Apple pins down September 11th for China media event, speculation surfaces

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Date: Thursday, September 5th, 2013, 06:09
Category: iPhone, News

A recent announcement that Apple will hold its first-ever iPhone media event in China has indicated some huge things, such as a sooner-than-expected launch of new models in that country, or perhaps a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier.

Per AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has repeatedly identified China as a crucial market that will play a key role in his company’s future growth. But competitors such as Samsung and Lenovo have had more success in China recently.

For that reason, it’s been speculated that the Chinese market is one of the key reasons Apple is planning to release a new, more affordable iPhone model with a plastic back. And this week, Apple sent out invitations to members of the press for a media event on Sept. 11, a day after Apple is set to debut its new iPhones in the U.S.

While that event is expected to simply be a rebroadcast of the company’s keynote presentation, the fact that Apple is holding a media event in China for the first time has fueled speculation that the company may be planning something big for that market.

Two theories making their rounds include a day-and-date launch of new iPhone models matching their debut in the U.S. and other large markets, as well as the possibility of an agreement with mega-carrier China Mobile. The latter has been an obstacle for Apple for some time, as China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier with more than 700 million active subscribers.

Cook himself is said to have traveled to visit with the head of China Mobile on a number of occasions in an effort to forge a deal. But sticking points have remained, including the fact that the carrier would like to receive a cut of software sold on the iOS App Store.

Some have suggested that Apple may even be willing to make concessions in order to make the iPhone available on China Mobile. In particular, China Mobile is interested in keeping the devices it offers affordable, as it serves hundreds of millions of poor rural subscribers.

As for the launch date, Apple is expected to make its new iPhones available on Friday, Sept. 20, based on past release schedules. One rumor from last month claimed that government regulation could hold up the launch of new iPhones in China until late November, but now market watchers are hopeful that Apple could make those devices available in China much sooner.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases seventh OS X 10.8.5 build to developer community

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Date: Thursday, September 5th, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

With any luck, the OS X 10.8.5 update is just around the corner.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday seeded the latest version of the upcoming OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion maintenance update to developers for testing.

According to people familiar with build 12F36, the Mountain Lion seed comes with no known issues and asks developers to focus on many of the same areas as previous releases.

Two new areas of interest were added to the usual graphics, Wi-Fi and wake from sleep functionality. With build 12F36, Apple requests testing of PDF viewing and accessibility and mobile device management.

The latest seed comes one day after the release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks Developer Preview 7, and nearly one month after the last Mountain Lion beta was issued.

Apple is expected to release both the Mountain Lion maintenance update and next-generation Mavericks later this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Cocktail updated to 6.7.1

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 5th, 2013, 06:46
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.7.1 of CocktailCocktail (Mountain Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
- Improvements on the “Clear CrashReporter logs” and the “Clear Apple System logs and diagnostic messages” procedures.

- Crash reports are created by OS X when either an application or the operating system encounters an error and must close. In addition to the local reports iTunes will also synchronise logs from Apple’s iOS devices in case they have crashed. Crash reports are used to debug problems and improve the overall stability of the system and are stored in both the user’s and system’s directories. Choosing to clear the logs with the everyone option includes the current user’s log files.

- In addition to this Cocktail can also clear the Apple System logs which contains general and diagnostic system messages produced by OS X. These files can occasionally contain useful information for debugging problems with the operating system, however a new log file is created daily so the system logs can take up considerable disk space if they are not cleared regularly.

Log files locations:
CrashReporter logs (.asl, .crash, .diag, .hang, .log, .panic, .ping, .shutdownStall, .spin files).
/Library/Logs/CrashReporter
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/CrashReporter

Apple mobile devices CrashReporter logs (.crash, .log, .submitted files).
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/*/Baseband
~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/*/Retired
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/*/Baseband
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MobileDevice/*/Retired

Apple System logs and diagnostic messages (.asl, .crash, .diag, .hang, .log, .panic, .ping, .shutdownStall, .spin files).
/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
/private/var/root/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
/private/var/log/asl
/private/var/log/DiagnosticMessages
/private/var/log/performance

- Improvements on the “Rotate log files” procedure. Install, System, and Wi-Fi logs are now archived using bz2 compression.

