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Test of the new Crucial M500
Our NDA has ended, we can now reveal you our article about the new Crucial M500 SSD that we tested in a Mac.
New Hardmac editing strategy, and new article online later today!
First of all, we would like to thank all of you who have been following us for years.
As you have seen, we had to put HardMac on hold for a while.
The website will continue to exist but with a slightly different editing strategy.
For years, we have been trying to bring you both the latest news and publish interesting articles about improvements and modifications we could make in our Mac or other Apple device. However, it turned out to be too time consuming for us as our resective careers evolve, since we are not professionals, we edit this website and its bigger brother Macbidouille.com on our spare time.
Later today we will publish an article featuring a test of Crucial's new M500 SSD, so stay tuned to read all about the heir of the C300 and the M4!
The HardMac Team
HardMac on hold but stay tuned!
As you have seen, HardMac is on hold since end of last year, due to a lack of resources on our side to maintain the site and the forum.
We are busy working with the MacBidouille team to see how we can start again the activity on the English side of MacBidouille.
We thank all of our readers for their interest in what we have offered so far and we are looking forward to welcoming you again in a near future.
Video showing Fusion Drive performances
Officially, Fusion Drive will launch with the new iMac but it is already possible to activate it if you have a Mac with an HDD and an SSD. The whole process is described on this page:
As a reminder, Fusion Drive allows to create one logical storage volume comprising the SSD and the HDD. Data is first written on the SSD and once it is full, some data will be transferred to the HDD. Wile doing so, Mac OS will keep 4GB of free space on the SSD to be used as cache before transfer to the HDD.
ZDNet published a video showing the new Fusion Drive on a Mac mini with an SSD and an HDD.
As you can see, it is a lot faster than on a Mac with the HDD alone.
A Retina display on the way for the iPad mini 2
According to Chinese sources, AU Optronics, one of the current manufacturers of the iPad mini would be actively working on producing soon a new display of the same size but with a resolution of 324 DPI, a Retina display for the iPad mini. With a total resolution of 2048 x 1536, it will use IGZO technology allowing the iPad mini to sport this display without getting thicker because of the need of a bigger battery.
This new rumor is not surprising since the Retina high resolution has become a big marketing argument at Apple. There are already Retina displays in the iPod touch, iPhone, iPad and some models of MacBook Pro. We are sure that it will find its way in the iMac as soon as it becomes possible as well as in the Apple display that hasn't been upgraded lately and still has only USB 2.0.
To get back to the iPad mini, we will see that device in about a year. Before that, Apple will have to find a way to make an A6X chip that needs even less power than the current one in order to bring a higher resolution without hurting battery life.
LCD display with 651 ppi resolution
Japan Display recently announced that it was able to produce a new LCD display with a total resolution of 651 ppi, twice as much as on the iPad Retina, showing that we will probably one day have a Super Retina display.
Samsung wants to change its image
In just a few years, Samsung is one of the tech companies that changed the most, together with Apple. Apple was able to turn itself around and start being successful again, develop iOS but it was not the only one doing so and the two company are now the two biggest players on the smartphone market.
This new logo will be unveiled during the 2013 CES in Las Vegas, and it will aim at giving a cooler and worldwide brand to the company.
Now we are left to wonder what this logo might look like...
Update for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro introduced in June 2012
Apple released an update for all models of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro introduced in June 2012..
This update includes graphics performance and reliability enhancements and improves compatibility with some USB devices. This last point is important as there have been issues with the support of USB 3.0 on these computers.
Apple started testing OS X 10.9
Many websites reported finding something strange in their visit logs, a Mac running Mac OS X 10.9. We did the same and aso found 10.9 in our logs.
It is hard to say whether it is an Apple prototype or somebody who modified the indentification of a Mac to make it appear to be running a different OS. We however think that it is a prototype because all we have seen are exceptional visits.
Apple would be ready to help Sharp
Sharp is now officially in an extreme situation and could simply collapse if nobody invests enough money in the company. It has already called Microsoft, Google and Apple for help and it is becoming increasingly possible that Apple could be the one helping.
According to Apple Insider, Apple would be ready to spend 2.3 billion dollars more than originally planned during this fiscal year, maybe (probably) to help Sharp. With that big of an investment, Apple will be able to take control of Sharp, or at least its LCD department.
