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Print 22 comment(s) - last by JMS3072.. on Jun 24 at 7:47 AM


The iPhone moved 1 million units this weekend. Word of new peripherals for the phone such as the new "Gamebone" controller, seen here, has started to circulate.  (Source: Kotaku)

SATA on the new MacBook Pros was also uncrippled, thanks to an EFI (BIOS) update.  (Source: Apple)
There's lots going on in Cupertino

The last couple of days have been packed with Apple news, both good and bad.  On Friday, the new iPhone 3G S debuted and prepared to invade the pockets of users across the nation.  Monday brought word that many customers had been met with activation problems and Apple was issuing them gift cards to compensate.

Now more details about the launch have been released by Apple.  The Cupertino giant reported that it sold 1 million iPhones during the launch weekend, easily eclipsing the modest 100,000 launch weekend sales of the Palm Pre, the only other multi-touch smart phone on the market.

In a statement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, reportedly recovering from a liver transplant and eyeing  a return to Apple elates, "With over 50,000 applications available from Apple's revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever."

In other iPhone-related news, the smart phone is about to be tossed a bone -- a Gamebone to be more precise.  The new controller will be among the first peripherals to be available for the iPhone 3G and 3G S.  The new OS v3.0 for the iPhone allowed such magic by freeing up pins for Firewire communication.

The new controller, looking something like an old-school Super Nintendo pad, may be able to communicate in different ways with the iPhone.  It is unclear whether users connect via Bluetooth, or by plugging in to the 30-pin connection.  The retailer has said it will provide a stand for using the phone with Bluetooth mode.  While some will find the utility of such a device questionable, at least the manufacturer is being public-friendly, encouraging users to suggest a retail price for the device on their website.

Lastly, to wrap up this Apple wrap-up, the MacBook Pros have been uncrippled and now offer support for full 3.0 Gbps SATA transfer speeds.  The firmware on the recently released laptops had been set to limit the speed to 1.5 Gbps, negating some of the speed advantage of flash drives.  The new firmware, MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7 (EFI is Apple's version of BIOS) unbreaks SATA on the Pros.  To install the update you must be running OS X version 10.5.7 (which the new Pros should be) and have 3.35MB of free disk space.


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Why would they have done that?
By mattclary on 6/23/2009 9:02:21 AM , Rating: 3
Why would they have gimped the SATA ports? It's baffling.




RE: Why would they have done that?
By Barfo on 6/23/2009 9:11:24 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps they were planning to charge to remove the cap, like they did with 802.11n functionality in some macbooks.


RE: Why would they have done that?
By Aloonatic on 6/23/2009 9:43:18 AM , Rating: 1
Did they do something similar with the blue tooth connectivity with iPhones/iPod touches? Damn my memory, it's god awful :)


RE: Why would they have done that?
By CZroe on 6/23/2009 3:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
They charge $10 for major OS upgrades on the iPod touch, but not the iPhone. The second-generation iPod touch has Bluetooth 2.0 hardware but no A2DP/AVRCP software, same as the original iPhone. In iPhone OS 3.0, though Apple has written A2DP/AVRCP support for the two *different* sets of Bluetooth hardware in the second-gen iPod touch and iPhone 3G, they did not write support for the original iPhone. They excused this, explaining that the hardware is "different," but we know that the second-gen iPod touch and iPhone 3G were every bit as "different" from eachother as the original Bluetooth 2.0 iPhone, so the real reason is that there aren't enough users and they want them to upgrade.

My experience with the iPhone 3G and iPhone OD 3.0 beta 5:

The A2DP processing is done in software which delays the audio more than typical dock-port adapters and the video does not compensate for lip-syncing. Even the very first A2DP MP3 player in the US, the Insignia NS-DVB4G could do that.

The internal 2.4GHz antenna is shared so you can't do significant WiFi streaming with A2DP. The signal quality drops to nearly nothing and the audio/video source (Pandora, Youtube, etc)skips severely.


RE: Why would they have done that?
By monomer on 6/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: Why would they have done that?
By TomZ on 6/23/2009 9:28:44 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Why would they have gimped the SATA ports?
Probably to save power and extend battery life.


RE: Why would they have done that?
By Roffles on 6/23/2009 10:07:39 AM , Rating: 2
That was my first thought...wait for the reviewers to publish battery performance and then remove the cap. But given how efficient SSD's are, I couldn't imagine it making that big of a difference. Somebody should test the battery life before and after (cough cough Anand cough).


