Yesterday I stumbled upon a Tumblr blog that, in spite of the subject, made me laugh for a few minutes. The “This Guy Has My MacBook” blog by Joshua Kaufman had pictures of a man using a computer that was stolen from Kaufman back in March — the photos, the descriptions and the fact that this man was using a MacBook not knowing the whole Internet was looking at him were kind of hilarious. All of this in spite of the fact that, yes, that was about a guy who just wanted his MacBook back.
Soon after I found out about Kaufman’s blog, the thing went viral as dozens of other websites picked it up and wrote about this guy monitoring his Mac’s thief using Hidden, a Mac app that’s a great tracking tool which can remotely snap photos through the iSight, take screenshots, grab location and send you other detailed information about your stolen computer. As the Internet began spreading the link and the photos, I had a feeling the Oakland Police Department had to do something — Kaufman’s originally wrote on his blog OPD couldn’t help him due to “due to lack of resources”. A few hours later, Kaufman tweeted that OPD had successfully taken in the computer and arrested the thief who, by the way, was a taxi driver, hence the pictures of a MacBook inside a car (one of the mysteries when the blog became popular yesterday).
Update: (May 31, 8:37 PM PST) ARRESTED! An Oakland police officer just called me to let me know that they arrested the guy in my photos! BOOYA! The police used my evidence (email which pointed to a cab service) that he was a driver and tricked him into picking them up. Nice work OPD!
Kaufam’s story is yet another example of how important it is nowadays to consider the installation of tracking and recovering software on our Macs. Apple provides a great, free solution on the iPhone and iPad that’s called Find My iPhone which is rumored to be coming to the Mac as well with Lion, but in the meantime I would recommend the aforementioned Hidden and the excellent Witness to detect motion in your room through an iSight and receive photos of what’s happening in front of your computer. The story also reminded of a popular YouTube video about a hacker that explained how he tracked down his old Mac years after it was stolen thanks to a background daemon like DynDNS that automatically finds a computer’s IP and associates it with a web address as soon as it’s connected to the Internet. It’ a great story, different from Kaufman’s — make sure to watch the video after the break if you missed it.
As noted by MacTalk [via setteB.it], a support document last updated on May 26 details Apple’s new “MacBook Bottom Case Replacement Program” which, for MacBooks shipped between October 2009 and April 2011, grants owners of white MacBooks with peeling rubber cases a free replacement of the entire case both in and out of warranty.
Apple has determined that under certain circumstances the rubber surface on some MacBooks may separate from the bottom case of the system. MacBooks shipped between October 2009 and April 2011 may experience this issue.
Apple will replace the bottom case of any affected MacBook, free of charge, that exhibits the issue.
Apple offers three options to replace the bottom case for free: owners can visit an Apple Store by setting up an appointment at the Genius Bar to get the replacement; alternatively, Apple Authorized Resellers can also replace the MacBook’s case. For those not willing to visit an Apple Store or reseller, Apple is offering a free replacement kit online (which includes “a new bottom case, screws, a Phillips head screwdriver, and instructions”) provided you live in one of the 22 supported countries (though the program is presented as “worldwide”) and you have access to your MacBook’s serial number. More details can be found on the program’s official page.
The white MacBook is due an update and several rumors claimed Apple was looking to discontinue it to make room for the popular MacBook Airs as the default entry line. The white MacBooks were also affected by other hardware issues in the past, such as discoloration problems and cracked cases.
Citing data compiled by the NPD, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster says [via Barron's] Mac sales in April have been slow, mainly due to the MacBook refreshed last year that “set the bar high”, but is still nowhere to be seen in 2011. Indeed, speculation in the past months had pegged Apple’s white MacBook to be headed towards discontinuation, leaving room for the popular MacBook Airs as the new Mac OS X entry line.
Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster this afternoon offers an update on how Apple (AAPL) computer sales are trending: It was slow in April, he writes, according to U.S. sales data compiled by NPD, thanks to a MacBook refresh a year ago that set the bar high for Apple’s year-over-year comparison.
Apple shipped 9% more units in April than a year earlier, while the Street is modeling the entire June quarter to see an increase of 22%, to 4.2 million units.
NPD data posted in February revealed a 20% increase in year-over-year Mac sales, with Apple set to sell 3.6 million Macs in the quarter — as announced at the Q2 2011 earnings call, Apple eventually sold 3.76 million units. Munster is confident that, in spite of slow sales in April, Apple will hit the Street consensus of 22% growth for the entire June quarter; on the other side of the product line, iPod sales are also expected to be better than the 10-15% drop Munster initially projected.
Could Apple transition from Intel processors to ARM processors within the next few years? A report by SemiAccurate yesterday suggests that, yes, Apple is planning to transition Intel processors off its laptop line in the not too distant future.
They suggest that the transition will take place once ARM has matured onto full 64-bit chips which is expected by mid-2013; likely using something akin to NVidia’s upcoming Denver chips. Furthermore they note:
At that point, Apple can move to ARM without worrying about obsoleting code with an [instruction set architecture] that is on the verge of changing, and no memory overhead worries either. Basically, it looks like the perfect time. Ironically, SemiAccurate’s moles tell us that the boys on infinite loop are planning to move laptops to ARM at about that time. Coincidence? Nope.
