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Apple to Update its Mac Pro Line of Desktop Computers

For some users, it's been a long time coming. For others, it just meant that Apple had given up entirely on the desktop ecosystem, choosing to focus on its "mainstream luxury" approach towards selling phones with a BOM of $219 for $1000. Most others, though, will probably look at this update as more of a passing shot than an actually thought-out product development.

For now, Apple is going to update the innards of its Mac Pro line with some pretty interesting (if expectable) hardware: the $2,999 model sees a two-core bump from the quad-core Intel Xeon E5 3.7 GHz processor towards a six-core Intel Xeon E5 3.5 GHz. The same path will be followed by the $3,999 model, bumping towards an eight-core Intel Xeon E5 3 GHz processor from the six-core Intel Xeon E5 3.7 GHz processor that just kept on giving since 2013. Both models have also been updated with dual AMD FirePro D500 and D700 GPUs. The $2,999 model also sees an increase in its available memory, from 12GB of DDR3-1866 memory to 16GB.

ADATA Announces the i-Memory AI920 Jet Black Flash Drive

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launched the i-Memory AI920 Jet Black Flash drive for iOS devices. Featuring Lightning and USB 3.1 in one slim 6.9mm device, the AI920 delivers 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacity and up to 150MB/s read. The Jet Black color scheme has been added in order to better complement Apple devices with an exact color match with iPhone 7, giving consumer more choice. The AI920 is also Apple MFi certified, making it an official iOS accessory.

Buffalo Americas Delivers the LinkStation 520DN

Buffalo Americas, a leading provider of USB storage, network attached storage (NAS) and networking solutions, announces the availability of the LinkStation 520DN, a network attached storage device made specifically for the home. The LS520DN is a customizable NAS solution designed to serve as the hub of consumers' connected homes by making it easier to store, share, and secure all digital data for the modern family.

"We are excited to introduce the Buffalo LS520DN as a way for consumers to organize and protect their digital life," said Arthur Traub, Director of Strategic Accounts at Buffalo Americas. "This new product allows home users to easily store, organize, access, stream and protect all their digital assets. We provide NAS-grade disk drives for always-on performance in the LS520DN to ensure ease of use and reliability. And, as with all our Buffalo products, if a customer needs any help, they simply need to contact our 24/7 US-based customer support team."

LG UltraFine 5K Monitor Plagued by Rookie Design Flaw

There's "big" trouble for LG, which scored exclusivity on Apple Store for its UltraFine 5K monitor. A critical flaw in the monitor's design makes it intolerant to electromagnetic interference from devices as inconspicuous as home Wi-Fi routers. Apparently, the designers of the display forgot to give proper EM (electromagnetic) shielding for its electronics. When placed within 2 meters of a Wi-Fi router, the display begins to flicker, and when brought closer, the display even blanks out.

As an immediate workaround, LG advised customers to keep the display at least 2 meters away from a Wi-Fi router. Something like this could be tricky in a postmodern workspace such as a studio, where multiple MacPro workstations wired to such 5K displays are connected to the Internet over commercial Wi-Fi, with powerful >9 dBi antennae designed to spread signal to the far reaches of the office. LG maintains in a statement that this issue does not affect its other monitors.

Source: ArsTechnica

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 first quarter ended December 31, 2016. The Company posted all-time record quarterly revenue of $78.4 billion and all-time record quarterly earnings per diluted share of $3.36. These results compare to revenue of $75.9 billion and earnings per diluted share of $3.28 in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 64 percent of the quarter's revenue.

"We're thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple's highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Revenue from Services grew strongly over last year, led by record customer activity on the App Store, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline."

OWC Makes MacBooks 'Pro' Again With Game-Changing Product

OWC, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, announced the OWC DEC, the first-ever expansion solution designed specifically for the 2016 Apple MacBook Pro. The OWC DEC is the finishing touch to a MacBook Pro, allowing users to take their laptops to the next level, extending the life and the functionality of the already-exceptional 2016 MacBook Pro. The DEC is the latest in OWC's long line of upgrades for nearly every Mac made, and continues the company's legacy of providing the best solutions for Mac owners.

