iPod Inventories Running Low as September 9th Event Approaches

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 04:15
Category: News

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With Apple’s anticipated media event approaching in nine days, it’s not surprising that Apple’s supply of current model iPods happens to be dwindling with likely product upgrades on the horizon.

According to Ars Technica, a number of Apple Authorized Resellers have stated that the current stock of iPod models is no longer being shipped, and all of the current SKUs are being discontinued. The news is expected, as Apple refreshes its iPod lineup every September.

“According to insiders speaking to Ars, stock of current iPod models is running dry and new ones aren’t coming in anytime soon,” the report states. “This all but confirms that an iPod refresh is on the way, but we already knew that.”

Per the September 9th event, Apple is expected to announce new versions of the iPod nano and iPod touch, both equipped with cameras. Though those models have likely been confirmed with numerous photos of third party cases, less clear is a more recent rumor on the iPod classic also receiving a possible camera upgrade.

Weeks of rumors have also suggested Apple could announce iTunes 9, which could have support for Blu-ray and social media.

Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.4 Provides Snow Leopard’s Replacement for Palm Desktop

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 03:41
Category: Software

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Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) hit last Friday and, unfortunately, the upgrade breaks communication and compatibility with Palm’s aged Palm Desktop software once and for all. Per Macworld UK, third-party developer Mark/Space has stepped forward to offer its Missing Sync for Palm OS, which now supports Snow Leopard, according to a statement released by the company.

The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.4, a 40.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), syncs contact information, calendars and tasks with Address Book and iCal, and can also transfer photos, syncs contact photos, syncs music playlists and video, synchronizes notes with Microsoft Entourage, Bare Bones Yojimbo or Mark/Space Notebook, copy folders, documents and files to the Palm OS device, lets you save text messages and extract information, and copies your Treo and Centro call history to your Mac.

Missing Sync for Palm OS retails for US$40, is also available as a US$30 “crossgrade” for users of other Mark/Space products. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 Build 3846 Released

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 03:17
Category: News

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Virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop for Mac build 3846 on Monday. The new version, which can be downloaded from here (courtesy of VersionTracker), contains the following fixes and changes:

Improvements:
* Improved 3D graphics in Windows virtual machines.
* Problems with Palm synchronization in Windows virtual machines — fixed.
* Random disconnection of USB 1.1 devices in Linux virtual machines — fixed.
* Invisibility of the text mouse pointer on black background in Windows virtual machines — fixed.
* Problems with SMB shares in native Windows Boot Camp installations that have Parallels Tools installed — fixed.
* Problems with Shared Networking on Snow Leopard host computers — fixed.

Improvements:
* General performance improvements.
* Improved USB support (performance, USB1.1 compatibility fixes).
* Better performance of Suspend/Resume operations.
* Improved hard disk performance for virtual machines converted from Parallels Desktop 2.5 and 3.0.
* Memory leak in Parallels Desktop GUI that might happen after 1-2 days of work — fixed.
* Accidental crash in Redhat Linux 5.2 Server x86_64 during installation — fixed.
* Problems with connecting Palm handheld devices via USB — fixed.
* Improved sound playback via USB devices.
* Empty keyboard remapping in the clean PD4 installation — fixed.
* Networking issues when the Mac network location changes — fixed.
* Timezone and daylight saving time were not synchronized in the virtual machine with time synchronization enabled — fixed.

Click the jump for the rest of the story…

China Unicom Announces Three Year iPhone Deal

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Date: Friday, August 28th, 2009, 03:18
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier China Unicom has announced that the company has signed a three year deal with Apple to launch the popular iPhone into the world’s largest mobile phone market. The phones are expected to go on sale in China later this year.

According to BBC News, China has more than 600 million mobile phone accounts and a deal to introduce the iPhone has been long-awaited. Apple said the two partners had agreed a “multi-year deal” and expected the launch to be in the fourth quarter of 2009, but gave no financial details.

“We believe China Unicom’s high-speed mobile broadband network, coupled with [the iPhone] will create new communication and different experiences for customers in China,” said Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobin.

Apple Releases Aperture 2.1.4 Update

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Date: Friday, August 28th, 2009, 03:34
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released Aperture 2.1.4, the latest version of the company’s professional image editing application. The new version, which can be downloaded here or via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, boasts the following fixes and changes:
– Addresses general compatibility, improves overall stability and fixes a number of issues involving import, web publishing, and the creation and ordering of books.