- Updated Automator actions.

Cocktail 6.7.1 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.

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

Leaked internal document shows Telus’ possible discontinuation of 32GB, 64GB iPhone 5 units after September 28th

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iPhone, News, Software

telus-logo

If you’re up north, here’s your moderate heart attack for the day.

Per MobileSyrup and 9to5Mac, a leaked document from Canadian carrier Telus shows that the carrier has plans to discontinue the iPhone 5 on September 28 just days after the next-generation iPhones are rumored to launch. Although it would lend weight to the theory that Apple could get rid of the iPhone 5 since the rumored iPhone 5S and especially the lower cost iPhone 5C are so close internally to the current device, the doc only shows that the 32GB and 64GB models will be discontinued, which might be a clue the 16GB iPhone 5 will stick around as an entry level model.

Keeping the 16GB iPhone 5 seems to line up with what we’ve been hearing at Verizon and adds even more weight to the theory that Apple will keep the iPhone 5 around as a lower cost option perhaps in between the 5S and the 5C in much the same way that the last-gen iPhone 4S currently occupies the US$99/plan spot in Apple’s lineup.

On the other hand, often-accurate KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this month that he thinks Apple will stop selling the iPhone 5 at the end of Q3 2013 and continuing selling the iPhone 4S until the end of the year.

Apple yesterday sent out invites to the September 10th event and is expected to start selling the iPhone 5S and 5C starting around the 20th of September.

If you’re currently a Telus subscriber and have noticed any changes up north, please let us know via the comments.

VMWare Fusion 6 released, offers Mavericks, Windows 8.1 support

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Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 07:24
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock the new version of a pretty useful virtualization application.

Per 9to5Mac, VMware has just released the immediate availability of VMware Fusion 6 and VMware Fusion 6 Professional. The new version of the virtualization software boasts over 50 new features and is prepared for the new operating systems coming from both Apple (Mavericks) and Microsoft (Windows 8.1).


vmware-fusion-6

The new version offers the following fixes and changes:
- Supports Mavericks multi-display features and even AirPlay displays.

- Enhanced dictation support.

- Run Mavericks as a guest operating system – can be installed using the recovery partition in just a couple of clicks.

- Ready for Windows 8.1.

- Built-in optimizations for the Haswell processors.

- Up to 16 virtual CPUs, 64GB of RAM, and 8TB of disk space – ready for the new Mac Pro coming soon.

- VMware Fusion 6 is available exclusively on the VMware Online Store for US$59.99 or US$49.99 for VMware Fusion 4 or 5 upgraders. A 30 day trial is available as well.

The announcement comes just days after Parallels announced the release of Parallels Desktop 9, which is currently available as an upgrade. The full version will be available tomorrow. We’ll have a full review of both apps shortly.

Generally Parallels is geared toward single users and has better performance whereas VMware is geared toward larger enterprise and folks who also work on PCs.

VMWare 6 requires any 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac with a Core 2 Duo processor or better, 2 GM of RAM, 750MB free disk space and OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run.

Apple confirms September 10th media event, hints at next-gen iPhone handsets

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 06:12
Category: Hardware, iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

applelogo_silver

It went official yesterday.

On Tuesday, Apple sent out invitations for a media event next Tuesday, Sept. 10, at which the company is expected to show off its next-generation iPhone models that will come in a new range of colors.

Per The Loop, the event will kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern, according to The Loop. It will be held at Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Though the invitation itself makes no mention of the iPhone, it does say that the announcement “should brighten everyone’s day” — a likely reference to the fact that Apple is expected to offer its next iPhones in an array of new colors. Specifically, leaked parts have suggested “iPhone 5S” will be available in a new “champagne” shade, while a low-cost plastic “iPhone 5C” will potentially be available in white, green, red, blue, pink, and possibly more.


invite-130903

Colors featured in the invitation include yellow, green, orange, white, red, pink, and shades of dark and light blue. Apple’s forthcoming iOS 7 update is also a more vibrant and colorful update to the company’s mobile operating system.

The company may have some surprises in store for fans and observers when Chief Executive Tim Cook presumably takes the stage next Tuesday, but the event is widely expected to center on the company’s largest revenue generator: the iPhone. It will likely see the unveiling of the successor to the iPhone 5, currently thought to be named the “iPhone 5S.”

