Blogs

Review Roundup: Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Submitted by lalit on July 5, 2012 - 12:00pm.

 

Apple recently launched the completely redesigned MacBook Pro featuring Retina display with 2880 x 1800 resolution, third generation Intel quad-core processors and all flash storage. The new 15-inch laptop is just 0.71 inches thick and weighs only 4.46 pounds. Two configurations of 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display are available – with 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB flash storage for $2,199; and with 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM and 512GB flash storage for $2,799.

Reviews of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display have been very positive with most reviewers giving the laptop Editors’ Choice award. Almost every reviewer was amazed by how good the Retina display looked in real life and most claimed it was the best display they had ever seen on a computer. Overall, everyone was impressed by the beautiful design of the laptop and powerful performance, but some reviewers had issues with lack of upgradability caused by the ultrathin design. ABC News Joanna Stern wrote in her review:

And there's the rub. It's pretty clear that the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is one of the finest laptops ever to grace this Earth; it's beautiful to look at in more ways than one. But you do have to pay a premium for what is all around the most premium laptop now on shelves.

But do yourself a favor: if you don't have any intention of buying the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, avoid looking at its screen at all costs -- all that practical advice might just seem, well, very blurry.

Below we have added links to 12 most comprehensive reviews of MacBook Pro with Retina display:

Also checkout the detailed video review of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display posted by AnandTech below:

WSJ and Others Say Apple Preparing for Mass Production of Smaller iPad

Submitted by lalit on July 4, 2012 - 11:05am.

For past two days iPad Mini (smaller iPad) rumors have been gaining steam. The recent iPad Mini rumors started yesterday, when Unwired View posted that various analysts are claiming Apple is preparing to launch a smaller iPad model, which will cost $249-$299. Unwired View also reported that the new tablet will use IGZO display panel made by Sharp.

After the above rumor started spreading like wildfire, Bloomberg posted that they have heard from two people with knowledge about Apple’s plans that Apple will debut a smaller, cheaper iPad by year-end. Peter Burrows wrote:

The new model will have a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public. The product, which Apple may announce by October, won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March, one of the people said.

After this vague report from Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal also posted a report with bit more information about iPad Mini claiming that component suppliers are preparing for mass production of iPad with a smaller screen. Lorraine Luk wrote on WSJ:

Apple Inc.’s component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near.

Two of the people said that the tablet's screen will likely be smaller than eight inches. The iPad's screen measures 9.7 inches, unchanged since the first model was released in 2010.

Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing such a device but hadn't yet decided whether to proceed with production.

One person said the screen makers Apple is working with include LG Display Co. of South Korea and Taiwan-based AU Optronics Co.

Even though most of these rumors are pointing to a Q3 launch on iPad Mini, none actually gave any information about the hardware. WSJ did say that LG and AU Optronics will produce the LCD displays, which would indicate that talks about iPad Mini using IGZO display are wrong, but we can’t be sure.

However, NPD DisplaySearch analyst claims that Apple will use a 7.85-inch screen and his claims are based on talks with companies in “display supply chain”.

“For the 7.85-inch panel, there’s a business plan for it, there’s a mass production target for it. And we Know that it’s for Apple,” said Richard Shim, an NPD DisplaySearch analyst to CNET. “I don’t know the name of the product, but I know it’s going to be a tablet.”

Overall, from the above rumors we believe that the upcoming smaller iPad will have 7.85-inch display, which won’t be based on IGZO technology and the smaller iPad or iPad mini will ship in September or October.

 

Apple Preparing to Launch The New iMac in October

Submitted by lalit on July 3, 2012 - 10:02am.

DigiTimes is reporting that Apple is working with component suppliers to start production of the new iMac by July end and an official launch around October. Aaron Lee posted in DigiTimes:

Apple's supply chain reportedly will start supplying components for the mass production of Apple's upcoming new iMac all-in-one PC in July with the device's official launch possibly around October, according to sources from upstream supply chain.

The sources also noted that Apple plans to expand Retina Display into all the product lines, meaning that the new iMac will have a high chance of featuring Retina Display; however, the rumors are not confirmed by Apple.

