• Friday Morning Wheels

    As per previous years, Apple has started selling "Lucky Bags" across Apple Retail locations in Japan, which contain a random assortment of items for a fixed price. It's kind of a lucky dip as you don't know what products you'll get in advance, but there's a small chance you'll get something that far exceeds the price of the lucky bag, such as a MacBook Air or some model of iPad.

    According to upstream suppliers, DigiTimes is reporting that there are certain production issues facing Apple's upcoming smartwatch. The use of surface finish treatments on metal injected moulded is proving difficult, and likely means that Apple's smartwatch won't be launching until the second half of the year. I'm sure there'll be plenty to look forward to from Apple in the meantime, though.

    Apple has been fined US $670,000 in Taiwan for attempting to influence iPhone plan pricing. Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission found that Apple was forcing Taiwanese carriers to submit pricing information to the company before offering the iPhone for sale, something that I'm sure happens in other markets. It's also possible Apple could be fined an additional US $1.6 million if it continues to negotiate with carriers before allowing them to sell iPhones.

    Late last year, Apple acquired two last companies to round out their recent acquisition spree. BroadMap and Catch received the honour of being the last two companies to be acquired in Apple (that we know of), one a mapping technology company, the other, a productivity-focused note-taking tool with an app that shut down mere weeks before the acquisition. As per usual, Apple did not comment on either of its acquisitions.

    If nothing else, the iFixit teardown of the new Mac Pro should give you a fair idea of the amount of design that went into the machine. It's remarkable how the hardware engineers have packed so much into so little everything from the layout of the ports, the way one graphics card has a slot for the SSD and the other one doesn't, and so on. What's more, the new Mac Pro is surprisingly repairable, if you're willing to crack open your four thousand dollar computer.

    Yesterday I said the only thing I really wanted from technology this year is an affordable 4K display, and so it's good news that the current generation MacBook Pros can drive 4K displays at 60Hz in Windows. Testing by the folks at 9to5Mac shows that Mac OS X doesn't have the right drivers, yet. On the other hand, the new Mac Pro will handle up to three 4K displays just fine, provided you connect them on a different Thunderbolt bus.

    Wired Science has previously examined the science in Angry Birds, and they're back with a look at how fast the cars are in Angry Birds Go. This one's a little trickier to work out as there's no exact measurements for anything, but with a few assumptions you can get pretty good approximations of the length of the track and speed of the cars.

    A few good Apple TV tips, courtesy of Reddit. I honestly didn't know about holding down the Menu button to get back to the grid, and Beamer looks like it'll be a really handy app for those of us with, uh, alternate collections of media that's not in iTunes.

    Apple's most over-looked innovation isn't product design or user experience, says Techpinions. Instead, it's what happens when things go wrong: Apple's customer support is second to none, and I frequently hear from people that say they'll continue to buy Apple because of the service they received at the Genius Bar. Few other companies do replacement devices on the spot like Apple does.

    Over at iMore, Rene Ritchie has posted about what should we expect from Apple this year. New products, for sure, and new software releases (OS X 10.10? 11?), definitely. But whatever happens, I'll probably be around to cover it right here on the MacTalk front page have an excellent weekend, folks.
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