First Third-Party SSD With Native OS X TRIM Support Launched by Angelbird

angelbird_ssd_trimWith the growing popularity and declining cost of solid-state drives (SSDs) for Macs and other personal computers, users have becoming increasingly interested in putting third-party SSDs into their machines. But one issue Mac users have been running into involves support for TRIM, a system-level command that allows the operating system and the drive to communicate about which areas of the drive are considered unused and thus ready to be erased and rewritten to.

Without TRIM, writes to the drive can see significant slowdowns as the system must read and erase each block on the fly before writing new data. But unfortunately for users looking to install third-party SSDs into their machines, Apple only officially supports TRIM on Apple-branded SSDs. Workarounds such as Trim Enabler have naturally been developed to enable TRIM on non-Apple SSDs, but a new lineup of SSDs released earlier this month by Austrian firm Angelbird claims to be the first third-party SSD to support TRIM right out of the box with no need for additional software tweaking.

Exactly how Angelbird has achieved native TRIM support on Mac is unclear, as the company has not responded to requests for comment. French site MacBidouille reports [Google Translate], however, that Angelbird’s SSDs appear to simply be masquerading as genuine Apple SSDs, thereby qualifying for native TRIM support. While the method appears rather questionable and likely to draw Apple’s attention, the drive could still be an appealing option for users looking for the easiest possible solution for upgrading to an SSD

OS X Yosemite has added yet another wrinkle for third-party SSD users, as the new kext signing security measure included in the new operating system means that Yosemite systems will refuse to load modified drivers such as those used by TRIM-enabling software. Cindori, the company behind Trim Enabler, is for now recommending that users interested in enabling TRIM on third-party SSDs with Yosemite disable the kext-signing check entirely. The company acknowledges that turning off this global setting is far from ideal and “for most users it will not be worth it”, but for now it is the only solution.

Angelbird has not specified whether its SSDs bypass the Yosemite TRIM issues, but if the drives do indeed simply qualify as Apple SSDs due to the way the model number is presented, it is possible that native TRIM support may still function under Yosemite. Angelbird’s SSD wrk lineup is available in three capacities: 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB starting at an MSRP of $99.99.





Trent Reznor Working on ‘Challenging’ Music Delivery Project at Apple

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who serves as Chief Creative Officer of Beats Music, became an Apple employee alongside Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre when Apple acquired Beats back in May.

In a new interview with Billboard, Reznor revealed that he joined the company because Apple was “interested in tapping his creative energy” and that he’s currently working on designing a product related to music delivery for Apple. According to Reznor, no one has hit “the right formula” when it comes to streaming music.

trentreznorjimmyiovineBeats Music co-founder Jimmy Iovine with Trent Reznor, image courtesy of USA Today

“I am on the side of streaming music, and I think the right streaming service could solve everybody’s problems,” says Reznor, who along with Ross will participate in a keynote Q&A at the Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference being held at Universal City’s Globe Theater on Nov. 5. “Ownership is waning. Everybody is comfortable with the cloud — your documents, who knows where they are? They are there when you need them. That idea that I’ve got my records on the shelf doesn’t feel as important even to me as it used to. I just think we haven’t quite hit the right formula yet.”

Reznor says his role at Apple is an evolution of his Beats role and that Apple has him designing products for the company. While he declined to go into detail, he did say that he’s doing “very creative work that’s not directly making music,” but is instead related to music delivery. His work, he says, is “challenging” and “could have a big enough impact that it’s worth the effort.”

Beats was bought by Apple, and they expressed direct interest in me designing some products with them. I can’t go into details, but I feel like I’m in a unique position where I could be of benefit to them. That does mean some compromises in terms of how much brain power goes toward music and creating. This is very creative work that’s not directly making music, but it’s around music.

Rumors have suggested that Apple plans to completely revamp Beats Music, possibly rolling it into iTunes. A rebranding is planned, and new features and a lower price could be part of the Beats Music redesign. It’s possible that Reznor, who says he’s working on the streaming music side of things, is helping decide on the direction Apple’s streaming music service will take. Apple may be planning to unveil its revamped music subscription service and new branding as early as February, ahead of the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Reznor’s full interview, which also includes tidbits on his early life, his interest in movies, his work on Gone Girl, comments on U2’s “Songs of Innocence” iTunes release, and more, can be read at Billboard.





Apple’s Jony Ive Talks Apple Watch at SFMOMA Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony

Apple design chief Jony Ive on Thursday was honored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in an event that celebrated Ive’s 2014 Bay Area Treasure Award. The award, bestowed by the Modern Art Council (MAC), recognizes creative individuals who have influenced visual culture.

ive_moma_award

“Ive is our generation’s most innovative and influential figure in the field of industrial design—no other design mind has done more to transform the way we visualize and share information,” said SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “SFMOMA was the first museum on the West Coast to establish a department of architecture and design, and we’re thrilled to celebrate Ive’s revolutionary achievements.”

Speaking during the award ceremony, Ive commented on the Apple Watch and the challenge of designing Apple’s first smartwatch product in a series of comments reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“Even though Apple Watch does so many things, there are cultural, historical implications and expectations,” Ive said. “That’s why it’s been such a difficult and humbling program.”

Ive also emphasized the dilemma of developing a product that would mean different things to different people. Adding to the complexity of the design is the device itself, which is used only casually by its owners.

“As soon as something is worn, we have expectations of choice,” said Ive. Only “in prison,” he joked, do people all wear the same thing.”

Ive’s strict focus on his design work was also revealed in the interview when he admitted he didn’t know the details of Apple’s most recent financial results.

“I honestly don’t know the numbers,” said Ive. “But I know they are high.”

The Bay Area Treasure Award is one of several awards given to Ive in recent years. The Apple designer was the recipient of a National Design Award for the iPhone in 2007 and a team-issued 2012 Design and Art Direction award. He also was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in a ceremony held in 2012.






Apple Reverses Course on iOS 8 Notification Center Calculators

pcalcYesterday, Apple told PCalc developer James Thomson that the Notification Center widget portion of his popular calculator app PCalc would need to be removed, as Notification Center widgets “cannot perform any calculations.”

Following significant media coverage of the issue, Apple has now reversed course on the decision and according to an Apple spokesperson that spoke to TechCrunch, both PCalc and its Notification Center widget will be allowed to remain in the App Store, along with all other apps that contain calculator widgets.

The initial decision to remove Pcalc‘s widget was reportedly the result of a use case that Apple had not anticipated. Because it was not within the guidelines, an App Store reviewer told Thomson the functionality would need to be changed or it would be pulled from the App Store. It’s likely the attention the removal received sparked a deeper review of the app, leading to the policy change.

Thomson’s PCalc app was one of the first apps to be updated for iOS 8 and following its release, it was lauded for its convenient and unique use of the Notification Center in App Store reviews and in iOS 8 coverage from a variety of sites.

Apple itself features PCalc‘s Notification Center widget in multiple places in the App Store, including a section called “Extend Your Apps” featuring apps with unique widgets, and a “Great Apps and Games for iOS 8″ section, which also features a selection of interesting Notification Center widgets.

PCalc can be downloaded from the App Store for $9.99. [Direct Link]

PCalc Lite, a free version of the PCalc app, also includes the Notification Center widget. [Direct Link]

Update 10:12 AM PT: PCalc developer James Thompson has received a phone call from Apple confirming that the PCalc widget will be allowed to remain intact.