Monday, January 14, 2008

Wired claims last-minute "MacBook Air" details

Need help with your Mac? Contact Victor Orly!
(310) 891-6820 x101 or email

An alleged insider at a third-party vendor is said by Wired to have fresh details on the rumored 'MacBook Air' sub-notebook just hours before its unveiling at Macworld San Francisco.

In its description, the magazine's Gadget Lab blog describes the lightweight notebook as teardrop-shaped when shut, thickening towards the hinge of the system but thinning near the edges -- and remaining "unbelievably" thin overall, according to the source.

The system, according to the source, shares the same aluminum and glass construction of the iMac with black accents on a silver frame.

The tip also suggests that the MacBook Air name refers not just to the computer's slender design but also an apparent dependence on wireless: it may drop Ethernet altogether in favor of Wi-Fi or "other wireless technology," the purported source said, though it's unknown whether this would involve AT&T's 3G (third-generation) service, Sprint's Intel-derived WiMAX network, or any service at all.

In recent days, AppleInsider has received similar descriptions, though it has been unable to confirm the authenticity of those reports.

According to one submission, the notebook sports "very thin edges" with a slightly thicker body that "curves to the sides at the edges," producing a slimming effect akin to the rear design of the new aluminum iMacs.

The submission went on to say that the front of the notebook appears to be no more than 3/16th of an inch thick when closed and that the right side of the unit is void of any ports with the exception of an unknown slot.

Both the keyboard and trackpad are said to closely mirror those of Apple's existing MacBook, and the "Air" in the bezel logo is said to use a lighter font than the preceding "MacBook."

Again, AppleInsider has so far been unable to authenticate these latest claims, though numerous details -- such as first word of the subnotebook format's return, its use of a 13-inch display, and its Macworld Expo debut -- have all been published in a series of reports dating as far back as February of last year.
Multi-touch is also suggested for the display, though this too remains a mystery.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry

Need help with your Mac? Contact Victor Orly!
(310) 891-6820 x101 or email

It was a late morning in the fall of 2006. Almost a year earlier, Steve Jobs had tasked about 200 of Apple's top engineers with creating the iPhone. Yet here, in Apple's boardroom, it was clear that the prototype was still a disaster. It wasn't just buggy, it flat-out didn't work. The phone dropped calls constantly, the battery stopped charging before it was full, data and applications routinely became corrupted and unusable. The list of problems seemed endless. At the end of the demo, Jobs fixed the dozen or so people in the room with a level stare and said, "We don't have a product yet."
The effect was even more terrifying than one of Jobs' trademark tantrums. When the Apple chief screamed at his staff, it was scary but familiar. This time, his relative calm was unnerving. "It was one of the few times at Apple when I got a chill," says someone who was in the meeting.
The ramifications were serious. The iPhone was to be the centerpiece of Apple's annual Macworld convention, set to take place in just a few months. Since his return to Apple in 1997, Jobs had used the event as a showcase to launch his biggest products, and Apple-watchers were expecting another dramatic announcement. Jobs had already admitted that Leopard — the new version of Apple's operating system — would be delayed. If the iPhone wasn't ready in time, Macworld would be a dud, Jobs' critics would pounce, and Apple's stock price could suffer.

Click the link for the entire story.....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Apple Introduces New Mac Pro

Need help with your Mac? Contact Victor Orly!
(310) 891-6820 x101 or email

Fastest Mac Ever—Eight Processor Cores Standard

CUPERTINO, California—January 8, 2008—Apple® today introduced the new Mac® Pro with eight processor cores and a new system architecture that delivers up to twice the performance of its predecessor*. The new Mac Pro combines two of Intel’s new 45 nanometer Quad-Core Xeon processors running up to 3.2 GHz, powerful new graphics and up to 4TB of internal storage to offer the ideal system for creative professionals, 3D digital content creators and scientists. The standard 8-core configuration starts at just $2,799.

