Rumor: Apple to Hold September 9th Media Event, Unveil New iPods, iTunes 9

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Date: Thursday, August 27th, 2009, 03:08
Category: iPod, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, Rumor, Software

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Apple is apparently planning a full media event for Wednesday, September 9th to introduce new iPod offerings and make a host of other music-related announcements.

AppleInsider, which cites sources close to the story, says that Apple had been teetering between Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 for weeks, but most recently indicated to its industry-related partners that the latter of the two dates would be more feasible.

The company is expected to use the gathering to introduce new versions of its iPod nano and iPod touch digital music players, both of which should serve as dual-purpose point-and-shoot cameras for the first time. AppleInsider also has it on authority that cameras are just one piece to this year’s iPod story.

Also likely is an introduction of iTunes 9, which has widely been rumored in recent weeks to make its debut with a handful of social networking features. Nothing is expected to be heard about the much anticipated Newton Web tablet, which isn’t expected to surface in any form until the first calendar quarter of 2010.

While it’s unclear at which venue Apple will hold the event, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center would seem a likely candidate if past years are of any indication. The Moscone West is also another potential candidate site. Analysts and members of the media should start receiving invitations will full details roughly one week prior.

Camino Reaches Version 1.6.9

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Date: Thursday, August 27th, 2009, 02:11
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, the Camino Project released version 1.6.9 of Camino, its free, open source web browser.
The new version, a 15.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
– Upgraded to version 1.8.1.23 of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, which includes several critical security and stability fixes.
– Upgraded the “Block flash animations” code to use Flashblock 1.5.11.
– Improved ad-blocking.

Camino requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the new version of Camino and have any kind of feedback about it, let us know.

Apple May Overhaul Entry-Level Polycarbonate MacBook Models

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 03:43
Category: MacBook, Rumor

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Until recently rumored to be headed for the scrap pile, Apple’s entry-level polycarbonate MacBook notebooks may be on the verge of a refresh according to AppleInsider.

Per sources close to the story, Apple is said to be running the 13″ notebooks through an industrial design overhaul that will see them reemerge in the coming months with a slimmer, lighter enclosure and restructured internal architecture to boot.

It’ll be the first time in more than three years that the plastic Mac notebooks will receive a visual tune-up. Introduced in May of 2006, the white and black systems replaced the PowerPC-based iBook and 12-inch PowerBook as part of Apple’s transition to Intel processors and quickly became the best selling Mac of all time, according to statistics from NPD Group.

The MacBook notebooks were also among the first Macs to adopt Apple’s MagSafe power connector while pioneering several other features that would become staples of future Mac notebook designs, such as shrunken soft-touch keyboards, glossy displays, and a non-mechanical magnetic latches (see: Magnet madness to hit Intel iBook line – Feb 2006).

Earlier this spring, Apple restructured its notebook offerings by repositioning its aluminum unibody MacBooks as premium offerings under the MacBook Pro moniker, adding long-requested features such as FireWire and higher-quality displays. This left the company with just a single MacBook offering, a white polycarbonate model that retails for US$999 but sticks out like a sore thumb when positioned alongside its peers.

Interestingly, sales of the sub-US$1000 system have remained surprisingly brisk amid the economic crunch, leaving management little choice but to allocate R&D expenses in its favor. As of press time, Apple’s online store indicates that the white MacBook is outselling all other Macs with the exception of the iMac, while similar rankings from high-volume resellers like MacMall also consistently place it in the top 10 best selling Apple-related products overall, ahead of all desktop-based Macs.

While it’s unclear how many models or configurations Apple will introduce as part the redesign, Ben Reitzes — an analyst with Barclays Capital who’s been following the Mac maker for years — sees the company offering several, at various price points.

“We […] believe the MacBook line needs to be revamped (there is only one MacBook available now, an old white model) and that we could see a lower priced line soon, positioned below the new MacBook Pro models,” he said.

Though details are few and far between, Apple is expected to achieve these markdowns through largely existing tactics, such as using lower-end components and previous-generation Core 2 Duo chips and architectures from Intel. Battery life should receive a boost from cutting-edge technology that recently found its way into the company’s other notebook offerings, while high-end legacy features like FireWire connectivity are likely to be sacrificed in the tradeoff.

Apple’s new line of low-end MacBooks could be viewed as the last piece to the puzzle in Apple’s top-to-bottom line of product offerings, transitioning the company from a premium PC and phone manufacturer to one that offers truly competitive prices on products in both categories.

