Google Is Developing A High Resolution Chrome Browser…for Apple Users?

Today on the Google Chrome Blog, there was a bit of a surprise announcement.

It seems that Google is currently working on a new version of their Chrome browser that will be specially designed to make use of the new and improved Retina display on Apple’s recently announced new Macbook line. A vague comparison of the current browser and the soon to be new and improved model can be referenced in the above picture.

The beauty of the Retina display certainly can’t be overstated, though it apparently can be calculated based off of the $2,200 price tag it commands with the new Macbook, and it is exciting to see a tech giant like Google jumping on the bandwagon already to adapt to what may one day become a wave of the future in display. Lets not forget that Apple managed to change the smartphone market with the introduction of a revolutionary touch display system, and all of the resulting tech that has emerged since that and because of it has been fast, furious, and exciting.

If this browser adjustment from a major smartphone rival is indeed the very early volley of a display revolution similar to the one that television enjoyed with HDTV, the future could be looking very good for Apple and consumers.

Macbook superdrive firmware update quiets things down

Macbook Pro superdrive.I’ve often wondered why my Macbook needs to growl every time I open the lid to wake it from sleep. Granted, I’m a little grumpy in the morning, but I don’t grind my superdrive like I’m trying to break it, now do I. Thankfully there’s a firmware update that will fix the problem without too much trouble.

The update includes some AirPort changes as well to help with connection issues. The update is simple enough. Just run your software update and follow the instructions. For this one you’ll definitely want the machine to be plugged in, just to ensure no interruption. Don’t worry too much about the intimidating warnings – the update’s not actually dangerous.

From there, your computer should be nice and quiet every time you open the lid.

Source: Apple

Cormac McCarthy’s typewriter dies at age 46

Olivetti Lettera 32Cormac McCarthy’s Olivetti Lettera 32 has finally died, after 46 years of service and an author-estimated 5 million words. For those who don’t know, McCarthy is the guy responsible for bringing us such classics as The Road and No Country for Old Men. The typewriter will be auctioned off with Christie’s, with an expected sell price of $15,000-$20,000.

It’s quite a testament to the machine that it was able to churn out 5,000,000 words before biting the big one. At an average of 275 words per page (some say 250, some say 300), that’s more than 18,000 pages. Apparently the only thing McCarthy did to take care of the typewriter was occasionally “blowing out the dust with a service station hose.”

So what’s next for one of America’s greatest authors? A new Macbook? An Acer netbook? Nah, he’s way too classy for that. McCarthy is sticking with the Olivetti. His friend John Miller managed to locate another one for $11.

Source: NYTimes

Apple gets ready for the holidays, Windows 7

Unibody white Macbook.Just two days before the Windows 7 launch, Apple made sweeping changes to its Mac lineup, adding a few new toys for holiday buyers along the way. Most notable among the update was the iMac overhaul and entry-level Macbook redesign. The Mac Mini also caught some upgrades, and Apple introduced the Magic Mouse, a touchpad and mouse blended into on sexy little device.

iMac
The first thing you’ll notice about the new iMac is size. It’s up to 21.5″ and 27″, both in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The computer also went from aluminum/polycarbonate to the unibody styling of the Macbook Pro line, adding an edge-to-edge glass display that looks really amazing. Apple also added the ability to use the 27″ iMac as a secondary display via an integrated Display Port.

As for internals, there are some nice upgrades but one big missing feature: Blu-ray support. Granted, the Display Port on the 27″ model gives you the option to watch your HD movies on a brilliant screen, but integrating Blu-ray would have been really nice. The iMac can now be purchased with Core i5/i7 chips, the newest chips from Intel.

Macbook
The entry-level Macbook has been long overdue for a redesign and finally got one. Apple took it the Unibody route, though still in white polycarbonate. The touchpad now matches the Macbook Pro line and fully supports gestures, and the bottom has a non-slip finish added. Other than that things have remained essentially the same.

