Apple offers final notice, warns users of July 31st closure

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Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, 11:46
Category: News, Software

Ok, it’s time to stop procrastinating…

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday issued what it called a “final reminder” to users that they must save their documents before July 31 or lose them forever.

The beta website will close in one week’s time, after which users will no longer be able to access their documents on the site or view them on the web.

Apple has recommended once again that users immediately sign in to to download documents and ensure tehy are not lost. An accompanying support article also details how users can save a copy of their documents onto their computer.

“Moving forward, you can use iCloud to store your documents and make them available across your computer and your iPHone, iPad or iPod touch,” the e-mail sent out on Tuesday by Apple reads.

Apple has sent out numerous reminders, including one earlier this month, encouraging users to back up their documents. Apple first notified customers in March of its intent to shutter the website by the end of July.

The service first launched as a beta in early 2009, offering iWork users on the Mac the ability to more easily collaborate with others using Windows and Microsoft Office. Now, the iWork suite of applications is become available on iOS, with Pages, Numbers and Keynote among the most popular downloads on the iPad App Store.

So, yeah, snag those files, put them somewhere else and perhaps head out and grab a really good bagel between now and the 31st, because Apple has decided to move on.

Analyst pegs Apple to release 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, updated iMac this fall

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Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, 06:13
Category: iMac, MacBook Pro, News

Just hang on a few months and that Retina Display goodness should find its way to the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Per AppleInsider, a Retina display-toting 13-inch MacBook Pro is expected to join the recently-released 15-inch model sometime this September and may be accompanied by an iMac refresh, writes analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note shared with investors.

Rounding out the KGI analyst’s forecast for the second half of 2012, Kuo expects Apple to bring a Retina display-resolution display to its 13-inch MacBook Pro line in September though demand may outweigh supply as components for the high-pixel density display are limited.

The reports is in line with two previous findings, both from online computer benchmarking sites that pointed to an unknown MacBook Pro fitting the description of a 13-inch Retina display model.

Kuo believes the device will be an attractive option to consumers looking to purchase the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro or MacBook Air due to the Retina display’s high-quality image reproduction. The analyst also claims customers will be drawn to the balance of power consumption and form factor as well as the unit’s price which should be somewhat similar to Apple’s non-Retina MacBook Pro.

While the laptop is expected to do well at launch, Kuo thinks sales growth won’t be meaningful as many consumers will gravitate toward iOS devices, especially so if Apple debuts a smaller, more affordable iPad in September. He goes on to say supply of the smaller high-resolution MacBook Pro will likely be constrained due to panel and assembly yield rates, a problem Apple is only now beginning to overcome with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

As for the iMac, Kuo believes a refreshed model could debut close to the end of September but qualifies the statement by saying indicators from the supply chain point to a later release. Shipments of Apple’s desktop products will dip in July due to inventory adjustments but are expected to dramatically rise in August as the new iMac starts shipping out from factories.

Regarding Apple’s overall financial outlook, Kuo sees zero growth across the line for Apple in the second quarter of 2012 on smartphone competition from Samsung, slow MacBook sales, a weakened global economy and the iPad’s late entry into China. Quarter three of the calendar year will likely pick up, however, as new product launches are expected to lead moderate growth ahead of the lucrative holiday shopping season.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple advises iOS developers on temporary fix for in-app purchase hack

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Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2012, 06:02
Category: iOS, News, Software


Apple on Friday issued a note to developers outlining a fix for an in-app purchasing exploit that allowed for the free download of for-pay content, and also announced that the loophole will be plugged when iOS 6 is released this fall.

Per CNET, in its support document for iOS app developers, Apple recommends that apps featuring in-app purchases follow a set of guidelines that includes confirming orders with the company’s new receipt system.

The receipt validation protocol, which Apple unveiled on Wednesday, attaches a “unique identifier” to in-app purchase receipts. This tactic effectively thwarts the recently-discovered workaround that validated dubious “purchases” by routing them to a specialized DNS server and spoofing digital receipts. Previous to the discovery, Apple sent generic receipts containing no unique user data.

“We recommend developers follow best practices at to help ensure they are not vulnerable to fraudulent In-App purchases,” said Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. “This will also be addressed with iOS 6.”

Friday’s document includes instructions on how to setup and use Apple’s new validation system as well as how to validate transactions that have already gone through.

