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Apple Opens First Physical Store In South America To Thousands Of Supporters

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Apple News And Rumors, News | Posted on 17-02-2014

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Whether you are crazy about Apple’s products or not I think there is one thing we can all agree on and that’s the fact that Apple’s physical stores are pretty cool. Not only are they bright, inviting and slightly futuristic looking but they also allow you to literally pick up and play with every single device that Apple currently has on the market. Plus they also allow you to bring in your Apple products for repair, allowing you to get them fixed by true Apple professionals.

So that is why it is no surprise that over a thousand people showed up to the grand opening of the very first Apple store in South America. Over 1,700 people came to the Village Mall in Rio de Janeiro’s famous Barra de Tijuca neighborhood this past weekend to check out Apple’s first physical venture in the country.

You would have thought it was Black Friday in Rio as potential customers started standing in line on Friday. Around 163 people stayed overnight for a chance to be one of the very first customers through the doors when they opened on Saturday morning.

According to the local Brazilian newspaper the Globe, Apple had anticipated as many as 1,500 people to attend the store’s grand opening with the company being more than overjoyed when that number was easily surpassed by the eager Apple junkies. Apple’s own CEO Tim Cook even took to Apple’s Twitter feed to show his appreciation for the country’s support and to those who visited, which is the first time Cook has done something like this for a store opening.

The picture (seen below) was accompanied by the text “‘Obrigado’ to everyone who visited our new store in Rio de Janeiro today and to our terrific customers across Brazil!” For those of you who don’t speak the language, “Obrigado” is Portuguese for “thank you”.

South American Apple Store

South America, with special attention on Brazil, is becoming a very important market for Apple as the company seeks to expand beyond traditional markets in the United States and Western Europe. Brazil is home to a very large population that has a fast-growing economy along with an expanding middle class.

While the out pour of support for this Apple store in Brazil is definitely a great start for Apple in the country, the company still has some hurdles to overcome. Brazil has some of the highest import taxes around, meaning Apple’s products almost twice as much as they do in the United States. Apple has, however, started manufacturing some devices in Brazil, perhaps as a way make some products more affordable for Brazilian natives.

The future for Apple in Brazil is still unclear, though if this showing of support for the first retail store in the country is any inclination then Apple could very well have stepped into a very lucrative market. The next best thing for Apple to do now is to find a way to make products cheaper, or at least comparable, for South American consumers.

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Apple Issues New Patent Dealing with Convertible Laptops

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 03-04-2013

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Apple OS XEven though CEO Tim Cook has shot down the idea of a convertible MacBook-iPad hybrid, that hasn’t stopped Apple from filing a patent application for that precise thing. The suggested patent, which is titled “Wireless display for electronic devices”, was just published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent describes a computer display that is able to be removed from its base, essentially referring to a convertible laptop. The main difference between this idea and the idea of other convertible laptops is the addition of wireless display technology. This means that the device could be charged wirelessly.

Apple describes it as this:

The base includes a processor, a base wireless chip and a power source. The display includes a screen for displaying a video output, a display wireless chip in communicating with the base wireless chip, and a power wireless chip in communication with with the power source. The base wireless chip transmits data from the processor to the display. Also, when the display is at least in one position with respect to the base, the power source transmits power to the power transition member of the display.

Convertible devices are nothing new, though they have failed to catch on with consumers. Tim Cook was cited mocking convertible tablets last year, stating that such a device is a “compromise to the end user.”

Cook also stated, “Anything can be forced to converge, but the problem is that products are about trade-offs, and you begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left doesn’t please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”

It is entirely possible that Apple will never develop a device under the new patent, though it is also possible that Apple thinks it can one-up the current line of convertibles.

Apple has shown a slight interest in wireless technology since 2011. A lot of the interest involves wireless charging, like the patent the company claimed in 2011 that would allow you to wirelessly charge an iOS device by keeping it close to the computer. However, it is still unclear how Apple will, or even if it will, use this patent.

Source: CNET – Apple patent envisions wireless charging on convertible laptop

 

Apple Becomes Dragon-like, Starts Hoarding Piles of Cash

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 20-03-2013

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Apple Hording Cash Like A DragonApple has the potential to end up with a mountain of cash here soon unless it starts spreading that wealth out to investors. The company raked in nearly $137 billion in cash at the end of 2012, making Apple the biggest cash-rich company outside of the banking industry. However, that number could very well increase to $170 billion.

