TSMC scores a big win over Samsung

Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2014 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: apple, Samsung, TSMC, rumour

According to the inside information that The Inquirer acquired, the next generation of Apple's SoC will be fabbed by TSMC not Samsung.  The A8 will be a 64bit quad-core processor of unknown speed with a GPU described as a four-cluster configuration similar to the PowerVR G6430.  This is not terribly surprising considering the abusive relationship that Apple and Samsung have developed over the past few years and will certainly swell TSMC's coffers.  Even better TSMC will also pick up the manufacturing other parts of a variety of Apple devices, check the (rumoured) list out here.

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"The next generation of Apple's custom system on a chip (SoC) for mobile devices will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) rather than Samsung, and so will several other chips to be used in the forthcoming iPhone 6, a report has claimed."

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Source: The Inquirer

Nobody loves the iPhone 5c

Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2013 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: foxconn, apple, iphone 5c, iphone 5s

It would seem that the lower priced iPhone 5c is not very popular with Apple fans as the 5s model has sold twice as many units.  This has required some changes be made to production lines at Foxconn and Pegatron as Apple's sales estimates of the two models were way off.  Until the lines can be retooled to ramp up production of the more expensive model you can expect to wait a bit for your shiny new iThang to arrive.  DigiTimes doesn't mention what will happen to existing supplies of 5c's, they may simply age in a warehouse until someone is willing to pay full price for one.

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"Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn is shutting down production of the iPhone 5c in one of its factories in order to shift production to the higher-end iPhone 5s, sources claim."

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Source: The Register

Apple Announces Updates to Macbook Pro and Mac Pro Lineups

Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2013 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: xeon e5, macbook pro retina, macbook pro, Mac Pro, iris pro, iris, haswell, gt3e, firepro d500, firepro d300, crystalwell, apple

During their annual event today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple announced updates to their Mac lineups. After updating the MacBook Air with Haswell processors and teasing the new Mac Pro in June during WWDC, the rest of their offerings have seemed a little outdated.

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Today, Apple started with a recap of the upgrades they have included in the next OS X release, Mavericks. Things like improved multi monitor support, and even more technical features like OpenCL support for integrated graphics and RAM compression were all talked about.

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Perhaps the biggest news about OS X Mavericks is that it will be a free release to all users on 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), or 10.8 (Mountain Lion), as long as their hardware is compatible. Mavericks is available today through the Mac App store.

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Read on for more information about today's event, and the new hardware announced!

Source: Apple

Apple Reports Fiscal Year 2013 Third Quarter Financial Results, Sell Record Number of iPhones

Subject: General Tech | July 24, 2013 - 06:48 AM |
Tagged: OS X, mac, iphone, financial results, apple

Apple announced its financial results for its fiscal year 2013 Q3 yesterday, and it performed well. Note that Apple’s fiscal Q3 2013 quarter ended on July 29, 2013.

Apple reported fiscal Q3 2013 revenue of $35.3 billion, and net profit of $6.9 billion. That works out to $7.47 per diluted share. During this quarter, Apple held its annual WWDC, and announced new operating systems for both its mobile and desktop products. The company sold 31.2 million iPhones (a record for Q3) 14.6 million iPads, and 3.8 million Macs. It sold slightly fewer iPads and Macs than the same quarter last year, but significantly more iPhones.

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Compared to the same quarter last year, Apple increased overall revenue but saw less net profit and EPS. In fiscal Q3 2012 Apple has revenue of $35 billion, net profit of $8.8 billion, and EPS of $9.32 per diluted share. In FY Q3 2012, Apple sold 26 million iPhones, 17 million iPads, and 4 million Macs.

  FY'13 Q3 FY'12 Q3 (YoY) Future Outlook
Revenue $35.3 billion $35 billion $34 to $37 billion
Net Profit $6.9 billion $8.8 billion  
EPS $7.47 $9.32  
Gross Margin 36.9% 42.8% 36 to 37%
iPhones Sold 31.2 million 26 million  
iPads Sold 14.6 million 17 million  
Macs Sold 3.8 million 4 million  

Apple has announced, as a result of its third quarter performance, a $3.05 dividend per common stock to be paid on August 15, 2013. It had $7.8 billion cash flow in FY 2013 Q3 and returned $18.8 billion of cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.

According to Apple, the company's outlook for its fourth quarter is promising, with expected revenue between $34 billion and $37 billion with a gross margin of between 36% and 37%. Apple expects to release both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks later this year along with new products (like the new Mac Pro) this fall and next year.

