VMWare releases Fusion 4.1.3 update

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Date: Thursday, June 14th, 2012, 05:39
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.1.3 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 182 megabyte download, can be found here and offers the following fixes and changes:

- Resolved an intermittent issue with an unreleased version of Mac OS X.

- Fixed a race-condition when starting VMware Tools in some OpenSUSE virtual machines.

Fusion 4.1.3 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

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

Apple signs deal, goes with TomTom for iOS 6 mapping functions

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Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, 10:47
Category: News, Software

It’s not you…it’s me.

Per Macworld, digital maps provider TomTom announced on Tuesday it has signed a global agreement with Apple for maps and related information.

Apple announced Monday at its World Wide Developers Conference that an upcoming version of its iOS mobile operating system will feature a rebuilt maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation, and interactive 3-D views, placing the company in competition with Google’s Maps product.

Apple demonstrated some of the capabilities of its rebuilt Maps app for iOS 6 at Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
TomTom already supplies its maps and related data to companies including Samsung, Research In Motion, and Google, but expects its relationship with Apple to be deeper, said company spokesman Taco Titulaer on Tuesday.

TomTom claims up-to-date digital maps that cover more than 200 countries and territories. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company also offers an up-to-date route planner, including live traffic information. Other products include portable navigation devices, in-dash infotainment systems, and fleet management services. Its customers include Internet companies, mobile handset makers, and network operators, besides government and enterprise, the company said on its website.

TomTom will be the primary but not the only supplier of maps and related data to Apple, as the company does not have mapping data for some countries such as China, Titulaer said.

The upcoming iOS 6 includes vector-based map elements that make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming fluid, according to Apple. The maps app will also feature turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions, interactive 3D views, realtime traffic information with alternate time-saving routes if traffic conditions change significantly, and local search for over 100 million businesses.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple quietly updates Mac Pro, adds modest speed boost

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Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, 10:39
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News

This sort of slipped in under the wire.

Albeit it wasn’t officially announced at WWDC, the Mac Pro was updated via the Apple Store on Monday with a modest speed boost.

The standard-configuration 12-core Mac Pro features two 2.4 gigahertz 6-core Intel Xeon E5645 processors and 12 megabytes of fully shared L3 cache per processor. The 12-core model starts at US$3,799 with 12 gigabytes of memory, a 1-terabyte hard drive and ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics with 1 gigabyte of GDDR5 memory.

The quad-core Mac Pro features one 3.2 gigahertz quad-core Intel Xeon processor and 6 gigabytes of memory. It also features a 1-terabyte hard drive and ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1 gigabyte of GDDR5 for US$2,499.

A Mac Pro server configuration is also available, featuring one 3.2 gigahertz quad-core Intel Xeon processor and 8 gigabytes of RAM standard. For US$2,999 it features two 1-terabyte hard drives, the ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1 gigabyte of GDDR5 RAM, and it comes installed with OS X Lion Server.

Somewhat disappointingly, the Xeon E5 chip was actually found to be a two-year-old Westmere-EP chip.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit posts full teardown of mid-2012 Retina Display MacBook Pro, finds significant changes in architecture

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Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, 09:48
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

Well…that was speedy.

Late Tuesday night, the cool cats at iFixit posted a full teardown of the new Retina Display MacBook Pro.

The company apparently had little trouble maneuvering past Apple’s proprietary pentalobe screws and by Step 6 in the process, the inside of the unit was unveiled for all to see online.



Among the discoveries made:
- The battery is no longer screwed into the machine, but rather glued.

- The 512GB flash storage chips were marked as Samsung, but the chips themselves appear to be proprietary, something new for the MacBook Pro line.

- The RAM itself seems to be soldered to the logic board.

- The proprietary SSD also is not yet replaceable.

- The “display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it,” iFixit writes. “If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire extremely expensive assembly.”

So, yeah, if you’re tinkering with your brand new Retina Display MacBook Pro, please be careful.

Additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Pro (Retina) Trackpad Update 1.0 as quick fix for new product line

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Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, 07:43
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

There’s always an initial glitch or two with a new product line…

Apple on Tuesday released the first software update for the Retina Display MacBook Pro to fix possible trackpad input issues a little over 24 hours after the new machine was debuted on Monday.

Per AppleInsider, MacBook Pro (Retina) Trackpad Update 1.0 addresses an issue where the next generation notebook’s “trackpad may not respond consistently to user input,” according to Apple’s Support Page.

The update comes only a day after Apple’s chief of marketing Phil Schiller unveiled the hotly-anticipated device onstage at WWDC 2012.

While shipments of the Retina Display-sporting 15-inch MacBook Pro have slipped to two to three weeks, some early adopters have already gotten their hands on the first units sold. The number of affected machines is unknown and the issue itself has so far gone largely unreported.

The 1.26MB update can be downloaded through this link or Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and is only applicable to users of the new Retina Display MacBook Pro.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on the new Retina Display MacBook Pro and had a chance to try this update, please let us know.

Verizon to begin shared data plans starting June 28th

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Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, 07:41
Category: iPhone, News

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Maybe shared data plans will come into vogue this year.

Per AppleInsider, wireless carrier Verizon has announced that it will be initiating shared data plans later this month, making it the first of the “big-three” U.S. telecoms to offer such a program.

The company announced the new “Share Everything” option on Tuesday, which includes unlimited talk, text and tiered shared data plans for both smartphones and tablets as well as data-only plans, is slated to start on June 28.