Aperture 2.1.4 retails for US$199.00 requires the following specifications to install and run:
– 1.25 GHz G4, G5 or Intel-based processor
– 1.5 GB of RAM
– Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later.

Rumor: Apple to Hold September 9th Media Event, Unveil New iPods, iTunes 9

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Date: Thursday, August 27th, 2009, 03:08
Category: iPod, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, Rumor, Software

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Apple is apparently planning a full media event for Wednesday, September 9th to introduce new iPod offerings and make a host of other music-related announcements.

AppleInsider, which cites sources close to the story, says that Apple had been teetering between Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 for weeks, but most recently indicated to its industry-related partners that the latter of the two dates would be more feasible.

The company is expected to use the gathering to introduce new versions of its iPod nano and iPod touch digital music players, both of which should serve as dual-purpose point-and-shoot cameras for the first time. AppleInsider also has it on authority that cameras are just one piece to this year’s iPod story.

Also likely is an introduction of iTunes 9, which has widely been rumored in recent weeks to make its debut with a handful of social networking features. Nothing is expected to be heard about the much anticipated Newton Web tablet, which isn’t expected to surface in any form until the first calendar quarter of 2010.

While it’s unclear at which venue Apple will hold the event, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center would seem a likely candidate if past years are of any indication. The Moscone West is also another potential candidate site. Analysts and members of the media should start receiving invitations will full details roughly one week prior.

Camino Reaches Version 1.6.9

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Date: Thursday, August 27th, 2009, 02:11
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, the Camino Project released version 1.6.9 of Camino, its free, open source web browser.
The new version, a 15.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
– Upgraded to version 1.8.1.23 of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, which includes several critical security and stability fixes.
– Upgraded the “Block flash animations” code to use Flashblock 1.5.11.
– Improved ad-blocking.

Camino requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the new version of Camino and have any kind of feedback about it, let us know.

Apple May Overhaul Entry-Level Polycarbonate MacBook Models

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 03:43
Category: MacBook, Rumor

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Until recently rumored to be headed for the scrap pile, Apple’s entry-level polycarbonate MacBook notebooks may be on the verge of a refresh according to AppleInsider.

Per sources close to the story, Apple is said to be running the 13″ notebooks through an industrial design overhaul that will see them reemerge in the coming months with a slimmer, lighter enclosure and restructured internal architecture to boot.

It’ll be the first time in more than three years that the plastic Mac notebooks will receive a visual tune-up. Introduced in May of 2006, the white and black systems replaced the PowerPC-based iBook and 12-inch PowerBook as part of Apple’s transition to Intel processors and quickly became the best selling Mac of all time, according to statistics from NPD Group.

The MacBook notebooks were also among the first Macs to adopt Apple’s MagSafe power connector while pioneering several other features that would become staples of future Mac notebook designs, such as shrunken soft-touch keyboards, glossy displays, and a non-mechanical magnetic latches (see: Magnet madness to hit Intel iBook line – Feb 2006).

Earlier this spring, Apple restructured its notebook offerings by repositioning its aluminum unibody MacBooks as premium offerings under the MacBook Pro moniker, adding long-requested features such as FireWire and higher-quality displays. This left the company with just a single MacBook offering, a white polycarbonate model that retails for US$999 but sticks out like a sore thumb when positioned alongside its peers.

Interestingly, sales of the sub-US$1000 system have remained surprisingly brisk amid the economic crunch, leaving management little choice but to allocate R&D expenses in its favor. As of press time, Apple’s online store indicates that the white MacBook is outselling all other Macs with the exception of the iMac, while similar rankings from high-volume resellers like MacMall also consistently place it in the top 10 best selling Apple-related products overall, ahead of all desktop-based Macs.

While it’s unclear how many models or configurations Apple will introduce as part the redesign, Ben Reitzes — an analyst with Barclays Capital who’s been following the Mac maker for years — sees the company offering several, at various price points.

“We [...] believe the MacBook line needs to be revamped (there is only one MacBook available now, an old white model) and that we could see a lower priced line soon, positioned below the new MacBook Pro models,” he said.