Source: Apple
Author:
Manufacturer: Apple

Overview

Apple has seen a healthy boost in computer sales and adoption since the transition to Intel-based platforms in 2006, but the MacBook line has far and away been the biggest benefactor. Apple has come a long way both from an engineering standpoint and consumer satisfaction point since the long retired iBook and PowerBook lines. This is especially evident when you look at their current product lineup, and products like the 11” MacBook Air.

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Even though it may not be the most popular opinion around here, I have been a Mac user since 2005 with the original Mac Mini, and I have used a MacBook as my primary computer since 2008. I switched to the 11” MacBook Air when it came out in 2011, and experienced the growing pains of using a low power platform as my main computer.

While I still have a desktop for the occasional video that I edit at home, or game I manage to find time to play, the majority of my day involves being portable. Both in class and at the office, and I quickly grew to appreciate the 11” form factor, as well as the portability it offers. However, I was quite dissatisfied with the performance and battery life that my ageing ultraportable offered. Desperate for improvements, I decided to see what two generations worth of Intel engineering afforded, and picked up the new Haswell-based 11” MacBook Air.

Since the redesign of the MacBook Air in 2010, the overall look and feel has stayed virtually the same. While the Mini DisplayPort connector on the side became a Thunderbolt connector in 2011, things are still pretty much the same.

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In this way, the 2013 MacBook Air should provide no surprises. The one visual difference I can notice involves upgrading the microphone on the left side to a stereo array, causing there to be two grilles this time, instead of one. However, the faults I found in the past with the MacBook Air have nothing to do with the aesthetics or build quality of the device, so I am not too disappointed by the design stagnation.

From an industrial design perspective, everything about this notebook feels familiar to me, which is a positive. I still believe that  Apple’s trackpad implementation is the best I've used, and the backlit chiclet keyboard they have been using for years is a good compromise between thickness and key travel.

Continue reading our review of the MacBook Air 11" (2013)!!

A brief outline of what to expect from Apple in the near future

Subject: General Tech | June 14, 2013 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: apple, wwdc

If you still want more news about Apple then The Tech Report is your place to be as they've just assembled an overview of the announcements which were made at WWDC.  From OS X 10.9, also know as Mavericks to the new 2D iOS7 they have a bit of coverage on everything.   While Airport Extreme Base Stations might not be overly interesting to the PC crowd, the new Mac Pro and Macbook Air models might be as you can easily re-purpose them into very expensive Windows machines.  They've even joined the Cloud crowd, though if you really want to learn about that you should have been there.

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"If there's one thing I learned from Monday's (June 10, 2013) keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, it's that demonstrations of technology are soooo much better than talking about technology. I know this because one of the main presenters, VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, told me so at least 39 times during his unveiling of OS X 10.9 Sea Lion. I can't argue with the man or his hair. Well played."

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Podcast #255 - AMD's 5 GHz Processor, 1080p Oculus Rift, and more news from Computex!

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2013 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: wwdc, video, titan, podcast, oculus rift, nvidia, FX, apple, amd, a10-6800k, 5ghz

PC Perspective Podcast #255 - 06/13/2013

Join us this week as we discuss AMD's 5 GHz Processor, 1080p Oculus Rift, and more news from Computex!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Morry Teitelman

Program length: 57:27

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:40:40
  3. 0:49:00 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: LA Traffic
    2. Jeremy: The mighty can of air
    3. Allyn: Cold Medication
    4. Morry: more pump for your pump - Swiftech MCP35X
    5. Scott: Now with 100% more compelling. Alienware X51
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com

 

Apple introduces PCI-Express based SSD in new MacBook Air

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 12, 2013 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, sandisk, Samsung, pci-e ssd, Marvell, MacBook Air, macbook, haswell, apple

As Scott covered earlier this week, Apple quietly announced an update to the MacBook Air line along side the headline-grabbing Mac Pro redesign preview. Being a MacBook Air user for the past 2 years, I decided it was time to replace my Sandy Bridge-based model with some new Haswell goodness. Today marked the first day of retail store availability, and I picked up an 11" model with 256GB SSD.

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Naturally, when I got back to the office there was only one route to take, installing Windows and disassembling it. While Anand uncovered the fact that these MacBooks were hiding a new unadvertised option, in a PCI-Express based SSD, I wanted to check it out for myself.

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When I did some digging, I discovered that while Anand found a Samsung based SSD in his MacBook, mine actually contained a model by Sandisk. I did a quick initial benchmark in OS X, and proceeded to inspect the hardware itself.

Click here to read more!

