Hulu confirms, quickly retracts, vow of HTML5 support for iPad

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 14th, 2010, 04:25
Category: iPad, News

Video streaming web site Hulu both posted and quickly retracted a blog post yesterday, the edited form stating that the web site doesn’t see using HTML5 in its immediate future.

Per AppleInsider, Eugene Wei, vice president of product with Hulu, said that his company’s contractual requirements make the transition to HTML5 too difficult. The current player on the website, built with Adobe Flash, does a great deal more than stream video.

“We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs,” Wei wrote. “Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user.”

The statement would seem to finally put to rest lingering rumors that Hulu might convert to HTML5 for an iPad-friendly site. But it does not mean that iPad users will not be able to access Hulu.

The company is still expected to bring its service to the iPad eventually, through software in the App Store much like the ABC and Netflix streaming players. It is believed Hulu on the iPad will be a pay-only service that would require a monthly subscription.

But the existing, popular ABC application shows programs like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” for free, with ad support. And that free product has apparently caused concern for Hulu, which is rumored to introduce a US$9.95-per-month subscription plan later this month, on May 24th.

It is believed that Hulu will incentivize its subscription plan with Apple’s iPad, and also offer a “window” where content is available to subscribers, both on computers and the iPad, before it can be seen for free by the general public. Rumors have suggested Hulu’s business partners have pressured the service into subscription plans to “train” viewers that they should pay for online access to content.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Roxio Toast Titanium 10.0.6 update released

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 14th, 2010, 04:18
Category: News, Software

toastlogo.jpg

Late Thursday night, Roxio released version 10.0.7 of its Toast Titanium authoring software. The new version, available here, adds the following fixes and changes:

- iPad video export profile now available as device setting for video exports.

- TiVo recordings (US only) can now be exported at 640×480 resolution.

- Resolves issue where text entered may appear outside text field.

- Resolves issue where DVD-Video volume with in name may be handled incorrectly.

- Resolves issue which may cause application to crash.

Toast 10 Titanium requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and retails for US$99.99.

Apple awards CDMA iPhone contract to Pegatron

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 13th, 2010, 04:19
Category: iPhone, News

3gs.jpg

Apple has apparently awarded a contract for building a CDMA iPhone to Pegatron Technologies.

The news arrives from Taiwanese newspaper DigiTimes, which back in February announced that the company had won the contract for building the expected next generation UMTS iPhone 4. Previous iPhones have been built by Foxconn, which also builds Apple’s Mac mini, iPods and the iPad, and is the company’s main supplier.

Rumors surrounding the possibly of a CDMA iPhone model that Apple could sell through Verizon and Sprint have regularly surfaced throughout the iPhone’s entire history, and have recently blossomed as speculation about the end of AT&T’s exclusive contract in the U.S. has reached a fevered pitch.

Pegatron is a three year old Taiwanese company formed during a restructuring of Asustek, which resulted in a split between Asustek’s own Asus-branded products, its PC-related manufacturing performed under the Unihan name, and contract manufacturing under the Pegatron name.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Valve releases Steam gaming client for Mac OS X

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 13th, 2010, 04:13
Category: News, Software

You’ve been hankering for it and Valve finally came through.

The Steam gaming client, Valve’s Mac OS X port of the gateway to its online game store, allows users to purchase, download, and manage games for your computer. Per CNET, the program offers networking options for locating and joining online game servers, chatting, and providing in-game communication enhancements.

Valve offers access to over 1,000 games via Steam, and for OS X the debut will see Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Portal, and the whole Half-Life series available. Many of these games are run using Wine-like compatibility layer for OS X, which has been seen in applications like Codeweaver’s “Crossover” and “Crossover Games” packages.

The client is available as a 2.7 megabyte download and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Current Steam release titles for the Mac include Civilization IV (Colonization, Warlords, and Beyond the Sword editions), And Yet It Moves, Chuzzle Deluxe, Bejeweled 2, Bookworm Deluxe, Galcon Fusion, Bob Came in Pieces, World of Goo, Altitude, City of Heroes: Architect Edition, Machinarium, Torchlight, Braid, Brainpipe, Football Manager 2010, Zuma Deluxe, and Quantz, though Valve has stated that new Mac ports will

AT&T advances upgrade dates for some iPhone customers in anticipation of fourth-gen handset

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, 10:58
Category: iPhone, News

attlogo

AT&T wants to sell some iPhones.

And they’re taking steps to do so.

Per MobileCrunch, AT&T has begun modifying some customers’ upgrade dates, shortening them in some cases by months to allow customers to buy a new, subsidized, fourth-generation handset in June.

This week, a reader contacted MobileCrunch to say that his upgrade date was moved from Nov. 21st, 2010, to June 21st, 2010. The reader said they bought an iPhone 3GS in 2009 on the device’s launch day.

“As a valued AT&T customer, we can offer you a discounted iPhone upgrade at a higher price, along with a 2-year commitment and an US$18 upgrade fee,” the customer’s account profile reads. “Please proceed with the online upgrade process for pricing details. You may qualify for a full discount on a standard iPhone upgrade on 6/21/2010.”

