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Next-generation iMac features super-thin design, no optical drive, and upgraded specs

Phil Schiller unveiled a radically redesigned next-generation iMac at today’s Apple special event.

The new iMac is astoundingly thin, with its edge measuring just 5mm thick. While the display is not Retina, it does featured an IPS panel for improved viewing angles, and reflection has been reduced by 75%. The display also adopts an optical bonding technique similar to that used in the iPhone 5, which allows for such a thin design.

With the next generation iMac, Apple is also introducing a new hardware feature called Fusion Drive. Fusion Drive uses software to combine a flash-based 128GB SSD and standard disk-based 1TB or 3TB hard drive into a single drive. The operating system and built-in software are stored on the SSD for optimal system performance, while files and other applications are stored on the HDD. OS X then adapts to your usage patterns, and will automatically move files and applications you use most often onto the SSD for faster performance. It’s a neat feature, and one that pro users will undoubtedly enjoy.

The next-generation iMac will be available in both 21.5-inch and 27-inch screen sizes. The base 21.5-inch model packs a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, 8BG of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive for $1299, while the high-end 21.5-inch model gets bumped up to a 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with NVIDIA GeForce 650M graphics for $1499. Meanwhile, the 27-inch model starts with a 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics for $1799, with the high-end model getting a 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX graphics processor for $1999. The Fusion Drive option is only available for the high-end 21.5-inch model and both 27-inch variants.

The new 21.5-inch iMac will start shipping in November, with the 27-inch model to follow sometime in December.

 Source: Apple

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It’s Official: Apple Schedules Media Event for October 23rd

Image Credit: Engadget

Apple has just sent out invites to an October 23rd media event, following recent reports of an imminent “iPad mini” unveiling. The invitation hints that the iPad mini will indeed be the subject of the event, teasing, “We’ve got a little more to show you”.

According to The Loop, the event will take place at the California Theatre in San Jose at 10AM PST.

The iPad mini is rumoured to have a 7.85-inch display, making it smaller than the current 9.7-inch iPad, yet bigger than most popular 7-inch class tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire. Recent SKU leaks have indicated that a whopping 24 new iPad models will be released, which may be a combination of the iPad mini and an updated iPad 3 with Lightning connector.

Apple is also expected to unveil some new Macs at next week’s event. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display will finally make its debut, joining the larger 15-inch version that launched in June. An updated iMac with a thinner, ‘tear drop’ design is also expected, as is a minor Mac mini upgrade.

Source: The Loop, 9to5Mac [2], Macworld

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OS X Mountain Lion now available on the Mac App Store

As announced yesterday, the newest version of Apple’s Mac OS, 10.8 Mountain Lion, launched this morning on the Mac App Store. Mac users running Lion can purchase the upgrade for just $19.99. Customers who purchased a Mac on or after June 11th qualify for a free upgrade to Mountain Lion as part of Apple’s Up-To-Date program.

Apple announced the launch of Mountain Lion during their Q3 2012 Earnings report yesterday, as part of a comment from Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We’ve also just updated the entire MacBook line, will release Mountain Lion tomorrow and will be launching iOS 6 this Fall. We are also really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline.” Cook said in the press release.

Mountain Lion brings over 200 new features to the Mac, including Notification Center, iMessage, deeper iCloud integration, Twitter sharing (Facebook is coming, too, but not until Fall), Game Center, AirPlay Mirroring, and more. Be sure to take a look at our hands-on with Mountain Lion published back in March for the skinny on all of the new features!

OS X Mountain Lion [App Store]

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Apple’s Q3 2012 Earnings: $8.8 billion profit on $35 billion revenue

Apple has just announced their Q3 2012 Earnings, posting numbers slightly below those expected by analysts.

The company managed to rake in a quarterly revenue of $35 billion and a quarterly net profit of $8.8 billion. That works out to $9.32 per diluted share, quite a bit lower than Wall Street’s estimated $10.38 per share. These numbers do, however, represent significant growth over the same quarter last year, in which Apple posted quarterly revenue of $28.6 billion and net profit of $7.3 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share. Gross margin also increased to 42.8 percent, up from 41.7 percent in Q3 2011.

Apple sold 26 million iPhones this quarter, representing 28 percent unit growth, despite increasing consumer demand for a new model. The company also posted record iPad sales for the quarter, selling 17 million units, an 84 percent increase over last year. Mac sales also rose 2 percent to 4 million units, while Apple’s dwindling iPod business is down 10 percent, selling 6.8 million units for the quarter.

“We’re thrilled with record sales of 17 million iPads in the June quarter,” CEO Tim Cook said in a press release. “We’ve also just updated the entire MacBook line, will release Mountain Lion tomorrow and will be launching iOS 6 this Fall. We are also really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline.”

