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Apple releases iTunes 10.5.2 update

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Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 17:55
Category: News, Software


On Monday, Apple released iTunes 10.5.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 102 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Several improvements for iTunes Match and fixes an audio distortion problem when playing or importing certain CDs.

iTunes 10.5.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iOS 5.1 beta 2, incorporates Photo Stream fix

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Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 12:18
Category: iPhone, News, Software

It’s the betas that make life interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday provided developers with a second beta of iOS 5.1, with the latest update granting the ability to delete individual photos synced to the iCloud Photo Stream feature.

The latest beta is now available to members of the iOS developer program. Sources familiar with beta 2 said one of the newest additions automatically deletes pictures from Photo Stream when they are deleted from the iPhone.

Currently, pictures taken on an iOS device are automatically synced with the Photo Stream feature of Apple’s iCloud. But if a user deletes a picture from their iPhone, it is not removed from iCloud. Instead, users must unsync their entire photo library in order to remove an uploaded photo.

Those same people said that the latest beta of iOS 5.1 is known as build 9B5127c. Some issues do reportedly remain with the pre-release software, including freezes related to Setup Assistant and the shake-to-shuffle feature in the iOS music player.

iOS 5.1 beta 2 is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch and stands as an 801MB download. A new beta firmware for the Apple TV was also issued Monday, and allows developers to test iOS 5.1 applications with AirPlay on the set-top box.

The first beta of iOS 5.1 was provided to developers in late November. It included references to a next-generation iPhone, labeled “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2” and “iPad3,3.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Tekkeon introduces MP1580 battery pack, allows external charging of iOS, other USB-charging devices

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Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 05:39
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

This could be useful.

Per iLounge, Tekkeon has introduced its new TekCharge MP1580 battery pack for the iPod, iPhone, and other USB-charging devices. The MP1580 offers the ability to charge devices using between two and four AA batteries, and serves as a charging station for rechargeable NiMH or lithium cells. Other features include an inline voltage regulator to ensure safe charging, a built-in USB slot for connecting charging cables, and an external charge indicator.

The TekCharge MP1580 is available now and retails for US$25.

Apple receives final clearance to sell iPhone 4S in China, handsets expected to arrive this month

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Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 05:29
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re traveling to the far east and need to snag an iPhone 4S, things just got a bit easier.

Per MIC Gadget, Chinese regulators have issued the final permit required for Apple to launch the iPhone 4S in the country, with wireless operator China Unicom hoping to begin selling the device by the Christmas and New Year holidays.

A new report claims that the MIIT network permit may actually be for the 8GB iPhone 4, as noted by Penn Olson. Insiders from China Unicom have allegedly stated that the iPhone 4S is still awaiting approval.

According to the report, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the necessary network access permit for the iPhone 4S earlier this week. The certificate remains valid for three years and The permit was believed to have been the last obstacle for Apple.

In response to the news, China Unicom said it expects to launch the device by the end of the month. The carrier reportedly estimates the 16GB iPhone 4S will cost 4,999 yuan (US$786) off contract.

The company revealed in late November that it had already finished preparations for the iPhone 4S and was simply awaiting the final permit from the government.

Financial analysts have indicated that their estimates of 28 million iPhone units shipped in the fourth quarter of calendar 2011 will see a strong upside if Apple manages to launch the iPhone 4S in the world’s most populous country by the end of the quarter. According to Apple, there are already 7,000 points of sale for its smartphone in the country.

As for Greater China, the iPhone 4S arrived in Hong Kong to frenzied crowds in November. The handset is set to launch in Taiwan on Dec. 16. Apple has been on a tear in the region as of late. The company saw record sales of US$4.5 billion there last quarter, making it the company’s second-largest market in terms of revenue.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available

Google releases Picasa update, adds social networking features

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Date: Friday, December 9th, 2011, 12:52
Category: News, Software


On Friday, software giant Google released Picasa, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac. Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments. The new version, a 33.1 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Added ability to upload to Google+: share with circles, post pictures to your stream, and upload images at original size.

– Social Tagging: name tag people in your Google+ circles and notify them via G+.