Apple turns over a new lead

Subject: General Tech | June 12, 2013 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: apple, wwdc

The Tech Report spent some time thinking about Apple's keynote yesterday and decided that it demonstrated a big change in Apple's corporate philosophy.  Over the past year Apple has been bereft of direction after spending so much time with a single person at the helm and at the keynote they finally seemed to have found a new set of core values to lead their business.  It seems that Craig Federighi is a much more personable leader, willing to stray from the script and poke fun at himself which is drastically different from the serious soliloquies which has represented Apple's pubic face for so long.  Read on to see what they think these changes could imply for the future of Apple.

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"There was something different about Apple during yesterday's WWDC keynote. According to TR's Cyril Kowaliski, that something was Apple's new soul—a new identity based not on one man's ego, but on human ideals we can connect with."

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WWDC 13: Dissecting Apple's New Hardware Changes. MacBook Air and the new Mac Pro.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2013 - 04:06 AM |
Tagged: wwdc 13, MacBook Air, Mac Pro, apple

Sometimes our "Perspective" is needed on Apple announcements because some big points just do not get covered by the usual sources. Other times, portions of the story can be relevant to our readers. This is one of those days where both are true. Either side should review our thoughts and analysis of Apple's recent ultrabook and, especially, their upcoming desktop offerings.

The MacBook Air has been, predictably, upgraded Intel's Haswell processors. Battery life is the first obvious benefit of the CPU, and that has been well reported. The 11-inch MacBook Air gains an extra four hours of battery life, usable for up to 9 hours between charges. The extra space on the 13-inch MacBook Air allows it to last 12 hours between charges.

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Less discussed, both MacBook Airs will contain Intel's Iris iGPU more commonly known as Intel HD 5000. You cannot get Intel HD 5000 graphics without selecting a BGA socket component which you would install by soldering it in place. While there are several better solutions from competing GPU vendors, Apple will have one of the first shipping implementations of Haswell's canonical graphics processor. Iris is said to have double the performance of previous generation Ivy Bridge graphics for a fraction of its power consumption.

Also included in the MacBook Air is an 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi network adapter and Bluetooth 4.0. Apple is not typically known to introduce new standards and often lags severely behind what is available on the PC unless they had a hand in trademarking it, USB 3.0 being the obvious and recent example.

The specifications will be somewhat customizable, the user is able to select between: an i5 and an i7 processor, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128, 256, or 512GB SSD. It has shipped the day it was announced with base prices ranging between $999 for an entry-level 11-inch and $1099 for an entry-level 13-inch.

But now we move on to the dying industry, desktop PCs, where all innovation has died unless it is to graft a touch interface to anything and everything.

"Can't innovate any more, my ass", grunts Phil Schiller, on the keynote stage.

Whether you like it, or think "innovation" is the best word, it's a legitimate new design some will want.

While the new Mac Pro is not a system that I would be interested in purchasing, for issues I will outline soon, these devices are what some users really want. I have been a very strong proponent of OEM devices as they highlight the benefit of the PC industry: choice. You can purchase a device, like the new Mac Pro, from a vendor; alternatively, you can purchase the components individually to assemble yourself and save a lot of money; otherwise, you can hire a small business computer store or technician.

We need more companies, like Apple, to try new devices and paradigms for workstations and other high-performance devices. While it is less ideal for Apple to be the ones coming up with these redesigns, Apple's platform encourages applications to be vendor-specific (only run on a Mac), it can still benefit the PC industry by demonstrating that life and demand still exists; trying something new could reap large benefits. Not everyone wants to have a full ATX case with discrete components but still want workstation performance, and that is okay.

Now when it comes to actual specifications, the typical coverage glossed over what could be easily approximated by a trip to Wikipedia and Google. Sure, some may have been in a rush within the auditorium, but still.

The specifications are:

  • Intel Xeon E5-2600 V2-class CPU, Ivy Bridge-E, 12 cores max (suggests single-socket)
  • 4-channel DDR3 ECC RAM, apparently 4 DIMMS which suggests 4x16GB (Max).
  • Dual FirePro GPUs, 4096 total shaders with 2x6GB GDDR5.
  • PCIe SSD
  • Thunderbolt 2, USB3.0, and WiFi ac (+ a/b/g/n??), Bluetooth 4.0

Now the downside is that basically anything you wish to add to the Mac Pro needs to be done through Thunderbolt, Bluetooth 4.0, or USB 3.0. When you purchase an all-in-one custom design, you forfeit your ability to reach in and modify the components. There is also no mention of pricing, and for a computer with this shoplist you should expect to pay a substantial invoice even without "The Apple Tax", but that is not the point of purchasing a high-end workstation. Apple certainly put in as close to the best-of-the-best as they could.

Now could people stop claiming the PC is dead and work towards sustaining it? I know people love stories of jarring industry shifts, but this is ridiculous.

Source: Apple