David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, which is a major investor in Apple, recently filed a lawsuit against the Cupertino company over guidelines dealing with the issuance of preferred stock. Although Einhorn has since dropped the suit, Apple is still being asked to share more of its cash stockpile beyond the current dividends it does now.

According to researchers at Moody, which discovered how much cash Apple had, “Unless Apple changes its philosophy towards liquidity/shareholder returns by increasing its $10 billion annual common dividend, or if Apple increases its stock buyback program, we estimate Apple’s cash balances could increase by another $35 billion in 2013 and exceed $170 billion.”

Apple was quick to respond to this assessment by stating that it has been in the process of discussing ways in which to return more money to stockholder. However, the company has had nothing concrete to offer so far. Bloomberg polled a group of analysts who believe Apple may increase its dividend by 56%. That would give investors a quarterly dividend of $4.14 per share, which is a higher amount offered by a majority of the corporations on the S&P 500 that offer dividends.

Needless to say, $170 billion is quite a bit of money and, in my opinion, more than Apple needs. If there is one thing a big company like Apple doesn’t need, it’s angry investors, especially ones that are willing to sue, like Greenlight Capital. Apple has bigger things to worry about at the moment, like Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone and the fact that lots of Apple customers are asking for a cheaper version of the iPhone.

Source: CNET – Apple’s cash hoard could reach $170 billion by ear’s end

New iMac for Schools Debuted by Apple

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 06-03-2013

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iMac schoolIf there’s one thing that Apple has over PC, it’s a hold on the education industry. Macs are definitely preferred by educational institutions for students and faculty, that’s no secret, and Apple has recently unveiled its newest desktop aimed at education, a new version of the company’s already low-end iMac.Unlike its traditional fashion, Apple didn’t have a huge event for the release of this device. As a matter of fact, the release of this iMac was extremely quiet and avoided almost any fanfare. That could be due to the fact that this version of the iMac has been specifically designed for use in schools and will not be available for commercial purchase.

It is still unclear as to when exactly Apple debuted this new version of the iMac on its education institution Apple store, though MacRumors believes it was very recently. The site says that this version of the device has replaced the earlier version of the iMac (which was priced at $999) that was launched over a year and a half ago.

This new version is 21.5″ and comes with a 3.3GHz Core i3 processor, 500GB of storage and 4GB of memory while custom configurations for RAM and storage upgrades are available for about $270 each. The low-end consumer iMac, in comparison, gives users nearly double the RAM and hard drive capacity.

When I said earlier that this version was for schools only, I meant it. This iMac and other products offered on the education institution Apple store can only be ordered directly by a school, unlike other Apple educational discounts. That means students and educators are unable to purchase this iMac for their own use.

The iMac is definitely good on saving space and this one has enough hardware to be useful in a school computer lab, though the extra costs for RAM and storage upgrades could get pricey. The screen is 1920 x 1080 while the iMac also comes with Intel HD Graphics 4000 all for a price of $1,099, $200 less than the regular consumer model.

If you are an Apple fan and you need a replacement model for a quick fix or a computer for classroom training then contact your Tech Travel Agent at Rentacomputer.com and look into renting an Apple iMac. iMac rentals from Rentacomputer.com are perfect for those situations where a temporary iMac is the perfect solution to your problem.

 

Apple to Finally Begin Selling Next-Gen iMacs

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 28-11-2012

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iMacApple announced yesterday that it will soon begin selling its redesigned iMac desktop computers, making a self-set deadline to start shipping them by the end of November. These new iMacs are smaller than previous versions, coming in at 21.5″. Availability is said to be both online and in retail stores across the country, as well as with authorized resellers, for a starting price of $1,299.

The company had previously promised to deliver these new models in the beginning of November, though that obviously didn’t happen. The larger 27″ iMac, which starts at $1,799, should be available for pre-order as well, though it will not begin shipping until December.

Apple first debuted the newly designed iMacs back in October, though only said that they wouldn’t ship for weeks, giving no explanation as to why. Two days later, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the delays and said that iMac supplies would be “constrained for the full quarter in a significant way.”

The delays were definitely substantial. Since the announcement of the devices back in October, not a single one has been available for sale on Apple’s online store, with previous generations of the device being pulled from the store as well. In addition to that, the phone ordering desk for the company was also unable to take orders.

