Palm Releases webOS 1.1, Restores Pre’s Ability to Sync with iTunes

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:12
Category: News, Software

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One week after Apple disabled the Palm Pre’s capacity to sync with iTunes, Palm has responded by releasing webOS 1.1, an update that again enables Palm’s phone to access media from the current version of iTunes.

Per the company’s blog, Pre users can expect the new software to arrive via an over-the-air update.

“Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync,” the post reads. “That’s right — you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1).”

Last week, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1. In accompanying release notes, the company was vague about what the upgrade actually did, stating only that the update provided “a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.”

Soon after the new version of iTunes was released, Pre users realized that the update had broken their ability to sync music with the software.

The webOS 1.1 update brings a number of changes focused on business users, including remote wipe, inactivity timeout, improved certificate handling and more for Exchange ActiveSync. The update also provides emoticons in the messaging app.

When Palm initially unveiled the handset, the company boasted about the the handset’s ability to transfer media from iTunes. According to AppleInsider, the feature worked by identifying the Pre in its hardware ID as an iPod — a trick Apple warned might not work for long.

Last month, Apple warned Pre users that future software updates may kill sync capability with the device.

“Apple designs the hardware and software to provide seamless integration of the iPhone and iPod with iTunes, the iTunes Store, and tens of thousands of apps on the App Store,” Apple warned a document released in June. “Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players.”

In its blog post, Palm declined to elaborate on how they circumvented the changes presented in iTunes 8.2.1.

Apple Apparently Delaying iPod Fire Incident Report

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Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPod, News

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When one of your best selling products sort of starts catching fire, you might be hesitant to investigate it.

According to KIRO 7, a Seattle-based reporter says that Apple actively prevented her and others from learning the true scope of the safety hazard.

KIRO 7′s Amy Clancy claims that her seven-month search for data was repeatedly frustrated as Apple asked for Consumer Product Safety Commission reports to be exempted from the Freedom of Information Act, hiding them from public view.

The investigation began in November after one iPod shuffle owner was burned when the battery ignited during a run, burning her where the iPod was clipped on. The victim, Jamie Balderas, said she contacted Apple and provided photos as evidence but was purportedly dismissed by an AppleCare agent as encountering an “isolated incident” and that access to proof of previous incidents wasn’t an option. The mother of a child given a mild burn also says Apple phone representatives didn’t appear responsive to the problem.

Clancy searched on her own but submitted the FIA request after discovering the already widespread reports of iPod battery fires, which among other responses had prompted a Japanese government investigation.

When she finally received the requested information, Clancy was surprised at just how long Apple and the CPSC had been aware of problems: fires had been reported as long ago as 2005 and have been noted periodically ever since. The 800-page report had even already pinpointed the lithium-ion battery packs as the likely causes because of their occasional tendency to overheat, but despite the evidence, hadn’t led to a mandatory recall. Commission officials had determined that the the scarcity of incidents (just a handful compared to the 175 million iPods sold at the time) had made the risk of any injury, let alone any serious injuries, “very low.”

It also believed that newer batteries weren’t shown to be vulnerable to the same sort of overheating.

In the past, Apple began a voluntary replacement program last year for owners of first-generation iPod nanos, some of whose batteries were known to be defective, it hasn’t given recourse to owners of other iPod models affected by the problem, whether Balderas or a Cincinnati woman who just in March sued Apple for negligence in the wake of a second-generation iPod touch fire exhibiting similar symptoms.

MacBook Sales Jump 25% in June Year-Over-Year Comparison

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Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, 04:02
Category: News

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Apple’s sales of the MacBook saw a 25% jump in the June year-over-year comparison according to NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker. The growth is attributed to Apple’s revised MacBook Pro line, which has not only changed specifications but absorbed some basic MacBooks, and fallen in price. “The Apple marketing machine is firing on all cylinders,” says Baker. “With almost every launch of new machines, sales get a boost.”

According to MacNN, the U.S. desktop sales grew 16% in the same month, in spite of slumping quarterly performance. Apple has not refreshed its desktop computers since March, when it updated its iMac, Mac Pro and Mac mini lines simultaneously. That event triggered a brief rise in sales, only to be followed by a now-common 30% decline.

Apple COO Tim Cook Defends Company’s Lack of Netbooks

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Date: Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009, 04:00
Category: News

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During yesterday’s conference call to release Apple’s Q3 numbers, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook stood by his previous assertion that Apple’s not in the market to make a netbook. At the same time, he noted that Apple’s recent laptop price cuts have helped move inventory.

According to Macworld, while many industry analysts expect that it’s only a matter of time before Apple competes in this segment of the market, Cook stated that he doesn’t see it happening any time soon.

“Our goal is not to build the most computers, it’s to build the best,” Cook told an analyst with RBC Capital. “At this point, we don’t see the way to build a great product for this US$399, US$499, this kind of price point unit.”