The OWC DEC attaches completely flush to the bottom of the 2016 MacBook Pro, providing additional flash storage and connectivity, ultimately increasing the performance of MacBook Pros. With the OWC DEC, users will get an enhancement path for their 2016 MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to keep their system upgradeable for the long term in a clean and integrated fashion. On top of the core functional benefits, the OWC DEC also touts a sleek design. When installed, the OWC DEC and MacBook Pro will be as thin as a 2012 MacBook Pro, allowing this advanced solution to retain the attractive light weight design that users favor.

Apple Unveils Groundbreaking New MacBook Pro

Apple today introduced the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever, along with a breakthrough interface that replaces the traditional row of function keys with a brilliant, Retina-quality Multi-Touch display called the Touch Bar. The new MacBook Pro features Apple's brightest and most colorful Retina display yet, the security and convenience of Touch ID, a more responsive keyboard, a larger Force Touch trackpad and an audio system with double the dynamic range. It's also the most powerful MacBook Pro ever, featuring sixth-generation quad-core and dual-core processors, up to 2.3 times the graphics performance over the previous generation, super-fast SSDs and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The Touch Bar places controls right at the user's fingertips and adapts when using the system or apps like Mail, Finder, Calendar, Numbers, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro X and many more, including third-party apps. For example, the Touch Bar can show Tabs and Favorites in Safari, enable easy access to emoji in Messages, provide a simple way to edit images or scrub through videos in Photos and so much more.

AMD Announces the Radeon Pro 400 Graphics

AMD today unveiled a new family of power-efficient graphics processors, Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics. Available first in the all-new 15-inch MacBook Pro, select Radeon Pro 400 Series graphics deliver extraordinary performance and efficiency gains over the prior generation to fuel modern creative efforts from anywhere inspiration strikes.

Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics are designed specifically for today's makers -- the artists, designers, photographers, filmmakers, visualizers and engineers that shape the modern content creation era. Harnessing AMD's acclaimed Polaris architecture, Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics are built on the industry's most advanced process technology for graphics processors in production today, 14 nm FinFET, resulting in incredibly small transistors.

To enable the thinnest graphics processor possible, AMD also employs a complex process known as 'die thinning' to reduce the thickness of each wafer of silicon used in the processor from 780 microns to just 380 microns, or slightly less than the thickness of four pieces of paper. Operating in a power envelope under 35W, the Radeon Pro 450, 455, and 460 Series graphics processors deliver spectacular energy efficiency and cool, quiet operation to speed through the most demanding tasks in popular creative applications.

Samsung Intros the ArtPC Pulse Premium Desktop

Samsung drawing inspiration from Apple on product design is not new. Its latest is a cylindrical desktop PC that bears semblance to the Apple Mac Pro. To be fair to Samsung, the Mac Pro is technically a multi-GPU ready workstation powered by Intel Xeon processors. The new ArtPC Pulse Premium Desktops from Samsung, on the other hand, are just that - Windows desktops. Measuring 5.5 inch x 5.5 inch x 10.7 inch, this desktop packs in some premium PC hardware, flash memory, and an integrated 360° speaker system by Harman Kardon attached to its body.

The ArtPC Pulse comes in two main variants, the base $1,199 model featuring Core i5-6400 processor, 8 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and 256 GB NVMe SSD storage; and a higher $1,599 variant featuring a Core i7-6700 processor, 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, and a 1 TB HDD in addition to the 256 GB NVMe SSD. Both variants feature AMD Radeon RX 460 graphics with 2 GB of video-memory. Other connectivity includes 802.11ac WLAN, gigabit Ethernet, SDXC card reader, five USB 3.1 ports (including a type-C port), and HDMI 2.0b display output.

