Oct
23
2012

Officially announced at Apple’s media event earlier today, iBooks 3.0 has now been released on the App Store. The new version is available here.

The new iBooks comes with a “continuous scrolling” option that, similarly to Marco Arment’s Instapaper, allows you to keep scrolling when reading a book by simply swiping a single finger vertically on screen. As many noted today, this new feature will be particularly appreciated with the likely one-handed use of the iPad mini when reading, as the lighter device makes it easy to read a book with one hand and scroll easily. (more…)

Oct
23
2012

It’s been quite a day for Apple aficionados. Between brand-new iMacs, a new entry in the Retina Mac family, new Mac minis, and some new iPads, there’s a lot of information to go through in a single day. Here’s a recap of our October 23 coverage in reverse chronological order (older posts at the bottom):

You can catch up with our coverage in our October 23 news hub. Below, we’ve collected some interesting links to great articles that have been published in the past few hours. Make sure to click on the source links to check out the articles in their entirety.

Ars Technica speculates on Fusion Drive, a marquee feature of the new iMac that should allow OS X to see an SSD/hard drive combination as a single drive. Furthermore, it will enable the system to intelligently move resources to the (faster) SSD automatically.

Based on Schiller’s explanation, Fusion Drive sounds similar. In a caching solution, like Intel’s, files live on the hard disk drive and are temporarily mirrored to the SSD cache as needed. In an enterprise auto-tiering situation, and with Fusion Drive, the data is actually moved from one tier to another, rather than only being temporarily cached there.

Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper and The Magazine) has his own take on today’s announcements. In particular, he has a simple but effective explanation of today’s “iPad 4″ upgrade:

The new A6X CPU is promising, though: it’s presumably based on the same (awesome and cooler-running) “Swift” CPUs in the A6, with more memory bandwidth and GPU power to drive the larger screen. Going from the iPad 2 to 3, Apple kept CPU power the same and increased GPU power, but only to drive the larger screen, so it was mostly a wash. From the iPad 3 to 4, we’re finally likely to see a welcome and necessary improvement in both CPU and GPU performance.

Shawn Blanc notes how the evolution of Apple’s iMac “has evolved in pairs”.

AllThingsD has a nice photo gallery of today’s media event in San Jose.

Kyle Baxter on why, for him, today’s Apple is the best Apple. He dedicates the last part of his piece to some thoughts about the iPad and its position in the market:

What it indicates, too, is that Apple thinks the iPad is a very different kind of device than the cheap Android tablets or the Kindle Fire. Those other devices are literally larger phones, with software that is not very different. Those devices are, at best, for browsing the web, playing games and maybe reading books, but they don’t do any of those things particularly well, in Apple’s eyes. Schiller’s talk about how much better equivalent applications are on the iPad versus the Nexus 7 made that argument. Instead, in Apple’s view, the iPad is today’s PC.

Todd Olson has a clear and concise explanation of the new features in iBooks Author 2.0, announced and released today. Namely, iBooks Author 2.0 comes with proper portrait support with new templates, LaTeX and MathML support for mathematical expressions, embedded custom fonts, and more. I’m intrigued by the new popovers in images:

A new “pop-over” widget has been added to allow users to tap places on an image to get a pop-up window with more information. Pop-overs may include text and graphics.

Serenity Caldwell also elaborates on portrait orientations at Macworld:

New in iBooks Author are new templates and portrait-only iBooks. Unfortunately, portrait-only doesn’t mean iPod touch- or iPhone-friendly—iBooks Author books are still restricted to the iPad and iPad mini. The company does seem to have expanded its template offerings beyond textbooks, however: There are now options for photo books, craft books, cookbooks, and biographies.

Apple has posted some first support documents for the new iBooks Author:

Shawn Blanc, again, this time with his thoughts on today’s event.

It was fun to watch Tim and Phil tag team the event, and I thought Phil Schiller’s time on stage was one of his best. These aren’t just media press events, it’s like a global show and tell. Apple is bringing something they’ve been meticulously building in secret and showing it to the world. They’re not just selling the products, they’re inviting the media into their “living room” per se.

The guys at Macminicolo take a look at today’s Mac mini refresh and highlight some interesting points. Two in particular stuck out to me:

In marketing the Mac mini server, Apple writes “And you get amazing hardware and software, with support for iOS devices like iPad and iPhone, right out of the box.” People understimate this selling point. I’ve confirmed over and over that Mac minis are a big selling point for bringing a small business or school to iPads and iPhones. It’s the perfect iOS management server, and that’s important for SMB and education.

As I look at all the options on the machines, one things sticks out. They’ve decreased the number of components to build the minis. For instance, all machines come with 4GB now, so Apple no longer has to stock 1GB modules and 2GB modules. The middle and upper tier minis both have the same 5400RPM 1TB drives. Standardizing supply decreases inventory and decreases component pricing.

Last, Ars Technica also speculates on the nature of the A6X processor, which powers the fourth-generation iPad. It turns out, Apple may have two A6 ARM cores at 1.5GHz with four PowerVR SGX543 cores running at 500MHz.

