Apple Considered Switching to AMD in 2011 MacBook Air

A new report regarding the 2011 MacBook Air reveals an interesting tidbit. An upcoming article regarding AMD by Forbes reveals that the company’s Llano family of Fusion combination CPU-GPU systems was under consideration by Apple to be used in the MacBook Air for its 2011 refresh. However, AMD lost the company’s business to Intel, since the necessary parts were late in being delivered to Apple and had high failure rates.

It is also reported that AMD also offered Apple on using its Brazos family of Fusion systems in the Apple TV, but Apple was uninterested in the offer. Ouch! Must have been a significant loss to the company business wise. Forbes’ Brian Caulfield revealed more regarding AMD’s efforts to gain Apple as a customer  in a separate article. In that article, he also went into more detail regarding the issues on Fusion chips planned for the MacBook Air.

MacRumors points out that this reflects back to a report from November from SemiAccurate, which suggested that AMD’s Fusion platform was Apple’s “Plan A” for the 2011 MacBook Air and that such machines were “on the verge of production” before Apple decided to stick with Intel.

Apple Agrees to New Privacy Policy Notification Standards

Today, the California Attorney General’s office has announced an agreement with Apple and five other tech companies including Google, Amazon, HP, RIM, and Microsoft which will ensure that these companies implement new standards for notifying users of privacy policies associated with apps offered in their stores. The new requirements will require developers of apps, that collect personal information to include privacy policies with their app that can be viewed directly from the store before downloading the apps themselves.

In addition, links to privacy policies will be in consistent places within the App Store and other marketplaces. This will offer the users the ability to view the privacy polices briefly. Developers who do not agree with the new requirements can be charged under California law. Apple and other companies signed the agreement and have pledged to inform developers about the privacy policy requirements and help them to meet the standards.

Also, the agreement requires that the companies provide simple methods for users to report apps that do not comply with privacy requirements, as well as systems for dealing with those reports. Thanks to these new rules, it sounds like these companies have a lot of work on their hands!

Apple’s First Amsterdam Retail Store Set to Open March 3

Last year, Apple rapidly expanded its stores. Last August, it was reported that the company is working on a store that will consist of a gorgeous glass roof in Santa Monica, CA. Just a month or two after, rumors of a store in Manhattan’s Grand Central started to appear, which finally became a reality earlier this month. It is gorgeous! Apple also redesigned its iconic Fifth Avenue store’s glass cube last year. In December, it was reported that Apple is working on a “prototype” store in Palo Alto, CA. Then in January, it was reported that Apple had started to work on new retail stores in France and Switzerland.

Apple Amsterdam Store

Today, reports that the grand opening of the new Apple Store in the Netherlands will occur next Saturday, March 3 at 10 a.m., which will make it the thirteenth country where Apple has retail presence. The new location in Amsterdam will be on the ground floor and lower floor of the city’s historic Hirsch Building in Leidseplein Square. Also, both the levels will be connected by a glass spiral staircase, which can be found at many of Apple’s retail locations. In addition, the second floor will be covered by a glass pyramid. Apple’s new store looks stunning!

Earlier this month, the company began hyping that the store was opening “soon”, but did not give a specific date.

Review: Das Keyboard Model S Professional for Mac

Currently, I’m using an Apple Wireless Keyboard to type on a daily basis, but recently the folks at Das Keyboard sent me their brand new “Model S Professional for Mac”. So, I used that one for a few weeks instead. Here’s my review:


Within seconds after unboxing the keyboard, it was ready to use! There was no installation required. My MacBook Air, running OS X Lion, detected everything instantly. The keyboard has two USB cables, one enables the keyboard component and the other for the USB hub. Das Keyboard has two USB ports on the side, which is neat. The two ports on the right side are easy to access and great for connecting your USB devices.

Das Keyboard for MacDesign and Look:

This particular model has a minimalistic look. In addition, it doesn’t have any extra text, icons, or stickers other than the company’s name. I really like this because it provides the user with a distraction free typing experience. Unlike my Apple Bluetooth Wireless keyboard, this keyboard weighs a lot so it won’t move around on your desk at all. Also, the keys have a glossy look to it, which makes the keyboard look extremely nice. Das Keyboard claims that each key can handle about 50 million strokes before it wears out. Another thing I really like about the keyboard is the noise it makes while typing, but it should be mentioned that it is extremely loud.

I found the keyboard easy to type on, but it did take awhile to get used to it. Also, it should be noted that they keyboard is extremely loud.

Media keys:

A particular addition that I really like in the keyboard are the media keys. They are easily accessible by pressing the “Fn” key in combination with the corresponding Function key.  On the keyboard, there are keys for lowering the volume, increasing the volume, mute, play/pause, stop, previous track, and next track. They worked great with iTunes and Rdio (a music streaming service). It should also be mentioned that no additional software was required to use these buttons, which was great.

Bottom Line:

If you can justify $130 for a keyboard, then I’d highly suggest checking this keyboard out.  You can purchase one here.

Safari User Sues Google over Claimed Privacy Violation

Last week, it was reported by The Wall Street Journal  that Google had used code that allowed them to bypass the standard Safari privacy settings, which then allowed them to insert advertising cookies on an affected device. Did somebody say evil? Now, Bloomberg reports that a user of Apple’s Safari, the default web browser of every Mac and iOS device, is suing Google Inc. after their sneaky tactics were revealed.

Attorneys for Matthew Soble filed the complaint on Tuesday in Delaware’s federal court and are seeking class-action status for the suit which suggests that Google bypassed certain Safari privacy settings in order to track users’ web habits. Apple’s Safari browser is set by default to blocks cookies or small bits of code to identify users when they return to a previously visited site. In the past, Apple has been criticized for not caring about their customers’ privacy, but this is just further evidence that they do. While on the other hand, Google tracks Android users without them knowing.