“The new Mac Pro is the fastest Mac we’ve ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With 3.2 GHz 8-core Xeon processing, a 1600 MHz front side bus and 800 MHz memory, the new Mac Pro uses the fastest Intel Xeon architecture on the market.”

The new Mac Pro features the latest Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5400 series processors based on state-of-the-art 45nm Intel Core microarchitecture running up to 3.2 GHz, each with 12MB of L2 cache per processor for breakthrough performance and power efficiency. With a new high-bandwidth hardware architecture, dual-independent 1600 MHz front side buses and up to 32GB of 800 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory, the new Mac Pro achieves a 61 percent increase in memory throughput**.

Every Mac Pro comes standard with the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card with 256MB of video memory. The Mac Pro includes a new PCI Express 2.0 graphics slot that delivers up to double the bandwidth compared to the previous generation, and supports the latest generation of graphics cards from NVIDIA, such as the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB of video memory, or NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 with 1.5GB of video memory and a 3-D stereo port for stereo-in-a-window applications. With support for up to four graphics cards, the new Mac Pro can drive up to eight 30-inch displays at once for advanced visualization and large display walls.

The Mac Pro is the most expandable Mac ever, featuring four internal hard drive bays with direct-attach, cable-free installation of four 1TB Serial ATA hard drives, totaling 4TB of internal storage and support for two SuperDrives. With optional 15000 rpm SAS drives that can deliver up to 250MB/s of RAID 5 disk I/O performance, the Mac Pro is ideal for film and video editors. Combined with SATA or SAS drives, using an optional Mac Pro RAID card offers the ultimate data protection and disk I/O performance on the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is easily and conveniently accessible in front and back so users can connect external devices with five USB 2.0, two FireWire® 400, two FireWire 800, optical and analog audio in and out, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and a headphone jack.

Every Mac Pro includes Leopard™, the sixth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system. Leopard is packed with more than 300 new features and introduces a brand new desktop with Stacks, a new way to easily access files from the Dock; a redesigned Finder that lets users quickly browse and share files between multiple Macs; Quick Look, a new way to instantly see files without opening an application; Spaces, an intuitive new feature used to create groups of applications and instantly switch between them; and Time Machine™, an effortless way to automatically back up everything on a Mac. Featuring an improved scheduler and other multi-core technology, Leopard is a perfect companion to the Mac Pro, making applications faster and helping application developers take advantage of multi-core systems.

The new ultra-thin aluminum Apple Keyboard now ships with every Mac Pro and built-in Bluetooth 2.0 makes it easy to reduce cable clutter with the optional Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple Wireless Mouse.

Pricing & Availability
The new Mac Pro is shipping today and will be available through the Apple Store® (, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The standard 8-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of $2,799 (US), includes:

* two 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors with dual-independent 1600 MHz front side buses;
* 2GB of 800 MHz DDR2 ECC fully-buffered DIMM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
* ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256MB of GDDR3 memory;
* 320GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
* 16x SuperDrive™ with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* two PCI Express 2.0 slots and two PCI Express slots;
* Bluetooth 2.0+EDR; and
* ships with Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse.

In addition to the standard configuration, the Mac Pro offers numerous build-to-order options including: one 2.8 GHz, two 3.0 GHz, or two 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors; up to 32GB of 800 MHz DDR2 fully-buffered ECC memory; up to four 1TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm or up to four 300GB SAS drives running at 15000 rpm; Mac Pro RAID card; up to two 16x SuperDrives with double-layer support; NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT or NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 graphics cards; AirPort Extreme 802.11n; Apple USB Modem; Apple wireless Aluminum Keyboard; Apple wireless Mighty Mouse; and Mac OS X Server Leopard. Complete build-to-order options and pricing are available at

*Based on estimated results comparing a preproduction 2.8 GHz 8-core Mac Pro with a 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro running professional applications like Maya, modo and Logic® Pro.

