Early iMac Reviews Praise Design and Display Enhancements

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

With Apple’s new iMac going on sale today, the first reviews of the new machine are starting to arrive. The reviews come alongside some early teardown photos and benchmarks offering an early glimpse at Apple’s redesigned flagship desktop.

CNET has a thorough review of the 27-inch model, which won’t be shipping to customers for several more weeks, noting that while the design is the major change to the machine, iterative improvements on already impressive performance-related specs keep the iMac in solid position.

You might be alarmed by the fact that the design is the most interesting thing about the new iMac. A thin bezel is nice to look at, but it doesn’t improve processing speed, workflow, or overall utility. Fortunately for Apple, it evolved that design from a computer with a strong technical foundation. It is the updates to that foundation, and a few points of polish along the way, that keep this iMac on elite footing.



CNET‘s review machine, a souped-up $2599 model with 3.4 GHz Core i7 processor, 1 TB Fusion Drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX graphics, performed quite well in benchmark tests and features Apple’s new display lamination process that greatly reduces reflectivity. The new iMac compares relatively favorably to Dell’s XPS One 27 in many respects, with the Dell’s touch capabilities and Blu-ray drive perhaps being significant factors in its favor for some users.

The Verge has also reviewed both sizes of the new iMac and was similarly impressed by the new display process being used by Apple.

The IPS panels are the same as in last year’s iMacs, but they’re better integrated now — Apple says that by laminating the display to the glass it reduced reflections up to 70 percent, and indeed the glare problems that beset so many displays are much less present here, though there’s still some reflection and glare. The improved manufacturing also makes whatever’s on the screen feel closer to you, almost like things are jumping out of the panel. The display’s glossy bezel, which houses its HD FaceTime camera, is actually the most reflective part of the whole machine now.

I have to say, I was really surprised to see how much better the screen could be without a single change to the actual technology — but hey, I guess plastic surgery can work wonders. Both screens have fantastic color reproduction, are remarkably (like, blindingly) bright, and have near-180-degree viewing angles.

Overall, The Verge gives both iMac models scores of 9.0, noting that it is “still the best all-in-one device out there” but suggesting that the door is open for Windows 8 machines integrating advanced features like touchscreens and media center software to compete strongly with the iMac.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/11/30/early-imac-reviews-praise-design-and-display-enhancements/

Facebook Enables ‘Photo Sync’ for All iOS Users [iOS Blog]

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Facebook is rolling out its new Photo Sync feature to its iOS users that automatically uploads all photos taken on the iPhone to a private photo album on Facebook. The idea is to make it easier and faster for users to share photos with their friends.

NewImage

When you turn on photo syncing, your mobile photos will be saved to a private section of your Facebook Photos. You can easily share your synced photos on your timeline from desktop, mobile, or another device.

[…]

Only you can see the photos you’ve synced from your phone. Your photos are saved privately in a section of your Facebook Photos that only you can see. When you view your synced photos, you can choose shots to share or send in a private message.

Facebook’s support site has much more about Photo Sync. Facebook is using background uploads within the Facebook iOS app to move the photos, not anything special with location APIs or Apple’s iOS 6 Facebook integration.

The app is very clear that all photos uploaded automatically are marked as private and cannot be viewed by others until specifically shared by the user. Users get 2 GB of complimentary photo storage.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/11/30/facebook-enables-photo-sync-for-all-ios-users/

Shipping Estimates for New 27-Inch iMac Already Slip to 3-4 Weeks [Mac Blog]

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Just hours after Apple began taking orders for the new iMac, shipping estimates in the company’s online store for the stock 27-inch models have slipped from the original 2-3 weeks to 3-4 weeks. Estimates for the stock 21.5-inch models remain at 1-3 days.



Supplies of the new iMac are expected to be constrained into 2013 as Apple’s suppliers deal with the challenges of producing thinner displays laminated directly to the cover glass, with the larger 27-inch panels being particularly difficult to produce.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/11/30/shipping-estimates-for-new-27-inch-imac-already-slip-to-3-4-weeks/

Apple Rolling Out New iTunes Gift Cards With Flexible Load Amounts From $15-$500 [iOS Blog]

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Apple will soon allow customers to custom load their iTunes Gift Cards for any amount between $15 and $500, according to a report by 9to5Mac.

Apple has long offered flexible loading onto its Apple Store gift cards, but has resisted offering that on its iTunes cards. It’s possible the company didn’t feel the need to set up the infrastructure necessary for stores to report custom load amounts on its iTunes Gift Cards. Apple also still requires set amounts to be applied to iTunes Gift Certificates purchased through the iTunes Store itself. Regardless, it should be a welcome change.

Flexgiftcard

Rolling out to your favorite supermarket or retail store this holiday season are new Apple iTunes gift cards which can be bought in any denomination between $15 and $500. We’re hearing that at least one supermarket chain and one retailler are putting these on the shelves today.

You take these cards to the cashier and choose how much to put on them. When the cashier validates the card, the amount paid is tied to the number/code.