Google, the hypocrites, have denied this by stating that: “The Journal mischaracterizes what happened and why. We used known Safari functionality to provide features that signed-in Google users had enabled. It’s important to stress that these advertising cookies do not collect personal information.” Give me a break! If this were true, that would justify the number of times Google has been caught doing something wrong in the past year, right? In fact, just after being contacted by WSJ, Google disabled the code and later removed information from a company site. Yup, doesn’t sound fishy to me at all. “Don’t be evil” indeed.


Apple Confirms Plans for a New Data Center in Oregon

Last year, Steve Jobs talked about what powers iCloud during his WWDC keynote. It is a huge data center in Maiden, North Carolina that is 500,000 square feet and is about five times the size of the company’s existing Silicon Valley data center. Also, it costed $1 billion to build, which is twice of what Google and Microsoft generally invest in their cloud data centers. Recently, the company touted its solar farm across that gigantic data center.

Then in December, it was reported that Apple was “nearing a decision” on whether or not to build a brand new data center in Oregon. Today, has received confirmation from the company that the company plans to build a new data center on a 160-acre lot in Prineville, Oregon. The land was reportedly purchased for $5.6 million from Crook County. This new data center will be located a quarter mile south of a Facebook server farm that opened earlier this year. Now, this is pretty ironic. Why? Because rumor has is it that Apple and Facebook have a love/hate relationship (ex: Ping lacking Facebook Connect integration).

The company also maintains a smaller data center in Newark, California and has been building out additional capacity in Santa Clara, California near its corporate headquarters in Cupertino.

Apple Touts Plans for Massive Solar Farm and Fuel Cell Facilities

Guess what iCloud is powered by? It is a huge data center in Maiden, North Carolina that is 500,000 square feet and is about five times the size of the company’s existing Silicon Valley data center. Also, it costed $1 billion to build, which is  twice what Google and Microsoft generally invest in their cloud data centers.

Apple NC Data Center

A few months after, it was reported that Apple had begun work on a solar farm adjacent to its massive new data center in Maiden, North Carolina. Now, as noted by CNET, Apple has updated its environmental site with updated data for 2011, revealing a few pieces of new information about the company’s work on energy usage and other topics. In addition to revealing a few details about Apple’s new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, the company also notes that the solar farm being built across the data center will be the largest user-owned solar array in the United States, registering at 20 megawatts. Wait a second, I thought Apple didn’t care about the environment and yet they chose to use solar power.

Finally, the company will also be powering the facility with a 5-megawatt fuel cell installation, the largest in the country not owned by a utility company. Additional details are available in the company’s facilities report (PDF).


iTunes Match Coming to Japan Soon?

A couple of week ago, it was reported that  Siri, the voice assistant found in Apple’s iPhone 4S, will get support for the Chinese language next month. It was also suggested that Apple would introduce support for Japanese and Russian. Then a week after, it was reported that watchful iPhone 4S users have noticed that Siri is now claiming to speak Japanese.

iOS Japan iTunes Match
Now it seems that the company maybe adding Japanese support for its iTunes Match service. Mactakara has discovered that the “iTunes in the Cloud” music component has gone live in Japan. Also, the “Purchased” tab within the desktop iTunes Store and iOS music application now allows users to access their previously-purchased iTunes Store music. Before this, iTunes in the cloud service was only limited to apps and books in Japan.

iTunes Match is a service that allows all your music, even songs you’ve imported from CDs to be stored in iCloud. The service is currently available in 37 countries, but international availability of the service has continued since it debuted in the U.S, Europe, and Australia in December. Since then, it was made available in 19 more countries across Latin America and Europe in January.

Apple and China Mobile Negotiating iPhone Deal

Yesterday, it was reported that China’s second largest carrier, China Telecom, will start offering the iPhone 4S on March 9th. Rumors of Apple offering the iPhone on the largest mobile carrier in the world, China Mobile, has been all over the place. Now, according to Reuters, China Mobile officials are “aggressively negotiating” a deal with Apple, but due to a technical limitation the offering remains a roadblock. China Mobile uses a non-standard unique 3G wireless technology, which is causing the roadblock. The network uses their own 3G technology called TD-SCDMA, which is a technology Apple doesn’t currently support on its iPhones.

With over 600 million subscribers, China Mobile is the largest mobile carrier in the world, which means there is a significant opportunity for Apple. That compares to the 117 million total subscribers at China Telecom, which was announced as a new official iPhone carrier yesterday.

Just to put the opportunity in perspective, the total number of mobile subscribers in China are expected to pass 1 billion this year alone! Last quarter, Tim Cook described China’s demand for the company’s products, particularly the iPhone, as “staggering.”

Apple Opens Up Supplier Factories to Third-party Environmental Inspections

Lately, lots of news regarding Apple’s factories have been coming out. Even though the stories are getting stale, media will continue to talk about since it is Apple. A couple of days ago, it was reported that according to the Fair Labor Association (FLA), Foxconn’s factory conditions are to be “first-class” in comparison to the garment factories the association has typically monitored.Then just a couple of days after, Foxconn announced that it had raised the wages for its workers by 16 to 25 percent.

Now, the company that doesn’t care about its workers has agreed to cooperate on audits with independent environmental group seeking to verify the company’s own findings, via The Next Web. Ma Jun, founder of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, said that he had agreed last month to open up its facilities to be audited.

In addition, Linda Greer, the person in charge of the National Resources Defense Council’s health program, said the company had agreed access to two of the 14 suppliers. The groups that will be reviewing the facilities will focus on whether Apple’s suppliers are improperly disposing of toxic waste or not.