Apple Strips Palm OS HotSync Conduit from Upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Release

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 02:17
Category: News, Software

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Apple has discontinued support for legacy Palm OS devices in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s iSync 3.1.0 according to AppleInsider. Per sources familiar with the latest Gold Master build, users of Palm OS devices will need to obtain third party support for syncing their Palm Desktop information with Mac OS X’s Sync Services.

Palm continues to provide a very old version of Palm Desktop 4.2.1D for Mac users, enabling syncing with legacy Palm Centro, Treo, Zire, Tungsten, LifeDrive, and Pilot models via its Mac OS X Universal Binary desktop software. That software is based upon what was originally Apple’s Claris Organizer, which Steve Jobs sold to Palm over a decade ago as Apple divested itself of its already long in the tooth Claris apps.

In addition with launching its Macs as the “digital hub” and selling the iPod, Apple developed iSync for Mac OS X, a set of software which enabled devices from any manufacturer to sync their data with a common store shared by desktop apps including iCal and Address Book. It eventually allowed users to also sync that information with Apple’s .Mac service, now called MobileMe.

Palm apparently never bothered to update its Palm Desktop for Mac software to make it compatible with Apple’s iSync. Instead, Apple, in an effort to keep Macs compatible with Palm’s device, created its own Palm Conduit software that linked Palm Desktop’s HotSync system into iSync. This software was then incorporated as part of iSync 2.0, released as part of Mac OS X Tiger nearly half a decade ago.

With Palm all but abandoning its “classic” devices developed prior to the release of the new Palm Pre, which does not use the same legacy Palm OS nor its HotSync or Palm Desktop software, the value of maintaining HotSync support in Mac OS X has dropped dramatically, leaving Apple to cut the support from the version that ships with Mac OS X Snow Leopard entirely.

It does not appear that the discontinuation of legacy Palm OS support in iSync is related to efforts by Palm to trick iTunes into syncing data with the new Palm Pre as if it were an iPod.

Third party software, including the Missing Sync from Mark/Space, enables Mac users to sync calendars, contacts, bookmarks, music, documents and other information between older Palm OS devices as well as other hardware including the new Palm Pre, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones and the Sony PlayStation Portable.

Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” Specs Posted, PowerPC Support Goes by the Wayside

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Date: Tuesday, August 25th, 2009, 08:35
Category: News

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With Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” operating system en route for Friday, the company has posted full links to the required specs here:

If you’re hanging on to a Mac from before 2006, you may not like it, as the specs require the following:

-An Apple computer with an Intel Processor
-1GB of Memory (RAM)
-5GB of hard drive space (Storage)
-DVD drive for installation

While the DVD drive is mentioned, it is not actually required to install Leopard though will make things easier. You can use another computer’s drive or a disk image to install Snow Leopard. While previous versions of OS X have required you to boot from the installation media, Snow Leopard copies the installer files from the media to the hard drive and then installs from there.

According to MacFixIt, Snow Leopard will not run on any PowerPC system, even PowerPC G5 systems that are 64-bit capable. If you have a PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerMac G4, Mac Mini (G4), iMac G4, iMac G5, or PowerMac G5, do not buy Snow Leopard since you will not be able to install it. Apple has split away from PowerPC, and while there are technical reasons for why the 64-bit architecture in the PowerPC will not work with the latest OS, the fact that Apple has switched architectures is the primary reason for the drop in support.

You can check to see what kind of processor you have by opening “System Profiler” in your “Utilities” folder and highlighting the “Hardware” section. The processor should be identified in there. Alternatively you can enter the command “machine” in the terminal to see what kind of processor you have. If the output contains “PPC” in the name, then you have a PowerPC processor:

You may now run into the streets flailing your arms, screaming and inquiring after the nearest store which sells torches and pitchforks with which to wave angrily at Apple…

Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 2.0.0.23

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Date: Tuesday, August 25th, 2009, 05:12
Category: Software

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Mozilla.org, creators of the Firefox web browser, has just released version 2.0.0.23 of Thunderbird, its free e-mail client. The new program, an 19.2 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and new features:
– Security fixes: Compromise of SSL-protected communication.

Thunderbird 2.0.0.23 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later to run and is programmed as a Universal Binary, allowing for native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

As always, if you’ve played with the new version and have any feedback, positive or negative, let us know.

