Opinion: Per Your iOS Devices, Be Careful Out There

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Date: Tuesday, October 11th, 2011, 05:23
Category: Announcement, iPad, Opinion

I should have seen this coming.

Last night, as I’d done half a dozen times before without incident, I sat outside the BloomBars art space in Washington, D.C. replying to email on my iPad 2, listening to an ancient Guns ‘n Roses song off the “Appetite for Destruction” album and feeling like everything was right with the world.

This morning, I just got off the phone with my insurance company and have now learned that my deductible is US$250 before they start covering anything that was stolen.



Which brings up what happened in between last night and today, wherein the person who snagged my iPad 2 directly out of my hands, quickly tore the headphones out of the jack, sprinted down a nearby alleyway and had a good 20-30 yards on me before I could stop looking surprised/silly and begin chasing after him.

Like anyone who’s been in this situation, I feel like an idiot. Yes, I’d hung out at this art space before and been surrounded by naught by kind-hearted hipsters looking to get stage time to work on a new song, poem, rap or stand up set and felt like I had no reason to worry. The iPad 2, which I’d worked hard for and spent part of my tax refund on, seemed secure in my hands, the earbuds in my ears only solidifying my sense of connection to the device.

Within seconds, the thing you love has been torn out of your hands by someone who seems to be really, really good at stealing things and getting an insurmountable head start on you as he sprints away with the item in question.

If there’s any advice to offer, it’s this: Be careful out there. iOS devices are hip, simple to walk away with, easy to reset, a cinch to resell and the only thing the person who snagged my iPad 2 needs to buy to make it completely functional is an iOS attachment capable (roughly US$19 from the Apple Store or Best Buy or less than US$10 from an Internet-based supplier depending on where he looks) and nothing else.

As far as things you can actually do in this situation, the following are never bad ideas:

- MobileMe may still be US$99 per year, but I’m beginning to see the attraction of it, especially if it allows the iPad to either have its location tracked or its memory wiped remotely. Look into this and it may be a good investment.

- I’ve just been informed that Find My iPhone is free and doesn’t require a MobileMe account (which is out of vogue given the iCloud transition). It’s free, Apple stands behind it and from now on, I’m installing this on every iOS device I’ll ever own and a killer setup video to answer your questions is available here.

- Change your critical passwords once you get home. Yes, you should probably feed the cat if you’ve been out all day, but change your Amazon, Netflix, Gmail, Yahoo and other passwords just to play it safe. Your iOS device was just stolen and you probably don’t feel great about yourself or what happened, but you never know who your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad will be handed off to and whether they’ll simply wipe it or jailbreak it to retrieve all the data/passwords/banking information they can find off of it. Change your passwords and watch your credit card statements over the next few days no matter what.

- Finally, give the cops all the information you can think of as to who you think stole your advice, their description and the moments leading up to the theft. In spite of everything that happened last night, I was able to flag down a cop within moments of the theft last night and they were able to find a person that had been in the thief’s group of friends only moments before my iPad 2 was stolen. Once the friend was identified, they brought in enough additional cops and a detective to compose the department’s softball team, so there’s something there and the situation doesn’t look as hopeless as it did an hour before.

The moral of the story: Enjoy your iOS devices, make the most of them and be careful, especially if you use an iPad 2 out in the open. A person should never have to live in fear, but exercise some caution (and some common sense, which seems to be lacking from my part) and you’ll probably be fine.

Now if you’ll excuse me, this homemade superhero costume won’t finish making itself…

Rumor: iPhone 4S RAM to remain at 512 MB, same as iPhone 4

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 11th, 2011, 04:15
Category: iPhone, Rumor

The good news is that the iPhone 4S comes out this week.

The bad news is that it may contain the same amount of RAM as the iPhone 4 model, this component showing no improvement.

A new report this week lends support to earlier claims that Apple’s new iPhone 4S does not include more on-board RAM than its predecessor.

Donald Mustard, creative director for Epic Games subsidiary Chair Entertainment, recently let slip in an interview detailing Infinity Blade 2 that the iPhone 4S will sport 512 MB of RAM according to Eurogamer.

Given that a demo of Infinity Blade 2 was prepared for and unveiled as part of Apple’s iPhone 4S keynote presentation last Tuesday, Mustard’s comments are likely a result of first-hand knowledge of the iPhone 4S specifications, as Apple was reported to have provided select game developers with early versions of the iPhone 4S hardware for their development purposes.

Separately, a poster on a Chinese-language blog claims to have taken possession of the iPhone 4S, which he also says has 512MB of RAM. Both reports appear to confirm an earlier article that first reported the information in early September.

With the move to Apple’s A5 chip and dual-core graphics, the iPhone 4S’s underpinnings now largely mirror that of the iPad 2, which also contains 512MB of RAM.