Magic Mouse
I’ve been looking for a mouse for my Macbook Pro for some time, but I never found anything I liked enough to give up on gestures. Apple’s Magic Mouse answers that problem by integrating a capacitive touchpad into the surface of the mouse. It’s a really fantastic design in my mind, giving you the control of a gliding mouse with the convenience of gestures for navigating webpages, zooming, and the like. The new mouse will run you $69.

The Rest
The rest of the updates were less interesting. You can now purchase a server version of the Mac Mini, which sort of killed the rumors that Apple would position it as an HTPC. Seems like there’s still some confusion about where that product will land in Apple’s lineup. There’s also a redesigned remote that now matches the iMac/Macbook Pro design aesthetic (instead of that glowing white plastic) for $16. Apple also announced upgrades for the Airport Extreme Base Station and the Time Capsule that are shipping now. There have been antenna redesigns and a couple software tweaks that supposedly reduce backup time and increase network range and reception.

All in all, Apple made some welcome changes to the Mac line, strengthening the all-in-one iMac and giving the Macbook a sorely need redesign. The Magic Mouse probably won’t be the runaway peripheral of the season, but it’s definitely cool and I really want one.

Leaked AdSense ads suggest new Macs

Apple's iMac.AppleInsider dug up some AdSense ads from Google.nl this weekend that suggest the iMac/Macbook/Mac Mini refresh may be coming sooner rather than later. The ads are in Dutch, but the translations could be indications of the rumored upgrades. This is all assuming the ads are from Apple, of course. It seems odd to go to such lengths for a spoof, but I’ve seen dumber things.

I’ll leave the screenshots over at AI, but the text is as follows:

Apple’s Newest MacBook. Thinner, lighter and faster! Free delivery. Order today.

The Brand new iMac. Ultra Thin 20 & 24 inch models. From only € 1099. Apple Store

Apple’s New Mac Mini. Faster and more affordable than ever. From only € 499. Order immediately.

The ads also link back to the localized Apple Store, making things a bit more elaborate than is believable for a hoax. The most convincing ad is the iMac, since “ultra-thin” hasn’t really been part of the ad copy for that machine. The rest could arguably be the same device, just with new ads.

AI also got news that several Apple stores have received new signage in the past few days that is not to be opened until further notice. Trés Mysterieux!

Research Firm Predicts iMac, Macbook Refresh

Apple iMac.I really need to get a job at a research firm. From what these people produce, I’d say their typical day isn’t entirely unlike that of a psychic. You make some vague generalizations, write nonspecific predictions about products that have months of rumor behind them, and then make some bank.

The latest comes from Wedge Partners, which seems to think the iMac and Macbook are due for a redesign “in the next several weeks.” The firm says the iMac will head toward a “thinner, organic design, likely with smoothed or rounded edges,” while the Macbook redesign “is likely to be limited.”

Well isn’t this brilliant. So Apple won’t be completely abandoning their design progression for the past decade? They’re refreshing the white Macbook like rumors have been suggesting for months? What shocking news.

Source: Tech Trader Daily

Macbook To Get A Makeover

The polycarbonate white Macbook.When Apple bumped the 13-inch unibody Macbook up to “Pro” status, you knew they were planning a refresh for white polycarbonate version. It’s been the lone wolf sporting the Macbook name for some time now, and the body design is three years old.

That’s all about to change, according to a rumor posted at AppleInsider. Apparently Apple is going to redesign the Macbook and add a few more models to the lineup. The polycarbonate Macbook, it turns out, is one of Apple’s best selling devices. In fact, it beats out just about everything other than the iMac on Apple’s online store. That’s probably due to the $999 price tag. New Mac users find the price appealing enough to make the switch, and frankly, it’s a pretty good deal.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen within 4-6 months. Adding an even lower model would allow Apple to continue to perform well in the face of economic crises and steal more users away from Windows machines.

HyperMac Adds Life To Your New Built-In Battery

Hypermac powering an iphone and macbook.One of the most alarming updates to Apple’s Macbook Pro line this week was the addition (most would call it a subtraction) of a built-in battery. The new battery technology offers improved power durations at one pretty hefty cost: the battery can’t be removed.