The same changes have appeared for some other customers as well. AT&T has revealed in the past that generally speaking, the more a customer spends with AT&T, the quicker they become eligible for a price break on a new device. For example, iPhone customers who spend more than US$99-a-month per line are generally eligible for an upgrade between 12 and 18 months into their contract.

The revised dates will likely pave the way for AT&T to offer some customers reduced prices on Apple’s fourth-gen iPhone, expected to be announced in June. AT&T also took the same approach last year when the wireless carrier offered early iPhone 3G adopters the opportunity to purchase an iPhone 3GS as the same US$199 and US$299 price points as new customers.

In years past, Apple has introduced its annual iPhone upgrade at the Worldwide Developers Conference. This year, WWDC 2010 will be held June 7th through June 11th at San Francisco’s Moscone West. Tickets for the event sold out just eight days after Apple announced the dates.

Another rumor has suggested Apple could sell the next-generation iPhone as soon as it is announced on June 7th. That approach would be a change from years prior, when a new handset was announced a few weeks before its sale date. AT&T has also blacked out the month of June for its employees, preventing them from taking vacation days.

New fourth-gen iPhone prototype photos emerge, A4 processor seems likely

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, 04:48
Category: iPhone, News, Pictures

Right, this may be about the time Steve Jobs totally loses it and unleashes his new eye lasers.

Per Vietnamese web forum Taoviet, a series of photos, including a teardown of the hardware, has been published showing a newer and more refined fourth-generation iPhone prototype than the one obtained by Gizmodo last month. The pictures revealing the marking APL0398, which is also on the A4 processor found inside the iPad. The rest of the markings — 339S0084, K4X2G643GE, and YN6024Z3, are different, but the system-on-a-chip does include an Apple logo.

The new model also lacks the obvious screws visible in the Gizmodo photographs on either side of the Dock Connector, and is designated as being 16 GB rather than simply “XXGB.” The back panel is also shown to be highly reflective, with a large back facing camera and LED flash.

The new model also uses the same micro-SIM as iPad, and the card now inserts into the side of the phone rather than the top end.

A video demonstrates that the device was also turned on, but was not running the iPhone OS. Instead, the screen displayed a graphic of an explosion that read “Inferno.” At the bottom, text can be read that says “Start time: Run Bonfire!,” “Duration: 0,” and “Battery: 3 percent.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Recent support document points to forthcoming iPad Wi-Fi fix

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, 08:24
Category: iPad, News, Software

iPad users who’ve been tormented by Wi-Fi connectivity issues could see a forthcoming fix from Apple in the near future.

Per AppleInsider, a newly updated support document from Apple explicitly states that the iPad maker will issue a software update to address the issues. The document does not, however, provide a timeline for the planned fix.

“A very small number of iPad users have experienced issues with Wi-Fi connectivity,” the document reads. “This article outlines workarounds for these issues. Apple will also address remaining Wi-Fi connectivity issues with a future iPad software update.”

In the interim, Apple offers a number of potential fixes for the issue:

-Verify your Wi-Fi router firmware is up to date

- If your router’s security encryption is WEP, try WPA or WPA2, as WEP can cause intermittent disconnects with the iPad which requires retyping a password.

- Make sure the iPad screen brightness is not at the lowest level.

- Obtain a new IP address by going into Settings, Wi-Fi, accessing the settings of the current network, and choosing “Renew Lease.”

- Finally, if these steps do not work, users are recommended to try turning Wi-Fi off and back on.

If none of the above methods address connectivity issues, users are asked to contact Apple support.

Just days after the iPad launched, AppleInsider noted the Wi-Fi issues reported by numerous users. Problems have occurred with a variety of routers, including Apple’s own AirPort Extreme, and range from a weak signal to an inability to connect to a network.

Apple quickly set up a support document for users who have problems getting their iPad to rejoin known Wi-Fi networks after a restart or waking from sleep. The company said issues were known to occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable. Apple recommended creating separate Wi-Fi network names to identify each band, such as adding ‘G’ to the 802.11g network name, and ‘N’ to the 802.11n network. It also recommended using the same security type, such as WPA, for both bands.

The iPad’s Wi-Fi issues were pegged as a software problem by Princeton University last month. The school’s Office of Information Technology reported that a software glitch in the device causes it to use a network-assigned IP address after its lease has expired.

Princeton suggested that the problem comes from within iPhone OS 3.2, as the iPad will incorrectly continue using an IP address without renewing its lease, usually for hours. The issue is resolved when the iPad asks for a new DHCP lease, or the device disconnects from the network. The university found that more than half of all iPads on the campus demonstrated the malfunction.

The university offered the following temporary workaround until Apple issues a software update: reconfigure the iPad’s settings so that the screen never locks. This can be done by going to Settings, General, Auto-Lock and choosing “Never.” Users must also turn off Wi-Fi before they manually lock the screen. Other options were to turn the iPad completely off, rather than just locking it, or to simply leave the iPad on without locking the screen.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

gfxCardStatus utility allows dynamic switching between MacBook Pro graphics cards

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, 06:33
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

el17.jpg

Although Apple’s current MacBook Pro notebooks allow you to switch between graphics processing units in order to optimize performance and battery life, Apple doesn’t really provide an easy way to manage the different GPUs on the system, and if you like to tinker you may find the utility gfxCardStatus useful, both for newer and older machines.

