Apple responds to carriers’ demands, drops embedded SIM technology from iPhones

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Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 06:44
Category: iPhone, News

This sort of proves that neither side can really have their cake and eat it to.

According to The Telegraph, assorted carriers threatened to stop offering subsidies for the iPhone, reportedly pushing Apple to abandon its plans to create an embedded SIM card that would allow users to choose and switch carriers more easily.

Per one source, Apple was “sent back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs.”

While Apple has reportedly abandoned its plans for embedded SIM cards in the iPhone, it will allegedly push ahead with that technology for the iPad. The publication claimed that Apple could offer a new iPad with an integrated SIM card before Christmas, or early next year.

However, the report also incorrectly stated that a “new version” of the iPad will be released within a few weeks, and will turn the orientation lock switch on the right side of the device into a mute switch. This change will not be done with a “new” device, but rather the forthcoming iOS 4.2 software update for existing first-generation iPads.

In October, it was reported that Apple was developing an open SIM card that would allow users to shop for mobile carriers directly from the Apple Store. The integrated card would allegedly allow iPhone buyers to activate their service without having to call or visit a mobile carrier.

In addition to allowing users to select a carrier right from their phone, a programmable integrated SIM would also enable users to travel the globe and initiate service without having to obtain a unique SIM card for each carrier in a different country.

Last week reports surfaced that European carriers were threatening Apple that they would cut subsidies if a new iPhone with an embedded SIM card were released. Carriers accused Apple of trying to gain control of customers, essentially marginalizing the role carriers play with iPhone users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to launch iPad to several European countries in near-term, iOS 4.2 beta error messages hint at free MobileMe accounts

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Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 06:18
Category: iPad, News, Software

This is going to be an interesting week as Apple plans to release the iPad in several northern European countries soon while a slew of error messages in the most recent iOS 4.2 golden master suggest the possibility of free MobileMe accounts for iOS users.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple is set to continue the global rollout of its highly successful tablet device in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Alongside the launch, several Nordic telecom operators will soon offer 3G data packages for the iPad, the Journal reports. European carriers Tre, TeliaSonera AB and Tele2 AB all announced Friday that they will provide data subscriptions for iPad users, though they declined to give details on when exactly the plans will launch and prices for the subscriptions.

TeliaSonera did confirm, however, that it will not sell the iPad. “As things look right now, we will only offer subscription packages for the iPad,” said Bengt Olsson, TeliaSonera’s head of communications. “The iPad launch is imminent and we plan to release our subscription offer in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Demark simultaneously,” he said.

Early demand for the iPad after its initial U.S. release in April surprised Apple, forcing the company to delay the international launch of the tablet until May.

During Apple’s second fiscal quarter 2010 conference call, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that sales “far exceeded” Apple’s expectations. “It has shocked us, the level of demand, at least initially,” Cook said.

Earlier in November, Apple released a golden master of iOS 4.2. Within the beta, it was discovered that the MobileMe settings now asked for Apple ID account info, rather than MobileMe account info. Apple has since released two more golden masters of iOS 4.2, including one build labeled iOS 4.2.1.

On Friday, MacRumors uncovered in the latest iOS 4.2 betas a “new private framework” with error messages referencing free MobileMe accounts. The errors include: “The maximum number of free accounts have been activated on this iPhone” and “This iPad is not qualified for free MobileMe service.” Though Apple currently offers a 60-day free trial of its US$99 a year MobileMe service, it remains unclear how an iOS device would “qualify” for the rumored free service.

Analysts have speculated that MobileMe will play a pivotal role in Apple’s continued expansion into cloud-based services, pointing to the company’s US$1 billion data center in Maiden, N. C. as potential evidence. MobileMe currently offers calendar, email and contact syncing, as well as file sharing and a “Find My iPhone” remote tracking feature.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple releases firmware updates for mid-2010 MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Friday, November 19th, 2010, 04:39
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released two EFI firmware updates for its mid-2010 MacBook Pro notebook line. The MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.0, available for the 13″ MacBooks and MacBook Pros released earlier this year, resolve an issue that had caused purple discoloration when some systems were connected to an external display.

