Apple releases Aperture 3.3.1 update

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Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 13:48
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released version 3.3.1 of Aperture, its pro-grade image editing application. The new version, which is available as a direct download or via Mac OS X’s Software update feature, is a 529 megabyte download and offers the following fixes and changes:

– Fixes an issue that in rare cases could cause Aperture to hang or quit unexpectedly when upgrading libraries.

Aperture 3.3.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.4 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.

Axiotron announces Modbook Pro products, points towards early fall launch

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Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 09:35
Category: Hardware, Modbook, News

It’s been a while since we covered this.

Per MacRumors, Axiotron, creators of the famed Modbook tablet, has announced a new generation of Modbook Pro products.

Built from a unique enclosure conversion kit, the Modbook Pro incorporates and completely encases the original hardware of a new Apple MacBook Pro 13.3-inch base system. Its Wacom digitizer delivers 512 levels of pen pressure sensitivity — more than any other tablet computer on the market. And its ForceGlass screen provides an etched, paper-emulating drawing surface.



The Modbook Pro components connect to the original MacBook Pro through one of its two USB 3.0 ports, with the entire assembly being enclosed in a new casing for an integrated OS X-based tablet solution that also supports Windows 7.

The Modbook Pro is scheduled to launch in “early fall 2012”, with pricing and retail partners yet to be announced.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Facebook revamping iOS app for July, aiming for significant speed/performance boosts

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Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 06:26
Category: News, Rumor, Software

You might not be proud to admit how much you use it, but it could prove useful.

Per the New York Times, Facebook is working on a new application for iOS that has been completely rebuilt to address its current, “painfully slow” performance.

Two unnamed engineers working on the project shared the details of the updated application with Nick Bilton of The New York Times. He reported on Wednesday that the rebuilt application will focus on speed and performance.

“One of the Facebook engineers said the new application has been built primarily using Objective-C, the programming language used to build applications for iOS,” Bilton wrote. “Many of the components of the current version of the Facebook app are built using HTML5, a Web-based programming language.”

Bilton tested the unreleased iPhone application and said it delivers “blazing fast” performance. He said the application is being tested by developers and should be released this summer, indicating that it is expected to launch “next month.”

Though it will be rewritten, the application “looks exactly like the old one,” he said. All of the changes have been made behind the scenes to improve performance.

The Facebook application has been available on iPhone for years, but the social networking site released its official iPad application last fall. The iOS software is universal, meaning it has built-in support for both the iPhone and the iPad.

Facebook will also play a major role in the release of iOS 6 this fall. With iOS 6, Apple will add system-wide Facebook integration, allowing users to log in to their account in the iOS Settings application in order to quickly post to their Facebook account and share music, applications and photos with their friends.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple looking into technologies to help improve iOS device typing speed/autocorrect

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Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 06:47
Category: News, Patents, Software

applelogo_silver

This could be useful.

Per AppleInsider, a trio of patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered on Thursday show that Apple is looking into automatic typing and spelling correction, while a third application could indirectly relate to the feature.

Timing and Geometry:
Application No. 12/976834, titled “Combining timing and geometry information for typing correction,” describes a process for using keystroke geometry and timing to better detect a user’s intended input.

In one embodiment of the invention, a string of typed characters is timestamped and can be analyzed by a process for use in either autocorrection or autocompletion. The invention also suggests that “baseline typing speed data” could be gathered in order to determine whether double strikes, transpositions or other errors have occurred.

“For example, if the string “theere” is entered and the time between the keystrokes “ee” is less than an associated baseline by more than a threshold amount, the replacement candidate “there” may be assigned a higher score,” the application read.

Apple’s invention could start with a pre-determined typing speed that would be monitored and adjusted in case users type slower or faster than a “typical” user.

The system would also take into account the location of letters on the keyboard and the geometry of the typed words in order to catch mistakes.

“For example, a word that is similar to the typed text except for one or more errors associated potentially with keyboard geometry, such as differing by a letter where the correct letter is located adjacent to the typed incorrect letter on the keyboard, may be suggested,” Apple wrote.

Douglas Davidson and Karan Misra are named as the inventors of the patent, which Apple filed for in late 2010.

Parts of Speech:
A second autocorrect-related patent application (No. 12/976849) is entitled “Using parts-of-speech tagging and named entity recognition for spelling correction.” The proposed process involves understanding the context surrounding typed words in order to tag their parts of speech and identify named entities, such as differentiating between the company “Apple” and reference to the fruit.

The technical details for Apple’s invention are relatively advanced, as they involve a “statistical language model.” That process would involve parsing words, phrases and sentences and would make use of clues like capitalization, suffixes and prefixes and other “contextual features.”

Apple filed for the patent in December 2010. Brent Ramerth, Douglas Davidson and Jennifer Moore are listed as its inventors.

