Rumor: Apple in talks with studios to begin streaming movies to iCloud

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Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 06:23
Category: Apple TV, iCloud, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

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Additional movies: They’re never a bad thing.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple is said to be involved in negotiations with Hollywood movie studios in an effort to give customers the ability to stream movies they own to devices like an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.

Citing sources close to the story, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Apple wants to give its customers the ability to stream movies they have purchased through iTunes without the need to manually transfer the files. The talks come as Apple has launched its iCloud product, and movie studios have rolled out their own cloud-based movie streaming service, dubbed UltraViolet.

UltraViolet movies can be streamed to an iPhone or iPad using the Flixster application available on the iOS App Store, however an UltraViolet account does not include any movies that may have been purchased through iTunes. The new UltraViolet format lets people stream a film they have purchased on DVD or Blu-ray, and is seen as a way to help boost slumping sales of movies.

Rumors that Apple wants to give users the ability to stream and re-download movies they have purchased are not new. Apple has already secured deals for iTunes customers, allowing them to re-download songs and TV shows they own, but Hollywood movies cannot be re-downloaded.

Previous reports have claimed that the so-called “HBO window” has been a sticking point in negotiations. The window is a deal in which three of the top six film studios have distribution deals with premium network HBO, and under the terms of that deal, outlets must halt sales or distribution of a film when it premieres on HBO.

As recently as August, Apple was still said to be pursuing a cloud-based streaming and re-downloading service, though such a deal with Hollywood studios was said to not be imminent.

The studios’ UltraViolet service launched this week, giving customers access to “digital lockers” that let customers stream or download a digital copy of physical purchases on a wide variety of devices. The service requires customers to create an account that serves as a hub for all of their purchased media, and passcodes that ship with physical discs allow users to access those movies online from remote servers.

All of the major movie studios except for Walt Disney Co. are backing UltraViolet, while it is planning its own proprietary service called KeyChest. Neither Disney nor Apple were part of the consortium that formed UltraViolet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV 4.4 update out the door, adds Photo Steam, AirPlay mirroring, other functions

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Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 06:48
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

If there’s one universal truth, it’s this: updates are nifty.

Per Mac|Life, Apple on Wednesday released iOS 4.4 for its second-generation Apple TV set top device. The update adds Photo Stream as well as new content from the National Hockey League and Wall Street Journal Live functionalities to the device. That update also provides AirPlay mirroring for wireless playback from your iOS 5 device, and can be downloaded directly from your black Apple TV.

To update your Apple TV to the latest software, go to Settings -> General -> Update Software and follow the directions.

If you’ve installed the update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple releases iPhoto 9.2 update

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Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 04:20
Category: News, Software

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Along with almost everything else, Apple released iPhoto 9.2 on Thursday, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 357 megabyte download which can be be snagged directly or via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, offers the following major fixes and changes:

- Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in Magnify (1-up) view.

- Previously imported photos are now displayed in a separate section of the Import window.

- Book/calendar themes and card categories can now be selected using a pop-up menu in the carousel view.

- Resolves an issue that could cause some pages of books to print incorrectly.

- Rebuilding a library now correctly preserves saved slideshows and books.

iPhoto 9.2 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.2 update

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 12:06
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.7.2, the update to its recently-released Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” operating system. The update, a several hundred megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

- Allows reordering of desktop spaces and full screen apps in Mission Control.

- Enables dragging files between desktop spaces and full screen apps.

- Addresses an issue that causes the menu bar to not appear in full screen apps.

- Improves the compatibility of Google contact syncing in Address Book.

- Addresses an issue that causes Keynote to become temporarily unresponsive.

- Improves VoiceOver compatibility with Launchpad.

- Addresses an issue that causes a delay in accessing the network after waking from sleep.

- Enables booting in to Lion Recovery from a locally attached Time Machine backup drive.

- Resolves an issue that causes screen zoom to stop working.

- Improves Active Directory integration.

The update can be located, downloaded and installed via the Software Update feature in Mac OS X.

Mac OS X 10.7.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.1 to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases iOS 5.0 update

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 12:25
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Software

After months of anticipation, speculation and generally looking forward to it, Apple has released iOS 5.0 for its current iPhone, iPod touch and iPad models.

The update, a several hundred megabyte download, can be snagged by plugging in your respective iOS device and checking for updates in iTunes and will take several minutes to create a backup file in iTunes, install, update firmware and perform additional tasks.