– New photo editing effects, including:
Invert Colors
Heat Map
Cross Process
Pixelate/Focal Pixelate
Focal Zoom
Pencil Sketch
Comic Book
Rounded Edges
Drop Shadow
Museum Matte

– Side by side editing: compare two pictures side-by-side, or compare different edits on the same picture.

– Updated RAW support for pictures from newer cameras.

– Support for WebP files.

– On the Tools > Experimental menu, we’ve added support for migrating your database to another local drive.

– Improvements to Face Movie maker: number of photos included, chronological ordering.

– Sync now uploads unshared albums privately.

– Improved restoring of virtual albums when you uninstall and reinstall, or move to a new computer. Album data is written to the picasa.ini file now, along with all of your other edits.

– OAuth support: use 2-factor accounts without getting an application-specific password.

Picasa requires 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.

iMac 2TB hard drive build-to-order delay reduced to 2-4 weeks

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Date: Friday, December 9th, 2011, 06:00
Category: iMac, News

Hang on a bit longer and you’ll get the 2-terabyte internal hard drive you want.

Per AppleInsider, custom-built iMac desktops with 2-terabyte hard drives now have a shipping estimate of 2 to 4 weeks, suggesting Apple has seen its stock of high-capacity hard drives improve.

The story broke a week ago that Apple’s build-to-order iMacs with 2TB hard drives had an estimated shipping time of 5 to 7 weeks. Though Apple didn’t comment on the situation, the lengthy and uncharacteristic delay was potentially the first sign of the company being hit by a lingering global hard drive shortage.

But just a week later, shipping times for 2TB iMacs have already improved to between 2 and 4 weeks, indicating that any hard drive shortage seen by Apple may be short lived.

While shipping times have improved, there is still quite a bit of a delay with an estimated 2 to 4 week shipping time. For example, a custom-built iMac with a 256GB solid-state drive has a shipping estimate of just 2 to 4 business days.

Apple’s shipping time for desktops with higher-capacity hard drives may be a result of flooding in Thailand, which has caused disruption in the hard drive supply chain, including Western Digital and Seagate. About 14,000 factories have been shut down and more than 600,000 people were put out of work by the devastating floods.

Western Digital announced last week that it had resumed hard drive production in Thailand. But industry watchers expect the industry-wide hard drive shortage to linger well into 2012.

Just this week, IHS predicted that the flooding in Thailand would cause a shortfall of nearly 4 million total PC units in the first quarter of calendar 2012. The research firm also reduced its projected total PC sales in 2012 from 399 million to 376 million, partly due to the hard drive shortage, as well as weakening demand.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Aperture 3.2.2 update

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Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 14:37
Category: News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released version 3.2.2 of Aperture, its pro-grade image editing application. The new version, a 635 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
– Addresses compatibility with iCloud and iOS 5.

– Resolves an issue that could cause the “Loading” indicator to reappear in the Viewer when cropping a photo.

– Aperture now automatically relaunches into Full Screen mode if the application was in.

– Full Screen mode when last quit.

– Pinch-to-zoom gesture now automatically activates Zoom mode in the Viewer.

– Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in the Viewer.

– Microsoft Outlook can now be chosen in Preferences as the application used by Aperture for emailing photos.

– Fixes a problem that could cause Aperture, running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to quit unexpectedly when using brushes to apply adjustments.

– Loupe now correctly displays magnification levels between 50-100%.

– Fixes an issue that could cause Aperture, running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to display the incorrect color profile on externally edited images.

– Import window now includes an option to delete photos from iPhone and iPad after they have been imported into Aperture.

– The Lift & Stamp tool now displays the correct cursor icons when being used in Split View and Viewer only modes.

Aperture retails for US$199 and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run. If you have Aperture 3.0 installed, the most recent version can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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

Catcher unibody plant remains closed, odors being examined

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Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 08:50
Category: MacBook Pro, News


If they could just get the odors under control, things would be set.

Following up on our previous coverage of assorted odors closing down the Catcher unibody plant, Chinese authorities continue to inspect a factory that produces aluminum casings for Apple’s MacBook laptops, following residents’ complaints of unbearable odors coming from the facility.

