European Union to remove roaming fees starting July 2014

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 14th, 2013, 06:32
Category: News, wireless

eiffeltower

Next summer will be a good time to wander through Europe.

Per The Telegraph, for anyone traveling to Europe next year, as of next July 2014, you’ll pay the same rate for calls and data when travelling within Europe as you do at home.

Consumers will next year be able to use their mobile phones across the European Union for the same price as at home, it is planned, after officials voted to fast-track major reforms of telecoms regulation.

Roaming fees for voice calls, texts and internet access will effectively be completely scrapped under the proposals, which are part of a broader effort to create a single European telecoms market.

Roaming fees can often be extortionate, with call fees of over £1 (US$1.56) per minute, and data charges which can easily rack up hundreds of pounds for quite ordinary usage. The banning of roaming fees applies only for European customers: customers from the USA and other countries will still pay roaming charges when visiting Europe.

The EU estimates that carriers will initially see a 2 percent drop in revenue, but expect it to benefit them in the longer term by encouraging greater use of mobiles while traveling and by making it possible for networks to attract customers across borders.

Microsoft releases long-awaited Office Mobile 365 for iOS

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Date: Friday, June 14th, 2013, 06:58
Category: iOS, News, Software

office365ios

You’ve been hankering for a native version of Microsoft Office for iOS for some time now.

And it’s arrived.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft on Friday released its Office Mobile 365 app for Apple’s iPhone, allowing users with subscriptions to the productivity suite to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the go.

With Microsoft’s Office Mobile, users can view documents stored in Microsoft’s SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint, as well as read and edit Office docs sent as email attachments. Additionally, owners of Windows machines can remotely access documents that were recently viewed on a desktop client.

Another PC-only feature is “Resume Reading,” which allows Word documents opened from SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro to automatically jump to where users left off on their Windows computer or tablet.

Microsoft says documents are optimized before being viewed on the iPhone, while support for charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics and shapes comes built-in. Also available is an in-app Slide Navigator in PowerPoint and a function to help with presentation practice.

The application offers the following features:
- Edit – You can make quick edits to Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

- Documents Remain Intact – Formatting and content remain intact when you edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents on your phone.

- Edit While Offline – Your device doesn’t have to be continuously connected to the network to work on an Office document that is stored online. You can view and edit recently used documents even while you’re offline. Your changes will be saved online when your device reconnects to the network or to Wi-Fi.

- Create – You can create new Word and Excel documents on your phone.

- Comments – You can review comments that have been made in Word and Excel documents on your phone and add your own comments.

- Share – When you’re done with your edits or comments, simply send the document in email or save it to SkyDrive or SharePoint.

Office Mobile comes in at 58MB and is available from the App Store as a free companion app for existing Office 365 subscribers. The app requires an iOS device running iOS 6.1 or later to install and run. Microsoft Office 2013 for PC is required for recent document and resume reading.

If you’ve tried Office Mobile 365 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iFixit completes teardown of 802.11ac AirPort Extreme, finds space for drive bracket among changes

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Date: Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 06:32
Category: Hardware, News, wireless

The new 802.11ac AirPort Extreme is out and, continuing a long and fine tradition, iFixit tore the sucker apart without a moment’s hesitation.

Per CNET and the official iFixit teardown page, the new tower-like router arrives with a bracket that can easily house a hard drive, but appears to be just large enough to perfectly accept a 3.5-inch hard drive and hold it at a diagonal.


80211acairportextreme

Unfortunately there are no connections (or space for them) in the system, so while there may be similar Time Capsule devices based on this design, iFixIt claims it will likely be very difficult (if not impossible) to modify an AirPort Extreme to be a Time Capsule.

On the sides of the drive bracket are two circuit boards that hold the power supply and logic board, containing 4GB of synchronous DRAM, 32MB of serial flash memory, and a Broadcom router controller. These components are encased in heat sinks and thermal venting, with a small fan to provide active cooling.


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The innards are connected by six contacts to a flat, square antenna that is perched at the top of the tower and is the size of the end of the unit. Oddly, this deviates from Apple’s explanation at the WWDC keynote that the elongated design was to house the antennas and beam data from the sides. Instead, it’s evident that the beaming happens from the top of the unit.

Regarding repairability, iFixIt rates the new AirPort Extreme fairly well with a score of 8 out of 10. The reasoning for this is its modular design, lack of proprietary fasteners, and lack of glued components, making it easy to disassemble. Of course getting to the innards required a bit of prying, and some fasteners are small and delicate, so iFixIt settled on an overall rating of 8.