NVIDIA GeForce Making a Comeback to Apple?

NVIDIA could be close to scoring design wins with Apple, for its MacBook, iMac, and Mac Pro families. This came to light in a job posting at NVIDIA, which calls for applicants to "help produce the next revolutionary Apple products." Although Apple has offered options of both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs on its Mac products in the past, the company hasn't offered NVIDIA GPUs for several generations now, with AMD Radeon being the only discrete GPU choice for MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro products, with the only other choices being integrated GPUs by Intel.

Source: Bloomberg

SoftBank Completes Acquisition of ARM

SoftBank today announced that it has concluded the acquisition of British chipmaker ARM, in a USD $31 billion purchase. The acquisition was first announced in July 2016. Following this, ARM will be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange from the 6th of September 2016. Although ARM is a CPU architecture designer with a mere $1.5 billion in revenue last fiscal, and licenses the architecture to other SoC makers such as Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple, Huawei, etc., SoftBank is betting on ARM CPU architecture's emergence as the prime-mover of the IoT (Internet of things) revolution. This is SoftBank's largest tech acquisition following the $20 billion acquisition of American cellular network Sprint, and a $15 billion investment in Vodafone Japan.

Source: The Verge

Intel to Contract-manufacture ARM Processors at its Fabs

Intel is opening up its silicon manufacturing facilities to fabless chip-makers, beginning with the manufacture of ARM SoCs. The company entered a licensing deal with ARM that allows ARM SoC designers such as Qualcomm, Apple, and Samsung, to manufacture their SoCs at Intel fabs. Intel is among the first fabs with a working 14 nm node, and is on-track for sub-10 nm node development.

Intel had a crack at the market segments typically addressed by ARM SoCs, with its own x86 chips, which failed to see the kind of volumes ARM chipmakers were pushing. The company has now changed tactics to open its fabs up to those ARM SoC makers, letting them manufacture their designs on proven silicon-fabrication tech, in geographically important locations. Intel has its cutting-edge fabs located in Costa Rica and Malaysia.

Source: Bloomberg

Apple's Next-Gen MacBook Pro to Feature a Major Design Overhaul

Apple is preparing its first major design overhaul for the MacBook Pro in four years. The next-generation premium notebook from Apple, reportedly features a thinner form, a touchscreen strip in place of function keys, acting as a second display; and an upscaling of the USB type-C based universal connector concept introduced with the new MacBook.

Apple's Touch ID feature could be ported to the Mac ecosystem with the new MacBook Pro, which could feature a fingerprint reader. Under the hood, the new MacBook Pro could be the launchpad for the company's next MacOS "Sierra" software, which brings Siri to the Mac platform, and deeper iCloud integration. Its processor supplier is unclear at this point, but its graphics processing could be care of an AMD "Polaris" GPU.

Source: Bloomberg

Apple Reports Third Quarter Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 third quarter ended June 25, 2016. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $42.4 billion and quarterly net income of $7.8 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $49.6 billion and net income of $10.7 billion, or $1.85 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 63 percent of the quarter's revenue.

"We are pleased to report third quarter results that reflect stronger customer demand and business performance than we anticipated at the start of the quarter," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We had a very successful launch of iPhone SE and we're thrilled by customers' and developers' response to software and services we previewed at WWDC in June."

Apple Reports Second Quarter FY2016 Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 second quarter ended March 26, 2016. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion, or $1.90 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $58 billion and net income of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.4 percent compared to 40.8 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 67 percent of the quarter's revenue.

"Our team executed extremely well in the face of strong macroeconomic headwinds," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We are very happy with the continued strong growth in revenue from Services, thanks to the incredible strength of the Apple ecosystem and our growing base of over one billion active devices."

