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Apple Set to Build Huge Solar Farm Next to North Carolina Data Center

In recent news, Apple is supposedly planning on constructing a solar farm directly next to its massive data center located in Maiden, North Carolina. The report was first released by the Charlotte Observer and later picked up by both Apple Insider as well as Mac Rumors. Apple has already won approval...

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Apple’s Standalone Peripherals Are Getting Upgraded

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer, Computer Accessories | Posted on 22-10-2015

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A massive update is in store for the standalone products offered by Apple. This includes the company’s keyboard, mouse and trackpad, with ways of making each device a lot better than they used to be. One of the key changes coming to all the devices is the fact that they are all ditching their AA battery requirements in favor of built-in batteries that charge via Lightning cable. These new batteries are expected to last for about a month on a single charge and are supposed to quickly charge enough for nine hours of use after just two minutes of being plugged in.

Aside from the battery changes, each device is getting a design change with some being more than others. The trackpad is getting the biggest change in the fact that it is no longer terrible. The new trackpad comes with a flat metal base and a white top that slopes downward back to front. The surface of the trackpad is wider and has a more rectangular shape and also comes with some new tricks. Force Touch is now supported and, the feature that most people will love, you now have the ability to click the trackpad literally anywhere on its surface. However, all of these new bells and whistles come with an increased price tag as the new model runs $129.

The next thing to see a big change is the Apple keyboard. The new keyboard looks far different from its predecessor, having a single piece of metal that gently slopes down from top to bottom, much like the trackpad. As a matter of fact, the trackpad and the keyboard actually fit perfectly side-by-side. The keys themselves are slightly wider than the older model, reducing the air gap around them though their placement is identical. The function keys also see a change in size, shifting from tiny rectangles to full square keys that are very satisfying to press on.

Even though the keys are in the same place, they feel very different. These new keys are far shallower than their predecessors, which might not seem like a big difference until you factor in the slope of the keyboard. Each row of keys is closer to being level with the row next to it, meaning you have to move your fingers slightly more to reach certain keys. I’m sure you’ll get used to this quickly though you shouldn’t expect perfect typing right out of the box. This new keyboard is also getting a price hike to $99.

The Apple mouse sees the least amount of changes compared to the trackpad and keyboard. The new mouse looks practically identical to the old one, with the same flat top that looks like no other mouse on the market. The new one is slightly longer, which makes it feel less awkward in your hand. The biggest change is on the bottom of the mouse, where there is no longer a thin, removable plate covering where the batteries would be. This is significant because that thing was a pain to remove. Apple has also noted that it has redesigned the “rails” the mouse slides on though they seem pretty much the same. Like the other two products, the new mouse is increasing in price to $79.

All three of these products are also receiving slightly new names as well. The trackpad is now known as the Magic Trackpad 2 instead of the Magic Trackpad, the Magic Mouse is now known as the Magic Mouse 2, and the keyboard is called the Magic Keyboard. Why not the Magic Keyboard 2 you might ask? Well, because the old keyboard was simply known as the Apple Wireless Keyboard. Magic or not, I think the new one should be called the Magic Keyboard 2 for continuity purposes. All three products are currently available from Apple.

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Apple’s New 5K Retina iMac Performs As Well As It Looks!

Posted by Michael Luciano | Posted in Apple News And Rumors, Computer, Computer Accessories, Device, News | Posted on 02-11-2014

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5k iMacIt seems like it’s been a while since we’ve seen Apple deliver us anything other than a new iPad or iPhone. Now for true Apple fans such as myself, this isn’t really too much of a problem. That being said, sometimes, it’s nicer to sit and use a big beautiful computer. Not a laptop. An actual desktop computer. It’s been so long since I’ve actually operated one, and I won’t lie; I miss it sometimes. Apple has continuously made a name for themselves with their consumer mobile electronics, however. It seems like that’s all they’re known for anymore. Luckily for us, they’ve not forgotten those users that like to remain a bit more stationary. They gave us a new iMac, and holy crap it looks incredible.

Apple released a new iMac with a 5K display… yes, you read that right.

