Category: Mac Blog


LaCie today announced the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2, one of the first external hard drives that will support Intel’s new Thunderbolt 2 specification to deliver transfer speeds of up to 1375 MB/s, significantly faster than USB 3.0 drives.

Little Big Disk includes two 500 GB PCIe solid state drives from Samsung in a Raid-0 configuration and is able to support mobile streaming and editing of both 4K and 3D video. The drive features a fully aluminum enclosure with a Mac Pro-style black finish along with an optimized interior design that improves cooling efficiency.

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The drive includes a thermoregulated fan that turns on only when necessary, producing little to no noise, and it also ships with an included Thunderbolt cable and a three year warranty.

AnandTech has posted a mini review of the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2, and in testing, found 1400 MB/s in sequential read speed along with 1100 MB/s write speed. Engadget saw similar results at CES, observing write speeds of 1200 MB/s and read speeds of 1300Mb/s. A 300 GB file transferred in approximately four minutes.

Thankfully, the drives that were set up ahead of our arrival, and had been sorting files for some time, remained at nearly room temp. With two of the Thunderbolt 2 drives set up in RAID 0, we witnessed 2,000 MB/s write speeds and 2,600 MB/s read numbers.

The LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 will be available during the first quarter of 2014 from LaCie.com. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Iwork

Some users with legacy versions of iLife and iWork that were not purchased through the Mac App Store are having difficulties upgrading to the new versions released earlier today, according to Macworld.

Users who own iWork ’09 or iLife ’11 are supposed to receive the latest versions of both those app suites for free through the Mac App Store, but some are having difficulties.

Some users (including yours truly) are reporting issues where the Mac App Store doesn’t recognize their copies; when they click on an iLife or iWork app’s price, they receive the following alert: “[App] is already installed and was not purchased from the Mac App Store. Do you want to buy [app]?” Macworld spoke with an Apple spokesperson who noted that there’s currently an issue with some legacy customers, and the company is working on a fix.

Users who do not yet own iLife ’11 or iWork ’09 can purchase them from the Mac App Store. The iLife apps are $14.99 each, while the iWork suite is $19.99 per app.

iPhoto for Mac – [Mac App Store]
iMovie for Mac – [Mac App Store]
GarageBand for Mac – [Mac App Store]

Pages for Mac – [Mac App Store]
Numbers for Mac – [Mac App Store]
Keynote for Mac [Mac App Store]

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Pureinfotech links (via Neowin) to a YouTube video claiming to show a ‘Hackintosh’ Surface Pro running OS X Mountain Lion. The new Surface Pro tablet, which runs full Windows 8, launched earlier this month starting at $899.

Comments on the YouTube video are largely skeptical, suggesting that it’s simply a remote desktop connection to a Mac. However, there’s no technical reason why a Surface Pro shouldn’t be able to run a hacked version of OS X, and Neowin notes that Wi-Fi reportedly is not working on the machine. One of the main challenges with Hackintosh installations tends to be with drivers for functions like Wi-Fi, so its absence may lend some support to the legitimacy of the claim.

Kanex’s DualRole is an Ethernet hub that comes equipped with three USB 3.0 ports, a useful accessory for newer MacBooks which require an adapter to connect to a wired network.

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The DualRole is USB bus powered with an included 3-inch cable, but it also supports an additional 5V power adapter (not included) to provide extra power for intensive tasks like charging the iPad and the iPhone or powering hard drives.

While DualRole supports plug and play for its USB 3.0 ports, it does require drivers to access the Gigabit Ethernet port.

Kanex’s DualRole is available immediately for $69 from the Kanex website.

The Next Web has dug up a video of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell’s keynote presentation at Campus Party Brasil, where he spent time remembering Steve Jobs’ work at Atari as well as talking about segments of his upcoming book “Finding the Next Steve Jobs.”

What is one of the characteristics that made Steve Jobs successful? He was creative, but you know what else was really important? He was a very, very, very hard worker. How many of my employees did I find sleeping under their desks when I came in early on a Monday morning? Not many. Did he kinda smell bad? Yeah. That’s cause we didn’t have showers, and if you didn’t go home for two or three days you could get gamey.

Bushnell goes on to mention that the most important messages he gave Jobs was that if 99 percent of people thought something was crazy, and the one percent that created the idea thought it was cool then the idea’s creator should “pursue it with all vigor.” This message has been echoed by Apple and Jobs multiple times, including in Apple’s “Here’s to The Crazy One’s” commercial and “Think Different” slogan.

He packs his hour-long talk — the Jobs portion starts at the 13:00 minute mark — with additional anecdotes about Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, like how Jobs offered Bushnell a third of Apple for $50,000, which Bushnell passed on.

The 10% drop in Apple’s share value following the company’s earnings release earlier this week was not entirely the fault of Apple, Fortune suggests, but rather that of overheated analyst predictions.

Fortune assessed the accuracy of the predictions made by 68 analysts, and found that revenue figures ranged from $51.7 billion to $65.69 billion against Apple’s actual performance of $54.51 billion. It produced a ranking of the analysts by the percentage errors in their predictions for both revenue and earnings per share, as well as overall performance metrics.

The analysts responsible for the sometimes wildly optimistic forecasts were not, said Fortune, doing Apple any favors.

