Adobe launches rebranded Creative Cloud service, highlights updates

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Date: Tuesday, May 7th, 2013, 07:59
Category: News, Software

Adobe-Creative-Cloud

It may not be perfect for your needs, but Adobe’s pretty proud of it.

Per AppleInsider, Adobe’s popular Creative Suite got more than just a rebranding on Monday, as the company also revealed a number of new and advanced features for the rechristened Creative Cloud package.

Customers buying Adobe’s new subscription-based Creative Cloud service will see improved capabilities across Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash Pro, After Effects, Muse, Dreamweaver, and other titles. In perhaps Adobe’s best-known offering, Photoshop, the most notable new feature is a tool that reduces image blur brought on by camera shake. Photoshop also includes a redesigned Smart Sharpen utility, improved upsampling, and the ability to apply RAW edits as a filter in any layer.

Illustrator CC adds the ability to use the Touch Type tool to manipulate characters like individual objects. Users also can take images such as bitmaps and turn them into brushes, and the program can now generate CSS code by itself, allowing users to create web elements more easily. The vector drawing program also added increased support for multitouch devices and styluses.

InDesign CC now includes 64-bit support, a new user interface, Retina Display support, and the inclusion of Adobe’s Creative Cloud sharing features. It also gets performance enhancements and a new QR Code Creator.

Adobe’s color-picking Kuler program saw a new iPhone application introduced today, giving users the ability to export to Illustrator CC. It also includes new preset color modes, allowing users to create color themes and share them throughout Creative Cloud software.

Adobe’s video editor improved with redesigned user interfaces and streamlined editing in the case of Premiere Pro CC and Cinema 4D integration in the case of After Effects CC. Flash Pro CC adds a 64-bit architecture and redesigned UI, while another web development offering, Dreamweaver CC, adds a new CSS Designer.

With the move to the exclusively subscription-based Creative Cloud, Adobe will stop releasing updates for Creative Suite products. Creative Suite 6 will still be sold and supported, but new features will only come to Creative Cloud products from here forward. Creative Cloud subscription fees run from US$19.99 per month to US$69.99 per month depending on account type and features.

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

Google Drive updated to 1.9.4536.8202, allows for easier cross-platform sharing

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Date: Tuesday, May 7th, 2013, 07:55
Category: News, Software

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Never knock a useful update.

Per iMore, Google has rolled version 1.9.4536.8202 of its Google Drive program for the Mac. The update features better sharing in mind, with the addition of a right-click share menu. Files will naturally have to already be in your Google Drive folder, but quick sharing is sure to be appreciated by power users.

Clicking on the share menu brings up the box we see here. You get your link, privacy settings, people to share with and who can edit the file you’re sharing.

The new sharing menu is beginning to hit users now, and will continue rolling out over the next few days.

Google Drive 1.9.4536.8202 is available as a free 24.9 megabyte download and 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, let us know in the comments.

Apple, Best Buy team up for week-long MacBook Pro discounts, drive prices down across the board

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Date: Monday, May 6th, 2013, 06:50
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

One person’s price war is another person’s savings.

Per AppleInsider, Apple and Best Buy have again teamed for a week-long MacBook Pro sale, not only helping the Mac maker push units in an unfavorable climate for the PC market, but also helping to driving down prices for consumers even further at competing resellers.

Best Buy’s MacBook Pro sale took particular aim at the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, and initially prompted Amazon to follow suit by offering the 2.5GHz 13″ MacBook Pro (8GB,128GB) for US$1,349.00 this weekend before selling out and diverting its inventory draw from Datavision.

Similarly, MacMall followed Best Buy’s lead, and as of Monday had recouped claim to the lowest prices on 13-inch MacBooks when customers go to the MacMall web site and then apply Promo code APPINSDRMWB38717. For example, MacMall is offering the entry-level 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 128 gigabyte solid-state drive for US$1,377.38, compared to Apple’s suggested price of US$1,499.

The latest drops come just weeks before Apple is excepted to introduce its 2013 MacBook lineup at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. They also arrive amid the largest historical decline in PC growth in recent memory.

Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities indicated last month that Apple plans to refresh its MacBook lineup at WWDC in June. Most notably, the refreshed models are expected to feature Intel’s next-generation Haswell processors.

