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OWC Shares Mid-2014 Retina MacBook Pro Unboxing, SSD Tests [Mac Blog]

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
retinamacbookpro13

Following this morning’s release of Retina MacBook Pros with improved Haswell processors, OWC has procured both the entry-level 13-inch and and the entry-level 15-inch 2014 Retina MacBook Pro and provided a gallery of unboxing photos featuring the new devices.

As expected, the packaging on the updated versions is the same as previous-generation Retina MacBook Pros. The site did a quick teardown as well, revealing the internals of the new machines, which also appear unchanged.

Internal view of the mid-2014 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro
OWC also conducted some speed tests on the solid state drives of the two machines, testing the 128 GB drive of the entry-level 13-inch version and the 256 GB drive of the entry-level 15-inch model using QuickBench 4.0.

The 15-inch machine (equipped with a Samsung SSD) saw random read/write speeds much higher than that of the 13-inch version, averaging in at 194 MB/s for random reads and 322 MB/s for random writes and 262/245 MB/s for sequential read/writes.

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The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, meanwhile, saw average random read/write speeds of 165/131 MB/s and average sequential read/write speeds of 263/244 MB/s with its Marvell-controlled SanDisk SSD.

<img src="http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2014/07/mbpr_13_2014_ssd.gif" alt="mbpr_13_2014_ssd" Continue Reading

Instagram’s Snapchat Competitor ‘Bolt’ Soft Launches in Three Countries [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
instagrambolt

Instagram today soft-launched its new Snapchat competitor Bolt in Singapore, South Africa, and New Zealand. First , a Snapchat clone with a twist — after receiving a photo, users must send an image or video in return before being able to view content.

Users in New Zealand, South Africa, and Singapore can download Bolt from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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‘Signal’ for iOS Lets Users Make Encrypted Voice Calls for Free [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
signalapp

Open source software group Open Whisper Systems today , Open Whisper Systems founder Moxie Marlinspike said the team’s goal was to make secure phone calls as easy to place as regular phone calls. Encrypted text messages will also be added to the app in the future.

“We’re trying to make private communications as available and accessible as any normal phone call,” says Moxie Marlinspike, the hacker security researcher who founded the nonprofit software group. Later this summer, he adds, encrypted text messaging will be integrated into Signal, too, to create what he describes as a “single, unified app for free, easy, open source, private voice and text messaging.”

Wired tested the app during the development phase and aside from a few early bugs, determined calls were “indistinguishable from any other phone call,” and MacRumors had the same results when testing the app. Signal also works Open Whisper Systems’ RedPhone app for Android, allowing both iOS and Android users to make secure calls with one another.

Signal can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Unreleased ‘Mid 2014′ Mac Mini Referenced on Apple Support Page

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
macmini

An Apple support page on Boot Camp was updated yesterday to include a mention of a mid-2014 Mac mini, perhaps hinting that a refresh of the desktop computer might be in the works.

First noticed by 9to5Mac, a cached version of the support page suggests yesterday’s update also added mentions of the 2014 low-cost iMac and 2014 MacBook Airs. Today’s newly released mid-2014 Retina MacBook Pros were not added to the updated page.

The mention of the mid-2014 Mac mini may be a simple error, but the machine is long overdue for a refresh. Last updated in October of 2012, the Mac mini is the only product in Apple’s mainstream Mac lineup that has not seen an update with Haswell processors.

Aside from the mention on Apple’s support page, there has been no indication that a Mac mini refresh is on the horizon. Several events, including the unveiling of the new iPads last October and Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference seemed like opportune times for the company to unveil a refreshed version of the desktop computer, but no new Mac mini materialized at either event. It continues to remain unclear when Apple might release Continue Reading

Kindle for iOS Updated With Syncing and Navigation Improvements [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
kindle_app_icon

Amazon today updated its Kindle for iOS app to version 4.4, adding several features that have been requested by Amazon customers to make both sync and navigation within the app easier.

Books will now sync to the most recent page read across all Kindle devices and Kindle apps that are registered to a single Amazon account, making it easier for users to swap between various Kindle devices. A feature in the navigation menu continues to allow customers to manually sync to the furthest page read if desired.

Kindle Placeholders have also been implemented, letting customers jump to different areas of a book without losing their current reading spot, and it’s also possible for students to export notes, highlights, and more from “Print Replica” textbooks.

Kindle for iOS has also gained Wikipedia Smart Lookup, letting readers select a word and get more information from Wikipedia

Kindle for iOS Version 4.4 provides several customer-requested features that make sync and navigation easier.

