IDG shutters Macworld Magazine, much of the editorial staff let go

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International Data Group (IDG) is shutting down Macworld Magazine, the long time Apple periodical according to tweets by staff and conversations I’ve had with personnel.  Dan Miller, Editor, Macworld tweeted the following:
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The Macworld.com website will remain open [although as a shell of its former self -ed] with a reduced staff according to Miller, who himself is leaving in a month.

As a former contributor and fan of Macworld.com it is sad to see the publication go. Ironically, the transition from print to digital hastened by Apple’s own iPad and other online tools made the publication one of the last remaining Apple publications in print.

There’s no word yet on the fate of the annual trade show of the same name that has also taken a hit since Apple stopped attending. We’ll update as we hear more.

Update: Dan Miller wrote in to clarify that he never implied that the magazine “would be a shell of its former self”  (even though most of the names and faces that were the backbone of the magazine have been let go). Read more

Thinner, lighter, FASTER: Early benchmarks show 50-65% improvement in MacBook Pro’s Iris graphics

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Macworld’s benchmarks

…less expensive, better battery life too

Apple’s relentless improvement iterations continue unabated. Macworld’s early benchmarks on Apple’s new base model 13″MacBook Pro with built in Intel Iris Graphics are in and show huge speed gains in graphics performance:

The most impressive improvements in the new laptops came courtesy of the new Iris graphics. Compared to the HD 4000 graphics in the early 2013 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, the Iris graphics posted between 45 and 50 percent higher frame rates in Cinebench r15’s OpenGL tests and the Unigine Valley Benchmark. Unigen’s Heaven benchmark showed the new systems with about 65 percent improvement in frame rates over the earlier model.

Iris Graphics also support displays up to 4K at 24Hz, a first for Apple’s entry level Pro laptops.

CPU performance improvement is slight but the Intel Haswell architecture adds a few hours of (Apple’s estimated) battery life while the machine actually got thinner and lighter. Meanwhile, Apple loaded up faster 802.11ac Wifi and speedy Samsung PCIe SSDs up to 1TB and Thunderbolt 2.0.

Price? Dropped $100  to $1299. (we are already seeing discounts/tax advantages in our Products section). Read more

MacStadium announces plans for Mac Pro hosting and colocation while Macminicolo also plans to be ready at launch

via MacStadium

MacStadium announces plans for Mac Pro hosting and colocation

Less than a week since being teased at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the Mac Pro is already finding its way into new and useful places. MacStadium, which currently utlizes the Mac mini for dedicated hosting and colocation, has announced plans to offer Mac Pro hosting later this year.

MacStadium has already developed custom racks for the new Mac Pro (via Macworld/TUAW), which features a brand-new design that is much smaller than the previous model, and can store 270 Mac Pros in each Mac Pro POD. That’s fifteen rows, nine columns, and two Mac Pros per slot. Read more

Tech Industry Analyst Michael Gartenberg officially joins Apple’s marketing team

According to Forbes, long time technology analyst Michael Gartenberg has joined Apple. According to the report he is now officially working under the marketing team led by Phil Schiller. Gartenberg has always been Apple-focused/leaning in his coverage and a contributor to Macworld magazine among other endeavors.

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Kanex adds 3 USB ports and Gigabit Ethernet to your MacBook with pocket-sized DualRole

We have played with and enjoyed a few products from Kanex in the past, and today the company showed off its latest USB 3.0 charging solution at Macworld with the DualRole. The product is a super lightweight and very portable bus-powered USB3 hub that packs three extra USB 3 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet adapter. That means you’ll be able to add a Gigabit Ethernet adapter to your Retina MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and have an extra three USB ports on hand.

9to5Mac went hands-on with the DualRole today during Macworld, and we definitely want one for ourselves. Anyone who travels knows how nice it is to connect via Ethernet when hotel Wi-Fi gets sketchy, and it’s certainly nice to be able to carry around an additional three USB 3.0 ports in your pocket at the same time. DualRole also provided an optional 5V power adapter to offer a little extra power to the USB ports, and the built-in cable tucks away nicely when not in use. DualRole is selling for $69 through the Kanex website, but it should also land next to the company’s lineup of other solid products on Amazon shortly.

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On location at Macworld/iWorld 2013

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As per usual, 9to5mac is on the scene here in San Francisco for Macworld|iWorld 2013. We’ve got some exciting things lined up for this year and we’re looking forward to seeing what the Apple community has on offer. Our coverage starts tomorrow morning.

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A quick pre-setup run through video of the main exhibition hall is below: Read more

Apple’s head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak spotted roaming the show floor at CES

While Apple does not have a booth or keynote at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company is on the show floor scouting the competition. PaidContent’s Tom Krazit spotted Apple’s head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak at Sony’s booth. Joswiak talked to PaidContent, with a grin on his face, and said he was on location to see “How other companies present their products at events such as CES, from things like booth layout and aesthetics to which products are highlighted within a company’s booth.” Interesting.

It is worth noting that Apple has not participated in a trade show since MacWorld 2009, where the company announced iWork ’09, new MacBook Pros, and more. In recent years, Apple has stuck to announcing new products at its own events.

