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.

OS X 10.8.2 beta focuses on improving Power Nap, other features

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Date: Thursday, September 6th, 2012, 07:45
Category: News, Software

Come OS X 10.8.2, your Mac will take more efficient naps.

Per AppleInsider, Apple seeded a new OS X 10.8.2 beta on Wednesday, asking developers to focus on a number of areas including the Power Nap feature introduced with Mountain Lion.

Build 12C43 of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 beta was seeded with no known issues, however it appears Apple is looking to improve operability of the Power Nap feature introduced with the operating system in July.

Power Nap enables Macs to stay up to date and allows for the automatic backup of data while the computer is in sleep mode. Time Machine and iCloud syncing are supported, though compatibility is limited to mid-2011 or later MacBook Airs and the MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The newest 12C43 build comes one week after Apple seeded the second 10.8.2 beta, asking developers to focus on system-wide Facebook sharing integration.

As always, if you’ve gotten your mitts on an early copy of the beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple releases Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10, Java for OS X Lion 2012-005

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Date: Thursday, September 6th, 2012, 06:18
Category: News, security, Software

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If there’s a Java update out there, it might be worth snagging.

Per the cool cats at The Mac Observer, Apple updated Java for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Wednesday with the release of Java for OS X 2012-005 along with the release of Apple Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10. The updates, which vary in terms of download size given the version used, tweak Java controls by automatically turning the Java plugin off when no Java applets have been run for an extended period of time.

Apple’s patch notes also specify that if users hadn’t installed the previous version of Java (Java for for OS X Lion 2012-004), that the Java plugin will be disabled immediately.

The releases add the following fixes and changes:

– Delivers improved security, reliability, and compatibility by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_35.

The updates can be located, snagged and installed with Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run while the Java for OS X Lion 2012-005 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iMovie 9.0.8 update

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Date: Thursday, September 6th, 2012, 06:02
Category: News, Software

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It may be an absolutely gigantic greater-than-one-gigabyte download, but it’s still an update.

Late Wednesday, Apple released iMovie 9.0.8, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 1.08 gigabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Addresses an issue related to third-party QuickTime components that could prevent iMovie from opening.

iMovie 9.0.8 requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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

Wireless carrier Deutsche Telekom receives nano-SIMs, hint towards next generation of iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012, 07:07
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

The SIM cards are getting smaller…and possibly showing what’s in store for the next-generation iPhone.

Per AppleInsider and iFun.de, Germany’s Deutche Telekom has begun distributing nano-SIM cards to its partners ahead of the anticipated launch of Apple’s next-generation iPhone.

A picture of the new nano-SIM card being shipped out in Germany was published on Tuesday by German-language site iFun.de. Letters being sent out with the new nano-SIM cards indicate they are intended for “the latest generation of smartphones,” but do not mention the iPhone specifically.



Apple’s next-generation iPhone is rumored to feature a nano-SIM slot that’s roughly 40 percent smaller than current micro-SIM cards. The new design should allow smartphone makers like Apple greater flexibility when designing handsets.

The nano-SIM was a point of controversy earlier this year, when Nokia objected to Apple’s design. The Finnish company argued that the design violated a “no jamming” rule because its length was too similar to the width of current-generation micro-SIMs.

Apple responded in May by slightly adjusting the dimensions of card by adding a small amount of plastic around the edges of the electrical contacts, making the new nano-SIM just long enough so that it can’t be forced lengthwise into an incompatible socket.

Apple’s nano-SIM design was selected by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in June as the fourth official form factor for the SIM card standard. In July it was said that European wireless operators were placing orders for nano-SIM cards in anticipation of Apple’s next iPhone, but Tuesday’s leak is the first evidence of an official carrier nano-SIM card in the wild.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available as well as full coverage of the upcoming Apple media event on September 12th.