For the past two years, Apple has used the iPad to usher in a new mobile architecture before transferring those rights to a new iPhone. As such, the iPad 3 stands to become the most likely iOS device to first receive an upgrade to 1GB of RAM when it hits the market early in the second quarter of 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Remembering Steve Jobs: Your Thoughts and Letters

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 10:59
Category: Announcement

Last Wednesday, Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs passed away after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Inarguably, his worked touched and affected the lives of millions and with that in mind, we’d like to share your thoughts on Steve Jobs:

“We are amongst the many people who have received short emails from Steve.

Mobile Me had recently been introduced, and at the Keynote, Steve had said ‘And I’ve already got ‘Steve@mac.com’.

So a while later when we were impatient for our new Titanium Powerbook to be delivered faster than seemed possible, we emailed Steve, to see if we could jump the queue. We knew his address after all. A few minutes later we got a reply.

‘No, we deliver the orders in the order we get them, Steve’

A fair man, a good man, loved by us.

Ronnie Hughes and Sarah Horton”
—————————————————————————————
“Subject: Remembering Steve

Message Body:
I have often imagined that if I had ever gotten a chance to meet Steve Jobs, the first thing I would have said to him would have been, ”Thank you! Thank you for coming back and saving Apple.”

I remember vividly the tense debates I engaged in with PC users during ”the dark times” of the mid 90s when the future of Apple was in doubt. Rolling my eyes at every poison-penned op-ed by John Dvorak–I still recall how he introduced me to the word ”moribund” which sent me to the dictionary and made me even more pissed off because he had used it in reference to the company that I so loved. Oh, the frustration I felt when talking with people who thought Windows 95 was so amazing and the indifference they showed when I pointed out that I had been using all of those ”amazing” features since the last decade. To say nothing of the guy who lived in the barracks room down the hall from me who wanted to show off his new version of Windows and STILL had to open the DOS prompt to move a file from one directory to another because he couldn’t grasp the concept of clicking on the picture of the document and dragging it from one picture of a folder to another in order to move it.

But I fought the good fight. I joined Guy Kawasaki’s ”EvangeList”–I still have the teeshirt! I remember sending Guy an e-mail in which I compared Mac users to early Christians and PC users to apostates who corrupted the original concept of a truly usable GUI. Guy responded by saying that I had ”a lot of fervor.” In retrospect, I think I was bordering on fanatical.

I was one of those people that would go up to PCs on display on store shelves and launch the registry editor in Windows, change every reference to the ”Recycle Bin” to ”Trash,” move the task bar to the top of the screen, rearrange the icons on the desktop to more closely resemble the default Mac OS interface and top it all off by changing ”My Computer” to ”My ’87 Macintosh.” I had to work fast so the sales clerks didn’t see what I was doing. I was never caught.

Had I the opportunity to meet Steve, I would like to have told him about that as well. I would have also related to him the following true story:

It was 1999. Just a couple of years since Steve’s return to Apple. I was walking through CompUSA, heading toward the Apple ”Store-within-a-store.” There was an interesting display of the new ”fruit-flavored” iMacs–empty iMac shells actually–set on top of some iMac boxes on the floor. It wasn’t easy for an adult to get a good look at them, but then I don’t recall there being much in the way of product information about them either. At first, this seemed a little odd.

As I looked around, I noticed a young family walking down the aisle; just a mom, dad and their little daughter. As soon as the daughter caught sight of the iMacs–which were at the perfect eye level for her–she ran toward them and placed her arms around the ”Grape” model and looked at her parents longingly. That’s when I noticed that she was wearing a purple sweater. It was obviously her favorite color so, of course, she’s going to want the purple iMac.

I had to smile. Sure, the kid making puppy-dog eyes to her parents for a new toy was something we’ve all seen before–and have probably done at one time or another–but there was more to this particular moment than that familial cliché. I witnessed in that moment, the realization of Steve Jobs’ vision about making technology not just accessible to human beings but inviting and inspiring. No child ever wanted to hold IBM’s PCjr in their arms. There was never anything cuddly about a product from Compaq or Hewlett Packard. The iMac brought Apple back to the core appeal of the original Macintosh; an all-in-one computer that didn’t intimidate the end user. Instead, it opened up a world of creative potential and took it a step further: it invited affection.

It didn’t quite sink in at first. The marketing brilliance of putting colorful computers at a child’s eye-level was obvious and I remember thinking, ”Only Apple would create a piece of technology that a child would want to hug.”