Per CNET, Cody Krieger’s gfxCardStatus is a small shareware application that displays which graphics card is the active one. When the system’s computing demands change and the GPU is switched, the utility shows the switches in real-time, either by displaying an “n” (GeForce 330M) or a “i” (Intel HD) in the menu. If you have the Growl notification system installed, gfxCardStatus will inform you in real-time whenever the graphics processor is changed.

In addition to notifications and alerts, gfxCardStatus will list any processes that are using the current graphics processor, and allow you to manually switch the active GPUs on the system.

Despite this, the program does offer a unique advantage to users of the older MacBook Pro models, in that the GPU switching feature does allow for you to switch GPUs without logging out and closing down your applications. The screen will go blue and then black, but will then reappear and the secondary GPU will be used. This may be convenient for some users; however, it is still an experimental feature so try or use it with caution.

gfxCardStatus 1.6.1 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Court documents confirm Apple/AT&T exclusive five year deal, questions surface over contract renegotiations

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, 05:51
Category: iPhone, News

3gs.jpg

With additional chatter surrounding the idea of Apple extending the iPhone to Verizon this year, the exact specifics of Apple’s five-year exclusive contract with AT&T have never really been published. Fortunately, the cool cats at Engadget managed to uncover the following:

An ongoing California class-action lawsuit filed in 2007 claims that Apple and AT&T illegally exerted a monopoly over iPhone service by telling customers the iPhone’s required service contract was two years long when the Apple / AT&T exclusivity deal was actually for five years. Per the case, this required buyers to re-up with AT&T for three years if they wanted to keep using the iPhone. Within Apple’s response to these allegations, and in addition to arguing that no one was ever promised an unlocked iPhone after two years, the company’s lawyers repeatedly confirm the existence of the five-year agreement while noting it was publicly reported in USA Today.

Select quotes include the following:
“The duration of the exclusive Apple-[AT&T] agreement was not ‘secret’ either. The [plaintiff] quotes a May 21, 2007 USA Today article – published over a month before the iPhone’s release – stating, “AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years-an eternity in the go-go cellphone world.”

“[T]here was widespread disclosure of [AT&T's] five-year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years… Moreover, it is sheer speculation – and illogical – that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power…”

Since this case occurred in October of 2008 and has gone relatively off the record, the real question is whether or not the exclusivity deal is still on the books. Even given that the case is ongoing and many of its relevant bits have been under seal since 2009, contracts can be canceled, amended, and breached in many ways, especially given AT&T’s track record and the explosion of the iPhone market. In addition, the two companies obviously hit the negotiating table again to hammer out the iPad’s pricing plans, and there’s no way of knowing whether that deal involves the iPhone as well.

Apple developing its own alternative to Flash via Gianduia

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 10th, 2010, 07:57
Category: News, Software

applelogo_silver

When in doubt, roll your own.

As the multimedia wars continue between Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, Apple is using Gianduia, a client-side, standards based framework for Rich Internet Apps that it introduced World of WebObjects Developers Conference last summer, to create its own production quality apps.

Gianduia, named after an Italian hazelnut chocolate, is “essentially is browser-side Cocoa (including CoreData) + WebObjects, written in JavaScript by non-js-haters,” according to a tweet by developer Jonathan “Wolf” Rentzsch. “Jaw dropped.”

After watching the NDA demo Apple gave for the new framework at WOWODC last year, Rentzch also tweeted, “Blown away by Gianduia. Cappuccino, SproutCore and JavascriptMVC have serious competition. Serious.”

Per AppleInsider, SproutCore is the JavaScript framework Apple uses to build the web interface for its desktop-like MobileMe web apps. Cappuccino is another third party JavaScript framework that works as a Cocoa-like API for web apps; it was used to deliver 280Slides, a web app designed to provide most of the functionality of Apple’s Keynote desktop application. JavascriptMVC is also an independent open source project used to develop rich apps within JavaScript for web deployment.

Like Cappuccino, Gianduia takes a Cocoa-inspired name (Cocoa is itself a Java-inspired name) to describe its role as a way for Cocoa developers to bring their skills to rich online applications built using web standards, with no need for a proprietary web plugin like Flash or Silverlight.

While the emerging new support for Rich Internet App features in HTML5 is often pitted competitively against Flash, Gianduia, SproutCore and related frameworks demonstrate that sophisticated web apps are already possible using existing web standards and without web plugins.

Apple retails locations have been noticed using Gianduia to create web app clients (which plug into the company’s WebObjects-based services), for a variety of popular programs over the last several months, including its One-to-One program, iPhone reservation system, and its Concierge service for Genius Bar reservations and Personal Shopping (shown below) programs.

While it’s unknown as to what this will turn into, Apple may be able to work around Flash support for its iPhone OS devices in its own way.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.