Apple announces 7th-gen iPod nano, units to go on sale in October

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 11:41
Category: iPod, iPod Nano, News

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The new stuff is rolling in today.

Per 9to5Mac, in addition to announcing the iPhone 5 today, the company announced a completely refreshed 7th generation iPod nano sporting a larger display, Bluetooth, Home button, and Lightning connector. The new Nano is also the thinnest yet at just 5.4mm, includes play/pause, forward/back physical buttons in addition to an iPhone-style Home button. and comes in seven colors, and has the longest battery life of any Nano with up to 30 hours of music playback.

Other features include an FM tuner with live pause, built-in pedometer, and a 38% thinner frame over the previous generation.

The new nanos will be available for US$149 in October.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces September 19th release date for iOS 6

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 10:41
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

iOS 6 is almost here.

Just wait a week.

On Wednesday, Apple Senior VP of iOS Software Scott Forstall announced that the next major update to Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, will be available for the public to download and install in one week, on Wednesday, September 19th.

iOS 6 will be available for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch. The OS update launches two days before the iPhone 5 is set to debut.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google releases Picasa 3.9.11.6 update

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 10:47
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, software giant Google released Picasa 3.9.11.6, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac. Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments. The new version, a 33.9 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed Sync/upload to re-upload on image size or metadata changes.

– Fixed reading jpg files saved by Gimp.

– Fixed Reading some png files with metadata errors.

– Fixed some errors storing faces in XMP data.

– “Save as” and “Save a Copy” are now re-enabled when switching away from two-up AA mode.

– The size option for uploads is now saved in the album data.

Picasa 3.9.11.6 requires Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Apple announces iPhone 5, handset to go on sale September 21st

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 10:21
Category: iPhone, News

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The Apple online store is being updated right now.

And for good reason.

At long last, Apple on Wednesday unveiled its iPhone 5 handset. Per Macworld, the new device features a taller screen, a new dock connector port, LTE support, and other changes.

The new handset, which is now 7.6mm thin and weighs 112 grams, now incorporates a 4-inch display that offers 326 pixels per inch and 1136 x 640 resolution.

Apps that aren’t updated don’t stretch or scale but will display letterboxed on the iPhone, with black borders surrounding the centered app.

The iPhone 5 offers 44 percent more color saturation than the iPhone 4S, Schiller said, and because the touch sensors are integrated right into the display, it’s 30 percent thinner, with sharper imagery, and less glare in sunlight.

New to the iPhone 5 is LTE, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA support. That’s on top of the GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, and HSPA that the iPhone 4S offered. Apple VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said that with LTE, the iPhone 5 can achieve a “theoretical maximum downlink of up to 100Mbps.”

Schiller explained that the iPhone 5 uses one baseband chip for voice and data and a single radio chip. The new phone also improves upon the iPhone 4S’s dynamic antenna, Schiller said, improving its ability to automatically switch to different networks as appropriate.

LTE partners for the iPhone 5 include Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the U.S, and Rogers, Fido, Bell, Telus, and more in Canada. Schiller said there are “plenty” of LTE partners in Asia, Australia, the UK, and Germany, with lots of DC-HSDPA support in Europe as well.

The iPhone 5 also gains better Wi-Fi, with support for 802.11 a/b/g/n. The 802.11n standard is 2.4GHz and dual channel 5GHz, up to 150 Mbps, Schiller said.

The processor in the iPhone 5 is the brand new Apple A6, which is twice as fast at CPU and graphics processing compared to the A5 that drove the iPhone 4S, Schiller said. It’s also 22 percent smaller than its predecessor, freeing up more space inside the iPhone, and making it more energy efficient to boot. Schiller said that everything—launching apps, viewing attachments, loading music—would be twice as fast as before.

Schiller explained that Apple wanted “to match the battery life of the 4S in a thinner and lighter design” for the iPhone 5. The company ended up exceeding that battery life; the iPhone 5 will offer eight hours of 3G talk time and browsing and LTE browsing, ten hours of Wi-Fi browsing, ten hours of video, 40 hours of music, and 225 hours of standby time.

The iPhone 5’s camera sports an eight megapixel sensor, 3264 by 2448 pixel images. It’s backside illuminated, with a hybrid IR filter, five-element lens, and a fast f/2.4 aperture. And the camera is 25 percent smaller than the iPhone 4S’s camera. The camera also includes a dynamic low-light mode, which can sense low light and combine elements for two f-stops greater.