Per Macworld, Apple’s MacBook inventories, however, appear so far to be unaffected by the factory’s temporary shutdown, according to one analyst.

In mid-October, Taiwan-based Catcher Technology announced that it had stopped production at its factory in Suzhou, China. Authorities have since been inspecting the factory to ensure its manufacturing processes will not emit any strong odors that will affect nearby residents.

Catcher could not be reached for comment. The company said in a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing on Wednesday that authorities are still inspecting the factory. In an earlier filing, the company said that its October sales revenue would be down by 20 percent, and November sales by 40 percent, if the factory could not be restarted in time.

Local Chinese authorities have been working to improve and test the factory’s waste-gas treatment systems, according to Yee Fang, a spokeswoman with the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee. The authorities have nothing new to report at this time, she added.

Helen Chiang, an analyst with research firm IDC, said Apple appears to have mitigated the effect of the factory’s outage as it shifted production to its other supplier. “It’s been controllable at this point,” she said. Apple’s MacBook demand for the fourth quarter is also forecast to be less than the third quarter, Chiang added.

Apple declined to comment.

Stay tuned for additional smell-o-riffic details as they become available.

Delicious Library updated to 2.7.5

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Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 05:51
Category: News, Software


On Wednesday, software company Delicious Monster released version 2.7.5 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The update, a 16.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Easily see which shelves contain your items!

– Use the new “Shelves” column in list view.

– Control-click an item for the new “Show on Shelf” menu.

– Include the set of shelves containing each item when exporting.

– Recognize a larger variety of iTunes audiobook formats.

– Those with old iTunes libraries should, in iTunes, choose File > Library> Organize Library…, selecting to “Reorganize files”.

– Improved display of Nintendo 3DS game boxes.

– French translation improvements, thanks to Fabrice Deville.

– Export directly to Numbers.

– Excel exporter now uses CSV format instead of the ancient SYLK format, providing better support for long values and values in more languages.

– Cover drawing fixes on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion (fixed blurry covers, incorrectdrawing after changing dimensions, and more).

– Many fixes to the importer.

– Accept USB scanners that send EAN-5 along with the EAN-13 barcode.

– We’re aware that some customers have issues using their USB barcode scannerswith Delicious Library. We’d like to address this as soon as possible. Ifyou have a USB scanner (working or not), please email support@delicious-monster.comwith the make and model, and whether or not scans are recognized.

– Work around Amazon returning strange item dimensions (manifesting as coversbeing tiny)

– Better handling of large cover images.

– Strip ColorSync profiles from images when publishing for smaller file sizes.

– Fixed a cause of large memory usage when publishing.

– Add a work-around for an Apple bug in 10.7 that produces invalid HTML when publishing
Enable “Refresh Details from Internet” for items with an EAN or ISBN, butwithout an ASIN.

– Fixed a crash when selecting “Enable Bluetooth Scanning” and Bluetooth isdisabled (Apple’s bug).

Delicious Library 2.7.5 retails for US$40 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Cocktail 5.1.0 (Lion Edition) released

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Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 13:37
Category: News, Software


On Wednesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 5.1.0 of Cocktail (Lion Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 2.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

– Added “Disable local snapshots” setting (System – Time Machine).

– Added “Disable spelling correction” setting (Interface – General).

– Added “Disable Character Picker” setting (Interface – General).

– Added “Disable the New Window animation” setting (Interface – General).

– Added “Enable mouse over on stacks” setting (Interface – Dock).

– Added “Disable Reply animation” setting (Interface – Mail).

– Added “Disable Send animation” setting (Interface – Mail).

– Added “Disable leather skin in Address Book” setting (Interface – Misc).

– Added “Disable leather skin in iCal” setting (Interface – Misc).

– Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may freeze when trying to gather disk information.

– Addresses an issue in which the journaling state of the case-sensitive HFS+ disks could not be detected.

– Addresses an issue in which improper permissions were applied to the File Sharing logs during the rotation of these logs.

– Other minor improvements and bug fixes.

– Updated Help files.

Cocktail 5.1.0 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.