As previously announced, Apple’s Board of Directors declared a $2.65 cash dividend for the quarter, payable on August 16, 2012. Stockholders of record as of the close of business on August 13, 2012 are eligible to receive the dividend. In the press release, CFO Peter Oppenheimer provided a quick outlook for Q4, stating, “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter, we expect revenue of about $34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $7.65.”

Apple’s Earnings Call will take place in less than half an hour, at 5 PM EST. We already know that more details about the company’s recently announced dividend and stock buyback programs will be discussed, but these calls usually yield some other interesting tidbits as well. We’ll update this post if any interesting news or comments come out of the call!

Live Earnings Call Updates

5:59 PM EST: On controlling iPhone rumours and speculation, Tim: “I’m glad that people want the next thing. I’m not going to put any energy into getting people to stop speculating. I don’t think that is going to result in anything.”

5:50 PM EST: Question regarding Passbook possibly leading to Apple’s digital wallet. Tim: “I don’t want to comment specifically, but Passbook is an important feature of iOS 6. Wouldn’t want to speculate about where it might take us.”

5:47 PM EST: 1.3 million AppleTV units sold in Q3. Over 4 million units total for fiscal 2012. Tim: “still at a level where we’d call it a hobby”.

5:43 PM EST: Tim: New iPad was top seller, but iPad 2 did very well. Key in getting the K-12 market. Customers are “not looking for a tablet, they’re looking for an iPad”.

5:37 PM EST: Lots of talk about poor world economies and dollar strength impacting sales.

5:35 PM EST: Tim says carriers will be very motivated to carry Apple’s future products. No kidding.

5:32 PM EST: Tim: we expect to catch up with demand for Retina MacBook Pro next month (August). Attributes some decline in sales to “timing” of portable announcements; MacBook line was refreshed with less than 3 weeks remaining in quarter.

5:30 PM EST: Tim is aware of the “incredible anticipation” for new products. Peter says the “fall transition” may be hurting sales of current devices. Oppenheimer: “We could not be more confident in our product pipeline.” (9to5Mac)

5:25 PM EST: Tim says iPhone did not “perform” as expected in Europe. Single digit positive growth in many countries.

5:23 PM EST: Peter just acknowledged that “rumours and speculation” are impacting iPhone sales. iPhone not launching in any new countries or on any new carriers in September quarter.

5:17 PM EST: Oppenheimer says “more amazing products in the pipeline” that Apple will discuss later. So coy!

5:13 PM EST: Apple Stores raked in $4.1 billion in revenue this quarter. Average of $11.1 million per store.

5:12 PM EST: Oppenheimer says Apple has payed over $5.5 billion to App Developers. Over 150 million customers using iCloud.

5:09 PM EST: CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that, though demand for the new iPad was strong, the reduced price iPad 2 sold very well.

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Tweetbot for Mac is Here, Twitter for Mac is Now Obsolete

The day has finally come. Gone are the days of being locked out of your own twitter feed due to it being a “private account,” and the many, many times of failed tweets due to it being “forbidden.” Twitter for Mac will die a quick and painless death. Let’s just hope Twitter doesn’t buy Tapbots…

Tweetbot for Mac review

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Apple releases OS X Mountain Lion GM for Developers

Image Credit: 9to5Mac

While most of us expected to see iOS 6 Beta 3 today, Apple had other plans: the Mountain Lion Gold Master has just been released to Developers.

Gold Master or “GM” software represents the final code build that will ship to consumers. Registered Developers can grab their download code for the Mountain Lion GM right now by hitting up the OS X Dev Center on Apple’s Developer Site. The Mac App Store download weighs in at a hefty 4.34GB. Anxious consumers: fear not, you will get your chance soon enough! Apple announced at WWDC last month that Mountain Lion will be available to all on the Mac App Store by the end of July for just $19.99.

Don’t forget to check out my extensive hands-on preview with Mountain Lion for a look at all the new features!

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OS X Mountain Lion Ships In July, Developer Preview Out Today

Apple has just announced that Mountain Lion, the latest version of OS X, will ship next month. Users on Lion or Snow Leopard—Lion’s aging predecessor—will be able to buy the upgrade for twenty dollars in the Mac App Store. Users who buy a new Mac will receive the update for free. Customers who are still running Leopard or any of its predecessors will need to upgrade to Snow Leopard or Lion before they can upgrade to Mountain Lion. Developers who need to test compatibility or add Mountain Lion specific features to their apps can download the Mountain Lion developer preview today.

You can read Eric’s in depth preview of Mountain Lion here, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our Mountain Lion coverage on the front page. If you need more details you can check out the press release below.

