Apple Rolls Out EFI Firmware Updates For MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

After rolling out OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 and iOS 6 for its iDevices yesterday, Apple has today rolled out a new EFI firmware update the mid-2012 MacBook Air and other Macs.

The v2.5 EFI firmware for the Air  fixes some Turbo Boost related issues when using Boot Camp, which has been plaguing mid-2012 Air owners for quite sometime.

Below is the full change-log of the EFI firmware update for the mid-2012 MacBook Air(s) -:

This update is recommended for MacBook Air (mid 2012) models.

This update fixes an issue where Turbo Boost does not activate when using Boot Camp, and resolves an issue where NetBoot does not function properly when using an Ethernet adapter.

The first EFI firmware update for the Retina MacBook Pro fixes a bug where the system might just lock-up under heavy load, and also fixes the NetBoot not working when an Ethernet adapter is used.

Lastly, the v2.9 EFI firmware update for the non-Retina MacBook Pro fixes the system locking up issue under heavy loads and might need to be restarted manually.

Head over to ‘Updates’ tab in the Mac App Store to download and install the latest EFI firmware update for your Mac(s).

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Updated for MacBook Pro Retina Display

Today has been a day filled with new update releases. Apple released iOS 6 to the public today and OS X 10.8.2. Microsoft also released Office for Mac 2011 version 14.2., which adds support for the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro released in June. This update makes text more crisp and all key areas of the interface sharper than ever, Microsoft said in a post in its official Office for Mac blog. The update should be available via AutoUpdate.

We’re happy to announce that Office for Mac 2011 (version 14.2.4) now supports Retina display for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Text everywhere is incredibly crisp and all key areas of the interface are now sharper than ever. We hope you enjoy this fantastic software experience!

In addition, the new update brought a number of enhancements for Outlook including calendar event reminders, Mountain Lion compatibility for signatures, and fixes for several other issues. Microsoft also promised that its team is “going back to work on even more great features” for Office for Mac.


Apple Releases OS X 10.8.2

In addition to the release of iOS 6, Apple has also released OS X 10.8.2 to the public. The update is currently available via the Software Update functionality in the Mac App Store.

This update offers a number of enhancements, including Facebook integration and Game Center. It also supports several features integrating with iOS 6, such as Passbook passes and iMessage/FaceTime access via phone number.

This update is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users, and includes new features and fixes:


– Single sign on for Facebook
– Adds Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos
– See Facebook friends’ contact information and profile pictures in Contacts
– Facebook notifications now appear in Notification Center

Game Center

– Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages
– Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations
– Added Facebook “Like” button for games
– Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement

Other new features

– Adds Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010)
– iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac
– You can now add passes to Passbook (on your iPhone or iPod touch) from Safari and Mail on your Mac
– FaceTime can now receive calls sent to your phone number
– New shared Reminders lists
– New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them
– Dictation now supports additional languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian
– Dictionary app now includes a French definition dictionary
– Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts

Direct downloads available through Apple’s site include:

– OS X Mountain Lion Update v10.8.2 (665.48 MB)
– OS X Mountain Lion Update v10.8.2 (Combo) (665.39 MB)

Apple Releases iOS 6

During Apple’s media event last week, the company revealed that iOS 6 will be released on September 19th. As expected, Apple has released iOS 6 to the public. The update is now available to users of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Users can update their device either by connecting their device to iTunes and clicking the “Check for Update” button or checking for over-the-air updates on their devices via Settings -> General -> Software Update. However, it can take a few minutes for the update to show up to all users.

iOS 6 offers 200 new features. Siri is enhanced to offer movie information, sport scores, and the option to easily post to Facebook and Twitter. In addition, the Passbook app hold tickets, passes, and payment cards for participating businesses. Also, Safari offers full-screen mode for better browsing and iCloud tabs to save your open tabs and offer immediate access to them on your other iOS devices and your computer.

iOS 6 supports the third-generation iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and fourth-generation iPod touch. It will also ship on the iPhone 5, which launches on Friday, and on the fifth-generation iPod touch launching next month.

I have been using iOS 6 for the past week now and it is great. iOS continues to be the world’s most advanced mobile operating system and iOS 6 takes the OS to a new milestone.


Apple’s Entire Design Team Travels to London for Award Acceptance

The London Evening Standard reports that Apple design chief Jonathan Ive and his entire team made a trip to London yesterday in order to accept a prestigious award from Design and Art Direction (D&AD). The acceptance  of the award, which recognized Apple design team as “the best brand and the best design studio of the last 50 years”, was reportedly the first time the entire team attended such a ceremony. All 16 members of Ive’s team declined to make any public comment. The team of 14 men and two women attended to receive one of the most prestigious awards in the advertising industry.

D&AD, or Design and Art Direction, is a British educational charity that promotes excellence in design and advertising. Ive and his team have known to work in extreme secrecy on Apple’s campus. Earlier this year, Jonathan Ive was awarded knighthood. Congratulations to everyone at Apple.

iPhone 5 Javascript Benchmarks Over Twice as Fast

Earlier this week, we reported that the iPhone 5’s A6 processor is blazing fast. Now a test of the iPhone 5’s A6 processor reported a super quick score on SunSpider’s JavaScript benchmarking tool. Apple’s A6 processor even outperforms Intel’s Atom Z2460 processor. AnandTech was able to run SunSpider v 0.9.1 on an iPhone 5 review unit, and reported that the A6 chip came up with a result of a whopping 914.7 milliseconds, outspacing the second place Lava XOLO X900’s time of 1279.4. The Lava XOLO runs a single-core Intel Atom Z2460 Penwell SoC built on the chip maker’s Medfield platform.

