Engadget

3.3677172874625 (1047)
Posted by motoman 04/17/2009 @ 11:14

Tags : engadget, blogs, blogosphere, internet, technology

News headlines
The Daily Engadget: 70000 HP Batteries Recalled, blackberry Storm 2 - Switched
by Tim Stevens — May 15th 2009 at 10:08AM Our friends over at Engadget obsessively cover everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics, which is why we compile this daily roundup of their top stuff (or, at least, what we think is tops)....
Ask Engadget: Best Guitar Hero / Rock Band axe? - engadget
No, seriously -- can you handle yet another episode of Ask Engadget? Considering that our omnipresent intern bots are recording your head nodding up and down this very moment, we'll just cut straight to Chad's question: "After viewing the special...
Engadget Podcast 146 - 05.15.2009 - engadget
They nod, the engineer hits the record button, and history is made: The Engadget Podcast, volume 146. Update: We added a video feed of your charming hosts from the recording studio after the break. It's definitely an experiment at this stage,...
Logitech Harmony Adapter for PlayStation 3 now shipping (Engadget) - Zergwatch
Just try to wrap your minds around this, Harmony / PS3 owners: this weekend is the last weekend that your otherwise awesome universal remote won't be able to power on your otherwise awesome Blu-ray / media player. Wild, we know....
Asus Eee Keyboard arriving shortly - CNET News
Engadget "has it on good authority" that the world's dominant Netbook purveyor will launch the product first shown in January at the trade show next month. We know it will have a 5-inch touch screen embedded in the keyboard, an Atom processor, and,...
Rumor: More Motion-Sensing Madness from Microsoft - Kombo.com
The latest whispers to surround the Xbox 360 trying to encroach on the Wii's turf comes from Engadget, who report that a tipster who purports to be "in the know" has brought them some information that jives well with some other murmurs heard last year...

Engadget

Engadget is a popular, award-winning multilingual technology weblog and podcast about consumer electronics. Engadget currently has four different websites, all operating simultaneously with each having its own staff, which cover technology news in different parts of the world in their respective languages.

Engadget was co-founded by former Gizmodo technology weblog editor and co-founder, Peter Rojas. Engadget is a member of Weblogs, Inc., a blog network with over 75 weblogs including Autoblog and Joystiq and formerly including Hack-A-Day. Weblogs Inc. was purchased by AOL in 2005. Engadget's editor-in-chief, Ryan Block, announced on July 22, 2008 that he would be stepping down as editor-in-chief in late August, leaving the role to Joshua Topolsky.

Launched in March 2004, Engadget is updated multiple times a day with articles on gadgets and consumer electronics. It also posts rumors about the technological world, frequently offers opinion within its stories, and produces the weekly Engadget Podcast that covers tech and gadget news stories that happened during the week.

Since its founding, dozens of writers have written for or contributed to Engadget, Engadget Mobile and Engadget HD, including high profile bloggers, industry analysts, and professional journalists. These writers include Jason Calacanis, Paul Boutin, Phillip Torrone, and Susan Mernit.

Engadget has been nominated for numerous awards, including a 2004 Bloggie for Best Technology Weblog, and 2005 Bloggies for Best Computers or Technology Weblog and Best Group Weblog; Engadget won Best Tech Blog in the 2004 and 2005 Weblog Awards.

Gmail, Google's webmail service, as well as many other RSS readers, has included Engadget as a default RSS feed, pulling the latest articles which appear at the top of all user's mailboxes.

To extend readership, the blog is available in several languages including Spanish, Japanese, Polish, and Chinese (traditional and simplified).

The Engadget podcast was launched in October 2004 and was originally hosted by Phillip Torrone and Len Pryor. He was the host for the first 22 episodes of the podcast at which point Eric Rice took over. Eric Rice is known for his own podcast, called The Eric Rice Show and has also produced podcasts for Weblogs Inc. Eric hosted and produced 4 episodes of the podcast for Engadget until the show was taken over by Peter Rojas and Ryan Block. After about twelve episodes of both hosting and producing (episode 38,) Engadget hired podcast producer Randall Bennett, who worked as Engadget and Weblogs, Inc.'s rich media producer until May 2006.

The topic of discussion for the podcast is technology related and closely linked to events that have happened during the week in the world of technology. The show generally lasts from 30 minutes to an hour. The show is normally weekly, however there are events that disrupt this occasionally. When events such as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) come around each year, the podcast has been known to be broadcast daily during the event to cover the latest news on gadgets. More recently, special versions of the podcast have been made including the "Engadget Lovecast" and a listeners' voicemail podcast.

More recently the podcast has been sponsored. Organisations sponsor the podcast in return for a mention in the show. The host of the podcast will typically mention the sponsor during the beginning, middle and end of the show. Sponsors have included Best Buy, Nikon and most recently Castrol.

The Engadget podcast is available as a subscription through iTunes and as an RSS feed. Alternatively, it can be downloaded directly from the site in either MP3, Ogg, AAC or m4b format. The m4b version features images related to the current topic of discussion and can be displayed in iTunes or on a compatible player.

In early 2006 Engadget reported that they were victims of their likeness being stolen and used as a store name at a mall in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, however, they stated they would not be taking any action. The store has since changed its name (or possibly shutdown and a new store opened with a new name). In July of last year, another store had opened, also in Malaysia, with a logo bearing the same resemblance to Engadget's.

In May 2007, Engadget published a story based on an email sent to Apple employees announcing that the company was delaying the launches of both the iPhone and Mac OS X Leopard. After the story ran, Apple's share price dropped 3%. Less than 20 minutes later the story was retracted after the email was discovered to have been a hoax perpetrated on Apple employees. Apple's shares eventually recovered, and Ryan Block apologized for the mistake.

In March 2006, DAPreview, a website about digital audio players, noted that Engadget used a photo that had originally been taken by DAPreview, and then removed attribution by cropping the DAPreview logo off. Engadget's managing editor Ryan Block agreed that the photo had been copied and cropped, stated that it had been a mistake, and apologized and restored the image's attribution.