Now that Steve is gone, I realize that it wasn’t Apple. It was him. Apple has always been a special company. Innovative, iconic and with a loyal base of customers who have stuck with it through good times and bad and now great times. But it’s always been Steve Jobs who really made the difference. From the time he left Apple in 1985 until the his return at the tail end of 1996 with Apple’s acquisition of NeXT, Apple did release some amazing products and even invented an entire new computing platform–the MessagePad was just a little too ahead of its time to be really successful–but it lacked the style and charm that came with Steve.

There is some concern that with Steve’s passing, Apple cannot maintain its success. I remain hopeful that the company has learned its lesson. They know what happened when Steve was pushed out and how it was Steve who brought them back. We can only hope that as Apple moves forward, its leadership will do everything it can to emulate his leadership, style and charm.

—Joseph Puente”
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“My first Mac was the Mac Classic, then the Powerbook 140, the LC 475, PowerMac 7500, Powerbook G3 Wallstreet, G3 Pismo, Powerbook G4 Aluminum, G4 Cube, Mac Mini G3, Mac Mini Intel Core 2 Duo, and the MacBook Air. iPod Nano, iPod Touch. These were wonderful companions that saw me through graduate school, my first appointment as assistant professor, then on to two more positions, and my current appointment as associate professor and department head. Although Steve was not at Apple during all of those periods, it was always his spirit of innovation and quality that drove Apple, and the quality of that innovation and the beauty of Apple’s work exploded when he returned to Apple. Dissertation, books, articles, photos, posters with Photoshop, iTunes, iPhoto, web sites, documents related to building houses, planning conferences, taking notes at meetings, hundreds of recommendation letters for students and colleagues that led to careers and accolades, letters to friends and family, keeping track of appointments and to-do lists, managing finances, dreaming up schemes, and just dreaming. What would have taken dozens of file cabinets, so many things I could never have done otherwise, speeding the pace of activity by a magnitude or more, so that I could be productive in what would otherwise have been three or four full time arenas of life and work. I rub my hand over the cover the MacBook Air, tap its precision keys, slide my fingers across the multi-touch glass trackpad as if I had always made those movements naturally. The gleam of Steve’s smile, of pure delight, as he holds up the MacBook Air to his audience, even as his body had begun to wither, preparing to leave this earth. It is a smile that bespeaks of treks to Hewlett-Packard and Xerox Parc, trips to apple orchards in Oregon, pilgrimage to India, inward journeys of struggle, reflection, and creative inspiration. That child-like smile, flashing across his face, like a flash of lightning in the great unfolding of the universe. I touch the keys and it is almost as though Steve is right there, in the Air. Thank you, Steve, Thank you. — Mark Unno”
—————————————————————————————

If you have any stories that you’d like to share, just drop us an e-mail and we’ll add your contribution thoughout the week.

Sprint passes on offering iPhone insurance, users to have to find other provider

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 09:00
Category: iPhone, News

iPhone insurance is always a useful thing to have.

Just don’t expect it to come from Sprint.

Per SprintFeed, Sprint has apparently voted down the idea of having its Total Equipment Protection plans available for the iPhone 4S or current iPhone 4 model.

According to a leaked slide, the iPhone 4S (or 4) won’t be offered with insurance. Instead, users will need to purchase the AppleCare+ Protection Plan or go through a third party to have any protection from accidental damage. This may change down the road, as the slide says it won’t be offered “at launch,” but only time will tell.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Online vendors selling out of iPhone, Apple’s expected ship times pushed back to 1-2 weeks from October 14th launch date

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Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 04:56
Category: iPhone, News

If there were any doubts that the iPhone 4S would be a decent seller, the pre-orders have apparently killed them stone dead.

Per AppleInsider, just 24 hours after opening up pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S, Apple has rolled back expected shipping times for the device from expected delivery on the Oct. 14th launch date to an estimate of 1-2 weeks.

The Apple Online Store changed its pre-order availability for all models of the iPhone 4S early Saturday. Apple had promised to begin taking advance orders for the device at 12:01 Pacific on Friday, but slight hiccups delayed sales for Apple and AT&T.

The company’s other two wireless partners in the U.S., Verizon and Sprint, were able to begin pre-orders on time, though some customers reported having trouble completing orders from Apple and carriers alike.

AT&T announced later on Friday that it had received more than 200,000 pre-orders for the smartphone in just 12 hours, a record for the company.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S features the same external design as the iPhone 4, but adds Siri voice control, a faster A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a new antenna design. Though some have expressed disappointment that the handset did not receive a form factor refresh, Wall Street analysts remain confident that sales of the iPhone 4S will easily top previous records set by the iPhone 4.

Sprint noted on its website late Friday that it had completely sold out of pre-orders for the 16GB iPhone 4S, though, as of early Saturday, the 32GB and 64GB versions were still available for advance purchase. The carrier does, however, state that the 16GB model will be “available in stores on Oct. 14.”