The update offers the following fixes and changes:

Notifications:
- Swipe from the top of any screen to view notifications in one place with Notification Center

- New notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen

- View notifications from lock screen

- Slide the notification app icon to the right on the lock screen to go directly to the app

iMessage:
- Send and receive unlimited text, photo, and video messages with other iOS 5 users

- Track messages with delivery and read receipts

- Group messaging and secure encryption

- Works over cellular network and Wi-Fi*

Newsstand:
- Automatically organizes magazine and newspaper subscriptions on Home Screen

- Displays the cover of the latest issue

- Background downloads of new issues

- Reminders for managing to do lists

- Syncs with iCloud, iCal and Outlook

- Location-based reminders when you leave or arrive at a location for iPhone 4S and iPhone 4

Built-in support for Twitter:
- Sign-in once in Settings and tweet directly from Camera, Photos, Maps, Safari and YouTube

- Add location to any tweet

- View twitter profile pictures and usernames in Contacts

Camera improvements for devices with cameras:
- Double click the home button when device is asleep to bring up a camera shortcut on iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (4th generation)

- Volume Up button to take a picture

- Optional grid lines to line up shots

- Pinch to zoom in the preview screen

- Swipe to camera roll from preview screen

- Tap and hold to lock focus and exposure, iPad 2 and iPod touch (4th generation) only support exposure lock

- Photo improvements for devices with cameras

- Crop and rotate

- Red eye removal

- One tap enhance

- Organize photos into albums

Mail improvements:
- Format text using bold, italic, or underlined fonts

- Indentation control

- Drag to rearrange names in address fields

- Flag messages

- Mass mark messages as flagged, read or unread

- Customize mail alert sounds

- S/MIME

Calendar improvements:
- Year view on iPad and new Week view for iPhone and iPod touch

- Tap to create an event

- View and add event attachments

Game Center improvements:
- Use personal photos for your Game Center account

- Compare your overall achievement scores with your friends

- Find new Game Center friends with friend recommendations and friends of friends

- Discover new games with custom game recommendations

- AirPlay Mirroring for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S

Multitasking Gestures for iPad:
- Use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen

- Swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar

- Swipe left or right to switch between apps

- On-device setup, activation and configuration with Setup Assistant

- Software updates available over the air without tethering

iCloud support:
- iTunes in the Cloud

- Photo Stream

- Documents in the Cloud

- Apps and Books automatic download and purchase history

- Backup

- Contacts, Calendar, and Mail

- Find My iPhone

- Redesigned Music app for iPad

- Hourly weather forecast

- Real-time stock quotes

- Wireless sync to iTunes

Keyboard improvements:
- Split keyboard for iPad

- Improved autocorrection accuracy

- Improved Chinese and Japanese input

- New Emoji keyboard

- Personal dictionary for autocorrection

- Optionally create keyboard short cuts for frequently used words

Accessibility improvements:
- Option to light LED flash on incoming calls and alerts for iPhone 4S and iPhone 4

- Custom vibration patterns for incoming calls on iPhone

- New interface for using iOS with mobility-impairment input devices

- Option to speak a selection of text

- Custom element labeling for VoiceOver

- Exchange ActiveSync improvements

- Wirelessly sync tasks

- Mark messages as flagged, read or unread

- Improved offline support

- Save a new contact from a GAL service

- More than 1,500 new developer APIs

- Bug fixes

iOS 5.0 requires an iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S, an iPad, iPad 2 or third or fourth generation iPod touch to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new iOS update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Sprint, Verizon iPhone 4S units to allow for unlocked SIM cards

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 07:52
Category: iPhone, News

If you wanted an unlocked iPhone 4S, you’re in luck.

Per Macworld, both Sprint and Verizon have confirmed that consumers will be able to have the GSM side of their iPhone 4S handsets unlocked.

On Wednesday, Sprint announced that it plans to sell all of its iPhone 4S units with the micro-SIM slot unlocked, while Verizon’s will be locked initially, but can be unlocked if the customers are in good standing for 60 days. The latter has been Verizon’s policy for all world phones, according to the report.

The change may make it more affordable for iPhone users with Sprint or Verizon contracts to use their devices when abroad than those on AT&T, since AT&T’s iPhone 4S units will arrive locked, forcing users to pay AT&T’s international roaming fees, while Sprint or Verizon iPhone 4S users can simply pop in a new micro-SIM from a local carrier.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple shifts iPad 2 battery orders from Simplo to Dynapack after leak-prone units discovered

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 05:08
Category: iPad, Rumor

When in doubt, switch a component supplier.

Per DigiTimes, part supplier sources maintained Wednesday that Apple had recently been pushed into switching battery supply for the iPad 2. Apple moved some of its orders from Simplo to Dynapack at the end of September after Simplo’s eastern China plant produced some leak-prone lithium-polymer packs according to the story. Apple’s use of safer lithium-polymer batteries kept them from showstopper fires, but the recharging problems were enough to require better.

Normally, Simplo would supply about 60 percent of iPad 2 batteries with Dynapack providing the rest. That ratio would have shifted more towards neutral with a part swap.