Apple MacBook Update Brings New CPUs, Longer Battery Life, and Rose Gold Color

Apple today updated MacBook with the latest Intel processors, improved graphics performance, faster flash storage and an additional hour of battery life, making the thinnest and lightest Mac better than ever. Featuring an all-metal unibody enclosure, MacBook is now available in four aluminum finishes - gold, silver, space gray, and for the first time on a Mac, a gorgeous rose gold. With a stunning 12-inch Retina display, highly responsive full-size keyboard, Force Touch trackpad, versatile USB-C port and all-day battery life in a design that is just 2 pounds and 13.1 mm thin, MacBook is the future of the notebook.

"MacBook is the thinnest and lightest Mac we have ever made and it's our vision for the future of the notebook," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "Customers are going to love this update to MacBook, with the latest processors, faster graphics, faster flash storage, longer battery life and a beautiful rose gold finish."

OWC Announces Aura SSDs for Mid-2013 and Later MacBooks

OWC Digital, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, today announced the all-new Aura SSD for Mid 2013 and Later Mac laptops, the most anticipated SSD upgrade release in OWC's history. In an era of ever-expanding storage needs, this long-awaited upgrade allows users, for the first time ever, to expand the stock storage that came with their Mac laptops and reuse their original factory drive to transfer data and as a high-performance external storage solution.

Available in 480GB and 1TB capacities, Aura SSD upgrade kits are the first and only PCIe-based flash storage upgrades available for MacBook Pro with Retina display (Late 2013 and newer) and MacBook Air (Mid 2013 and newer) models.

Dune Case is the Mac Pro Lookalike That Everyone Can Have

Dune Case is a premium small form-factor PC case that should instantly remind you of the latest Apple Mac Pro, but packing whatever hardware (or software) you wish it had, in its 260 mm x 215 mm x 215 mm dimensions. Its designer is raising $130,000 on Kickstarter to get it to the shelves, and has already raised half the amount, with 8 days of fundraising to go. You can back the project from this page. The aluminium-built case comes in rose gold and black.

Unlike the Mac Pro, which features a cylindrical design with key components arranged along three sides of a triangular structure, with cooling machinery taking up its center; the Dune Case takes a different approach. It's spit into three compartments vertically along the bore of the cylinder, with the center holding a mini-ITX motherboard, one side with room for a full-height yet under 185 mm graphics card (connected to the motherboard through a PCIe riser); and the third compartment holding two 2.5-inch drives. A custom rear panel plugs into your motherboard, and an SFX power supply (not included) fuels your build. The main air channel is a 140 mm spinner that spouts warm air from the top.

Team Group Announces MoStash iOS Flash Drive

Team Group Inc., the world's leading memory brand, today announced the launch of MoStash- The world's first flash drive for iPhone that can also transform into a mobile viewing stand. Team MoStash is using Lightning/USB 3.0 dual connector and has the world's first patented smart stand as cover structure. MoStash is able to transform into a phone stand through interlocking its smart cover. It is an external storage device for iPhone/iPad, and it can improve user's multimedia entertainment experience as well. With careful and thoughtful design, it's not only a flash drive, but also a must-have mobile accessory that helps users to enjoy multimedia entertainment.

Team MoStash is made from combination of metal and rubber material. It not only brings out the perfect visual art, but also improves its protection. The "Double Arc" design of the body and the cap is making MoStash easier for mobile storage usage and also symbolize that your wonderful memories are perfectly well stored. If you interlock the body and the cap of MoStash, it can transform into an iPhone stand, which saves you the trouble of holding the phone and allow you to fully enjoy your multimedia collection without experiencing the hand soreness even after you finish a whole movie. Instead of an unrealistic creation, the elegant design is also highly functional.

Jim Keller to Lead Autopilot Hardware Team at Tesla Motors

Elon Musk handed over the reins of one of Tesla Motors' most important research and development divisions, autopilot, to chip whiz Jim Keller. Keller joined Tesla Motors as Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering. With Tesla being at the very frontier of automobile development, and self-driving cars being the next big thing for the industry, Keller holds an enviable, albeit challenging position.

