Adobe Reader, Acrobat Pro updated to 11.0.03

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Date: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013, 07:36
Category: News, security, Software

Handy updates are handy updates.

Late Tuesday, Adobe released version 11.0.03 of its Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro applications. The updates, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, add the following fixes and changes:

Japanese support:
- Automatic signature detection is supported.

- Added support for the Japanese Postal Code barcode.

EchoSign integration:
- Acrobat and Reader now intelligently detect if a document may need to be signed. On successful detection, a document message bar appears with a button “Open Sign Pane” which on clicking opens the right-hand Sign Pane.

- Signature appearances can now be imported through the user’s webcam. Reader saves the signature for future use in signing workflows.

- Save a Copy: Allows the user to save the file locally or in cloud. The file will be renamed based on whether user signs the document or not.

- Send via Email: Allows users to upload the document to the EchoSign server where they can fill-in details and send the signed document.

- Send via Fax: Same as the Send via Email option.

- Get Others to Sign: Enables users to send documents that need signing to others through the EchoSign service.

- The dialog which asks the user if they want to save the signed document is removed, thereby streamlining the signing process.

Digital signatures:
- The product now supports allowing administrators to control trust for JavaScript execution for specific certificates through the use of cTrustCertifiedDocumentsByOIDs in HKCU and/or HKLM. If the values in this registry preference match an OID in a certificate’s Extended Key Usage field, then that certificate is trusted.

Tools Pane:
- Tools pane performance is improved.

- The Tools Pane is open by default and the user’s selected state is saved across sessions.

Services integration:
- When using Export PDF, Create PDF and Send Now services, the user can now choose Open from online account > Acrobat.com.

- In the Create PDF panel, the “Convert” button is now a “Select Files” button. After a file is selected the button changes to “Convert”.

- When you open a document from Acrobat.com that you were reading earlier on another device, the document opens to the page where you left off.

- The ExportPDF panel is now available in the Japanese version of Reader.

Fixes:
- Acrobat crashes on Export Image to Online Account (SharePoint).

- On OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, PDF file preview color is incorrect in A10 and A11 when monitor display profile is other than sRGB.

Miscellaneous:
- PDFMaker plug-in not opening PPT file after conversion from FileSite server.

- Unable to use tabs to put focus on HTML field following embedded PDF.

- Acrobat browser plug-in does not calculate decimal numbers in an AcroForm correctly when system locale is set to French.

- Page being incorrectly identified as scanned in the PDF invokes OCR unnecessarily.

- Print button off screen on low resolution devices in Reader/Acrobat XI.

- The IE AcroIEHelper browser helper object is removed. Needed functionality is moved to a plugin.

- Cannot save PDF from Firefox when multiple windows are used.

- In Reader, doing an overwrite with content type enabled results in a “bad parameters” error.

- Error while entering the value for Managed Metadata field.

- Added support for the Turkish Currency symbol.

Acrobat Reader 11.0.03 and Acrobat Pro 11.0.03 require an Intel-based processor and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.

Firefox updated to 21.0

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Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 13:49
Category: News, Software

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According to version numbers, Firefox can now legally purchase an alcoholic beverage…

On Friday, Mozilla.org released version 21.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 40.2 megabyte download via MacUpdate, adds the following fixes and changes:
- The Social API now supports multiple providers.

- Enhanced three-state UI for Do Not Track (DNT).

- Firefox will suggest how to improve your application startup time if needed.

- Preliminary implementation of Firefox Health Report.

- Ability to restore removed thumbnails on New Tab Page.

- CSS -moz-user-select:none selection changed to improve compatibility with -webkit-user-select:none (bug 816298).

- Graphics related performance improvements (bug 809821).

- Removed E4X support from Spidermonkey.

- Implemented Remote Profiling.

- Integrated add-on SDK loader and API libraries into Firefox.

- Added support for element.

- Implemented scoped stylesheets.

- Some function keys may not work when pressed (833719).

- Browsing and Download history clearing needs unification to avoid confusion on clearing download history (847627).

Firefox 21.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 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.

