Category Archives: Apple Hardware

Apple announces iPhone 4, iOS 4, iMovie

Steve Jobs delivered Apple’s 2010 WWDC keynote today, announcing a new iPhone, a number of new iPhone apps, and updated device and App Store sales data.

First things first, the new iPhone. Apple has named it iPhone 4, and it looks exactly like the leaked prototype everyone has already seen. It will be available in black and white, at the same price points as the current 3GS: $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB. There is no 64GB model at the moment. They’ve also dropped the 3G model completely, and the 8GB 3GS is now available for $99.

iPhone 4

iPhone 4

Current iPhone users can upgrade to the new device for the retail price as long as their contract expires some time in 2010, though you must agree to another 2 year contract. Read more

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WWDC 2010 Preview

Today, Apple will present several new products to its third party developer community…and through the tremendous press scrunity — not to mention what Steve Jobs recently called (an undesirable) “nation of bloggers” (ahem) — by extension the larger world of its users, enthusiasts and curious potential ‘switchers.’

Some of them will be software, some will be hardware, but most if not all will likely manage to attract their own little cyclonic orbits of controversy.

Here are some of the grapevine’s expectations; stay with us over the week ahead for post-event analysis and fresh dirt on what’s next from Infinite Loop. Read more

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Data caps, tethering arrive on the iPhone, iPad

Barely one month after the iPad 3G went on sale promising users unlimited 3G data for a reasonable price, AT&T has now decided that data caps make more sense and has done away with the $29 unlimited plan.

As of June 7th, the company will offer 2 data-capped plans for all smartphones, the $15 DataPlus plan which comes with 200MB of transfer per month, and the $25 DataPro plan which comes with 2GB of transfer per month. Overage charges for each plan are $15 per 200MB or $10 per 1GB, respectively.

These same data plans also apply to new iPhone contracts, existing users of both iPhone and iPad data plans will be allowed to keep the unlimited option even if they buy a new iPhone (for now), but new iPhone and iPad users will choose between the 2 new capped plans. Read more

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Apple buys second ARM chip design firm, Intrinsity

Readers who have their ears to the grapevine will remember the excitement over Apple’s acquisition two years ago of PA Semi, which led directly to the production of its first in-house ARM CPU, the 1GHz A4 which is at the heart of every iPad.

Now, indications are that Apple has made a second acquisition to bolster its in-house ARM SoC development efforts: Intrinsity, formerly a close partner of major ARM manufacturer Samsung. What does this mean for the future of Apple’s iDevice hardware?

Among many other specialties in ARM SoC design, Intrinsity is well known for its engineering talents in the area of power efficiency optimization. Particularly for ultra-compact iDevices, power efficiency doesn’t just mean long battery life….it means that faster, more powerful ARM chips with higher clock speeds can be packed into the same package. Read more

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Roadmap 2010: Macbook Pro

UPDATE 4/3/10 2:30PM Eastern: Added mention of IPS display panels to specs page.

For about 3 months now, Intel’s new “Arrandale” mobile Core i3/i5/i7 processors have been on the market — offered by many of the major PC makers in their latest laptops — but have not yet been integrated into Apple’s products. These CPUs are part of Intel’s “Nehalem” family, a major generational leap from previous Core 2 technology. Nehalem-class chips have been at the heart of the Mac Pro and quad-core iMacs for some time, and offer numerous advantages.

Arrandale, though only a two-core design versus the quads in current Core i5/i7 desktops, is ahead of those desktop chips in a few areas. Notably, it is one of Intel’s first Nehalem chips built on a 32-nanometer manufacturing process; each step in shrinking silicon chip manufacturing processes brings about greater energy efficiency, better price/performance, and allows more transistors to be packed onto a smaller chip footprint. Read more

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Roadmap 2010: Mac Pro

Although supplies of some components Apple wants to use in the 2010 Mac Pro may cause further delays that cannot yet be precisely anticipated even by senior executives at Infinite Loop itself, a considerable leap forward for Cupertino’s high-end workstation is widely anticipated in the next few weeks.

As is typical among seasoned rumor-mongers, we are hesitant to try to predict in anything but general terms when to expect this update; Apple has extremely high standards for predictable supplies of components (brought about by snafus like the major delay in availability of PowerPC G4 processors when they were first introduced), and is quite willing to push back its own planned announcement dates if there is the slightest question of availability or quality-control problems. Read more

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Major updates to Mac Pro and Macbook/Air/Pro lineups imminent

As Rumors has previously reported, a new generation of 32-nanometer Intel chips (Arrandale for mobile, Gulftown/Westmere-EP on the desktop) are ready for Apple to build several new Macs around. Several factors have kept Apple from being the first to adopt these chips, but sources now report that the time for their announcement is approaching.

Some widely published reports about the 2010 Mac Pro were based on information deliberately falsified by a single source, but other than the specific date given, much of the information that has been reported is essentially accurate: a new lineup of Mac Pros with a high-end 12-core (dual sockets, 6 physical/12 logical cores per chip) model have been under development in Cupertino for some time and are now close to being ready to ship. Read more

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Wild card in Apple’s iPad release dates is FCC approval

While the tech community has become quite familiar with products being unintentionally revealed through a leaked FCC document, Apple appears to have avoided that fate by carefully coordinating their product announcement with the FCC certification process.