Previously, iTunes Gift Cards could only be purchased in increments of $15, $25, $50, or $100. Apple does sell multi-packs consisting of 4 $10 or $25 cards.

Purchasing iTunes Gift Cards at discount stores like Sam’s Club can sometimes allow customers to save money on iTunes and App Store purchases.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/11/30/apple-rolling-out-new-itunes-gift-cards-with-flexible-load-amounts-from-15-500/

New iMac Benchmarks Show 10-25% Improvement Over Previous Generation

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Primate Labs today posted a summary of the new iMac benchmarks hitting the company’s Geekbench Browser, showing fairly strong performance increases over the previous generation of machines. The analysis focuses on the 21.5-inch models, as the 27-inch models are not launching for several more weeks, and the latest high-end 21.5-inch model scores nearly 25% higher than its 2011 counterpart and even bests the high-end 27-inch model from last year by nearly 10%.



The report also pits the new 21.5-inch iMac against the current generations of Apple’s other two desktop lines, the Mac mini and Mac Pro. The comparison to the Mac mini reveals that users can achieve nearly the same performance as the mid-range iMac by purchasing a high-end Mac mini, although customers would obviously have to supply their own displays and other peripherals.

What’s interesting here, though, is how the quad-core Core i5 iMacs perform compared to the quad-core Core i7 Mac minis. Since Core i7 has hyper-threading technology (and the Core i5 does not), it can execute more instructions at once, leading to higher performance.

Here this means that the mid-range Mac mini is faster than the mid-range iMac that’s almost twice the price. True, you do get a display and a discrete GPU with the iMac, but these Geekbench results show how powerful the new Mac mini is despite its size.

As for the Mac Pro, which is still stuck on older-generation processors rather than adopting Intel’s Sandy Bridge E chips, the new iMac is now on par with all but the high-end 12-core Mac Pro models.

As for the new 27-inch iMac, a handful of Geekbench results have already appeared in the database running a special Build 12C2037 of OS X 10.8.2. The results indicate that an early benchmark that appeared in mid-May was indeed accurate and indicate that the new high-end 27-inch model will outperform its 2011 counterpart by nearly 15%.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/11/30/new-imac-benchmarks-show-10-25-improvement-over-previous-generation/

Apple Must Approve Carrier LTE Networks Before Allowing iPhone 5 to Connect to Them

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Apple does not allow the iPhone 5 to join a carrier’s LTE network until it passes the company’s own internal tests, according to Swiss cell carrier Swisscom. The report from Telecoms.com (by way of The Next Web), says that Apple enables LTE support on existing iPhone 5 models only after first testing the carrier network itself.

iphone5lte

This week, however, a Swisscom spokesperson told Telecoms.com that: “Apple only enables 4G access after testing their device on an operator’s live network.”

Swisscom launched its LTE network this week although the iPhone 5 was not available as an LTE device at launch. “Apple will provide a software update in due course,” the firm said in a press release.

Apple has been selling the iPhone 5 in countries where it doesn’t officially support LTE on any carriers, though most carriers have at least initial plans to support LTE in coming years with many in the midst of full LTE rollouts.

Telecoms.com quotes Alcatel Lucent CTO Marcus Weldon saying that Apple was “a bit big for its boots” with the policy, hinting that it was unusual for a handset manufacturer to have such control over its handsets. However, this has been the case since the iPhone first launched nearly 5 years ago.

Apple has exerted extraordinary control over the iPhone in a number of ways, including providing most tech support and replacements via its 800-number and the Apple Retail Store rather than through the carriers, as well as Apple forbidding carriers from preinstalling any of its own software applications or services on the iPhone.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/11/30/apple-must-approve-carrier-lte-networks-before-allowing-iphone-5-to-connect-to-them/

Apple Announces December Launches for iPhone 5, iPad Mini, and Fourth-Generation iPad in China

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Following word earlier this week that the iPhone 5 had received final certification in China, Apple today announced that it will be bringing not only the iPhone 5 but also the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad to the country over the next several weeks.

Apple today announced the Wi-Fi versions of iPad mini and fourth generation iPad with Retina display will be available in China on Friday, December 7, and iPhone 5 will be available on Friday, December 14. iPad mini and the new fourth generation iPad with Retina display are currently available in 42 countries, and iPhone 5 is available in 47 countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.



China now accounts for 15% of Apple’s revenues, making the new product launches a significant development for the company. Apple’s Chinese product launches have typically lagged well behind those in other countries, but the company has been working to shorten those gaps. The iPhone 4S launched in China three months after the device’s debut, while the third-generation iPad took four months to arrive in the country.

With today’s announcement, the iPhone 5 will be arriving in China roughly two and a half months after the initial round of launches, while the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad are coming to China just a month after their debut in the U.S. and other first-round markets.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/11/30/apple-announces-december-launches-for-iphone-5-ipad-mini-and-fourth-generation-ipad-in-china/

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