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Apple Seeks Patent for Fuel-Cell Powered Notebooks

Apple reportedly started ground-work on developing a design with which future Macbooks can be powered by fuel-cells, pushing the battery life envelope further up. Apple has applied for two key patents with USPTO, titled "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device", and "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device."

The filing states "Our country's continuing reliance on fossil fuels has forced our government to maintain complicated political and military relationships with unstable governments in the Middle East, and has also exposed our coastlines and our citizens to the associated hazards of offshore drilling." It continues "These problems have led to an increasing awareness and desire on the part of consumers to promote and use renewable energy sources."

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

Apple Working on Retina Display for Macbook Pro

Apple sure knows how to surprise us when it comes to display advancements, be it its retina display on iPhone products, 2560 x 1440 pixels in 27-inch monitors (Apple was first to market with that density), or talk of 2048 x 1536 pixels native resolution with the next generation iPad. This latest news is bound to shock and awe. Apparently, Apple is working with upstream suppliers to develop a retina display for its Macbook Pro products. As early as in Q2 2012, Apple will launch a new Macbook Pro with 2880 x 1800 pixels (that's more pixels than even the costliest of today's 30-inch displays can manage). More importantly, it's a return to the 16:10 aspect ratio. It will achieve this without upscaling display dimensions. Meanwhile, Apple's PC competitors ASUS and Acer plan 1920 x 1080 display notebooks around that time.


Source: DigiTimes

Commodore 64 Replica: The Ultimate PC Enthusiast Retro PC Gets An Upgrade

The original 8-bit Commodore 64 computer was very popular in the early 1980s, but the original company eventually closed down in the 1990s, having launched their 16-bit Amiga range in the meantime as the C64s successor. For a while now, replica C64 models, packed with the latest PC technology, have been made by Commodore USA, a different company that has purchased the original Commodore brand.

Since last summer, they have been selling a replica for $999 powered by an Intel CPU. This PC, called the C64x Ultimate (model number: C64x-UL) included a dual core Atom D525, NVIDIA Ion 2 graphics, 4 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. A barebones version is available for $349 without a motherboard, just the keyboard and case, allowing the customer to add their own hardware into the retro box. However, Commodore USA has now upgraded their offering with a considerably more powerful CPU. This version is the C64x Extreme (model number: C64x-EX) which includes a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-2720QM CPU, mini-ITX motherboard and PSU, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, DVD writer (slot loading) 2 TB 7200 RPM HDD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The back panel has the following ports: legacy PS/2, USB 2.0 x5 (one eSATA combo) USB 3.0 x2, Ethernet and three audio jacks. Video connectivity is looked after by HDMI, DVI-D and VGA outputs.

Bitcoin & Password Stealer Trojan For Mac Now Available!

Hot on the heels of our previous story of Apple Macs falling prey to a DDoS trojan, we now have another Mac trojan come on the market, as explained by Sophos. Yes, the Apple platform must indeed be becoming more popular to get this one. It's an unfortunate fact of life that the popularity of any computing platform, including smartphones, can be judged by the number of criminals who will attack it. This little nasty, called OSX/Miner-D or 'DevilRobber', hijacks Mac OS X to perform various tricks, which include minting Bitcoins (the virtual and now virtually worthless currency) stealing usernames and passwords (of course) taking screenshots and stealing the victim's Bitcoin wallet while it's at it, if there is one. And for good measure:
it runs a script that copies information to a file called dump.txt regarding truecrypt data, Vidalia (TOR plugin for Firefox), your Safari browsing history, and .bash_history.
So, now the criminals also know about all the sites one has visited, eroding user privacy even more. It looks like this malware has covered all the bases, but wait, there's more.

AMD Fails to Halt S3 Graphics Patent Lawsuit Against Apple

In late September, S3 Graphics, still a subsidiary of VIA Technology and soon to be transferred to HTC, dragged Apple Inc. to court over charges of patent infringement related to graphics component IP of nearly all Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and iMac. Last month, AMD, now a main supplier of graphics processors for Apple's Mac products, intervened with a counter lawsuit claiming it owned the patents that S3 has asserted against Apple, and sought an immediate halt to S3's patent case against Apple.

