MediaFile

HP’s answer to the MacBook Air

HP’s answer to Apple’s MacBook Air is in, and it’s called the Folio13. 

 The company is one of the latest PC firms to launch an “Ultrabook” — a name chipmaker Intel gave to the new super-thin laptops that use its processors — but this time, it’s targeting the business user.

The launch must come as a relief to the Silicon Valley company’s PC unit employees, suspended as they were in limbo for over a month as HP considered whether to jettison the division or not. HP decided only late last month to keep the leading seller of PCs within its fold.

The Folio13 starts at 3.3 lbs, has a battery life up to 9 hours and includes a backlit keyboard, a popular feature on the MacBook Air.

Starting at $899, it’s $100 cheaper than Apple’s laptop. Rival  Acer also is selling its latest Ultrabook for $899.

Apple’s annual audit find some violations from suppliers

chinaapplApple has identified 17 “core” violations in an audit of suppliers that scrutinized 102 of the facilities where iPods, iPhones and Mac computers are produced.

Apple said its annual supplier responsibility assessment uncovered eight violations involving “excessive recruitment fees,” three with underage workers, three relating to hazardous waste disposal by noncertified vendors, and three of “falsified records.”

For example, it said three facilities were found to have hired 15-year-old workers in countries where the minimum employment age is 16.

Cracked Macs rankle Apple customers

Apple isn’t going out of its way to publicize the problem, but the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that cracked Macbooks are troubling users. Underscoring that, a Flickr site carries pictures of more than 200 cracked Macs, posted by the owners, along with their commentary.

Apple spokesman Bill Evans invited users with problems to bring them to Apple.

“Any user who has an issue with their Macbook should contact AppleCare for support, even if it is out of warranty,” he said of the problem, which dates back to at least 2006 and is still angering consumers.

Apple won’t say if they have upgraded the plastic that cracks, how many Macs they have fixed or if they expect more troubles as the aging plastic splinters.  Although the problem is notorious in old machines, users say it has also appeared in machines that are less than a year old. A British website, The Inquirer, reported earlier this year that Apple will repair the problem for out-of-warranty Macs at no charge.  Users like this one on the Flickr site also said the machines were repaired at no charge.

Live blogging the Apple WWDC

Reuters is sending live updates via Twitter from the Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference, scheduled to start at 10 am Pacific Time (1 pm Eastern). Read the updates below or follow us on Twitter.

More on Apple:

Not rich enough to be a Mac person

Microsoft — ruffled by constant ridicule by Apple — launched its latest counter-punch last night with an explicit jab at its cool but expensive archrival in a prime-time ad featuring one thrifty young woman’s quest to find a 17-inch laptop for under four figures.

“Lauren”, a feisty, red-haired computer-shopper, is given $1,000 to score a laptop with a 17-inch screen, and told she can keep the change.

First stop: the Apple store. Cue disappointment. The cheapest Macbook laptop, with a 13-inch screen, is $999. Lauren consoles herself that she is “not cool enough to be a Mac person” anyway.