The company’s next-generation premium smartphone is expected to include a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. Last year, Apple purchased AuthenTec, a biometric security firm, potentially setting the stage for the defining feature of this year’s iPhone.

Integrating a fingerprint sensor — a move that would largely negate the need for passwords and lock-screen codes — could give Apple an edge that its competition could not likely soon address.

Apple’s “S” series iPhones have typically been refinements of the models immediately preceding them, and most of the rumors surrounding the “5S” have been in that vein. Leaked cases for the device have shown that it will retain the same form factor as the iPhone 5, though it may be available in a “champagne” color option, as well as the existing black and white models.

Analysts expect a 31 percent faster “A7″ chip that could be 20 percent more power efficient than the A6 seen in the iPhone 5. It may also feature a dedicated motion-tracking chip to enable a new range of user interactions.

Apple is also rumored to offer a model of the device with 128 gigabytes of storage, while the camera is expected to be upgraded with a dual-LED flash component for better low-light pictures. It’s likely that the camera itself will also see improvements.

Perhaps the most widely leaked device, though, has been the expected lower-cost plastic iPhone. That model is believed to be called the “iPhone 5C,” and recent leaks of an apparent user manual seem to confirm that name.

Observers believe that Apple will largely repackage the internals of the existing iPhone 5 into a polycarbonate shell to lower manufacturing costs. To differentiate the device, the “5C” would be available in a range of colors.

The move back to polycarbonate for the chassis would allow Apple to offer the “iPhone 5C” at a much lower price point than the premium-built iPhone 5 or anticipated “iPhone 5S.” That lower price could give Apple a better chance of picking up mid-range smartphone customers, who often choose Android phones when upgrading from feature phones simply due to price.

Most importantly, though, a lower-cost iPhone would give Apple a much better chance of competing in the world’s largest smartphone market: China. Investment firm UBS opined in August that an affordable iPhone would move more than 11 million units on China Mobile alone.

The Sept. 10 event will also mark the announcement of a release date for Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 7. The new platform, revealed at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, features an almost complete visual overhaul, with many of the features of previous iOS versions giving way to a “flatter” aesthetic spun out of the leadership of Jony Ive, Apple’s design chief.

Aside from the new look, iOS 7 will also feature iTunes Radio, a new music streaming service that will take on Pandora, Spotify, and other services. It will also come with improvements to Siri, allowing Apple’s digital assistant to display more information and control phone settings, and tweaks to the Camera app, giving users access to more editing options.

The media event is likely to offer final – and long-anticipated – release dates for the next-gen iPhone handsets as well as iOS 7.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

QuarkXPress updated to 9.5.3

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, 11:46
Category: News, Software

quarklogo

On Tuesday, software developer Quark released version 9.5.3 of its QuarkXPress design application. The 58 megabyte update, which can be downloaded here, adds the following changes:
- Improves quality and stability.

- Fixes two known issues with PDF export.

QuarkXPress 9.5.3 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 later to install and retails for US$799.00 for the full version.

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

Inventory shortfalls hint at updated iMacs, 802.11ac Airport Express units

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, 07:01
Category: iMac, retail, Rumor, wireless

AirportExpress_PFOH_120821_HERO

When the inventory runs low, there’s cool new stuff around the corner.

Or it just means you need to order more inventory.

Per MacRumors and 9to5Mac, low retail stocks of Airport Express base stations are suggesting that a faster 802.11ac model is expected soon to match the capabilities of the latest Macs. This would offer Wi-Fi speeds almost three times faster than current 802.11n models, a capability that has already been incorporated into the current Airport Extreme and Time Capsule models.

That said, an 802.11ac Airport Express and a Haswell-powered iMac is a no-brainer, the question being “when” rather than “if”. The new iMac is unlikely to see much of a design change, so neither would be big announcements, suggesting they could be passing mentions in the iPhone-focused event on 10th September. If not, the new units could be announced alongside the iPad 5, rumored to be around October, perhaps with the long-awaited Thunderbolt Display update.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft purchases Nokia’s Devices and Services division, moves to rearrange executive lineups

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Date: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, 06:53
Category: News, wireless

microsoftlogo

Because it’s fun to buy multi-billion dollar companies.