**Testing conducted by Apple in December 2007 using a preproduction 2.8 GHz 8-core Mac Pro with a 2.66 GHz quad-core Mac Pro. All systems were configured with 4GB of RAM. Results are based on the STREAM v. 5.6 benchmark ( using OMP support for multiprocessor-compiled builds. All systems were configured with 8GB of RAM. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Mac Pro.

Apple Introduces New Xserve

Need help with your Mac? Contact Victor Orly!
(310) 891-6820 x101 or email

CUPERTINO, California—January 8, 2008—Apple® today introduced the new Xserve®, a 1U rack-optimized server that is up to twice as fast as its predecessor* and includes an unlimited client license for Mac OS® X Server Leopard™. Starting at just $2,999, the new Xserve has up to two Quad-Core 3.0 GHz Intel Xeon processors for 8-core performance, a new server architecture, faster front side buses, faster memory, up to 3TB of internal storage and two PCI Express 2.0 expansion slots for greater performance and flexibility.

“With the latest Intel processors and no client access licenses, Xserve offers unbeatable server performance and value for under $3,000,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Xserve’s power, storage and Leopard Server make it ideal for supporting Mac clients and mixed platform workgroups.”

Xserve is configurable with up to two Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5400 series processors running up to 3.0 GHz with 12MB of L2 cache per processor and features a new high-bandwidth hardware architecture, dual-independent 1600 MHz front side buses and up to 32GB of 800 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory for a 64 percent increase in memory throughput**. Two PCI Express 2.0 expansion slots provide up to four times the I/O bandwidth of the previous Xserve to support the latest high-bandwidth expansion cards including multi-channel 4Gb Fibre channel and 10Gb Ethernet cards.

Xserve now includes built-in accelerated graphics to drive up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema Display® and a new front-facing USB 2.0 port. Using Apple’s Server Monitor, an administrator can remotely turn Xserve on or off and manage server software from anywhere on the network. Each of Xserve’s three drive bays can be configured with 73GB or 300GB SAS drives or 80GB and 1TB SATA drives, providing a mix of high performance and vast storage capabilities for a wide range of server applications. Apple offers a hardware RAID card option that delivers hardware RAID levels 0, 1 and 5 with 256MB of cache and an included backup battery for up to 72 hours of cached data protection. The Xserve RAID card delivers up to 251MB/s RAID 5 performance*** for the most demanding server workloads, without using a valuable PCI Express expansion slot.

The new Xserve improves energy efficiency with Intel’s 45 nanometer core microarchitecture technology. The processors draw a maximum consumption of 80W, and drop as low as 4W when idle. Power supplies exceed Energy Star recommendations from the US Department of Energy and Apple’s thermal management technology cools the systems efficiently in a wide variety of environments while reducing power consumption.

Every Xserve ships with a preinstalled, unlimited client edition of Leopard Server software, offering true 64-bit support, easy-to-use management tools and support for Mac®, Linux and Windows clients. Leopard Server is fully UNIX compliant and extends Apple’s legendary ease of use by introducing over 250 new features, including Podcast Producer, the ideal way to automatically publish podcasts to iTunes® or the web; Wiki Server, allowing people to collaboratively create and modify their shared web sites with just a few clicks; and iCal® Server, the world’s first commercial CalDAV standard-based calendar server.

Pricing & Availability
The new Xserve is shipping today and will be available through the Apple Store® ( and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The Xserve standard configuration, with a suggested retail price of $2,999 (US), includes:

* a single 64-bit 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Xeon processor with 12MB of L2 cache and a 1600 Mhz front side bus;
* 2GB of 800 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM RAM, expandable up to 32GB;
* a single 80GB SATA Apple Drive Module;
* dual Gigabit Ethernet on-board;
* internal graphics;
* two FireWire® 800 and three USB 2.0 ports; and
* an unlimited client license for Mac OS X Server version 10.5 Leopard.

