China Unicom Announces Three Year iPhone Deal

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Date: Friday, August 28th, 2009, 03:18
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier China Unicom has announced that the company has signed a three year deal with Apple to launch the popular iPhone into the world’s largest mobile phone market. The phones are expected to go on sale in China later this year.

According to BBC News, China has more than 600 million mobile phone accounts and a deal to introduce the iPhone has been long-awaited. Apple said the two partners had agreed a “multi-year deal” and expected the launch to be in the fourth quarter of 2009, but gave no financial details.

“We believe China Unicom’s high-speed mobile broadband network, coupled with [the iPhone] will create new communication and different experiences for customers in China,” said Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobin.

Apple Strips Palm OS HotSync Conduit from Upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Release

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 02:17
Category: News, Software

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Apple has discontinued support for legacy Palm OS devices in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s iSync 3.1.0 according to AppleInsider. Per sources familiar with the latest Gold Master build, users of Palm OS devices will need to obtain third party support for syncing their Palm Desktop information with Mac OS X’s Sync Services.

Palm continues to provide a very old version of Palm Desktop 4.2.1D for Mac users, enabling syncing with legacy Palm Centro, Treo, Zire, Tungsten, LifeDrive, and Pilot models via its Mac OS X Universal Binary desktop software. That software is based upon what was originally Apple’s Claris Organizer, which Steve Jobs sold to Palm over a decade ago as Apple divested itself of its already long in the tooth Claris apps.

In addition with launching its Macs as the “digital hub” and selling the iPod, Apple developed iSync for Mac OS X, a set of software which enabled devices from any manufacturer to sync their data with a common store shared by desktop apps including iCal and Address Book. It eventually allowed users to also sync that information with Apple’s .Mac service, now called MobileMe.

Palm apparently never bothered to update its Palm Desktop for Mac software to make it compatible with Apple’s iSync. Instead, Apple, in an effort to keep Macs compatible with Palm’s device, created its own Palm Conduit software that linked Palm Desktop’s HotSync system into iSync. This software was then incorporated as part of iSync 2.0, released as part of Mac OS X Tiger nearly half a decade ago.

With Palm all but abandoning its “classic” devices developed prior to the release of the new Palm Pre, which does not use the same legacy Palm OS nor its HotSync or Palm Desktop software, the value of maintaining HotSync support in Mac OS X has dropped dramatically, leaving Apple to cut the support from the version that ships with Mac OS X Snow Leopard entirely.

It does not appear that the discontinuation of legacy Palm OS support in iSync is related to efforts by Palm to trick iTunes into syncing data with the new Palm Pre as if it were an iPod.

Third party software, including the Missing Sync from Mark/Space, enables Mac users to sync calendars, contacts, bookmarks, music, documents and other information between older Palm OS devices as well as other hardware including the new Palm Pre, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones and the Sony PlayStation Portable.

Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” Specs Posted, PowerPC Support Goes by the Wayside

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Date: Tuesday, August 25th, 2009, 08:35
Category: News

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With Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” operating system en route for Friday, the company has posted full links to the required specs here:

If you’re hanging on to a Mac from before 2006, you may not like it, as the specs require the following:

-An Apple computer with an Intel Processor
-1GB of Memory (RAM)
-5GB of hard drive space (Storage)
-DVD drive for installation

While the DVD drive is mentioned, it is not actually required to install Leopard though will make things easier. You can use another computer’s drive or a disk image to install Snow Leopard. While previous versions of OS X have required you to boot from the installation media, Snow Leopard copies the installer files from the media to the hard drive and then installs from there.

According to MacFixIt, Snow Leopard will not run on any PowerPC system, even PowerPC G5 systems that are 64-bit capable. If you have a PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerMac G4, Mac Mini (G4), iMac G4, iMac G5, or PowerMac G5, do not buy Snow Leopard since you will not be able to install it. Apple has split away from PowerPC, and while there are technical reasons for why the 64-bit architecture in the PowerPC will not work with the latest OS, the fact that Apple has switched architectures is the primary reason for the drop in support.

You can check to see what kind of processor you have by opening “System Profiler” in your “Utilities” folder and highlighting the “Hardware” section. The processor should be identified in there. Alternatively you can enter the command “machine” in the terminal to see what kind of processor you have. If the output contains “PPC” in the name, then you have a PowerPC processor:

You may now run into the streets flailing your arms, screaming and inquiring after the nearest store which sells torches and pitchforks with which to wave angrily at Apple…

Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) Confirmed for Friday, August 28th

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Date: Monday, August 24th, 2009, 07:00
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Apple announced that its Mac OS X 10.6 operating system would ship on Friday, August 28th. Per Macworld, the company had previously said that the update would ship in September, but speculation intensified that it would ship earlier than anticipated after a glitch on Apple’s Web site late last week.

The Mac OS X (“Snow Leopard”) update was first announced at Apple’s 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple later confirmed that the update would bring new technologies such as a transition to 64-bit applications; Grand Central Dispatch, which lets multicore machines take better advantage of those capabilities; and OpenCL, a system that allows Macs to use graphic processors for improved performance.

Snow Leopard will also include built-in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 in Mail, Address Book, and iCal, allowing users to seamlessly take advantage of those services in their e-mail, calendaring, and contact management.

The update’s focus on under-the-hood improvements boost performance as well. Apple has cited faster times for everything from installation to waking from sleep to system shutdown. Snow Leopard is also said to contain a smaller, reducing the size of its installation by around 6GB.

