Fiber Optic Thunderbolt Cables Begin Mass Production, Available Up to 30m in Length

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Intel has signed off on active fiber optic cables made by Sumitomo Electric Industries, the first of their kind to go into mass production.

The cables can be up to 30 meters (just under 100 feet) long, and provide full 10Gbps throughput with little performance degradation even when pinched by up to 180 degrees or tangled in knots. The cord is the same thickness as current standard Thunderbolt cables, but the connector size is slightly longer.

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As ZDNet points out, these currently unpriced cables could be used to put noisy Thunderbolt data storage devices like the Drobo 5D in a soundproofed closet, away from the host Mac.

There have been a number of reports about the development of fiber optic Thunderbolt cables over the past year, with no official timeline laid out for their availability. Pricing is also unknown, but given the more advanced active fiber technology in the cables, it’s possible they could be significantly more expensive than current cables.

One significant difference between the optical cable and the metal is that the new optical Thunderbolt cables do not carry on-board power. Any devices connected with them, like smaller portable hard drives, need external power supplies to work. They cannot be bus-powered.

For those who already own a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac, Intel notes that the existing Thunderbolt ports will be compatible with both copper and fiber optic cables, ensuring cross-compatibility once the new cables arrive.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/31/fiber-optic-thunderbolt-cables-begin-mass-production-available-up-to-30m-in-length/

Hackulous Shuts Down, Taking Down Popular Pirated App Source Installous

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

As noted by iDownloadBlog, popular iOS pirated app community Hackulous has announced that it is shutting down, taking down the Installous jailbreak tool used to install pirated apps on iOS devices. A statement from Hackulous reads:

We are very sad to announce that Hackulous is shutting down. After many years, our community has become stagnant and our forums are a bit of a ghost town. It has become difficult to keep them online and well-moderated, despite the devotion of our staff. We’re incredibly thankful for the support we’ve had over the years and hope that new, greater communities blossom out of our absence.

As iDownloadBlog observes, it is almost certain that other piracy tools, both existing and new, will rise in prominence to fill the void left by the removal of Installous, as there is certainly no shortage of users seeking to cheat developers out of their app fees.

Piracy is a major problem for many iOS app developers, and there have been several instances of piracy forcing developers to remove their apps from the App Store. One such case earlier this month saw Hunted Cow shut down its multiplayer title Battle Dungeon after piracy rates of roughly 90% made it impossible to handle the game’s server load based on the revenue generated through legitimate sales.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/31/hackulous-shuts-down-taking-down-popular-pirated-app-source-installous/

Intel to Launch Cable TV Service and Set Top Box at CES 2013

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

According to TechCrunch, Intel is planning to launch its own virtual cable TV service and set top box in the near future. The news comes at a time when rumors of Apple’s own television service have been becoming more frequent.

To combat licensing issues, Intel has decided to roll out the service on a city-by-city basis rather than launching nationwide, allowing Intel to negotiate for control of smaller markets with content providers, who have been reluctant to hand over valuable licensing rights.

A source in the video distribution industry directly familiar with Intel’s plans and content dealings tells TechCrunch the semiconductor company is dead serious about getting its chips into the living room. After its effort to convince smart TV manufacturers to use its chips in the initial launch of Google TV failed a few years ago, it’s decided to go it alone. The source said that Intel was frustrated with “everyone doing a half-assed Google TV so it’s going to do it themselves and do it right.”

The plan is to create a set-top box and subscription TV service that would appeal to people who want streaming TV access but don’t want to entirely cut the cable cord and lose key content like sports.

Like Intel, Apple has been said to be working on a similar set up for its rumored Apple-branded television set, an idea that was made famous by Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs, when Jobs expressed his desire to revolutionize the television industry.


Since then, the Apple television set has been the source of much speculation, and it is believed that Apple is hoping to include features like Siri and FaceTime, as well as content from third party providers and motion control.

Apple has faced problems with content procuration, which may be why the much rumored TV has yet to make an appearance. There have been similar rumors about a more robust version of the Cupertino-based company’s existing Apple TV set top box, but that too has yet to be seen.

As of mid–2012, Apple has been rumored to be in talks with cable services like Comcast and Timer Warner Cable, though no content deals seem to have been made public.

The Wall Street Journal (via TechCrunch) notes that Intel has also had problems securing content deals, with content providers unwilling to offer television channels piece meal because of contractual barriers set in place by cable providers. Intel’s city-by-city launch aims to allow content providers to experiment with access in less restrictive markets.

Intel’s cable TV service and set top box may launch as soon as January 7 at Intel’s CES event, according to tipsters. There’s still no word on when an Apple television might be announced.

The most recent rumors state that Apple’s Foxconn factories are currently testing several television set designs, in the 46–55 inch range.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/30/intel-to-launch-cable-tv-service-and-set-top-box-at-ces-2013/

iCade Jr. Arcade Controller Discounted to $9.99 [iOS Blog]

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment


ThinkGeek has discounted the iCade Jr. Mini Arcade Cabinet for iPhone to only $9.99. That represents 80% off its normal price of $49.99.