Apple sold 3 million iPads in 3 days
Apple announced via a press release that it sold 3 million iPads (Retina and mini) in 3 days. It should probably reassure investors that might worry about Apple as we were saying earlier today.
On our side, we are still waiting for an iPad mini that should have been delivered on Friday through UPS. It left the UPS warehouse on time Friday but was never delivered. UPS doesn't know what happened and we are now in the middle of a complicated procedure between the Apple Store and UPS.
Sharp is on the verge of collapse
Sharp announced that if nothing radical happens in the near future, it would most certainly collapse.
Foxconn had started negotiations with Sharp in order to cover part of the production of the displays. The agreement was never finalized as Foxconn tried to get too good of a deal from an already weakened Sharp. More recently, Sharp sent distress calls to Apple, Google and Microsoft, asking them to invest money in return for preferred access to new high technologies, that still need to be fully developed./p>
MuscleNerd announced on Twitter that he has already jailbroken the iPad mini, and he proves it with this screenshot.
He used what he calls a failbreak, a breach that he found but doesn't want to reveal as Apple would immediately and easily patch it. This kind of breach is very useful to discover others, which is exactly what he will try to do now.
Apple shares in decline?
In the last few years and especially since the beginning of the economic crisis, Apple shares had become very safe investments like gold.
Since mid-september, progression has changed direction and after peaking at $700 per share, the price has dropped consistently, now by $120.
Many things can explain this decrease, investors have been disappointed by some of the last announcements that were made, even when they were very good ones. It seems now that Apple has lost its halo of invincibility that allowed the company to turn any product into gold.
Of course, this doesn't change the quality of the products nor the pleasure we have when we use them, but we fear that Tim Cook and his team could react to stop that decrease by announcing some new products or services too early, departing from the considerations that Steve Jobs had, as his priority always appeared to be making the best products.
After the tablet, Microsoft is preparing a smartphone
It was never really a secret, Microsoft is now trying to embrace the strategy that made Apple successful by controlling both the hardware and the software and recently launched its own tablet, Surface. It remains to be seen whether that device will be successful, but it was obvious that Microsoft would also try to do the same with smartphones and now it has been (almost) confirmed by its subcontractors that say they are working with Microsoft on a smartphone with a display between 4" and 5" in size.
A micro-SD adapter designed specifically for Mac
With the proprietary SSDs that Apple puts in ever more models of Mac, it is becoming increasingly hard and expensive to increase the storage capacity of a Mac. There is however a new solution to easily increase the total storage capacity of a few tens of GB for a reasonable price, without using an external drive or taking the laptop apart: the Nifty MiniDrive.
It is a very simple but quite smart accessory: it is a micro-SD adapter that fits the SD port of the Mac without having about 1/3 of the card sticking out like it is the case with normal cards (it comes with a little tool that allows to remove it whenever you need, but you can simply use a paper clip)
That way you will be able to add up to 64 GB of storage and probably more in the near future. All the models of Mac starting in 2010 support SD XC with a theoretical limit of 2 TB, while the the previous models support SD HC, limited to 32 GB. The big advantage is that you don't have to remove the card every time you have to take your Mac somewhere, while a regular SD card has to be removed in order not to be damaged as it sticks out.
The Nifty MiniDrive will be available in December, it will cost $35, which includes shipping to North America and Europe, and will come in red, grey or black in each of the three versions:
Nifty recommends to choose the exact model for your computer. For example, the MiniDrive Retina will fit in a regular MacBook Pro but since it is 1 mm longer than the MiniDrive Pro, it will probably stick out a little bit once it is installed.
One more thing, while SD cards use flash memory like SSDs, the performances are much lower especially in the models of Mac in which the SD cad reader is connected on the USB bus, which limits the total speed to a few tens of MB/s, even if some cards offer better performances (on the 15" Retina MacBook Pro, it is connected on a PCIe bus, so it is faster than USB and it is also probably the case on other models, you can check that in the Apple menu, 'About this Mac').
As usual Apple released several updates together:
iOS 6.0.1 si available
Apple released a minor update of iOS 6, version 6.0.1.
This update contains improvements and bug fixes, including:
Two SSDs in RAID 0 in a 2012 Mac mini
OWC decided to make a RAID 0 with 2 SSDs in a 2012 Mac mini, using its installation kit for a second hard drive.
You can see the speeds just shy of 1 GB per second, something very impressive for such a small computer.
