Dropbox updated to 1.4.12

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Date: Friday, July 27th, 2012, 06:09
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a useful update.

On Friday, Dropbox released version 1.4.12 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 21.5 megabyte download, which adds OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion support.

Dropbox 1.4.12 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Data Rescue updated to 3.2.2, adds Mountain Lion compatibility, other features

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Date: Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 14:49
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Data Rescue 3, Prosoft Engineering’s data rescue and recovery program, was updated to version 3.2.2. The new version, a 13.6 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

- Added OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility.

- Added a newly designed application icon.

- Added support for recovering MIDI audio files.

- Added date to JPEG file names for those that contain EXIF metadata.

- Added an “Open With” contextual menu for scan results.

Data Rescue 3.2.2 retails for US$99 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later to install and run.

Apple releases SMC firmware updates, enables Power Nap feature for mid-2011, mid-2011 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 06:47
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

At long last, your mid-2011 and mid-2012 MacBook Air notebooks will be able to nap.

Per AppleInsider, a pair of firmware updates released by Apple on Wednesday enable the Power Nap in certain MacBook Air models that were promised the feature but found it missing when OS X Mountain Lion launched on Wednesday.

Apple rolled out the new firmware via Software Update in conjunction with the release of OS X Mountain Lion after the company previously noted Power Nap may not be able to work on certain Macs without such an update.

First outlined in June during Apple’s WWDC, Power Nap enables Macs to stay up to date and allows for the automatic backup of data while the machine is sleeping. The automatic refreshing of data, including Time Machine and iCloud syncing, is reportedly silent and power efficient though compatibility is limited to Macs with solid state drives like the MacBook Air.

When OS X Mountain Lion was released earlier in the day, some MacBook Air users noticed that the touted feature was missing. The problem has apparently been remedied in the Software Update which is for some “MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.6″ for the mid-2011 MacBook Air and “MacBook Air SMC Firmware Update 1.5″ for the mid-2012 MacBook Air.

After the firmware is download through Software Update the Power Nap feature can be found in the Energy Saver pane in System Preferences once installed.

The firmware updates can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Safari 6.0 update

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Date: Thursday, July 26th, 2012, 06:11
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, Apple released Safari 6.0, an update to its web browser. The new version, a 40.2 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and new features:

- Smart Search Field: Safari now has one field for typing both searches and Web addresses.

- Offline Reading List: Safari saves entire webpages in your Reading List so you can catch up on your reading even when you don’t have an Internet connection.

- Do Not Track: Safari can send the websites you visit a request not to track you online.

- Password pane: Manage your saved website logins with the new Password pane.

- Baidu: The leading Chinese search engine Baidu is now a built-in option for Chinese users.

Safari 6 for OS X Lion also includes improvements to stability, compatibility, usability and security, including changes that:

- Make the swipe to navigate gesture work with PDFs.

- Restore the state of Reading List when Safari is launched.

- Fix an issue that affected full screen video in webpages that have positioned content.

- Restore the user’s previous cookies after Private Browsing without requiring a Safari relaunch.

Safari 6.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run and can also be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple releases OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on Mac App Store

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Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012, 07:27
Category: News, Software

You’ve been hankering for it.

And it’s here.

On Wednesday, Apple released its long-awaited OS X Mountain Lion upgrade through the Mac App Store. The download is 4.05GB, and retails for US$20.

The software incorporates a number of apps previously exclusive to iOS, including Notes, Reminders, Game Center, and the Notification Center. It also more deeply integrates iCloud, and introduces Gatekeeper, a new security system designed to prevent malware from being installed. In all, Apple claims that over 200 new features have been added including the following:

Messages:
- Send messages from your Mac to friends with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

- With iMessage, you can start a conversation on your Mac and pick it up on your iPhone or iPad.

- Messages also supports traditional instant messaging services like AIM, Yahoo! Google Talk and Jabber.

iCloud:
- Documents in the Cloud lets you create and edit your documents on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

- The new Reminders app makes managing tasks easy. Jot down your thoughts with the new Notes app. And iCloud keeps your Reminders and Notes up to date across all your devices.

Safari:
- Type both searches and web addresses in the new Smart Search Field.

