Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.8 build 10K540 to developer community

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Date: Friday, June 17th, 2011, 05:08
Category: News, Software

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In other news, Apple has released a new Mac OS X 10.6.8 build marked 10K540 to the developer community. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, sources familiar with the update have stated that no known issues are listed, and the focus areas of Airport, Networking, Graphics Drivers, the Mac App Store, QuickTime and VPN remain the same.

The first build of Mac OS X 10.6.8 arrived in May with no indication of any changes. Release notes accompanying subsequent betas detailed the addition of fixes for the MacDefender malware scam and support for Mac App Store installation of the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

Lion sports more than 250 new features and is due out in July. The upgrade will be an approximately 4GB download and will sell for the low price of US$29.99.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC 1.1.10.1 update released

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Date: Friday, June 17th, 2011, 04:54
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 1.1.10.1. The new version, a 31.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Small fixes for the Mac OS X port such as disappearing repeat buttons and restored Freebox TV access.

- The installation size was reduced by up to 30 MB.

VLC 1.1.10.1 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, let us know in the comments.

Apple patent describes additional security/data scrambling features for lost iPhone handsets

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Date: Thursday, June 16th, 2011, 05:11
Category: iPhone, News, Patents

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If you’re hunting for your lost iPhone, you might have some additional features to work with before long.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has shown interest in giving users the ability to scramble or delete specific data, or even record audio or visual information in the event that an iPhone is lost.

Apple’s new potential security options are detailed in a patent application made public this week. Entitled “Proactive Security for Mobile Devices,” the feature would offer extremely flexible, custom options for security measures on an iPhone.

For example, with specific data such as e-mail, contacts and stored passwords, users could selectively choose to either scramble, delete or ignore the information if the handset is reported stolen or missing.

Users could even choose to deny a potential thief access to certain features of the iPhone, including the ability to make phone calls or access Wi-Fi. Users could also prevent a security breach to a corporate network by having their iPhone automatically change VPN settings once a security risk has been detected.

But a user may also decide to continue to allow some features on a missing device, such as Wi-Fi or GPS, to help track down the handset and identify its location. Keeping that functionality active allows the rightful owner of the device to determine its place on a map.

In one example included in the application, the missing iPhone displays an alert that a secure password must be entered within 60 seconds or location data associated with the handset will be transmitted back to the owner.

If a correct password is not entered in time, the location data will be sent, and the device can also be locked and restricted only to the functionality chosen by the original owner. For example, the device could become password locked, and the only available activity would be to contact the original owner of the iPhone.

Apple’s solution could also utilize the sensors inside of an iPhone to record unusual activity, and alert users that their handset is at security risk, potentially preventing it from being lost forever. Such a system could detect suspicious activities like calls or texts to an unknown number.

If an iPhone is reported stolen, the device could record images and ambient audio. This data could be provided to investigative authorities to help track down the hardware.

These options are more powerful and flexible than the existing Find My iPhone functionality, which late last year Apple made free for all iOS devices. The current service allows users to identify the location of their device, display a message on it, set a passcode lock, or remotely wipe it.

But in its patent application, Apple notes that features like the remote wipe command are an all-or-nothing approach that can be frustrating for users. If a remote wipe is conducted, the user is forced to restore all of the deleted information, which can be inconvenient and time consuming.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Imagination Technologies begins licensing process for future iOS devices

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Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, 07:54
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

Whatever you’re expecting from the next-gen iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, improved graphics should be on the way.

Per AppleInsider, Apple component provider Imagination Technologies is now licensing its PowerVR Series6 mobile graphics processing architecture, the next generation of the hardware found in Apple’s iPhone and iPad, to six key partners — three of which remain secret.

The new processor, code-named “Rogue,” was revealed to have been licensed by ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments and MediaTek. The remaining three partners are “yet to be announced,” but given the fact that Apple is a major shareholder of the company, its involvement could be considered likely.

Apple purchased a 3% stake in Imagination Technologies back in 2008, and in 2009 the iPhone maker increased its share to 9.5%.

Imagination said this week that its PowerVR Series6 GPU family offers best-in-class “GFLOPS per mm2 and per mW for all APIs.” The company also touted that it has “one of the largest teams of graphics engineers in the world,” and that its chips have powered hundreds of thousands of applications created by “an extensive ecosystem of third party developers.”

“The growing commitment of the primary players to our roadmap shows that, having evaluated the options, the overall mobile and embedded market is increasingly committing to PowerVR as the de facto graphics standard,” said Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie.