Apple isn’t a stranger to the ARM architecture; it has a heavy investment in it with its iOS platform of devices, strengthened recently by its acquisition of ARM designers P.A. Semi and Intrinsity. Whilst ARM has been known for their low power processors, in recent times there have been strong signs that ARM will move into high-performance computing as well – a suggestion strengthened by the announcement of 64-bit chips and NVidia’s “Project Denver“.
Despite the promise of ARM’s power, it still is, like yesterday’s 3D iPad rumor, a rumor that is at this point fairly far-fetched. Apple’s transition from PowerPC to Intel came with some serious amount of engineering and whilst that paid off, it also created compatibility issues. Similarly, if Apple made the transition to ARM processors they would not be able to run existing OS X applications without an emulation layer and it wouldn’t just be Apple that would have to do a lot of work to get everything working, developers too would feel the pain.
As MacRumors points out, SemiAccurate is not a frequent of source of Apple rumors, although the site does point out that they were correct in predicting Apple’s move away from NVidia GPUs in their computers. Meanwhile, earlier this year, at CES, Microsoft demoed an early build of Windows 8 running on ARM processors which does suggest that perhaps Apple and Microsoft have seen the potential in ARM and are willing to go through the hard yards and re-engineer their Operating Systems to run on the ARM architecture.
Let’s say you’re traveling amongst the lions of Africa, nose-diving off a cliff in Australia, or out-backing in the great wilds of New Zealand. Packing your MacBook, catastrophe strikes and your backpack goes tumbling down a vertical rocky hill even the greatest mountain bikers wouldn’t cross. Not to worry, however, because your Mac is straddled by G-Form’s Extreme Sleeve, offering the same durability that battle-hardened kneepads offer extreme sports enthusiasts. Reactive Protection Technology (a fancy way of saving impact resistance) suppresses hard falls by stiffening upon impact and rippling the shockwaves of the fall evenly through the structure of the case. Crack-ready glass displays and scratch-easy aluminum frames are firmly protected. Thanks to the G-Form’s water resistant, damage deflecting padding, it’s the sleeve that’s ready for everything from the urban jungle to the great outdoors. I can’t vouch for the Superman-like armor, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t believe the home-movie after the break. Available for $69.95 at g-form.com for laptops and $59.95 for iPads, the same people who bring bone protecting gear have taken their technologies to the metal logic-boxes you clank on each day.
The new 2011 MacBooks may state a limit of 8GB when it comes to installing memory, but that hasn’t stopped OWC from blowing away those perceptions with the introduction of 8GB SODIMMS. Installable alongside a 4GB module for a total of 12GB, or purchased in pairs for a total of 16GB of memory, OWC claims that owners can double the amount of installed memory, but the modules are probably out of your budget. OWC’s 12GB DDR3 1333MHz Memory Upgrade Kit will set you back $879.99, and OWC’s 16GB DDR3 1333MHz Memory Upgrade Kit costs an amazing $1599.99.
Nothing should be more flexible or more comfortable than your mobile lifestyle. That’s why AViiQ created the Portable Laptop Stand which I had the pleasure of reviewing. It’s designed to be portable, light, yet strong enough to withstand the stress of everyday computing. The AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand compromises on none of these things: imagine slipping a curious fine sheet of aluminum into your laptop bag, only for it to unfold on the table as something uniquely striking. The thin, brushed style of the stand, combined with its sharp looks, simply disappears underneath your MacBook. Inverted or upright, folded opened or closed, we’re giving away a truly fine product from the folks at AViiQ so you too can enjoy the comfort and mobility of the world’s thinnest laptop stand.
New US sales data from the NPD Group show that Apple’s Mac sales have increased 20 percent year over year, which is inline with what is required to meet analyst expectations of 3.6 million Mac sales in the March quarter.
The growth is slightly below the 22 percent growth that was predicted but analyst Gene Munster did note that Apple had seen increased international growth of the Mac platform. Furthermore the now near inevitable launch of updated MacBook’s this week will likely give the Mac sales a boost for the final month in the March quarter.
I’ve hedged bets with Federico that Apple would drop the white MacBook this time around, and I might be up $100 in the betting pool thanks to MacGeneration, who speculates Apple will replace the plastic model with the 13″ MacBook Air. It only makes sense – I can’t help think of a more sensible pricing tier from little MacBook to big MacBook.
MacGeneration via AppleInsider reports that the 13″ MacBook would see an upgrade to Intel’s core i3 processor, as well seeing a display bump to a new 1440×900 pixel resolution and the addition of a third USB port.
The fifteen inch MacBook Pro would see the option to replace superdrive replaced for an SSD, and the 17″ model may come standard with 8 GB of RAM.
Each of the MacBooks are expected to debut Intel’s new LightPeak technology, and are also reported to be introducing a new formfactor that should result in lighter, more powerful models with Intel’s Sandy Bridge inside. A 16 GB SSD could supplement a hard disk drive for faster booting and system performance.
[MacGeneration via AppleInsider]