It's time to insert another quarter in the Apple rumor-machine. In addition to the rumored Macbook Pro refresh coming in a week or two—we've reported a possible March 1 date for an introduction of Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU lineup into the line, though other sites are indicating that this could occur as early as February 24—it's time to throw a new connector into the fray as well.
CNet is reporting that an undisclosed source has told the site that Apple plans to introduce a new connection technology "soon." The site then goes on to speculate that this may or may not be a part of the rumored Macbook refresh—rumors upon rumors!—and that the technology may or may not be the Apple-renamed version of Intel's Light Peak connection technology.
Just to refresh, Apple's been balking at adding USB 3.0 to its product lineups for some time now. "We don't see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example," Apple CEO Steve Jobs allegedly replied when asked about USB 3.0 in an e-mailed question by a customer last year.
Looks like Microsoft's first app to be included in the Mac App Store is Windows Phone 7 Connector. If you own a Windows Phone 7 device, or a Zune HD, then you'll wanna grab this free software. It allows you to sync your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts from iTunes to your Microsoft device, as well as photos and videos from iPhoto. You can also sync content taken with your phone to your Mac as well. One thing that's missing? As of now, Windows Phone 7 Connector doesn't sync calendars or contacts. Still, it's nice to see Microsoft looking to play along with the Mac App Store model. Get a look at Windows Phone 7 Connector in our walkthrough above.
It's been two months now since Apple announced some of the upcoming features that the Mac platform will be getting. One of the most interesting ones is bringing an App Store to the desktop. Apple promised it would be out within 90 days, and now we know it will open its doors on January 6. This means that if you own a Mac, on that date you'll be able to buy and download applications directly from the Mac App Store. The store will be available in 90 countries for both paid and free apps, and feature everything from games, productivity, lifestyle and education software. Mac developers have already been at work in integrating their applications with the new App Store, and they will get to keep 70% of the selling price while Apple gets 30%. The new store will be available to Snow Leopard users through a free download.
Read More | Apple
Back in October, Steve Jobs explained in length how the iOS successes that Apple is enjoying have convinced them to incorporate it back to the Mac platform, and the first piece of that is the an introduction of an App Store in OS X. Promising that the Mac App Store would be live within 90 days, this puts it at some point in January at the latest. Now, Apple is informing developers that some expected features will not be available for Mac OS apps. Namely, in-app purchases, and Game Center. This means that desktop applications will not have access to these features which have started to be common in iOS devices. Whether this is due to a delay on Apple's part, or they simply do not intend to provide these features on the Mac, is unknown as of yet.
Read More | 9 to 5 Mac
If you picked up one of the new MacBook Air notebooks that Apple released recently, you'll wanna fire up Software Update to pull down the EFI Firmware Update 2.0. It fixes an issue where the Air boots or wakes to a black screen or becomes unresponsive. We're sure it's rare, but we think we speak for everyone when we say that we'd rather something like that not happen at all, so take care of that update, okay?
Apple's smallest notebook is the MacBook Air, and all signs are pointing to this being the best-selling Mac this holiday season, so we had to include it in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. The 11-inch MacBook Air packs in speedy flash memory that is soldered directly onto the motherboard, resulting is lightning-fast performance. It also means no moving parts, so you get five hours of battery life from the tiny little wonder, and it even sports a full-sized keyboard, which we feel is a must (and is one of our main complaints with other netbooks.) The price starts at $999 from Apple, but hey, if you go with Amazon then its $994 with free shipping, and MacMall has them starting at $969--not bad for the most portable Mac out there.
If Apple merchandise is on your holiday buying list this year, you're gonna wanna be sure to check out MacMall's 36-hour Black Friday sale, which features up to $300 off of Mac computers. The sale includes all Macs, so you can even get a nice discount on the new MacBook Air. The deals offer 6% off the price of a new Mac when all is said and done, but that's not all they're offering for Mac buyers. You also get a free copy of Parallels 6, an HP all-in-one printer, and free 2-day shipping. They've got other items as well, including discounts on the iPod touch, Apple TV, and major discounts on a bunch of consumer electronics like digital cameras, Blu-ray players, and more. Definitely a sale to check out to get the jump on your shopping--whether it's for someone else, or yourself.
Read More | MacMall 36-hour Black Friday sale
Apple just released Mac OS X 10.6.5, the latest update to Snow Leopard. Hit Software Update to get the 680 MB download now. Here's a sampling of some of the changes and improvements this update brings:
- improve reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers
- address performance of some image-processing operations in iPhoto and Aperture
- address stability and performance of graphics applications and games
- resolve a delay between print jobs
- address a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an AirPort Extreme
- resolve an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal
- address an issue where dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide
- resolve an issue with Wikipedia information not displaying correctly in Dictionary
- improve performance of MainStage on certain Mac systems
- resolve spacing issues with OpenType fonts
- improve reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays
- resolve a VoiceOver issue when browsing some web sites with Safari 5
Let us know how it goes!
Apple today announced that they were ending production of their Xserve line of servers, noting that the Mac mini servers are their most popular server platform by far. However, realizing that some may need more power than the mini offers, they've also introduced a server version of the Mac Pro. For those wanting a Mac Pro server, you can get one starting at $2,999 with a Quad-Core CPU, two 1TB hard drives, 8GB of memory and an ATI video card. Many upgrades are available including a faster processor, more memory, RAID card and more.
Read More | Mac Pro
Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac ships tomorrow, and AppleInsider's got the scoop on how it performs. From their review:
If you’re an Office user already, the new Office 2011 is a no-brainer upgrade. It’s wildly faster, looks and feels much better, and delivers strong advancements in every app, particularly the vastly improved experience of the new Outlook over the pitiful Entourage.If you’re shopping around for a productivity suite on the Mac, the new Office 2011 delivers a much nicer experience than the rather quirky but free OpenOffice, and offers the advantages of a real desktop app over a web based suite like Google Docs.At around $120 retail for the Outlook-free individual version (you can install on one machine) or $150 for the family pack (which can be installed on up to three machines), the “Home and Student” Office 2001 for Mac suite is now affordable enough to compete against weaker free alternatives, and might attract some users eyeing Apple’s cheaper iWork package.However, Office 2011 for Mac—despite a sharp discount over previous editions—is still about the same price as Apple’s “Box Set” deal that includes a copy of Mac OS X Snow Leopard and iLife together with the full version of iWork.
Read More | AppleInsider
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