The sources pointed out that Apple is pushing Retina Display for its products in hoping to surpass its competitors in terms of screen resolution since most other notebook and tablet PC vendors are still adopting Full HD display for their products; however, since there are only limited contents that are capable of supporting Retina Display, while Retina Display is a lot expensive than a Full HD panel, most PC vendors currently still have no plan to follow suit and launch product with high resolution panel.

We have also heard similar plans for iMac launch. However, our sources say that Apple will start shipping the new iMac before Q3 2012. New iMac production ramp up will begin in August with manufacturing reaching full capacity by October end to meet holiday demand.

 

HTC DROID INCREDIBLE 4G LTE Coming to Verizon on July 5

Submitted by lalit on July 3, 2012 - 8:44am.

Verizon has announced that the new DROID INCREDIBLE 4G LTE from HTC will be available in stores and online starting July 5th. The Android 4.0 based handset features HTC sense 4 UI and 4G LTE support. Main features of the new handset are:

  • 4-inch super LCD qHD display
  • 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED flash, BSI, f/2.2 and 28 mm lens
  • Front-facing camera for video chatting with friends and family
  • 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor
  • Mobile Hotspot-capable to share a 4G LTE connection with up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices
  • Support for up to 32 GB microSD memory card

The DROID INCREDIBLE 4G LTE by HTC will be available beginning July 5 in Verizon Stores and on Verizon’s website for 149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement.

 

Mozilla Announces Partners and Details About Upcoming Firefox Mobile OS

Submitted by lalit on July 2, 2012 - 1:10pm.

Mozilla today confirmed details about their upcoming open source mobile operating system aimed at lower end smartphone market. The OS will use Mozilla’s Firefox brand and will support HTML 5 applications. Operators like Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor will partner up with Mozilla to launch the new Firefox OS.

Also, device manufacturers TCL Communication Technology (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE today announced their intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon(TM) processors from Qualcomm.

The Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on Mozilla's "Boot to Gecko project" which unlocks many of the current limitations of web development on mobile, allowing HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities of a phone, previously only available to native applications. Telefonica's Digital unit joined forces with Mozilla earlier this year to take this work and showcase a new phone architecture where every phone feature (calling, messaging, games, etc.) is an HTML5 application.

The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in early 2013 through Telefonica's commercial brand, Vivo.

 

Sony Introduces Superfast 168MB/s S-Series XQD Memory Cards

Submitted by lalit on July 2, 2012 - 10:02am.

Sony today introduced two new superfast S-Series memory cards – the 64GB QD-S64 and 32GB QD-S32 featuring PCI Express Gen interface, which allows these cards to read and write at 168MB/s making them the world’s fastest memory card.

Sony says that the new memory cards could transfer 32GB data in about 3.8 minutes and its designed for HD video and high-resolution photographers. According to SlashGear, it also means photographers would be able to shoot multiple frames in continuous shooting mode without hitting data transfer wall. Sony tested the new card with Nikon D4 DSLR camera and was able to shoot 108 shots in just ten seconds.

Sony XQD S-Series memory cards will go on sale in Japan on July 11th, priced 40,000 yen (about $500) for 32GB model and 60,000 yen (about $750) for 64GB model.

 

Review Roundup: Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Submitted by lalit on July 1, 2012 - 9:29am.

 

Google launched their first Nexus branded tablet on June 27th, featuring 7-inch 1280 x 800 display, quad-core Tegra 3 chipset, 1.2-megapixel front camera, 1GB RAM, 8 or 16GB storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, Micro USB and 9 hours battery life. The Nexus 7 tablet comes with Google’s new Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system and NFC support. Nexus 7 will ship in July priced $199 for 8GB model and $249 for 16GB model.