Additional features include a new version of Exposé, which now offers a more organized overview of windows, as well as the ability to view all of an application’s windows via the Dock; Stacks are now scrollable and allow you to navigate through sub-folders; and the Services menu has been revamped to be friendlier and more usable.

Other new bells and whistles include a new Date & Time preference pane which allows you to set your time zone automatically based on your Mac’s location, and Preview now allows users to easily select text from a single column in a PDF. QuickTime Player has received perhaps the most attention, getting an interface facelift that features a black control overlay that fades out when not in use, and new video editing and sharing features.

Snow Leopard will be available at the price of US$29 for those customers upgrading from Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”); a family pack of five licenses is available for US$49. Users upgrading from earlier versions can buy the US$169 Mac Box Set which also includes iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 or the five-user family pack for US$229. Customers who purchased a qualifying Mac on or after June 8, 2009 can take advantage of Apple’s $10 Snow Leopard Up-to-Date Program. All versions of Mac OS X Snow Leopard require an Intel processor, 1GB of memory, and 5GB of free disk space to install and run.

Apple Releases Bluetooth, 7,200 RPM Hard Drive Firmware Updates

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Date: Friday, August 21st, 2009, 09:29
Category: News

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On Wednesday, Apple released firmware updates for its wireless mouse and keyboard, as well as for recent MacBook Pro owners.

According to Macworld, Bluetooth Firmware Update 2.0.1, a 1.78 megabyte download, provides bug fixes and better compatibility with the Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse and Wireless Keyboard. It’s meant for all Macs with Bluetooth based on the Broadcom chipset, although the download page doesn’t specify which models that includes.

Hard Drive Firmware Update 2.0, a 3.71 megabyte download, reduces certain (“infrequent,” according to Apple) noises made by 7200-rpm hard drives that shipped with the June 2009 MacBook Pro.

Both updates requires OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.

Adium Updated to 1.3.6

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Date: Friday, August 21st, 2009, 09:47
Category: News

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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 1.3.6.

The new version, a 21.4 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Updated to libpurple 2.5.9
- Fix a crash via a specially crafted MSN message (CVE-2009-2694).
- Fix a crash in Bonjour, MSN, and XMPP when trying to transfer files with NULL names.
- Numerous fixes from libpurple 2.5.8.
- Updated to pidgin-facebookchat 1.6.0 from 1.5.1
- Fixed issues with dropped & missed messages.
- Fixed retrieval of profile information.
- Fixed retrieval of buddy icons.
- Fixed messaging with Facebook users whose user IDs are very large.
- Numerous other fixes; see pidgin-facebookchat changelog for details.
- Note: Facebook contact group support is currently disabled.
- Added option to control Facebook mail checking.
- Merged down the space dust.

Adium X is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

Apple Releases iPhoto 8.1 Update

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Date: Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, 13:30
Category: News

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Apple on Tuesday iPhoto 8.1, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 160.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

* Hardcover books can now be ordered in a new extra-large (10″ x13″) size.
* Includes three new book themes with travel-oriented designs: Tropical, Asian, Old World.
* A variety of new holiday greeting cards themes are now available.

The update can be installed via the direct link or located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

iPhoto 8.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

China Unicom Spokesman Denies Five Million Unit Advance iPhone Purchase

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Date: Monday, August 17th, 2009, 04:16
Category: iPhone, News

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Albeit all signs are currently pointing towards China Unicom acting as the exclusive iPhone carrier in China before two long, Unicom’s upfront buy of five million iPhone units seems to be in question. According to Cellular News, China Unicom’s spokesman Yi Difei declared about the 5 million order rumors that they are “not true”.

However, the spokesman did say that “talks between us and Apple have been going on for some time”, albeit without reaching an agreement yet.

Tiffany Yang, an Apple spokeswoman in Beijing, also said that there are no clear details about iPhone’s official launch in China.

Current guesses point towards a launch in September, though final details have yet to surface for that country’s launch.

China Unicom Reported to Have Purchased Five Million iPhone Handsets

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Date: Thursday, August 13th, 2009, 10:00
Category: News

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Apple appears to have more-or-less officially gone with China Unicom as its exclusive iPhone wireless carrier and according to an article in International Business Times, the carrier has purchased five million WCDMA iPhones without Wi-Fi from Apple at a price of 10 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion).

China Unicom is slated to begin selling the 3G phones in September at company stalls in Carrefour stores, as well as at several large China Unicom retail outlets. The phones are expected to sell for 2,400 yuan (US$352 as of this writing) for an 8GB model and 4,800 yuan (US$704) for a 16GB iPhone. It’s estimated that Apple’s profit from each sale is about 1,100 yuan (US$161).

The carrier currently faces stiff competition from black market iPhones, which are selling for as low as 400 yuan (US$59) and the article notes that Apple made large concessions to China Unicom in order to enter the massive Chinese market. To give some scale to the size of this sale, Apple reported during the 3Q 2009 conference call with Wall Street analysts that they had sold a total of 5.2 million iPhones in the last quarter.

Cocktail 4.4.1 (Leopard Edition) Released

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Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, 12:29
Category: News

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On Tuesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.4.1 of Cocktail (Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.

The new version, a 1.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
* Addresses compatibility issues with Firefox 3.5.x and Flock 2.5.x web browsers
* Added clearing of the latest variants of the RSPlug (Jahlav) trojan horse
* Added Mac OS X 10.5.8 compatibility
* Other minor bug fixes and improvements.
* Updated Automator actions.

Cocktail 4.4.1 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.