The new iMacs feture Intel’s Ivy Bridge 2.7 GHz  or 2.9 GHz quad-core Core i5 processors, 8GB of memory, 1TB hard drives and Nvidia graphics chipsets with 512MB of RAM. In addition to that, these models also opted out of optical drives and retained the previous model’s screen sizes and resolutions.

Another new feature of these iMacs is Fusion Drive, an option that combines 128GB of flash storage with a standard platter-based hard drive of between 1TB and 3TB. The hybrid drive will significantly increase speeds of some tasks, lie starting the computer and opening frequently used applications.

The new iMacs are $100 more than the previous models, with pre-configured 21.5″ models priced at $1,299 and $1,499 and pre-configured 27″ models priced at $1,799 and $1,999. It is also unclear how much the new Fusion Drive will increase the price, though the single option of 1TB for the Mac Mini runs $250.

Source: Computer World – Apple to start selling new, pricier iMacs Friday

PC Users Fleeing Windows, Seeking Refuge with Apple

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 14-11-2012

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AppleJust like the Israelites’s mass exodus from Egypt, there seems to be a major exodus of PC users away from Windows and towards there very own Apple promised land. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years before they found their promised land, though PC users will have a significantly easier time reaching theirs.

PC sales have seen quarter after quarter of sluggish sales and have been looking for something to get out of the slump. The most recent attempt was lead by Windows 8, the newest operating system from Microsoft. However, despite adding a ton of touch features and a completely new layout, users still weren’t swayed.

As a result, the Moses of PC users (Apple in this case) has arrived to deliver PC users to a better tomorrow. According to a recent Avast survey of 135,329 U.S. Windows users, 42% of all Americans looking for a new computer have said that they plan on switching to an Apple product, suggesting that the new operating system just isn’t enough to keep people interested.

That doesn’t mean, however, that they will be switching to a Mac. About 12% of the surveyed people are considering a move to Apple’s desktop solution. Most of the other users are planning on switching to an Apple iPad, 30% to be exact, or some other iOS device.

A full 68% of users still plan on buying a Windows 8 PC, though, which suggests that at least some of the consumers in the market for an iPad also plan on purchasing a Microsoft-made computer. Regardless, those are still big numbers for Apple. Even though these figures decrease a little bit on an international scale, it still bodes well for the company.

Apple already holds the number one spot in the tablet market by a substantial margin. PC sales could, however, be bolstered by the debut of the Microsoft Surface tablet as well as a lot of other Windows 8-based tablets. That still only bodes well for the company overall, and not the company’s PC sales.

Source: Laptop – Windows Users Plan Exodus to Apple

Nearly 35 Additional Apple Retail Stores to Open in 2013

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 31-10-2012

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Apple retail storeFresh off the release of the iPad Mini and the 4th Generation iPad, Apple has announced that it is expanding its retail empire as well. In a recent statement, the company announced that it plans to open an additional 30 to 35 retail stores during the 2013 fiscal year, which ends next September. It was also announced that about three-quarters of those stores would be located outside of the United States.

This news came along with the company’s annual report, which was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition to that, Apple announced that it plans to spend around $850 million on the retail expansion. It was also stated that part of that money would go to into investing in the current Apple stores that the company has.

These plans follow the same pattern of the company’s retail store rollout of 2012, which included the opening of 33 new stores. With those stores, Apples total increased to 390 stores worldwide. 28 of those 33 stores, like the 2013 expansion, were opened up outside of the Untied States. Apple opened 40 stores in the previous year and we can assume that they will do the same in 2014.

Since the departure of Retail Chief John Browett, Apple’s operations have been under closer supervision. During Browett’s employment with Apple, it was rumored that the company was making cutbacks on staffing along with in-store features, which prompted speculation that the retail efforts from Apple were not as prosperous as they once were.

In the company’s annual report, Apple stated that retail sales increased by $4.7 billion, or roughly 33%, over the previous year. This growth was speculated to be primarily because of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 along with the two new iPad models. Overall, sales made at Apple stores comprised 12% of Apple’s total sales for 2012, down from 13% the year before.

Source: CNET – Apple to open another 30 to 35 retail stores next year

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Apple Drops Java for Reasons Unknown

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 17-10-2012

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Apple and JavaApple has just announced that it is removing all old versions of Oracle’s Java software from internet browsers on its customers computers. The removal will occur as soon as the company releases its latest software update for its Mac operating system, with the process of installing the update also serving to uninstall Java.