In an October 28 filing with the ITC, S3 says that a federal judge struck down a request for an immediate halt into S3's case, but the Commission is scheduled to release its final decision on November 15. The case struck down is (rather was) Advanced Micro Devices Inc. v. S3 Graphics Co., 11cv965, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Wilmington).Source: Bloomberg

Secure Apple Macs Fall Prey To Linux DDoS Trojan

For years Apple Mac users have felt smug that their computers didn’t need any security software installed, unlike their poor Windows counterparts which were always coming down with a cold. This they believed is because their beloved operating system is inherently more secure than leaky old Windows (which it used to be). This smug feeling has been especially strong over the last decade, since the release of Mac OS X in 2001, as it's based on Unix which has always had security baked into it. They therefore felt safe from the multitude of viruses, keyloggers, trojans and various other nasties that the bad guys like to infect operating systems with. However, there have been successful attacks in the past on every Apple Mac operating system since the first one in 1984, just nowhere near the number of attacks as on Windows. Of course, what Windows users, Linux users and other OS users have also been saying for years is that Apple's operating systems simply weren't popular enough to bother with and aren't particularly secure. After all, the hackers do this for fun and financial profit, so why aim for a little teeny tiny target, when you can aim for a big, fat one like Windows?

Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results, Reports All-Time Record Mac and iPad Sales

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter ended September 24, 2011. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $28.27 billion and quarterly net profit of $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.3 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 63 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The Company sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 21 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, a 166 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

Windows 7 Slowly But Surely Nudges out Windows XP From the Top Spot

Microsoft’s first attempt at replacing XP with Vista failed miserably, since Vista had many initial issues and was so poorly received, that the brand was irrevocably tarnished. However, Microsoft’s second attempt with Windows 7 has been very successful, since it has always worked very well, even during its development phase and is well liked. Now, if figures from Stat Counter are to be believed, then Windows 7’s share of the market has climbed to 41.64%, while Windows XP has dropped to 37.20% - still a hefty percentage and one that Microsoft will be keen to see drop to zero as soon as possible. This means that Windows 7 is now finally the most popular Windows version after almost two years since the retail version was released on October 22nd 2009, with Windows 8 due out likely in summer 2012.

Apple Emerges Victorious Against Psystar, But Have They Really Triumphed? (UPDATED)

In a court ruling on Wednesday 28th September 2011, Apple’s assertion that any kind of ‘Hackintosh’ was, is and always will be, illegal, was conclusively affirmed. This will bring great dismay to Psystar customers, potential purchasers of other “alternative Macs” and the many PC enthusiasts who want to run the latest Apple OS on the high-spec rigs they’ve built themselves from hand-picked components. This ruling has unfortunately sounded the death knell for enterprising and surprisingly plucky upstart outfit, Psystar, who showed what could be possible with an open mind and technical skill. UPDATE after the jump.

Now, S3 Graphics Slaps Apple with Two Patent Infringement Charges

Soon to be subsidiary of HTC, currently held by VIA Technologies, S3 Graphics, fired off two more patent infringement charges against Apple Inc. Last week, VIA Technologies had sued Apple for alleged infringement of two of its CPU-related patents. These fresh charges by S3 Graphics, like those by VIA, seek sales ban on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, as well as Mac in the United States. The complaints were filed with the US ITC (United States International Trade Commission), and a district court in Delaware.

S3 Graphics patents that the company claims Apple infringed are: #5945997 "block- and band-oriented traversal in three-dimensional triangle rendering," and #5581279 "VGA controller circuitry". If S3 Graphics pulls it off, it could inflict significant damage on Apple's sales, as the company heads towards the winter shopping season.Sources: FOSS Patents, TechConnect Magazine

WD Announces New My Passport Studio and My Studio for Mac Portable Hard Drives

Western Digital today introduced its newest generation of My Passport portable hard drives specifically designed for use with Mac computers and Apple Time Machine, featuring compact, elegant Mac-inspired designs with high capacity storage options and exceptional security for today's active lifestyles.

My Passport Studio boasts the all-metal design and performance needed for today's discerning Mac user, serving as an ideal companion for the on-the-go photographer, videographer, graphic artist, or creative professional that produces, shares and consumes massive amounts of digital content daily. Offering up to 1 TB capacity, the My Passport Studio also provides multiple connectivity options with two FireWire 800 ports and a USB 2.0 interface.

Seagate Announces World's First 4 TB Desktop Hard Drive

Seagate today announced it is shipping a new 4TB GoFlex Desk external hard drive – the highest capacity hard drive in the industry. This latest addition to the GoFlex Family of external hard drives showcases Seagate’s new desktop design. The streamlined industrial design delivers a smaller footprint and better reflects the aesthetic of today’s modern offices while still providing all of the benefits of previous generations of the GoFlex drives. The new 4TB GoFlex Desk drive is now available from www.seagate.com and will be available from select online retailers within the month for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $249.99 USD. The entire line of GoFlex Desk products will also adopt the new industrial design in the coming weeks. The GoFlex Desk for Mac external drive featuring both FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 will be available in Apple stores by the end of the month.

