Apple offers refunds for Lion Overcharges

Apple has started refunding users who were charged multiple times for their Lion purchases. Seval sites reported last week that a users checking account was drained of nearly $4,000 when he was charged 122 times for Lion. The email above was sent to a user who was charged 8 times.

Other users who were double charged may see similar emails soon.

Apple adds 90 second song previews internationally

Apple has extended song previews to 90 seconds in some international iTunes music stores. As noted by MacRumors, the extended previews are available in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and some other parts of Europe. As with the US store, not all songs will have 90 second previews; some are still limited to 30 seconds.

When Apple first began offering 90 second song previews in the US back in December they apparently did so without consulting the music labels. Instead they simply added a new agreement to iTunes Connect that the labels had to accept to continue adding songs to iTunes. It read:

“We are pleased to let you know that we are preparing to increase the length of music previews from 30 seconds to 90 seconds on the iTunes Store in the United States. We believe that giving potential customers more time to listen to your music will lead to more purchases.”

Hong Kong Has More iPads Per Person Than Any Other Country

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Wow these numbers are amazing Apple’s iPad is so popular in Hong Kong that one in six Hong Kong citizens own the device.

That means around 17% of Hong Kong’s people own an iPad, according to MIC Gadget, which is six times the global average of 3%. The market research was carried out by TNS, who surveyed 34,000 people from 43 countries — 501 of which were in Hong Kong.

What’s just as impressive is that 50% of those in Hong Kong said that intend to purchase a tablet, which is higher than the global average of 15%. In comparison with China, where only 2.1% of citizens own an iPad, just 5.9% of its people said they plan to buy one. And in the U.S.? 5.3% of Americans own a tablet, and 20.3% intend to buy one.

Of course, Apple’s device dominates everyone’s wish-list. Over the past 12 months, 500,000 tablets have been sold in Hong Kong, with a staggering nine out of ten being the iPad. However, MIC Gadget doesn’t believe all of those iPads will be used by their purchasers:

The data is stunning, however, we don’t believe the locals are using it after buying it, since there’s a grey market in the city, where you can sell the iPads for profits. So, how many of the devices were bought by locals and how many by tourists could not be confirmed.

Apple adds Steve Jobs Easter Egg Apple in OS X Lion!

This is way cool, reader Pascal Beausoleil pointed to a cool  easter egg in OS X Lion.

If you go to System Preferences > Users you can change your OS X default user icon to a vinyl record… but what are the track titles on that record? If you like Steve Jobs’ keynotes and his unique, shouted catchphrases, you’ll absolutely love this…

Yup, the track titles on the record label are all Steve-isms: “Magic”, “Revolution”, “Boom!” and “Unbelievable.” Now that sounds like an album I’d like to listen to.

MacBook Airs equipped with different speed SSDs

Not all the new MacBook Airs are created equal. TLDToday discovered that Apple is yet again using two different manufacturers for the Air’s SSD drives. Some MacBook Airs are shipping with Samsung SSDs, while others are shipping with SSDs made by Toshiba. The issue that arises with this is that the Samsung SSDs are faster than the Toshiba ones.

TLDToday found that the MacBook Air with a 128 GB Samsung SSD produced speeds of up to 246 MB/s write and 264 MB/s read. On paper that’s a lot faster than the 156 MB/s write and 208 MB/s read speeds that the 128 GB Toshiba SSD-equipped MacBook Air achieved.

To find out which SSD your newest MacBook Air has go to the Apple menu and select About This Mac. Click the More Info button, then click System Report. Select Serial-ATA from the Hardware header in the source list. Look for where it says “Apple SSD.” If the letters after that are “SM” you have the Samsung SSD. If the letters are “TS” you have the Toshiba SSD.

Unfortunately there’s no way to check which SSD drive you have before buying the Air, unless the Apple store lets you open the box and power it on before you buy it.

Apple releases update for Mac OS X 10.6.8

Following the release of OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 a little over a month ago, Apple has released a new version of the operating system to users with bug fixes. This bug fix update will come automatically in the download for those who are still running earlier versions of Snow Leopard, but a patch is available for those who are already on 10.6.8.

The Mac OS X 10.6.8 Supplemental Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 and resolves issues with:

  • Transferring personal data, settings, and compatible applications from a Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard to a new Mac running Mac OS X Lion
  • Certain network printers that pause print jobs immediately and fail to complete
  • System audio that stops working when using HDMI or optical audio out

The update is available via the Mac’s Software Update application.

