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Apple Plans Pre-Holiday Revamp for iPad, iPhone, Software

Published on August 13, 2013 by in Apple, iPad, iPhone, Mac

Apple to do a pre-holiday revamp

September iPhone Unveiling is Precursor for Holiday Plans

Much excitement surrounds the September introduction of the new iPhone 5S, but Apple has larger plans in store for holiday shoppers.  Apple is also purportedly planning to release revamped versions of the iPad and iPad mini prior to the holiday shopping season.

The new iPad will be thinner and sport a bezel that is not as wide as in previous models.  Its 9.7 inch screen will be encased in a body that is more like that of the current iPad mini; the new design is the first change in over a year.  March 2012 saw the last major change in iPad design when a high-resolution screen was introduced in the new iPad shape.  The company is also expected to introduce a new version of the iPad mini that will feature a high-definition screen.

Apple’s New Versions Aim to Capture Huge Market Share

These new product versions are expected to entice holiday shoppers who have not purchased new Apple products due to the lack of choices available.  With almost 70% of Apple’s last-quarter sales accounted for by iPad and iPhone sales, the release of new versions of these products is expected to help the company recapture some of its stock growth and market share.  These releases are designed and timed to boost stock prices that have slumped for Apple recently due to a lack of new products and slow profit growth.

Software Updates Also Expected

In June, Apple laid out plans to provide software updates and introduce iOS 7.  New iPhones and iPads will be equipped with the new mobile operating system.  iOS 7 includes changes to several basic functions like e-mail and calendar apps, as well as offering new color schemes and icons.

All Eyes on Apple

Analysts have predicted that Apple will garner huge profits during the 2013 holiday shopping season.  Many other companies are not even going to try to compete with them, instead opting to change the release dates of their own products in order to avoid being in Apple’s (admittedly huge) shadow.  All eyes will be on Apple for these new releases.  After the new products hit the market just in time for the holiday season, the company is expecting a boom in their sales numbers that will last approximately six months.


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Review – Mobee Magic Charger for Magic Mouse

Published on March 13, 2013 by in Apple, Mac, Reviews

It may seem odd for me to review a piece of hardware meant for something I don’t love (I’m far too attached to my Magic Trackpad to really love the Magic Mouse), but I’m writing for those folks who do love their Magic Mice and might be considering the Magic Charger, an attractive rechargeable-battery solution for the Magic Mouse. My first impression of it was overwhelmingly positive. Several online reviews mentioned fast, effortless charging. Other reviewers praised both its form and its function. Goodness knows that the Magic Mouse has a large enough appetite for batteries that a rechargeable solution is absolutely welcome.

In fact, I was coming to the same conclusions as other reviewers when I first put the charger to use with a brand-new Magic Mouse. This is one of those accessories that are so clever you might wonder why Apple didn’t just design the thing itself. With the Magic Charger, you might end up wishing that Apple actually had made it; it likely would have shown in the build quality and design choices.

At first, it seems like completely straightforward. Just set aside the battery cover and AA’s that came with the Magic Mouse, replace with a battery pack designed to fill that space, and you’re ready to get your double-click on. Once your battery level gets too low, rest your mouse on the Magic Charger’s pad overnight and let the wireless inductive charging fill it back up. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy, right?

It would be great if it were all that simple.  I ran into issues from the very beginning with the battery pack. It had a tendency to slip out just a little, rather than clicking firmly into place like Apple’s own battery cover for the Magic Mouse. Something else to keep in mind is that rechargeable batteries are 1.25 volts instead 1.5 volts like a AA battery, so the battery indicator in System Preferences is always going to be inaccurate.

One other shortcoming I found with the Magic Charger is that the only charging connection Mobee offers is USB. If you leave your Mac on all the time, that’s no problem. But if you’re “green” enough to want rechargeable batteries in the first place, you’re probably also saving energy by powering down your Mac when you’re done with it. This cuts power to the Magic Charger and defeats its whole purpose.  I have a wall adapter that offers multiple open USB ports, so I plugged into one of them.  It would just be much more convenient if Mobee provided or sold an AC power cord.  That said, the charger is less than half an inch thick, and weighs just under 2 ounces, so it’s easy to slip into pretty much any compartment or pocket in a laptop bag for travel use.