Sync to the most recent page read – Any books you are reading on Kindle for iOS will now sync to the most recent page read across all Kindle devices and/or reading apps registered to your Amazon account. Customers Continue Reading

15-Inch Mid 2014 Retina MacBook Pro Benchmark Shows Decent Entry-Level Speed Gains

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
mbp-2014-sc

Apple’s newly refreshed Retina MacBook Pros, released this morning, have already begun showing up in Geekbench benchmarks, offering a look at the performance boost of the updated machines compared to their predecessors.

A GeekBench 3 result for the entry-level 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro indicates that the new machine is eight percent faster than the entry-level 2013 Retina MacBook Pro, and only two percent slower than the mid-level Retina MacBook Pro released in 2013.

Single-Core performance for the machine came in at 3050, up from 2811 for the similar 2013 model, while Multi-Core performance was also impressive, at 11586 vs. 10730.

mbp-2014-mc
The new Retina MacBook Pros feature upgraded Haswell processors in 2.6 and 2.8 GHz dual-core configurations for the 13-inch versions, and 2.2 and 2.5 GHz quad-core configurations for the 15-inch models, with build-to-order options featuring a 2.8 GHz quad-core processor available for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and a 3.0 GHz quad-core processor available for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

All of Apple’s 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros now come with 8 GB of RAM standard (upgradeable to 16 GB), while 15-inch models come with 16 GB standard. The high-end 15-inch Continue Reading

Apple’s Smartphone Market Share Slips as Huawei, Lenovo Make Gains

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
idc_2Q14_smartphones,jpg

Apple’s growth in the overall worldwide smartphone market continues to slow as it loses ground to smaller Chinese vendors releasing more affordable devices, even as the smartphone market itself grows substantially.

According to IDC’s latest estimates, worldwide smartphone sales for the second quarter of 2014 grew 23.1 percent year-over year as smartphones continue to replace feature phones, with a record quarter of 295.3 million shipments.

Apple shipped 35.1 million iPhones during the quarter, up from 31.2 million during Q2 2013, for a share of 11.9 percent, a slight drop from its 13 percent share in the year-ago quarter. The company’s growth was at just 12.4 percent.

Samsung, the vendor that has long held the top spot with the most smartphone shipments, fared even worse during the quarter, with estimated shipments of 74.3 million for a 25.2 percent share of the market, down from 32.3 percent in Q2 2013, and overall growth of -3.9 percent.

Smaller Chinese vendors like Huawei and Lenovo continue to see significant growth, with Huawei shipping 20.3 million smartphones during the quarter for a 6.9 percent share and growth of 95.1 percent, while Lenovo shipped 15.8 million smartphones for 5.4 percent market Continue Reading

Ford Transitioning From BlackBerries to iPhones for Employees

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
iphone_5s_5c

Ford Motor Company is planning to transition its corporate employees from BlackBerry to Apple, providing approximately 3,300 workers with iPhones by the end of the year, reports Bloomberg. According to Ford spokesperson Sara Tatchio, Ford is also aiming to get iPhones into the hands of an additional 6,000 corporate employees over the course of the next two years as they transition from flip phones.

To oversee the switch to iOS devices, Ford will hire a mobile technology analyst, with one facet of the job involving the “global deployment of corporate iPhones.” In her statement to Bloomberg, Tatchio highlighted the iPhone’s ability to meet both the personal and secure business needs of Ford’s employees as a reason for the switch.

“We are going to get everyone on iPhones,” Tatchio said. “It meets the overall needs of the employees because it is able to serve both our business needs in a secure way and the needs we have in our personal lives with a single device.”

Having all employees on the same smartphone will improve security and simplify information technology management, Tatchio said. Ford is making “no extra investment” to convert to iPhones, other than the cost of replacing Continue Reading

Ford Plans To Replace BlackBerries With iPhones Beginning This Year

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
new-it-hero

Ford is going to start switching its employees over to iPhone, beginning with moving 3,300 staffers from BlackBerry devices to iPhones by the end of the year. Over the course of the next two years, approximately 6,000 employees will get iPhones, replacing their existing flip phones, but ultimately the goal is to get everyone on Apple’s iPhone platform, a Ford spokesperson told Bloomberg. Read More
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Thieves Target Durham, North Carolina Apple Store in Smash-and-Grab Robbery [Mac Blog]

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
southpoint-break-in

Thieves last night stole an unknown number of MacBooks in a smash-and-grab theft at the Apple Store located in the Southpoint Mall in Durham, North Carolina. The MacBook units reportedly were display models situated in the front section of the store.

The Apple Store is part of The Streets at Southpoint, a shopping destination that includes both an indoor mall and an outdoor shopping pavilion. The Apple store is located in an outdoor section of the complex, making it an easier target for an overnight theft. The store is currently closed following the break-in.

Smash-and-grab robberies are not uncommon at Apple retail stores, which often are built with glass panels to showcase the interior of the store. In December of last year, the new Haarlem store was the target of a smash-and-grab robbery shortly after it opened. Only a small amount of merchandise was stolen in that break-in.

