Category: Hardware

Apple Tablet to be delayed

The dark satanic rumour mill is churning out a yarn which claims that Apple Messiah Steve Jobs may show off the new iTablet, iSlate or iPad – insert appropriate name –  and then it will not be seen again until June.

Apple Insider   is reporting that after all the delays so far the gizmo does not work. Apparently its 15 seconds use between recharges  and the fact you have to carry it as if it was made out of eggshells has Jobs thinking that it might be worth a bit of a delay.

Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros, who uses the usual method of telling a companies fortunes by skrying into supply chain sources, thinks that the launch pattern for the tablet could follow that of the original iPhone in 2007, with a January unveiling and final product shipping to consumers six months later.

Wu thinks that the problems with the tablet are minor and to do with battery life and durability.  But he said that it was looking exactly like a big iPod touch.

The rumours suggested that it would be a hybrid between an iPhone/ipod touch and a mac but in terms of software and components, it appears closer to the ipod meaning it is most likely ARM based.

It is supposed to run video, gaming, Web browsing, e-books and the ability to run multiple apps would be enhanced with the much larger screen and of course a price tag that is so large that it can attract small moons into its orbit.  Yeah the $1000 that Apple leaked to the press last week.

The Wall Street Journal earlier this month said that the hardware is expected to ship in March. The device is expected to have a screen sized between 10 inches and 11 inches.

Wu predicts that the beast will run on Wi-Fi  as opposed to 3G, so as to “not further clog” already strained 3G networks.

Apple rumoured to launch eBook with HarperCollins

The Apple Tablet, dubbed the iSlate, hasn’t even been launched yet, but already rumours of a deal between the fruit-themed gadget maker and publisher HarperCollins are being reported in The Wall Street Journal.

The paper claims that the deal to bring the News Corp owned HarperCollins book back catalogue to the tablet will seriously threaten Amazon’s Kindle and other smaller eReader makers.

The publisher and Job’s mob are said to already talking pricing and distribution. With Murdoch’s HarperCollins said to be setting the price while Apple gets a share of sales. The books would presumably be sold through Itunes.

Apple has confirmed that it will be revealing something on January 27th, and the smart money is on a multimedia tablet to be shipped in March.

Mouse is alive and well

Kiwi boffins seem to think that the computer mouse will be with us for many years yet.

Despite the development of technology such as touch screens and waving vaguely at the computer screen, Professor Andy Cockburn, from New Zealand’s University of Canterbury, claims the mouse has its paws firmly on the wheel of technological development.

Cockburn says the keyboard and mouse is not going anywhere soon.  He said that it is an extremely efficient way of getting information into a machine and it’s almost cognition-free, which is its biggest benefit.

It is hard to beat a mouse in terms of high fidelity precision of interaction, he said.

New technology being developed by companies such as Nintendo and Microsoft’s Project Natal will not immediately translate well into everyday work and home life.

Your average office worker wants optimum levels of efficiency.  They don’t wish to spend their lives waving their hands in the air to open their Facebook accounts.  That would be far too stressful,  Cockburn said.

People want better ways to scroll through documents, navigate between windows or programs, and shave “milliseconds or seconds off activities you do each day”.  But you don’t need new interfaces to do this, he said.

This involves taking computer science and combining it with psychology and sociology, to make life better.

Apple to go touchy feely

While the tame Apple press are churning out rumours and speculation about Jobs’ Mob releasing a 10-inch iSlate PDA in a couple of weeks, apparently there is another bit of kit that is also a candidate for release.

Chinese newspaper, The Commercial Times, suggests Apple has a brand new 22-inch variant of its popular iMac computer which it wants to release to the world.

The report suggests the new kit, which is only a half inch bigger than the current 21.5-inch iMac will be completely different thanks to touchscreen functionality. The panel will be supplied by Taiwan-based Sintek Photronic.

Steve JobsThe Commercial Times has predicted things sort of correctly in the past.  It commented that Apple was building a netbook that would feature a touchscreen display which could have been the iSlate.  But given that Steve Jobs would rather gouge out his own iLiver rather than sell anything as accessible as a netbook this one was unlikely.

Apple is scheduled to host a special invitation-only media event on January 27, at which many believe the toymaker will officially unveil its iSlate tablet device.  Perhaps it will also announce a revised version of its iMac which will allow you to cover the screen with greasy fingerprints too.

Donald, where's yer hardware troosers?

Ah well, I’ve done this before and I’ll do it again, I’ll be scunnered if I  don’t and fashed if I do. So Och Aye, TechEye, and let’s get down to it the  noo.

Scott Wasson’s tech site – The Tech Report – has a round up of power supplies  for the true McGeek amongst ye all. The folks look at PSUs from Corsair, from  Enermax, from Seasonic and XFX. They’re all priced a bit similarly, apart from  the Enermax 850W unit, which costs $220. Turn the power on here.

That cheeky wee Bosnian chappie Fuad Abazovic has a wee look at Nvidia‘s Fermi  announcement. We heard from TG Daily only a few weeks back that yields are not  totally brill on the manufacturing front. TG Daily’s piece is here. Charlie, as you’d expect, has something to say about this. The BSON  has something about this as well, but more interestingly to us is a look at  3M’s pocket camera.

There’s a new kid on the block with a familiar name, called – no  relation to, it’s rolling out stuff about the top five netbooks your cash can buy.