If you’ve picked up the newest AirPort Extreme router and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Flextronics to handle U.S. assembly of redesigned Mac Pro

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 06:02
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, Rumor

el2013macpro

Some details have surfaced as to which outfit will construct the upcoming Mac Pro tower.

Per Economic Daily News and Macotakara, the desktop will reportedly be built in U.S. facilities run by Singapore-based manufacturer Flextronics.

It was said that the information was shared by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a strong track record in predicting Apple’s future product plans.

The official Flextronics website reveals that the company already has facilities in a number of locations across the U.S., including Texas, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and both North and South Carolina. The report did not indicate which U.S.-based Flextronics facility will handle assembly of the new Mac Pro.

“Our United States teams offer a wide spectrum of capabilities, including electrical and mechanical design and the manufacturing of flexible and rigid printed circuit boards and printed circuit board assemblies, specialty coated thin film flexible materials, backplanes, box-build, cable assemblies, camera modules and assembly,” the site reads. “Our facilities also have clean room capabilities, functional and reliability testing, new product introduction support, design for manufacturing, supply chain management and logistics.”

The transition to Flextronics, if true, would mean that Foxconn will no longer be responsible for manufacturing the Mac Pro. But because Apple’s high-end desktop is geared toward a small market, the shift is not expected to have a major effect on Foxconn, which operates largely out of China.

Though Apple will build its new Mac Pro in the U.S., the company is not expected to bring assembly of any of its MacBook lines to America. EDN noted that most of the supply chain remains overseas, which would make it logistically difficult to build large numbers of Macs stateside.

Apple’s new MacBook Air units are reportedly being assembled by Quanta Computer, which specializes in laptop construction. Though Quanta does have some facilities in the U.S., it’s not expected to begin building MacBooks domestically.

The dramatically redesigned Mac Pro’s feature list includes graphical support capable of driving three 4K-resolution displays and is slated to arrive later this year with Intel Xeon processors, PCI Express flash storage, and Thunderbolt 2 ports.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 7 user interface still under development, could see major changes from version presented at WWDC

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 06:24
Category: iOS, News, Software

iOS-7-Logo

You know that new, flatter look demoed for iOS 7 at WWDC?

It’s probably not the final version.

Per The Next Web, sources familiar with Apple’s latest mobile operating system said the iOS 7 beta, as well as the preview shown at the WWDC keynote on Monday, is a “mid-stride” snapshot of the work being done behind closed doors.

The pace is so quick that some of the builds used to present the OS on stage two days ago were later versions of what was seeded to developers in the iOS 7 beta. It can’t be confirmed which feature sets are more advanced, though the beta version is slightly inconsistent with the OS demoed on Monday by software engineering head Craig Federighi.

The fact that iOS 7 will change before it is released seems obvious in that the software currently in the hands of developers are beta versions meant for testing. However, while backend and UI tweaks are expected to change for early build software, the radically different new design language of iOS 7 is also reportedly largely under construction.

Interestingly, Apple’s senior vice president of Industrial Design Jony Ive, who is now also the head of the company’s Human Interaction section, called on in-house marketing design teams to flesh out the much-ballyhooed first party app icons.

The sources said both print and web design personnel laid down a framework of color palettes and a general “look,” which Ive’s app designers used as guidelines to produce what was seen in the iOS 7 preview. As with operational facets of the OS, these are also works in progress.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, and from a design perspective that rings true. Ive and his team have managed to dismantle almost every theme and nuance that the OS has amassed over the preceding six years and six generations. From skeuomorphic iconography to UI and UX, the new iOS 7 tears down almost everything, replacing it with a clean, if not controversial, design. Apple has managed, at least in these early builds, to achieve a feel that is at once completely new and wholly familiar.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.5 update

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Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 11:53
Category: News, Software

It’s not a huge update, but it might be helpful.

Microsoft on Wednesday released version 14.3.5 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following change:

- Fixes an issue that affects IMAP-based email accounts in which the flagged or starred state of a message was not set correctly.

The update can also be located and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 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 to include “kill switch” feature in iOS 7, require Apple ID and password to reenable stolen devices

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 07:44
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

iOS-7-Logo

This shouldn’t be overlooked.

According to CNN, Apple will add an Activation Lock features as part of iOS 7. The feature, which functions as a “kill switch”, will require an Apple ID and password before an iOS device’s “Find My iPhone” feature can be turned off or any data can be erased.

At a keynote address opening its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the company said the same ID and password will be needed to reactivate a device after it’s been remotely erased. The same ID and password will still be required even after the SIM card has been removed from the stolen device.