5 Is Better Than 4

When you take a look at the screen of the new iMac, just prepare to be blown away at the sheer beauty of it. Why is it so remarkable? Well, it’s because of the recent Apple term “Retina”. Apple use this term when it essentially doubles the pixels on a typical screen resolution. We’ve seen Retina devices from Apple for a while now. The original Retina iMac that we saw had only 2,560 x 1,440. Now that isn’t saying that the display looked bad, because it did not AT ALL. The new 5k iMac doubles those numbers though. A whopping 5,120 x 2,880 pixel count is what you’re going to see when you look at this bad boy. The screen boasts 14.7 million pixels across the entire 27-inch real estate. This makes this particular display perfect for anyone looking to do some illustrating or photo editing. After all, you’re working with 14.7 million pixels remember?

What’s Under The Hood?

While yes, the screen of this new iMac looks nothing short of phenomenal, it’s a lot more than just a pretty face. This new iMac is as powerful as it is gorgeous to look at. They made sure to match the inner workings with the outer beauty. The new 5K Retina iMac houses a 4th gen Haswell Intel Core i5 quad-core processor that runs at a cool 3.5GHz, so you know that you’re getting speed and performance. If that’s not good enough for you, you can always upgrade the processor to an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor which will run at 4GHz. The graphics card that comes with the base model is an AMD Radeon R9 290X GPU, and 2GB of RAM. Yet again, if you want a bit more graphical power, you can upgrade the graphics card too, to an AMD Radeon R9 295X with double the RAM. You’re going to want the best for this 5K screen anyway.

But… Why?

There are some out there, myself included, that might be wondering just why Apple decided to go ahead and release an iMac with a 5K resolution display. This type of technology is a bit ahead of its time, simply because it’s hard enough already to find any 4K media, let alone 5K. That isn’t to say that a new 5K monitor and computer isn’t appreciated though! Apple just simply has the resources to pull this type of technology off. The main selling point of the new iMac is clearly the 5K screen, but you’re also getting a very powerful computer to go along with it. The price tag sits right at $2,499, but if you think about what all you’re getting, it doesn’t really seem overpriced. After all, a regular 4K display costs around that price anyway. You’re looking at a better screen and getting an amazing computer for the price of a good 4K monitor.

Apple’s new Retina 5K iMac is nothing to take lightly. It shows that Apple still has the gusto to make amazing hardware that isn’t just for a mobile market. The sooner you can get a look at this new iMac, the better. It’s beyond impressive. Well played Apple, well played.

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Could Apple Be Slimming Down The MacBook Air Even More?

Posted by Jake Nolan | Posted in Apple News And Rumors, Computer Accessories, News | Posted on 04-09-2014

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macbook airApple’s MacBook Air laptops have become super popular due to their ultra-slim design. They are super light and easy to transport, which makes them perfect for traveling on business or for students who need to have their computer wherever they go. According to new reports from Digitimes, Apple could be launching brand new MacBook Air models that are even lighter and more slim than they have ever been before. These new models could be released as soon as the end of the year or some time in 2015.

Actually, the Digitimes report doesn’t really specify if the slimmed down new models will be the MacBook Air specifically, but that seems to be what makes the most sense. It could be a slimmed down version of the MacBook Pro, but then there wouldn’t be much of a reason for the MacBook Air. There is a strong possibility that both models will get a fresh redesign though and that they could both be slimmed down a bit. The same website has also reported that the current 13.3-inch version of the MacBook Pro will be retired by the end of the year.

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Both of these flagship laptops have gotten little changes this year already. Nothing major was updated, but they did both get a CPU boost along with a nice drop in price. It seems like it might be a little bit hard for Apple to shave even more bulk off of the MacBook Air. At the same time, they will probably never slim down the MacBook pro to the same size as the MacBook Air. The two laptops are different and have different selling points, they wouldn’t dare drop one from their line of products or go out of their way to make them basically the same.

Either way, these new reports are very interesting. Hopefully we will be hearing some more news on this by the end of the year, or even see the new product in person by then.

Plastic iPhone: Bonus or Bomb?