From the document:
“A vulnerability has been discovered in iOS 5.1 and earlier related to validating in-app purchase receipts by connecting to the App Store server directly from an iOS device. An attacker can alter the DNS table to redirect these requests to a server controlled by the attacker. Using a certificate authority controlled by the attacker and installed on the device by the user, the attacker can issue a SSL certificate that fraudulently identifies the attacker’s server as an App Store server. When this fraudulent server is asked to validate an invalid receipt, it responds as if the receipt were valid.”

As part of the damage control measures, Apple allowed apps to access certain non-public APIs pertaining to verification and security services.

Along with the support document Apple sent out an email to developers noting the exploit will be patched in iOS 6 when the mobile operating system is released alongside an expected next-generation iPhone sometime this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.5

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Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2012, 06:32
Category: News, Software


On Saturday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.5. The new version, an 8.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– This version of Carbon Copy Cloner requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, OS X 10.7 Lion, or OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, and is fully qualified on each of those OSes. We will continue to provide user support and bug fixes for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard users on CCC 3.4.x for a while longer.

– Recovery HD support has been overhauled to better support the concept of “one Recovery HD partition per volume”, rather than one per disk. If you have multiple backup volumes with different OSes (e.g. Lion and Mountain Lion), CCC can associate a Recovery HD with each one and apply the appropriate OS to each Recovery HD partition.

– We have leveraged code signing within CCC for nearly five years. For GateKeeper compliance on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, however, CCC is now signed with an Apple Developer Certificate.

– Most of the binaries in the CCC bundle are now 32/64-bit Intel-only binaries.

– Fixed an issue that appeared in 10.7.4, specific to Macs running Lion with a 64-bit kernel, in which the /Volumes folder on the destination volume would be locked rather than hidden. This resulted in external volumes being unmountable when booted from the backup volume.

– Performance of deleting scheduled tasks is much improved.

– CCC previously encountered some performance problems when simultaneously saving very large numbers of scheduled tasks (e.g. > 29). These problems should now be resolved. This is most applicable when updating CCC, or when CCC has been moved and all tasks must be re-saved at the same time.

– Updated graphics for High Resolution support on the new MacBook Pro (Retina).

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5 retails for a US$39.95 shareware registration fee. The application requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later.

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

Adium updated to 1.5.2

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Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2012, 06:17
Category: News, Software


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 1.5.2.

The new version, a 23.7 megabyte download adds the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed an issue where the log indexer would never finish.

– Fixed a number of crashes that could occur after closing the Transcript Viewer. (#15984, #15823)

– Fixed crash at startup. (#15787)

– Fixed crash upon cancelling the “Confirm quit” window. (#15900)

– Fixed crash when closing the Novell Groupwise account options. (#16041)

– Fixed a problem on retina Macbook Pros causing Adium to send too large user icons to the server, causing disconnects. (#16063)

– Updated the Ukrainian localisation. (#16062)

Adium 1.5.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later and an Intel-based Mac to run.

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

Apple hires chip former AMD engineer John Bruno, looks to be expanding mobile devices

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Date: Friday, July 20th, 2012, 05:29
Category: Hardware, News


Give the man a chance and he’ll probably invent something truly cool.

Per SemiAccurate, former AMD chip architect John Bruno, known for his contribution to the chip maker’s Trinity Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), now lists himself as a “System Architect at Apple” via his LinkedIn profile.

While Bruno’s new position has not been officially announced, the profile change is thought to reflect Apple’s ongoing efforts to design high-performance, energy-sipping mobile processors for use in its iDevice line of products.

Bruno’s management of AMD’s second-generation APU project, dubbed Trinity, is well known and it is speculated that he may take a similar role at Apple. As a side note, Apple was rumored to be using the original AMD Fusion APU in its Apple TV in 2010, but the final product ended leveraged the proprietary ARM-based A4 processor.

Originally an employee of ATI, Bruno joined AMD in 2006 when the company acquired the graphics card manufacturer in 2006. He was ultimately axed amid wide-ranging job cuts last year that saw the departure of other high-level SoC engineers. Since being let go, Bruno has been “off the radar” and wasn’t reported to be attached to any major tech companies until Wednesday’s report.