More specifically, the graphics processor in the iPad 2 is the PowerVR SGX543MP2, which Apple has claimed helps to boost graphics in the A5 processor by as much as nine times. Benchmarks of just the SGX543GPU have found it to be much faster than its peers powering devices like the Motorola Xoom, or even 2010′s first-generation iPad.

With the A5 chip already in mass production for the iPad 2 and the same architecture expected to be utilized in the anticipated fifth-generation iPhone, it’s unlikely that Imagination’s new “Rogue” graphics processor could appear until at least a so-called “A6″ custom Apple processor were to become a reality. The new PowerVR Series6 GPUs are said to be “fully compatible” with Imagination’s previous Series5 and Series5XT PowerVR SGX GPUs, which the company said will ensure “a smooth migration path for developers upgrading applications.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple AirPort Utility 5.5.3 update may point towards next-gen AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule devices

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Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, 03:51
Category: News, Time Capsule, wireless


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It may be a small update, but it could mean something more.

Per AppleInsider, a routine update to Apple’s Airport Utility application contains references to new 4th generation Time Capsule and 5th generation AirPort Extreme devices, according to a new report.

After Apple released the AirPort Utility 5.5.3 update for Windows and Mac on Monday, device listings were uncovered in the update’s binary, MacRumors reports. Apple’s documentation for the 10MB downloads lists only that it “resolves an issue that caused the AirPort Utitlity to unexpectedly quit during setup.”

Of particular interest are listings for “K31 K30B Time Capsule (Simultaneous Dual-Band, Gen3)” and “K10B Apple AirPort Extreme (Simultaneous Dual-Band, Gen3).” Elsewhere in the code for the utility, the rumored devices are reportedly listed as “Time Capsule 802.11n (4th Generation)” and “AirPort Extreme 802.11n (5th Generation).”

Apple’s current simultaneous dual-band AirPort products, which were last updated in October 2009, are described as “Gen2.”

Recent reports have suggested that available stock of Apple’s AirPort and Time Capsule wireless base stations has dwindled ahead of a product update. The latest rumors claim Apple may shift the base stations to run iOS.

iOS-based AirPort base stations could allow for more robust features, such as print and media streaming services, integration with iCloud, and cached wireless software updates. Code references in AirPort Utility seem to support the likelihood of software update caching, according to people familiar with the matter.

Also, indications that Apple is working on wireless drivers for non-Intel CPUs may point to the possibility that Apple plans to enable iOS devices to setup and configure new AirPort or Time Capsule devices without the help of a Mac or Windows PC. Such a move could align with Apple’s Post PC strategy, as the company recently revealed that the forthcoming iOS 5 has been designed to be “PC Free” by way of wireless activation, syncing and backup.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft releases 14.1.2 update for Office 2011, 12.3.0 update for Office 2008

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Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, 03:06
Category: News, Software

On Monday afternoon, Microsoft released version 14.1.2 of its popular Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac suite. The update, a 109 megabyte download, can also be located, snagged and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate program, offers the following fixes and changes:

- This update fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

In an updated security bulletin, the company admitted that a “specially crafted” Excel file could allow unwanted access, thus leading to the updates.

Microsoft Office 2011 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is available for US$149.99 and up depending on the suite purchased.

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

In other news, Microsoft also released version 12.3.0 of its Office 2008 suite for Mac. The update, a 333 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Improves stability. In addition, it includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and
Microsoft Office 2008 with Service Pack 1. The update can, of course, be located and installed with the Microsoft AutoUpdate tool.

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

Verizon adds 19 cities to LTE network

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Date: Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 14:55
Category: iPhone, News

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You’re hankering to get on an LTE network connection with an updated iPhone, so here’s some good news.

Per Computerworld, Verizon Wireless announced that the company will add 19 more cities that will get its faster LTE wireless network service starting Thursday, bringing the total to 74 metropolitan areas.

San Francisco and Detroit, already on Verizon LTE since last December, will also see the existing LTE network in those cities expanded, Verizon said in a statement.

The new 19 LTE cities include several state capitals such as Sacramento, Calif., Hartford, Conn., Boise, Idaho, Harrisburg, Pa., Indianapolis, Ind., Salt Lake City (with Ogden), Utah; and Madison (with Milwaukee), Wis.

The announcement comes as competitor AT&T is set to launch LTE 4G service in five cities in the U.S. this summer: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Reports have also surfaced that Sprint will begin adding LTE service to its existing nationwide WiMax 4G capability, partly to support a future LTE-ready iPhone , although Sprint has not confirmed those reports.

T-Mobile USA, the fourth largest U.S. wireless carrier, has been promoting its HSPA+ network as a fast 4G technology. Meanwhile, AT&T is seeking to acquire T-Mobile but needs approvals from federal regulators.