Given the significant boosts in clock frequency—150 percent for the CPU cores, and 200 percent for the GPU cores—you may be wondering how Apple can still promise a 10-hour battery life. After all, the iPad still has the exact same 42.5Whr battery, but the processor is twice as powerful. The power savings come from the same place as we saw in the iPhone—Apple moved from a 45nm process to a more power-efficient 32nm process. Instead of keeping performance the same and decreasing the iPad’s thickness and weight, Apple instead chose to double its performance without sacrificing all-day battery life.

Before the Phil Schiller introduced the brand new iPad mini, he surprised the audience in attendance with the introduction of Apple’s 4th generation iPad during today’s Special Event.

The 4th generation iPad comes in the same chassis as the 3rd generation iPad. It’s been updated with Apple’s new dual-core A6X processor with quad-core graphics, which offers performance that’s twice as fast as the previous generation model. The camera has been updated to a FaceTime HD camera, able to record 720p video and snap 1.2 MB photographs. A Lightning connector has also replaced the old dock connector.

It’s an incremental update that’s big on performance, but not so substantial that purchasers of the 3rd generation iPad should feel the need to upgrade. The launch of the 4th generation iPad is a simple revision to the existing model that neither reduces weight or thickness. It does, however, possibly change Apple’s release cycle by placing the iPad ahead of the holiday shopping season instead of after it. The updated iPad also brings it up to date with Apple’s most current technologies, such as Apple’s new Lightning connector that was introduced with the iPhone 5.

As a buyer’s note, Apple hasn’t replaced the iPad 2 with the 3rd generation iPad. Instead, the iPad 2 remains for sale, while the 4th generation iPad simply succeeds the 3rd generation. If you want a new iPad, you’re still choosing between a model that has a Retina display and doesn’t.

For more coverage, check out our October 23 news hub and follow @macstoriesnet on Twitter.

Apple Posts October 23 Keynote Video

For those who didn’t catch the live stream on Apple’s website, Apple just posted a video of this morning’s keynote in its entirety. The video can be streamed here, and a higher quality version should be made available in a few hours through iTunes. To avoid streaming errors, Safari is recommended for the best viewing experience.

Update 5:30 PM ET: The event video is now available for download in the HD Apple Keynotes podcasts. Direct links below.

Apple Keynotes

Apple Keynotes HD

Apple Keynotes 1080p

We will post additional news on the site’s homepage, or tweet as @MacStoriesNet throughout the day. Check out our October 23 news hub for complete coverage of today’s announcements.

Oct
23
2012

Phil Schiller took the stage today at Apple’s media event in San Jose to officially unveil the iPad mini, Apple’s latest entry in the iPad line-up.

As widely rumored, the iPad mini features the same 4:3 aspect ratio of the iPad with a smaller, 7.9″ display carrying the same resolution of the original iPad and iPad 2 — 1024×768. The smaller display has allowed Apple to cut down the overall size of the device, which also features a lighter form factor and thinner design, as well as narrower borders. The iPad mini is, from a design standpoint, reminiscent of the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad, with a flat aluminum back, albeit with more rounded edges.

iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Hardware

The iPad mini comes in two colors: white & silver and black & slate. The biggest feature, however, is its design, which is only 7.2mm thin and 53% lighter than the third generation iPad. Schiller compared the thinness of the iPad mini to a pencil. The iPad mini weighs 0.68lbs, making it as “light as a pad of paper”. (more…)

During this afternoon’s Apple Special Event at the California Theater in San Jose, California, Phil Schiller announced the availability of all new, incredibly thin iMacs, starting at $1299 for the 21.5-inch base model, and $1799 for the 27-inch base model.

The new iMacs have been completely rebuilt from the ground up. The new iMacs have an edge that’s astoundingly only 5 mm thin, is 40% less in volume, and weighs 80% less than the previous generation models. In engineering the new iMac, Apple uses a proces called friction-stir welding (the same process used to manufacture aircraft wings) to join two pieces of aluminum together to create such a thin enclosure. Apple removed the 2mm air gap between LCD panel and the glass in process called full lamination, making the display 45% thinner. The new display is manufactured with a new technology called the “plasma deposition process,” resulting in 75% less reflection and more accurate colors. On the manufacturing line, each iMac display is calibrated with a spectroradiometer to meet color standards. As done with the MacBook Pros with Retina display, Apple has removed the optical bay from the iMac. Thanks to Apple’s new manufacturing processes, the new iMac’s display uses 50% less power, and the iMac itself meets lower power requirements set by the EPA.

The iMac comes in two sizes; a 21.5-inch model comes with a 1920-by-1080 display, and a 27-inch model comes with a 2560-by-1440 display. Both iMacs have a FaceTime HD camera (720p), dual microphones, left and right speakers, two Thunderbolt ports, four USB 3 ports, a gigabit ethernet port, Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processors, up to 3 TB of storage, up to 768 GB of flash storage, and up to 32 GB of memory.

A new option for the 27-inch iMac is Apple’s new Fusion Drive, which combines a 128 GB flash drive with a 1 TB or greater hard drive, creating a fused single volume that Mountain Lion automatically manages for you. OS X is able to figure out which applications and documents you use the most, and automatically move them to flash storage for faster access. Boot time is faster, and for applications like Aperture, Apple’s Fusion Drive is almost as fast as flash storage.