As mobile devices become more popular, stealing them has become a unique sort of crime that has law enforcement and government officials taking notice.

In New York, a special police unit has been created to deal with stolen mobile devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

“JOBS” biopic to open nationwide on August 19th

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 07:57
Category: News

If you’re interested in Steve Jobs-based biopic goodness, the film hits this August.


SteveJobsBiopic

Per 9to5Mac, the Ashton Kutcher led JOBS biopic will debut on August 17th according to a press release:

“Open Road Films will release JOBS – the highly anticipated film chronicling the story of Steve Jobs’ ascension from college dropout to one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century – nationwide on August 16, 2013. JOBS details the major moments and defining characters that influenced Steve Jobs on a daily basis from 1971 through 2001. The film plunges into the depths of his character, creating an intense dialogue-driven story that is as much a sweeping epic as it is an immensely personal portrait of Steve Jobs’ life. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern, written by Matthew Whiteley, JOBS was shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter and produced by Mark Hulme. JOBS stars Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons and Matthew Modine.”

The release got mixed reviews at Sundance earlier this year and was delayed from an original April 19th release date.

Google buys out Waze, leaves company as independent entity for time being

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 07:57
Category: iOS, News, Software

waze_logo

It had to happen sometime.

But at least it’s under interesting circumstances.

Per The Mac Observer, Google has put an end to the rumors that it has been negotiating to buy Waze with the announcement that it has, in fact, signed a deal with the crowdsourced mapping and navigation company. Google Vice President of Geo Brian McClendon said Waze will remain an independent company for now, and its development team won’t be leaving Israel.

Mr. McClendon stated the following:

“The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.

We’ll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what’s needed to grow and prosper.”

Waze is a popular turn-by-turn navigation app for the iPhone that improves accuracy and gathers realtime traffic data from its users. The deal will give Google access to the data Waze is collecting and will make it easier for the two companies to collaborate on new features.

Google is promising that even though there will be some feature sharing between its own maps product and Waze, users won’t be hit with any big surprises. The Waze team backed that up, saying, “Nothing practical will change here at Waze. We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization – the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same.”

The reason behind the deal, according to Waze, was because the company wasn’t interested in going public. They chose to strike a deal with Google because of the promise to be able to continue operating as an independent company.

Rumors surfaced earlier this year that Facebook and Google were both negotiating to buy Waze in deals expected to top US$1 billion. Facebook, as well as Apple, already had deals in place with Waze; Facebook for social sharing of locations, and Apple for navigation and location data for its own Maps app. Since Waze gets to continue operating as an independent company, it looks like those deals won’t be changing, although that could change some time in the future.

That being said, Waze remains a killer app available for free on the App Store, requires iOS 4.3 or later to install and run and becomes useful very quickly.

Take a gander and we’ll have additional details as they become available.

iFixit completes Haswell-based MacBook Air teardown, finds changes in battery, SSD, other modules

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 06:21
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News

The Haswell-based MacBook Air is out, and in their usual fine style, the ubergeeks at iFixit have completed a full teardown of the notebook. Per AppleInsider, the updated notebook features minor changes seen in battery size, the SSD module and integrated graphics, among others.

Most notable among the hardware revisions is an enlarged battery, which moves from a 7.3V 6700mAh pack to a 7.6V 7150mAh unit. The cells still dominate the Air’s innards.


13.06.12-MBA_Teardown

Apple touts the new 13-inch model will last 12 hours on a charge, but the battery is not thought to be the main contributor to that spec buff. Instead, the Air uses Intel’s Haswell ULT silicon, which offers huge decreases in power consumption while serving up snappier performance.

With Haswell, Intel moved to its next-generation integrated graphics solution, Intel HD Graphics 5000, which doesn’t require a separate board.

Adding to the updated component list is a new SSD module from Samsung, which is smaller than similar parts used in previous MacBook Air iterations. With the new size comes new technology, as the latest SSD unit uses a PCIe bus rather than SATA, a first for Mac. PCIe can achieve rates of up to 800MB/s, while SATA is limited to about 600MB/s.

The new Air is also the first to employ the fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol, which required the computer’s wireless card to be updated. Apple launched redesigned AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models to take advantage of the new standard, and is planning on incorporating the technology into future Macs as they roll out.

The only change made to the MacBook Air’s chassis is a hole to accommodate the addition of a second internal microphone used for sound cancellation duties.

Other smaller tweaks include a redesigned heat sink clamp, repositioned speaker cabling and a revamped MagSafe 2 board that no longer holds a socket for the laptop’s iSight camera.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on the new MacBook Air and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.