The various 4G technologies are promoted as offering users download data speeds of up to about 10 Mbps, which is roughly 10 times what most users get over 3G downloads from the carriers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple begins selling unlocked GSM iPhone 4 units in online store

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Date: Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 06:24
Category: iPhone, News

Apple updated its online store on Tuesday to begin offering unlocked models of the iPhone 4, starting at $649.

Both the white and black versions of Apple’s bestselling smartphone are available, with the 16GB and 32GB versions selling for $649 and $749, respectively, in the U.S. Apple online store. The device is not eligible for international shipping.

Currently, the black versions of the unlocked iPhone 4 are estimated to ship within 1-3 business days, while white versions are listed as shipping within 3-5 days.

“The unlocked iPhone 4 requires an active micro-SIM card that you obtain from a supported GSM wireless carrier,” Apple notes on the product description page.

As with unlocked iPhones sold internationally, the device will work on all Apple-supported GSM networks around the world. Apple also takes care to note that an iPad 3G micro-SIM card will not work in the unlocked iPhone 4.

In the U.S., customers with unlocked GSM iPhones can choose from AT&T and T-Mobile, though data transmission on the T-Mobile network will occur over the slower EDGE protocol because the carrier’s 3G network is incompatible with the iPhone.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that Apple would begin sales of the unlocked iPhone 4 in the U.S., though the device went on sale a day earlier than sources had suggested. On Monday, various outlets noted that unlocked iPhones had been shipped to Apple Stores with a price tag of $649 and $749.

If you’ve been hankering for an unlocked iPhone, Apple seems to have come through.

Per AppleInsider, the company has posted an unlocked GSM iPhone 4 (available in both black and white) on its online store.

The release of an unlocked iPhone 4 comes as a blow to AT&T, which held an exclusive on the iPhone in the U.S. for more than three years, up until the release of the iPhone 4 on the Verizon network in February.

The handset is available for US$649 and “requires an active micro-SIM card that you obtain from a supported GSM wireless carrier,” Apple notes on the product description page.

As with unlocked iPhones sold internationally, the device will work on all Apple-supported GSM networks around the world. Apple also takes care to note that an iPad 3G micro-SIM card will not work in the unlocked iPhone 4.

In the U.S., customers with unlocked GSM iPhones can choose from AT&T and T-Mobile, though data transmission on the T-Mobile network will occur over the slower EDGE protocol because the carrier’s 3G network is incompatible with the iPhone.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that Apple would begin sales of the unlocked iPhone 4 in the U.S., though the device went on sale a day earlier than sources had suggested. On Monday, various outlets noted that unlocked iPhones had been shipped to Apple Stores with a price tag of $649 and $749.

If you’ve snagged an unlocked iPhone, please let us know how it works for you in the comments.

Adium updated to 1.4.2

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 13th, 2011, 16:46
Category: News, Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.4.2.

The new version, a 22 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Updated to libpurple 2.7.11. Highlights of applicable changes:

MSN:
- Fixed bug that prevented adding contacts to your contact list in certain circumstances. (#14965)

- Added support for MSNP16 including multiple points of presence (MPOP) which allows multiple simultaneous sign-ins and which should resolve connection problems involving the “Signed in from another location” error. (#13654)

- Fixed crash related to Direct Connections. (#14650)

ICQ:
- Fixed a bug where some contacts from your contact list might not show up. Affected non-English users the most. (#14901)

Contact List:
- Fixed tooltips not being updated when scrollwheeling through the contact list. (#3480)

- Improved readability of tooltips by making their contents opaque and only the background transparent. (#15050)

Logging:
- Added a “Log only certain accounts” setting to Adium’s “General” preferences. (#8, #14522)

- Added a “Log secure chats” setting to Adium’s “General” preferences. (#94)

- Renamed “Save opened chats when quitting” setting to “Reopen chats from last time on startup” for clarity. (#14651)

Message View:
- Only display focus indication for group chats. (#14420)

- Enable %service% keyword in header.

- Fixed issue where sections of conversations loaded from message history are repeated. (#13362)

- Fixed iChat emoticons in Snow Leopard on case-sensitive file systems. (#14936)minimal_mod

- Disabled consecutivization of actions to prevent overlapping icons. Fixed erroneous application of a grey dotted top border to a consecutive, unfocused action that follows a non-action. Fixed text wrap alignment issues on actions.

Mockie:
- New mention and focus indicators, and improved scaling at large font sizes. (#14420)

Renkoo:
- No longer scrolls to bottom on new content regardless of scroll position. (#14331)

Smooth Operator:
- Compact: Mentions in actions are no longer italicized. Sendercolor Adiumy is not displayed in IRC too. Fixed progressively increasing saturation of the sendercolor Adiumy on each consecutive message.

