iCloud e-mail woes extend into second day, Apple citing only 1.1% of users currently affected

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 08:21
Category: iCloud, News

Well, this is a bit embarrassing, especially only a few hours before an anticipated slew of new product announcements today…

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple’s iCloud email outage continues into its second day, the company’s status site claiming that only 1.1 percent of iCloud users are affected. Since Tuesday morning, iCloud mail connectivity has been iffy or entirely absent for some subscribers, and Apple’s not commenting aside from the “we’re working on it” notice.

Oddly enough, the discussions board seems to be weighted toward non-US users having issues.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if your iCloud email has been down or iffy, please let us know in the comments.

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.22

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Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 07:40
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.22. The new version, a 96.6 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

– VMM: fixed a potential host crash triggered by shutting down a VM when another VM was running (only affected 32-bit hosts and 64-bit OS X hosts, 4.1 regression, bug #9897)

– VMM: fixed a potential host crash under a high guest memory pressure (seen with Windows 8 guests).

– VMM: respect RAM preallocation while restoring saved state.

– VMM: fixed handling of task gates if VT-x/AMD-V is disabled.

– Storage: fixed audio CD passthrough for certain media players.

– USB: don’t crash if a USB device is plugged or unplugged when saving or loading the VM state (SMP guests only).

– RTC: fixed a potential corruption of CMOS bank 1.

– Mac OS X hosts: installer fixes for Leopard (4.1.20 regression).

– Windows Additions: fixed memory leak in VBoxTray (bug #10808).

VirtualBox 4.1.22 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

T-Mobile works to lure iPhone customers via unlocked iPhone 4S handsets, Value Push plan

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Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 07:07
Category: iPhone, News, retail

While T-Mobile may not yet be an official iPhone wireless carrier, they’re looking to make what money they can off the iPhone.

Per Engadget, T-Mobile has thrown caution to the wind and is offering unlocked iPhone 4S units into stores, customers being able to sign up for the carrier’s US$70-a-month (amongst others) unlimited plan anyway.

From September 12th, iPhone 4S display units will be rolled out in stores, with helpful sales staff around to swap out your AT&T microSIM for one of its own. You’ll also be able to get hold of network-specific apps like myAccount, Visual Voicemail and T-Mobile TV as soon as they’re ready. In order to make this marvel possible, it’s rolling out 1900MHz HSPA+ access to allow customers access to its wireless service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple making changes with iCloud Notes and Reminders, adding more comprehensive Lost My iPhone feature in forthcoming updates

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Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 06:27
Category: iCloud, News, Software

Some upcoming iCloud features could prove incredibly useful and interesting.

Per AppleInsider, the upcoming iCloud Notes and Reminders apps are virtually identical to their iOS and OS X Mountain Lion siblings. The new Reminders web app offers a cloud-based version of events synced with iOS mobile devices and desktop Macs, although it does not support location based reminders (simply ignoring any “geofence” reminder settings triggered to go out when entering or leaving a particular location).

Notes gets a similar web treatment, although unlike its iOS and OS X counterparts, there’s no way to change the default font from Noteworthy. Notes on the web also reflects the stitched leather binding of its iOS counterpart rather than the plainer version in OS X.

In addition to the two new apps, iCloud Mail and Calendar are both getting minor updates. The new Mail adds support for VIP inboxes introduced in Mountain Lion’s Mail this summer.

Mail also uses iOS style scroll bars that are skinnier and translucent, in strange contrast to iCloud’s Calendar app, which continues to use a standard scroll bars with a full gutter and arrow buttons.

The only apparent change in Calendars is the removal of the Reminders list, which is now its own app. Similarly, the iCloud Contacts app hasn’t changed at all, so it retains the odd “bookmark” control for accessing contact groups that Apple has removed from both the OS X and iOS 6 versions of the app.

Also left apparently unchanged is Apple’s support for saving and accessing iWork documents from the web. Overall, the company’s web strategy for iCloud seems very conservative, given that both Google and now Microsoft have made web versions of their office apps a prominent part of their software strategy.

One final feature Apple has added to iCloud’s web portfolio is a new “Lost Mode” within Find My iPhone. The new feature is an enhancement over the previous version, which only offers to lock the device and optionally send it a message.