According to Kuo, Apple plans to keep its legacy MacBook Pro with disc drive available, because the hardware is popular in emerging markets where Internet connectivity is not as dependable. He indicated that new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models will ship by the end of the June quarter, while updated MacBook Pro with Retina display units will arrive later this year due to apparent yield issues with high-resolution screens.

Reduced prices on existing models are usually a sign that updated hardware is on the horizon, but this year it’s believed that the reductions are also driven by weak overall PC sales, as well as initial pricing on Retina MacBook Pros that was too high. That has helped to fuel expectations that Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Retina display models will be available at prices more in line with market expectations.

Retina Display for second-gen iPad mini looking more likely, NPD DisplaySearch cited

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Date: Monday, May 6th, 2013, 06:09
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, News

It looks like the rumor is coming closer to fruition.

Per CNET, Apple’s iPad Mini will get a refresh in the third quarter with a Retina display, NPD DisplaySearch predicted late Sunday.

This is an update to information that DisplaySearch provided earlier Sunday.
“We see two refreshes coming. One in the second half of this year, then one in Q1 [first quarter] of 2014,” analyst Richard Shim stated late Sunday night.

“The Q1 [2014] device will have a Retina display plus an updated processor,” Shim added.

Earlier Sunday night, NPD stated that the first iPad Mini with a Retina display would appear in the first quarter of 2014. That will actually be the second refresh, according to NPD’s updated prediction.

It’s not clear yet which display technology will be used. One of the candidates is LTPS, or low-temperature polysilicon — the same technology used in the iPhone 5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Logitech releases Control Center 3.7 update

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Date: Monday, May 6th, 2013, 06:53
Category: News, Software

On Monday, Logitech released version 3.7 of its Control Center software. The update, a 19 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes for the driver software:
- Updated logo.

- Stability improvements.

Logitech Control Center 3.7 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

U.S. Cellular to begin carrying Apple products this year

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Date: Friday, May 3rd, 2013, 07:13
Category: iPhone, News

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U.S. Cellular, the Chicago-based carrier serving around 5.8 million customers in 126 markets, will likely start offering the iPhone later this year, possibly in addition to other iOS devices. Per 9to5Mac, the carrier announced today in its first quarter results that it will soon begin carrying Apple products, but didn’t provide any further information regarding when or what specific products it might launch:

“We have a number of strategies in progress to increase loyalty and attract more customers, including our announcement today that we will begin offering Apple products later this year. By further strengthening our device portfolio, we’ll give consumers another great reason to switch to U.S. Cellular, and enable our existing customers to choose from an even wider variety of iconic smartphones, and enjoy the outstanding U.S. Cellular customer experiences they deserve. Our smartphone penetration is currently 43 percent of core market customers and growing quickly. We believe there will be strong, ongoing demand for smartphones and data products and services from our customers, and we have significant room for growth in this area.”

It was only a few years back that U.S. Cellular claimed it said no to the iPhone 4S with CEO Mary Dillon at the time saying Apple’s “terms were unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint.” Later, CEO of the cellular provider’s parent company, TDS, hinted that the carrier would wait until Apple unveiled an LTE capable device, which was of course before the unveiling of Apple’s LTE iPhone 5.

After it decided not to carry the iPhone 4S, it soon after launched its Wonderphone ad campaign that were seen by many as mocking the iPhone.

U.S. Celluar today reported service revenues for the first quarter of US$996.3 million and noted that it plans to roll out its 4G LTE service to 87 percent of its subscribers this year. The carrier also said it plans to close its US$480 million deal to sell its Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois and other markets to Sprint in the second quarter of 2013.

Earlier this year the carrier added Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S4 device and Dillon noted today that the higher subsidies of LTE smartphones will impact profitability. The CEO said its “long-term strategy is to balance those costs with growth in ARPU and reduced capital expenditures for our legacy networks.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Blockbuster releases On Demand app for iOS devices

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Date: Friday, May 3rd, 2013, 07:43
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Maybe there’s some life in the ol’ girl we call “Blockbuster” after all…

Per AppleInsider, Dish Network released Blockbuster On Demand for iOS, an Apple device-ready version of the app that has been available on Android, PC, Mac, TVs and set-top boxes since January.

After filing for bankruptcy in 2010 and being acquired by Dish in 2011, Blockbuster launched a streaming on demand service in 2012, but until today had not offered an app for Apple’s iOS device lineup.

