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Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Briefly: 10.4.5 fixes Front Row issues, MacBook Pro in stores

The Mac OS X 10.4.5 Update released yesterday fixes some issues with Apple's Front Row software running on Intel iMacs. Meanwhile, the company's first Intel-based notebook computers are already arriving in retail stores across the country.

Mac OS X 10.4.5

Commenting on the release of Mac OS X 10.4.5 in a research note released early Wednesday morning, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said, "What caught our attention is that this update fixes the well-publicized video glitch with FrontRow software on an Intel-based iMac Core Duo, in-line with our expectation that this would be a software fix and not a hardware component problem that many feared would require a recall."

After installing the update on a 2GHz iMac Core Duo, AppleInsider correspondents said the entire system became significantly more responsive. As noted in our review of the 2.0GHz iMac Core Duo, Front Row suffered from an unresponsive interface and overall sluggishness. With Mac OS X 10.4.5, these problem seems to have been resolved. Now, every input from the infrared remote is recognized by the machine, and load times seem much more reasonable, even with the stock 512MB of RAM, these correspondents say.

Meanwhile, visual artifacts affecting interface elements in Mac OS X have been an ongoing issue for owners of iMac CoreDuo models with a 256MB ATI Radeon X1600 video card. The Mac OS X 10.4.5 Update has been unable to rectify this problem completely.

"So far, we've only noticed them in Safari, but that was a focal point for many visual bugs prior to the update," correspondents said. "When scrolling, some images randomly become scrambled, sometimes leaving so-called artifacts outside of the image container. It's not clear if the update will prevent other video glitches, but, to our disappointment, the most annoying bugs remain."

MacBook Pro

Also in his note released Wednesday, Wu said that his proprietary checks with industry and channel sources indicate that Intel's microprocessor yields have improved, enabling Apple to ship more high-end Core Duo systems.

"In addition, our checks indicate that MacBook Pros are in stock at key distributors and many Apple stores while others are en route to fulfill pre-orders," Wu wrote. "We continue to believe that Apple's fundamentals remain sound and arguably among the strongest in technology, but negative investor sentiment and its weak technicals may indicate further share price downside."

Absent of technicals, for longer term fundamental investors, Wu says he would take advantage of the pull-back to build and/or add to Apple positions.