Adobe Releases Acrobat, Acrobate Reader 9.3 Updates

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Date: Wednesday, January 13th, 2010, 05:00
Category: News

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Last Friday, Adobe released version 9.3 of Acrobat and Acrobat Reader, the company’s Portable Document Format reader and creation utility.

Adobe Systems has updated Acrobat and Reader to version 9.3. Both updates are available through the Adobe Updater application or for download through Adobe’s Web site.

The new versions address a number of customer workflow issues, security vulnerabilities, and offer additional stability.

Both Adobe Reader 9.3 and Adobe Acrobat 9.3 require Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run. Adobe Reader 9.3 is available for free while Adobe Acrobat 9.3 retails for US$299.

USB 3.0 Demoed at CES, Initial Peripherals en Route

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Date: Monday, January 11th, 2010, 06:50
Category: News

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Over at CES, Jeff Ravencroft, the president of the USB Implementers Forum discussed the arrival of USB 3.0 and gave a brief demonstration of transfer speeds on a Hewlett-Packard.

The demo proved one thing: USB 3.0 is much faster than the current USB 2.0 protocol, a nearby display showing the one minute four second time necessary to move a 2.1 GB file from a notebook to an external hard drive under USB 3.0 as opposed to two minutes and seven seconds under USB 2.0.

Per CNET, the USB 3.0 standard is more power efficient than USB 2.0 “This uses one-third of the power it would take on USB 2.0,” said Ravencraft, in an interview at CES. “And it’s backward compatible,” he said, meaning it can also handle peripherals that use older USB standards.

On the peripherals friend, hard drive maker Western Digital has announced a new WD My Book based on the USB 3.0 specification with an adapter card, which will make an existing desktop PC USB 3.0-compatible.

Also, cards that go into a laptop’s ExpressCard slot are available, Ravencraft said. This allows an existing laptop to be upgraded to 3.0.

No official word has been made available as to when USB 3.0 ports and peripherals will arrive on Apple’s products.

Greenpeace Cites Cleaner, Greener Apple in Recent Report, Still Points Out Company’s Flaws

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Date: Friday, January 8th, 2010, 07:27
Category: News

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The relationship between Apple and environmental group Greenpeace hasn’t exactly been the most charmed in recent years. Greenpeace’s actions have included creating a mock Apple website, had fig-leaf clad representatives visit the first Apple Store in continental Europe, and “greened” the flagship Apple Store in San Francisco. Radical representatives of the group had been ejected from MacExpo London in 2006 for being disruptive, and Greenpeace had assigned Apple low scores in a 2006 e-waste report.

Per Jim “The Beard” Dalrymple over at LoopInsight, Apple was recently ranked #1 in the top 18 consumer electronics company in terms of reduction or elimination of hazardous chemicals in the manufacture of its products. Making amends, Apple was squeaky-clean across its product line, including desktop and laptop computers, phones, and monitors:

However, Greenpeace is still criticizing Apple to a certain degree. Overall, Apple was in the middle of the pack of companies in terms of overall “greenness.” The organization cited Apple for reducing the number of web pages dedicated to information about its supply chain and future plans for toxic chemical phase-outs.

Apple Updates Knowledge Base Articles to Address iPhone, iDisk Issues

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Date: Friday, January 8th, 2010, 07:57
Category: News

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A recent set of Apple Knowledge Base updates include some useful tips for iPhone and iDisk users alike. The tips, per CNET, focus on users who are managing their SIM cards, connecting to data networks, and managing applications purchased from the App store. Apple also has a tip for iDisk users trying to share large numbers of files.

Without further ado, here we go:

Troubleshooting applications purchased from the App store:
iPhone applications may sometimes either not open, or you may have problems synchronizing them to your iPhone. In these cases there are several things you can try, including reauthorizing iTunes and reinstalling the iPhone application.

Removing SIM card prior to iPhone repair:
Apple has a SIM eject tool for the iPhone, but a standard paper-clip or similar device can also be used. This article covers how to eject the SIM.

iPhone: Troubleshooting Tesco connectivity issues:
UK users have the option of using a Tesco SIM card, and Apple’s suggestion is to review their support documentation for troubleshooting problems.

iPhone: Error message when trying to use a custom Access Point Name (APN):
This article covers an issue where long access point usernames and passwords may prevent the iPhone from connecting, resulting in a “PDP authentication failure” message.

iPod touch: Appears in iTunes but not in Finder or Windows Explorer:
This is standard behavior, because by default “Disk Mode” is not enabled for the iPod. If the iPod cannot be recognized in iTunes at all, see this Apple KB article: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2050

iPod shuffle (3rd generation): Enabling and updating VoiceOver:
This article shows you how to enable voiceover on the latest iPod shuffle, which needs to be done through iTunes. Apple also has provided updates to voiceover, and covers how to install them from here.

iDisk: Sharing more than 500 files with the iDisk web app does not work:
Apple’s iDisk web sharing does not support more than 500 items. If you have more than this you will need to reduce the number, otherwise the number of files you have available will be truncated. The article includes tips on how to better manage large numbers of files so they can be accessed.

It’s not the be all and end all, but it can be useful stuff when you need it.

