Friday, April 17, 2015

Apple Watch Goes on Display in Milan, Phil Schiller and Marc Newson on Hand

After being announced to appear at Milan's Salone Del Mobile Design Fair earlier in the week, today the Apple Watch was displayed for the first time to the public, outside of a retail store or pop up shop, at the design fair (via Macitynet) [Google Translate]. 


On display at the Carlo e Camilla restaurant in Segheria, the Watch is displayed in long rows of glass-topped tables, identical to its presentation in Apple's own retail locations. The fair is even allowing customers to experience the same try-on appointments happening in retail stores since pre-orders began one week ago. 


Interestingly, as the Watch is displayed at the Carlo e Camilla in Italy, pre-orders for the wearable aren't available to Italian customers due to Italy not being included in the first wave of launch countries for the Watch. There to experience the event is senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, Phil Schiller, and Marc Newson, who works part time at Apple as a designer alongside Jony Ive. 


Although Apple has yet to confirm pre-order numbers for the Watch, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the device could have sold more than 2.3 million units during the initial pre-order wave. While the exact number remains a mystery, stock of the Apple watch definitely remains constrained as pre-orders for all devices slipped to a 4-6 week dispatch date, and beyond, only 6 hours after going live.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

'iPad Pro' Cases Increasing in Quality Ahead of Rumored Fall Launch

From design mockups  to purported case leaks, the much-rumored "iPad Pro" has been steadily building steam for the past few months. Today, several new cases apparently designed for Apple's iPad Pro have been leaked, and one in particular is far more detailed than any previously released (via SonnyDickson.com). 
ipad pro caseThe notable new case leaked today is the first to feature a tri-fold design with a fabric cover, marking a substantial increase in complexity over the simple soft plastic cases seen previously. This increased complexity could be a sign that case manufacturers are increasingly confident in the iPad Pro's design specs and thus willing to invest in more expensive case designs such as this even months ahead of the expected launch. 

Recent rumors point towards the iPad Pro's screen measuring between 12.2- and 12.9-inches, with the expected array of cutouts for the volume rockers, back-facing camera, lock button, and a charging port. The newly leaked cases have cutouts for all of these features, including what appear to be speakers at both the top and bottom of the device, in line with previous rumors surrounding the tablet. 

The new cases also include the mysterious cutout on the left side of the device. Some previous rumored cases have included the cutout, with rumors variously suggesting it could be for a SIM-card tray on cellular models, a second Lightning port, or perhaps a USB-C port. The Wall Street Journal previously claimed Apple is indeed considering including USB on the iPad Pro. 
ipad proAs is always worth pointing out, these early case designs could still be far off from the actual design of whatever the iPad Pro turns out to be, due to case manufacturers creating molds off of leaked or unsubstantiated design elements. But while there have been some notable misses over the years, case designs have generally proven accurate indicators of upcoming product designs. 

The latest rumors peg the iPad Pro as perhaps having a triple-core A8X processor, 2 GB of RAM, Touch ID, and possibly shipping with a first-party Apple manufactured stylus accessory. Release date rumors have fluctuated significantly as Apple as reportedly pushed back its internal timeline several times. The latest rumors suggest production could begin in September, perhaps setting up for an October launch alongside a refresh of the existing iPad lineup.

Apple Seeds First OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the first beta of OS X 10.10.4 to developers, just over a week after releasing OS X 10.10.3 with the Photos for OS X app to the public. 


The new beta, build 14E7f, can be downloaded from the Mac Developer Center. 
10_10_4_14e7fIt is not yet clear what's new in the 10.10.4 beta, but according to the release notes, the update "improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac." Earlier OS X Yosemite updates, including OS X 10.10.1 and OS X 10.10.2 brought only minor changes to the operating system in the form of bug fixes and performance enhancements. OS X 10.10.4 may serve the same purpose. 

OS X 10.10.3, released last week, was the first major update to OS X Yosemite that brought new features, including the Photos for OS X app, a redesigned emoji picker, and new diversified emoji.  

Next-Generation iPhones Could Adopt 7000 Series Aluminum Used in Apple Watch Sport

Apple's next-generation iPhones could adopt 7000 Series aluminum used for the Apple Watch Sport, according to Taiwan's Economic Daily News. The so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" would likely use Apple's custom Series 7000 aluminum alloy, which is designed to be 60% stronger than most aluminum, and one-third the density of stainless steel, while still maintaining a light weight. 