Pressed by a Morgan Stanley analyst for more details on a possible Apple netbook or iPhone-based tablet computer, Cook said, “I never want to discount anything in the future, and never want to specifically discuss new products.”

But Cook said that customers who buy such hardware are often disappointed with their purchases, and that Apple is focused on products with the best value.

“We’re only going to play in things where we can deliver things that are very innovative that we’re proud of,” said Cook.

During the third quarter, Apple sold 1.75 million notebooks, up 13% from the 1.553 million it sold last year during the same quarter. The strong laptop sales were boosted in part by an overhaul of the company’s laptop lineup at WWDC in June that included price drops.

Cook conceded that the average selling price (ASP) of Macs did fall somewhat in the quarter, but added that, “now you can buy a MacBook Pro for US$800 less than last year,” and that customers are happy with that strategy and pricing.

Some Mail.app Users Reporting Difficulties with Cox Cable Provider

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Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009, 08:20
Category: How-To, News

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A number of Cox internet service members have been having trouble accessing their e-mail accounts through Apple’s Mail program. Per MacFixIt, the connection seems to be fine and log-in works, but while Mail will show downloaded messages in the “Activity” window, they will not show up in an in-box. Additionally, a message of “mail cannot verify the identity of pop.central.cox.net” may appear.

The issue may have arisen from a recent update of the Cox e-mail servers that is contributing to this problem, since it seems to have cropped up in the past few days. Other (such as those discussing the issue in this Apple discussion thread) have claimed this happening for a few weeks. According to Cox, its e-mail servers seem to be fine, but the problem persists for affected members.

Some users have found that turning off SSL authentication for their e-mail accounts has helped the problem, which can be done in the “Advanced” section of the accounts settings in the preferences. To have Mail work continually you may need to toggle the SSL setting periodically, but this has helped a few people experiencing problems.

One workaround to at least accessing your mail is to use the Cox Web mail program, which can be found at http://webmail.cox.net.

Apple to Release Q3 Financial Results Today

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Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009, 05:34
Category: Finance, News

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It’s that time again and Apple has released a media advisory stating that the company will be releasing the financial results for the third fiscal quarter and second calendar quarter of 2009. The results will cover sales from March 28th, 2009 through June 26th, 2009, and will be released at the close of trading (4:00 PM Eastern / 1:00 PM Pacific) on Tuesday.

The conference call discussing the results will follow at 2:00 PM Pacific and will be available via an audio webcast.

Stay tuned to PowerPage throughout the day for updates galore.

Skype 2.8.0.659 Update Released

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Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009, 04:37
Category: News

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On Monday, Skype released version 2.8.0.659 of its popular Voice over Internet Protocol communications program.
The new version, a 42.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

  • An incorrect notification message appeared “This Wi-Fi hotspot does not support Skype Access” when users tried to connect to Skype Access when Airport was set to off.
  • Text was not visible within the chat input field that contained a certain Unicode character.
  • Platform specific – Skype for Mac OXS 10.3 (Panther); Skype froze after deleting unread missed events.
  • Mood message appeared blank after playing iTunes.
  • Contacts were still visible in the “Manage Contact Groups” after deleting them from the Contact List.
  • Video appeared blank between Skype for Windows and Skype for Mac.
  • A video error message appeared at the beginning of a video call.
  • Video and screen sharing functionality did not work after a multiÃ?¢?? chat
  • Recipients screen remained black after screen sharing was resumed.
  • A green line appeared when screen sharing between Skype for Windows and Skype for Mac OXS 10.4 (Tiger). Screen sharing
  • Skype froze when screen sharing between Skype for Windows and Skype for Mac.
  • An incorrect informative message appeared when entering more than 20 characters for a password.
  • The Show in Finder option was not available after cancelling a file transfer.
  • Platform specific – OSX 10.3 (Panther); Skype could not connect to the network.
  • Skype froze when selecting “Quit Skype”.
  • The typing indicator appeared within a Multi-chat even though no one was typing.
  • An incorrect informative message appeared when trying to call an emergency number.
  • Commas were not visible in mood messages.
  • A users name and password field appeared blank after selecting the option “Remember my name and password on this computer”.
  • An error message appeared when dragging and dropping a participant to an SMS group.
  • An error message appeared when closing the SMS window after sending to multiple recipients.
  • SMS functionality did not recognize newly updated telephone numbers associated to Skype Out contacts.
  • Ringing sound was not available on incoming calls.

Skype 2.8.0.659 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to install and run.

Early Predictions Arrive for Apple Q3 Earnings

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Date: Monday, July 20th, 2009, 04:30
Category: News

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Apple’s Q3 numbers come out tomorrow and per CNET, while results have been both eventful and mixed, analysts are expecting more positive than negative numbers when it’s said and done.