In addition to the standard configuration, Xserve offers numerous build-to-order options and accessories including: dual 2.8 or 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors; 80GB and 1TB 7200 rpm SATA or 73GB or 300GB 15,000rpm SAS Apple Drive Modules; internal Xserve RAID card; Gigabit Ethernet, 4Gb Fibre Channel and U320 SCSI expansion card options, and a 750W redundant power supply.

*Based on industry-standard SPEC jbb 2005 benchmark tests conducted by Apple in December 2007 using preproduction 3.0 GHz 8-Core Xserve units and shipping 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Xserve units. SPEC is a registered trademark of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC); see for more information. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Xserve.

**Testing conducted by Apple in December 2007 using preproduction 3.0 GHz 8-Core Xeon-based Xserve units and shipping 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Xserve units. All systems were configured with 8GB of RAM. Results are based on the STREAM v. 5.6 benchmark ( using OMP support for multiprocessor-compiled builds. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Xserve.

***Testing by Apple in December 2007 using preproduction 3.0 GHz 8-core Xeon-based Xserve units configured with Xserve RAID card. Testing conducted using Iometer 2006.07.27 with a 30-sec ramp-up, 5-min run, 512KB request size, and 4 outstanding IOs. System configured with the OS and test volume on a single RAID volume. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Xserve RAID Card.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Apple: More Than a Pretty Face

Need help with your Mac? Contact Victor Orly!
(310) 891-6820 x101 or email

Consumer electronics companies need to do more than pare product lines and make cool stuff. What Apple offers is a complete ecosystem.

Gadget lovers take note: Consumer electronics (CE) companies are cutting back their product lines. Gone are the days when manufacturers created a dozen in-line products to cover every price point. Rather than spreading chips across the table, CE brands like Sony (SNE) and Samsung are following Apple's (AAPL) lead by stacking more chips on a few well-placed bets. Sony, for example, now offers just three models of ultra-slim point-and-shoot cameras in its CyberShot line. But will such paring enable Sony and others to succeed the way Apple has? Will this mean more products we love or more dross on the shelves?

Maybe you're thinking, "Not more Apple hype." But it's hard not to think of Apple as the innovator in the CE space. Apple is driving digital lifestyle on a global scale, and it's doing so in the face of economic adversity. The National Retail Federation reported that consumer spending on Black Friday dropped 3.5% compared with 2006. According to a MasterCard (MA) Spending Pulse report, sales of electronics rose just 2.7% from Thanksgiving to Dec. 24, 2007, over the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, Apple anticipates holiday-quarter sales of $9.2 billion, a 29% increase over 2006, while the Mac operating system hit a record 8% market share in the closing days of the year. With the annual Consumer Electronics Show fast approaching, Apple is once again sure to be the talk of a trade show it doesn't even attend.
Design Alone Isn't Enough

To succeed like Apple, CE brands need to do more than create cool-looking products that are rich in features and intriguing behaviors. A cool object may be at the center of the experience, but as others have noted, surrounding a successful product like the iPod is a complete ecosystem that includes content and services, software and interfaces, retail experience, Web site experience, and an army of accessories. Imagine competing with NASA by designing a better space shuttle—but ignoring the launch pad, ground control in Houston, or the facilities at Cape Canaveral. Apple is successful because all of the elements of its ecosystem are in place—and are consistently meaningful and relevant to its target consumers.

According to the latest NPD report, Apple has secured over 70% market share for MP3 players. What's less well known, and more impressive, is the ratio of Apple's investment in the iPod platform relative to its return. Since 2004, Apple has added just one item to the iPod range, the iPod touch, making four pieces of hardware in all. In the same period, the catalog of available content (songs, TV shows, films) has increased 600%, to 4.1 million items. And—here's the pièce de résistance—the number of iPod accessories has increased tenfold, to 3,000. Apple collects fees for most, if not all, of those accessories, with third-party vendors and manufacturers paying to add the "Made for iPod" logo to a package or, in the case of connected accessories like speaker docks, a fee to use the proprietary Apple connector.