On March 31st 2008, Engadget reported that T-Mobile had sent a letter requesting that Engadget cease using the color magenta in its Engadget Mobile site, claiming that T-Mobile had trademarked the color. Engadget issued a response on April 1st, mainly by repainting the Engadget sites and changing the Mobile logo for the day to a logo that looks as though it is saying "Engadge t-mobile". The site has since returned to normal format, with the exception of the highlighting color.

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History of the iPhone

People waiting in line for the iPhone release in New York City.

The History of the iPhone began with Steve Jobs' direction that Apple engineers investigate touch-screens. At the time he had been considering having Apple work on tablet PCs. Many have noted the device's similarities to Apple's previous touch-screen portable device, the Newton MessagePad. Like the Newton, the iPhone is nearly all screen. Its form factor is credited to Apple's head of design, Jonathan Ive.

Comments made by Jobs in April 2003 at the "D: All Things Digital" executive conference expressed his belief that tablet PCs and traditional PDAs were not good choices as high-demand markets for Apple to enter, despite many requests made to him that Apple create another PDA. He did believe that cell phones were going to become important devices for portable information access, and that what cell phones needed to have was excellent synchronization software. At the time, instead of focusing on a follow-up to their Newton PDA, Jobs had Apple put its energies into the iPod, and the iTunes software (which can be used to synchronize content with iPod devices), released January 2001. On September 7, 2005, Apple and Motorola released the ROKR E1, the first mobile phone to use iTunes. Jobs was unhappy with the ROKR, feeling that having to compromise with a non-Apple designer (Motorola) prevented Apple from designing the phone they wanted to make. In September 2006, Apple discontinued support for the ROKR and released a version of iTunes that included references to an as-yet unknown mobile phone that could display pictures and video. On January 9, 2007, Jobs announced the iPhone at the Macworld convention, receiving substantial media attention, and on June 11, 2007 announced at the Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference that the iPhone would support third-party applications using the Safari engine on the device. Third-parties would create the Web 2.0 applications and users would access them via the internet. Such applications appeared even before the release of the iPhone; the first being "OneTrip", a program meant to keep track of the user's shopping list. On June 29, 2007, Apple released version 7.3 of iTunes to coincide with the release of the iPhone. This release contains support for iPhone service activation and syncing.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the iPhone is manufactured on contract in the Shenzhen factory of the Taiwanese company Hon Hai.

The commercial was created by TBWA\Chiat\Day, Apple's ad agency since CEO Steve Jobs' return to the company in 1997. TBWA's Media Arts Lab will continue to handle all upcoming advertising for iPhone, much as it has for iPod.

On June 3, 2007, Apple released four advertisements that announce a June 29, 2007 release date, and which concluded, "Use requires minimum new 2 year activation plan."; the footnote has since been removed from all four of the ads. A fifth ad featuring YouTube was released on June 21, 2007. All five advertisements feature a voice over describing various iPhone features, demonstrated on-screen. The song "Perfect Timing (This Morning)" by Orba Squara plays in the background.

The first publicly released iPhone 3G ad was first shown at WWDC 2008. Since then, iPhone 3G ads have been similar to those of the original iPhone; however, the background is white and the music used is "You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie" by The Submarines and can be viewed on Apple's website.

One iPhone television advertisement was banned in the UK after the Advertising Standards Authority decided that the ad made false claims about the device's ability to access websites, and did not mention limitations in doing so.

On July 1, 2007, it was reported that Apple paid at least US$1 million to Michael Kovatch for the transfer of the iphone.com domain name. Kovatch registered the domain in 1995. That URL now redirects to Apple's iPhone page.

On June 28, 2007, during an address to Apple employees, Steve Jobs announced that all full-time Apple employees and those part-time employees that have been with the company at least one year would receive a free iPhone. Employees received their phones in July after the initial demand subsided.

Initially priced at US$599 and US$499 for the 8 GB and 4 GB models, the iPhone went on sale on June 29, 2007. Apple closed its stores at 2:00 PM local time to prepare for the 6:00 PM iPhone launch, while hundreds of customers lined up at stores nationwide.

The iPhone is only available for those who subscribe to a two-year AT&T service plan. In addition, in the U.S. and some other countries it can only be acquired with a credit card precluding a completely anonymous purchase. There is no way to opt out of the data plan. The iPhone at first could not be added to an AT&T Business account, and any existing business account discounts cannot be applied to an iPhone AT&T account, which AT&T changed in late January 2008.

Early estimates by technology analysts estimated sales of between 250,000 to 700,000 units in the first weekend alone, with strong sales continuing after the initial weekend. As part of their quarterly earnings announcement, AT&T reported that 146,000 iPhones were activated in the first weekend. Though this figure does not include units that were purchased for resale on eBay or otherwise not activated until after the opening weekend, it is still less than most initial estimates. It is also estimated that 95% of the units sold are the 8 GB model.

Stories of unexpected billing issues began to circulate in blogs and the technical press a little more than a month after the iPhone's heavily advertised and anticipated release. The 300-page iPhone bill in a box received by Justine Ezarik on Saturday August 11, 2007 became the subject of her viral video, posted by the following Monday, which quickly became an Internet meme. This video clip brought the voluminous bills to the attention of the mass media. Ten days later, after the video had been viewed more than 3 million times on the Internet, and had received international news coverage, AT&T sent iPhone users a text message outlining changes in its billing practices.

On September 5, 2007, the 4 GB model was discontinued, and the 8 GB model price was cut by a third. Those who had purchased an iPhone in the 14-day period before the September 5, 2007 announcement were eligible for a US$200 "price protection" rebate from Apple or AT&T. However, it was widely reported that some who bought between the June 29, 2007 launch and the August 22, 2007 price protection kick-in date complained that this was a larger-than-normal price drop for such a relatively short period and accused Apple of unfair pricing.

In response to customer complaints, on September 6, 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in an open letter to iPhone customers that everyone who purchased an iPhone at the higher price "and who is not receiving a rebate or other consideration", would receive a US$100 credit to be redeemed towards the purchase of any product sold in Apple's retail or online stores.

With the July 11, 2008 release of the iPhone 3G, Apple and AT&T changed the U.S. pricing model from the previous generation. Following the de facto model for mobile phone service in the United States, AT&T will subsidize a sizable portion of the upfront cost for the iPhone 3G followed by charging a moderately higher monthly fees over a minimum two year contract.