If your iOS 6 device goes missing, you can click on Lost Mode and the app prompts you to enter a phone number and message, locks the device remotely and will track the device every time it moves, reporting changes in location via email updates. It will also draw each location change on the map, showing a trail of where the device has shown up.

Devices that haven’t yet upgraded to iOS 6, along with Macs registered to use iCloud’s Find My Mac, continue to support the old Lock feature, without updates or live tracking.

Notably, Apple is still using Google Maps within iCloud rather than its own Maps that will launch with the new iOS 6 update later this week. The company may transition over to its own map services at some point.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Initial tests show forthcoming OS X 10.8.2 update may help resolve battery life issues

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Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 06:30
Category: News, Software

They may not be scientific tests, but they prove a point.

Per the intensely cool cats at The Mac Observer, a set of tests published on Monday claim to show significant a boost in MacBook battery life using a new developer build of OS X Mountain Lion, with the latest beta showing an 85-minute increase from the current 10.8.1.

The unscientific test from The Mac Observer pitted numerous revisions of OS X, from 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.8.2 Mountain Lion developer build 12C35, against each other to determine how the operating system effects battery life.

The test used a 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro running a 2.0 GHz i7 processor with 8 GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 6490M GPU and two internal hard drives, an OCZ Vertex 4 64 GB SSD and a Seagate Momentus 750 GB HDD.

Each operating system was tested at full charge, with all applications and services disabled save for Wi-Fi, screen adjusted to 50 percent brightness with display set for continuous use and screen saver disabled. A moderate workflow was simulated using a custom Automator application, which repeated until the battery was fully drained.

Using OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard as a baseline, the compiled test data showed a significant hit to battery performance with the introductions of 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion. Upon release, Lion lost over 40 minutes of battery life and took three revisions to regain Snow Leopard power efficiency. In contrast, Mountain Lion saw a huge 105 minute loss in battery performance when it was released in July, with the latest 10.8.1 version moving the OS only 30 minutes closer to baseline.

With OS X 10.8.2, however, battery life is not just brought back in line with Snow Leopard levels, but the OS actually outperforms its predecessor by eight minutes. This marks an 88.5 minute savings in power consumption from the most recent 10.8.1 version of Mountain Lion.

It was previously reported that Apple’s Mountain Lion was causing battery life issues for many users, with some MacBook Air owners seeing their batteries lasting half as long as when OS X 10.7 Lion was installed. Subsequent tests of the latest public version of OS X, Mountain Lion 10.8.1, showed Apple engineers were working on a fix as battery life was substantially improved. If Monday’s tests are accurate, OS X 10.8.2 will bring further battery life improvements, perhaps besting even the legacy OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

While the final public version of OS X 10.8.2 may not boast power savings identical to the home-brew test, the developer builds are promising and show Apple is taking an aggressive stance in solving the battery degradation issues seen at Mountain Lion’s launch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the current OS X 10.8.2 beta and have any feedback about battery life under the forthcoming operating system revision, please let us know in the comments.

Leaked memo shows FedEx blocking out vacation days around September 21st, “iPhone 5” launch appearing more likely

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Date: Monday, September 10th, 2012, 08:45
Category: iPhone, News

Sometimes it’s the delivery services that provide the most useful hints as to a major product launch.

Per MacRumors, additional evidence of a Sept. 21 launch for Apple’s next iPhone has come from mail carrier FedEx, which has begun alerting employees about a “surge volume” event beginning that Friday.

FedEx has postponed a corporate class in anticipation of the unnamed event that will occur from Sept. 21 through 24, according to a company memo published on Friday. The company is also said to be limiting employee travel during the four-day span.

Apple typically partners with FedEx for home deliveries of its new product launches. And the date cited by FedEx aligns with previous rumors pointing toward a Sept. 21 launch date after next Wednesday’s media event.

Sept. 21 is a Friday, which is the day of the week Apple traditionally uses for product releases. Last year, Apple announced the iPhone on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and the device launched the following week on Friday, Oct. 14.