Many companies have tried to replicate Apple's success by imitating at the product level and focusing on the design of the object itself. Creative Technology has designed media players with simple geometric shapes, high-end details, and a polished look. Speaker docks from Altec, Logitech, JBL and Bose have tried to match (and keep pace with) the Apple color palette.

The makers of other music players have also used smart design to try to stand out—case in point is Microsoft's (MSFT) latest Zune media player, an inspired object with intriguing design, cool behavioral features, beautiful details, splendid packaging, and a compelling interface. A number of accessory providers have mimicked the look of Apple's fresh, uncluttered packaging. But none of this is enough.
Mind Share

Take Sony. It's an amazing company with a powerful brand. Innovative product platforms like the portable transistor radio and the Walkman set the stage for the digital lifestyle era. Yet it has struggled to transpose that success to the 21st century. In 2005 it outlined a strategy to reduce its SKU count by 20% by 2007, detailing a desire to focus on "champion" products and avoid having to battle competition on many fronts. So while four years ago, Sony offered a dizzying array of digital cameras that recorded on all kinds of media (floppies, MemorySticks, DVDs), now it has just three lines (ultra-slim, compact, SLR). That's better for consumers, most of whom don't care that Model 1 has a 2MB cache while Model 25 has 4MB. In December, 2007, CEO Howard Stringer announced that Sony's efforts were beginning to pay off. It is close to achieving a 5% net margin for 2007.

Apple ended its fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2007, with a net margin of nearly 15%. To succeed like Apple, companies need to understand more deeply the consumer they are targeting. Apple recognizes that it can't have everyone as its customer. It is willing to alienate some segments by appealing to a strong core of people that sociologists refer to as the Cultural Creatives. These are the people who wait in line overnight for the latest iPod or MacBook. Focusing on the Cultural Creatives in turn attracts followers who might not otherwise trust the brand.

Observe the next 10 people you see on the street with an iPod and ask yourself how many of them represent the Cultural Creatives featured in Apple's advertising. One, maybe two? Address your core audience. The rest will follow. That's how you sell 10 million iPods in one quarter.

In the hands of an artful company like Apple, design is the vehicle for driving meaningful, relevant experiences that are authentic to the brand. It's not about paring product lines or making cool stuff. Done right, design can add value to the bottom line and the brand. Design done right goes beyond the appearance and behavior of the object itself. It takes the entire product ecosystem into consideration. Design done right sees technology as an enabler, not the solution.

Apple creates holistic experiences that inspire strategic partners like accessory manufacturers and content providers to build up the platform. Apple understands: It's not about market share. It's about mind share.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Apple Files for OLED Keyboard Patent

Need help with your Mac? Contact Victor Orly!
(310) 891-6820 x101 or email

Art Lebedev's Optimus keyboard (now the Optimus Maximus) has been around in various incarnations for a few years now, with the full-size version having been released on March 15 of last year (2007, in case you're still getting used to the 2008 thing). But just two days before its official (re-) release, Apple filed a patent application for a dynamically controlled keyboard, the contents of which were published yesterday.

At first glance, the invention described in Apple's patent looks quite a bit like the Optimus Maximus. The patent describes a method for changing what is displayed on a keyboard's keys by putting OLEDs (organic LEDs) and circuitry in each key. The various OLEDs could be turned on and off, leading to different images being displayed on the keys. Applications would then tell the keyboard what to display on each key, depending on what the user was doing at the time. Imagine a "play" button being displayed on the spacebar while in iTunes, which would change to a "pause" symbol after pressing play, and you've got the basic idea.

This type of keyboard would really shine for media work, since applications like Photoshop, Logic, and Final Cut could be significantly simplified by displaying more information about (and on) each key. And while the Optimus Maximus is a bit expensive, Apple could certainly mass-produce something similar for less money, perhaps bringing the price into reality for most users. Lebedev has, however, apparently applied for several patents for the Optimus, so it's unclear just what Apple is up to, or what would happen if the company were ever to release such a product. I wouldn't count on seeing this anytime soon, but a guy can dream, right?