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Friday, April 18, 2008, 05:35 am PT (08:35 am ET)

Blank MBP displays; Maine Apple store; new iPhone retail prep

Some MacBook Pro users applying Apple's most recent firmware are finding themselves with blank LCD screens. Also, the Mac maker is readying its first Maine retail store; Vodafone may carry the iPhone for India; and AT&T may be planning for a new emphasis on the iPhone in June.

MacBook Pro displays blanking out after update

Early adopters of Apple's latest MacBook Pro EFI update are finding themselves without a usable screen, according to a growing discussion in the company's support forums.

Some users applying the update, particularly those with an external display attached, find that their computer screen refuses to display an image even if the system itself is completely responsive.

"From as best I can tell, the MBP is booting up with no problem, I just have a black screen," says one report. "I let the computer start up, and run for several minutes. I then sent the keyboard command to log off, and I could hear the computer activity increase."

Most common solutions fail to resolve the problem, including resetting the PRAM. A small number have successfully recovered by finding workarounds to restore firmware and deleting display sleep preferences, though some also report trying the same without success.

Apple hasn't commented on the matter, which so far has affected mostly mid-2007 MacBook Pro systems.

Apple hiring for Maine retail stores

Covering one of the few vacancies left in its retail strategy, Apple is hiring for its first retail store in Maine, Portland's Press Herald reports.

Position listings both at Apple's official jobs site as well as at Monster.com ask for employees to staff a location at Maine Mall in the south end of the city.

Previously, the closest official store to most state residents has been a Salem, New Hampshire outlet.

iPhone for India rumored for September

Indian retail connections to Apple allege that the firm will bring a version of the iPhone to the south Asian country in the first week of September.

These purported sources also claim that international provider Vodafone will be India's sole distributor for the handset and that the price will vary between 27,200 and 28,000 Rupees ($680-700) for an 8GB model. A 16GB version is also due but may be delayed to as late as mid-2009 to accommodate demand.

Apple has declined comment on the very specific rumors, which may depend on Apple India working to introduce a more official presence in the country. The US-based company is teaming with local retailer Reliance Digital to open semi-official stores known as iStores; while one already exists in Hyderabad, a second in Bangalore is also expected and will be followed by a third in Chennai.

AT&T asked to prep for iPhone's second wave?

In what seems a repeat of its approach last year, AT&T appears to be asking its retail stores to emphasize the iPhone in June, AppleInsider has heard.

People familiar with the matter indicate that there are substantial plans to rearrange store layouts to better highlight Apple's device, including more attention given to the iPhone demonstration area and cardboard stands at the front of the locations.

The changes should ideally be completed by mid-to-late June, according to sources. Apple is scheduled to open its Worldwide Developer Conference in mid-June and has confirmed that it expects to launch its version 2.0 iPhone firmware the same month.

There is no word as to whether AT&T is taking extra steps to accommodate any new launches, and thus far has not called for temps to serve as crowd control as it did during last June's iPhone launch.