Scott Forstall to leave Apple
Usually big announcements regarding Apple are made on stage with a slick keynote presentation, next to a brand new amaing device. This time it's about Apple's management team. The company announced in a press release that Scott Forstall, who has been heading the iOS developing team since the beginning will be leaving Apple next year.
Some say that his leaving could be caused, at least partly, by the Maps application on iOS 6, which was launched too soon and while it still needed many improvements.
Also, John Browett who was in charge of the Apple Stores and who was hired less than a year ago is also leaving. The cause is probably in his case the unease he caused when he decided to make big changes in the way Apple Store employees are paid.
recall for the iMac with Seagate hard drives
After announcing the iMac 1TB Seagate Hard Drive Replacement Program, Apple decided to contact directly the owners who registered an iMac that can benefit from the program.
It is the first time that it happens at Apple and we only wish that it will become the norm. We are now wondering how much this whole recall will cost Seagate and its insurrances. You have to take into account the cost of the disk as well as the cost of the technical support intervention, which is quite high when you have to change the hard drive on an iMac (as a reminder you have to remove the display to access the inside).
Teardown of the 13" MacBook Pro Retina
iFixit published a Teardown of the 13"MacBook Pro Retina.
As usual the inside if very clean, Apple used every little available space to fit the 3 elements that compose the battery.
There is just enough space to fit a 2.5" drive (although a 9.5 mm won't fit, a 7 mm or a 5 mm one probably will), as if Apple had decided to go with this SSD at the last minute, too late to change the rest of the design. We will see if in the future a manufacturer is able to make a compatible cable and a real caddie to hold the drive in place, it would allow to replace this SSD by a much more common 2.5" SSD, which would be great news for the potential evolution of this computer.
What's inside the A6X ?
It has become Apple's habit not to get into too much details about the chips that power different iDevices, and all we know about the chip of the 4th generation iPad is its name, A6X.
ArsTechnica is pretty good at guessing what is hidden underneath.
In any case we are happy to see that Apple still refuses to put quad-core chips in the iPad. Having a quad-core CPU in a tablet is pure nonsense as it is too power hungry and doesn't provide much better performances as applications are rarely optimized for that. All it does is keeping-up with Moore's law, which doesn't do much good when it comes to user experience.
iMac: only the 27" model has upgradable RAM
This is unfortunately a piece of news that was expected. While looking at the specifications of the new iMac you can read the following:
It seems clear that it is impossible to upgrade the RAM on the 21.5" model.
As you can see the access panel has been removed from the bottom and is not visible for now on any picture published on the Apple website. We will see if it is still as easy as it was on the previous models.
For the 21.5" model, we will see wether the RAM is soldered to the motherboard or in DIMM slots that are accessible by disassembling the display.
Already the 4th generation iPad!
Apple surprized many by already releasing the 4th generation iPad.
It features a few improvements compared to the previous model:
It comes with the usual 9,7" display but also now with a 7.9" display, the long awaited iPad mini.
The thinnest iMac ever!
Here is what we consider the big star of this keynote at least on the Mac side, the new iMac.
It is thinner than all the previous models thanks to several improvements including a new display with laminated glass.
It features an SSD in a RAM form factor in addition to a regular hard drive with 1 to 3 TB of storage. One new feature, FusionDrive, is worth noting. OSX uses both drives seemlessly to improve performances by keeping the OS, applications and files that are used most often on the SSD and the rest on the regular hard drive. While that feature has been supported by the last generations of Intel's chipsets, it is the first time it is supported on the Mac.
And here comes the new Mac mini
Apple finally released the new Mac mini with Ivy-Bridge and USB 3.0.
It will sell for $599 for the first model featuring a Core i5 2.5 GHz, 4 GB and 500 GB, $799 for the model with a quad-core i7 2.3 GHz 4 GB and 1 TB and $999 for the server model featuring the same i7, two 1 TB disks and 8 GB of RAM.
Here comes the 13" MacBook Pro Retina
Today Apple unveiled the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display.
This new model has the same features that made the 15" model popular, the Retina display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution, two Thunderbolt ports, etc. It even supports SSDs with up to 768 GB of storage.
The two models feature a Core i5 clocked at 2.5 GHz with the option to configure it with the i7 clocked at 2.9 GHz. The model with 128 GB of storage sells for $1,699 and the 256 GB for $1,999, with always the option to increase the storage to up to 768 GB.