Per The Mac Observer, Microsoft is buying Nokia’s cell phone business for about US$5 billion and tossing in another US$2.2 billion to license the company’s patents. The deal throws together two big time companies that are struggling to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung, brings Nokia CEO Stephen Elop — a former Microsoft executive — back into the fold, and shows Microsoft is serious about playing in the smartphone game. All this as current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced he will step down within 12 months, although now it’s looking like that may come much sooner than he thought.

As part of the €5.44 billion (about US$7.2 billion) deal, Mr. Elop will step down as Nokia’s CEO and take on the roll of Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Devices and Services. Other Nokia executives joining Microsoft include Chris Weber, Jo Harlow, Timo Toikkanen, and Juha Putkiranta.

Microsoft has had limited success in the smartphone market taking on Apple’s iPhone and Google Android-based devices from Samsung and other companies. Nokia threw its weight behind Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform about two years ago, and has since been able to climb above BlackBerry’s marketshare to become a very distant third to iOS and Android-based smartphones.

With Nokia’s Windows-based Lumia smartphone now in Microsoft’s hands, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see a strong push to boost sales. Exactly how Microsoft can go about convincing consumers to start buying the smartphone, however, maybe something of a trick since shoppers haven’t been flocking to the device in droves. So far, consumers are still far more interested in buying iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.

Whether or not Microsoft can really be successful at its slow-and-steady game this time isn’t, however, a sure thing. Apple and Android smartphone makers hold nearly all of the market share today and aren’t showing any signs of loosening their grips.

Apple is expected to unveil new iPhone models on September 10, and Samsung, HTC and Motorola are churning out new Android-based smartphones as fast as they can. Microsoft has maybe a year ahead of it during during which it will integrate Nokia into its business, plus it’s on the hunt for a new CEO who will need time to settle into the job.

Mr. Ballmer said he plans to step down within 12 months, implying that it may be that long before his replacement is found. Finding a new CEO could take that long, although Microsoft is already on the hunt, and it’s very possible the company just bought their new boss and picked up their own smartphone business as a side bonus.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked internal memo shows Apple blocking AppleCare employees’ vacation time between Sept. 15 – 28, next-gen iPhone, iOS 7 launches cited

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, 06:18
Category: iPhone, News, retail

When a company blacks out employee vacation days, they’re up to something.

Per AppleInsider, AppleCare employees have been restricted from taking time off for a two-week period, from Sept. 15 through 28 — a span during which Apple is expected to launch its new iPhone lineup, as well as the revamped iOS 7 mobile operating system.

An internal company document purportedly shows time off available for AppleCare employees for the latter half of September. As can be seen in the calendar, available time off drops off significantly starting Sunday, Sept. 15, and continues through Saturday, Sept. 28.

The image provided shows the calendar being accessed via virtual private network from an internal Apple employee domain. Potentially identifying portions of the picture have been cropped out.

Apple is generally expected to make its new iPhone models available for sale on Friday, Sept. 20, just over a week after the company is gearing up to hold a media event to introduce the new devices. Based on prior years’ release schedules, it’s likely that iOS 7 a few days prior, perhaps on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Between the debut of new iPhones and the launch of a different-looking operating system in iOS 7, AppleCare telephone support will likely have their hands full. As such, Apple has restricted employee time off for a two-week span covering not only the expected launch, but a full week after.

Developers have had their hands on iOS 7 since the new platform was unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The platform has a cleaner and more colorful look than its predecessor, with simpler icons and graphics, but it also packs in new features and functionality, such as a revamped Notification Center and quick-access Control Center.

Built-in apps and functions such as Photos, Camera, Weather, Safari, multitasking and Siri also sport new designs that may initially confuse new users once they are prompted to update to iOS 7.

As for hardware, Apple is set to hold an event on Sept. 10 that will focus on the company’s new iPhones. Specifically, Apple is expected to introduce a new high-end “iPhone 5S” with an integrated fingerprint sensor under the home button, as well as a more affordable “iPhone 5C” with a plastic back available in a range of colors.

The iPhone is Apple’s most popular product, and 2013 is expected to be the first time the company launches two new models at the same time, which sets the stage for the company’s biggest product debut ever.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.