Posted by cpwilder | Posted in Computer, Computer Accessories, Device, iPad | Posted on 10-07-2013

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AppleSupposedly there is an iPhone 5S in the works that will run about $350 and is made of plastic.  One has to wonder if this is the answer to the “champagne taste vs. beer budget” dilemma for so many consumers.  Analysts are encouraging big tech firms to consider marketing more to the low-end Smartphone market in order to push sales and generate profits.  They contend that the upper-end market is already overcrowded.

It looks like, if rumors are true, Apple has taken note of the analysts’ suggestions and have been working on a plastic iPhone.  Sources behind the leaked information say the device is polycarbonate and the screen will stay at the same 4-inches as the iPhone 5.  Overall it is said to have most of the same specs and features being carried over with only a couple of minor downgrades and the outer materials to keep costs at a minimum.

Rumor has it the new unlocked iPhone 5S Light will come in a variety of bold colors to appeal to both younger and older consumers.   But the price will be the attention grabber and will undoubtedly make a huge difference when it comes to appealing to lower-end markets.

The real question is:  will mainstream markets consider $350 affordable?

Smartphones are definitely a very personal choice that put a real hit on the wallet if you choose to get the latest and greatest of features, name brand and apps.  Maybe Apple has the right idea with making a more “disposable” type phone.  Especially in the business market, providing every employee with a smartphone could have its advantages but could prove to be too expensive for some budgets, especially a small business.   An iPhone 5S Light could also be the perfect answer to all those parents who dread the phrase, “I just dropped my phone and its broken!”.

Over Half the Households in America Own Something Apple

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer, Computer Accessories, Device, iPad, iPad | Posted on 28-03-2012

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Apple productsCNBC has just commissioned a new survey which depicts exactly why the stock price in Apple has been on such a rise over the past several years. According to the survey, over half of all the homes in the entire United States own a product made by the Cupertino tech giant. In addition to that, 1 out of every 10 homes that do not own an Apple product plan to purchase one in the next year.

According to Vice President of Hart Research Associates Jay Campbell, which conducted the CNBC survey along with Bill McInturff, “It’s a fantastic business model – the more of our products you own, the more likely you are to buy more. Planned obsolescence has always been  part of the technology industries sales model, but Apple has taken it to a whole new level.”

The survey discovered that a total of 49% of the homes in the United States didn’t own a single Apple product. A total of 16% owned a single Apple device with 12% owning 2 devices, 13% owning 3 to 4 devices and 9% owning 5 or more devices, totaling  51% of American homes.

In addition to those findings, the survey discovered that a home’s income level is a strong indicator of Apple product ownership. 28% of homes making under $30,000 per year only own one Apple product while 77% of homes making more than $75,000 per year own one or more.

63% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 and between 35 and 49 own Apple products, whereas only 50% of the 50 to 64 age range do, with those aged 65 older having 26% owning an Apple product. 61% of households with children also own an Apple product, as opposed to the 48% of households without children.

The average home in the South owns 1.2 Apple products, which marks the smallest in any region, while the average household in the country owns 1.6 Apple devices. In addition to that, CNBC noted that the survey polled 836 Americans from March 19th to the 22nd and contained a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.

Source: Mac Rumors – 51% of US Households Own An Apple Product

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Apple to Open Mini Stores in Target

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer, Computer Accessories, Device, iPad, iPad | Posted on 17-01-2012

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TargetTarget, in my opinion, is one of the greatest stores on the planet. The ones around my neck of the woods literally have everything: clothes, electronics, movies, toys, games, cameras, home goods, food and even a Starbucks, Pizza Hut and food court. So, whenever I go into Target, I can’t help but say to myself, “How could this place possibly get any better?” By adding an Apple store, that’s how.

Reuters had originally reported that Target would be installing special displays for Apple products in concordance with a new effort known as “The Shops of Target”, something the retailer announced last week. Target will begin with 25 stores around the country, which is the same number that was initially reported by Apple Insider last week as well.

The Cupertino giant already offers a plethora of devices and accessories at Target, though selection is limited to iOS products like the iPhone, iPod and iPad. The mini Apple stores found within other big name retailers, like Best Buy, include all of that with the addition of Apple computers.