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Rumored iWatch Supplier TPK’s Q3 Forecast Falls Flat Amid Reports of Production Issues

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
Balogh-iwatch

Details discussed during a recent earnings conference call by Apple supplier TPK Holdings suggest the production of the iWatch is behind schedule, reports UDN via GforGames. According to earlier rumors, the iWatch may debut in late 2014 with the latest report claiming it will launch alongside the 5.5-inch iPhone 6.

Based on reports from Asian sources, TPK executives spent a portion of the company’s Q3 2014 earning conference call explaining why it sees poorer than expected financial projections for the current quarter. TPK is allegedly supplying Apple with flexible displays that use silver nanowire touch screen technology for inclusion in the iWatch wearable.

iWatch concept based on TRIWA’s Havana Nevil Brown watch, by Gábor Balogh
Though the iWatch was not mentioned in the call, pundits believe TPK’s shortfall is the result of a slip in the production schedule for the iWatch, which had been expected to be in production and contributing to TPK’s bottom line during the third quarter. Now, the company is projecting an increase in profits during Q4 2014, suggesting the iWatch rollout may be slated for closer to the end of this year.

Shares of TPK stock Continue Reading

Apple TV Updated with CNBC and FOX NOW Channels

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
cnbc_apple_tv

Apple today added two more channels to the Apple TV, delivering financial news channel CNBC and network FOX NOW to the platform.

CNBC offers access to a live stream of the financial channel, as well as on-demand clips from news segments and full episodes of the channels “Prime” content original series. Viewing requires authentication with one of a number of cable and Internet providers. Notable cable companies not available for authentication include Time Warner and Charter.

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FOX NOW includes on-demand access to a number of shows from the network, including 24: Live Another Day, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Glee, and more. Authentication through a cable provider is required for full access to content.

Update 7:40 AM: Apple has also added TV2 Sumo [Google Translate], the online version of popular channel TV2, in Norway.

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New SSD-Equipped Drobo Mini Boosts Speed of Drobo’s Portable Storage Lineup [Mac Blog]

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
drobo-mini-ssd

Connected Data today launched an updated version of its Drobo Mini that includes Solid State Disk (SSD) drives (Via ZDNet). The new model offers an 80 percent performance improvement over a similar Drobo Mini equipped only with hard disk drives.

The new Drobo Mini with SSDs is a portable storage solution designed for photographers, videographers and other on-the-go media professionals who require fast drive performance they can fit in their bag.

“The core benefits that any user receives when using a Drobo are still tremendous value. Being able to start with the capacity you need today and growing over time; simplicity to deploy, use and manage is key – no need to be a storage expert,” writes Joe Disher, senior director of product marketing for Connected Data. “Adding the SSDs to our portable Drobo provides tremendous performance as well as the reliability and redundancy needed for filmmakers that don’t have time to have lost data.”

Internally, the Mini includes four 2.5-inch drive bays with an optional mSATA Accelerator bay. You can buy the Mini pre-equipped with SSDs or supply your own drives for a custom configuration. The Mini features both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports that support Continue Reading

Apple Expands AppleCare+ to Cover iPhones and iPads in Mexico and Sweden [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
applecare_plus_icon

Apple today expanded its AppleCare+ program to two new countries, bringing the program to cover iPhones and iPads in Mexico and Sweden.

In Mexico, AppleCare+ coverage for the iPhone and iPad are priced at 1,599 pesos. Meanwhile, AppleCare+ for the iPhone and iPad in Sweden are priced at 799 krona.

Apple last expanded its AppleCare+ program in September 2013, raising service fees for accidental damage, adding iPods, and expanding avaliability to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Thanks, Steve!

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Apple Launches Retina MacBook Pros with Faster Haswell Processors, More RAM Standard

Posted by | July 29, 2014.
new_rmbps_mid_2014

As indicated over the weekend and yesterday, Apple today launch refreshed 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros.The new notebooks feature faster versions of Intel’s Haswell processors, as all 13-inch models now come with 8GB of RAM standard while all 15-inch models now feature 16GB of RAM.

New models include:

13-inch:
– $1299: 2.6 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 128GB of flash storage
– $1499: 2.6 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 256GB of flash storage
– $1799: 2.8 GHz dual-core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 512GB of flash storage

15-inch:
– $1999: 2.2 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of flash storage
– $2599: 2.5 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of flash storage

The minor refresh is primarily a stopgap measure until Apple can launch a more significant update to its Retina MacBook Pro line once Intel’s next-generation Broadwell processors hit the market. Broadwell chips appropriate for the MacBook Pro may, however, not arrive until mid-2015. Apple is also rumored to be working on a 12-inch Retina MacBook for 2015 which is said to feature an ultrathin chassis, a Continue Reading

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