On November 9, 2007, iPhone was officially launched in Europe in the United Kingdom and Germany. In the UK, sales are going through the UK O2 unit of Telefónica, while in Germany, it is offered through Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile division. Similar to the previous launch in U.S. customers lined up as much as a day in advance to get hold of the much anticipated phone.

However, the initial operating model locking iPhone owners to one selected carrier have been controversial in Europe. In Germany, a competing operator, Vodafone, brought the case for court claiming that the arrangement was against German law. On November 20, 2007, an interim court order resulted in the locked iPhone sales in Germany to be temporarily stopped.

It is currently unclear how this situation will continue to develop in Europe. The iPhone launch in France a few weeks later through the operator Orange, facing the same legal issues. Other countries that will pose the same problems for the locked iPhone business model include Belgium, Italy, Finland, and Brazil.

On December 1, 2007, Tusmobil, Slovenian mobile operator, started selling "unlocked" iPhones without an official contract with Apple, offer caused a lot of confusion with Apple Europe, local media and local Apple representatives.

On May 6, 2008, Telecom Italia announced that it has signed a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in Italy within the end of 2008. It will probably be the second generation iPhone with 3G-UMTS capability.

On May 27, 2008, TeliaSonera released a press release stating that it will start selling the iPhone in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia during 2008.

On August 22, 2008, EMT, Estonian mobile operator, started selling iPhones.

On August 22, 2008, Vodafone Greece, released iPhones in the Greek market.

On September 26, 2008, Omnitel released iPhones in the Lithuania.

On November 7, 2008, T-Mobile released iPhones in Croatia.

The very first iPhone 3G model released on July 11 2008 was sold in Auckland New Zealand to 22 year old student Jonny Gladwell at 12:01am NZST. The iPhone is available to customers on the Vodafone network. There was much criticism from New Zealand customers when Vodafone announced their pricing for the iPhone. The first generation of iPhones has been available for sale in New Zealand through parallel import stores since the phones originally went on sale in the US, the original 2G models available for sale in New Zealand have been unlocked for use on the Vodafone network and can be used with any plan including Pre-paid.

It is likely that in the near future rival phone network Telecom New Zealand will sell iPhones to be used on the Telecom Mobile Network.

On May 6, Vodafone announced that they have signed a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in Australia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa, and Turkey.

Subsequent announcements confirmed that Apple is moving away from exclusive one-carrier deals. Soon after Vodafone's announcement, TIM announced it would also be selling the iPhone in Italy, on May 12, Optus confirmed it would sell it in Australia and SingTel confirmed that it would be selling the iPhone in India through its Indian partner, Airtel.

On June 4, 2008, SoftBank Mobile released a press release stating that it will start selling the iPhone in Japan during 2008.

Russia's second largest mobile operator Beeline announced on August 28, 2008 that they signed a contract with Apple to enter Russian market by the late 2008. This deal is rumoured to be non-exclusive according to the unofficial statements made by some officials in two remaining mobile operators that belong to so-called Russia's Big Three – MTS and MegaFon - to enter iPhone 3G on Russian market simultaneously with Beeline. As it was predicted, MegaFon issued the press release about the same deal on September 2, 2008 MTS, the hugest mobile network of Russia and CIS still haven't released any statement.

On November 14, 2008, Vodafone Egypt and Mobinil started selling the iPhone 3G in Egypt. This comes after Vodafone's deal with Apple Inc. earlier in May. The iPhone 3G is priced at 3,800 EGP and 4,600 EGP for the 8 GB and 16 GB models respectively. Customers must also sign up for one of 3 service plans to accompany the phone.

The iPhone normally prevents access to its media player and web features unless it has also been activated as a phone through AT&T. On July 3, 2007, Jon Lech Johansen reported on his blog that he had successfully bypassed this requirement and unlocked the iPhone's other features with jailbreaking. He published the software and offsets for others to use.

On August 14, 2007, Gizmodo reported verification of a method to bypass the iPhone's SIM lock, allowing the phone to work freely with carriers other than AT&T. This method requires a Turbo SIM card costing approximately US$80 and essentially tricks the iPhone into believing that it is operating on the AT&T network even when it is connected natively (not in roaming mode) to another carrier. Australian Personal Computer later published a 10 step guide to unlocking the iPhone using the Turbo SIM method.

In mid-August, UniquePhones announced an unlocking service for the iPhone, only to retract this service the following week after receiving a phone call from a lawyer representing AT&T.

On August 24, 2007, George Hotz, a 17 year old hacker from Glen Rock, New Jersey, broke the lock that ties Apple's iPhone to AT&T's Wireless Network. He confirmed that he unlocked the phone and was using it on T-Mobile's Network. The hack opened up a realm of possibilities for overseas customers because the iPhone was only sold in the U.S at the time. By unlocking it, Hotz opened up the phone to all kinds of phone networks across the world. Hotz posted the hack on his blog. The process is complicated and requires both disassembling the iPhone and executing software commands on a personal computer. Hotz, along with four others across the world, reportedly spent about 500 hours to unlock the phone.

Also, on August 24, 2007, Engadget reported, by way of photos and a video clip, that they were called by the "iPhoneSimFree" team to view a demonstration of unlocking the iPhone using a software only solution. Unlike Hotz's hardware hack, the code in this hack has not been made available to the general public. Sales of the unlock started on September 10, by way of several resellers who were able to order "keys" from iPhoneSimFree which are then passed onto the customer to use the software.

After only one full day of sales, early on September 11 the iPhoneDevTeam announced that they had also created a working "software unlock", and released it to the public for free. Utilizing the existing unlock requires some technical knowledge, although a GUI-based version was under construction. Two free, GUI-based unlocking programs which have been made available are AnySim and iUnlock Reloaded.

On September 24, 2007 Apple issued a warning that future updates could render unlocked iPhones unusable. On September 27, 2007, owners of unlocked iPhones who took advantage of the version 1.1.1 update through iTunes reported that the update rendered the device virtually inoperable. There have also been reports that the update even affected some iPhones that were not unlocked, and Engadget found that the firmware update had "bricked" unhacked iPhones as well. The firmware update relocks iPhones, but in October 11 the iPhoneSIMFree announced that they had hacked the 1.1.1 iPhone update, not only unlocking them but also unbricking those iPhones which were bricked by the update.

