MacMall Special: Lowest prices on MacBook Airs plus Free Parallels & Free FedEx Overnight until Fri 9:15PM ET

From 9to5Toys.com and 9to5Mac Product Pages comes a special deal from MacMall for our readers who are looking for MacBook Airs at the lowest prices. Across the board, Macmall has the lowest prices when coupled with additional 3% off 9to5Mac promo code NTFMMWB38592 

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MacMall goes beyond lowest prices: Until Friday at 9:15PM ET, readers will get free overnight shipping and a free copy of Parallels Desktop with every order. MacMall also offers financing and/or no payments for 6 months and accepts payments with Paypal or Amazon as well as major credit cards. This week’s MacMall specials include half off Quickbooks 2013 for Mac, iPad  SmartCovers starting at $26.99 and other Blowout deals on peripherals.

MacMall has additional MacBook Air 8GB BTO configurations that knock an additional 3% off the already lowest prices we could find: Read more

Apple moves supplier relationship status with Samsung from ‘frenemies’ to ‘enemies’

Just before we heard Apple was not using an ARM-designed processor and instead its first custom CPU design for the new iPhone’s A6, we also heard reports that Apple was reducing component orders from Samsung due to the two companies’ ongoing patent disputes. While we knew Samsung was still—at the very least—manufacturing the new chip, a report from KoreaTimes gives more insight into the company’s involvement directly from a Samsung official. According to the report, the A6 is the first of Apple’s iPhone chips where Samsung did not contribute to development of the technology:

According to industry sources, Apple has not collaborated with Samsung in the process to develop its A6 microprocessor used in its latest iPhone 5. Samsung has handled the manufacturing of the processors used in previous iPhones and believed to have contributed in their design to some degree… It now appears that the structure of the deal has been dramatically adjusted…Apple is still relying on the Korean firm to manufacture its chips but has made it clear it will no longer use its rival’s technology.

We heard conflicting reports in September regarding Apple’s decision to reduce component orders from its biggest supplier, Samsung. Reuters claimed the reduction in orders was an attempt to simply “widen its supply chain,” while others reported Apple is actively reducing orders of displays, memory chips, and batteries specifically due to increasing tension between the companies. According to the report’s source, an unnamed senior Samsung official, Samsung is now only manufacturing the A6 chips on a “foundry basis”:

“There are three kinds of chip clients. Some want us to handle everything from chip design, architecture and manufacturing. Some want us to just design and manufacture. Some want us to just make the chips. Apple is now the third type,’’

Related to today’s report: Apple’s recent hiring of Samsung chip designer Jim Mergard. The report claimed the hiring of Mergard, who was working specifically on ARM chip designs at Samsung and prior, increases the “mutual tension”… Read more

ChinaTimes: Apple said to have ordered 65 million 264PPI Retina displays from LG and Samsung for iPad 3

Apple iPad 3 rumors indicate a March 7 announcement with a 2,048-by-1, 536-pixel Retina display, quad-core A6 processor, improved cameras, and now LTE chip. The over-all design of the tablet will remain the same, according to the consensus, but the big new feature  will obviously be the new Retina display. Rumors also indicate LG and Samsung are manufacturing the display. ChinaTimes said in a new report this evening that Apple ordered a whopping 65 million 264PPI Retina displays from both LG and Samsung. Both have reportedly already begun production, as well. It is not clear if this number includes orders from Sharp, who is rumored to be building displays from the iPad 3.

For comparison, Apple ordered 40 million displays for the iPad 2. Today’s report indicates a substantial 60 percent to 70 percent increase over iPad 2. If these reports are true, Apple is thinking big for its new tablet.

The iPad 2 is currently the world’s hottest tablet due to selling 15.4 million during the holiday quarter. With a big feature like the Retina display, Apple could potentially blow these numbers out of the water. China, and other emerging markets, could contribute to the influx of sales.

So, when can you get your hands on one?