A spokesman for Target could not confirm nor deny whether or not these new mini Apple stores inside of Target would include Apple’s computers as well, though it stands to reason that, if Apple is making a big deal out of it like they are, we may very well see Apple computers added to the list.

Other companies, like Wal-Mart, already offer limited selections on laptops though none offer complete Apple computers. Should Target begin retailing Apple’s famous computers, we could very well see Target become the next big thing in the retail market. I know that this definitely excites me because it gives me yet another thing to look at during one of my many trips to Target on the weekends.

Source: CNET – Target confirms plans for mini Apple stores

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Apple Supposedly Designing Wearable Computers

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer, Computer Accessories, Device, iPad, iPad | Posted on 21-12-2011

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iPod Nano WatchThink wearable computers are only things Marty McFly can get ahold of? Think again, because Apple is apparently working on designs for wearable computers and has even gone as far as to create a few prototypes, just because they can. Multiple unnamed sources are claiming that a small team at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California are hard at work on these devices, as well as concepts for other wearable computer products.

The New York Times reports that Apple’s wearable computer concept will include devices that transmit data to your iPhone or display information on iPod screens. Apple is also said to be playing with the idea of a wrist watch-style iPod that has a curved glass surface along with a Siri voice control interface.

The curved glass surface idea began as a rumor in the beginning of 2011, though at the time it was also assumed that the glass was for the next generation iPhone. That rumor, however, quickly became debunked when the iPhone 4S was released with the exact same screen format as the previous iPhone 4. Though, maybe the rumor isn’t false and is simply referring to the iPhone 5?

It seems likely that Apple is working on new designs and accessories for these wearable computers since iPods, iPads and iPhones are already extremely portable. Wearable devices seem like the next logical step for Apple though the sources are saying that just because Apple has prototypes does not mean we will be seeing these devices anytime soon.

Regardless, Apple is already teasing consumers with wearable tech with the iPod Shuffle and the new version of the iPod Nano. The new iteration of the Nano includes a lot of watch faces and some companies have even made wrist bands specifically designed to hold the iPod like a standard wristwatch.

Nevertheless, the mere thought of Apple bringing together the iPhone, wireless data technology and Siri onto a single, wearable device is definitely exciting and something that many people are praying the company is actually serious about bringing to life. I just hope they find a way to recreate the hoverboard from Back to the Future. If there is a company alive today that can do so, it is definitely Apple.

Source: The Mac Observer – Apple Working on Wearable Computer Prototypes

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March 2012 to Bring Sandboxing to Apps of the Mac App Store

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer, Computer Accessories | Posted on 06-11-2011

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Mac App StoreAn interesting bit of news came out of Apple recently as the company sent out an email to registered developers that is definitely going to raise some eyebrows. As of March 2012, Apple will require all apps submitted to the company’s app store to implement sandboxing. However, this isn’t an entirely new development as Apple was originally going to require sandboxing starting in November of this year. It appears as if Apple delayed the initiation of the rule for another few months, though the fact that the requirement will exist at all may pose problems for some Mac developers.

Many people are wondering what is prompting this action from Apple and the answer is security. According to the company in a recent statement, “Sandboxing your app is a great way to protect systems and users by limiting the resources apps can access and making it more difficult for malicious software to compromise users’ systems. As of March 1, 2012 all apps submitted to the Mac App Store must implement sandboxing.” While the company’s intentions are noble, the all-or-nothing approach is potentially problematic for sure.

Over recent months, a plethora of some of the biggest developers in the app world have been pointing out the flaws and shortcomings of Apple’s sandboxing approach. These include a buggy Carbon implementation as well as questionable support for most AppleScript-centric automation tools. Other big names in the app community, like Jason Snell and Andy Ihnatko, have also chipped in their two cents with both parties concerned that sandboxing may eventually lead to a dumbing down of the Mac App Store options or the death of AppleScript entirely.

On a lighter note, Apple does allow for a few exceptions to its upcoming sandboxing policy. According to the company, “If your app requires access to sandboxed system resources, you will need to include justification for using those entitlements as part of the submission to the Mac App Store.” However, Apple did follow this up with some bad news saying, “Apps that are being re-engineered to be sandbox compatible may request additional temporary entitlements. These entitlements are granted on a short-term basis and will be phased out over time.”