Be careful when ordering your model, the storage is built-in and is not upgradable. Also, you don't have the option to increase the RAM to 16 GB like on the 15". It is probably the least upgrade-friendly Mac we've ever seen!
In order to close some of the major breaches that have been discovered in Java, Apple released new versions of the software for Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion through the software update menu.
Invitation for October 23
Apple has started sending invitations for the event that will take place on October 23.
'We've got a little more to show you' sounds just like 'iPad mini' :-)
24 models of iPad mini are now expected in the coming weeks
According to AppleInsider, no less than 24 models of iPad mini would be released by Apple in the coming weeks. With both black and white models, there are still 12 models unaccounted for with Flash memory of 8, 16 or 32 GB, different GSM versions, 3G or 4G.
Picture of the new iMac?
This picture, possibly showing the inside of the new iMac was posted on a forum.
You can see the circle in the center matching the Apple logo on the outside, which would tend to authenticate this as the inside of an iMac. Other than that, there is nothing similar to the models that have ben unveiled in the last few years. Both fans have moved to the side of the motherboard, allowing to think that there will not be a Superdrive in this model, and the power supply in on the lower left side and the motherboard on the right side.
The Hard Drive shown here is a 2.5" one, as Apple will probably leave the 3.5" models behind. While most of the computer is not shown on the picture, we think that there is another 2.5" slot somewhere else, and it is probably towards the bottom, maybe it could be accessible via a little hatch just like the RAM on the current models. These new models would be released in the coming weeks and would be a lot thinner thanks to their smaller disks and thinner fans.
Apple and the Swiss Federal Railways reach a deal over clock design
Apple was involved in one more legal battle lately, but not against another computer giant, against the Federal Swiss Federal Railways after Apple copied the design of their clock to use in iOS on the iPad. The very specific design of that clock is protected by law.
Eric Schmidt: 'Apple should have kept our maps'.
AllThngsD published an interview of Eric Schmidt. Of course, he was asked questions about Apple, starting with the removal of Google Maps from iOS 6. His answer was very simple, 'Apple should have kept our maps'. For him, it was not caused because Google didn't want to add an extra feature, as Apple had decided a long time ago to do its own Maps app, and is now discovering - a little late - that it's not that simple.
Of course the raging competition between iOS and Android was also in the interview. Eric Schmidt thinks that competition will reduce the huge margin that Apple makes on each device.
iPhone 5: production problems apparently caused by anodized aluminum
When Apple started shipping the iPhone 5, a few customers were disappointed when unpacking their new device as it showed defects on the anodized aluminum back.
Why are there so many Apple patents?
A new story is out to explain why Apple files so many patent applications, sometimes about products that don't look even remotely related to the company's core business or that have very little chances of ever being marketed.
After that, Steve Jobs decided to patent everything about every new product, starting with the first iPhone. With time passing, Steve's decision became a rule at Apple and it lead to the multiple unending legal battles that we know. Instead of being a victim, Apple decided at the time, not to be the attacker, but at least to be ready to defend itself with considerable strength.
Now the company spends huge amounts in legal proceedings to sue or defend itself. The patent system is now at risk because there no real reason that this endless cycle should stop without leading to the complete destruction of the system itself.
Teardown of the new iPod Touch
While a blow-dryer is necessary to remove the display, the rest is pretty straightforward. It sports an A5 chip with 512 MB of RAM. Its battery is smaller than the one of the iPhone 5, which is normal since its processor is less powerful and it doesn't need to power the power-hungry 3G/4G chip.
New study predicts great future for Ultrabooks
While iSuppli was recently predicting that 10 million Utrabooks would be sold in 2012, NPD just released another study about the future of the Utrabook market. The study predicts that shipment should go from 3.4 million units in 2011 to 65 million units in 2015.
There are many arguments supporting these good predictions. The first one of course comes from Intel because by then the new Haswell chips (and the following ones) that are especially designed for this type of device will be widely marketed. This will allow a decrease in cost while optimizing performance. Then there is of course the increase in competition and in volume shipments that will push the prices down and force manufacturers to innovate more instead of simply copying Apple like we've seen until now.
Look for our follow-up post in 2015, it will say whether the prediction came true or not!
4 GB of RAM in the first Intel Mac Mini
The first model of Intel Mac mini that came out in 2006 is one of the best computers of that time and throughout the years we were able to change a lot of things inside such as changing its processor or updating its Wi-Fi to 802.11n.