Verizon may also have sold out of its initial pre-order allowance of 16GB models. The carrier’s website currently lists 16GB models of the iPhone 4S for Oct. 21 delivery. Also, some users have reported that orders placed on the Verizon website at 12:01 a.m. on Friday are now estimating delivery on Oct. 21.

Though not a publicly disclosed practice, recent history and evidence supports the fact that Apple allots restricted amounts of devices for its partners to offer on pre-order and at launch.

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Sprint has basically “bet the company” on the iPhone and has agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years.

This is the first iPhone launch in the U.S. where Apple has to manage multiple carrier relationships. The issue is also exacerbated by the fact that the iPhone 4S is a “global model” and the same model can work on both CDMA and GSM networks.

For those willing to wait, Apple will release a GSM-unlocked version of the iPhone 4S in November, with 16GB, 326GB and 64GB models selling for $649, $749 and $849, respectively. The company cautions, however, that the unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon and Sprint.

Apple has had trouble producing enough iPhone and iPad models to match pre-order and launch day demand in recent years. Even the Verizon iPhone 4, which launched 8 months after the GSM iPhone 4 arrived, sold out of pre-orders on the first day on offer.

If you’ve received any word as to your iPhone 4S order, please let us know and we’ll have additional details as soon as they become available.

VLC 1.1.12 update released

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Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 04:01
Category: News, Software

vlclogo.jpg

Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.1.12 The new version, a 31.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Bug and security fix release with a improvements for audio output on MacOS and with PulseAudio.

- This release was necessary due to a security issue in the HTTP and RTSP server components, though this does not affect standard usage of the player.

VLC 1.1.12 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Mint Digital Foundry Team converts MacBook Pro parts into portrait of Steve Jobs

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 06:24
Category: MacBook Pro, Pictures

This is weird.

But also kind of beautiful.

Per Gizmodo, the Foundry Team over at Mint Digital disassembled a MacBook Pro and converted it into a portrait of Steve Jobs (full size image available here).

This may not be the way Steve Jobs thought he’d be memorialized, but it is amazing.



Take a gander and if you have any cool Steve Jobs stories of your own that you’d like to share, please send us an e-mail and we’ll have the best ones up on Monday.

Apple begins taking iPhone 4S preorders, reveals that unlocked model won’t work on CDMA networks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 06:31
Category: iPhone, News

Apple on Friday began taking preorders for the iPhone 4S, and also revealed its next-generation handset will be sold unlocked and contract-free in November starting at US$649.

Per AppleInsider, the unlocked iPhone 4GS will only work on supported GSM networks, like AT&T in the U.S. But it will not work with any CDMA carriers, including Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

Customers who buy an unlocked iPhone 4S will be able to use the handset internationally on GSM networks. They must obtain a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier to put in the handset.

When it was announced on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S was unveiled as a “world phone,” meaning it is compatible with both CDMA and GSM networks. But customers who want to operate the handset on a GSM network, like Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S., will need to buy Apple’s latest smartphone with a new two-year contract.

“The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment,” Apple’s description reads. “You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.”

The contract-free iPhone 4S is available in all three standard capacities, and is priced at US$649 for 16GB, US$749 for 32GB and US$849 for 64GB. It will be available in both black and white.

When the iPhone 4S is delivered in November, it will arrive without a micro-SIM card. By inserting a card and turning on the phone, users will be able to activate the device by following the onscreen instructions without tethering to a Mac or PC, a new feature made possible by the PC-free setup in iOS 5.

Apple has warned that a credit check may be required for customers who purchase the unlocked GSM iPhone 4S in November. In addition, customers must be at least 18 years of age to buy.

The unlocked iPhone 4S will arrive only a few months after Apple began selling the GSM iPhone 4 unlocked in June. The contract-free iPhone 4 also carried a starting price of US$649.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.14924.699487

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Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 05:00
Category: News, Software

parallelslogo1.jpg

On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.14924.699487 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 289 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Add support for Windows 8 Developer Preview (new Windows 8 installation is recommended after installing the update).

- Improve compatibility with Quicken 2011.

- Improve support for Autodesk 3ds Max 2012.

- Optimize CPU usage when Parallels Desktop is idle.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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

iFixit posts 7th generation iPod nano teardown

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Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2011, 10:18
Category: iPod, News

It’s the new components that make the next generation of a device interesting.

Once again, the cool cats at iFixit have pulled apart a new Apple gadget, the company releasing a teardown of the new 7th generation iPod nano.

The new nano, which looks exactly like its predecessor, sports a 1.54-inch multi-touch display, a 240 x 240 pixel resolution, built-in accelerometer and stock Nike+ package.

The device also features no screws, so if you want to take yours apart, you’ll have to use a heat gun to open up the casing.

The new iPod nano is available now with prices starting at US$129.