The company didn’t have a bad quarter. In fact, it posted its best quarter ever … But the stock market is an expectations game and Apple is expected to blow past analysts’ estimates, not miss them.

The Fortune piece wryly observed that ‘another way of looking at it is that Apple’s analysts did worse than the company this quarter.’

Going forward, Apple has altered the way in which it provides guidance for upcoming quarterly performances. While the company had previously issued single “conservative” guidance estimates for both revenue and earnings that led to the expectation that Apple would always handily beat that number, it is now providing a range of guidance numbers for revenue and other factors.

Apple believes that the range will provide a more realistic idea of where the company expects performance to fall, although it is no longer providing any specific earnings per share guidance and instead allowing analysts to develop their own numbers based on the ranges of revenue, margin, expenses, and tax rate the company expects.

Origin, Electronic Art’s digital distribution platform, is available for Macs as of today via an open alpha testing period. Origin for Mac was initially announced in August of last year, when EA noted that the Mac version of its upcoming SimCity game was expected to launch alongside the PC version.

SimCity will no longer be released simultaneously on the Mac and the PC, but EA will presumably release the final version of Origin for Mac before the game comes out in March.

Like Steam, EA’s Origin allows users to purchase and download games, chat with friends, and continue saved games from any Origin-enabled computer.

According to EA, Origin for Mac will function like the PC version, with cloud storage, auto patching, and a friends list. For the alpha, the Origin Store tab is not active, but EA promises that the launch version will include “a great catalog of EA and partner titles.”

EA is offering a free copy of PopCap’s popular “Bookworm” game with the Origin alpha download, which is limited to a few thousand customers.

The alpha version of Origin is currently able to be downloaded from the Origin website. To download the software, users will need to have a Mac running OS X 10.6.8 or newer plus an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better.

The team behind Pixelmator has posted a lengthy apology on their blog following the discovery of a bug that would sometimes cause Macs to restart or the app to crash when intensively using the popular image editor.

It turns out, the newest Nvidia Geforce graphics card drivers in OS X 10.8.2 are causing the issue, and Pixelmator is working with Apple to resolve the issue.

Everything we do at Pixelmator Team is aimed at making your favorite app the best in the world. With every minor update, we strive to live up to a high-quality standard. We even put aside new features, such as layer styles, for the sake of quality improvements. So far, we are happy with what we’ve achieved. However, there is one issue we wanted to talk about a little bit more.
A month or so ago, after the most recent OS X update (10.8.2), we’ve bumped into a problem that causes certain Macs to restart when intensively using Pixelmator. Sometimes, the app would stop responding without restarting a computer, or just cause some graphical glitches.

We did everything to find the root cause of the problem. We’ve researched a vast amount of information about OS X internals. We’ve torn down our Macs. We even reached out to Apple. Finally, the picture was clear: It’s an issue with Nvidia Geforce graphics card drivers.

Although the issue isn’t with Pixelmator, we didn’t give up. We’ve searched for various workarounds, and then, we checked with you to see if any of them helped (thanks so much for being so patient and for taking the time to test those workarounds). But in the end, nothing worked.

Good thing, though-the guys at Apple are very helpful, and as soon as we hear about a solution, we’ll let you know about it that very moment.

The affected Macs have GT 120, GT 320M, GT 330M, 9400M, and GT 9600 Nvidia graphics cards.

Feral Interactive today released Sid Meier’s Railroads! on the Mac. The game is the most recent release in the much beloved Railroad Tycoon series, the first of which was released in 1990. Railroads was originally released for the PC in 2006, but this is its first appearance on the Mac.

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Build a railroad empire and shape a nation!

Lay track, route trains and watch the world come to life in this compelling mix of train set and business simulator. Become the ultimate railroad robber baron with the drive to shape a nation, build an empire and amass a fortune.

Spanning the history of the railroads from the steam engines of the 1830s to the bullet trains of today, Sid Meier’s Railroads! for Mac is a bold re-imagining of the legendary Railroad Tycoon (1990), the game that launched the “tycoon” genre.

The game has very generous system requirements, asking for at least a 1.8GHz Intel processor running OS X 10.6.8, 3GB of RAM, and a 128MB graphics card. Sid Meier’s Railroads! is available for $30 from Feral’s online store, and will soon be available on the Mac App Store as well.

In a new blog post today, Primate Labs summarizes the Geekbench 2 results for the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro hitting the company’s database, unsurprisingly finding that the machines’ performance is on par with that of the non-Retina models released in June. Benchmark scores for both stock models of the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro register within 0.5% of the scores seen for the corresponding non-Retina models.

It is interesting to note that these new benchmarks also appear to confirm an early Geekbench result that appeared in the database in late June. Aside from that machine having an older BIOS identifier and carrying only 4 GB of RAM while the released models all carry 8 GB of RAM, other details such as the processor, motherboard identifier, and the benchmark results themselves all line up with the production model.

As always, it’s important to note that Geekbench testing focuses on processor and memory performance, providing comparisons of raw power between machines but only telling part of the story. Notably, as with the non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro, the new Retina models do not offer a discrete graphics chip, instead relying on the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics packaged with Ivy Bridge even with the increased demands from the Retina display. Real-world performance is of course also affected by drive speeds, with the Retina models’ all-flash storage topping the traditional hard drive options found in the non-Retina models, although the non-Retina models also have flash storage options available.

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