On October 16, 2007, the iPhone Dev Team released AnySIM 1.1, the free utility that unlocks iPhones. The updated version works on firmware version 1.1.1, but doesn't fix baseband problems caused by updating an unlocked 1.0.2 phone up to 1.1.1.

On October 23, 2007, the iPhone Elite Dev-Team released Revirginizing Tool to rebuild the lock table in the seczone area to repair the damage done by the original anySIM 1.0x unlockers so unlocked 1.0.2 iPhones can upgrade to 1.1.1 without bricking the iPhone. The tool is unbricking the previously bricked iPhones.

On November 21, 2007 T-Mobile announced that due to litigation commenced against them by their competitor Vodafone (which resulted in a preliminary injunction preventing T-Mobile from locking the SIM card to T-Mobile in Germany), it will sell the phone "unlocked" and will offer the iPhone without a T-Mobile contract for €999 (US$1,478) at its shops to customers in Germany until the court renders a decision.

During the end of November, Apple released another version of iPhone firmware, 1.1.2. This version does not have many new features, but breaks unlocks.

During Macworld '08, on January 15, Apple released a fifth version of iPhone firmware, 1.1.3; this version repairs loopholes used by "iPhone Hackers." The firmware however had been compromised prior to release and new security measures were quickly bypassed.

On February 8, 2008 Geohot released the first full software unlock for the 1.1.2 & 1.1.3 OTB iPhones.

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Joystiq

Joystiq's E3 2006 crew

Joystiq is a video gaming website founded in June 2004 that has since become one of the most successful sites within the Weblogs, Inc. (WIN) family of weblogs. It is the centerpiece of WIN's own network of video gaming blogs, which also includes blogs devoted to specific gaming hardware (such as PS3 Fanboy), as well as a blog dealing with the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft.

As of early 2004, Weblogs, Inc. was seeking to add a blog to its repertoire for the sole purpose of covering news related to video games, as evidenced by the now-defunct The Video Games Weblog, founded 2004-02-27. On March 12, WIN CEO Jason Calacanis announced two spinoff projects: The Unofficial Playstation 3 Weblog and The Unofficial Xbox 2, both of which are now similarly retired, though they would set a precedent for the launching of Joystiq's Fanboy blogs in 2005. However, none of these three initial weblogs were ever aggressively marketed, and The Video Games Weblog made its final post on May 18, 2005, amassing 175 blog entries in total (a rather scant amount by Weblogs, Inc. standards). All three blogs are now listed as "On Hiatus/Retired" in the Weblogs, Inc. directory. As an interesting bit of trivia, David Touve, the primary contributor to these early blogs, would later act as Joystiq's features editor for a short time in late 2005 before resigning due to the birth of his child.

Later that year, following 2004's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Peter Rojas, the founder of and lead contributor to WIN's flagship blog Engadget, formally introduced Joystiq to the masses, positioning the blog as an extension to Engadget's Gaming subdomain. However, being a separate and wholly video game-related entity, Joystiq allowed for much more in-depth analysis of the video game industry than the primarily consumer electronics-oriented Engadget. While Joystiq had featured content as early as April 2, the blog is not officially considered to have been launched until Rojas's public revelation on Engadget on Wednesday, June 16, 2004.

Since then, Joystiq has experienced continuous steady growth and consistently ranks in the top 40 blogs on the internet according to Technorati.

The first major shakeup in Joystiq's history occurred in June 2005, when senior editor Ben Zackheim, after being offered a position at America Online's Games division, announced his resignation due to a conflict of interest. He was succeeded by Vladimir Cole, a blogger who had been hired February 2005 and who held the position of Editor-in-Chief until February 2007, when current editor Christopher Grant took over after Cole took a job with Microsoft's Xbox division. Weblogs, Inc. was acquired in October 2005 by America Online.

On November 21, 2005, coinciding with the North American launch of the Xbox 360, Joystiq welcomed its first spinoff project: Xbox 360 Fanboy, a blog devoted solely to the in-depth coverage of its namesake hardware. For the next three weeks this trend would continue, with PSP Fanboy launching on November 28, WoW Insider on December 6, and DS Fanboy on December 12. On February 15, 2006, a sixth blog was introduced: Revolution Fanboy, (which was later renamed to Nintendo Wii Fanboy), while March 29 heralded the arrival of PS3 Fanboy, completing Joystiq's trifecta of specialized next-gen coverage. While some have criticized the practice of splintering off Joystiq's primary areas of expertise as nothing more than a thinly-veiled bid to increase traffic, Jason Calacanis has justified these actions by asserting that as Joystiq grows so too does its potential audience, and thus separate blogs are necessary to fulfill these specialized niches.

On January 26th, 2006, Joystiq coined the phrase "DS phat": a nickname for the old-style Nintendo DS that helps differentiate between the old DS and the new DS lite. The usage of the word "phat" is a reference to both the DS' chunky design and Nintendo's intentional misspelling of the word "light" in the DS lite.

On January 27, 2009, the Fanboy sites were rebranded and integrated directly into the main Joystiq site. DS and Wii Fanboy were merged into Joystiq Nintendo, as were PSP and PS3 Fanboy merged into Joystiq Playstation, and Xbox 360 Fanboy became Joystiq Xbox. The new sites now share console-specific posts from Joystiq as well as continue to feature their own specialized articles.

Historically, Joystiq's primary competitor and pseudo-rival has been Gawker Media's video gaming blog Kotaku. However, this is due in no small part to the rivalry between WIN CEO Jason Calacanis and Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker Media, as this relationship holds true for a number of blogs residing in each camp, including Autoblog and Jalopnik, as well as Engadget and Gizmodo.

Since its inception, Joystiq has had a number of bloggers who now contribute both to the main website and to its spunoff sibling blogs. Among them are Christopher Grant, Joystiq's Senior Editor and James Ransom-Wiley, Joystiq's most prolific blogger. Additionally, Joystiq has a number of contributors, including Game Politics' Dennis McCauly ("The Political Game"), Bonnie Ruberg ("Playing Dirty") and Scott Jon Siegel ("Off the Grid").