In this test, smaller numbers are better. The final score of 914.7ms beats all of the other devices on the chart and is the fastest SunSpider test AnandTech has recorded for a smartphone. The iPhone 5 is two and a half times as fast as the iPhone 4S (2250ms) and much faster than the Samsung Galaxy S III (1442.9-1824.9ms).

Apple’s Stock Price Passes $700 for the First Time Ever In After-market Trading

After Apple announced that over 2 million pre-orders of the iPhone 5 had been placed within the first 24 hours of availability, AAPL soared past $700 in after hours trading on Monday. The company’s share price has been sailing towards the $700 mark since Apple’s strong third quarter earnings call in July. Around this time last year, Apple was trading around the $400 mark.

Apple continues to be the world’s most publicly traded company. Back in February, AAPL broke the $500 billion market capitalization mark, then through $600 billion in April. Apple is now worth more than $650 billion, which is $225 billion more than second-place ExxonMobil or about one Google. This Friday, the iPhone 5 is set to go on sale in nine countries. Last year, the iPhone 4S was the largest product debut ever for Apple, selling a whopping 4 million in the first three days of availability. Apple is expected to easily surpass this number.

Apple Announces over Two Million iPhone 5 Pre-orders in First 24 Hours of Sales

Today morning, Apple announced that pre-orders of the iPhone 5 had exceeded over 2 million in the first 24 hours alone. To put this in perspective, this is more than double that of the iPhone 4S. Last year, the iPhone 4S was the largest product debut ever for Apple, selling a whopping 4 million in the first three days of availability. I would predict that the iPhone 5’s launch will easily surpass this number.

“iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPhone 5 is the best iPhone yet, the most beautiful product we’ve ever made, and we hope customers love it as much as we do.”

Apple was “blown away” by the response to the iPhone 5 and the “Available to ship” time on the company’s US store website continues to show a window of 2-3 weeks. The iPhone 5 will be available beginning this Friday, September 21st. Last night, we reported that the first iPhone 5 pre-orders have begun shipping. So much for a “disappointing” iPhone.



Apple A6 SoC – Not A15, But Much More Efficient Than Competing SoCs

When Apple announced the iPhone 5, the company mentioned that the device had a 2x faster processor without providing anymore information on the SoC. Apple’s claims led many to believe that the iPhone 5 is going to be the first handset in the market to sport a Cortex-A15 based SoC.

Sadly, as the folks at AnandTech found out, the iPhone 5 does not sport an A15 based SoC. Instead, it sports a custom dual-core hybrid Cortex-A9 and A15 CPU from Apple.

Apple going the custom core way for the A6 SoC shows how much the Cupertino giant is dedicated towards the iOS ecosystem. By making its own custom core, Apple can further tighten the iOS experience, which will ultimately benefit the end users.

So, how does the A6 SoC stack against the quad-core Exynos SoC inside the Galaxy S3 and other competing SoCs?

A Geek Bench 2 result of the A6 SoC shows that Apple has only clocked the CPU at 1GHz, which is fairly conservative for a 32nm based SoC. The new iPhone 5 scores 1601 in GeekBench 2, while the International Galaxy S3 scores 1781. Even though the Exynos SoC inside the SGS3 managed to beat the iPhone 5, the A6 SoC inside the iPhone 5 is clearly much more powerful. The A6 SoC has two less cores, and is clocked at a fairly conservative 1.02GHz and yet manages to come very near to the Galaxy S3 in GeekBench 2.

Apart from the Exynos SoC, the A6 inside the iPhone 5 is easily able to beat all other SoCs found in other Android devices including the Nexus 7 (Tegra 3), and the HTC One X (Qualcomm S4 Krait).

The A6 SoC also has phenomenal memory performance, which has generally been a weak point of ARM based CPUs. The SoC is also rumored to sport a PowerVR SGX543MP3 GPU clocked at higher speeds than found on the iPhone 4S. Head over to AnandTech for an excellent analysis of the Geek Bench 2 results.

First iPhone 5 Orders Have Begun Shipping

AppleInsider reports that the customers were the first among to pre-order the iPhone 5 from Apple have started to see updates that their orders are shipping from China.

Even though iPhone 5 orders are now shipping, the packages are still scheduled to be delivered on Friday, September 21, which is the product’s launch date. The screenshot below shows that the shipment started to show “in transit” on Sunday, Sept. 16. The delivery is now on its way from ZhengZhou, China.

However, on Apple’s website, orders are still being shown as “preparing for shipment,” but some people have been able to track their iPhone 5 order via a reference number. In the past, some iPhone preorders have arrived than product launch date. Usually most orders arrive on launch date though.

Apple was “blown away” by the response to the iPhone 5 and the “Available to ship” time on the company’s US store website continues to show a window of 2-3 weeks. So much for a “disappointing” iPhone.