Reviews of the new tablet from Google have been largely positive calling it the best Android tablet available on the market because of both its lower price point and the new Android 4.1 OS. However, as almost every reviewer points out that even though Nexus 7 is the best Android tablet, it’s still behind Apple’s iPad. But if you are looking for a tablet below $300 price point this is the tablet to go for right now, as Nexus 7 is much better than Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Chris Burns wrote on SlashGear “With the iPad and the Amazon Kindle Fire being this device’s biggest competitors, you’ll want to know: which one is worth buying? There’s no perfect answer, but if I had a choice between the three and would get the chosen product for free, I’d of course pick the iPad – it costs more than 2 times this device’s base price for a reason. If I had to choose between the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire, I’d not think twice about picking the Google product. Every single feature on this tablet, unless you’re an Amazon junkie, is better than the Fire.”

Below we have added links to best Google Nexus 7 reviews available online:

 

Apple Testing iPhone Prototypes with NFC Chips

Submitted by lalit on June 25, 2012 - 12:33pm.

Since Apple showed the PassBook app at WWDC on June 11th, everyone has been talking about iPhone getting NFC (Near Filed Communication) support for payment processing and ticketing. However, there hasn’t been any concrete evidence till now supporting these NFC talks. But that has changed today, as 9to5mac claims that the hardware code dump from preEVT iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes codenamed N41AP (5,1) and N42AP (5,2), which revealed few weeks back that the next generation iPhone will have bigger display also has code for NFC controllers and antenna. Seth Weintraub wrote:

Further investigation into this hardware code dump leads us to believe that these iPhones also have Near Field Communication (NFC) controllers directly connected to the power management unit (PMU).

The implications here are obviously monstrous. With the recently announced PassBook application (which we detailed prior to its announcement while speculating about an NFC tie-in), Apple will be set to compete with Google Wallet and the similar service Microsoft unveiled last week. Apple could tie in with a payment processor like Citibank’s PayPass system for credit card transactions or it could become a payment processor of sorts with its hundreds of millions of credit cards already on file at iTunes.

It has been rumored for past two years that iPhone will get NFC support and the rumors were really strong before iPhone 4S was launched last year. NFC is a technology that can bring many other functionalities like file sharing, authenticated pairing of devices and not just payment processing. And for the first time the technology looks ready enough for Apple to use in their devices. Will it be in iPhone 5? That is a question only Apple can answer.

 

Apple Designing The New Mini Dock to Improve Usability and Decrease Unlicensed Accessories

Submitted by lalit on June 21, 2012 - 8:31am.

Commenting on yesterday’s news that Apple’s new iPhone will have 19-pin mini dock, Robert Scoble revealed few more detail about the new dock design. Robert learnt from an Engineering working in the phone world that Apple is making this change for the following reasons:

  1. To control device manufacturers much more completely. It will be nearly impossible to make unlicensed devices, if Apple wants it, and totally impossible to make replacement power supplies that Apple hasn't approved (there is a chip in both ends of the new power supply that ensure that it is an official device).
  2. To make thinner devices possible.
  3. To make water damage less of a possibility on new devices.
  4. To bring us a magnetic connector that's more durable and easier to dock than the existing one. Especially important as more car manufacturers add docks for iPhones into cars (yet another way to encourage people to buy Apple devices rather than devices from other manufacturers).
  5. This new connector will leave more room for array microphones on the bottom of the iPhone, which could enable even better sound quality.

iPhone 5 to Feature 19-Pin Mini Connector

Submitted by lalit on June 20, 2012 - 10:28pm.

It has been rumored for past one year that Apple will replace the 30-pin dock used by all iOS devices for charging and syncing with a smaller “Mini” dock. And since the images of iPhone 5 back cover have leaked this mini dock rumor have gotten even stronger. Today, TechCrunch posted they have confirmed from various sources that Apple will indeed use a smaller 19-Pin “Mini” connector. John Biggs wrote on TechCrunch:

Although the form factor and actual size are still unknown, TechCrunch has independently verified that Apple is working on adding a 19-pin port, replacing the current 30-pin port, to the new iPhone. It is a move that will surly send shocks through the iPhone accessory ecosystem.

The new port is similar in size to the Thunderbolt port available on many MacBook devices but I’ve been told by three independent manufacturers that the pin-out will be different.