Also notable is the Joystiq podcast, which has quickly become one of the more popular gaming podcasts on iTunes. It is hosted by Chris Grant, Ludwig Kietzmann and Justin McElroy. The three discuss various gaming-related news stories. Segments include, 'What Have you Been Playing?', 'Brush With Fame', 'The Big Three' and 'Reader Mail'. Various podcasts have included guests from other gaming websites such as CheapyD, Chris Remo, Stephen Totilo, Rocco Botte, and Shawn Andrich.

While Joystiq has been nominated for several awards in the category of technology-related weblogs, it has consistently been overshadowed in this regard by blogs representing a far wider spectrum of technology, including Slashdot, Gizmodo, and its ubiquitous sibling Engadget. Joystiq has, however, been included in a number of listings of outstanding weblogs, including Forbes.com's Best of the Web and the Feedster 500.

During the 2005 Spike TV Video Game Awards, one of the rare occasions when a category has existed to acknowledge weblogs specializing in video games, Joystiq finished last behind Kotaku and Games.Slashdot, who tied for first place. However, due to the dubious public perception of the awards (especially amongst "hardcore" gamers), Joystiq declared this to be an honor of the highest order and presented themselves with the award for Least Association With the Most Egregiously Farcical Event of 2005.

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Weblogs, Inc.

Weblogs, Inc. is a network of around 90 weblogs, covering a variety of subjects, from computers and gaming to the likes of food and independent film. Roughly half of these blogs are regularly updated and maintained. Weblogs, Inc. was founded in September 2003.

Weblogs, Inc. was founded by Brian Alvey and Jason Calacanis with an investment from Mark Cuban. The company was founded in the wake of Calacanis' Silicon Alley Reporter magazine.

By early 2004 Weblogs, Inc. and Gawker Media were establishing the two most important templates for networked blog empires. At that time Weblogs, Inc. consisted of a few dozen blogs designed for professional readership, all residing as subdomains of weblogsinc.com. The exception was Engadget, a stand-alone site covering new technology in blog format. Engadget was co-founded by Peter Rojas, the former editor of Gizmodo in the Gawker Media network.

By the end of 2004 and continuing through the start of 2006, Weblogs, Inc. expanded its focus to consumer topics and launched a series of domain-specific sites independent of the weblogsinc.com domain but sharing the same network-wide blogroll. At the start of 2006, 26 stand-alone sites populated the network, and over 50 subdomain blogs were in operation. Retired blogs and event blogs, archived and visible on the network, numbered 19. A few of the company principals maintain personal blogs in the blogroll, and the home page is maintained in blog format. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban, an early investor in the company, keeps his personal weblog on the Weblogs, Inc. network.

At the start of 2006, the company structure consisted of an executive and administrative team of eight individuals, including the aforementioned Calacanis, Alvey, and Rojas. Thirty-two "lead" bloggers edited content channels or stand-alone sites, and managed topic-specific staffs of bloggers. At that time the company contracted about 150 freelance bloggers.

Weblogs, Inc. was (and is) considered the largest-scaled attempt at enterprise blogging. The network sells an inventory of display advertising space supplemented by Google AdSense. Revenue from AdSense alone was claimed to be approaching $1,000,000 USD per year.

Weblogs, Inc. was purchased in October 2005 by AOL for a reported $25 million. While details were sketchy, it was reported in "Blogebrity: The Blog" that the bloggers would maintain all their rights, and would even come out of the deal in better condition. Headlines from blogs would begin to appear in AIM and at AOL.com, new contracts would be signed allowing bloggers to use their content offline, and AOL would be moving to an ad format that would match Weblogs, Inc. Weblogs, Inc. would be operated as an independent AOL-owned company.

Launched in March 2004, Engadget is updated multiple times a day with articles on gadgets and consumer electronics. Although Engadget appears to be a weblog, it is really a webzine. It has been nominated for numerous awards, including a 2004 Bloggie for Best Technology Weblog, and 2005 Bloggies for Best Computers or Technology Weblog and Best Group Weblog; Engadget won Best Tech Blog in the 2004 and 2005 Weblog Awards.

Joystiq is a popular weblog covering video games and video game culture.

TV Squad is a television weblog founded on March 10, 2005 and in 2006 was one of the most popular on the internet. TV Squad was originally conceptualized to allow any Weblogs, Inc. blogger to write about the television shows they watch. Eventually a core group of bloggers for the site was realized, with several other Weblogs, Inc. bloggers contributing on an irregular basis. TV Squad currently has approximately 20 regularly contributing bloggers. Writers include Bob Sassone, Wil Wheaton and Paul Goebel. During the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, while some industry blogs stopped or wrote articles in support of the strike, TV Squad continued to publish material normally.

Autoblog is a popular weblog and podcast about automobiles and the automotive industry.

TUAW covers tips, reviews, news, analysis and opinion on everything Apple. Founded in 2004 and one of the most successful blogs from Weblogs, Inc.

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OnLive

OnLive Logo.jpg

OnLive is an on-demand video game platform, announced at the Game Developers Conference in 2009. The service is a gaming equivalent of cloud computing: the game is synchronized, rendered, and stored on a remote server and delivered online. The service was announced to be compatible with any Windows PC running XP or Vista or Intel based Mac running OS X. A low-end computer, as long as it can play video, may be used to play any kind of game since the game is computed on the OnLive server. For that reason, the service is being seen as a strong competitor for the console market. Thus, Engadget states that "Broadband connections of 1.5 Mbps dials the image quality down to Wii levels while 4-5 Mbps pipes are required for HD resolution." The average broadband connection speed in the US at the end of 2008 was 3.9 Mbps, while 25 percent of US broadband connections were rated faster than 5 Mbps.

It was announced that Electronic Arts, Take-Two, Ubisoft, Epic Games, Atari, Codemasters, THQ, Warner Bros., 2D Boy and Eidos Interactive have signed up to have their PC games available on the service. Sixteen game titles are currently available from the OnLive service. The service is currently in closed beta with plans to have an open beta during the summer of 2009. The service is planned for release in the winter of 2009.

OnLive will also sell a console, called the MicroConsole, that can be connected to a TV and that will connect directly to the OnLive service, so that it will be possible to use the service without owning a computer.

Steve Perlman has also suggested that the underlying electronics and compression chip could be integrated into set-top boxes and other consumer electronics.