Up to ten devices can share data under the new plan with varying pricing for device type. For example, line access for a smartphone like Apple’s iPhone is US$40 per month while a tablet adds on US$10. Mobile hotspots are also included in the Share Anything plan and can be added for an additional US$20 per month.

The carrier is introducing a number of new data tiers to its existing one-line offerings, and shared data users can now select one of six levels ranging from US$50 per month for 1GB of bandwidth to US$100 per month for 10GB. Data overage is still in place and looks to be US$15 per gigabyte across the board but users can opt to up their data plans in 2GB intervals before reaching their limit.

As an example, Verizon offers a US$180 access plan that includes two smartphones at US$40 each, one feature phone at US$30 and 4GB worth of shared data which carries a cost of US$70 per month.

Data-only customers have four tiers to work with starting at US$30 per month for 4GB and topping out at US$60 per month for 10GB. Mobile hotspots and tablets with mobile hotspot functionality are included in this pricing model.

The new Share Anything plan is a step in the direction of what many believe is the future of wireless in the U.S. In an early June report, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said that his company was also working on rolling out a shared data plan, though that plan has been in the works for over a year.

Verizon was recently the target of a media blitz when CFO Fran Shammo said “when [customers] migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share,” which caused a fracas because many thought the company would forcibly move unlimited data users to more profitable tiered pricing. The issue was quickly clarified in a Verizon statement that said only customers who choose to take carrier subsidies when upgrading to another smartphone will be forced out of out of their unlimited plans. In either case, it is clear that the telecom is pushing for tiered pricing, a trend that has become increasingly popular as wireless providers acknowledge the profitability of soaring data use.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 9, Java for Mac OS X Lion 2012-004 updates

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Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, 07:50
Category: News, Software

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You can’t argue with an Apple Java update, especially not in the wake of the Flashback trojan.

Late Tuesday, Apple released Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 9, providing “improved reliability, security and compatibility for Java SE 6.” The 76 megabyte download requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 to install and run.

The company also released Java for Mac OS X Lion 2012-004, which claims to offer improved compatibility, security and reliability for Java SE 6 and updates Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_33. The download comes in at 63.8 megabytes and requires OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.

The updates can also be located, snagged and installed with Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Apple outlines iOS 6 at WWDC, highlights Facebook integration

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Date: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 06:29
Category: iOS, News, Software

Over at WWDC, Apple began to lay out the basics as to what to expect from its upcoming iOS 6 operating system.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s iOS software chief, Scott Forstall, showed off some of the new features at Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, including the ability to query Siri for sports scores, dinner reservations with OpenTable, and movie times via RottenTomatoes.

Siri can now also be used to launch Applications. Forstall demonstrated onstage asking the voice control software to play the game “Temple Run,” and it opened on the iPhone. Users can also post messages to Twitter by using their phone.

Language support for Siri has also been improved with Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and more.

When it launches this fall, iOS 6 will be compatible with the second- and third-generation iPads; the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S; and the fourth-generation iPod touch.

Facebook integration will also go system-wide with iOS 6. Much like with the existing Twitter integration, users simply log in to their Facebook account in the iOS settings application, and users can quickly post to their account or share music, applications or photos with their friends.

Facebook events and birthdays will also appear in the iOS calendar. Users will also be able to “like” applications on the App Store.

Enhancements have also been made to the native phone application in iOS. When declining a call, users are given the option to send a quick message to the person calling, or ask to be reminded later of the call. Quick messages are available to select such as “I’ll call you later” or “I’m on my way.”

Another addition called “Do Not Disturb” allows users to choose a set time range where notifications and alerts are silenced completely. This feature is customizable to allow calls from certain people to come through during those hours.

With iOS 6, users will also be able to make FaceTime video calls over cellular data networks, and are no longer required to be connected to Wi-Fi. The phone number and Apple ID have also been unified, so if someone sends a FaceTime request to a phone number, it can still be answered on an iPad or Mac.

Enhancements for Safari in iOS 6 include iCloud Tabs, which allows users to view and sync websites across a range of devices, as well as the ability to upload photos from directly within Safari on popular websites. Safari will also gain fullscreen support in landscape mode.

PhotoStream has also been enhanced with new sharing features that allow users to share specific pictures or entire albums with others. The social networking style serve will also let users comment on and like photos shared via PhotoStream.

And Mail for iOS will receive a new feature called VIPs, which allows users to specify people whose e-mails are of high priority. These flagged messages will show up in their own separate inbox.

Mail in iOS 6 also adds the ability to easily insert pictures and videos when composing a message, and users can also pull down on the app to refresh and check for messages.

The company also announced that its iOS 6 developer preview was now available as a 186 megabyte download, albeit this requires a developer account to log in and access.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.6.3 update

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Date: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 06:43
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Apple released version 10.6.3 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 170 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Addresses a problem where iTunes may become unresponsive when syncing an iPad (1st generation) that contains an iBooks textbook.

- Fixes a problem where photos synced to a device may appear in an unexpected order.

- Resolves an issue where iTunes may unexpectedly delete playlists created on a device.

- Fixes issues where iTunes may unexpectedly delete apps on a device.

- Improves overall performance and reliability.

iTunes 10.6.3 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 firmware upgrade

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Date: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 06:27
Category: Hardware, News, Software

Late Monday, Apple released its Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 firmware upgrade for its Thunderbolt-equipped Macs running Mac OS X 10.7 (“Lion”). The update, a 510 kilobyte download, adds support for the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

In addition to the direct download, Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 is available through Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature. The update requires a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

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