Apple working to adopt 802.11ac 5G Gigabit WiFi standard in 2012

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2012, 05:33
Category: News, wireless

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You know, 802.11n’s been speedy, but it’s also been around for a while.

It might be time to move on to something new.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is expected to rapidly deploy support for the new 802.11ac specification this year, adding so called “Gigabit WiFi” to new AirPort base stations, Time Capsule, Apple TV, notebooks and potentially its mobile devices.

The new 802.11ac standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than the existing 802.11n specification (in use on the latest Mac, AirPort and iOS devices) by using 2 to 4 times the frequency bandwidth (from 80 to 160MHz), more efficient data transfers through sophisticated modulation, and more antennas (up to 8; existing standards support up to 4, while Apple’s Macs currently use up to 3).

While not yet finalized as an official standard by the 802.11 Working Group, progress on the new 802.11.ac standard is occurring faster than previous efforts in wireless networking have.

Multiple suppliers have already issued chipsets supporting 802.11ac for consumer grade applications. Key Apple component maker Broadcom announced chips supporting the standard earlier this month at CES.

In addition to reaching networking speeds above 1 Gigabit (about three times as fast as 802.11n networks can manage), 802.11ac promises better networking range, improved reliability, and more power efficient chips, thanks to parallel advances in reducing chip size and enhancing power management.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone Dev Team announces working jailbreak for iPhone 4S, iPad 2

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Date: Friday, January 20th, 2012, 05:16
Category: Hack, News, Software

It’s not quite as much of a back-and-forth arms race between Apple and the hackers as it used to be, but it’s still interesting if you want to use an unlocked or jailbroken iOS device.

Per Electronista, the iPhone Dev Team have announced that they are close to releasing the Corona A5 jailbreak for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. The team says that it has overcome the technical hurdles associated with the underlying technique and that all that remains is bug fixes before a general release is made available. The release will work on iPhone 4S’ running iOS 5.0 (9A334), 5.0.1 (9A405) and 5.0.1 (9A406), as well as the iPad 2 running iOS 5.01 (9A405).

The Dev Team have also promised that the GUI will remain streamlined and that they will give users access to command-line interface so that they can run their own scripts and further customize their devices. Ultimately, the Dev Team expects that the Corona jailbreak will be integrated into redsn0w, although there will be some changes to the way it has worked in the past.

The Dev Team have warned users ahead of installing the Corona release that if they are looking to achieve an eventual software-based carrier unlock, that they should stay at iOS 5.0. They also warn that as the Corona jailbreak has never been done before, that as such, users should back up all their content before attempting the install when it becomes available.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5.3 update, adds iBooks 2 textbook syncing support

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 10:42
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Apple released iTunes 10.5.3, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 102 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Allows you to sync interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad. These Multi-Touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad.

– iBooks textbooks are created with iBooks Author.

iTunes 10.5.3 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases iTunes U app, allows college students to view course materials, sign up for classes, etc.

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 08:11
Category: iOS, News, Software

And now, you have even less of an excuse for not signing up for the courses you want.

Per AppleInsider, Apple released its iTunes U application for iPad on Thursday. The app will allow college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes.

In its presentation to the press, Apple showed off an online course from Duke for “Core Concepts in Chemistry.” In the iTunes U application, students can get an overview of the course, view teacher details, obtain the class syllabus, rate the course and even access information like the teacher’s office hours.

The iTunes U application for iPad has sections for “Info,” “Posts,” “Notes” and “Materials.” In the “Posts” section, teachers can provide updates to students, including assignments.

The assignments can even be context sensitive, allowing a student to tap on it and automatically be sent to the appropriate section of a textbook in iBooks. When an assignment is completed, it can be crossed off of the included task list.

In the “Notes” tab, users can access and modify their class notes, even highlighting certain text. And the “Materials” tab shows off all of the material for a course, including textbooks, videos, audio, and documents.

The iTunes U application itself is free and now available on the iPad App Store. Participating schools that have had early access to the software are Duke, Yale, Harrisburg Area Community College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Open University.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces interactive textbooks, releases iBooks 2.0 update

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 08:57
Category: iOS, News, Software

As Apple’s Guggenheim-based education event continues, the company kicked off its announcements with iBooks 2.0, which will bring a new textbook experience to the iPad. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, these textbooks will include standard text interspersed with interactive high-quality images, videos, animations and 3D models.

This content will allow for features such as being able to pinch to zoom on images, tap on a word and read the glossary entry to find out what they are looking at. It will also include “My Notes” which will let you easily create study cards from a section of the textbook.

The first textbooks made available will be biology and high school science titles from Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. These publishers make up 90 percent of the textbook market. DK Publishing will also launch with several interactive titles for children. Pricing is amazingly competitive with high school textbooks costing US$14.99 or less.

The new iBooks 2.0 app just launched and is available for free over on the iTunes App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T announces data plan price increases

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 07:13
Category: iPhone, News

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You might not like this.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T has introduced new data plans for smartphone and tablet users, adding additional cap space but also charging customers more. The new plans max out at 5GB with tethering for US$50 per month.

