iTunes Radio announced, will arrive in the fall

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 13:06
Category: News, Software

You knew it was coming.

It just took an epic amount of contract work and negotiation to bring everyone on board.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has now officially unveiled its iTunes Radio service and provided some details on exactly how it will work during its keynote presentation this morning at Moscone West in San Francisco.


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The new iTunes Radio app is built into the iOS radio app, and works on the Mac and Apple TV as well. As rumored, iTunes Radio will be free, supported by ads. In a twist, however, iTunes Radio will be completely free (free of ads) if you’re a subscriber to iTunes Match and will feature over 200 stations.

The service’s underlining technology is based on Apple’s iTunes Genius feature with iTunes Radio tailoring the experience to your iTunes usage. Apple says there will be Siri integration, and also aims to offer users “access to exclusive “first listen” premieres from top selling artists.

The service will roll out initially in the US only with iOS 7 this Fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”, details feature list

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 13:54
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.9 has a name: “Mavericks”.

Granted, it’s a little unfortunate that it hooks into a word Sarah Palin frequently describes herself as, but you’ve gotta let some things slide…

Per The Mac Observer, Apple gave users their first glimpse into OS X 10.9 on Monday during a keynote event at the company’s annual World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. The next version of OS X does away with the cat naming scheme in favor of California locations — starting with Mavericks. OS X 10.9 Mavericks will also include Finder Tabs, system-wide file tagging, and enhanced multiple display support.

Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi took the stage during the keynote event to show off some of the new features in OS X Mavericks.


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Tabbed Finder Windows:
Mavericks lets users group Finder windows in tabs, much like Web browsers. Mr. Federighi said each tab can have its own location and view mode, and it makes Finder windows fit well into full screen mode.

Finder Tagging:
OS X Mavericks includes a new Tag option in Finder window sidebars that let users add extra bits of information to their documents for easier organization. Mr. Federighi said, “As I go to save a document, I can give it a name. And in addition to its location, I can also give it a tag.”

Users can apply multiple tags to documents, search and sort based on those tags, and tags are color-coded, too.

Tags extend beyond the Finder and can be used in applications, as well. In apps, tags appear in the Save dialog, and they’re also available for organizing documents saved to iCloud.

iCloud Keychain:
Apple will be beefing up password management in Mavericks with iCloud Keychain. The new version of Keychain offers system-wide password management and also syncs between Macs running Mavericks so all of your passwords are up to date on all of your computers and iOS 7 devices.

Notifications:
Notifications will be more interactive in Mavericks thanks to direct support for responding to messages and FaceTime calls, and delete email messages without jumping to the Mail app. It also supports website subscriptions for news and other alert notifications even when Safari isn’t running.

When you’re away from your Mac, Notifications continues to keep track of your alerts and displays a summary when you’re back in front of your screen.

Maps:
Mavericks will include an iOS-like Maps feature that lets users find locations, display addresses and phone numbers, get point-to-point directions you can push to your iPhone, display Yelp reviews, and more. It also appears as a built-in feature for Calendar, Contacts, and Mail.

Calendar and Contacts:
Calendar and Contacts do away with the skeuomorphic stitched leather design from Mountain Lion (which only your really weird uncle liked), and go beyond that to add new features, too. The Calendar app, for example, can display weather information along with travel time to your appointments, and will even block out that time so you don’t enter contradicting dates/appointments.

iBooks:
iBooks won’t be limited to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch when Mavericks ships this fall. Books already purchased through the iBookstore will automatically appear on your Mac, you can keep multiple books open, and it can auto-add citations when you copy quotes from books.

Bookmarks, highlights and notes, and your current page all sync between your devices via iCloud, plus notes appear in a column along side book pages, too.

Safari:
Mr. Federighi said Safari will get a boost in Mavericks, too. The new version of the Web browser app offers better performance compared to the current Safari version, pages render faster, shared links appear in a sidebar, and pages are displayed more intelligently so there’s less of a hit on battery life for notebook users.

Multiple Displays:
While OS X has always supported multiple displays, Apple ramped up what the feature can handle in Mavericks. Full-screen mode now supports multiple displays, users can access menu bars and the Dock from every connected display, full-screen apps can be moved between displays, and different apps can be displayed in full-screen mode on different displays.

Mission Control:
Mission Control will show an overview for each connected display, and lets users drag-and-drop apps and documents between virtual desktops, just as it currently does in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Mavericks also supports using AirPlay with multiple monitors with an Apple TV, but instead of simply mirroring your main display, it lets you use AirPlay to add a television to your display setup as extended desktop space. Simply select the Apple TV you want to use as an extra display and Mavericks automatically adds it to your multi-monitor setup. Apple touted this as a great way to show a presentation on an HDTV while taking notes on your Mac

Performance:
Mavericks also includes plenty of under-the-hood improvements to boost overall performance. That better performance, however, doesn’t take a hit on battery life. According to Mr. Federighi, OS X 10.9 offers accelerated scrolling, App Nap, Timer Coalescing, OpenGL 4, and Idle hygiene — a feature that improves performance by reducing how often your Mac drops into an idle mode.

