reaffirmed some of his previous claims for products in Apple’s pipeline for the rest of Fall 2013…

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Questionable analyst roundup: 10M home automation iWatches? 12-inch MacBook Air and much more

Home automation image: insideci.co.uk

Home automation image: insideci.co.uk

There are a couple of analyst rumors doing the rounds at present that are best described as … questionable.

First, we have Brian White claim (via VentureBeat) that the key focus of the long-rumored iWatch is as a control for home automation systems.

As an Apple supplier, our contact offered insight into the “iWatch” and described this potential new device as much more than an extension of your iPhone but as a multi-purpose gateway in allowing consumers to control their home (i.e., heating/cooling, lights, audio, video, etc.)

You may recall that Mr White is a man who likes his remotes: he predicted back in April that the Apple HDTV (which he always claims is going to be released in the next quarter or two) would be controlled by an iRing …  Read more

Apple releases OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5 with Mail, WiFi, screensaver fixes

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Following an extensive period of betas for developers, Apple has publicly released OS X 10.8.5. The update is available from the Mac App Store Software’s Update section and is recommended for all users on OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4.

The OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.5 Update is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users. It improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac. This update:

  • Fixes an issue that may prevent Mail from displaying messages
  • Improves AFP file transfer performance over 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Resolves an issue that may prevent a screen saver from starting automatically
  • Improves Xsan reliability
  • Improves reliability when transferring large files over Ethernet
  • Improves performance when authenticating to an Open Directory server
  • Addresses an issue that prevented a smart card from unlocking preference panes in System Preferences
  • Contains the improvements included in MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0

The build number for the public release is 12F37, which is a single build over the most recent beta. Apple has also issued RAW Camera Compatibility updates and a new version of Safari. Later next month, Apple will release OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

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Best Buy slashes new Mac prices w/extra savings for students; Haswell Airs start at $849

From 9to5toys.com:

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Best Buy is having a significant College Student sale this week on MacBook Airs, Retina/Pros and iMacs and Students or anyone with a .edu email address get another $100 off the sale prices signing up here. For instance, the entry level Haswell MacBook Air is now $949 and another $100 drops it down to $849, the lowest price we’ve seen by $100.

Haswell MacBook Air prices:

  • MacBook Air – 11.6″ Display/4GB Memory/128GB Flash Storage:$949.99-$100 students=$849.99 ($150 off)
  • MacBook Air – 11.6″ Display/4GB Memory/256GB Flash Storage:$1139.99-$100 students=$1039.99 ($170 off)
  • MacBook Air – 13.3″ Display/4GB Memory/128GB Flash Storage:$1,044.99-$100 students=$944.99 ($155 off)
  • MacBook Air – 13.3″ Display/4GB Memory/256GB Flash Storage:$1,234.99-$100 students=$1134.99 ($165 off)

Retina MacBook Pro prices:

iMac Prices save $100 across the board and another $100 for students = $200 savings starting at $1100

The MacBook Student $100 off promotion starts today, and will end July 27. Read more

Boston University files lawsuit against Apple for patent infringement

Boston_University_seal.svgAccording to a report from the BostonHerald, Boston University is the latest to sue Apple for patent infringement claiming several Apple products use technology covered by its 1997 patent for highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films. The university filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts yesterday listing Apple’s iPhone 5, iPad, and MacBook Air as infringing devices.

“Defendant’s acts of infringement have caused and will continue to cause substantial and irreparable damage to the University,” BU alleges in its complaint.

The highly technical patent, which can be viewed on the USPTO’s website, was originally awarded in 1997 and lists computer engineering professor Theodore D. Moustakas as its inventor. BostonHerald notes that the university has also used the patent in cases against Samsung and Amazon, and “plans to illustrate that at least one other company pays a licensing fee to use the component in question” during its case with Apple: Read more

Review: 13-inch MacBook Air (mid-2013)

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When Apple announced the Retina Macbook Pro at the 2012 Worldwide Developer Conference, we noted how it seemed like the company was integrating the selling points from all of its devices into one, with the iPad and iPhone’s Retina display being the main point of interest. Fast forward a year and Apple has done something similar, but this time with the MacBook Air. One thing the iPad has always been praised for is its battery life. It almost always lives up to the expectations set by Apple and can often exceed the marks with lighter usage patterns.

With the mid-2013 Macbook Air, Apple has taken that amazing iPad battery life and stuck in a laptop. While it’s not the Retina Macbook Air many of us were hoping for and may look nearly identical from the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. Assuming, of course, that it can live up to the hype. Keep reading for our full review of the mid-2013 Macbook Air. 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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WWDC 2013: Slimmer Retina MacBook Pro w/1080P camera and MacBook Air microphone improvements expected

specs_camera_2xIn a report this morning, one of the better Apple analysts, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities listed his forecast for MacBook Pro and Air updates expected at WWDC. Apple’s annual developer-centric conference begins on June 10th with a keynote. The biggest change is Apple will move to Intel’s Haswell processors. These chips dramatically reduce power consumption, which in turn could allow Apple to need fewer batteries in the Retina MacBook Pros:

We expect the new MacBook, featuring an upgrade to Intel’s (US) Haswell processor, will be in the spotlight for Apple at the upcoming WWDC from June 10. Along with the new processor, we expect the following modifications to each product line:

Retina MacBook Pro to be slimmer slightly, along with a camera upgrade. We expect the 13” Retina MacBook Pro will have a slightly slimmer form factor for increasing its portability. Also, we think the camera spec will be upgraded from HD to full HD. This will improve Facetime and video conference quality in the high resolution Retina display.

The 1080P camera would match the capabilities of the rear-cameras in recent iOS hardware, but this would represent the first time in which Apple shipped a 1080p-capable front-facing sensor.

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If Apple does choose to keep the same batteries and size of the Retina MacBook Pro, the new Haswell chips could push battery life up over 10 hours – an outcome I’d personally prefer. Additionally, how can you make the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro any thinner?

It is so thin that the ports+ fan outlets barely fit now. It would also be an uncharacteristically short sub-1-year duration for the current design.

As for the MacBook Air, at least one improvement is expected by Kuo: Read more

ASUS launching a 4k 31.5-inch monitor – but don’t expect to hook it up to your Mac just yet …

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Update: Pricing has just been announced, at $3,799. Pricey, but actually not bad value in a market that had five-figure pricing not so long ago.

ASUS today revealed that it will launch a 31.5-inch 4k monitor late next month, its 3840×2160 pixels allowing four 1080p HD videos to display full-size on the same screen without overlap. A 4k monitor in such a small package is made possible by using an IGZO panel, whose smaller transistors enable greater pixel density, and is likely to be in the same league (and possibly from the same manufacturer) as the 32-inch Sharp panel we saw at CES.

However, don’t rush out to buy one just yet: it’s unlikely that even a top-spec Mac from today’s line-up would be able to drive the resolution at a decent frame-rate. But the next-generation of Haswell-powered Macs almost certainly will. Indeed, as we mentioned earlier, it’s even possible that a next-generation MacBook Air could do so … Read more