Contextual Lookup:
Apple’s application for “Using statistical language models for contextual lookup” (No. 12/976864), closely resembles the aforementioned parts-of-speech tagging application, but it describes a system for applying language processing to search queries.

According to the invention, a process for analyzing parts of speech could help make searching documents or the Internet more efficient. In its filing, Apple provided examples of phrases and words that could be interpreted different ways and would benefit from a process for forming specific and targeted searches.

Autocorrect Lawsuit:
Apple has put some of its autocorrect-related patents to work in its legal complaint against rival handset maker Samsung. In February, the compiled asserted a patent for a “Method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations” against the South Korean company.

Autocorrect on the iPhone has also entered popular culture by giving rise to several Websites documenting humorous or embarrassing instances of the feature, such as Damn You Auto Correct! and Autocorrect Fail.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple updates Retina Display MacBook Pro FAQ, explains display settings and resolution differences in article

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Date: Wednesday, June 27th, 2012, 06:17
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

The Retina Display on your new MacBook Pro is nifty.

Now it’s time to learn the ins and outs of it.

Per AppleInsider, a Frequently Asked Questions page on Apple’s support website offers detailed information about settings for the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display in an attempt to clear up confusion about the new screen’s capabilities in low-resolution mode and Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

The page explains the difference between scaled resolutions and the Retina setting on the new notebook.

Apple also noted in the article that all of its applications included with OS X Lion support the Retina Display.

“Additionally, iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, Aperture, Final Cut Pro X, and Motion all support the Retina display,” the page read.

Users experiencing “functional or visual issues” with applications are instructed to go into Finder to switch the application into Low Resolution mode.

“Some applications work best using the Low Resolution mode. Other applications will only run in Low Resolution mode,” said the FAQ.

For applications, such as 3D games, that want to use their own resolution settings, Apple recommends the 1440 x 900 resolution. Blizzard’s “Diablo III” game is one of the few titles that supports full 2880 x 1800 resolution on the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, though the studio is working on further optimizations that should improve the performance.

Apple provided a detailed response on options for using an external display with its high-end laptop. It also offered a hint that users can hold down the Option key when clicking the Scaled button to get more resolution choices in extended desktop mode.

Windows users will be relieved to know that installing Windows 7 via Boot Camp is supported on the Retina Display. The article did, however, note that Windows on the new MacBook Pro will automatically start up with small icons because it defaults to the maximum dpi supported (144 dpi, or 150 percent magnification). Users can adjust their settings in the Windows Display Control Panel.

As the first of Apple’s Mac models to sport a Retina Display screen, the MacBook Pro is leading the transition to high-dpi resolutions on OS X. The laptop has received largely positive reviews, with special praise reserved for the screen.

The new screens are not without problem, though. Scattered reports have emerged that users are experiencing image retention issues on some MacBook Pro models. Apple Genius technicians have reportedly been instructed to replace the screens, but crushing demand has left some owners waiting for up to three weeks.

If recent reports are to be believed, Apple could add another Retina Display-equipped Mac this fall in the form of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Though some rumors have suggested that Apple would also upgrade its iMac all-in-one desktop to a Retina Display, multiple sources recently told one blogger that it would not happen until 2013.

If you’ve snagged a MacBook Pro with a Retina Display and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Orbitz testing program in which higher-priced hotels are suggested to Mac OS X users

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Date: Wednesday, June 27th, 2012, 06:53
Category: News, Software

Well, this is awkward.

Per the Wall Street Journal, travel booking website Orbitz has revealed that it shows Mac users more-expensive hotel options than it does to PC users because those using Apple’s desktop operating system tend to spend more.

Executives for the online travel agency told the newspaper that their company is testing a system that displays different deals depending on the user’s operating system. Orbitz did clarify, though, that it is not offering the same room at different prices and users can always sort options by price.

“Orbitz found Mac users on average spend US$20 to US$30 more a night on hotels than their PC counterparts,” the publication noted Wai Gen Yee, Orbitz’s chief scientist, as saying.

Compared to PC users, Mac users are “40% more likely to book a four- or five-star hotel” and generally prefer higher-priced rooms when they book the same hotel as their PC counterparts, according to the report.

Chief Technology Officer Roger Lieu said the company had an “intuition” about the discrepancy and used data to confirm it last October. Demographics could provide an explanation for the difference in spending habits. For instance, market research firm Forrester has found the average household income for adult Mac owners to be US$24,000 higher than PC owners.

Tests conducted by the Journal did show differences in which hotel options were suggested to Macs and PCs, but results were the same in some cities, such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Philadelphia and Boston. Listings for a Miami Beach search performed on a Mac, however, did contain boutique hotels that didn’t appear on the first page of results on a PC. Orbitz says it has yet to implement the system across the whole site, and operating system is not the only factor that could result in different results.