Google Drive space upgraded to 15 GB for all accounts, transition to take place over next few weeks

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Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:25
Category: iOS, News, Software

Google-Drive-Logo

You can’t knock healthy competition.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Google announced that it will be upgrading its complimentary Google Drive storage space from 5 GB to 15 GB.

Google says the changes will be rolling out over the next several weeks to all customers. All that space is shared, so if you are just using Google Drive Photo (for example), that 15 GB is shared with any other Google services that require storage.

With this move, Google has unified its storage system, a similar concept to the Apple pool of iCloud storage, although at this point Apple does not count image storage in Photo Stream against your 5 GB allotment. Google has a free iOS app so you can access this storage space, and it can also be managed through a web browser on any computer.

Take a gander at Google Drive as the upgrade occurs and if you love it or hate it, please let us know in the comments, as always.

Rumor: Next-gen iPhone could incorporate sapphire crystal Home button, built-in fingerprint sensor

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Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:01
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

It’s a rumor, so it kinda sorta has to be true…

Per Cult of Mac, the next-gen iPhone 5S handset could come with a sapphire crystal capacitive touch home button that incorporates a new fingerprint sensor, according to supply chain sources in Taiwan and TechNews.tw.

Apple is expected to do away with the traditional physical home button, which has long been one of the most unreliable components on iOS devices. It’s thought that using sapphire crystal, which has a hardness second only to diamond, will prevent the button from getting scratched and ruining the fingerprint sensor.

This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has used sapphire crystal in an iPhone. The iPhone 5 has a sapphire crystal camera lens on its back, which Apple chose to try to prevent scratches from ruining your photos.

According to sources close to the story, the Cupertino company will choose the same material for the iPhone 5S’s home button.

But it won’t be a physical button like existing iOS devices. They insist Apple will employ a capacitive touch home button for the first time with the iPhone 5S, eliminating one of the most unreliable components in an iOS device (the physical home button has a tendency to fail after long periods of use).

Not only will it be a capacitive touch button, but it’ll also incorporate a fingerprint sensor, the sources claim. We’ve been hearing for many months that Apple will add fingerprint sensing technology to the iPhone 5S, following its acquisition of AuthenTec last year.

As for the handset’s release date, the current rumors have its arrival pinned around August or September, alongside a plastic low-cost iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple apparently hiring personnel for iWork for iOS development, QA, HiDPI engineers sought

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Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:59
Category: News, Software

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There may be new life for iWork on the horizon.

Per AppleBitch, a handful of recently discovered job listings suggest a possible next-generation iWork software suite may soon see release, with the latest postings asking for specialists in quality assurance, one of the final steps in software building.

While some of the listings date back to the end of March, the most recent ad for “SW QA iWork” hit Apple’s job portal only two days ago.

At present, there are eight iWork-related positions on the “Jobs at Apple” webpage, three of which deal with quality assurance or software verification. One listing, posted on May 11, is looking for a software quality assurance specialist, a sign that Apple could be readying deployment some time soon.

From the job listing:
“The iWork team is looking for a software QA engineer to work on the next generation of Desktop, Mobile and Web application/services. This position requires a self-motivated individual with strong problem solving skills who can contribute in a dynamic team environment.

Bug reporting and isolation:
Planning, designing, and executing test cases
Ensure the successful delivery of a quality product by performing ad hoc and structured tests on a daily basis”

In another interesting post from May 7, a “HiDPI Image Specialist” is sought, with the ideal candidate to be tasked with aiding the iWork visual design team in translating graphics to Retina-toting devices. At the very least, the job ad reveals Apple is looking add high-resolution screen support to its productivity suite.

While there has yet to be any official word on a next-gen iWork product, the number of job listings and information therein strongly suggest such a product is in the offing, and could be released in the near future. The current iWork ’09, which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote, was released in 2009, and is seen by some to be long overdue for an upgrade.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Amazon releases Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS users

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Date: Monday, May 13th, 2013, 04:37
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Ne’er doubt Amazon’s ability to throw out a competing app.

Per Macworld, Amazon’s Cloud Drive Photos app has gone live and is available free of charge from the App Store, the app can transfer photos back and forth between a device and Cloud Drive, where they can be accessed using a desktop computer, Web browser, or other compatible device, like a Kindle Fire.