I’d really like to see Mobee rethink a few things about the Magic Charger, because it has real potential to be an amazing product instead of one that’s just “good” with a few glaring flaws. For instance, offer 2 charging packs instead of one, and include an AC power source. This would eliminate charging downtime, as well as leaving a USB port free that the current design “steals”.

My final quibble is the price. $50 buys some fancy inductive charging (which didn’t charge very fast for me); that same amount would get you a great wall charger and 3 sets of AA batteries, with enough left over for lunch.

Bottom line, if you’re okay with no AC power and a possibly fiddly battery-pack fit, the Magic Charger beats the heck out of coughing up for an endless pile of AA batteries.

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Apple Security Roundup

In the past week, many high-profile tech companies in Silicon Valley have been hit by hackers. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest were victims, as were Microsoft and Tumblr, among others. Apple was no exception, falling prey to an exploit in Java software that was used as a browser plugin.  The hackers, who are believed to be based in China, infected Macs belonging to some Apple workers when they visited a website for iPhone software developers.  As of last Tuesday, Apple had released a Java update for OS X to seal the security breach.

On the same day, the folks in Cupertino released an update to iOS 6 – iOS 6.1.2, which fixes the Exchange bug that was affecting networks and battery life. Apple’s release notes state that the update “fixes an Exchange calendar bug that could result in increased network activity and reduced battery life.” However, this update doesn’t address the lock screen exploit that was discovered in iOS 6.1.1, and allows unauthorized users to access a device with a few keystrokes on the Emergency Call screen of a locked iPhone.

As for the lock screen exploit, Apple has released iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 to developers for testing.  No word when it will go live to iOS users, however.


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13″ Apple MacBook Pro is now less expensive

Published on February 13, 2013 by in Apple, Mac, News

After Apple posted a decline in sales for their Macs during the Q4 2012, they decide to do a price reduction on the 13″ MacBook Pro.  So now the Apples 13 inch MacBook Pro laptop with retina is $200 less, you read that right… $200 less!

MacBook Pro

Price reduction on the MacBook Pro


– The base version of the MacBook Pro with retina display will be priced at $1,499- The 13″ MacBook Air laptop with 256GB of flash memory is now $1,299

– Introduction of the new  2.6Ghz CPU with 256GB flash memory version and priced at $1,699

– The 15-inch MacBook Pro now comes with a 2.4Ghz quad-core CPU with an option for a 2.7Ghz quad-core CPU and 16GB of memory.



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Top 10 Apple gifts – a last-minute buyer’s guide to Christmas morning

Published on December 22, 2012 by in Apple, iPad, iPhone, Mac

“‘Twas the weekend before Christmas/and all through the stores/the shoppers were panicking/what do Apple fans adore?”  If you’re sweating the last few purchases for the Mac and iOS lovers on your Christmas list, we’re here to help. (Of course, we can’t help but think you should’ve been doing all this a bit sooner, but that’s another story…)  So without further ado, we present our Top Ten last-minute Apple gifts list for Christmas 2012.

1. iPod Shuffle – At only $49, this half-ounce wonder is just about the perfect stocking stuffer for anybody on   your list.  It holds 2GB of   music, supports multiple playlists, podcasts, audiobooks and Apple’s VoiceOver technology.  Choose from 8 brilliant colors to suit any taste. iPod shuffle holds hundreds of songs and gives up to 15 hours of playback time from a full charge.

2. iPod classic – This is the best fix for serious music junkies.  The iPod classic is 160GB of anodized aluminum and polished stainless steel, with a 2.5-inch screen and up to 36 hours of battery life on a full charge.  $249 buys the ability to take your entire media library with you wherever you go – up to 40,000 songs, 200 hours of video, 25,000 photos, or any combination of the above.  It also supports Genius mixes and multiple playlists.