Apple has long been rumored to be looking into moving its entire portable product line, including laptops, to the ARM platform but Apple leadership remains mum on the prospect. The tech giant was reported to be testing an ARM-based MacBook Air model in 2011, though the machine has yet to materialize. Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned in February that the need for ARM-based thin-and-lights was not part of the company’s “post-PC” strategy and said the niche would soon be filled by the iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple launches third-generation iPad in China

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Date: Friday, July 20th, 2012, 05:00
Category: iPad, News

Mental note: Head to China and pick up a third-generation iPad.

Per Reuters, Apple launched its Retina display-sporting iPad in China on Friday to orderly lines, a scene contrasting the company’s most recent product launches in the country which were marred with unruly crowds and scalpers.

A pre-sale reservation system instituted by Chinese Apple Stores appeared to be effective as the third-generation iPad launch went off without a hitch, perhaps uncharacteristically so for such a substantial release.

The scene came as a surprise to Apple customers, as many have become used to long lines and overnight waits to purchase the new products. Scalpers were also an issue as demand sometimes drastically outweighed supply. Apple in January was forced to halt sales of the popular iPhone 4S on launch day as a large group of customers became unruly upon hearing that the handset was sold out.

“I’m very surprised that there is no line,” said Sun Xufei, an IT worker who was first in line at the Shanghai Lujiazui Apple Store. “I thought there was going be a long line so I came over a bit earlier to pick it up.” The line Xufei was standing in was reportedly only about 20 people deep.

Apple adopted a pre-order system in which customers are prompted to reserve an iPad through the Apple online store between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. after which they are assigned a time to pick up their device the next day. This allows the company to somewhat control the flow of foot traffic in and around the six official brick-and-mortar Apple Stores on the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong also has one Apple Store to serve the region’s over seven million residents which accompanies a network of authorized resellers dotted throughout the country.

The Wi-Fi-only third generation iPad first gained Chinese regulatory approval in March and was followed by the 3G wireless version in May.

If you’re over in China and just snagged a third-gen iPad, please let us know how your line experience went over in the comments.

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.3

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2012, 11:07
Category: News, Software


Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.3. The new version, a 10 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and improvements:

– Added support for the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.7.5.

– Fixed a bug that could prevent SpamSieve from auto-launching on the forthcoming OS X 10.8.

– SpamSieve is now able to recover from certain unexpected system errors on OS X 10.8.

– Fixed a layout bug in the German-localized Statistics window.

– Improved the Automatically Deleting Old Spam Messages instructions.

– SpamSieve now tells the system that it can use the integrated GPU, which should reduce battery use on newer MacBook Pros.

– SpamSieve’s disk image background is now displayed at Retina quality on eligible Macs running Mac OS X 10.7 or 10.8. (On Mac OS X 10.6, due to an OS bug, it will incorrectly display at double size.)

– Fixed a regression where SpamSieve’s disk image icon didn’t display properly.

SpamSieve retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

VLC updated to 2.0.3

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2012, 07:39
Category: News, Software


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 2.0.3. The new version, a 25.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– This release mostly targets the Mac OS X platform and adds support for OS X Mountain Lion. It also fixes the Qt interface’s appearance on Windows 8 and includes improvements for the flv and ape demuxers as well as the http access module. Additionally, it includes updates for 18 translations and adds support for Uzbek and Marathi.

VLC 2.0.3 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 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.

Microsoft: No plans for Mac version of Office 2013

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2012, 06:20
Category: News, Software

Sometimes it’s just natural to want to take the ball and run off with it.

Per Cult of Mac, when Microsoft recently announced an Office for Mac 2011 update was in the works it also confirmed that OS X users would not be able to take advantage of the newer Office 2013 as the software suite is reserved for Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines only.

Microsoft failed to mention whether a Mac version of Office 2013 was in the works when the productivity software reached Customer Preview phase on Monday, though during Wednesday’s Office for Mac 2011 update announcement the company stated that it had no such plans.

“We haven’t announced the next release of Office for Mac,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

According to the publication, Office 2013 will feature support for a new server-based version of Office which is said to be highly integrated with its SkyDrive cloud system. Microsoft released the Service Pack 2 update to Office for Mac 2011 in April to fix bugs affecting Outlook.

While Mac owners won’t be able to enjoy the newly-implemented cloud capabilites of Office 2013, the Office for Mac 2011 update will bring access to Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Office 365 where users are able to save documents off-site.

The Office for Mac 2011 update is expected to ship early next year alongside the Windows-only Office 2013.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.