The app’s goal is to let customers enjoy the benefits of cloud storage—including ease of sharing and easier backups—regardless of what platform they use. In addition, the app lets you view your photo albums in various layouts from your iPhone or iPod touch and share Cloud Drive photos on Facebook, Twitter, and via email.

Launched in March of 2011, Cloud Drive offers users 5GB of free storage, which can be used for files of all kinds, including music, pictures, and video. Additional space is available for fees that range from US$10 per year for 20GB to US$500 per year for 1000GB (1TB).

The app is optimized for iPhone 5, and compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S, as well as iPod touch (3rd, 4th, and 5th generation), and iPad. It requires iOS 6.0 or later to install and run.

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

Apple rolls out two-step ID recovery option to additional countries

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Date: Monday, May 13th, 2013, 03:58
Category: News, security

applelogo_silver

This might help keep your Apple ID credentials a bit safer.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple recently introduced two-step verification for your Apple ID in certain countries, and the process is now being expanded to the rest of the world. The feature, which requires two different codes for verifying your Apple ID was initially only available in the US, UK, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. But Apple has now included Canada in on the feature, as well as users in Argentina, Pakistan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium and Portugal. In other words, two-step authentication is now rolling out to a more or less worldwide release.

The authentication process is still optional — if users don’t think you need it, they can still stick with just their Apple ID passwords as a login. The process does help security, though it’s still not a perfect solution. Apple only implemented this procedure earlier this year due to some security concerns on behalf of users. But it will help against some attacks, and it should work as another step to keep unwanted invaders out of your Apple ID account.

As always, please let us know what you make of this over in the comments section.

AppleCare, AppleCare+ to undergo significant changes this fall, feature updated warranty policies, in-store iOS device repairs

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Date: Monday, May 13th, 2013, 03:34
Category: iPhone, News, retail

applelogo_silver

You’re going to see some changes in AppleCare this fall.

Per AppleInsider, in a town hall session held on Thursday, Apple informed tech staff that major changes to the AppleCare and AppleCare+ service programs will be enacted starting this fall, with a broadening of current policies likely to cut costs and make the service more attractive to consumers.

The town hall session was led by Apple Vice President Tara Bunch, who revealed a set of after-sales policy shifts would soon be rolling out across the U.S., and eventually the world, with many of the changes referred to under the “One Apple” brand, said a source close to the story. While Bunch was referred to as Vice President of AppleCare, AppleInsider cannot confirm this assertion. On her LinkedIn page, Bunch lists her current job as simply “Vice President at Apple,” but it is known that she was previously vice president of Global Customer Support Operations at Hewlett-Packard prior to joining Apple in 2012.

As for the “One Apple” moniker, it is unclear if the term is an internal designation for the vast restructuring about to take place, or is intended to become a consumer mark once the new changes are in place.

“The biggest announcement, was the way repairs for iPhones will be handled soon,” the person, who asked not to be identified due to their active status as an Apple employee, told reporters. “The way it is now, if almost anything is wrong with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the entire device is exchanged for a like-new re manufactured (sic) device, whether brought into an apple store or sent in for mail in repair. Now we are starting to actually repair the products and return the same device to the customer.”

Currently, Apple Stores have the tools to replace speakers, receivers, home buttons, the vibrator motor and battery. Come June, capabilities will be expanded to display replacement, and by July cameras, sleep/wake buttons and logic boards will be dealt with in-store. In addition, employees will have access to advanced diagnostics tools that can remotely assess hardware issues and relay the data directly to technicians, allowing for quicker turnaround times.

The new in-house repairs are to be rolled out across the U.S., with international support coming online soon thereafter. Bunch reportedly said Apple expects to save nearly US$1 billion per year with the change in policy.

In another huge departure, Apple will reportedly reconfigure its paid AppleCare service as a subscription model, or introduce a new tier, which will be attached to a customer rather than a specific product. Under the proposed system, a customer is entitled to in-store training similar to the One to One program available to new Mac buyers, with each device owned being covered by the warranty. The new AppleCare may also include “exclusive” 24/7 support, though that has not been confirmed as a full set of features and pricing is not yet etched in stone.

