Good news for Apple as key supplier plant plans to re-open

A plant at one of Apple’s key component suppliers for the MacBook Air that had been forced to shut down will be spending $3 million in order to reopen by November, according to a new report. Catcher is responsible for most of Apple’s unibody computer enclosures.

Did Apple’s Latest Keyboard Update Make Things Worse?

Barely a week into the New Year I wrote an article entitled Magic Mouse Drains Keyboard Batteries. The clue is in the title. According to reports on the Apple Support forum, people were discovering that their diminutive Apple wireless keyboards were suddenly chewing through battery life faster than a first generation iPod in 2010. The Magic Mouse was blamed, and naturally, we wailed and gnashed our teeth.

Well, last night, Apple released version 1.1 of the Aluminum Keyboard Firmware via Software Update. And as a man almost ready to buy Energizer shares (anything to try to win back the cost of paying for high-performance batteries every week) its description sounded very promising.

“This firmware update improves battery performance of the 2007 aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard when used in combination with other bluetooth devices (eg. Magic Mouse, some bluetooth headsets) and addresses an issue with the 2007 aluminum Apple Keyboard and the 2007 aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard where a key may repeat unexpectedly while typing. The update also addresses other issues.”

Promises Promises; the Aluminum Keyboard Firmware Update

I can’t say I’ve ever experienced the “key repeat” problem but I most certainly have watched in dismay as my keyboard greedily depleted — in record time — every expensive battery I put in the thing. (Remember that scene in My Stepmother is an Alien when Celeste sucks the flashlight batteries dry? Exactly the same.) Read More about Did Apple’s Latest Keyboard Update Make Things Worse?

Rumor Has It: New Parts and Supplier Details Emerge for Apple Tablet

Everything’s beginning to come together for the launch of Apple’s (s aapl) tablet — quite literally, in fact, as Apple’s suppliers for the device begin to ship component parts or are ramping up for production in the near future. That’s according to a report issued by news service Reuter’s Friday afternoon.

Two Taiwanese companies are cited in the report as having received the contracts for the aluminum casings and the touchscreen panels that the upcoming Apple slate will use in its construction. If true, this means that the tablet will indeed sport an aluminum enclosure, and I’d expect something akin to the unibody construction process used in the MacBook Pro casing to be applied here. Imagine the build quality of that machine, without a hinge as a point of weakness. It’ll be quite hardy. Read More about Rumor Has It: New Parts and Supplier Details Emerge for Apple Tablet

New Apple Remote Sports More Current Look, Better Usability

apple_remoteIf you’re like me, you have so many white plastic Apple Remotes scattered around your living space that visitors ask if they’re part of the decor. And they were quite stylish, once upon a time. But Macs started being less about plastic and more about aluminum long ago, and the Remote has languished at the back of Jonny Ive’s design studio, disregarded. Until today, that is.

Along with new iMacs, Mac minis, mice and MacBooks, Apple (s aapl) also quietly unveiled a made-over Remote. It still does the same thing it always has, which is control you Mac or dock-connected iPod remotely, but now it does it with a different aesthetic and improved usability. Read More about New Apple Remote Sports More Current Look, Better Usability

New iMacs Feature 21.5 and 27-inch Displays and Available Quad-Core Processors

new imacs

Well, the Apple Store went down, and we waited with bated breath. And most of what people expected to see came true. One of those expectations was new iMacs, and Apple’s (s aapl) all-in-one desktops did indeed get a nice upgrade and redesign. That means you’re old hat, iMac which I’m typing this up on right now.

The new iMacs feature LED-backlit 21.5 and 27-inch widescreen displays, with a new edge-to-edge glass and seamless aluminum case design. It’s quite the sexy little get up, and it’s sure to turn a few heads. Also sure to turn heads is the introduction of quad-core processors to the iMac line, though the entry level model still sports an Intel Core 2 Duo processor by default. Read More about New iMacs Feature 21.5 and 27-inch Displays and Available Quad-Core Processors

Apple Replaces 17″ Antique With 20″ for Education

imac3quartersIt wasn’t so long ago that the Internet was ablaze with news of the “new” 17-inch iMac for education priced at $899, which was actually a model they’d been offering, without updates, in that capacity for two full years at that point. Its “discovery” was in fact just people noticing something they’d never noticed before. Today, though, brings real news of a brand-new deal for educational customers.
The price of the new iMac for education (PDF link) hasn’t changed, but the hardware definitely has, and for the better. For starters, it uses the aluminum body frame that’s been the standard for all iMac machines, save the old 17-inch polycarbonate machine it’s replacing. It also gets the same 1066MHz front-side bus as its consumer cousins, though only a 2.0GHz processor, compared to the 2.66GHz for people and institutions not trying to teach anyone anything. Read More about Apple Replaces 17″ Antique With 20″ for Education

The 13″ MacBook Pro That Could Have Been

Apple had it so close…
That was the first thought I had when Apple unveiled the new aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro on October 14.
Many Mac owners out there are still longing for a successor to the PowerBook G4 12″. I am one of them. Someone needs the features and performance of Apple’s Pro notebooks in a 12″ or 13″ form factor that, to me, is just right. In the days leading up to the unveiling, I had hoped that the new MacBook, already rumored to sport blazing fast graphics performance, would essentially be a MacBook Pro. As it turns out, the new aluminum MacBook is really The 13″ MacBook Pro That Could Have Been.

Size vs. Features

As part of my daily work, I often have to use devices ranging from HDV camcorders to RAID arrays that connect by FireWire 400, 800 or eSATA (via ExpressCard). For this, my Mid 2007 MacBook Pro 15″ is the perfect workhorse. But having lugged the five-pound MacBook Pro around almost daily for over a year, I am yearning so badly for something lighter to relieve these aching shoulders of mine.
My first notebook, a Sony VAIO ultraportable, had everything I could ask for in a small, lightweight package and was a pleasure to use. This ultraportable has had me convinced that the size of a notebook does not have to be inversely proportionate to the richness of its features.
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MacBook: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Nothing Blu

As predicted, Apple today introduced two new models of MacBook, featuring all-aluminum cases constructed from a solid block (or “brick”) of aluminum.  The new models much more closely resemble their Pro siblings than did the previous white and black plastic MacBooks. The entry-level ($1099) white MacBook will also continue to be offered, but receives a discount of $100, which, combined with the education discount, makes it a very attractive first laptop for students.
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