Apple Testing Software Update to Address 2013 MacBook Air Wi-Fi Issues

June 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last week, it was reported that a growing number of owners of Apple’s new MacBook Air were experiencing Wi-Fi issues, with users reporting problems such as dropped connections that require a restart in order to reconnect. It was reported earlier this week that Apple has been replacing affected machines and collecting the defective units in order to examine them as part of the company’s investigation into the issue.

As noted by AppleInsider, Apple is now sending out invitations to certain MacBook Air owners asking if they wish to participate in the company’s AppleSeed customer software seeding program for the purposes of testing a new “MacBook Air WiFi Update 1.0”. While Apple does not specify in its invitation exactly what problem the software update is designed to address, it presumably focuses on the connection issues being reported by users.

You have been selected to join our AppleSeed program. If you accept, we will provide you with a pre-release version of the MacBookAir WiFi Update 1.0 to install and use.

While trying out MacBookAir WiFi Update 1.0, we ask that you provide us with your feedback. Our program includes a bug reporting system for our participants. If you wish to be a seed volunteer and help Apple release high-quality software, follow the instructions below.

Beyond the connection issues, Apple’s OS X 10.8.4 public release and OS X Mavericks beta also appear to have a software issue that prevents machines supporting the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard from taking advantage of the faster speeds for file transfers. It is, however, unclear whether Apple will address this issue for current MacBook Air owners through this software update in testing or through a separate update such as the upcoming OS X 10.8.5 update.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Possible Photos of Plastic Rear Shell from Apple’s Lower-Cost iPhone

June 29, 2013 § Leave a comment shares [Google translation] a pair of photos of what may be the rear shell of Apple’s rumored lower-cost plastic iPhone. While the site acknowledges that the part could simply be a Chinese clone of an iPhone 5 rear shell, certain features such as a round rear microphone hole and rounded rear edges are consistent with previous claims for the lower-cost iPhone, including leaked design drawings from a case maker.

Apple has been said to be planning to release the lower-cost iPhone later this year in an array of colors, with one report claiming that Apple would be using essentially the same colors as found in the company’s line of iPhone 4/4S bumpers, although that report indicated that green appeared to have been excluded from the set. This green rear shell is indeed fairly close in color to the green iPhone bumper.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

TSMC Confirms Deal with Apple to Produce A-Series Chips for Future iOS Devices

June 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

tsmcThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has signed a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to produce some A-series chips for Apple’s iOS devices starting in 2014. The article confirms a report from Digitimes published earlier this week regarding the deal.

This month, after years of technical delays, Apple finally signed a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to make some of the chips starting in 2014, according to a TSMC executive. The process had been beset by glitches preventing the chips from meeting Apple’s speed and power standards, TSMC officials said.

The report states that TSMC plans to start producing the chips in early 2014 using 20-nanometer technology, which would make chips smaller and more energy efficient. The two companies have been discussing their arrangement since 2010, with serious discussions on the process of creating the chips starting in 2011.

TSMC executives told the WSJ that Apple had asked to either invest in the company or to have TSMC set aside a factory specifically for Apple chips. Executives said they had denied both options because they wanted to keep TSMC’s independence and manufacturing flexibility intact.

Apple has so far used Samsung to exclusively manufacture the A-series chips for its iOS devices, but with the two companies becoming rivals in the mobile device market, Apple has been trying to reduce its reliance on Samsung for components.

As the WSJ notes, Apple and Samsung’s relationship as far as components goes back to the early days of the iPod as Samsung won some business from Apple after the company became unhappy with original iPod processor supplier PortalPlayer. While Apple was aware that Samsung planned to compete with it in the mobile device market, Samsung had told Apple that it kept its component business separate from the mobile device business and promised to keep its executives from sharing information with each other.

Some Apple executives didn’t like the arrangement, and in 2008 Apple began an effort to shift away from Samsung for its flash memory supplies. In 2010, Apple made a similar move with its iPhone displays, shifting production from Samsung to Sharp and Toshiba, although Retina display iPads continue to use Samsung displays.

And while Apple is trying to rid itself of its reliance on Samsung, the Korean company understandably would still like to keep Apple as one of its customers, with an estimated $10 billion of Samsung’s reported $59 billion in component sales coming from the Cupertino company.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

OS X Mavericks Adds Auto-Renew Subscriptions for Mac App Store [Mac Blog]

June 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

While iOS apps like Evernote and Instapaper are able to provide users with in-app auto-renewing monthly subscriptions for services, the same functionality is not available in the Mac App Store at the current time.

For example, Evernote is able to offer a renewable monthly subscription to its premium service via iOS, charging $5 per month. On the Mac App Store, however, Evernote cannot offer a subscription, instead requiring users to sign up each month or purchase a year of service in advance.

As 9to5Mac notes, that is set to change in OS X Mavericks, with the introduction of Auto-Renewable Subscriptions for Mac Apps.

With the release of Mavericks, Mac developers will be able to provide services on an ongoing monthly basis with charges routed through the App Store’s in-app purchase system. As with the iOS App Store, developers will be able to offer both ongoing subscriptions and subscriptions that expire after a set time, automatically charging a user’s iTunes account.