RE: Why would they have done that?
By JMS3072 on 6/23/2009 10:24:08 AM , Rating: 3
Simple. Apple doesn't officially support consumers changing the hard drives, or having those hard drives changed to anything non-Apple approved. Because the only Apple-approved SSDs are those that you can get with the Macs, then, theoretically, if everyone follows the "rules", then there should be no need to have more than 1.5Gbps SATA in any notebooks that don't have SSDs pre-installed, because no regular HDDs can exceed that kind of bandwidth. That's why they included 3Gbps SATA in the SSD models. Putting only 1.5Gbps SATA in the other models serves both as a motive for people to go with the higher-model SSD MBPs, and as a deterrent from people installing their own drives.


By mattclary on 6/23/2009 11:01:52 AM , Rating: 3
So, basically, market segmentation. Want more speed, buy the higher end model.


RE: Why would they have done that?
By fsardis on 6/23/2009 3:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
You missed a small detail. Both the 13 and 15 inch models regardless of what disk was installed were capped at SATA1. Even if you selected the SSD upgrade which is a Samsung by the way, you would still get the same SATA1 cap. The Samsung SSD was capable of 200MB/s which means it was getting capped at a mere 110MB/s according to benchmarks.
Apple screwed up big time with that one but at least they fixed it fast.
One has to wonder why they would cap the 13 and 15 inch models but not the 17" model considering they both feature exactly the same controller and chipset.


RE: Why would they have done that?
By JMS3072 on 6/24/2009 7:44:50 AM , Rating: 2
Funny, from what I heard, only the non-SSD models were messed up.

Well, if that's true, then there's another simple answer: Apple screwed up. Is that so hard to believe? I love how this site is full of Apple-haters, and yet, none of you are willing to believe that a mistake was made.


RE: Why would they have done that?
By JMS3072 on 6/24/2009 7:47:22 AM , Rating: 2
Wait a sec, another idea. Both the 13" and the 15" Macs needed new drivers, whereas the 17" only got a speedbump. What if it's as simple as that; that the optimised version of Leopard that shipped with them wasn't optimised quite right?


RE: Why would they have done that?
By web2dot0 on 6/23/2009 3:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
One possible reason is the they missed this test data point.

This problem doesn't show up unless you're running SSD. Which is like 5% or less of their deployment scenarios.

Seeing that running SSD is no different from IDE, I would guess that they didn't do enough regression testing on that.


So Apple Intentionaly slowed the SATA
By SilthDraeth on 6/23/2009 8:52:56 AM , Rating: 3
Interesting.




By DrLudvig on 6/23/2009 9:01:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, i wonder if they actually thought it wouldn't be noticed? Seing as they were this quick with getting a fix out for it..


RE: So Apple Intentionaly slowed the SATA
By Golgatha on 6/23/2009 9:04:27 AM , Rating: 2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensible_Firmware_I...

Also worth reading - http://kerneltrap.org/node/6884

EFI is a newer alternative to the BIOS and was supposed to replace it. We all see how well that turned out, as my brand new X58 chipset is still using a normal BIOS.


By Golgatha on 6/23/2009 9:06:52 AM , Rating: 2
Err...was trying to start a new thread, but I was commenting on this comment.

EFI is Apple's version of BIOS

EFI is an Intel thing, not an Apple thing. It started being used with the introduction of Itanium servers I believe, which is well before Apple started using it.


By McScoot on 6/23/2009 9:29:06 AM , Rating: 3
Windows didn't support EFI until I think Vista Service Pack 1, so until that point it seems there wasn't much motivation to support it (even if an EFI firmware can present a BIOS interface, why go to the trouble?).

I guess once some manufacturers begin to use EFI (e.g., if Asus introduced a much nicer EFI-based interface for configuration of their motherboards) others will follow. We are almost at the point where the 2TB limitation of standard MBR partition tables will begin to annoy some home users too (EFI systems boot from GPT disks).


RE: So Apple Intentionaly slowed the SATA
By nomagic on 6/23/2009 9:29:32 AM , Rating: 2
After reading your wiki links, I came to realize that EFI is in essence a more complex and feature-packed BIOS.

Maybe EFI will never replace the BIOS because EFI itself is a form of BIOS?


By TomZ on 6/23/2009 9:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
From a technical perspective, EFI can replace BIOS. When and if that actually ever happens, however, is a business decision.


By sprockkets on 6/23/2009 3:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/free-bios.html

FSF philosophy aside, I don't like the idea of EFI hanging around after the OS has loaded.

Of course, we all know how bad ACPI sucsks as well.

That's what I hate about the BIOS in general. Take the orginal XBOX. The moment you hit the switch, it instantly is ready to go, showing a small splash clip that in any normal computer could only be shown while in the OS itself.


Who cares about any of this
By wingnutheadboy on 6/24/2009 7:19:21 AM , Rating: 2
So sick of hearing about apple...




"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad














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