The camera also includes, for the first time on an iPhone, a sapphire lens cover, which Schiller said would protect the lens and make images cleaner and sharper.

The A6 chip includes a new image signal processor, with spatial noise reduction and filtering to improve photographs. And the camera’s now 40 percent faster, too.

Also new in the iPhone 5’s camera arsenal is Panorama. You hold the iPhone vertically and sweep your scene; the app tells you at what speed to move. “Even if you’re not perfectly stable,” or if movement artifacts are introduced, Schiller said, the software can compensate in the final image.

Video performance is improved, too. The iPhone 5 offers 1080p HD video, improved video stabilization, face detection for up to ten faces, and can take photos while you’re recording video. The front-facing camera is now a FaceTime HD 720p HD camera with backside illumination, a significant improvement over the iPhone 4S’s VGA-quality front-facing camera.

The iPhone 5 includes three separate microphones, Schiller said: One on the front, one on the back, and one on the bottom. They improve noise cancellation and voice recognition.

The speaker gets improved, too. It now includes five magnets in its transducer, with better frequency response and better sound—while being 20 percent smaller than the speaker in the iPhone 4S. The earpiece is now noise-canceling, too, Schiller said.

With some carriers, the iPhone 5 will support wideband audio. In a typical cell phone call, the frequency of data in your voice is compressed around the midrange, Schiler said. But that doesn’t sounded entirely natural. Wideband audio fills up more of the frequency spectrum to make your voice sound more normal. Schiller said 20 carriers will support the technology at launch, and didn’t mention any U.S. carriers that would.

If you wondered as to whether Apple would adopt a new connector type to replace the Dock connector, the answer is “yes”. The iPhone 5 abandons the familiar 30-pin dock connector port, which first appeared with the original iPod in 2003. In its place is a smaller port, which Apple calls Lightning.

The 8-signal Lightning connector is all-digital, with an adaptive interface and improved durability. It’s reversible (meaning you can orient it either way, like a MagSafe adapter), and it’s 80 percent smaller than the connector it replaces.

Schiller announced that Apple would offer a 30-pin-to-Lightning connector, but didn’t mention pricing.

The iPhone 5 will come in an all black model, and a white model with a bright silver aluminum finish.

The iPhone 5 will be available September 21 in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, with pre-orders starting on September 14. It will retail for US$199 for 16GB, US$299 for 32GB, and US$399 for 64GB—the same pricing as the iPhone 4S that preceded it. The iPhone 4S drops to US$99; and the iPhone 4 is now the free, entry-level iPhone. All those prices require two-year commitments.

The iPhone 5 will be available in 20 more countries a week later, and in 100 countries over 240 carrier partners by year’s end.

iCloud e-mail woes extend into second day, Apple citing only 1.1% of users currently affected

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 08:21
Category: iCloud, News

Well, this is a bit embarrassing, especially only a few hours before an anticipated slew of new product announcements today…

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple’s iCloud email outage continues into its second day, the company’s status site claiming that only 1.1 percent of iCloud users are affected. Since Tuesday morning, iCloud mail connectivity has been iffy or entirely absent for some subscribers, and Apple’s not commenting aside from the “we’re working on it” notice.

Oddly enough, the discussions board seems to be weighted toward non-US users having issues.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if your iCloud email has been down or iffy, please let us know in the comments.

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.22

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 07:40
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.22. The new version, a 96.6 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

– VMM: fixed a potential host crash triggered by shutting down a VM when another VM was running (only affected 32-bit hosts and 64-bit OS X hosts, 4.1 regression, bug #9897)

– VMM: fixed a potential host crash under a high guest memory pressure (seen with Windows 8 guests).

– VMM: respect RAM preallocation while restoring saved state.

– VMM: fixed handling of task gates if VT-x/AMD-V is disabled.

– Storage: fixed audio CD passthrough for certain media players.

– USB: don’t crash if a USB device is plugged or unplugged when saving or loading the VM state (SMP guests only).

– RTC: fixed a potential corruption of CMOS bank 1.

– Mac OS X hosts: installer fixes for Leopard (4.1.20 regression).

– Windows Additions: fixed memory leak in VBoxTray (bug #10808).

VirtualBox 4.1.22 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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