Review: Simplicam, the Dropcam HD competitor that adds face-detection

Home security cameras that send you alerts when they detect movement have been around for a while now. We reviewed Dropcam, one of the better-known names in the business, last October.

The problem, though, is that most movement isn’t likely to be of interest – especially if you have pets or are susceptible to changes in nature from sunlight/wind. What we really want to know is when a person arrives, and that’s what Simplicam aims to deliver through face-detection software. You can thus choose to be notified about any one or more of three types of event: movement, sound and face-detection …  Read more

Intel details MacBook-destined Broadwell 14nm chips, should ship by holidays

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Apple has been developing some revamped Mac laptops for several months and years, such as an ultra-slim 12-inch Retina MacBook, and the key to shipping these products is the availability of Intel’s upcoming Broadwell chip. Why? Because the new 14nm Broadwell Core M chip is fanless, small, and according to Intel, the most energy-efficient Intel processor yet. These facts about the processor lineup directly with the rumors of a fanless and light MacBook. Today, Intel has disclosed some new key points about the Core M Broadwell processor:

  • The combination of the new microarchitecture and manufacturing process will usher in a wave of innovation in new form factors, experiences and systems that are thinner and run silent and cool.
  • Intel architects and chip designers have achieved greater than two times reduction in the thermal design point when compared to a previous generation of processor while providing similar performance and improved battery life.
  • The new microarchitecture was optimized to take advantage of the new capabilities of the 14nm manufacturing process.
  • Intel has delivered the world’s first 14nm technology in volume production. It uses second-generation Tri-gate (FinFET) transistors with industry-leading performance, power, density and cost per transistor.
  • Intel’s 14nm technology will be used to manufacture a wide range of high-performance to low-power products including servers, personal computing devices and Internet of Things.
  • The first systems based on the Intel® Core™ M processor will be on shelves for the holiday selling season followed by broader OEM availability in the first half of 2015.
  • Additional products based on the Broadwell microarchitecture and 14nm process technology will be introduced in the coming months.

Notably, as Intel executives hinted earlier this year, Intel is still on track to ship out chips in time for new products to hit this holiday season, and it seems likely that the new 12-inch MacBook will be one of the first major computer launches with the new processor. Intel says that increased availability for the Broadwell processor will occur in the first half of 2015, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect various other new Macs (perhaps MacBook Pros or Airs) with more powerful Broadwell chips to hit the market during that timeframe next year.

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Apple re-releases MacBook Air EFI 2.9 update after bugs discovered

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Earlier this month, Apple released a MacBook Air EFI update (version 2.9) with fixes for issues with the laptop waking from sleep. Approximately a week ago, the firmware update was removed by Apple because of bugs causing MacBook Airs to crash.

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Today, Apple has re-released the update with fixes as version 2.9.1:

This update replaces EFI Firmware Update 2.9 and is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models.

The update can be found for mid-2011 MacBook Air owners in the Software Update section of the Mac App Store.

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Modbook announces $4k 15-inch pen-based OS X tablet built w/ new Retina MacBooks

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Following up the last Modbook Pro tablet the company is currently selling made from a converted mid-2012 MacBook Pro, today Modbook is back with the announcement of a 15-inch ModBook tablet that uses the new Retina MacBooks Apple just refreshed this week as its guts. For those of you unfamiliar with the company, it first started making OS X based tablets by converting Apple laptops and adding pen input capabilities as far back as 2007.  Read more

Mid-2014 Mac mini listed on Apple Support page, but no 2014 Mac mini in sight

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Apple seems to have inadvertently referenced a new model of Mac mini on an Apple Support page. The page was last modified yesterday, presumably to include information on the new MacBook Pro’s but instead lists “Mac mini (Mid 2014)” as a supported machine. There is a possibility that this is simply a human error on Apple’s part, of course, confusing the MacBook Pro and the Mac mini updates. There haven’t really been rumors of a new Mac mini being in the works, but due to the relative unimportance of the product in the Mac lineup, it is not of the question for it to have slid under the radar.