Jim Keller led teams that designed some of AMD's most commercially successful processors, before a stint at Apple, where he helped it gain hardware self-reliance with the company's Ax series SoCs; and returning to AMD, and leading the team that designed the company's upcoming "Zen" and K-12 micro-architectures. Tesla cars are currently driven by electronics powered by NVIDIA Tegra SoCs. With NVIDIA's immeasurable investments in deep-learning tech that forms the foundation of self-driving car hardware, and Tesla Motors yet choosing a CPU designer to lead its autopilot division, it's easy to speculate that Musk's company is seeking the same kind of hardware self-reliance that Apple did, as its iOS devices were taking off.

Source: Electrek

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 first quarter ended December 26, 2015. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion and record quarterly net income of $18.4 billion, or $3.28 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $74.6 billion and net income of $18 billion, or $3.06 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.1 percent compared to 39.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter's revenue.

"Our team delivered Apple's biggest quarter ever, thanks to the world's most innovative products and all-time record sales of iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple TV," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "The growth of our Services business accelerated during the quarter to produce record results, and our installed base recently crossed a major milestone of one billion active devices."

OWC Releases New 4.0TB Aura SSD Upgrade for 2013 Mac Pro

OWC, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, announced today the immediate availability of the OWC 4.0TB Aura SSD Upgrade for the 2013-current Apple Mac Pro. The Aura SSD for Mac Pro is the first internal SSD upgrade for the 2013-current Mac Pro and debuted at CES 2015 offering up to 2.0TB of capacity. The all-new 4.0TB model shipping just in time for CES 2016 doubles the capacity available offering up to 16x the capacity of the standard factory drive and 4X the capacity of the maximum factory SSD/flash option.

The 4.0TB OWC Aura SSD for 2013-current Mac Pro (black cylinder models) includes the award-winning OWC Envoy Pro SSD enclosure, making it easy to repurpose the original factory-installed Mac Pro SSD as an elegant aluminum-body external drive for incredible portable performance. OWC also provides free how-to installation videos and a special tool needed for straightforward end user/do-it-yourself installation.

Samsung to Fab AMD "Zen" and "Arctic Islands" on its 14 nm FinFET Node

It has been confirmed that Samsung will be AMD's foundry partner for its next generation GPUs. It has been reported that AMD's upcoming "Arctic Islands" family of GPUs could be built on the 14 nanometer FinFET LPP (low-power Plus) process. AMD's rival NVIDIA, meanwhile, is building its next-gen "Pascal" GPU family on 16 nanometer FinFET node, likely at its traditional foundry partner TSMC.

It gets better - not only will Samsung manufacture AMD's next-gen GPUs, but also its upcoming "Zen" family of CPUs, at least a portion of it. AMD is looking to distribute manufacturing loads between two foundries, Samsung and GlobalFoundries, perhaps to ensure that foundry-level teething trouble doesn't throw its product launch cycle off the rails. One of the most talked about "Arctic Islands" GPUs is codenamed "Greenland," likely a successor to "Fiji." Sales of some of the first chips - GPUs or CPUs - made at Samsung, will begin some time in Q3 2016. Some of the other clients for Samsung's 14 nm FinFET node are Apple and Qualcomm. The company plans to speed up development of its more advanced 10 nm node to some time in 2017.

Source: ETNews

Apple Names Jeff Williams Chief Operating Officer

Apple today announced that Jeff Williams has been named chief operating officer and Johny Srouji is joining Apple's executive team as senior vice president for Hardware Technologies. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, will expand his role to include leadership of the revolutionary App Store across all Apple platforms. Apple also announced that Tor Myhren will join Apple in the first calendar quarter of 2016 as vice president of Marketing Communications, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

"We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent across Apple's executive team. As we come to the end of the year, we're recognizing the contributions already being made by two key executives," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I've ever worked with, and Johny's team delivers world-class silicon designs which enable new innovations in our products year after year."
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