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Intel Announces Release of ‘Haswell’ Chips Ahead of WWDC

Just ahead of next week’s WWDC, Intel today announced the release of its latest brand of processors, which have been known as “Haswell” in the rumors bandied about over the past few months. According to Intel, the new processors allow for a 50 percent improvement in battery life for notebooks–the largest “ever achieved by Intel”–in addition to providing a graphical experience that’s twice as powerful as those offered by their predecessors. The new processors are expected to feature prominently in Apple’s anticipated Mac reveals at WWDC.

As MacRumors reports, Ars Technica released a helpful and in-depth overview of some of the new quad-core chips ahead of Intel’s official announcement, with a particular focus on the 10 versions of Core i7 notebook chips and six Core i7 and six Core i5 chips for desktop machines. Today, Anandtech has the scoop on the dual-core chips for new notebooks, which we’ll likely see in the form of new MacBooks and new MacBook Airs next week.

As a side note, the news helps to substantiate the predictions of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that new Haswell-powered units will make their appearance at this year’s WWDC, which we reported on last month. For its part, Intel is confident that the new battery life alone serves as cause to welcome the new chips. According to Intel’s press release, “For some systems coming to market this year, over nine hours of active use battery life or 10 to 13 days of standby with fresh data on a single charge is expected.”


Logitech Announces Wired iPad Keyboard for Classroom Use

Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPadWe live in a mostly wireless world these days, but there are times when a good old-fashioned wired accessory works best — such as an external keyboard for the iPad when used in the classroom.

Logitech announced its Wired Keyboard for iPad this week, a first of its kind accessory targeted for the classroom. Available with either Lightning or 30-pin connectors to support all iPad models, the keyboard will retail for .99.

But why have a wired keyboard at all when the iPad is clearly such a mobile, wireless-centric device in the first place?

“Schools are increasingly purchasing iPads for use in the classroom,” said Mike Culver, vice president and general manager of mobility at Logitech. “While tablets are enabling new ways of teaching and testing, there’s a challenge when a teacher needs to simultaneously pair multiple iPads with multiple wireless Bluetooth keyboards. We developed the Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad to specifically solve this problem, so students can now simply plug it in and start typing.”

But the Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad doesn’t just solve a problem: It’s also built to be durable enough to withstand students spilling drinks on it or even banging away at the keys for long periods of time. (Logitech claims it has a key lifespan of more than five million strokes.)

The Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad with the Lightning Connector will be available first in August, with the Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad with the 30-pin Connector following closely behind in October.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



NAB 2013: 20Gbps Thunderbolt in 2014, Avid Announces Pro Tools 11

Avid Fast Track DuoThe annual NAB trade show is in full swing in Las Vegas, with big announcements from Intel on the arrival of even faster Thunderbolt and new pro audio offerings from Pro Tools maker Avid.

There’s plenty of excitement in Las Vegas this week as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show is in full swing. While there are plenty of announcements coming out of the Nevada desert, two caught our eye on Monday.

First up: Avid announced Pro Tools 11, the latest version of its pro music and audio production software for Mac and Windows. The 9 update for version 10 users is mostly about performance over features, with a 64-bit architecture (at last!), a new Avid Audio Engine, offline bounce mixes up to 150 times faster than real time and additional video interface support.

The real Avid news comes with the introduction of Fast Track Solo (9) and Fast Track Duo (9), portable audio interfaces for Mac and Windows that for the first time are also capable of connecting to the iPad, offering I/O support for iOS apps. The interfaces are already shipping to Avid resellers and will be soon be available direct from the company’s online store.

Switching gears, Engadget is reporting that Intel has unveiled the next generation of Thunderbolt, which promises to double the data rate to 20Gbps — and that will work in both directions, as well on each of the two channels the interface uses. The company will also introduce thinner cables, not that the existing ones are exactly pudgy to begin with.

The biggest news for pro video users is that true 4K file transfer support will be part of the technology, which is codenamed “Falcon Ridge” — and will be backward compatible with the Thunderbolt you’re already using. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until next year to see this speed increase.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



T-Mobile Announces First Subscriber Growth in Nearly 4 Years

T-Mobile logoIt’s been four long years since T-Mobile has seen subscriber growth in the United States, but the fourth-place carrier is finally getting a little good news now that the first quarter of 2013 is behind it.

TMoNews reported Thursday that everyone’s favorite magenta carrier will have some good news to report when it announces quarterly earnings on May 8, as more than half a million new customers have joined T-Mobile’s ranks over the last three months.

In a press release offering a preliminary look at its subscriber numbers, T-Mobile USA reveals that it added 579,000 customers during Q1 2013, bringing their grand total to 34 million — the first time the carrier has shown positive growth in almost four years.

The less good news is that only 3,000 of those subscribers were of the more lucrative contract type, with the remaining 576,000 arriving by way of T-Mobile MVNO or other unbranded offerings. However, that’s still a major coup for the carrier after bleeding 349,000 branded customers in Q4 2012.

“These results display positive momentum and the first positive branded growth in four years,” said John Legere, President & CEO of T-Mobile USA. “We have made material progress in stabilizing our branded business in Q1, which provides a solid foundation to build on with the new Un-carrier customer offers we launched last week across America. I believe the best is yet to come!”

Following T-Mobile’s March 26 event announcing the iPhone and its new “UNcarrier” plans, all eyes will be on the carrier next quarter to see if those initiatives will start producing further results.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Facebook Announces “New Home on Android” Event for April 4

Come See Our New Home on AndroidFor what seems like forever, Facebook has rumored to be developing a smartphone built around its service — and come April 4, those rumors may finally become reality at long last.

TechCrunch is reporting that Facebook has sent media invitations for an event the company is hosting at its Menlo Park, California headquarters on Thursday, April 4 at 10am PST.

“Come See Our New Home on Android,” the invitation teases, immediately fueling speculation that the social network could introduce a dedicated Facebook smartphone, which has been widely rumored to be built by HTC.

“Imagine Facebook’s integration with iOS 6, but on steroids, and built by Facebook itself,” the report speculates. “Rumors we’ve heard say that the project could actually be called ‘Facebook Home,’ and its hallmark would be a heavily Facebook-ified mobile phone home screen. This could include Facebook news feed stories and data splayed out right on the home screen, along with easy access to Facebook apps.”

One thing appears to be certain: Whatever it is that Facebook is working on, it’s built upon Android. The specific mention of Google’s mobile OS suggests that Facebook doesn’t plan to bury Android under its own forked version as Amazon’s Kindle Fire has, but rather complement the stock OS in any number of ways.

Facebook certainly has a lot of the pieces in place to pull this off, having recently introduced VoIP calling and dedicated apps for messaging. We’ll know for sure in less than a week, at any rate…

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of TechCrunch)



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