Meanwhile, spokesmen for competing sites Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity said they don’t have a similar feature that differentiates between users’ operating systems.

Orbitz’s initiative comes as it battles its way toward profitability. The Journal pointed out that the company lost US$37 million last year and its stock has dropped 74 percent since its initial public offering in 2007.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.14

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Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 13:03
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.13, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, an 8.2 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:

– Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D / Kiss X6i

– Sony Alpha SLT-A37

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.

Some users complain of “ghost image” on Retina Display MacBook Pro units

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Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 09:40
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

You have an awesome new Retina Display MacBook Pro.

And it’s demonically possessed.

Ok, it might not be that bad. Per The Next Web and Mac|Life, early adopters of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display have been complaining of image “ghosting” issues with the notebook’s display at Apple’s discussion boards. Users are referring to the issue as a screen “burn-in” and the forum threads contain a slew of comments echoing the problem. The issue appears after leaving a bright static image up for awhile and then immediately switching to a dark grey image, with the previous image reporting leaving its trace behind for up to five minutes.

Some news outlets have reported that the issue is common with IPS displays, but DisplayMate, publishers of powerful display calibration software, report that this issue is usually caused by an electrostatic build up, a chemical impurity build up, a thermal imbalance, or an electronic levels issue within the display panel. What’s more curious is that new iPad doesn’t have any ghosting issues, even though it has a higher pixels-per-inch IPS display than the MacBook Pro.

Unfortunately, no one has been able to yet pinpoint what is causing the ghosting issues. Apple is apparently aware of the issue and has instructed its Geniuses to order replacement units for users complaining of malfunctioning screens.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve seen the issue on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Upcoming OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) to feature automatic security updates

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Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 06:26
Category: News, security, Software

If you don’t click “Software Update” that often, Apple will do it for you come Mountain Lion.

On Monday, Apple indicated that the company’s upcoming OS X Mountain Lion will feature an automatic security check feature that will ensure users have the most up-to-date software protection amid a growing number of Mac-targeted malware.

As reported by AppleInsider, an update to the Mountain Lion Developer Preview shows a new automated system that runs a daily check with Apple’s servers to make sure OS X 10.8 users have the most current security patches and protections against known malware and viruses.

Called “OS X Security Update Test 1.0,” the automated feature will run either daily or whenever a Mac restarts and has the ability to download and install updates in the background, making the task of manually performing checks less of a necessity.

The new feature also creates a “more secure connection” to Apple’s servers possibly hinting to new encryption technology or more stringent default settings. Also included are the usual stability and general updates for the operating system set for launch in July.

Apple is making security a priority in the next iteration of OS X to counter new threats that continue to crop up as Macs gain a larger user base. In April the highly-publicized Flashback trojan used a Java exploit to spread onto an estimated 600,000 Macs around the world prompting Apple to release both a Java disabler for Safari and a standalone malware uninstaller.

In a related action, Apple notedly toned down the language of its OS X web page, changing the statement that the Mac “doesn’t get PC viruses” to “It’s built to be safe.”

Coming exactly one week after OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4 was released, the new Security Update is available through the Mac App Store and comes in at 1.15 GB.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6 beta 2 to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 06:38
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, News, Software

It’s not the most amazing update in the world, but it moves things a bit closer to iOS 6’s release date.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday issued its second beta of iOS 6 for developer testing, including a pair of fixes related to touchscreen keyboard performance.

Developers began receiving word that an update was available from “AppleInternal” on Monday afternoon. The “operating system 6.0” update is a 322-megabyte download for iPhone 4S users.

People familiar with iOS 6 beta 2 said it is identified as build “10A5338d.” When updating to the new software version in the Settings application, the icon with gears is animated and actually moves.

The release notes that accompany the update reportedly indicate that Apple fixed an issue where key clicking sounds could be skipped during fast typing. Apple also indicated it addressed an issue in which the keyboard would be wrongly positioned when switching from landscape to portrait orientation.

Apple also reportedly fixed an issue where the iOS SpringBoard may crash during a phone call if the screen would fade to black when using a speakerphone or headphones. It also addressed a crash that would occur if a new iCloud account was created during initial setup of the iOS device.

The latest iOS 6 beta also adds the podcasts section back into the iTunes application. That was missing from the first beta, and there have been rumors that Apple plans to introduce a standalone podcast application when iOS 6 officially launches this fall.

iOS 6 beta 2 is compatible with the third-generation iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and fourth-generation iPod touch.

Also released on Monday were Xcode 4.5 Developer Preview 2, as well as a second beta of the next software update for the Apple TV set-top box.

iOS 6 was formally announced earlier this month at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Developers were also provided with the first beta after its unveiling, allowing them to test their applications before the formal public launch this fall.

If you’ve gotten a chance to tinker with the new beta, please let us know what you think in the comments.