The issue hasn’t been independently confirmed. Both Dynapack and Simplo are widely known as Apple’s battery suppliers, and Simplo handles the batteries for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Companies like Apple are known to change orders for other components to keep supply up, such as a well known diversification away from LG for iPad 2 displays until it resolved display issues.

A successful swap could minimize any disruption in Apple’s manufacturing, although it still comes just as Apple is likely seeing a peak in shipments as it goes into the holidays. As such, it might be more sensitive to unplanned switches.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5.1 beta update to developer community, focuses on upcoming iTunes Match feature

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 04:50
Category: iCloud, News, Software

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Following the public release of iTunes 10.5 with support for iOS 5 devices, Apple also privately released iTunes 10.5.1 to its developer community, allowing them to test the forthcoming iTunes Match service.

Per AppleInsider, the final release of iTunes 10.5, released earlier Tuesday, does not include support for the US$24.99-per-year iTunes Match service. It will become publicly available later this month, along with another update to iTunes.

Developers can test the iTunes Match service with the first beta of iTunes 10.5.1, supplied to them by Apple on Tuesday. The beta is available for both Mac and Windows, and iTunes Match is currently available only to developers in the U.S.

When it launches later this month, iTunes Match will scan users’ personal music libraries on their computer for music files that were not purchased through iTunes. Those tracks will then be matched up with Apple’s library of over 20 million songs in the iTunes Music Store.

With the annual fee, users will be able to access their library of up to 25,000 songs from any device, and will be able to re-download songs via iTunes in the Cloud. Users will also be able to replace their matched files with higher quality 256Kbps iTunes Plus AAC files, even if the original copy is of lower quality.

Apple’s iTunes Match service is different from competing options with Google and Amazon, which require that a user upload their personal library of tracks to remote servers. Apple’s method bypasses the need for uploading songs by simply matching the files with its own extensive selection.

For songs that may not be available on iTunes, Apple will also upload those files and remotely host them. The songs will then also be available for users to re-download on another Mac or PC, or on the go with an iPhone or iPad.

If you’ve gotten a chance to play around with the beta, please let us know what you make of it.

Otherwise, stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5 update

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Date: Tuesday, October 11th, 2011, 10:40
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 10.5, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 60.9 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- iTunes in the Cloud. iTunes now stores your music and TV purchases in iCloud and makes them available on your devices anywhere, any time, at no additional cost.

- Automatic Downloads. Purchase music from any device or computer and automatically download a copy to your Mac and iOS devices.

- Download Previous Purchases. Download your past music, TV, app, and book purchases again, at no additional cost. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer on the iTunes Store.

- Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5.

- Wi-Fi Syncing. Automatically sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iTunes any time they’re both on the same Wi-Fi network.

iTunes 10.5 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know in the comments.

iPhone 4S A5 GPU tests at 73% faster than iPhone 4, other improvements noted

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Date: Tuesday, October 11th, 2011, 06:04
Category: iPhone, News

Even if the iPhone 4S is rumored to contain the same amount of RAM as its predecessor, the clock speed might be worth the upgrade.

Per AnandTech, the new Geekbench scores of the forthcoming iPhone 4S show that its custom-built A5 CPU is clocked at 800MHz, while the dual-core processor gives it a 73 percent performance boost than the iPhone 4.

The new figures from AnandTech show the iPhone 4S with an overall Geekbench score of 623, easily besting the 800MHz A4 CPU found in the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4S processor is clocked slower than the 1GHz A5 CPu found in the iPad 2, which earned a score of 751.

In terms of its graphics processing capabilities, the iPhone 4S lived up to claims of being seven times faster than the iPhone 4. In one test, the iPhone 4S earned a score of 73.1 while the iPhone 4 took 11.2, and in another the iPhone 4S clocked a score of 122.7, compared to 15.3 for the iPhone 4.

GPU scores for the iPhone 4S, like the overall CPU score, were slightly slower than the iPad 2. But they also easily bested the competition, including the Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Infuse 4G, and Motorola Droid Bionic, all of which feature processors with higher clock speeds.

The site noted that while lowering the clock speed of the A5 from 1GHz in the iPad 2 to 800MHz in the iPhone 4S results in a “marginal loss” in performance, but “yields a greater-than-linear decrease in power consumption,” offering the handset even greater battery life.

“At a lower operating frequency than its Android competitors, Apple does have to exploit its strengths in software to avoid any tangible performance penalties,” authors Anand Lai Shimpi and Brian Klug wrote. “Apple has traditionally done this very well in the past, so I don’t expect the loss of frequency to be a huge deal to the few who cross-shop iOS and Android.”

The testing also correlated with earlier results that showed the iPhone 4S will offer a huge leap in performance over the iPhone 4 in its Mobile Safari Browser. In SunSpider Javascript Benchmark tests, where a lower score is better, the iPhone 4S earned 2222, compared to 3921 for the iPhone 4 and 5785 for the iPhone 3GS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.