In the screenshot below you can see that the bottom of the iPad technical specifications page includes a notice that the device “is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.”

iPad FCC Notice

FCC certification for a device can take as long as 8-12 weeks according to Agile test group, a company which provides testing services for new products requiring FCC approval.

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Apple unveils the iPad

The long awaited device will be available in multiple models, both with and without unlocked 3G hardware, and will be available in 60 days for the Wi-Fi models, 90 days for the 3G models. The shipping hardware closely resembles some of the prototypes we’ve seen in the past few months, and exactly matches some leaked photos that turned up just today at a message board on the Chinese site “Weiphone”.

iPad

The device itself is 9.56″ tall, 7.47″ wide, and 0.5″ at its thickest point. Weight is a super-light 1.5lbs for the Wi-Fi model and 1.6lbs for the 3G model.

The entire front face is optical quality, oleophobic glass, just like the iPhone, and features just one single home button on the bottom face, but does include both a volume rocker and a mute button on the side, and the classic power button on the top edge. Read more

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January 27th Apple Event Preview Part 1: The Tablet

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you are probably well aware that tomorrow, Wednesday January 27th, Apple is hosting one of its infamous “Events” and the centerpiece will be a tablet-like iDevice which was, coincidentally, just “confirmed” by the CEO of publisher McGraw-Hill on CNBC minutes before this post was sent to the presses.

The big questions are, what will it be like? What sort of tech specs will be under the hood? Based on years of following the Tablet’s development through our sources in Cupertino and backed up by grapevine consensus, here’s what we’re expecting at the heart of tomorrow’s announcements.

First, the bullet point tech specs:

  • 10-inch touchscreen display with one of the highest resolutions ever produced, and almost certainly in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
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Apple quietly adds 3.33GHz quad-core Mac Pro to keep up with iMac, but fails to match value

Apple has, with little fanfare, added a 3.33GHz Core i7 Xeon 3500 (Bloomfield) option to its Mac Pro lineup for quad-core/single-chip models. Comments by the usual suspects in Cupertino have mirrored community speculation that this is a (weak) response to the new quad-core iMac clearly crushing the value equation of the Pro….but due to its dependence on costly Xeon-class chips, that equation has not changed.

Until Apple is willing to offer a so-called “xMac” model — a headless Pro-class computer with desktop-class Core i7 2G (Lynnfield, as in the high end iMac) chips instead of the far more costly Xeons — the Mac Pro will always be hobbled in competition for the budget-minded power user.

Such prototypes have been spotted in the past, but a variety of factors….notably Apple’s close-knit relationship with Intel which typically dictates which chips it uses even if they aren’t necessarily the absolute best choices for a given market segment….have stood in the way of actual production machines of this type. Read more

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What’s next for iMac and Mac Pro?

Right now, the Core i7 iMac is the king of Apple’s hill — and a growing dominant force in the market generally as its remarkable value equation becomes more widely understood, offering ~35% better performance than the i5 model (due to the lack of HyperThreading which allows two threads to run on each core, making the CPU considerably more efficient) for only $200 more. It even rivals and sometimes exceeds the performance of the Mac Pro by nature of its more advanced Lynnfield CPU which can “turbo” to higher clock speeds, up to 3.46GHz, than the Gainestown Xeon chips in the Pro when only 1 or 2 cores are active. Gaming is a perfect example of where this can be particularly beneficial. Read more

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Apples tiny new server

Since its original release, the Most affordable Mac ever has found work in unexpected places; being stuffed under the seat in a car, performing as a media center, and even taking on jobs as a server platform. It is power efficient, small and easy to manage, all qualities that make it well suited for use in alternate roles.

Now Apple appears to be catering to these special use cases, today they released a new Mac Mini specifically targeted for use as a server. The new model includes a full unlimited copy of Snow Leopard Server for $999. In contrast to Apples other hardware, there is only one configuration of the Server Mini at this time; a 2.53Ghz Core 2 Duo with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, the same Geforce 9400M found in the standard Mini, and 2 – 5400rpm, 500GB hard drives as stock. Read more

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Apple cuts iPod prices in prelude to Event

The changes include the following:

8GB iPod Touch: $189 was $229 (reduced $40)
32GB Touch: $279 was $399 ($120)
16GB Nano $149 was $199 ($50)
120GB iPod Classic (HDD): $229 was $249 ($20)

Clearly, this means that the iPod Classic is not in fact “going away” just yet as some have speculated….but don’t be so quick to dismiss that rumor completely. Numerous signs still point to Apple pushing rotational hard disk drives out of the iPod lineup, and consolidating the entire iPod family onto “true” ARM processor based iPhone OS devices. All happening sooner rather than later.

What does this mean we can expect from this Event? Is this Apple simply lowering expectations, or pointing us in a different direction entirely? Read more

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Will the ‘iTablet’ run iPhone OS or Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard?

As “iTablet” (Macbook Touch? iPhone Cinema?) rumors have reached a fever pitch in recent days thanks to several disclosures and leaks by third parties privy to late-stage prototypes of the device, speculation has mounted as to which variant of OS X it will run — will it be an iPhone (ARM CPU, iPhone OS) or a Mac (Intel processor, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard)?

The most difficult part of answering this question, for even the most well-informed and -connected of insiders, is that Apple has explored both possibilities and has been extensively revamping countless elements of the Snow Leopard interface to make multi-touch input more practical. One way or another, Macs will eventually adopt multi-touch displays; it’s just a matter of when and what models, at what price ranges. Read more

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