Mac App Store subscriptions in Mavericks will be managed in the Mac App Store’s account information panel, which has been updated with a new subscription management setting.

OS X Mavericks was previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. It is currently available for developers, and is expected to be released to the public in the fall.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

San Francisco Officials Suggest Significant Changes Needed for Apple’s New Flagship Store Proposal

June 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last month, Apple submitted plans to relocate its flagship San Francisco retail store three blocks north, putting the new store directly on Union Square, the heart of the city’s high-end shopping district.

Despite initial praise for the project from city officials, Apple’s proposal rapidly drew criticism for a number of its features, including an 80-foot-long blank wall along Stockton Street and the apparent removal of a sculptural fountain currently located at the entrance stairway to a public plaza.

The San Francisco Chronicle now reports that the city’s Planning Department has issued its preliminary project assessment (PDF) on Apple’s proposal, indicating that it would like to see a number of changes to the project.

There’s too much glass on Post Street and too much metal on Stockton. The plaza that would accompany it needs a friendlier entrance. Planners also want the project to include a circular bronze fountain by Ruth Asawa that is the centerpiece of the plaza now on the block.

Despite all this, the city’s top planner said Thursday that he sees no reason Apple can’t build a modernistic metal-and-glass box within the historic setting of the Union Square retail district.

The city’s planners object to the uniform wall of glass along the store’s main frontage on Post Street, suggesting that Apple should do more to break up the wall by including colors or textures or vertical design elements. The planners also suggest possibilities for improving the blank Stockton Street frontage, including adding windows or pulling back the storefront to allow for landscaping and perhaps public seating areas.

Regarding Apple’s controversial proposed changes to the public plaza behind the store, planning officials have asked Apple find a way to widen the entrance stairway to help draw in visitors. Apple is also being asked to try incorporate the existing fountain sculpture by noted San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa into the new plaza design, and if it is not feasible, to assist with finding a new location for the fountain.

The Chronicle also spoke with San Francisco mayor Ed Lee about the fountain. Lee, who had been unaware of its proposed removal following his initial viewing of the project plans, suggests that an agreement with Apple to secure the fountain’s fate may be near.

“I’ve had some very good conversations with Apple and the managers of the Hyatt,” said Lee, who praised Apple’s plans in May as “incredible” but later told The Chronicle he hadn’t realized the new building would disrupt the Asawa fountain. “I think a decision will be made in a short period of time.”

Apple has not disclosed a timeline for constructing the new store and relocating its operations from the existing store at 1 Stockton Street, and its timeline may depend on how long negotiations with city officials take to achieve a design satisfactory to all parties.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Netflix Debuts New Conversational Content Guide ‘Max’ for PS3, Coming to iPad Next [iOS Blog]

June 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Netflix today announced the release of Max, a personal content assistant and guide that the company calls the “child of Siri and HAL 9000.” Max is designed to help users choose movies and television shows to view, and he does so using personal tastes.

Max asks a user questions about mood and movie viewing preferences in order to come up with a suggestion. He also uses Netflix’s algorithms to predict content that a particular user might enjoy and plays a number of “games” to make selections.


One of the experiences Max offers is called the “ratings game,” where you pick a genre to fit your mood and then rate a few titles on the familiar Netflix five star scale.

Sometimes, when Max feels particularly confident, he will offer a fun, personalized suggestion after asking only one simple question. Here Max asks you to pick between two highly specific genres that are personalized and use the very detailed tags we have on all of the shows and movies that are available on Netflix.

Other times, when intoxicated by past success, Max will get a little cocky and offer a suggestion right away, no questions required. The catch…this is a mystery suggestion and you’ll just have to press play and trust him.

While Max is currently only available as a beta for PlayStation 3 users, Netflix says that if the experiment turns out to be successful, Max will be available on other devices in the future, “likely the iPad next.”


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Some 2013 MacBook Air Models Exhibit Severe Flickering With Photoshop

June 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Customers on both the MacRumors and Adobe support forums are reporting severe flickering when using some 2013 13″ MacBook Air models when using Adobe Photoshop, particularly the larger brush tools.

Adobe representative Chris Cox posted on Adobe’s support forums that he believes it is a driver or GPU issue, or possibly a problem with the LCD driver circuits. Additionally, he says Adobe has not been able to reproduce the issue, suggesting that it could be a particular run or series of MacBook Air models that are running into issues.

When we file a bug with Apple that we cannot reproduce ourselves: Apple ignores it.

Apple needs to hear from customers who experience the problem, and needs details on exactly which systems have the problem.

We will continue to research this, and if we find a system that reproduces it, then we can file a bug with Apple and have some hope that they might investigate.

Also, thanks for the video – that is definitely a driver or GPU issue, though with that kind of flickering I’d also suspect the LCD driver circuits.

New chipsets, like those in the new MacBook Air, occasionally have sporadic quality control issues. Some MacBook Air owners are reporting issues with Wi-Fi and Apple has issued a ‘capture’ order to Genius Bar representatives to take broken machines and send them to Cupertino for further analysis.

Adobe advises affected customers to contact AppleCare so the problem can be diagnosed and, hopefully, quickly resolved by Apple. Some reports have suggested that upgrading to Mavericks solves the problem, indicating a possible software issue.


from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

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