The MicroConsole supports up to 4 wireless controllers and 4 Bluetooth headsets. It also has a USB port for keyboard and mouse.

The OnLive service will be hosted in five co-located North American data centres. Currently there are facilities in Santa Clara, CA and Virginia, and one being fitted out in Texas. It is claimed users must be located with 1,000 miles of one of these to receive a high quality service.

The hardware used is a custom set up consisting of OnLive's proprietary video compression chip as well as standard PC CPU and GPU chips. For older, or lower performance, games such as LEGO Batman multiple instances can be played on each server using virtualisation technology. High-end games such as Crysis Warhead will require one GPU per game however. Two video streams are created for each game. One (the live stream) is optimised for gameplay and real-world internet conditions, while the other (the media stream) is a full HD stream that is stored server-side and used for spectators or for gamers to record brag clips of their games.

OnLive was incubated within Rearden LLC, a company founded by Steve Perlman. Since it was spun out as an independent company, it has also taken over control of MOVA, another Rearden start-up founded by Steve Perlman, as a wholly-owned subsidiary. MOVA is a facial creation and motion capture company whose technology has been used in films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

OnLive's investors include Warner Bros., Autodesk, and Maverick Capital.

Soon after its announcement, many game journalists expressed skepticism concerning how OnLive service would work. These mainly related to the quality of the service in real-world conditions, both in terms of the hardware required in OnLive server centres to render and compress the video, as well as the impact of commercial internet broadband connections on its delivery. During GDC 2009, which is held in San Francisco, the OnLive service was only 50 miles from its Santa Clara data centre. The closed beta has also only seen "hundreds of users on the system".

Matt Peckham from PC World stated that it might be technically difficult to transfer the amount of data that a high definition game would require; later on he mentions that OnLive would need a "deterministic broadband". That is "a guaranteed, non-shared, uninterruptible speed," but "broadband isn't there yet, nor are ISPs willing to offer performance guarantees." He also mentions concerns about the "mod community" being unable to create and offer mods since all the game data will be stored on the OnLive servers; as well as the fact that any games bought on OnLive are not actually owned by the user. If OnLive were to go under, all the user's games would also disappear with it. Currently, no widespread trial has been made to test the service so it is unclear whether it would work once live.

Leadbetter also expresses concern that latency connecting OnLive's servers over the Internet will be too great for a reasonable experience.

Interviewed by the BBC on the 1 April 2009, Steve Perlman denied these accusations by saying that OnLive has developed a custom compression technology that will make the service possible. "Rather than fighting against the internet... and dropped, delayed or out of order packets we designed an algorithm that deals with these characteristics," he explained. He also dismisses the Eurogamer's article as "a very ignorant article, conflated issues of frame rate and latency".

If OnLive were to become a reality, console manufacturers such as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft would be the most affected. In particular, Steve Perlman has said the console, joystick and subscription would be cheaper than the cheapest of consoles.

None of the console manufacturers made any official announcements about OnLive, however Sony registered a trademark for cloud gaming called "PS Cloud" the day after OnLive was announced.

The first company to enter this space is the California-based company OTOY. It made an announcement on January 8, 2009 at CES. Soon after OnLive was announced, another competitor, Gaikai, was announced. Gaikai had not planned to announce its streaming browser-based Game-on-Demand service until June, but founder David Perry said it had to bring this forward when OnLive made its announcement.

Spawn Labs also announced its Slingbox for games service, although it will initially target its solution as a productivity tool for game developers, rather than a consumer-focused product.

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PowerBook

The PowerBook 150

The PowerBook is a line of Macintosh laptop computers that was designed, manufactured and sold by Apple Computer, Inc. from 1991 to 2006. During its lifetime, the PowerBook went through several major revisions and redesigns, often being the first to incorporate features that would later become standard in competing laptops. The PowerBook line was targeted at the professional market, and received numerous awards, especially in the second half of its life, such as the 2001 Industrial Design Excellence Awards "Gold" status, and Engadget's 2005 "Laptop of the Year".

Prior to the PowerBook's introduction, Apple produced the Macintosh Portable. At that time, third-party portables that ran Macintosh software were also available, such as the Outbound Laptop. In 1999, the line was supplemented by the low-end iBook range. The PowerBook and iBook lines were discontinued and replaced by the MacBook family by 2006.

In October 1991 Apple released the first three PowerBooks: the low-end PowerBook 100, the more powerful PowerBook 140, and the high end PowerBook 170, the only one with an active matrix display. These machines caused a stir in the industry with their compact dark grey cases, use of a trackball, and the clever positioning of the keyboard which left room for palmrests. Portable PC computers at the time tended to have the keyboard forward towards the user, with empty space behind it, so this was a surprising innovation. The PowerBook 140 and 170 were the original PowerBook designs, while the PowerBook 100 was the result of Apple having sent the schematics of the Mac Portable to Sony, who miniaturized the components. Hence the PowerBook 100's design does not match those of the rest of the series, as it was actually designed after the 140 & 170 and further benefited from improvements learned during their development. The PowerBook 100, however, did not sell well until Apple dropped the price substantially.

In 1992 Apple released a hybrid portable/desktop computer, the PowerBook Duo, continuing to streamline the subnotebook features introduced with the PowerBook 100. The Duos were a series of very thin and lightweight laptops with a minimum of features, which could be inserted into a docking station to provide the system with extra video memory, storage space, connectors, and could be connected to a monitor. The model did not sell as well as expected, although several companies have since adapted the design.

Both the 100 & 200 series PowerBooks were intended to tie into the rest of the Apple desktop products utilizing the corporate Snow White design language incorporated into all product designs since 1986. However, unlike the Macintosh Portable which was essentially a battery powered desktop in weight and size, the light colors and decorative recessed lines did not seem appropriate for the scaled down designs. In addition to adopting the darker grey colour scheme which co-ordinated with the official corporate look, they also adopted a raised series of ridges mimicking the indented lines on the desktops. The innovative look not only unified their entire product line, but set Apple apart in the marketplace and had the added benefit of masking fingerprints while the ridges provided added traction with which to grip the PowerBook. These early series would be the last to utilize the aging Snow White look, with the 190 adopting a new uniquely Apple look along with the introduction of the 500 series.