- Pinch to see tabs with Tab View and swipe to switch between them.

- iCloud Tabs makes the last websites you looked at accessible on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.*

Notification Center:
- New notifications appear in the top right corner of your screen.

- Open Notification Center from anywhere in OS X to see recent notifications.

- Configure your notifications to receive just the ones you want.

Sharing:
- Share links, photos, videos, and other files right from the app you’re in.

- Share with Mail, Messages, and AirDrop.

- Sign in to Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo once to start sharing.

- Tweet right from your apps with the Tweet sheet.

Game Center:
- Play live multiplayer and turn-based games against friends on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.

- Log in to the Game Center app to see friends in your gaming network.

- Check out leaderboards and achievements.

- See what games your friends play and track your progress against them.

Other Mountain Lion features:
- Dictation lets you talk anywhere you can type–no setup or training required.

- AirPlay Mirroring shows your Mac screen on your HDTV with Apple TV.

- Power Nap keeps your Mac up to date while it sleeps so it’s instantly ready to go.

- Gatekeeper makes it safer to download apps from the Internet by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac.

- New features for Chinese users include improved text input, leading search engine Baidu as an option in Safari, sharing to microblogging service Sina Weibo and video websites Youku and Tudou, eight new fonts, and a new Chinese dictionary.

OS X 10.8 requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 and access to the Mac App Store to download and install.

If you guys have downloaded, installed and played with OS X 10.8, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

iPhoto 9.3.1 updated to 9.3.2

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Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012, 06:04
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its iPhoto 9.3.2 update. The update, a 600 megabyte download which can be found via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Supports compatibility with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

- Sharing options now include Messages and Twitter.

- Includes performance and stability improvements.

iPhoto 9.3.2 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires 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.

Apple posts $8.8 billion profit, $35 billion in sales for Q3 2012 returns

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Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012, 06:30
Category: Finance, News

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There’s a nice ring to the words “US$8.8 billion quarterly profit”…

Per Macworld, Apple announced its returns for the third quarter of 2012 yesterday, the company’s sales hitting US$35 billion, up 22 percent from US$28.6 billion last year while profits rose 20.5 percent to US$8.8 billion from US$7.3 billion. Earnings for the quarter were US$9.32 a share, up 20 percent from last year. Reported earnings topped Apple’s forecast, but fell short of Wall Street expectations of US$10.35 per share on projected revenue of US$37 billion.

Apple sold 17 million iPads during the quarter, the most the company has ever sold during a quarter. The company tallied June quarter records for both Mac and iPhone sales—the latter figure coming even as customers have held off on purchasing a new iPhone in anticipation of a new model coming out later this year.

Despite the sales records, the third quarter saw the slowest growth rate for profit since 2009. Still, Apple finds itself better positioned than most tech companies. Sales of Macs, for example, rose during the quarter while the rest of the PC market saw a 1 percent decline, according to figures from market-research firm IDC.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, told analysts during a conference call that the company was “pleased” with its quarterly results.

The number that probably pleased Apple the most came from its surging iPad business, where Apple saw sales of its tablet grow 84 percent from the year-ago quarter. This was the first full quarter of sales for Apple’s third-generation iPad, which debuted on March 16. Apple is currently selling iPads in 97 countries.

Recognized revenue from the iPad lineup hit US$9.2 billion for the quarter, up 53 percent from the US$6 billion in revenue Apple recorded last year. Apple says it sold twice as many iPad as Macs to its education customers—and Apple just happened to set a record for Mac sales to U.S. educational institutions for the quarter.

As for its Mac business, Apple sold 4 million computers, up slightly from the 3.9 million Macs it sold in the year-ago quarter. Even with slight 2 percent gain, Apple still sold more Macs in this three-month period than in any June quarter before.

Those sales were largely driven by the revamped MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models Apple released, even though those notebooks came out less than three weeks before the end of the June quarter. According to Cook, prior to the release of those models at June’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple’s Mac sales were off last year’s pace. Once the updated MacBooks hit the market, though, Apple’s weekly sell-through increased, allowing it to beat last year’s figure and outpace PC industry growth for a 25th straight quarter.