During the quarter, which ended June 30, the company released the third-generation iPhone, the iPhone 3GS, which can be regarded as a success, though its Mac and iPod divisions may not see identical results.

Throughout the quarter, Apple did pay a nod to consumers’ tight budgets, lowering prices on its Mac notebook lineup although keeping other prices about the same.

Analysts are expecting revenues for the quarter between US$7.88 billion and US$8.44 billion, and earnings per share between US$1.02 and US$1.31. Apple itself, which always gives guidance on the low side, is anticipating revenue between US7.7 billion and US$7.9 billion and earnings per share between 95 cents and a dollar.

Over the quarter, Apple’s stock jumped 21.4%, rising to US$147.52, since its last earnings report in late April. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who stood in for CEO Steve Jobs, has received high marks for keeping the company running smoothly in its leader’s absence. Jobs has been back at work, at least part-time, since the end of June.

Apple announced that the company had sold 1 million iPhones worldwide in the first weekend the 3GS was on the market, and AT&T said the first day the phone was available marked the best sales day in the carrier’s history. Analytical firm Piper Jaffray jumped in on this, specifically stating that it anticipates total iPhones sold for the quarter will be 5 million.

Mac revenue will show if price cuts are helping. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple sold 2.2 million Macs during the quarter, and says it is getting a boost from the price cuts it applied when it upgraded its entire aluminum MacBook line to MacBook Pros. Per recent counts from IDC, which only tracks Apple’s sales in the U.S., showed that Mac shipments dipped more than 12% during this quarter while the entire PC industry was down 3.1% worldwide.

For those wanting a cool new item, the iPods’ annual tuneup is expected in September, when it has taken place the past few years. Where the iPod business has also been slowing down a bit, Piper Jaffray predicts sales to be down 7% from a year ago, though Apple has been increasingly focused on its iPod Touch, which has access to the popular App Store and is expected to get a reboot in September similar to the iPhone 3GS.

Apple also continues to put away cash during the quarter. As Brian Marshall of Broadpoint AmTech pointed out, Apple added US$800 million in cash during the last quarter, bringing its total to US$28.9 billion. Only Cisco’s US$29 billion in cash is better among technology companies.

Stay tuned for full Q3 coverage tomorrow and let us know what’s on your mind via the comments!

Winclone 2.1.2 Utility Out the Door

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Date: Monday, July 20th, 2009, 03:11
Category: News, Software

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You know, I haven’t heard of this, but it looks useful. Over the weekend, developer twocanoes.com released version 2.1.2 of Winclone, the company’s backup utility that allows users to make a quick clone of their Boot Camp partition as well as restore from that image. The new version, a two megabyte download, fixes a minor issue with quoting of gptfresh that caused issues at the end of restores.

Winclone 2.1.2 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried Winclone and have an opinion about it, let us know in the comments.

Apple Posts iPhone OS 3.1 Beta 2, New Mac OS X 10.6 Seed

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Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009, 05:30
Category: News

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Last night, Apple distributed iPhone developers with a second beta of its upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 firmware as well as offered Mac developers a new incremental build of its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system.

According to ArsTechnica, iPhone OS 3.1 beta 2 is only accessible to those with an existing developer account and provides a number of fixes and features, including the ability to connect to and work with a system wirelessly, without the tether of a USB cable.

No official information is available regarding the upcoming iPhone OS 3.1 as developers are currently under a non-disclosure agreement. The second beta is available at the iPhone Dev Center Web site.

Though the new feature does free up a USB port and allows more flexibility for developers, Apple has reportedly warned that physically tethering is still the preferred method, as it is faster and consumes less power.

As revealed with the first release, iPhone OS 3.1 is expected to add Bluetooth and video features. Users can now invoke Voice Control using a Bluetooth headset rather than a wired headset or the built-in microphone. When editing video clips, users can save a copy of the trimmed video instead of permanently losing the discarded ends.

The article reports that developers cannot install applications from Xcode or debug them via WiFi.

Further additions appear to improve battery life, greater access to video recording features for developers, and possible preparation for adding MMS support for AT&T subscribers.

The first iPhone OS 3.1 beta and SDK reportedly included roughly a dozen new extensions for the OpenGL ES graphics library, allowing developers to improve graphics on the iPhone 3GS. Beta 2 reportedly includes fixes for the OS Xcode, as well as other facets of the software.

Where the conventional Mac OS X operating system is concerned, developers testing Snow Leopard received build 10A411 of the operating system over the next-gen system’s Software Update mechanism.

“This Snow Leopard Developer Preview Update is recommended for all users running the Snow Leopard Developer Preview Build 10A402 or later,” Apple reportedly told developers. “This update includes general operating system fixes for stability, compatibility, and security.”

The latest update weighs in at roughly 730 MB, about half the size of build 10A402a distributed last week.