Following a similar pattern this year, Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone, referred to unofficially as the “iPhone 5,” at its event next Wednesday, Sept. 12, with the product officially launching the following Friday.

The new iPhone is expected to be the biggest product launch in Apple’s history, which would explain why FedEx is adjusting its corporate schedule accordingly. In March, an overwhelming number of preorders for Apple’s third-generation iPad led to delayed shipments through both FedEx and UPS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

OnyX updated to 2.6.1, adds Mountain Lion support

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Date: Monday, September 10th, 2012, 07:07
Category: News, Software

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OnyX, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.6.1. The new version, a 20.5 megabyte download adds full support for OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).

As of now, specific changes to the version have yet to be released.

OnyX 2.6.1 requires an Intel-based processor and OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Roxio releases revised Toast Titanium 11.1 update

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Date: Friday, September 7th, 2012, 10:09
Category: News, Software

This is a little awkward, but people make mistakes and that’s why pencils have erasers.

On Friday, Roxio released a revised version of the Toast Titanium 11.1 update.

Per the release notes, the new build (1067) fixed bugs that the previous build (1063) had introduced.

The new build, a 92.8 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Resolved digital signing issue which occured on some OS versions.

– Resolved issue where updating would generate invalid signature message.

– Customers still encountering this error will need to download a full version of Toast 11.1 from our software update page or install a previous version and then update.

– Toast has been fully Cocoa-ized – Hundreds of changes and fixes .

– Added OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility.

– Added support for recording to 100GB and 128GB BDXL media.

– Implemented Gatekeeper Support.

– Web-Video feature improvements.

– Requires using Safari to capture web-video.

– YouTube users may need to OPT OUT of HTML5 Trial.

– Mountain Lion users will need to update to 10.8.1 or later to publish video to YouTube.

Toast Titanium 11.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$99.99.

If you’ve tried the new update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments.

Mozilla releases Firefox 15.0.1 update

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Date: Friday, September 7th, 2012, 06:03
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, Mozilla.org released version 15.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 34.1 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

Sites visited while in Private Browsing mode could be found through manual browser cache inspection (787743)
– Silent, background updates.

– Support for SPDY networking protocol v3.

– WebGL enhancements, including compressed textures for better performance.

– Localization in Maithili (see all available locales).

– Optimized memory usage for add-ons.

– JavaScript debugger integrated into developer tools.

– New layout view added to Inspector.

– High precision event timer implemented.

– The CSS word-break property has been implemented.

– New responsive design tool allows web developers to switch between desktop and mobile views of sites.

– Native support for the Opus audio codec added.

– The element now supports the media attribute.

– Focus rings keep growing when repeatedly tabbing through elements (720987).

Firefox 15.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Airlines may be preparing Passbook support ahead of iOS 6 debut

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Date: Friday, September 7th, 2012, 06:02
Category: iPhone, News, Software

No one quite knows how Apple’s upcoming Passbook feature will work in iOS 6, but it looks like the airlines are getting ready for it.

According to the Australian Business Traveler, a report on Thursday claims a Virgin Australia passenger using an iPhone running iOS 6 beta was prompted to save a digital boarding pass to Passbook, hinting that air carriers are readying support for Apple’s forthcoming organization app for coupons, membership and other barcode-based assets.

The passenger checked in to a flight using the airline’s mobile website on his iPhone, which recognized the digital boarding pass from Safari and displayed a prompt asking whether he wanted to add the digital ticket to Passbook, suggesting that Virgin Australia’s mobile site is employing Apple’s new “.pkpass” mime type.

The file type, which allows the Safari web browser and email clients to recognize boarding passes to be sent to Passbook for processing and storage, has been available to developers for some time, though before Thursday there was little evidence of a major airline using the feature.

Currently, only United Airlines has officially signed on to support the upcoming iOS 6 feature, however other carriers are sure to follow suit as many already offer barcode-based digital ticketing.

It is unclear if the traveller was able to board the plane using Passbook, however, as company protocol may not allow for the unreleased system.

Passbook is slated to debut alongside a list of new features when iOS 6 launches this fall. Apple this week sent out invitations to a Sept. 12 special event all but confirming the unveiling of its next-generation iPhone, which will run the new mobile operating system.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.