The EFI firmware downloads are available directly from Apple’s support site or via Software Update and are also available as a 1.98 megabyte download.

If you’ve tried the new updates, please let us know how they went and if anything caught fire.

Apple releases Boot Camp 3.2 update

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Date: Friday, November 19th, 2010, 03:28
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its Boot Camp 3.2 update (a 280 megabyte download for the 32-bit version of Windows and a 121 megabyte download for the 64-bit version of Windows), a package that added the following changes and fixes for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 under Boot Camp:

- Adds support for the ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card.

- Adds support for the Apple USB Ethernet Adapter.

- Adds support for the MacBook Air SuperDrive.

- Addresses critical bug fixes.

This update is highly recommended for all Boot Camp 3.1 users and can be located and snagged on the Windows side via the Apple Software Update application.

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

Apple releases iOS 4.2.1 golden master to developer community

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Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 15:10
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Um, good things are worth waiting a fairly long time for?

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday issued yet another iOS golden master to developers, this time dubbed iOS 4.2.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Sources familiar with the latest software update said it is known as Build 8C148. Software that has reached the golden master status is typically final code that will be released to the public.

However, two golden masters of iOS 4.2 were issued to developers: the first one for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch on November 1st, and a second specifically for the iPad less than two weeks later.

Previous reports indicated that the release of iOS 4.2 was held up by issues with Wi-Fi connectivity in the first golden master. The release of numerous golden masters to developers would suggest that an issue with the software was spotted before it could be released to the public.

Some users who connected their iPhone or iPad to iTunes on Thursday were given error messages that the software update server could not be contacted. That led to some anticipation that iOS 4.2 might finally be released, though it never came to be.

The update will mark the debut of iOS 4 on the iPad and is expected bring features like folders and multitasking.

Apple releases Safari 4.1.3, 5.0.3 updates

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Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 15:04
Category: News, Software

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Apple on Thursday released versions 4.1.3 and 5.0.3, respectively, for Windows, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard operating systems.

Safari 5.0.3 is available direct from Apple for Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later and Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Tiger users must be running Mac oS X 10.4.11 for Safari 4.1.2.

For both Mac and Windows users, the update fixes an issue that could prevent users from submitting web forms. It also establishes an encrypted, authenticated connection to the Safari Extensions Gallery.

The latest version of Safari 5 for Mac also fixes an issue that could cause Web content to display incorrectly when viewing a Google Image result with Flash 10.1 installed.

Other fixes and changes include the following:
- More accurate Top Hit results in the Address Field

- More accurate results in Top Sites

- More reliable pop-up blocking

- Improved stability when typing into search and text input fields on www.netflix.com and www.facebook.com

- Improved stability when using JavaScript-intensive extensions

- Improved stability when using VoiceOver with Safari

The updates, as usual, can be snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update utility. If you’ve tried the new versions and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Google Docs editing en route to iOS, Hulu Plus now available for $7.99/month

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Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 05:48
Category: News, Software

Tech giant Google on Wednesday introduced a new mobile editor for its Google Docs productivity service, while Hulu Plus officially launched with a monthly rate of US$7.99, US$2 less than it charged during its “preview” phase.

Per AppleInsider, users of Google Docs will be able to access the service on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch by visiting docs.google.com in the Mobile Safari Web browser. This will support all iOS devices running version 3.0 or later and be active within the next couple of days.

The service will initially be available to English-language users around the world, though support for other languages is expected to be added “soon.” Users can also edit spreadsheets from their mobile browser with the service.

Changes to documents appear in real time, so that shared documents will show updates for other users on other devices and browsers.

In other news, the Hulu Plus service was officially launched Wednesday with a new monthly price of US$7.99. Subscribers who enrolled in Hulu Plus during its trial period at US$9.99 per month will be given a credit for the difference that will be applied to their next billing cycle.