However, it may do everybody some good to look at the fact that unlike the iOS platform, the Mac App Store is not the only legitimate platform to get apps onto your Mac computer. On the other hand, that probably doesn’t do much for developers who have found the Mac App Store an easier and more lucrative channel for app distribution as opposed to the conventional methods. But then again, who knows how long it will be before Apple restricts all apps on Mac devices to go through the Mac App Store and not another platform?

With all that said, this policy is a bit extreme, much like the rule of “no third-party IDEs” for the iOS platform Apple made last year. This policy also seems to be more like something a committee created that seemed like a good idea at the time. However, it will more likely than not be modified or deprecated once the real-world implications for the Mac platform become evident. The simple fact that Apple has already delayed the launch of the rule by five months indicates that Apple may be working on further reprieves or workarounds for developers with affected products.

Source: TUAW – Apple to require sandboxing in Mac App Store apps as of March 2012

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Investigation Finds 22 Additional Fake Apple Stores in China

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer, Computer Accessories, Device, iPad, iPad | Posted on 12-08-2011

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fake Apple storeIn an ongoing investigation, even more local Chinese retailers have been found to be selling Apple computers and products under the Apple name, without the permission of Apple itself.

Reuters has reported that 22 more unauthorized Apple retailers have been identified by Chinese authorities in Kunming, located in the southwest region of China. As a result of the bust, the retailers have been forced to discontinue the use of any Apple branding in their stores, mimicking a similar effort that started earlier this week in Beijing.

These crackdowns come a little less than a month after a high-profile blog post on the phony shops, which featured a lookalike shop in Kunming, which led to the closing of two stores in the area. A Reuters story a few days later noted that the same investigation that led to those closures also found out that all of the five Apple stores in the area were selling Apple-made products purchased from third-party authorized resellers.

A report from China Day earlier in the week stated that officials in Beijing have taken steps to keep fake Apple retail stores in the area from duping customers, forcing them to cover up any Apple branding from the front of their stores.

While Apple has yet to comment on the fake stores, Reuters noted that the investigation that led to the identification of the 22 stores originated from Apple China targeting the stores for unfair competition and trademark violations.

Apple filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the U.S. a couple of weeks ago which suggests that the company has been busy on a similar effort here in the states. The suit, which was filed in New York, takes aim at three companies and 52 individuals.

Source: CNET – Report: 22 more fake Apple stores found in China

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Thunderbolt Coming to Apple Displays?

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer Accessories | Posted on 17-07-2011

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Thunderbolt displaysApple’s 27-inch LED cinema display could very well be joining a whole host of other Apple products that support the new, and faster, Thunderbolt technology.

A bunch of non-posted images found their way over to MacRumors from Apple.com showing the company’s $999 display. However, these weren’t your mother’s displays as these pics showed a new display number and a new background to match the default Mac OS X Lion background, set to be released next week.

The part number was the exact same one that was believed to previously be that of a newer version of Apple’s entry-level MacBook from a supposed parts list that surfaced early on in the week. It is also worth noting that there are no images of the back of this display. The current one supports three USB 2.0 ports but no mini-Displayport, which has been replaced by Thunderbolt in newer Mac models. However, in the picture located above, it appears that two newer models are plugged into each other.

This could foreshadow Apple allowing users to extend the displays via USB, though a more likely solution is that Apple is adding a Thunderbolt port to the devices. This would be smart if Apple really wants to get people into using Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt, if you don’t already know, allows users to daisy-chain Thunderbolt-equipped devices to one another.

Thunderbolt was birthed from the collaborative efforts of Apple and Intel and is an input/output technology that promises to allow transfer speeds exceeding the ones currently available by USB 3.0. In addition to that, it is also designed to extend that speed across several devices simultaneously.

This technology makes use of existing Displayport and PCI-Express data protocols in order to open up what is possible with a single port. This includes “daisy chaining” as many as seven Thunderbolt-equipped devices while still retaining full speed across all devices.

Source: CNET – Images hint at Thunderbolt-equipped Apple display

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