The 21.5-inch iMac will be available next month starting at $1299 with a 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, 8 GB of memory, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 640M for graphics and video, and a 1 TB hard drive for storage. A second configuration at $1499 bumps up the specs to a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5 quad-core processor and swaps in a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650M.

The 27-inch iMac will be available in December starting at $1799 with a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, 8 GB of memory, GeForce GTX 660M for graphics and video, and a 1 TB hard drive for storage. A final configuration at $1999 updates the specs to a 3.2 GHz Intel Core-i5 quad-core processor and swaps in a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX with 1 GB of GDDR5 memory.

As a purchasing note, the 21.5-inch model iMac does not have upgradable memory — the amount of memory chosen at purchase is set. The 27-inch model can be upgraded later with up to 32 GB of memory. (Hat tip MacRumors.)

For more coverage, check out our October 23 news hub and follow @macstoriesnet on Twitter.

Updated at 3:18pm with more information on engineering, model options and pricing.

During this afternoon’s Apple Special Event at the California Theater in San Jose, California, Phil Schiller announced the availability of an updated Mac Mini, starting at $599 for the base model.

The updated Mac Mini comes in multiple configurations for desktop and server. The base configuration features a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB of memory, and a 500 GB hard drive for storage. A second configuration for $799 comes with a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4 GB of memory, and a 1 TB hard drive for strorage. An updated Mac Mini with OS X Server is also available for $999, which includes a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor, 4 GB of memory, and two 1 TB hard drives(and is preloaded with OS X Server). The Mac Minis can be optionally configured with a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of memory, a 256 GB solid-state drive or a 1 TB fusion drive. The Mac Mini with OS X Server can be additionally configured with two 256 GB solid-state drives.

Inside the chassis you’ll find Intel HD Graphics 4000 for graphics and video. All Mac Minis have a Thunderbolt port with support for monitors up to 2560-by-1600 resolution, an HDMI port with support for up to 1920-by-1200 resolution, a Firewire 800 port, four USB 3 ports, an SDXC port, an audio line in minijack, and an audio line out/headphone minijack. For networking and wireless peripheral connections, 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 are also available.

Image credit: The Verge

For more coverage, check out our October 23 news hub and follow @macstoriesnet on Twitter.

Updated at 2:42 pm with additional model and pricing information. Corrected Mac Mini with OS X Server storage information.

During this afternoon’s Apple Special Event at the California Theater in San Jose, California, Phil Schiller announced the availability of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, starting at $1699 for the base model.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features a 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS display supporting a 2560-by-1600 (Retina) resolution (the world’s second highest resolution notebook computer), is lighter at 3.57 pounds (a pound lighter and now Apple’s lightest MacBook Pro), and is thinner in profile at 0.75 inch high (20% thinner than the previous generation). Connections include a Magsafe 2 power port, two Thunderbolt ports (10 Gbps), two USB 3 ports, a HDMI port, a SD card reader, a headphone port, a FaceTime HD camera (720p), and dual microphones. Inside the chassis, Apple starts their base model with an Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, 8 GB of onboard memory, and 128 GB of flash storage. Integrated Intel 4000 graphics is also present for graphics and video. For networking and wireless peripheral connections, Apple’s latest models support 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0. As with its 15-inch sibling, the new 13-inch model nixes the optical bay (Apple USB SuperDrives can be purchased separately to read, rip, and burn CDs and DVDs).

Configurable up to a dual-core Intel Core i7 processor and 768 GB of flash storage (8 GB is the maximum amount of memory offered by Apple), the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is offered in two models:

• $1699 for a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of onboard memory, and 128 GB flash storage.
• $1999 for a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of onboard memory, and 256 GB flash storage.

For more coverage, check out our October 23 news hub and follow @macstoriesnet on Twitter.

Updated at 2:27 pm with additional pricing and model information.

As usual with every Apple product announcement, keynotes start with “state of the business” introduction that, through various numbers and facts, reveals how the company is doing in several areas such as retail, the App Store, and hardware sales. At today’s media event in San Jose, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared some interesting details on a variety of subjects.

  • iPhone 5 is off to a “tremendous start”. It’s been the fastest-selling opening weekend in the history of mobile phones.
  • Apple has already sold 3 million units of the new iPods (combined with the rest of the line-up).
  • 200 million devices have been updated to iOS 6.
  • 125 million documents have been stored in iCloud.
  • 300 billion iMessages have been sent to date.
  • 28,000 iMessages are sent every second.
  • 160 million Game Center accounts have been created.
  • 70 million photos have been shared with Photo Stream.
  • 700,000 iOS apps are available, 275,000 iPad apps.
  • Customers have now downloaded 35 billion apps from the App Store.
  • $6.5 billion have been paid to developers.
  • 1.5 million books are available on iTunes.
  • 400 million books have been downloaded since the launch of the Store.

For more coverage, check out our October 23 news hub and follow @macstoriesnet on Twitter.