Kanex Introduces C247DL - Dual-link DVI to HD 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display

Kanex, maker of audio-visual solutions for Apple computers, is excited to announce the C24DL, a full resolution dual-link digital video inverter (DVI) to 27 inch Apple LED Cinema Display (ACD). The C24DL is a simple dual-link DVI with USB to Mini DisplayPort converter designed for users with legacy Macs (2006-early 2008 MacBook Pro, 2005-mid 2007 Mac Mini) or PCs with high-end graphics cards to connect specifically to a 27 inch ACD.

The Kanex C247DL supports the native HD resolution (2560x1440) of the ACD not available with other standard DVI adapters. The innovative converter actively converts the video signal from the dual-link DVI delivering pixel perfect resolution. The included USB cable powers the C247DL, allows for audio transfer to the ACD speakers, and supports all USB 2.0 functions including use of the iSight camera.

Logitech Introduces Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 for Mac

Logitech brings the power of light to Mac users with the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 for Mac. With the same award-winning design and feature set as the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750, this newest version – available in multiple colors – makes battery hassles a thing of the past thanks to its onboard solar cells that power the keyboard using ambient light.

“We hear from consumers all the time that they want to see more Mac products from us,” said Rory Dooley, Logitech senior vice president and general manager of the Control Devices business unit. “I’m proud to say we’ve listened, and are excited to offer one of our most innovative keyboards designed specifically for Mac users.”

Active Media Products Launches ZIF SSD Upgrade Kits

Active Media Products, a leading manufacturer of SSDs and DOMs, today announced three new ZIF SSD upgrade kits for the first generation MacBook Air, most Sony Vaio models and other popular laptops that include a ZIF SSD, a cloning device, a mini screwdriver and an illustrated installation booklet. AMP's cloning adapter enables customers to quickly clone their existing ZIF drive onto the new ZIF drive through a USB port.

"Our cloning adapter will help customers get up and running that much faster because now they don't need to reinstall the OS and all their applications. We included a detailed installation guide and a mini screwdriver in the box to simplify the upgrade process," stated Active Media Products VP of Sales, Jerry Thomson. AMP does not include a USB cable or cloning software in these kits.

OWC Announces New Mercury Elite Pro Dual Mini Models

Other World Computing (OWC), a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, announced today it has expanded the new Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini bus powered (no AC adapter needed) portable hardware RAID storage solution with two new hard drive and three new OWC SSD based models. Now offering 10 pre-configured choices with hardware RAID-1 "mirrored" redundancy for "live activity" data protection; or RAID-0 "stripe" for maximum performance capacity, the Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini contains two 2.5" hard drives or OWC Mercury Electra 6G SSDs for up to 2.0TB of capacity and a "Quad Interface" of FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, & eSATA connections for Plug and Play data transfer speeds up to 300MB/s with Mac and PC computers.

Apple Introduces World’s First Thunderbolt Display

Apple today unveiled the new Apple Thunderbolt Display, the world’s first display with Thunderbolt I/O technology and the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook. With just a single cable, users can connect a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac to the 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display and access its FaceTime camera, high quality audio, and Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt ports. Designed specifically for Mac notebooks, the new display features an elegant, thin, aluminum and glass enclosure, and includes a MagSafe connector that charges your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

“The Apple Thunderbolt Display is the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With just one cable, users can dock with their new display and connect to high performance peripherals, network connections and audio devices.”

Mach Xtreme Technology Launches 2.5'' SATA 6G MX-DS TURBO Series SSDs

Mach Xtreme Technology Inc., a worldwide leader in top performance, high reliability and user friendly designed PC components, today unveiled the 2.5” SATA 6 Gb/s MX-DS TURBO Series SSD. This series offers mobile and desktop users groundbreaking computing experience and unparalleled level of read and write performance.

Advanced high speed SATAIII interface has been implemented in newer systems to remove previous performance bottleneck. The MX-DS TURBO Series is perfect to take advantage of that higher speed interface. This SSD series delivers performance that maximizes the throughput of a SATA 6 Gb/s interface with balanced read/write speeds. It supports DuraClass and DuraWrite technologies. DuraClass technology provides best-in-class endurance, performance and low power consumption. DuraWrite technology optimizes writes to the flash memory over conventional controllers increasing the overall endurance and reliability of the complete SSD. Highly intelligent block management and wear leveling also extends the overall endurance. It maintains backwards compatibility with existing SATA 3.0 Gb/s and SATA 1.5 Gb/s interfaces.