The first series of PowerBooks were hugely successful: capturing 40% of all laptop sales, a fact that Apple did not capitalize on. The original team left to work at Compaq, setting back updated versions for some time. When increasing processing power, Apple was hampered by the overheating problems of the 68040; this resulted in the 100-series PowerBook being stuck with the aging 68030 which could not compete with newer-generation Intel 80486-based PC laptops introduced in 1994. For several years, new PowerBook and PowerBook Duo computers were introduced which featured incremental improvements, including color screens, but by mid-decade, most other companies had copied the majority of the PowerBook's features, and Apple was unable to regain their lead.

The original PowerBook 100, 140, and 170 were replaced by the 145 (updated to the 145B in 1993), 160, and 180 in 1992, with the 160 and 180 having video output allowing them to drive an external monitor. The PowerBook 180 had a superb-for-the-time active-matrix grayscale display, making it popular. In 1993, the PowerBook 165c was the first PowerBook with a color screen, later followed by the 180c. In 1994, the last true member of the 100-series form factor introduced was the PowerBook 150, targeted at value-minded consumers and students. The PowerBook 190, released in 1995, bears no resemblance to the rest of the PowerBook 100 series, and is in fact simply a Motorola 68LC040-based version of the PowerBook 5300, and the last PowerBook model to be manufactured using a Motorola 68k-family processor). However, like the 190, the 150 also used used the 5300 IDE-based logic-board architecture. From the 100's 68000 processor, to the 190's 68LC040 processor, the 100 series PowerBooks span the entire Apple 68K line, with the 190 even upgradable to a Power PC processor. The PowerBook Duo spanned the 68030 line of processors and sold through the Power PC transition to the G3 processor with the 2300, also based on the 5300's internal architecture.

Apple's PowerBook product line declined during this time period. 1994 saw the introduction of the Motorola 68LC040-based PowerBook 500 series, code-named Blackbird. These models of PowerBooks were much sleeker and faster than the 100 series, which they replaced as the mid and high-end models. The 500 series featured DSTN (520) or active-matrix LCD displays (540 and 550), stereo speakers, and was the first computer to use a trackpad (although a similar technology had been included on the pioneering Gavilan SC 11 years earlier); it was also the first portable computer to offer built-in Ethernet networking. The PowerBook 500 series was the mainstay of the product line until the PowerBook 5300. The 500 series was the first PowerBook to feature PCMCIA slots, although this was an optional feature which required the user to sacrifice one of the two available battery slots to house the PCMCIA expansion cage.

The PowerBook 500 series was released as Apple was already moving its desktop machines to the PowerPC processor range, and a future upgrade was promised from the start. This came in 1995, as an Apple daughterboard containing a 100 MHz 603e processor and 8 MB of RAM (which snapped into a slot containing the previous 25 or 33 MHz 68040 processor and the 4 MB of RAM on the previous daughterboard). At the same time Newer Technology offered an Apple-authorized 117 MHz daughterboard, which was more popular than the Apple product, and optionally came without any RAM. The company later offered 167 MHz and 183 MHz upgrades containing more memory and onboard cache memory to improve performance. However, the internal architecture of the 500 series meant that the speed increase provided by the 100 and 117 MHz upgrades was, for most users, relatively small.

The 500 series was completely discontinued upon the introduction of its replacement the PPC-based PowerBook 5300, with the low-end (but upgradable) PowerBook 190 replacing the 500's role as the only 68LC040 PowerBook Apple offered.

The PowerBook 5300, while highly anticipated as one of the first PowerPC-based PowerBooks (along with the PowerBook Duo 2300c, both released on the same day), had numerous problems. The 5300 series is widely considered Apple's worst product of the 1995-1996 time period. In its 5300ce incarnation with a TFT of 800x600 pixels, Apple offered a 117 MHz PPC, 32 MB of on-board RAM, and a hot-swappable drive bay. With all of these features, though, the 5300ce was quite ahead of other laptop models at the time. Multiple problems with reliability, stability and safety (by some, the model was referred as the "HindenBook" because the lithium ion batteries used actually burst into flame in Apple tests, necessitating a recall and downgrade to nickel metal hydride batteries) were present in the early 5300s. These drawbacks by far failed to meet the quality standard expected for the price. After Apple offered an Extended Repair Program, the series turned into a remarkably attractive machine, but never lost its bad reputation.

Apple recovered from the 5300 debacle in 1996 and 1997 by introducing three new PowerBooks: the PowerBook 1400, intended to replace the 5300 as a general-purpose PowerBook; the PowerBook 2400, intended as a slim, sleek sub-notebook to replace the PowerBook Duo; and the luxury model PowerBook 3400. The PowerBook 1400 and 3400 were in fact the first PowerBooks ever to include an internal CD drive, and were introduced in a time when laptops rarely had one. This eventually became the norm throughout the industry after the PowerBook's adoption. Late in 1997, the PowerBook 3400 was adapted into the first PowerBook G3, codenamed the Kanga. This series was the last PowerBook model to employ a "real" keyboard with 1 cm high keys; all later models have flat keys.

The first PowerBook G3 Series (completely redesigned from the Kanga) was released in 1998, although it was still an Old World ROM Mac. These new PowerBooks took design cues from the 500 series PowerBook, sporting dramatic curves and a jet-black plastic case. They were so fashionable that various G3 models became the personal computer of Carrie Bradshaw in the long-running Sex and the City television show. Debuting at roughly the same time as the G3 iMac, the "WallStreet/Mainstreet" series composed of models with varying features, such as different processing speeds (from 233 to 300 MHz) and the choice of 12-, 13-, or 14-inch screens. They all included dual drive bays capable of accommodating floppy drives, CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drives, hard drives, or even extra batteries. A second PowerBook G3 Series code-named "PDQ" was introduced later in 1998, with minor changes in configuration options, notably the inclusion of L2 cache in even the lowest-priced 233 MHz model, which helped overall performance.