Roaming the floor does not seem like the only thing Apple is doing at CES. At 9to5Mac, we have been independently contacted through email by someone who seems to be seeking information on Apple competitors, including information on what 9to5Mac thinks about the technology being showcased at CES. The contact also wanted to know specifics on how journalists viewed companies’ product marketing practices. This probe certainly sounds similar to Mr. Joswiak’s recent activities on the show floor, right?

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More ThunderBolt at CES 2012: Western Digital shows impressive speeds, Hitachi shows pro setups and Seagate shows off sleds

I had some time to demonstrate some of the upcoming Thunderbolt accessories from external drive makers at CES earlier today. We briefly discussed a few others from OCZ, LaCie, Belkin and Elgato earlier in the week. First up is the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo:

These are going to compare nicely to the Promise RAID setup that has similar speeds, but it does not have a price or release date yet.  The vibe seemed to be like Q2 with perhaps an announcement at Macworld.

Next up is the Hitachi G-Drive series of Thunderbolt Drives, and these drives are 8TBs…

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Macworld Expo begins transition to new “iWorld” brand, registration opens to the public

Like everything else Apple, the Macworld Expo is moving in the direction of iOS devices with a new name: Macworld|iWorld, “the ultimate iFan event”. Today, Paul Kent, the event’s vice president and general manager said:

“The brand is evolving from Macworld [Expo] to Macworld|iWorld to illustrate that the show is about the whole ecosystem of Apple products” The exhibits and conference sessions that have characterized past expos remain with Macworld|iWorld. But show organizers are also adding elements aimed at providing what Kent characterized as a “dynamic culture experience. We have a great core audience, but there’s a great opportunity to evolve the event.”

While there will be added focus on the iOS device ecosystem, Kent was adamant about saying the show was still heavily focused on the Mac Platform. In fact, there is added attention to Mac Developers with the introduction of a new package for OS X developers “to encourage them to display their wares at the show without the expense of having an elaborate booth”.

The event will also retain its training sessions under the new moniker “Tech Talks” and have film and music venues as well.

Apple stopped participating in Macworld Expos in 2009 which changed the dynamic of the show. This move is another major shift.

The event kicks off on January 26th. You can register at the prices listed below. (Note that you’ll need to enter your information to see prices.) That’s up to $100 off and the same as last year’s early pricing model. Discount expires December 5. The prices:

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For those who travel internationally, a SIM unlocked iPhone from Verizon or Sprint may be the answer

Owning up to its ‘Worldphone’ capabilities, Macworld got the SIM unlock policies from Verizon and Sprint which may make the CDMA phone more attractive than one from AT&T that is SIM-locked.

But there’s a new wrinkle that potentially makes the international-roaming experience better on Sprint and Verizon iPhones than it is on AT&T. Sprint plans to sell the iPhone 4S with its micro-SIM slot unlocked; Verizon’s will be initially locked, but if you’ve been a customer in good standing for 60 days, you can call Verizon and ask for an “international unlock.” (A Verizon spokesperson told me that this is Verizon’s standard policy for all world phones—it’s just the first time it’s manifested itself on an iPhone.)

That’s interesting because for instance the Verizon Droid II Worldphone comes with a locked Vodafone (Verizon’s half parent company) SIM card. If you travel overseas you cannot exchange a local carrier’s SIM, you have to use Vodafone. Verizon may unlock these but it was my understanding that it was up to their discretion. Their policy might be two months old now but that could change on a whim (plus, what is “good standing” – seems shady).

AT&T of course won’t let you put in a local carrier’s SIM card and will charge you their high rates for roaming (though they’ve come down a bit over the past year).

When added to Sprint’s unlimited data plans, ol’ Yellow is looking pretty good, especially for those who travel internationally.

Update: Sprint refuted this claim to Ars Technica and says you will get a Sprint SIM and be charged Sprint Roaming charges, like AT&T.

Lion-optimized Intuit QuickBooks Mac 2012 arriving September 26

Intuit today announced QuickBooks for Mac 2012, the newest version of its accounting software for small businesses, enhanced for OS X Lion. More than fifty new features are part of the release, including better search with keywords and filters, customer and vendor history panels, transaction list, batch online banking transactions, progress invoicing and more. The software goes on sale September 26 as a digital download on the online Intuit store, Amazon.com, Apple’s online store and other outlets, priced at $230 for a single-user license. Boxed copies will hit store shelves on October 9.  Screenshots below.

Premier edition is also available (a Windows-only product), in addition to an add-on for QuickBooks Premier that lets you sync data with Salesforce. QuickBooks also has a cross platform Cloud edition which also shows some promise for Apple users.

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Macworld Mobile goes to Barcelona GSMA Mobile World Congress

IDG and GSMA Mobile World Congress are coming together to bring an Apple mobile presence to the yearly parade of mobile devices in Barcelona held every February.  Just like Macworld in San Francisco, this one won’t have an official Apple presence, but Macworld will be on hand to shepherd mobile apps developers and accessory makers who want to showcase their wares on the world stage.

We’ve always wanted an excuse to go to Barcelona in February!  Full press release below:

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