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.

NewerTech Releases Intelligent Battery Charging Station for Apple Unibody Notebook Batteries

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Date: Friday, August 7th, 2009, 06:26
Category: Accessory, MacBook, MacBook Pro, News

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Yesterday, accessory provider NewerTech announced the release of its Intelligent Battery Charging Station, a peripheral designed to charge and condition the batteries used by Apple’s 13″ and 15″ unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.

The unit features two bays (one that charges while the other charges and conditions) and NewerTech claims that by conditioning the battery, you can get longer runtimes and better lifetimes from your laptop batteries. The charger retails for US$150 before shipping and handling.

Report Finds Running Windows 7 on MacBook Pro Drains Battery Life Quickly

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Date: Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 04:55
Category: MacBook, News

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Users hoping that the arrival of Windows 7 will lessen the power drain on Apple’s MacBook Pro notebook may have some hard news to face up to, as CNET’s Eric Lai discovered for a recent article he wrote. Running Windows 7 in Boot Camp caused one CNET reviewer’s battery life to fall by more than two-thirds.

In addition to this, virtualization software such as VMware Fusion suffer from the same complaints. Some blame Apple’s Boot Camp drivers (the last ones were released in April 2008) while others blame Windows’ bloated codebase. With Apple and Microsoft both trying to avoid responsibility for improving the experience, Windows 7′s reported improvements in power management will be moot for MacBook Pro users for a while.

If you’ve tested the Windows 7 beta on your MacBook and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Analytical Firm Cites Apple Touchscreen Purchases, Anticipates Sub-Notebook or Tablet Device

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Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 04:21
Category: News

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Per AppleInsider, Apple has reportedly purchased a number of screens ranging from 4″ to 12″ over the last few years, as it explores its possible entry into the tablet and sub-notebook market, according to a financial analyst.

In a research note issued Tuesday, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu revealed that Apple has bought screen sizes of 4″, 7″, 9″, 10″ and 12″ inches over the last two years. Some of the purchases were allegedly of such a large amount that the firm suspects they were for more than a simple sample, but a more significant small production run.

“We are under the impression that these screens could be used in new form factors including a sub-notebook and/or tablet, and would more likely launch in 2010 as opposed to 2009,” the note reads. “As usual, exact timing is always tough to pinpoint as Apple works on its own schedule.”

Wu stated that he expects the new form factor adopted by Apple to help carry the company’s stock higher. Kaufman Bros. has set a price target of US$184 for AAPL stock and recommends that investors buy.