Apple elaborated in more detail about the Series 7000 aluminum it used for the Apple Watch Sport on its website, noting that each casing is machined, polished and blasted with microscopic zirconia beads to achieve a consistent satin texture found on each Apple Watch. An additional anodized outer layer helps protect against scratches and corrosion, while the anodizing process also makes possible alternative colors like Space Gray

For Apple Watch Sport, we started with 7000 Series aluminum — the same used in competition bicycles. We altered it to create a new alloy that’s just as light, yet even more durable — it’s 60 percent stronger than most aluminum, and one-third the density of stainless steel. It has a bright, lustrous colour and a uniform structure free of defects and impurities. Each case is machined and polished, then blasted with microscopic zirconia beads to achieve a consistent, satin texture. A special anodizing process creates a hard, clear outer layer that helps protect against scratches and corrosion.


Economic Daily News has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming plans, and the translated report does not offer many further details, so this rumor should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt. Nevertheless, it is common for Apple to introduce new features on one device before expanding to others. Force Touch, for example, was exclusive to the Apple Watch before making its way to MacBooks, and the technology is also rumored to be included in the next iPhone

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Retina MacBook Teardown Reveals iPad-Like Battery Connector, Details Force Touch Trackpad

After Apple revealed the new 12-inch Retina MacBook at its March "Spring Forward" event, the performance and speed of the sleek-but-slightly-underpowered machine came into question by many. Unlike the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the Retina MacBook comes with an Intel Core M Processor and provides only a single USB-C port to double as an accessory and charging port. 

Today, iFixit answered some of those early questions in its teardown of the new MacBook, revealing a few unsurprising details of the base model MacBook, which includes a 1.1GHz processor, 12-inch Retina display, 256GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300. What the company did find that was surprising was a battery connector hidden under the logic board, just one of a few internal comparisons to Apple's iPad line made with the new MacBook




Retina MacBook Teardown Reveals iPad-Like Battery Connector, Details Force Touch Trackpad

After Apple revealed the new 12-inch Retina MacBook at its March "Spring Forward" event, the performance and speed of the sleek-but-slightly-underpowered machine came into question by many. Unlike the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the Retina MacBook comes with an Intel Core M Processor and provides only a single USB-C port to double as an accessory and charging port. 

Today, iFixit answered some of those early questions in its teardown of the new MacBook, revealing a few unsurprising details of the base model MacBook, which includes a 1.1GHz processor, 12-inch Retina display, 256GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300. What the company did find that was surprising was a battery connector hidden under the logic board, just one of a few internal comparisons to Apple's iPad line made with the new MacBook. 

Next, iFixit looked at Apple's new method of tapered battery cells, finding the glued-down cells particularly challenging to remove and replace. Finally emerging from the MacBook's innards, the company discovered a 7.55 V, 39.71 Wh, and 5263 mAh battery, what iFixit calls "just a hair more" powerful than this year's 5100 mAh 11-inch MacBook Air. 

Lastly the teardown focuses on the MacBook's much-touted Force Touch trackpad, which iFixit calls a "slimmer, daintier version" of the 13-inch MacBook Pro's trackpad. Delving further, the repair website found a Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller, ST Microelectronics 32F103 ARM Cortex-M based microcontroller, and Linear Technology LT3954 LED Converter with Internal PWM Generator as the main trio of chips running the new trackpad. 


All of iFixit's breakdown resulted in a repairability score of 1 out of 10 for the new MacBook, a 10 being easiest to repair. The company points to Apple's proprietary pentalobe screws surrounding the outside case, the tricky-to-remove tapered batteries, and the processor, RAM, and flash memory being soldered to the double-sided logic board as main reasons for the score. 

iFixit's full teardown is worth a read, showing intricate details of the Retina MacBook's double-sided logic board and new USB-C connection port. The 12-inch Retina MacBook went on sale on Apple's online store last Friday, April 10, along with pre-orders of the Apple Watch. 

Although the base 1.1GHz version of the MacBook appeared to many as an underpowered machine, recent benchmarks of the 1.2GHz model showcased decent speed and power boosts over its entry-level counterpart. No doubt more will be known when consumers begin receiving their MacBooks in the mail, especially regarding the 1.3GHz model, currently at a mid-May dispatch date due to its made-to-order upgrade parts.