Facebook’s iPad app revealed

Well this is interesting, Facebook’s long awaited iPad app has been revealed, just not by Facebook, instead the guys at TechCrunch have discovered the the code to Facebook’s iPad app has been hidden inside the code of Facebook’s iPhone app. No, the iPad app code wasn’t always there. It was apparently added in with yesterday’s 3.4.4 update of the Facebook for iPhone app. According to TechCrunch’s MG Siegler:

All of this is possible apparently thanks to a seemingly tiny update Facebook pushed yesterday to their iPhone app. Version 3.4.4 seemed like a small version that restored the “Send” button for comments and chat among a few other little things. Facebook may have even pushed it out in response to some backlash they had been getting about the app, as Financial Times covered a few days ago. Perhaps it was the rush to fix some of those issues that caused Facebook to push this version – which will clearly eventually be Universal Binary (meaning it will house both the iPhone and iPad versions of the app) – with the iPad elements inside. Whatever the case, the app is carrying a payload of much greater importance than some bug fixes.

Students can now rent Textbooks for the Kindle

For the students among us this is great news, according to  Amazon, “You can now save up to 80 percent off the list price of the print textbook by renting Kindle Textbooks on the Kindle or Kindle-compliant devices such as Windows and OS X PCs, iPads, iPhones and BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices”. In other words this means that students will get access to “Tens of thousands of textbooks” are available for rent across those platforms, You can choose a rental length between 30 and 360 days and extend your rental for as little as one day. What’s best, regardless of your chosen rental period, Amazon will charge you only for the exact time you need a book. From Amazon:

Kindle Textbook Rental is a flexible and affordable way to read textbooks. You can rent for the minimum length, typically 30 days, and save up to 80% off the print list price. If you find you need your textbook longer, you can extend your rental by as little as 1 day as many times as you want and just pay for the added days.

You can tell whether  a Kindle edition is available for rent in the Textbooks Store section of the Kindle app or from the search bar.

App Store coming to 33 new countries.

Apple has expanded App Store availability to an additional 33 countries. With this latest expansion, App Store apps are now available for purchase in about 123 nations. Apple still has some room left to expand, with several African, Middle Eastern, and South Pacific nations remaining unrepresented on the App Store.

New countries added to the roll include:

  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Bolivia
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Iceland
  • Montserrat
  • Nigeria
  • Oman
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen

Apple Releases New Sandy Bridge Mac Minis and Thunderbolt Display

When Apple release Lion they also released a bunch of hardware at the same time, more specifically Apple released an update to its Mac mini line, bringing Intel’s Sandy Bridge platform to the diminutive desktop computer along with new support for the Thunderbolt connectivity standard being pushed by Apple and Intel. The new Mac mini lineup consists of two standard stock configurations alongside a “server” model. Notably, all models drop the optical disc in favor of an optional external SuperDrive.Standard models
– 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5, 500 GB hard drive, 2 GB RAM: $599
– 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 500 GB hard drive, 4 GB RAM: $799Server model
– 2.0 GHz, dual 500 GB hard drives, 4 GB RAM: $999Additional build-to-order options include an upgrade to 8 GB of RAM, up to 750 GB hard drives, and an external SuperDrive. The high-end standard model and the server model can also be configured with one (standard) or two (server) 256 GB solid-state drives.The new Mac mini delivers up to twice the processor and graphics performance of the previous generation in the same amazingly compact and efficient aluminum design.* Starting at just $599 (US), the new Mac mini is available for order today and in stores tomorrow.

“Mac mini delivers the speed and expandability that makes it perfect for the desktop, living room or office,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With faster processors, more powerful graphics and Thunderbolt in an incredibly compact, aluminum design, the new Mac mini is more versatile than ever.”

All Mac mini models ship with OS X Lion pre-installed.

Alongside the new Mac mini models, Apple also announced a new Apple Thunderbolt Display. Appearing nearly identical to the previous 27-inch LED Cinema Display, the primary upgrade to Apple’s sole standalone display offering is Thunderbolt compatibility, enabling the device to be used within daisy-chained configurations of the new high-speed data and display connectivity standard. With the new standard, users can for the first time run two displays off of a single Thunderbolt port on Macs offering enough graphics horsepower to support the pixel load.

The upgrade to Thunderbolt also allows Apple to turn the display into an “ultimate docking station”, with the new display now offering a built-in FaceTime HD camera, 2.1 speaker system, three USB ports, one Firewire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a second Thunderbolt port to enable daisy chaining. An integrated MagSafe cable for powering connected notebook computers also continues to be offered.“The Apple Thunderbolt Display is the ultimate docking station for your Mac notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.” With just one cable, users can dock with their new display and connect to high performance peripherals, network connections and audio devices.”

The new LED Cinema Display will be available within the next 60 days and is priced at $999.