The iCade Jr. was originally launched in January 2012 at CES. It represents a smaller iPhone/iPod Touch sized version of the original iPad-sized iCade. Like its big brother, the iCade Jr. connects to your iPhone or iPod Touch using Bluetooth. This model was originally designed to fit the iPhone 4/4S and 4th Generation iPod touch form factors, but is said to work with the iPhone 5 “if you leave the top lid hinged back”.

The controller has an arcade stick, four front and rear buttons and works with existing iCade-compatible games.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/30/icade-jr-arcade-controller-discounted-to-9-99/

New York MTA Introduces iOS App with Real-Time Subway Arrival Info [iOS Blog]

December 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority just released a new app, MTA Subway Time, which provides accurate real-time information on subway arrivals for six of the numbered lines, including No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, plus the 42nd Street shuttle, covering 156 different stations in the city. Subway Time will allow commuters to plan trips down to the minute.

The app works with the countdown clocks that are linked to centralized computers, which have been installed in just seven of the city’s 24 lines.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the system’s age and the cost of upgrading has prevented it from being easily updated, though real-time coverage will roll out to other lines in the future. The first update will come in six to 12 months, when the L line is added.

The new app covers only about a third of the subway system, and agency officials acknowledged that it will likely take years of work and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment before conveniences increasingly common elsewhere are standard in the Big Apple.

The rest, encompassing two-thirds of its total stations and roughly 60% of its daily ridership, continues to rely on signal technology dating to the middle of the 20th century or earlier. It will be years before those lines have signal systems that can generate the digital information that drives countdown clocks on platforms and apps on cellphones with live updates.

Other cities have been quicker to incorporate current technology into existing transit systems. California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit System, or BART, for example, has developed a web-based mobile app and in 2007, the city released open format transit data that third party developers were able to incorporate into their own apps.


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Chicago Transit Authority also provide information for third party developers.

New York Transit officials are hoping to inspire app developers to create third party apps as well, and a free live stream of arrival time data will be given to app developers.

Transit apps have become especially important with the release of iOS 6, because Apple Maps does not provide innate transit directions. Instead, the Maps program redirects users to download relevant routing apps like New York’s new Subway Time.

MTA Subway Time can currently be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/29/new-york-mta-introduces-ios-app-with-real-time-subway-arrival-info/

Increase in iPhone and iPad Thefts Accounts for Rise in New York City Crime Index

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

The New York Times reports that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg today released crime data for the city as 2012 draws to a close, noting that a slight increase in the overall major crime index for the city can be entirely accounted for by an increase in iPhone and iPad thefts.

As of Monday, the Police Department recorded 3,484 more major crimes in 2012 than for the same period last year. The increase in Apple product thefts: 3,890. […]

“If you just took away the jump in Apple, we’d be down for the year,” said Marc La Vorgna, the mayor’s press secretary.

Thefts of Apple devices have naturally grown as their popularity has increased, and police in New York and other cities have been working to break up extensive rings of thieves and dealers trading in stolen iPhones and other electronics. Last year it was reported that in some New York City precincts more than half of the robberies in some months involved iPhones.

Today’s report also notes that police have been emphasizing efforts to address theft on the city’s subways, which are popular locations for gadget thefts due to the crowds and easy getaway opportunities.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/28/increase-in-iphone-and-ipad-thefts-accounts-for-rise-in-new-york-city-crime-index/

Apple’s Supply Chain to Work Through Chinese New Year Holiday Amid ‘Insatiable Appetite’ for iPad Mini in China

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Brightwire summarizes a report [Google translation] from Taiwanese news site United Daily News claiming that Apple’s supply chain partners will continue working through the traditional Chinese New Year holiday in order to keep up with demand for the popular iPad mini and iPhone 5. The holiday falls in mid-February in 2013, with many workers traditionally returning to their homes for two weeks or more in celebration.

The report comes as Apple continues to experience tight supplies of the iPad mini in particular, with the company’s online stores around the world generally citing 1-2 week shipping estimates for new orders.

Demand for the iPad mini is also very strong in China, where the device launched on December 7, as highlighted in a new report from Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White. White cites “insatiable appetite” for the iPad mini in China and Hong Kong leading to stock shortages, with checks indicating that the iPad mini is more popular than the fourth-generation iPad.

Our research is pointing to very strong demand for the iPad mini in China and this is leading to stock-outs this week. Similar to Hong Kong, we are being told by contacts in China that the iPad mini is already more popular than the fourth generation iPad. Prior to the China launch, we indicated that the iPad mini would be the “next big thing in China” and we believe this phenomenon is starting to develop. In our view, the smaller form factor and lower price point will allow Apple to sell the iPad mini in more meaningful volumes versus the regular-size iPad.

The report suggests that Apple is beginning to achieve some balance on the iPhone 5 in China, with walk-in purchases now starting to become more widely available two weeks after the device’s debut. Evidence of the Apple catching up with iPhone 5 demand in the first waves of launch countries appeared earlier this month with the company’s online stores shifting to immediate “in stock” availability of all models.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/28/apples-supply-chain-to-work-through-chinese-new-year-holiday/

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