Despite its small size, it offered a lot of possibilities of evolution and has proven with time to be a very reliable machine, like the Mac Pro.
The only thing was that it appeared impossible to install 4 GB of RAM, while increasing it from 2 to 3 GB was slowing down its already weak graphics chipset.
A member of the Netkas forums posted a step by step explaining how to update the firmware of the Mac mini 1.1 and to make it a 2.1 model in order to support 4 GB of RAM. The change is relatively simple and all you have to do is become a member of the forum to have access to the download links.
PS: If you try it yourself, please tell us about how it went!
Lightning cables for sale on chinese websites
One of our readers sent us the address of a chinese website that sells Lightning cables, of course for less than Apple.
The price per unit decreases the more cables you buy, and goes down to $13.40 when you buy 10 of them. They look identical to the original Apple cables, and probably come from the very same factories.
10.7.5 and 10.8.2: second round of updates
Apple released a few days ago the new versions of the last two Mac OS updates:
New major 0 Day security breach in Java
A new 0 Day security breach was discovered in versions 5, 6 and 7 of Java. Given the number of versions that have the breach about 1 billion computers are potentially at risk in the world (see here on Seclist for more details).
Given the huge number of computers at risk on all platforms supporting Java (yes, that includes Mac OS), this breach will most likely be exploited on a large scale by hackers all over the world.
New rumors of Apple using carbon fiber in future devices
Japanese website Macotakara relaunched a rumor that has been around for quite some time, according to which Apple would use carbon fiber in some of its future devices. According to the website Apple and Foxconn engineers visited together a Japanese company specializing in carbon fiber production earlier this year.
Firmware update for the Crucial M4
Crucial released a new firmware update for the M4 SSD, une nouvelle mise à jour pour sa gamme M4, firmware 010G. Here is what to expect:
As usual on Mac OS X, you will have to update with a bootable CD.
Apple: hard at work to gain tenths of a millimeter
Apple is probably the computer maker that works the hardest to make the devices always thinner without making major compromise on their raw power.
It is very likely that other engineers are currently working on other parts to also gain a few tenths of a millimeter, which added together make the difference on the notebook as a whole.
iPhone 5 Display Compared to iPhone 4S and Galaxy S3: Simply the Best!
DisplayMate performed an in-depth analysis if the iPhone 5 display with the ones from the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S3. According to their analysis, the iPhone 5 simply offer the best display ever found on the smartphone in term of contrast in high daylight environment. It represents a real improvement over the iPhone 4S.
When compared to the Galaxy S3, based on an OLED display, vs. LCD for hte iPhone 5, it might be difficult to compare. But here again DisplayMate indicates that the GAlaxy S3 does not offer the same brightness than the iPhone 5, but theoretically a better contrast not necessarily visible in everyday usage. The large gamut panel of the iPhone 5 offer the best color panel and spectrum, where the OLED used by Samsung tends to overload colors and contrast.
In one word: Simply the best.
Phil Schiller Confirms Some Physical Evidence: Even Coated Aluminun May Scratch
In less than one week after its launch, some iPhone 5 owners are complaining that the back side of the device, made of black-coated aluminum, may scratch revealing the natural silver color of this metal. This is not really surprising, and we can bet that some companies will soon offer solution to fill up the scratches or simply paint them back in black...
9to5Mac published the answer made by Phil Schiller to a customer complaining on the scratches on the band and back of his iPhone 5:
If the coated-aluminum might be lest prone to resist to scratches than the glass-made backside of the iPhone 4 and 4S, it will be much more resistant to shocks. We can also mention that having a complete aluminum case would be the perfect system for releasing heat generated by the hardware of the iPhone.
Apple Released Updates for Apple TV
Apple has been updating the webpage dedicated to Apple TV. The version 5.2 of the software is dedicated to Apple TV 2 and 3. Details of the improvement brought by this new version are described below:
iPhone 5: 5 millions Units Ordered in 72 Hours
Apple unveiled the first figures regarding the iPhone 5. This is not less than 5 millions units that have been ordered during the first 72 hours following the official launched of the product. In other words, 1 million unit more than for the i Phone 4S... Some analysts are disappointed as they were targeting 10 millions units for for the same time period. They might have forgotten some realities though...
Our very first impressions on the iPhone 5
We have just unpacked an iPhone 5, here are our first impressions.
We'll have more of course later.