How-To: Add a Second Hard Drive to Your Unibody MacBook Pro

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Date: Monday, August 24th, 2009, 08:22
Category: Hack, hard drive, MacBook Pro

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Ok, you love your unibody MacBook Pro notebook, aren’t terribly attached the optical drive and the warranty isn’t that important…odds are you’re ready to hack in a second hard drive. Per this hack, a user faced the dilemma of getting the faster SSD hard drive or the larger capacity rotational drive. Instead of settling on either of those options, he removed his DVD drive, hacked together an adapter to interface with the proprietary Apple connector, and installed a second hard drive. The result is a “best of both worlds” scenario for him complete with a faster boot time and responsiveness, and plenty of space available for movies and music.

The user, who has yet to fully identify himself, posted full step by step instructions over on his blog, complete with pictures and a plug to provide the service to anyone who may want it.

Be warned, some of the language isn’t safe for work, but if you’re up for a second hard drive in your MacBook Pro at all costs, take a gander and let us know how it goes!

Mark/Space Releases Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.3 Update

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Date: Monday, August 24th, 2009, 08:07
Category: iPhone, Software

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Mark/Space on Tuesday announced the release of The Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.1, the new version of its data synchronization utility for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch handsets. The application allows users to synchronize data that the iPhone won’t ordinarily synchronize with the Mac, such as notes, documents, and tasks and archives text messages on the iPhone to the Mac as well as archives call histories, and features a “Migration Assistant” of its own that lets you transfer contacts and other data from another smartphone to the iPhone.

The new version, a 12 megabyte download (courtesy of MacUpdate), adds the ability to create ringtones for the iPhone by using a built-in ringtone editor. According to MacNN, users can simply select a song from the iTunes music library and place it in the editor before trimming and naming their customized ringtone, which is then automatically added to iTunes and ready for transferring onto the iPhone the next time a sync is initiated.

Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.3 retails for US$39.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later and iPhone OS 2.1 or later to install and run.

Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) Confirmed for Friday, August 28th

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Date: Monday, August 24th, 2009, 07:00
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Apple announced that its Mac OS X 10.6 operating system would ship on Friday, August 28th. Per Macworld, the company had previously said that the update would ship in September, but speculation intensified that it would ship earlier than anticipated after a glitch on Apple’s Web site late last week.

The Mac OS X (“Snow Leopard”) update was first announced at Apple’s 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple later confirmed that the update would bring new technologies such as a transition to 64-bit applications; Grand Central Dispatch, which lets multicore machines take better advantage of those capabilities; and OpenCL, a system that allows Macs to use graphic processors for improved performance.

Snow Leopard will also include built-in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 in Mail, Address Book, and iCal, allowing users to seamlessly take advantage of those services in their e-mail, calendaring, and contact management.

The update’s focus on under-the-hood improvements boost performance as well. Apple has cited faster times for everything from installation to waking from sleep to system shutdown. Snow Leopard is also said to contain a smaller, reducing the size of its installation by around 6GB.

Additional features include a new version of Exposé, which now offers a more organized overview of windows, as well as the ability to view all of an application’s windows via the Dock; Stacks are now scrollable and allow you to navigate through sub-folders; and the Services menu has been revamped to be friendlier and more usable.

Other new bells and whistles include a new Date & Time preference pane which allows you to set your time zone automatically based on your Mac’s location, and Preview now allows users to easily select text from a single column in a PDF. QuickTime Player has received perhaps the most attention, getting an interface facelift that features a black control overlay that fades out when not in use, and new video editing and sharing features.

Snow Leopard will be available at the price of US$29 for those customers upgrading from Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”); a family pack of five licenses is available for US$49. Users upgrading from earlier versions can buy the US$169 Mac Box Set which also includes iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 or the five-user family pack for US$229. Customers who purchased a qualifying Mac on or after June 8, 2009 can take advantage of Apple’s $10 Snow Leopard Up-to-Date Program. All versions of Mac OS X Snow Leopard require an Intel processor, 1GB of memory, and 5GB of free disk space to install and run.

Apple Releases Bluetooth, 7,200 RPM Hard Drive Firmware Updates

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Date: Friday, August 21st, 2009, 09:29
Category: News

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On Wednesday, Apple released firmware updates for its wireless mouse and keyboard, as well as for recent MacBook Pro owners.

According to Macworld, Bluetooth Firmware Update 2.0.1, a 1.78 megabyte download, provides bug fixes and better compatibility with the Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse and Wireless Keyboard. It’s meant for all Macs with Bluetooth based on the Broadcom chipset, although the download page doesn’t specify which models that includes.

Hard Drive Firmware Update 2.0, a 3.71 megabyte download, reduces certain (“infrequent,” according to Apple) noises made by 7200-rpm hard drives that shipped with the June 2009 MacBook Pro.

Both updates requires OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.