Biz spending on Macs, iPads could hit $19B in 2012

BYOD policies aren’t the only reasons Apple products’ presence are growing at your office. Corporate IT departments are more and more buying Macs and iPads for employees to use. That’s according to a new report from analyst firm Forrester published Friday.

Joli MacBook Air sleeve review: Luxury, meet luxury

The MacBook Air is a very pretty piece of hardware. For that reason, I’m not too eager to hide it away in just any old sleeve. Can the hand-made leather Joli sleeve match the Air’s sense of style while also providing it with protection?

Gadget Makers, Embrace the Teardown

Websites like iFixit are meant to provide a guide for out-of-warranty repairs, take stock of components and satisfy some geeky curiosity — consumer watchdogs, they are not. Yet DIY sites and the people that run them are also exposing, in the most literal sense, how electronics makers are fashioning their wares and if they live up to their claims, eco and otherwise. Scrutiny aside, online DIY resources are also a treasure trove of insight into the levels of user serviceability that green gadget buyers can expect out of their electronics.

Rumor Has It: Apple Putting 3G Into MacBooks, Rendering USB Sticks Useless

nousbstickAs if I didn’t have enough USB sticks sitting around doing nothing (512KB flash drives, Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless dongles, etc.). Now it looks like my 3G mobile broadband USB modem might soon join the ranks of the neglected and forgotten. Not because 4G networks are being built out as we speak, but because it looks like Apple (s aapl) is gearing up to start building 3G radios into their notebook computers. It’s about time, too, and frankly I’m surprised that more computer manufacturers haven’t gone this route long ago, considering the significant added incentive to buyers of having wide-coverage Internet access built in to their machines.

News of the new direction for Mac hardware comes from job postings, which have been garnering quite a bit of attention for Apple lately, considering the recent buzz about chip-making related positions. Now Cupertino seems to be looking for a few good 3G QA, design, and testing engineers to join their camp. The job descriptions, listed on their Hardware Engineering jobs site, list a variety of wireless specifications, with 3G among them, and the jobs in question talk about Mac applications specifically, so this isn’t just an iPhone-oriented position, as I initially suspected. Read More about Rumor Has It: Apple Putting 3G Into MacBooks, Rendering USB Sticks Useless

Apple News: Orb, Boxee and Icky HDCP

Thanksgiving is a week away (Wait, really?), and we have a bounty of Apple (s Appl) news to report — though not all of it will make you give thanks.
First, the good news. Our colleagues over at the mobile devices blog jkOntheRun are excited that the Orb 2.0 app is available through the iTunes AppStore and no longer requires a jailbroken iPhone. Orb lets you stream video content like downloaded videos and live TV from your PC (oddly, it doesn’t work on Macs yet) to your handheld device. Think of it like a Sling for your iPhone.
Now the not-so-good news. Via our friends at The Apple Blog, we hear that Apple released some minor updates for its Apple TV software, adding features like AirTunes streaming, third-party remotes and music volume control. But… The update also killed Boxee on the Apple TV. Boxee had recently hacked its open source media center onto the device, and as we predicted, Apple put the kibosh on it. If you must have your Boxee on your Apple TV (maybe to watch Hulu), The Apple Blog post shows you how to disable the automatic update.
And finally, it looks as though Apple has kow-towed to Hollywood and has implemented a bummer of a content protection scheme on its new MacBooks. According to Wired’s Gadget Lab Blog, Apple has added something called High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). In a nutshell, it prevents users from playing video content purchased through the iTunes store on many external displays, forcing people to watch their movies and TV shows on their smaller laptop screens. Blech.

MacBooks Selling Out Worldwide

Reports are coming in that Apple’s new MacBooks and MacBook Pros are selling out in retail stores around the world.

Apple’s flagship San Francisco store reportedly had no stock as of this morning, and our own David Appleyard apparently scored the last new MBP at the Manchester Arndale store.  The London Regent Street flagship store is also announcing that they are out of stock, and calls to the Toronto Eaton Centre Apple Store confirm that they also have no stock and aren’t sure when they’ll be receiving any.
With flagship stores in three different countries already experiencing stock shortages, it’s clear that Apple’s new notebooks are being fairly well received by consumers, even if analysts are disappointed in the high price points of the new notebooks.  It’s not clear from these reports whether sales have been exceptionally high, supplies are short, or some combination of the two.  Another possibility is that Apple is taking a page from Nintendo’s playbook and short-stocking in order to drive up demand.  Whether real or orchestrated, the same tactic worked well for them when the iPhone 3G initially launched.
If you’ve run into any stock shortages or outages at your own local store, or if you were lucky enough to get your hands on one, let us know.

New MacBook Rumors

Last week, during the Q2 financial call for Apple, Peter Oppenheimer does what Apple does best: he stirred the pot. It may seem to the untrained eye that Apple’s less-than-stellar four-product launch was detrimental to the company, but how quickly we forget. Just a few short words left all the bad feelings behind and kept the rumormill going at full tilt once again, “…and we’re busy finishing several more wonderful new products to launch in the coming months.” In the call, Oppenheimer stressed that he could not talk about these products, and that they would be released at about the end of September. What better way to divert the attention from poor performance than to announce bleeding edge products that will leave the competitors straggling in the dust?

Since the brief unannouncement, the speculation has been plentiful, with some talk of new Apple Cinema Displays (and from January of this year), but most of the rumors have focused on the long overdue MacBook line.

Here are some highlights:

  • Thinner and lighter MacBook and MacBook Pros with glass trackpads, to utilize Multi Touch, and will be called MacBook Touch(ComputerWorld)
  • No Intel chipsets (the CPU will still be Intel–not going back to PowerPC), looking at AMD, VIA, or nVidia (CNET)
  • One long piece of aluminum for the body of all three notebooks (AppleInsider)

I have heard of some others that sound pretty farsical, and of course, a Mac tablet is always bantered about when it is time for a new rumor. What other features have you heard? What would force your hand to upgrade when they are released?