Working in much the same way as the company’s services on other platforms, Blockbuster On Demand streams “thousands” of movies in HD and full surround sound to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Users can watch selections instantly, or save them to a Watchlist for later viewing. There is also an option to filter movies based on Rotten Tomatoes ratings

Unlike competitors like Netflix, which require monthly subscriptions, Blockbuster’s service is based on a per-view model pricing model with no late fees.

Blockbuster On Demand is free to download, with movie rental prices pegged at US$2.99 and US$4.99. The app is available for free and requires iOS 4.3 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the Blockbuster On Demand app or service and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Cocktail updated to 6.4

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Date: Friday, May 3rd, 2013, 07:33
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.4 of CocktailCocktail (Mountain Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
- Added ability to change standby delay (Disks – Sleep)* – *Specifies the delay (in minutes) before writing the hibernation image to disk and powering off memory for standby. This setting is only available on compatible computers.

- Added ability to disable shadow in window captures (Interface – General).

- Added ability to show Debug menu in App Store, Photo Booth and Reminders (Interface – Misc).

- Added compatibility with the latest versions of supported web browsers.

- Improvements on the clear system caches procedure.

Cocktail 6.4 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

Apple releases iOS 6.1.4 update for iPhone 5 handsets

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Date: Friday, May 3rd, 2013, 07:09
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, Software

This might come in handy.

Lat Thursday, Apple released iOS 6.1.4, a 107 megabyte download offering the following fixes for its iPhone 5 handsets:

- Updated audio profile for speakerphone.

iOS 6.1.3 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

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

Apple files patent applications for curved battery technology, could lead to unique new devices

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 2nd, 2013, 08:44
Category: News, Patents

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If nothing else, the patent applications tell you what’s coming down the pipe.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a pair of patent applications (1, 2) filed by Apple reveal the company is working on unorthodox battery designs with curved cells and irregular shapes, suggesting slimmer, more shapely iOS devices could be on the horizon.

The patents filings for “Curved battery cells for portable electronic devices” and “Non-rectangular batteries for portable electronic devices,” both describe methods in which a battery can be designed and manufactured for incorporation into slim, new device chassis.

Both filed for on Oct. 28, 2011, the applications call for battery cells to be manipulated during the manufacturing phase in order to facilitate easy installation into curved and non-rectangular device designs.

For example, the invention regarding curved batteries uses industry standard production techniques, which include a set of layers, a cathode, an anode, a separator and active coatings, before manipulating the unit to a given specification. Like some batteries already on the market, Apple’s proposed design uses a flexible pouch to enclose the cell layers created by the separator.

The pouch is then exposed to pressure of “at least 0.13 kilogram-force (kgf) per square millimeter” and heat of about 85 degrees Celsius in a set of curved plates in order to set the shape. As noted, this process may take as long as four hours.

In some embodiments, the curve is held by employing a binder coating within the battery cell, which is activated during the curing process to laminate the layers together. The resulting structure would be solid and take the shape of curved plates.

From the filing’s summary:
“In some embodiments, the curve is formed to facilitate efficient use of space inside a portable electronic device. For example, the curve may be formed at one or more ends of the battery cell to allow the battery cell to occupy a curved and/or rounded space within the enclosure of a laptop computer, tablet computer, mobile phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), digital camera, portable media player, and/or other type of battery-powered electronic device.”

In the second application a similar method is employed, but where the former uses pressure and heat to set the shape, the “non-rectangular” property removes material from the battery before stacking the cell layers. An example is given of how a non-rectangular shape can be achieved by removing material from one or more sides of the anode and cathode to form a rounded corner. By utilizing this method, varying thicknesses can be achieved, such as those seen in the fourth-generation iPad.

Both techniques aim to shape a battery that fits snugly into a device’s housing, thereby reducing wasted internal space. While merely speculation, the battery designs could be used in an upcoming version of the iPhone or iPad, both of which are becoming increasingly slim as consumers demand thin, lightweight portables.

Also a possibility is the use of such battery design in an iPhone with a “wrap-around” display, the patent of which passed through the USPTO in late March. While it is unlikely that such a device will make it to market in the near future, if ever, the recent patent filings show Apple is continuously looking for innovative ways to save space in its iOS device lineup.

Both patent applications credit Ramesh C. Bhardwaj, John Raff, Stephen R. McClure, Erik L. Wang and Taisup Hwang as their inventors.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.