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Modest Retina MacBook Pro refresh expected tomorrow, still with GeForce GT 750M but base RAM up to 16GB

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The unverified photo from a Chinese Apple Store appearing to show a slight refresh to the Retina MacBook Pro launch is accurate, claims French site MacG, citing a reliable source. The site claims that the refreshed models will go on sale tomorrow.

The refresh is a minor one, with a modest speed boost of 200MHz and an increase in RAM across the range to 16GB. Apple is also, for the first time, offering a 1TB SSD in a standard model …  Read more

Faster Retina MacBook Pros w/ 16GB of RAM across the board teased by unverified Apple Store photo

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An image posted on a Chinese forum, claimed to have been taken inside of Apple’s new Paradise Walk store, indicates that Apple could be preparing to release an updated line of Retina MacBook Pros in the near-future. The image appears to be from one of Apple’s iPad Smart Signs within the store, and the sign advertises 15-inch MacBook Pros with technical specifications and features not found in the current lineup.

The first possibility is that this image is faked, but the other likely possibility is a system error on Apple’s part. There’s also room for this image to indicate an actual MacBook Pro lineup update coming in the near-future. The rumored specifications indicate that Apple will be bumping the standard 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro line from two models to three, and all will include 16GB of RAM as a standard option. Here are all the purported models:

  • 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost to 3.4GHz), 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics
  • 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost to 3.7GHz), 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics & NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M w/2GB Video Memory
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost to 4.0GHz), 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M w/2GB Video Memory

For comparison, here is the current MacBook Pro with Retina display lineup:

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OS X Yosemite planned for late Oct. as Apple preps 4K desktop & 12-inch Retina MacBook

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While iOS 8 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is set for a September launch, Apple is planning to bring its next-generation Mac software, OS X Yosemite, into the wild a month later, in October, according to several sources. Apple plans to continue releasing OS X Yosemite Developer Previews every two to three weeks until a final Developer Preview is seeded on September 29th, according to the people. Apple is then expected to finish up work on Yosemite in early October and release a golden master build around October 10th, the sources said. Apple is also finishing up preparations to release a version of OS X Yosemite beta tomorrow to the first one million people who signed up for the public beta.

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12-inch Retina MacBook now expected in late Q3 or 2015 as new 11 & 13-inch Airs enter production

Apple’s upcoming redesigned 12-inch MacBook with a Retina display is expected to ship later than expected and new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models have gone into production, according to a pair of reports from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News. The first report says that updates to both current MacBook Air sizes have entered production with Apple partner Quanta Computer, and that the new computers will boost Quanta’s 2014 notebook shipment numbers by 15%. The new devices are said to sport new chassis, screens, and chipsets, and volume shipments are due in late-August barring any unforeseen component delays.

Speaking of part delays, Apple’s illusive 12-inch MacBook with Retina display is now expected to ship as early as the end of Q3 2014 or as late as early 2015. The computer was initially reported by multiple analysts and publications to hit the marketplace sometime in the earlier part of the third quarter. Why the apparent delay? Intel. According to the report, the new MacBook’s launch is glued to Intel’s power and performance-efficient 14-nanometer Broadwell part, and as we’ve heard multiple times, those chipsets will be short in supply into next year. Regardless, Apple has shown an ability to stock up on Intel’s latest chips months before the competition, so perhaps Apple will be able to avoid this reported delay…

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Review: Transcend’s JetDrives add whopping 240-960GB SSD to MacBook Air at a great price

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See that little $190 daughter card up there^? It houses 240GB of Transcend SSD and it could replace the 64GB or 128GB SSD that came in your MacBook Air in as little as 5 minutes. Even better, Transcend just released larger versions in 480GB and 960GB sizes to blow your SATA III MacBook Air or Pro into new worlds of space. Keep in mind these are SATA-based SSDs and Apple’s latest round of MacBook Pro/Airs came with speedier PCIe SSDs so you can’t use these on Apple’s late 2013/2014 models (see bottom of the article for compatibility list).

I got my hands on a demo unit and took it for a test drive…

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