It seems appropriate, then, to give you a look at a slick little external battery that could calm your nerves. The HyperMac external notebook battery comes in four varieties: 60Wh/100Wh/150Wh/222Wh at respective prices of $200/$300/$400/$500. While the top tier is certainly pricey for the device, it yields a whopping 8 hours of battery life for a Macbook Pro, 32 for the Macbook Air. Huge.

Speaking of size, you will pay for all that power with a little bit of girth. The HyperMac is definitely small enough to fit into a laptop bag at 10.1″ x 5.91″ x 1.34″ but it weighs in at 4.7 pounds, adding some decent weight to your shoulder. The benefits of all that weight, though, include the ability to power your laptop while the HyperMac charges (freeing up your other Magsafe for use elsewhere in the house) and USB device charging at the same time.

Sanho Corp did its best work offering different price points for different models. I’ve passed on plenty of these things because I just don’t ever need the extra 10, 16, 24 hours of battery life they provide. The 60Wh version is plenty for me.

Apple Updates Their Notebook Line

Macbook Pro 15-inch.Phil Schiller’s Keynote address is happening as I write this, and he’s just unveiled the new 15-inch Macbook Pro. It looks like Apple is rethinking the Macbook/Macbook Pro strategy, going to a more diverse product lineup for the Macbook Pro. All of the unibody Macbooks now sport the Macbook Pro brand, starting at 13 inches.

So Apple has officially dropped the Macbook tag down to just one white, polycarbonate spec which got a much quieter update than the keynote Macbook Pro update today. In terms of price, Apple’s new lineup looks like this.

White Macbook – $999
13-inch Macbook Pro – $1199
15-inch Macbook Pro – $1699
17-inch Macbook Pro – $2499
Macbook Air – $1499/$1799 ($700 price cut on second-tier)

Obviously upgrades are going to cost you, but the update looks to streamline Apple’s approach to the notebook market. Apple has also lifted the ceiling on upgrades to their notebooks, allowing you to get up to 8GB of RAM and a 3.06 Dual Core 6MB L2 Cache. Other upgrades are storage size, including the option for a 256GM SSD instead of a 500GB HD.

Apple has also added an SD slot to all of the Macbook Pros, making them more digital camera friendly. This does mean exclusion of the ExpressCard slot, which is now only available on the 17-incher.

Almost forgot – Firewire 800 is back. The new Macbook Pros will be available today, as soon as the Apple Store is back up and running.

Check back for more from Apple’s Keynote later today.

Sweet Gadgets That Fell Short

Interesting article by popularmechanics.com this week. Here they explore “5 Design Flaws that Ruined Otherwise Smart Gadgets.”

Storm

In order for a touchscreen to be successful, the user needs to feel that he is in constant control, and for this, responsiveness is key—even small lags can prove immensely frustrating. One recent offender of this rule is the Blackberry Storm, RIM’s first touchscreen phone.

Some history: Before the Storm was released, there was a lot of buzz surrounding its supposedly ground-breaking touchscreen, which depresses like a button, giving users a satisfying “click”.

But when users and reviewers actually got their hands on their device, the real shock was how buggy the whole thing was. The touchscreen suffered from long delays—often a second or more—that made users yearn for their old button-based Blackberry. And completing simple tasks took an unnecessary number of steps. For example, inputting the letter “C” involves putting one’s finger on the letter, waiting for the phone to respond by highlighting the letter, and then pushing down. All that for a simple letter.

I can definitely agree with some of this. BlackBerry, for instance, had a good vision when designing the touch-and-click function in the Storm, but the execution was less than stellar. Have you tried this thing? Press and hold, press harder, wait for it… wait for it… and click. Are you kidding me? That’s the ultra-innovative touch-screen we’ve been waiting for? Please.

I can’t agree too much with the Wii Remote. After all, they did include a wrist strap with every Wiimote. If you choose not to use the wrist strap, that’s at your own risk.

I’ve already touched on the Kindle vs. the Kindle 2 here, so I won’t go there right now.

Check out the article and let me know if you know of any sweet gadgets that have a clear miss in the design.