SAN FRANCISCO—June 11, 2012— Apple® today announced that OS X® Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, will be available in July as a download from the Mac® App Store™. Mountain Lion introduces more than 200 innovative features including the all new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, Facebook integration*, Dictation, Power Nap, AirPlay® Mirroring, Game Center and the enhanced security of Gatekeeper. With iCloud® built into the foundation of OS X, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to keep your content up to date across all your devices.

“The pace of innovation on the Mac is amazing, OS X Mountain Lion comes just a year after the incredibly successful launch of Lion,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With iCloud built right in and the new Notification Center, Messages, Dictation, Facebook integration and more, this is the best OS X yet.”

Using your iCloud account, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up your Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes. The new Reminders and Notes apps help you remember important tasks and jot down your thoughts quickly, while iCloud automatically keeps everything up to date. Documents in the Cloud works with iCloud-enabled apps including Apple’s iWork® suite so you can always access and edit your documents on any device.

The new Messages app replaces iChat® and brings iMessage™ to the Mac, so you can send messages to anyone with an iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® or another Mac. You can include attachments, high quality photos and HD video, and your iMessages appear on all your devices so you can pick up a conversation right where you left off. iMessage includes group messaging, delivery and read receipts, typing indicators and secure end-to-end encryption. The Messages app also supports traditional instant messaging services, including AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk and Jabber.

Mountain Lion streamlines the presentation of notifications, and with Notification Center you can see all your notifications from OS X and third party apps in one convenient place. You can customize which apps send you notifications, the type of notification you receive, and how many items are shown in Notification Center. When you want to focus on your work or watch a movie, you can choose to temporarily suspend all notifications.

New system-wide Sharing is built into Mountain Lion, making it easier than ever to share links, photos, videos and other files. Clicking the Share button allows you to share quickly without having to switch to another app, and you just need to sign in once to use third-party services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo. Facebook and Twitter are integrated with Notification Center so you can receive notifications when someone sends you a message or mentions you in a post or Tweet.

With built-in support for Facebook, you can post photos, links and comments with locations right from your apps. Once you’ve signed in, your Facebook friends automatically appear in Contacts with their profile photos. Your Facebook notifications work with Notification Center in Mountain Lion, and you can even update your Facebook status from within Notification Center.

Dictation is built into Mountain Lion and allows you to dictate text anywhere you can type, whether you’re using an app from Apple or a third party developer. Mountain Lion also introduces Power Nap, an innovative new feature that keeps your MacBook Pro with Retina™ display and MacBook Air (second and third generation) up to date while it sleeps. Power Nap automatically refreshes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac and Documents in the Cloud, and when plugged in, downloads software updates and backs up your Mac using Time Machine®.

The revolutionary new Gatekeeper feature makes downloading software from the Internet safer by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from anywhere, just as you do today, or for maximum security you can set Gatekeeper to allow only apps from the Mac App Store. The default setting allows you to install apps from the Mac App Store and apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. In addition to checking daily for security updates, Mountain Lion includes app sandboxing to keep misbehaving apps from compromising your system, and kernel ASLR for improved protection against buffer overflow attacks.

Additional new features in Mountain Lion include:

  • AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send an up-to-1080p secure stream of what’s on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV®, or send audio to a receiver or speakers that use AirPlay;
  • Game Center, which brings the popular social gaming network from iOS to the Mac so you can enjoy live, multiplayer games with friends whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch;
  • a faster Safari® with a unified Smart Search Field, iCloud Tabs that present your open tabs across your devices, and a new Tab View to quickly swipe through them;
  • new features for China, including significantly improved text input, a new Chinese Dictionary, easy setup with popular email providers, Baidu search in Safari, built-in sharing to Sina Weibo and popular video websites Youku and Tudou; and
  • over 1,700 new APIs that give developers access to the latest core OS and web technologies, as well as the newest features of OS X, including Documents in the Cloud, Notifications, Sharing and Game Center.

Pricing & Availability
OS X Mountain Lion will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $19.99 (US). Mountain Lion requires Lion or Snow Leopard (OS X v10.6.8 or later), 2GB of memory and 8GB of available space. For a complete list of system requirements and compatible systems, please visit: OS X Server requires Mountain Lion and will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $19.99 (US). The OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date upgrade is available at no additional charge via the Mac App Store to all customers who purchased a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller on or after June 11, 2012.

*Facebook integration will be available in an upcoming software update to Mountain Lion.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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Power Nap Keeps Mountain Lion Current While it Sleeps

Apple has just unveiled Power Nap for Mountain Lion. Power Nap refreshes and backs up data while your Mac is in sleep mode. Apple claims the Power Nap is efficient enough to have a negligible impact on battery life.

You can read Eric’s in depth preview of Mountain Lion here, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our WWDC coverage on the front page.