- Classic: Fixed slight misalignment between sender and message. Lightened the on-click shadow. The per-message marks in the classic variant now grow to the left rather than to the right where it can overlap message text.

- Dark: New variant!

- all variants: Improved the performance of all-by-sender-on-click javascript. Shifted the built-in buddy icons down a few pixels so they look more centered. Switched to more compact focus indication icons.
Stockholm

- Reverted to pre-1.4 layout for per-message timestamps (#14361). Per-message timestamps now display on the left when the message text is RTL (#10403).

yMous:
- Removed the per-message triangle, slimmed the area between the sender and message, and fixed more elements to scale with font-size. Improved the performance of all-by-sender-on-click javascript.

ICQ:
- Fixed ICQ disconnections going unnoticed. (#14229)

- Fixed hang caused by reading badly formatted transcripts from ICQ. (#14627)

- Switch to clientLogin authentication for ICQ and AIM, allowing SSL to be used if possible again. Change the options for encryption to “Require”/”Opportunistic”/”Disabled.” (#15000)

- Use the clientLogin key of the official ICQ Mac client instead of the AIM key we had which got banned. (#15244)
IRC

- Fixed a crash related to invalid UTF8 in nicknames on IRC. (#13351)

- Fixed a crash that occurred when opening irc://-links to new servers on ports other than 6667. (#15093)

MSN:
- Added a preference to enable/disable MSN Direct Connections. (#14602)

XMPP:
- Double confirmation is now required to delete and unregister an XMPP account. (#14357)

- Fixed xmpp:-urls without a user part opening chats with (null)@… (#14908).

Miscellaneous:
- Growl notifications for Group Chats now show the channel on the same line as the nick, instead of before the message. (#14890)

- Fixed a bug causing a switching of user profiles following Adium updates. (#14432)

- Fixed 1.4.1 regression of arrows not showing up in the Events tables of the Preference pane and the Get Info pane for active events. (#14629)

- Fixed a hang that occurred when required parts of loaded message styles were missing. (#7438)

- Fixed bookmark icons not updating when changing icon sets. (#13221)

- Fixed two memory leaks. (Adrian Godoroja) (#15047)

- Fixed “Remove Link” showing up twice in the input box’s context menu on 10.6. (Shawn Khan) (#14454)

- Fixed 1.4 regression where selection of the active voice in the “Speak Event” and “Speak Text” contact alert actions failed. (#14574)

- Fixed positioning of selected icon in Recent Icons not being reapplied when icon is reselected. (Adrian Godoroja) (#9908)

- Fixed an issue with adding URLs via copy/paste resulting in an invalid link. (#15229)

Localisation:
- Updated the Localizable.strings files, adding missing translatable strings/nibs. (#14588, #14582)

- Updated and improved localisations: British English (#15116), Catalan (#15231), Danish (#15160), Dutch (#15202), Finnish (#15211), French (#15198), German (#15204), Italian (#15224), Polish (#15230), Portuguese (Portugal) (#15223), Russian (#15246), Swedish (#15217).

- Fixed an issue in the Czech localisation. (#14586)

Adium 1.4.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

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

Apple to recall small number of Verizon iPad 2 units with duplicate electronic serial numbers

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Date: Monday, June 13th, 2011, 08:09
Category: iPad, News

Ok, this is a bit embarrassing.

Per AllThingsD, Apple has confirmed that an “extremely small number” of iPad 2 units for Verizon have been recalled because they were accidentally shipped with identical electronic serial numbers.

After reports emerged on Friday that a limited recall was taking place, an Apple spokesperson acknowledged the issue.

“Duplicate [Mobile Equipment Identifier] numbers were flashed onto an extremely small number of iPad 2 units for the Verizon 3G network,” an Apple representative said on Friday. Most of the devices had yet to reach the market, though a few had already been sold to customers. Apple declined to give more detailed information on the number of iPads recalled.

Apple announced this week that iPad sales had reached the 25 million unit milestone, which should result in roughly 8 million iPads shipped in the June quarter. That number would exceed analysts expectations, many of whom predict Apple will sell around 7 million units.

The iPad 2 has been wildly successful, with Apple selling the device as fast as it can make it. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said in April that the company faces “the mother of all backlogs” due to “staggering” demand for the iPad 2.

However, in spite of the sell-out iPad 2 launch, Wall Street was disappointed by iPad sales in the March quarter, which came to just 4.69 million as Apple drew down the original iPad and ramped up production of the second-generation tablet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.