Gratis after-sales coverage is also slated for an update, and will move over to a new system where phone support will persist for at least an entire year, with possible two-year support offered in the future. Apple currently offers 90 days of free phone support without buying the add-on AppleCare plan. Online support, knowledge base articles, online live chats and Genius Bar visits will continue to be free.

Apple is also looking to grow its home advisor team, which currently consists of over 4,200 technical advisors who work from home instead of an office, approximately double the number from one year ago. The program is meant to cut overhead costs and provide for a larger pool of potential employees.

Finally, the source said Apple’s online resources will see an overhaul in the coming months as the company is working to expand its current offerings to include support over iMessage and a revamp of the Support Pages website, which is expected to focus on interactive tutorials and video content. Unsurprisingly, the Web-based enhancements will be optimized for both computer and iOS device perusal.

In addition, Apple personnel will begin to take a more active role in the discussion boards, helping to answer questions, consolidating threads and performing general maintenance.

Most of the changes mentioned above will roll out by fall if all goes according to plan.

The source briefed on Apple’s upcoming changes pointed out that in-store repairs would also be a plus for those customers whose products are no longer under warranty. Instead of paying a universal “swap out” fee, out of warranty hardware issues will be fixed on a per device basis. Apple has reportedly deployed advanced in-store repairs at select locations, with customer response being largely positive.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

T-Mobile gears up “$0 down” trade-in deal for Mother’s Day weekend

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Date: Friday, May 10th, 2013, 12:31
Category: iPhone, News, retail

Your mum might like this for Mother’s Day.

Per TmoNews, wireless carrier T-Mobile has begun highlighting Apple’s newest smartphone to push the trade-in program that it’s had running since April 12. That program allows new and existing qualified customers to trade in an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, with the resulting trade-in value wiping out the purchase price for the iPhone 5.

The deal — good for both GSM and CDMA iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S units — requires that the device be able to power on, have no cracks in its screen, and bear no liquid damage or other physical damage.

T-Mobile will be running iPhone 5-specific advertising in newspapers across the United States beginning May 10. This campaign will include ad insertions in local papers in the top 20 U.S. markets, including Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, and Houston. The carrier will also run ads in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

ESPN expresses interest in subsidizing mobile data plans, looks to keep users watching streaming video

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Date: Friday, May 10th, 2013, 07:58
Category: iOS, iPhone, News

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ESPN wants you watching streaming video, even if they have to pick up part of the check…

Per the Wall Street Journal and AppleInsider, cable sports network ESPN has expressed interest in potentially subsidizing those data plans to allow users to stream video without worrying about overage fees.

ESPN has allegedly had discussions with at least one major U.S. carrier about the plan. The two largest carriers in America, Verizon and AT&T, both carry the iPhone and both restrict new customers with capped data plans.

The concept proposed by ESPN could guarantee that content streamed from the network would not result in data plan overage charges. The network has reportedly expressed interest in either paying carriers outright, or giving them a share of advertising revenue.

But the alleged deal isn’t imminent, the report said, as questions remain about the economics, and the fact that any agreements could run afoul of government regulators.

Carriers such as Verizon and AT&T are said to be interested in content deals as a way of increasing revenue without raising fees for subscribers.

ESPN has aggressively pursued mobile streaming capabilities as smartphones and tablets have gained in popularity. The network’s WatchESPN application allows users with participating cable subscribers to stream live sporting events from the ESPN family of networks.

Content available on WatchESPN includes the NBA regular season and playoffs, major golf tournaments like The Masters and U.S. Open, college football and basketball, and thousands of other live events. The service also streams original ESPN shows like SportsCenter, Pardon the Interruption, and Mike and Mike in the Morning.

But smartphone users might be reluctant to use live streaming video services like WatchESPN on the go because of restrictive mobile data plan caps in place via wireless carriers. Both Verizon and AT&T charge customers a US$15 fee for each gigabyte consumed in excess of their data plan cap.

Watching low-quality video for one hour uses about 200 megabytes of data. For an hour of high-definition video, a user might expect to see 400 megabytes of usage on their mobile data plan.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.