3. iPod Touch – This is the best gift to give to someone who wants a pocket-sized iDevice, but doesn’t really want to make the financial commitment to an iPhone.  Also made of anodized aluminum, iPod touch comes in 5 vivid colors that are bonded right to the metal, and in a choice of 32GB ($299) or 64GB ($399). Both models also boast a 4-inch Retina display and 5-megapixel iSight camera. Facebook and Twitter have been integrated into iOS 6, and Siri comes to iPod touch for the first time with this model.



 4. iPad mini – This is Apple’s newest iOS device.  It’s pencil-thin, weighs just over half a pound, and handles all of your apps and media with the greatest of ease.  Want to surf the web? Safari has you covered.  Rather read a comic book? There’s an app for that.  Think you’ll play a game instead?  The App Store is your playground. The 7.9-inch screen is big and bright enough to show you everything you’re looking for, but small enough to fit into a purse, backpack or messenger bag.



5. MacBook Pro (15-inch, non-retina) – Call me just a little bit old-fashioned, but I’m not quite ready to let go of optical drives – or the ability upgrade your own RAM.  The 15-inch MacBook Pro offers users the best Mac OS X experience, along with the ability to be portable at a moment’s notice.  Firewire 800, Thunderbolt and USB 3 ports mean that your notebook should talk to just about anything you can introduce it to.  It also reads SD cards up to 64GB.  Max it out at 8GB of RAM and a 1TB internal hard drive, and you’ll have everything you need to be productive for a good while – at least until Apple releases its next sexy beast of a notebook! 


 6. AppleCare Protection Plan – The very best one-size-fits-all accessory for any piece of Apple gear is the AppleCare Protection Plan.  When purchased at the same time as your new hardware, it provides 3 years of global hardware and software support (2 years for iOS devices), both in person at the Genius Bar as well as over the phone with trained technical professionals.  What that means is direct access to Apple experts for questions on a wide range of Mac topics, including using OS X, iLife, and connecting to printers and AirPort networks. Prices for the protection plan range from $29 to $349, depending on the particular piece of hardware you’re covering.


7. iTunes Gift Cards – Of everything on my list, this is the biggest no-brainer of the lot.  It’s the best all-around stocking stuffer for anyone who has just about any kind of Apple hardware, and your lucky recipient is sure to love what they eventually purchase with it.  Best of all, it never expires or goes out of style.  What’s also lovely about these little guys is that you can buy them practically anywhere (which these days can even mean your local gas station) and they work for anything in any of Apple’s app stores. 


8. Apple EarPods w/Remote and Mic – It used to be that if you wanted to get decent earbuds for your iDevice, you either had to cough up $79 for Apple’s in-ear headphones, or try to navigate the zillions of different 3rd-party options available at every electronics store and mega-mart from here to Timbuktu.  Now, with the release of iPhone 5 and the new iPod touch, Apple has stepped up its headphone game while dropping the price at the same time.  EarPods are less than half the price of the alternative to the original ubiquitous white earphones, but still have better customer ratings at Apple’s online store.


9. iFlash Dual USB (3 Amp) car charger (USB-to-microUSB cables included) – This is the first 3rd-party hardware to be included on our list.  It’s not something that you’re going to need right on Christmas morning, the hot second you unwrap your new shinies from Apple, but it’s something you’re going to want to order from Amazon pretty quickly.  $11 buys an amazing amount of peace of mind for families with multiple mobile devices and want to travel without worrying about batteries dying.  This unobtrusive little dual-USB car charger will top up both tablets and phones, and comes with 2 USB-to-microUSB cables.

10. iCade –  For those who remember a time when video games were fed with quarters and played in public, we offer this nifty trip in the WayBack Machine.  iCade started its life as a ThinkGeek April Fools’ gag, but there was such an overwhelming demand that the retailer actually partnered with a manufacturer to make it a reality.  Pick up the free Atari’s Greatest Hits app from the App Store to get Missile Command for free; the rest of the retro games in the bundle can be had via in-app purchase for $9.99.  Then all that’s left is to slip on your Vans, crank some Journey on the radio and get your old-school game on!

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