And so we get away from the Mike Magee planets and turn our attention to Johan
De Gelas, at Anandtech. Johan really knows his stuff and his piece is about  dynamic power management.

My eyes are getting a wee bit rheumy now I’m in the twilight of my years, but  Over at HardOCP the Kyles of this world have a dekko at AMD’s Radeon HD 5670.  This is a graphics card and even monkeys can install graphics cards, according  to AMD. Hoots! Mon! The Noo!

Rippers abandon DivX

One of the bigger DVD ripping software outfits has ditched support for DivX files.

Handbrake, which is popular among users of Apple’s range of fruity toys, has released a 0.9.4 update which kills off DivX support.

HandBrake was ported to Windows a few years ago and is also available for Linux but is more popular with Apple fans.

Now the developers are only allowing punters to convert DVDs and other media to MKV or MP4 files – with the option to save as Apple-friendly M4V files. DivX is universally accepted on DVD players.

According to the developers, ditching support for AVI files using DivX and XviD made sense, as the technology was out of date.

It does not support modern container features like chapters, muxed-in subtitles, variable framerate video, or out of order frame display.  If Handbrake keeps its AVI muxer then it will have to maintain  a convoluted data pipeline, full of conditionals that make the code more difficult to read and maintain, and make output harder to predict.

But it is a little strange in that you generally want a DVD you have ripped to be seen by your player.  While MKV and MP4 are becoming increasing popular with device makers, they cannot be seen by some gear.

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James runs a developer site – –  and is a whizz at technology and coding in general. Allan has worked in technology advertising for an impressive 14 years. I’m a grizzled hack that has been around since before the internet was a twinkle in the military’s eye.

We’ve an impressive team of journalists too – all striving to bring you straight news with a sense of humour, when that’s appropriate.

Hope you like the site, and that you stick around for the ride!

Picture of Apple tablet tips up

Pictures  of what is claimed to be Apple’s new tablet have appeared online in response to Gawker  magazine offering large amounts of cash to those who can show them one.

The pictures show Steve Jobs at his design best, and setting the standard for a new form of computing. 

The machine, which is tipped to cost $1,000, has Apple’s traditional minimalist form, with the graphics being controlled by two iWheels rather than the expected touch screen. 

The “Lust Red” casing is a bold return to polymer casing, but since the tablet sports a Green Apple logo we are sure it must be fully recyclable.

It is not clear what is under the bonnet of the new tablet.  Many have suspected that it will be powered by Intel’s Atom, although the graphics seem to suggest Nvidia has had a hand in it.

An artist's impression of the iSlateOne of the Wow! features of the new tablet is that its screen is refreshed by turning it upside down and shaking it.  This is the sort of design brilliance that Apple is famous for.

Notation that comes with the leaked screen shot suggests that the battery life is indefinite.  If this is the case then it must have some form of solar panelling on the back which cannot be seen in this picture.  Certainly this would be a bold move to deal with those who believe that mobile hardware should last a long time between recharges.

Gawker has been hit by an Apple cease and desist letter for offering the bounty, but we were hoping that it would be brave and pay us up front.

Kodak glares at BlackBerry and iPhone

Happy snapper Eastman Kodak has threatened to remove iPhones and BlackBerrys from shop shelves claiming that Apple and Research in Motion (RIM) nicked its ideas.

The outfit reckons that the cameras used in Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry to preview images infringes on a digital imaging patent it owns.

Kodak is asking the US International Trade Commission (ITC), to refuse to allow the iPhone and Blackberry to be imported unless the pair pay large wodges of cash in used banknotes.

Apparently Kodak has been arguing with Jobs’ Mob and RIM for ages and so far a briefcase of bank notes has not been forthcoming.

Kodak has also filed two lawsuits against Apple in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on the basis if it can make it there, it can make it anywhere.

The first case claims that two patents related to image preview and the ability to process images of different resolutions did not spring fully formed from the mind of Steve Jobs as Apple fanboys claim. The second suit is about a process by which one computer program can call on another to carry out certain functions.

It is strange that Apple did not heed the warnings and strike a deal and carry on.  Kodak has already won a case against Sun Microsystems in 2002 over the same technology. It has also recently struck deals with Samsung and LG under which the Korean giants will pay Kodak royalties.

Intel beats the market with enormous profits

Chip giant Intel – formerly known as Chipzilla – turned in its fourth quarter results and made an enormous profit, reflecting a turnaround in the PC industry.

It turned in a profit of $2.28 billion on turnover of nearly $11 billion, the kind of results it was always used to before the darkening days of global recession.

Its gross margin also soared from 59 percent to 63 percent and it’s ambitious about the future too.

The industry is turning round – that was confirmed earlier this week by Gartner Group and IDC figures – and Intel is confident about the future as well.

CEO Paul Otellini (59) reckoned, in a statement, that the results reflected its investment in high end process manufacturing.

Intel is the “king” of process manufacturing, committed as it is to “Moore’s Law” which dictates that the smaller a chip gets, the more powerful it gets and you get many on a 12-inch wafer – a purified silicon slab that is photo-lithographed. That uses a very sophisticated and expensive kind of camera. The more chips you get on a wafer at a smaller size, the more money you make.

This is semiconductor technology. Software is a different ball game.