Analyst Claims That Apple Tablet Will Feature Verizon 3G Support

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Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 07:16
Category: News

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Apple’s long-awaited tablet device will reportedly incorporate access to Verizon’s 3G network to connect to the Internet if a WiFi network is unavailable according to Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall in a recent ComputerWorld article. The analyst went on to state that the “tablet will have both WiFi and wireless connectivity and will be available at multiple wireless carriers, including Verizon.”

His assessment is based in part to unnamed sources familiar with the device.

Marshall then went on to concur with recent reports that content will be key for Apple, and the device will be an Ebook reader, a TV viewer, “and more.”

If Apple offers the device through multiple carriers for 3G data, it would be a departure from the strategy the company has heretofore employed for the iPhone, which is limited to one carrier in most markets around the globe. A partnership with Verizon would lend significant credence to reports that Apple and Verizon were in negotiations for an iPhone deal, with the tablet subbing out for the iPhone.

Until then, we’ve got 20 more days until the January 27th media event where the tablet will hopefully be introduced. And if you can’t wait that long, we’ll just pull the car over at the next rest stop so you can get yourself together.

Notebook Users Report Battery Errors Under Snow Leopard, Workarounds/Fixes Suggested

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Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 06:43
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

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Since installing it, I have to admit that I like Snow Leopard and it has yet to kick my pets or burn my apartment to the very ground.

These are good things.

Even so, per CNET, a large number of MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have noticed a problem with the computer frequently displaying a “Service Battery” warning in the battery system menu. This also seems to be coupled with relatively short battery life, either with the battery discharging rapidly or with the computer going to sleep but still reporting high percentage of charge left in the battery. As of the Mac OS 10.6.2 update, affected users are still experiencing the problem.

This problem appears to be an issue with Snow Leopard’s handling of the battery hardware, where the services that are supposed to detect battery problems are incorrectly reporting the battery status, and subsequently triggering the system to go into a precautionary sleep mode or claiming the battery is draining. This theory is backed up by the fact that affected people who have downgraded back to Leopard either by reinstalling, restoring from backup, or even booting off the 10.5 Leopard DVD have not had the problem occur on the same hardware.

A recent TUAW article suggests this behavior stems from Snow Leopard being fine-tuned to reveal existing battery problems that Leopard was not aware of. While this may be the case for some people, the sheer number of people reporting the problem indicates there may be errors in the software. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to discern those with pre-existing battery problems from those with healthy batteries.

In order to address the issue, the article offers the following tips to help sort things out via the mighty Apple Knowledge Base:

- Calibrating the battery

- Resetting the PRAM

- Resetting the SMC

Strangely, the battery issues have cleared for a few users who have just shut down and restarted their systems on a regular basis. While keeping the power supply plugged in to prevent any issued with the battery, they’ve turned off the machine and rebooted to see the battery being normally recognized. This suggests the problem may be with a setting more than a specific bug, that hopefully can be reset by a full restart. MacBook owners may tend to sleep their systems instead of restarting them, which will keep various settings from being refreshed.

Further supporting the claim of software issues in Snow Leopard is that some users have cleared the problem by booting into 64-bit mode. If you do not have any software that requires a 32-bit kernel and system extensions, try booting into 64-bit mode by restarting and holding down the “6″ and “4″ keys simultaneously. For some the problem has returned when booted back into 32-bit mode, but for others the switch to 64-bit mode has fixed it even when booted into 32-bit mode.

Another suggestion to address this problem is to remove the power management system preferences, which contains parameters that determine how the system will behave when running on either AC power, battery, or a UPS. This file is called “com.apple.PowerManagement.plist” and is located in the /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ folder, and can be removed without harming anything. This isn’t a fix, however, and those who have done this have found it only seems to temporarily remove the warning in the battery system menu, and does not address the underlying issue.

Lastly, the issue may lie with the upgrade process itself, where settings for Leopard are not working with Snow Leopard. The temporary successes with removal of the Power Management property list suggests this may be a possibility. As a result, try booting off a clean OS installation of Snow Leopard to test the hardware.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end of have found a fix or workaround of your own, please let us know.

Apple Releases Developer Builds of Mac OS X 10.6.3 Update

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Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 06:31
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple began shipping out a new build of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6.3 operating system. The new build, labeled “10D522″, weighs in at 665.7 megabyte and, according to AppleInsider, includes a total of 221 code corrections to 92 distinct system components.

Among those components receiving the most attention are AppKit, CoreMedia, Desktop Services, FileSync, Fonts, HIToolbox, iCal, Mail, MobileMe, and QuickTime Player X, those same people say.

Other focus areas automatic spell correction, and fixes for crashes while printing and using AppKit, the Dock, iCal, Mail, Photo Booth, Rosetta, Spotlight, Screen Sharing, and Software Updater.

In total, nearly 60 individual pieces of crash-prone code have reportedly been addressed as of build 10D522.