In particular, Cook noted that the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has been “incredibly well-received. We still have not caught up with demand, but we anticipate doing so next month.”

Mac sales are usually dominated by portables, and this quarter was no exception. Notebooks accounted for three-fourths of the Macs Apple sold.

In addition to the June record for overall Mac sales, Apple executives noted that the quarter was the best ever for Mac sales to U.S. education institutions.

Apple sold 26 million iPhones during the quarter, compared to 20.3 million last year—another June quarter record for the company. The 28 percent growth in iPhone sales was also ahead of the amount Apple factored into its quarter guidance, Oppenheimer noted.

While Apple hasn’t made any iPhone hardware changes since it rolled out the iPhone 4S last year, it has been expanding the reach of its smartphone. During the June quarter, for example, the company added a number of regional carriers in the U.S. More than 250 carriers now provide service for the iPhone in 100 countries.

Recognized revenue from the iPhone rose 23 percent from last year to US$16.2 billion.

Despite the record sales, this quarter’s iPhone figures represent something of a blip for Apple. Both unit sales and iPhone revenue were down sequential in the third quarter; in 2011, unit sales and revenue rose from the second quarter to the third quarter. That’s largely a sign that customers may be holding off on iPhone purchases in anticipation of a new smartphone from Apple.

Pressed by analysts about the impact iPhone rumors might have on Apple’s bottom line, Cook said that while the company goes to great lengths to keep its product road map under wraps, he doesn’t put any value in clamping down on speculation about product releases.

“That’s just the environment we’re in,” Cook said. “I’m glad that people want the next thing. I’m super happy about it.”

Apple may have less reason to happy with its iPod sales, which saw another dip. The company sold 6.8 million music players, down from 7.5 million iPods in the year-ago quarter. Average selling price for iPods was also down for the quarter. Still, Apple notes that the iPod continues to hold a 70 percent share of the music-player market.

Combining iPod touch numbers with iPhone and iPad figures, Apple says that cumulative iOS device sales have reached 410 million units.

Revenue from the iTunes Store topped US$1.8 billion for the quarter; Apple brought its online music, movie, TV, and app store to 12 more countries.

Cook said that Apple sold 1.3 million Apple TVs during the quarter, bringing total sales for the fiscal year to 4 million units. The set-top box is “still at a level that we would call it a hobby, but we’ll continue to pull the string to see where it takes us,” Cook added.

During Tuesday’s briefing, Apple also unveiled the details of the stock dividend plan it first announced in March. The company will pay out US$2.65 per share on August 16, 2012 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 13. Subsequent dividends will be announced at the same time as the company’s results, with future payouts subject to declaration by the board of directors. Apple will begin buying back stock starting in its 2013 fiscal year, which starts September 30, 2012.

Both the dividend and the stock buyback program are part of Apple’s efforts to dispense with the massive amounts of cash the company has on hand. Apple ended the June quarter with US$117.2 billion in cash and short- and long-term securities, up from US$110 billion the previous quarter.

In terms of future performance, Oppenheimer told analysts to expect revenue of US$34 billion during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter and earnings of US$7.65 a share. That compares to 2011 fourth-quarter revenues of US$28.27 billion and earnings per share of US$7.02.

Apple offers final notice, warns users of July 31st iWork.com closure

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Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, 11:46
Category: News, Software

Ok, it’s time to stop procrastinating…

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday issued what it called a “final reminder” to users that they must save their iWork.com documents before July 31 or lose them forever.

The iWork.com beta website will close in one week’s time, after which users will no longer be able to access their documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web.

Apple has recommended once again that users immediately sign in to iWork.com to download documents and ensure tehy are not lost. An accompanying support article also details how users can save a copy of their documents onto their computer.

“Moving forward, you can use iCloud to store your documents and make them available across your computer and your iPHone, iPad or iPod touch,” the e-mail sent out on Tuesday by Apple reads.

Apple has sent out numerous reminders, including one earlier this month, encouraging users to back up their documents. Apple first notified customers in March of its intent to shutter the iWork.com website by the end of July.