The new OS uses compressed memory to improve performance, as well. Instead of requiring memory swapping through relatively slower hard drives, it swaps data in RAM. Mavericks handles recovery from sleep and standby mode about 1.5 times faster compared to Mountain Lion.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks will be available this fall, although Apple hasn’t offered a specific price point release date yet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.


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Apple releases updated MacBook Air, cites 12-hour battery, Intel Haswell architecture

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 12:45
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News

It’s the MacBook Air with the battery you always wanted.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple introduced updated MacBook Air models on Monday during its World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. The new ultra-light models sport what Apple called “all day battery life” and also run Intel’s Haswell UTC processors.

The new 13-inch MacBook Air offers up to 12 hours battery life and over a month of standby time, and while it doesn’t gain a high resolution Retina Display, it does include 802.11ac wireless networking — a first for Apple’s product lineup. The new Wi-Fi spec means the MacBook Air can transfer data faster and network connections are more robust.

Like the previous model, the new Air includes Thunderbolt and USB connectors, a built-in camera and microphone, built-in speakers, Bluetooth, and more.

The updated MacBook Air is available now and is priced at US$999 for the 11-inch model, and the 13-inch model is US$100 less at US$1,099.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple unveils iOS 7 at WWDC

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 12:20
Category: iOS, News, Software

Make no mistake about it, iOS 7 is en route.

And it looks a whole lot different than what you’re used to.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday took the wraps off a drastically redesigned iOS 7 that marks a new direction for the company’s mobile operating system.

Virtually everything about the look and feel of iOS has changed with version 7, including a refined typography, all new icons, and a dynamic color scheme. The new operating system was spearheaded by Apple’s lead designer Jony Ive, and engineering head Craig Federighi.


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“iOS 7: The biggest change to iOS since the iPhone,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook declared.

As you move an iPhone in your hand, a new parallax feature will actually move the wallpaper in the background, allowing users to “see behind” the icons on their home screen.

All of the built-in applications have been completely rebuilt with a new look, including Messages, Calendar, and even the phone application.

In a demonstration of the new weather application, Federighi showed how dynamic weather effects are shown in the background, giving a visual representation of the current conditions.

A new gesture allows for easier one-handed use, letting users swipe from the left side of the screen to go back. Folders have also been expanded to allow multiple pages and hold more applications.

An updated Notification Center is slightly transparent, removing its previous textured appearance. Notification Center is also available from the lock screen as well, without the need to unlock the device.

In addition to an all-new look, iOS 7 is also a major feature release, he said. Among those features is Control Center, which allows quick access to settings like Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, brightness, and even a built-in flashlight. Control Center is available from anywhere, including the lock screen.

Multitasking has also been enhanced “for all apps with great battery life,” Federighi said. iOS 7 notices users’ pattern of use, giving applications background cycles based on how often users access them.

Swiping between open applications is now a full-screen affair, offering users a larger preview of the application as it is currently open.

An updated Safari for iOS 7 has a new full-screen mode that allows users to focus on content. A smart search field also has one-tap access to favorite websites, along with a new tabbed interface. Users are also no longer limited to just 8 tabs.

New AirDrop functionality will allow users to quickly share content with friends nearby with peer-to-peer Wi-Fi. AirDrop will be supported on the iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, iPad mini, and fifth-generation iPod touch.

“No need to wander around the room bumping your phone with others,” Federighi joked.

An updated Camera application comes with built-in filters, while enhancements to the Photos application allow individual pictures to be organized into “moments.” Photos are automatically organized based on data such as where and when they were captured.

Users can even zoom out to a year-by-year view. Enhanced by the Retina display, users can “scrub” through their yearly photos to narrow down what they’re looking for. And new Shared Photo Streams also allow group sharing of photos and video via iCloud.

Additional features include the following:
- A new Find My iPhone Activation Lock feature that requires your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, erase data or re-activate a device after it’s been remotely erased.

- Night Mode in Maps that responds to ambient light when you use it in the dark.

- FaceTime audio for high quality calls over a data network.

- Notification sync, so when you dismiss a notification on one device it is dismissed on all of your devices.

- Phone, FaceTime and Messages blocking to prevent specific people from being able to contact you.

- Tencent Weibo support for users in China, a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary, and improved Chinese input including handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters.

- The ability for businesses to more efficiently deploy and manage iPhones and iPads;

- Enhanced in-car integration, bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.

Apple has released an iOS 7 beta to its developer community (available at developer.apple.com).

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple offers first look at next-gen Mac Pro at WWDC

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 12:47
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News

The new Mac Pro is en route.

And it’s really, really, awesomely black.