Apple also reportedly noted four known issues with Wednesday’s beta, including hangs in iTunes, and potential anomalies while updating applications, viewing Display preferences, and navigating the ColorSync Utility Filters tab.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T Cites 3G Network Upgrade Completion, Describes Future Upgrades En Route

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:04
Category: iPhone, News

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Even in the wake of rumors that Apple is in negotiations with wireless carrier Verizon, AT&T has reported the successful completion of a nationwide software upgrade program that will enable the company to deliver High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbit technology across its 3G cell sites.

Per AppleInsider, the upgrade is the first of several initiatives to be completed as part of AT&T’s overall network enhancement strategy.

Apple’s iPhone 3GS, which shipped last summer, is already equipped to take advantage of the faster tier of 3G service. At the same time, the company’s network is being criticized by customers for its spotty coverage limitations, particularly in specific areas.

AT&T has stated that the upgrade increases the company’s network efficiency and will help in “generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions” for its customers. Additional work now underway and continuing through the next two years will, the company said, “dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.”

The initial deployment of backhaul improvements is already underway in the Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami markets. “We anticipate that the majority of our mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of this year, with deployment continuing to expand in 2011,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future “4G” LTE deployments. “AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for widespread availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.”

Apple Media Event Moved to Jan. 27th, Could Feature iPhone OS 4.0 Release

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Date: Tuesday, January 5th, 2010, 06:10
Category: News

Apple’s long-awaited media event at the Yerba Buena Arts Center is still set to take place.

You’ll just have to wait an extra day.

Citing anonymous sources close to the story, Digital Daily has reported that Apple’s event will occur on Wednesday, January 27th as opposed to the 26th. During the event, Apple is expected to unveil a touchscreen tablet device.

Weeks ago, the Financial Times reported that Apple had rented the stage in San Francisco for “several days,” starting with Jan. 26. Apple often uses the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for special media events.

Last week, that report was bolstered by yet another claim that Apple would have a product unveiling in late January.

Some developers have reportedly been asked to prepare full-screen demos of their iPhone applications for an event in late January. Select developers were told to make their apps run at a resolution beyond the fixed 320×480 pixel size of the iPhone and iPod touch screen. It was said that applications that can support the new larger screen size will run “just fine” on the new hardware.

In other news, French Apple site Mac4Ever claimed yesterday that a new iPhone 4.0 beta SDK includes a “simulator” that aims to make it easy for developers to adapt to different screen resolutions. Some developers are allegedly already working with the beta SDK.

Tech site Engadget has also written that sources “very familiar with the situation” have been given information on a tablet device set to debut this month. The device will have a new screen size and resolution different from the one currently found on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Initial Intel Arrandale Processor Benchmarks Released, Chips En Route to MacBook Pro Near You

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Date: Monday, January 4th, 2010, 07:31
Category: News, Processors

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With Macworld Expo and CES only days away, Intel’s Arrandale dual-core processor line is also set to debut this month with some of the processors finding their way into Apple’s MacBook Pro notebooks.

Responding to this, the cool cats at PC Magazine have posted benchmark tests pitting Intel’s new 2.53GHz Intel Core i5-540M from ASUS against a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P9500, as well as a 2GHz Intel Core i7-920XM.

“We’ve seen incremental bumps in speeds (percentages in the teens) when Intel launches new processors for the same platform, but when you swap out an entire motherboard and everything that goes with it, the change can be quite significant,” they said. “Cinebench R10 is a multi-threaded benchmark test that took full advantage of the Core i5-540M’s HyperThreading technology, beating the T400s’s similarly clocked Core 2 Duo P9500 CPU by a 62% margin.”

The Arrandale mobile processors were released alongside their Clarksdale counterparts and the two chips share the same architecture, which features a 32nm Westmere core paired with a 45nm chipset. The new 32nm chips offer improved speed, better graphics performance and lower power consumption. They will also allow motherboards to become smaller.

An article over at Tom’s Hardware found that the new processors strike a good balance between speed found on desktop machines, with power consumption low enough to support a mobile device. These gains, in early tests, come without the inclusion of a discrete graphics card.

In a test of ripping CDs to the AAC format within iTunes, the new Arrandale mobile processor performed the task 10 seconds better than its Penryn predecessor, clocking in at 1:36 on the task.

The review found that the 35W Core i5-540M uses more power under load, but uses quite a bit less power than the Core 2 Duo P8700 processor during downtime. Average power consumption was said to be 32.9W for the Arrandale and 31.7W for Penryn.

The new processors are set to improve upon the previous line of Intel’s Core 2 Duo chips, which have been utilized in versions of Apple’s new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Apple uses the mobile variants of Intel’s desktop chips for those systems, meaning machines with chips based on the Arrandale architecture could arrive soon.

Unlike the Core 2 Duo CPUs, the Arrandale processors will have the major northbridge chipset memory controller components built in. Currently, Apple uses Nvidia chipsets with its Mac lineup. The architectural changes found in the Arrandale line, along with an ongoing lawsuit that has forced Nvidia to halt the development of future chipsets, would likely make it difficult for Apple to continue with Nvidia.

Apple last updated its MacBook Pro line in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Those systems included Core 2 Duo processors and Nvidia graphics, along with cheaper prices, better displays and built-in batteries. Intel intends to release 17 new CPUs in early 2010, which will be highlighted at this week’s CES event.