The iWork.com service first launched as a beta in early 2009, offering iWork users on the Mac the ability to more easily collaborate with others using Windows and Microsoft Office. Now, the iWork suite of applications is become available on iOS, with Pages, Numbers and Keynote among the most popular downloads on the iPad App Store.

So, yeah, snag those files, put them somewhere else and perhaps head out and grab a really good bagel between now and the 31st, because Apple has decided to move on.

Analyst pegs Apple to release 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, updated iMac this fall

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Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, 06:13
Category: iMac, MacBook Pro, News

Just hang on a few months and that Retina Display goodness should find its way to the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Per AppleInsider, a Retina display-toting 13-inch MacBook Pro is expected to join the recently-released 15-inch model sometime this September and may be accompanied by an iMac refresh, writes analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note shared with investors.

Rounding out the KGI analyst’s forecast for the second half of 2012, Kuo expects Apple to bring a Retina display-resolution display to its 13-inch MacBook Pro line in September though demand may outweigh supply as components for the high-pixel density display are limited.

The reports is in line with two previous findings, both from online computer benchmarking sites that pointed to an unknown MacBook Pro fitting the description of a 13-inch Retina display model.

Kuo believes the device will be an attractive option to consumers looking to purchase the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air due to the Retina display’s high-quality image reproduction. The analyst also claims customers will be drawn to the balance of power consumption and form factor as well as the unit’s price which should be somewhat similar to Apple’s non-Retina MacBook Pro.

While the laptop is expected to do well at launch, Kuo thinks sales growth won’t be meaningful as many consumers will gravitate toward iOS devices, especially so if Apple debuts a smaller, more affordable iPad in September. He goes on to say supply of the smaller high-resolution MacBook Pro will likely be constrained due to panel and assembly yield rates, a problem Apple is only now beginning to overcome with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

As for the iMac, Kuo believes a refreshed model could debut close to the end of September but qualifies the statement by saying indicators from the supply chain point to a later release. Shipments of Apple’s desktop products will dip in July due to inventory adjustments but are expected to dramatically rise in August as the new iMac starts shipping out from factories.

Regarding Apple’s overall financial outlook, Kuo sees zero growth across the line for Apple in the second quarter of 2012 on smartphone competition from Samsung, slow MacBook sales, a weakened global economy and the iPad’s late entry into China. Quarter three of the calendar year will likely pick up, however, as new product launches are expected to lead moderate growth ahead of the lucrative holiday shopping season.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple advises iOS developers on temporary fix for in-app purchase hack

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Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2012, 06:02
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Apple on Friday issued a note to developers outlining a fix for an in-app purchasing exploit that allowed for the free download of for-pay content, and also announced that the loophole will be plugged when iOS 6 is released this fall.

Per CNET, in its support document for iOS app developers, Apple recommends that apps featuring in-app purchases follow a set of guidelines that includes confirming orders with the company’s new receipt system.

The receipt validation protocol, which Apple unveiled on Wednesday, attaches a “unique identifier” to in-app purchase receipts. This tactic effectively thwarts the recently-discovered workaround that validated dubious “purchases” by routing them to a specialized DNS server and spoofing digital receipts. Previous to the discovery, Apple sent generic receipts containing no unique user data.

“We recommend developers follow best practices at developer.apple.com to help ensure they are not vulnerable to fraudulent In-App purchases,” said Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. “This will also be addressed with iOS 6.”

Friday’s document includes instructions on how to setup and use Apple’s new validation system as well as how to validate transactions that have already gone through.

From the document:
“A vulnerability has been discovered in iOS 5.1 and earlier related to validating in-app purchase receipts by connecting to the App Store server directly from an iOS device. An attacker can alter the DNS table to redirect these requests to a server controlled by the attacker. Using a certificate authority controlled by the attacker and installed on the device by the user, the attacker can issue a SSL certificate that fraudulently identifies the attacker’s server as an App Store server. When this fraudulent server is asked to validate an invalid receipt, it responds as if the receipt were valid.”

As part of the damage control measures, Apple allowed apps to access certain non-public APIs pertaining to verification and security services.

Along with the support document Apple sent out an email to developers noting the exploit will be patched in iOS 6 when the mobile operating system is released alongside an expected next-generation iPhone sometime this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.