A press release on Wednesday stated that the new rates that will take effect on Sunday, Jan. 22, marking the first change to the company’s data plans since 2010.

“Customers are using more data than ever before,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment.”

The new smartphone pricing is basically a US$5 surcharge for a 1 GB bump in data for DataPro users, while DataPlus subscribers will get an extra 100 MB for the same price.

Tablet owners will see a reshuffling of options as the previous 2 GB DataConnect plan is to be replaced a 3 GB per month flavor previously only available on a two-year contract. An additional 5 GB plan will also be added for US$50 per month and the lowest 250 MB plan remains unchanged.

Current subscribers can keep their existing plans or opt in to one of the new tiers when the program launches on Sunday.

Smartphone plans are as follows:
– AT&T DataPlus 300MB: US$20 for 300MB

– AT&T DataPro 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

– AT&T DataPro 5GB: US$50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

Additional data pricing remains at US$10 per gigabyte for the DataPro plans and US$20 per additional 300 MB for DataPlus customers.

Tablet data tiers have changed to:
– AT&T DataConnect 250MB: US$14.99 for 250MB

– AT&T DataConnect 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

– AT&T DataConnect 5GB: US$50 for 5GB

Overage charges only apply to 30-day tablet prices and include US$14.99 for and extra 250MB with AT&T DataConnect 250 MB, and US$10 per additional gigabyte for DataConnect 3 GB and 5 GB.

The new plans reflect an upward trend in cellphone and tablet data pricing from U.S. carriers as their networks strain under the pressure of a growing customer base.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Brother Printer drivers 2.8.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 11:27
Category: News, Software

It’s not the most exciting update in the world, but it could prove useful.

On Wednesday, Apple released updated Brother printer drivers for the Mac OS X 10.6 and Mac OS X 10.7 operating systems. Brother Printer Driver 2.8, a 150 megabyte download offering the most current drivers for Brother’s printers and multi-function devices.

The update can be located, snagged and installed via the built-in Mac OS X Software Update feature and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new drivers and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.3 build 11D46 to developer community

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 11:21
Category: News, Software

Hold your horses, Mac OS X 10.7.3 will get here eventually.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has released build 11D46 of its anticipated Mac OS X 10.7.3 update. The build, a 1.2 GB combo update / 989 MB delta update, focuses on iCloud document storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari.

The last seed was released a week ago. Apple released Mac OS X 10.7.2 to the general public in October, which added iCloud support.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the build, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple nukes $100 rebate with purchase of qualifying printer, future incentive programs in question

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 05:23
Category: News, retail

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You know, it was kind of nice having a nifty incentive/rebate to look forward to.

Per ” target=”_blank”>AppleInsider, Apple’s promotion that offered a US$100 rebate to customers who purchased a Mac and qualifying printer has been discontinued with no alternative incentives announced.

In a change to its promotion information webpage on Tuesday, Apple announced that the long-standing printer rebate program has been cancelled, leaving the company without any rebates or incentives for new computer buyers.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has traditionally offered some sort of incentive when customers buy a new Mac, such as the US$100 instant rebate when purchasing a computer and printer. While the programs were usually “limited time only” affairs, Apple’s latest printer rebate was a perpetual offer that stipulated the company could end it at any time.

Apple has advertised a US$100 printer rebate sporadically from 2001 alongside numerous other discounts and promotions for both hardware and software.

The company is also known for its educational rebates and discounts, including the annual back-to-school promotion which has offered free iPods to gift cards.

Currently, Apple offers discounts for students and teachers through its Education Store or at Apple Store locations and campuses though the program is more of an institution rather than form of incentive.

It is unclear whether Apple is slowly phasing out incentives as the company’s online store usually has some type of discount.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Flip4Mac updated to 2.4.1.4

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 04:22
Category: News, Software

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Early Wednesday, software developer Telestream has released version 2.4.1.4 of Flip4Mac, its QuickTime components package which allows for Windows Media files to be viewed, imported and converted under Mac OS X. The new release, a 24 megabyte download, includes the following fixes and changes:

– Added a progress indicator while waiting for streams to buffer in web browsers.

– Fixes an export scaling issue that causes video quality issues with source frame sizes not divisible by four.

– Fixes a problem exporting Silverlight templates.

– Fixes numerous problems in the Web browser plug-in that prevented streaming and playback of various sites and other problems with clicking and scrolling while in the plug-in.

– Adds support for Windows Media scripting. Note that scripting only works with Web browsers running in 32-bit mode. You may need to select “Open in 32-bit mode” in Finder’s Info pane for Safari or Firefox for scripting to work.

– Fixes a warning dialog issue with DRM protected content.

Flip4Mac 2.4.1.4 is available for free but can go as high as US$179 depending on the version purchased. The new version requires Mac OS X 10.5 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.