Apple introduced two later G3 PowerBook models, similar in appearance (curved, black plastic case with black rubberized sections) but thinner, lighter and with revised internal systems. The "Lombard" appeared in 1999, (AKA: Bronze Keyboard) a thinner, lighter, and faster (333 or 400 MHz) PowerBook with a longer battery life and had both USB and SCSI built in and was a New World ROM Mac, and then the "Pismo" in 2000, which replaced the single SCSI port with two FireWire ports, updated the PowerBook line to AGP graphics, a 100 MHz bus speed, and DVD-ROM optical drives standard, in addition to dropping the "G3" from the PowerBook name. The Pismo revision also brought AirPort wireless networking capability (802.11b), which had debuted in Apple's iBook in July 1999. CPU upgrade cards are available for both Lombard and Pismo models.

Interim CEO Steve Jobs turned his eye to the redesign of the PowerBook series in 2000. The result, introduced in January 2001, was a completely re-designed New World PowerBook with a titanium skin and a 15.2-inch wide-aspect screen suitable for watching widescreen movies. Built with the PowerPC G4 processor, it was billed as "the first supercomputer you can actually take with you on an airplane." It was lighter than most PC based laptops, and due to the low power consumption of the PowerPC it outlasted them by hours.

The TiBooks, as they were nicknamed, became a fashion item. They were especially popular in the entertainment business, where they adorned many desks in Hollywood. They made some inroads into the desktop market as well, thanks to their large screen. Many other laptop manufacturers followed suit and imitated aspects of the design, especially the wide screen, and sometimes also the silvery metallic casing.

The Titanium PowerBooks were released in configurations of 400 MHz, 500 MHz, 550 MHz, 667 MHz, 800 MHz, 867 MHz, and 1 GHz. They are the last PowerBooks able to boot MacOS 9.

In 2003, Apple launched both the largest-screen laptop in the world and Apple's smallest full-featured notebook computer. Both machines were made of anodized aluminum (coining the new nickname AlBook), featured DVD-burning capabilities, AirPort Extreme networking, Bluetooth, and 12.1-inch or 17-inch LCD displays. The 17-inch model included a fiber optic-illuminated keyboard, which eventually became standard on all 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks. Two ambient light sensors, located under each speaker grille, adjusted the brightness of the backlit keyboard and the display according to the light level.

The 12-inch PowerBook's screen did not use the same panel as that used on the 12-inch iBook, while the 17-inch PowerBook used the same screen as that used on the 17-inch flat-panel iMac, but with a thinner backlight.

Later in 2003, the 15-inch PowerBooks were redesigned and featured the same aluminum body style as their smaller and larger siblings, and with the same feature set as the 17-inch model (including the backlit keyboard). This basic design would carry through the transition to the Intel-based MacBook Pro, lasting until late 2008.

In April, 2004, the aluminum PowerBooks were upgraded. The SuperDrive was upgraded to 4× burning speed for DVDs, the fastest processor available was upgraded to 1.5 GHz, and the graphics cards were replaced with newer models, offering up to 128 MB of video memory. A third built-in speaker was added to the 12-inch model for improved midrange sound. In addition, AirPort Extreme cards became standard for all PowerBooks instead of being offered as an add-on option.

In January, 2005, the specifications of the aluminum PowerBooks were revised once more to accompany a price decrease. Processor speeds were increased to a maximum of 1.67 GHz on the higher specification 15-inch and all 17-inch versions, while the lower specification 15-inch model and the 12-inch unit saw an increase in speed to 1.5 GHz. Optical audio output was added to the 17-inch version. Memory and hard drive defaults were increased to 512 MB and 5400 rpm, respectively, with a new storage maximum of 100 GB on the 17-inch model. Each model also received an enhanced trackpad with scrolling capabilities, a revised Bluetooth module supporting BT 2.0+EDR, and a new feature which parks the drive heads when sudden motion is detected by an internal sensor. Support for the 30-inch Apple Cinema display was also introduced in the new 17-inch model and was optional in the 15-inch model via a build-to-order upgrade to the computer's video hardware. The SuperDrive now included DVD+R capability.

In October, 2005, the two higher-end PowerBooks were upgraded once again, with higher-resolution displays (1440 × 960 pixels on the 15-inch model, and 1680 × 1050 pixels on the 17-inch model) and faster 533 MHz DDR2 (PC2-4200) memory. The SuperDrive became standard equipment and included support for dual-layer DVDs on the 15- and 17-inch models. The 17-inch model was updated with a 120 GB standard hard drive, as well as a 7200 RPM, 100 GB build-to-order option. These drives were also options on the 15-inch PowerBook. The 12-inch model with SuperDrive remained unchanged in this respect, although each new PowerBook boasted a longer battery life.

On May 20, 2005, Apple and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Apple were recalling some Apple PowerBook G4 batteries. The joint Apple/CPSC press release states that an internal short can cause the battery cells to overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers. The press release stated: "Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed." The defective batteries can be returned to Apple for replacement. Approximately 128,000 defective units were sold.

In early August 2006, Engadget reported that a PowerBook had "violently exploded" because of faulty battery.

About 1.1 million battery packs in the United States are being recalled; an additional 700,000 were sold outside the U.S.

These batteries were manufactured by Sony. Sony, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, HP, Fujitsu and Acer laptops were also affected.

A number of Powerbook G4 12-inch users have experienced that the replacement batteries see a sharp decline in their charge carrying capacity prompting them to comment that they were happier with the original ones. Apple has yet to comment on this issue.

At the 2006 Macworld Conference & Expo, the MacBook Pro was introduced. The new notebooks, however, only came in 15.4-inch models and the 12-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks were still available for sale at Apple stores and retailers. However the 15-inch was still sold for a while after the MacBook Pro was introduced and while supplies lasted. On April 24, 2006 the 17-inch PowerBook G4 was replaced by a 17-inch MacBook Pro variant. The 12-inch PowerBook G4 remained available until May 16, 2006, when the new MacBook was introduced. This made the 12-inch PowerBook 1.5 GHz the final official model of the PowerBook line, ending over 14.5 years of continuous production.

Traditionally, the portable line trailed the desktops in the utilization of the latest processors, with the notable exception of the PowerBook G3 which occurred simultaneously with the desktop Power Macintosh G3 introduction. However, it would continue to trail behind the desktop Macs, never even adopting the G5 processor. This was due primarily to the extreme heat caused by most of the full-sized processors available and unacceptable power consumption. With the introduction of the Intel-based Macs, once again, the MacBook Pro joined the iMac in sharing the new technology simultaneously.

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Source : Wikipedia