Per Macworld, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller unveiled the company’s upcoming Mac Pro during a “sneak peek” at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

The upcoming new desktop workstation features a sleek, cylindrical design that’s a stark contrast to the mammoth, roomy aluminum tower initially introduced with the PowerPC-based Power Mac G5 in 2003, and revised with the release of the Intel-based Mac Pro in 2006. Apple didn’t announce a formal ship date, stating that the new Mac Pro will ship later this year, nor did it talk about pricing or specific models. It will be designed and constructed in the United States.


nextgenmacpro

The new 9.9-inch tall Mac Pro case is about one-eighth the size of the Mac Pro tower and features a handle for carrying, and a motion sensor lights up to show the I/O ports. The new design, according to Schiller, is based around a “unified thermal core” to help keep the machine cool.

The unit will feature a Xeon E5 processor, which is based on Intel’s Haswell microarchitecture and introduced by the company last April. Configuration with 12-cores will be available, and all Mac Pros will use third-generation PCI Express architecture. Apple is also using 1866MHz ECC DDR3 RAM.

Schiller also went to great lengths to emphasize the new Mac Pro’s graphics performance. The machine will have dual AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs, and be able to run three 4K displays at one time. Apple says the new Mac Pro’s graphics performance is 2.5 times faster than its predecessor.

The Mac Pro is designed for speed, and Apple is outfitting the machine with PCIe-based flash memory, not traditional SATA hard drives or solid-state drives. Apple touts speeds of 1.25 GBps for reads and 1.0 GBps for writes.

The computer will include the following ports:
- Audio out

- Headphone jack

- Four USB 3 ports

- Six Thunderbolt 2 ports

- Two gigabit Ethernet ports

- HDMI out

- Power

The most remarkable change with the Mac Pro is the elimination of expansion slots. The previous Mac Pro had a pair of 16-lane PCI Express 2.0 slots and a pair of 4-lane PCI Express 2.0 slots. For current owners who have filled their Mac Pro’s slots and still need to use their cards, you’ll have to invest in an external Thunderbolt expansion chassis that will house expansion cards and connect to the new Mac Pro via Thunderbolt.

During the new Mac Pro presentation, there was no visual evidence of an optical drive. With the elimination of the optical drive from the Mac mini, iMac, MacBook Air, and Retina MacBook Pro computers.

Each Thunderbolt 2 port supports up to six daisy-shained devices. With six Thunderbotl 2 ports, the Mac Pro can support up to 36 Thunderbolt peripherals.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC updated to 2.0.7

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 07:52
Category: News, Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 2.0.7. The new version, a 41.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Fix track selection for PowerPC machines.

- Fix audio decoding for WMA Pro, MPEG 4 ALS, APE, MLP and ADPCM-IMA4.

- Fix audio encoding for MP3 and AAC.

- Numerous translations updates and new Azerbaijani, Kirgyz, Oriya translations.

- Fix a memory leak when creating AVI files.

- Fix two XSS vulnerabilities in the Web UI.

- Fix memory exhaustion vulnerability in some playlist files.

- Fix a libVLC crash in OS X port.

VLC 2.0.7 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.

Adobe releases Lightroom 5

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 07:35
Category: News, Software

lightroomlogo

A spiffy program just got a hefty upgrade.

Per AppleInsider, Adobe on Monday announced the availability of the latest version of its prosumer photo editing software, Lightroom 5, bringing improved workflow features and functionality highlighted by a new perspective-correcting “Upright” tool.

First released as a beta in mid-April, the final version of Lightroom sports a new Healing Brush and an Upright tool that automatically corrects perspective for images with skewed elements. Adobe has also added a new Radial Filter and the ability to create off-center vignettes.

In addition, the latest Lightroom features new tools to improve user workflows. A Smart Preview function allows users to edit offline images when away from their primary image storage device by keeping a smaller version of the image locally. When a user edits the Smart Preview version, those changes are saved and automatically applied to the original once the user reconnects to the primary image repository.

The new version also adds PNG file support, a true full screen mode, and assorted drag and drop capabilities for moving pictures between folders. It also gives users the ability to publish directly to Behance, as well as assorted new keyboard shortcuts to ease transitions between regularly used features.

Lightroom saw its last major version change in March of last year with an update that added geotagging support, as well as improvements to handling highlights and shadows. The latest iteration builds on its predecessor, Adobe reps said, by adding features that the Lightroom community continually requested.

Lightroom 5 is available for both Mac and PC platforms. Mac users will need a multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, running OS X 10.7 or later along with at least 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended) 2GB of available HDD space, and a 1024×768 resolution to install and run.

The software is available from Adobe’s website for US$79 when upgrading from an earlier version, or US$149 for new users. Those already subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service will find that the new software is included in their memberships.

If you’ve tried Lightroom 5 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple to stream WWDC keynote to web site, iOS, Apple TV beginning at 10 AM PST

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 06:40
Category: News, Software

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We’re about two hours from the WWDC kickoff and its accompanying keynote address.

And it will, of course, be streamed.

Per 9to5Mac, like as it has done for some events in the past, Apple has pushed a WWDC app to Apple TV units overnight in order to access a live stream for today’s keynote, which is slated to start at 10 AM Pacific standard time.

Apple is expected to announce iOS 7, OS X 10.9, and a streaming music service at this event.

The keynote can be seen live at www.apple.com/apple-events/june-2013/.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.