Though details are few and far between, Apple is expected to achieve these markdowns through largely existing tactics, such as using lower-end components and previous-generation Core 2 Duo chips and architectures from Intel. Battery life should receive a boost from cutting-edge technology that recently found its way into the company’s other notebook offerings, while high-end legacy features like FireWire connectivity are likely to be sacrificed in the tradeoff.

Apple’s new line of low-end MacBooks could be viewed as the last piece to the puzzle in Apple’s top-to-bottom line of product offerings, transitioning the company from a premium PC and phone manufacturer to one that offers truly competitive prices on products in both categories.

Apple Strips Palm OS HotSync Conduit from Upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Release

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 02:17
Category: News, Software

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Apple has discontinued support for legacy Palm OS devices in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s iSync 3.1.0 according to AppleInsider. Per sources familiar with the latest Gold Master build, users of Palm OS devices will need to obtain third party support for syncing their Palm Desktop information with Mac OS X’s Sync Services.

Palm continues to provide a very old version of Palm Desktop 4.2.1D for Mac users, enabling syncing with legacy Palm Centro, Treo, Zire, Tungsten, LifeDrive, and Pilot models via its Mac OS X Universal Binary desktop software. That software is based upon what was originally Apple’s Claris Organizer, which Steve Jobs sold to Palm over a decade ago as Apple divested itself of its already long in the tooth Claris apps.

In addition with launching its Macs as the “digital hub” and selling the iPod, Apple developed iSync for Mac OS X, a set of software which enabled devices from any manufacturer to sync their data with a common store shared by desktop apps including iCal and Address Book. It eventually allowed users to also sync that information with Apple’s .Mac service, now called MobileMe.

Palm apparently never bothered to update its Palm Desktop for Mac software to make it compatible with Apple’s iSync. Instead, Apple, in an effort to keep Macs compatible with Palm’s device, created its own Palm Conduit software that linked Palm Desktop’s HotSync system into iSync. This software was then incorporated as part of iSync 2.0, released as part of Mac OS X Tiger nearly half a decade ago.

With Palm all but abandoning its “classic” devices developed prior to the release of the new Palm Pre, which does not use the same legacy Palm OS nor its HotSync or Palm Desktop software, the value of maintaining HotSync support in Mac OS X has dropped dramatically, leaving Apple to cut the support from the version that ships with Mac OS X Snow Leopard entirely.

It does not appear that the discontinuation of legacy Palm OS support in iSync is related to efforts by Palm to trick iTunes into syncing data with the new Palm Pre as if it were an iPod.

Third party software, including the Missing Sync from Mark/Space, enables Mac users to sync calendars, contacts, bookmarks, music, documents and other information between older Palm OS devices as well as other hardware including the new Palm Pre, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones and the Sony PlayStation Portable.

Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” Specs Posted, PowerPC Support Goes by the Wayside

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Date: Tuesday, August 25th, 2009, 08:35
Category: News

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With Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” operating system en route for Friday, the company has posted full links to the required specs here:

If you’re hanging on to a Mac from before 2006, you may not like it, as the specs require the following:

-An Apple computer with an Intel Processor
-1GB of Memory (RAM)
-5GB of hard drive space (Storage)
-DVD drive for installation

While the DVD drive is mentioned, it is not actually required to install Leopard though will make things easier. You can use another computer’s drive or a disk image to install Snow Leopard. While previous versions of OS X have required you to boot from the installation media, Snow Leopard copies the installer files from the media to the hard drive and then installs from there.

According to MacFixIt, Snow Leopard will not run on any PowerPC system, even PowerPC G5 systems that are 64-bit capable. If you have a PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerMac G4, Mac Mini (G4), iMac G4, iMac G5, or PowerMac G5, do not buy Snow Leopard since you will not be able to install it. Apple has split away from PowerPC, and while there are technical reasons for why the 64-bit architecture in the PowerPC will not work with the latest OS, the fact that Apple has switched architectures is the primary reason for the drop in support.

You can check to see what kind of processor you have by opening “System Profiler” in your “Utilities” folder and highlighting the “Hardware” section. The processor should be identified in there. Alternatively you can enter the command “machine” in the terminal to see what kind of processor you have. If the output contains “PPC” in the name, then you have a PowerPC processor:

You may now run into the streets flailing your arms, screaming and inquiring after the nearest store which sells torches and pitchforks with which to wave angrily at Apple…