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iPad 3 with quad-core A6, LTE to be announced on March 7th?

iMore‘s Rene Ritchie reports that Apple currently plans to announce their next-generation iPad on Wednesday March 7th. We recently noted that March 7th was an open day for events at San Fransisco’s Yerba Buena Center (and the first Wednesday of the month). This is the hall in which Apple introduced both the first iPad and iPad 2.

iMore also adds its voice to the string of iPad 3 Retina Display confirmations, and also says the new iPad will have a quad-core A6 processor. This agrees with both our own code findings and Bloomberg’s report. iMore says Apple is working on LTE mobile devices, they mention the iPhone 5 specifically, but LTE is noted as a possibility for this new iPad.

Notably, iMore provided correct iPhone 4S launch and feature information.

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What DON’T we know about the next iPad (besides its name)?

The next iPad will have the name “iPad 3,” according to the consensus of rumors, and it features a faster processor/GPU while remaining the same size as the current iPad 2. Its unveiling is in a month (March 7th is the first Wednesday) and will be available (in Wi-Fi certainly) almost immediately after.

The big differentiator this year is the “Retina Display” with a staggering 2048-by-1536 pixel screen, likely made by Sharp/Samsung/LG. An Apple employee told The New York Times that the display was “truly amazing” and it must be with a pixel count that lies between the 21- and 27-inch iMacs squeezed into a 9.7-inch display. Consider: You can watch a Blu-ray movie at native resolution with over 100 pixels on the side and nearly 500 pixels below to “play with.”

Oh, by the way: How many megapixels is 2048-by-1536? Just over 3.

That screen sounds like it might take more juice to power, but Apple will add some extra battery capacity, which might make the iPad 3 slightly thicker. The battery life will likely continue with 10 hours as the baseline (why make the case slightly bigger or smaller otherwise?).

One of the unanswered questions is whether the Samsung S5L8945X inside will be a dual or quad core processor. While this is mostly a “speeds and feeds” type of question and will not relate too much to real-world performance, it would seem that the overwhelming evidence points to quad-core. Apple’s iPad 2 was one of the first dual core tablets and with NVIDIA getting set to announce a group of quad core phones, Apple’s once a year upgrade would suggest a quad. As the S5L8945X name implies above, there will be some extra horsepower on the GPU side as well.

LTE capability is also a big question. The radios for LTE will add some weight and cost, while also acting as a harder hit on the battery. However, with Apple’s once a year release cycle and the overwhelming amount of evidence that has tied Apple to LTE, it would seem that Apple will have a LTE iPad—but perhaps one not available at the launch. Next generation lower power LTE chips are just coming off the assembly lines at Qualcomm.

More, including Bluetooth, Camera, NFC, Gig Wifi, and Thunderbolt is available below:

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Debug tool shows quad-core A6 and LTE capabilities on iPad 3

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Following reports earlier this month from Bloomberg that iPad 3 production kicked off in anticipation of a March launch, BGR today claimed a source is in possession of an iPad 3 prototype that has provided more information on the device.

A source claiming to be in possession of an iPad 3 prototype provided BGR with images containing details about Apple’s highly anticipated third-generation tablet. From the data in the photos, which contain the output from an iPad 3 using a development and debug tool called iBoot, we can infer plenty of information about the upcoming iPad 3.

BGR claimed the debug reports from the iPad 3 prototype in question have model numbers J1 and J2 (iPad3,1 and iPad3,2), with one being the only Wi-Fi model and the other an LTE/CDMA/GSM combo “for all carriers.” This echoes 9to5Mac‘s findings from last year.

The reports also provided confirmation of an A6 processor (model number S5L8945X) that most have expected Apple to include in the device.  We first broke news of a Quad-core chip in the iPad 3 via code snippets in iOS 5.1B software.

According to the BGR report, the processor will be a quad-core variant, “making the upcoming iPad 3 the fastest iOS device ever.”

We’ve seen previous mentions of the Samsung S5L8945X in iOS 5 dumps from the iPhone 4S:

So, while nothing in the report is new, the means by which these were found, reportedly from a prototype iPad 3, seem to confirm previous findings.
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