Silicon Power Launches USB 3.0 All-In-One Card Reader

In this age of high-definition camcorders, do you find yourself with a high speed memory card to go with your professional standard camera, but lacking an ultra-high speed card reader to complete the package? SP (Silicon Power), leading manufacturer of flash memory, today announces the launch of the all-new USB 3.0 ALL IN ONE card reader. With its universal compatibility and high speed 5 Gb/sec data transmission rate, it is the ultimate link between high-performance memory cards and storage devices for professional-level photographers.

Designed to accommodate all mainstream memory cards, the ALL IN ONE card reader is highly compatible and reliable. Containing five card slots for simultaneous read and write, it is equipped to deal with even the latest high speed SDXC UHS-1 memory card. Whether you are looking to upload every second of a high definition video or a series of high resolution action shots, the ALL IN ONE card reader will have the job done in a matter of seconds. Supporting Ultra DMA mode 7, the ALL IN ONE card reader runs on CF600X high-speed memory cards at their fastest capacity. Using the latest high speed USB 3.0 interface, it takes the stress out of transferring high definition photographs, making file saving faster and easier.

Gain The Competitive Edge On The Mac With Razer

Razer, the world’s leading high-end precision gaming brand, is excited to announce that their highly-popular Razer BlackWidow, Razer BlackWidow Ultimate, and Razer Anansi keyboards are now available in standard Mac key layout.

“For Mac gamers, your supreme gaming reign begins now with the Razer BlackWidow and the Razer Anansi.” said Robert “RazerGuy” Krakoff, President, Razer USA. “Whether you’re after exceptional tactile feedback from your fast key presses, or dedicated keys for more MMO skills at your fingertips, these gaming keyboards for Mac deliver. As promised, we’ve been hard at work rolling out Mac support on all our products, whether with dedicated drivers or hardware changes, offering the same competitive edge for Mac gamers as their PC brethren.”

LaCie Announces CloudBox Secure Local+Cloud Storage Device

LaCie announced the first implementation of hybrid storage technology by combining the best of local and secure online storage – LaCie CloudBox. When you store data on the CloudBox, it is also backed up in the Cloud – ensuring your data is always safe, secure and accessible.

With the CloudBox you don’t have to worry about backing up in multiple places, it has double protection built-in. The CloudBox ensures your data is backed up on a local hard drive and again in the cloud. Having double protection means you no longer have to worry about your data.

OWC Announces Mercury Electra SATA 6 Gb/s Solid State Drive

Other World Computing (OWC), a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, today announced the OWC Mercury Electra 6G SSD, a new consumer/prosumer targeted SandForce Driven SATA Revision 3.0 6Gb/s Solid State Drive. Designed and built in the USA utilizing the highest quality components available, including Tier 1/Grade A NAND, the OWC Mercury Electra delivers 556 MB/s read and 523 MB/s write sustained data rates for over 7X faster performance than a standard factory hard drive found in Mac and PC computers.

Three Consumer/Prosumer Models Offered Starting At $229.99. Offering the SATA Revision 3.0 performance of a 6 Gb/s SSD, but aggressively priced like a SATA Revision 2.0 3G SSD, the OWC Mercury Electra 6G is ideal for high speed personal computing, home office environments, gaming, and production workstations, can be incorporated into a RAID 1 or SPAN configuration, and is available for immediate ordering in three capacity sizes:

Mac OS X Lion With 250 New Features Available in July From Mac App Store

Apple announced that Mac OS X Lion, the eighth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system with more than 250 new features and 3,000 new developer APIs, will be available to customers in July as a download from the Mac App Store for $29.99. Some of the amazing features in Lion include: new Multi-Touch gestures; system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control, an innovative view of everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store, the best place to find and explore great software, built right into the OS; Launchpad, a new home for all your apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app.

“The Mac has outpaced the PC industry every quarter for five years running and with OS X Lion we plan to keep extending our lead,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The best version of OS X yet, Lion is packed with innovative features such as new Multi-Touch gestures, system-wide support for full screen apps, and Mission Control for instantly accessing everything running on your Mac.”

Apple Introduces iCloud, Free Cloud Services Beyond Anything Offered to Date

Apple introduced iCloud, a breakthrough set of free new cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices. When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are wirelessly updated almost instantly.

“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it—it all just works.”
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