Even though Apple has included Java with recent installations of Mac OS X, it still announced that it was removing the software on its website. Apple stated that customers will need to obtain Java directly from Oracle of they want to access web content written in the popularly used programming language. What is surprising is that neither Apple nor Oracle provided a reason as to why Java was being removed and both companies also declined to comment on the situation.

Java is a programming language that allows programmers to write a single set of code to run on virtually any type of device. It is most widely used on the internet, allowing web developers to make their sites accessible from multiple browsers running on Macs of Microsoft Windows PCs.

About two years ago both Apple and Oracle agreed that Apple would stop providing Java software to Mac users. It was decided that when Apple stopped, Oracle would be responsible for providing its software to Apple users. However, neither company provided a date for when this would happen, so it is unclear if that time has finally come or not.

What is interesting is that Apple is implementing this change in the wake of a Java security scare that had some security experts caution computer users to only use Java on an as-needed basis. The vulnerabilities in Java were discovered to be used by hackers to launch attacks and it took Oracle several days to release an update to correct those problems.

Source: Huffington Post – Apple Drops Java After Experts Warn Mac Users On Its Security

New Apple Job Listing Raises Curious Questions

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 03-10-2012

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Apple A6Apple recently posted a few new job listings, with one of them looking pretty interesting. The job posting I am referring to states that Apple is looking for a SoC Modeling Architect – Manager/Lead. What is interesting about this is that this could potentially insinuate that the company is looking to create an all-new system-on-a-chip design.

More specifically, the SoC Modeling Architect would be “at the center of a chip design effort interfacing with all disciplines, with a critical impact on getting functional products to millions of customers quickly,” according to the posting. What this could mean is that Apple is looking to mix things up a bit with their next-gen offerings after releasing the A6 processor recently.

If Apple is able to build its very own SoC chip from scratch, then the company could potentially be able to offer improved power consumption and better performance out of their devices. If Apple is successful in doing this, the it will most likely be initiated in the A7 chip or a slight upgrade to the A6.

Regardless, whatever Apple is planning it is still a mystery to the tech world. It is even a possibility that the company may be implementing some SoCo work into the next generation of MacBook Air laptops, which would start the process of removing Intel from their computer business altogether. In addition to that, it would also mark the first time we would see an in-house chip used in an Apple computer.

Apple has always been at the forefront of innovation and continues to surprise us even to this day, so it isn’t far fetched for the company to try something like this. Nevertheless, this is still the internet so take it with a grain of salt. This could all just be speculation and wishful thinking.

Source: Slash Gear – Apple job posting hints at all-new system on a chip

Apple Releases OS X 10.7.5 Software Updates

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 19-09-2012

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Apple Software UpdateApple recently released security updates for both OS X Snow Leopard and Lion along with firmware updates for MacBook systems and for iPhoto, Aperture, iOS and Mountain Lion. All of the updates are expected to be available through a Software Update, though they can also be downloaded from the Apple Support download pages.

The security issues that these updates address include problems with web sharing as well as problems with DNS management services, which could potentially result in a denial-of-service attack on the system. In addition to that, these updates address revocation of a compromised root certificate from TrustWave that would let an attacker intercept personal information.

Updates to the systems’ directory services, core image-handling libraries, kernel, and log-in window services also fix bugs that allowed attackers to acquire passwords as well as other personal information as a result of the user accidentally executing an unwanted program.

Most of these problems are only potential issues that hackers have yet to exploit, though that could all change now that the inefficiencies have been made public. That is why Apple is releasing these updates, as added security from uninvited guests.

Aside from all of the security fixes, the OS X 10.7.5 update for Lion looks into some usability issues, including:

  • Improves compatibility connecting to Active Directory servers
  • Improves WiFi reliability for iMac
  • Resolves an issue using Spotlight to search an SMB server
  • Resolves an issue where icons in Launchpad may get rearranged after restart

There is also an OS X 10.7.5 server variant update which fixes some significantly and commonly used services via:

  • Maintaining Spotlight index when changing share point settings
  • Improving reliability of password authentication
  • Reliably booting NetRestore images created with System Image Utility
  • Improving reliability when changing an Xsan metadata controller into a client
  • Creating and connecting to Open Directory master
  • Using Software Update Server to automatically download and enable software updates
  • Using Profile Manager to set the Mobility sync frequency settings for mobile accounts

Source: CNET – Apple releases OS X 10.7.5 and Snow Leopard security updates

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