The company also announced that over the next week it will issue updates for its iPad, iPhone and iPod touch applications, which allow Hulu Plus subscribers to stream content to their Apple devices. The streaming service is also offering one free week trial for all new subscribers.

Hulu Plus launched in late June with a US$9.99-per-month subscription price. It works on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with Hulu’s iOS application, and allows users to watch shows over both Wi-Fi and 3G.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe looking to settle battery life argument, currently testing MacBook Air-specific version of Flash

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Date: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, 20:27
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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Following a brief period of controversy regarding Flash and its relationship with specific hardware, Adobe’s chief executive revealed this week that his company is currently testing an optimized version of Flash built specifically for Apple’s newly released MacBook Air.

Per Engadget, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said that Adobe is looking to improve battery life on the MacBook Air with a new custom build of Adobe Flash, currently in beta testing in the company’s labs. According to Engadget, he noted that battery life performance depends on hardware acceleration.

“When we have access to hardware acceleration, we’ve proven that Flash has equal or better performance on every platform,” he said.

His comments come after testing of the new MacBook Air found that ditching Flash improved battery life by two hours. The new notebook gets six hours of uptime loading pages in the Safari browser, but that dips to four hours once Adobe Flash is installed.

Apple caused a stir in October, when it released its newly redesigned MacBook Air models, but shipped them without the Flash plugin preinstalled. Apple portrayed the change as an advantage to consumers, as leaving the user to install Flash ensures they have the latest version.

Apple and Adobe have been at odds in 2010, in a feud that gained considerable steam after Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs published an open letter criticizing Flash as old technology that is unfit for the modern era of mobile computers. Apple does not allow Flash onto its iOS-powered devices, including the iPhone and iPad.

Jobs also revealed that Flash is the number one reason for crashes on the Mac platform. For its part, Adobe fired back and said that any crashes of Flash in Mac OS X are not related to its software, but are instead the fault of Apple’s operating system.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple finally accepts official Google Voice app for App Store

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Date: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, 05:57
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple finally accepted the official Google Voice application into the App Store on Tuesday, bringing to the iPhone an application that was previously rejected and resulted in an inquiry from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Per the Google Voice Blog, the Google Voice App is a free download available in the App Store, and works for any users of the Google Voice telephony service. Features of the application advertised by Google include:

- Cheap rates for international calls

- Free text messaging to U.S. numbers

- Voicemail transcription

- Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls

The software also offers a number of features that can only be accomplished with a native iPhone application. Previously, Google had offered a mobile Voice service through a website.

The native app will alert users when they receive a new voicemail or text message with push notifications. In addition, most calls will be placed via Direct Access Numbers, making them connect just as quickly as regular phone calls.

Google Voice for iPhone requires iOS 3.1 or later and a valid Google Voice account to use the App. It is currently available in the U.S. only.

Reports that Apple would change its stance on the Google Voice application first surfaced in September, after Apple revised and published its own App Store Review Guidelines. Applications that accessed the Google Voice service were pulled in 2009, after Google submitted its own official application.

Apple refused to accept the official Google Voice app into the App Store, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Apple told the FCC that it was reviewing the software, but contended it did not outright reject it.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Camino updated to 2.0.6

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Date: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, 04:02
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, the Camino Project released version 2.0.6 of Camino, its free, open source web browser.
The new version, a 15.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Upgraded to the latest 1.9.0 version of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, which includes several critical security and stability fixes.

- Flash and Silverlight plug-ins no longer continually log errors to the Console on Mac OS X 10.6 when Camino is hidden or a browser window is minimized.

- Camino can now save usernames and passwords for web page forms which manipulate the username or password via JavaScript during form submission.

- Creating, editing, and removing bookmarks now updates the Spotlight metadata more reliably.
Downloaded files that do not have a content-length header will no longer appear as canceled downloads after restarting Camino.

Camino requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

If you’ve tried the new version of Camino and have any kind of feedback about it, let us know.