Apple Releases Second Mac OS X 10.6.2 Developer Build, Focuses on Wide Array of Fixes

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Date: Monday, October 12th, 2009, 11:38
Category: News, Software

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Apple’s second beta of its Mac OS X 10.6.2 update hit the developer circles recently, the new build incorporating numerous fixes for a wide variety of issues.

Sources familiar with the latest build, dubbed 10C519f, said the update addresses nearly 150 “general focus areas” ranging from applications like Address Book, Photo Booth and QuickTime Player to core services including Front Row, Spaces, and Time Machine.

The update also specifically targets WWAN support for mobile data services and enhances Exchange support, MobileMe and iDisk features, as well as NTFS and WebDAV file system support.

The new beta also addresses specific issues related to the app switching in the Dock, performance and stability issues tied to graphics drivers and the OpenCL compiler, as well as patches impacting bugs in Parental Controls Preview, printing, and the software update mechanism itself.

United Airlines Begins Wi-Fi Rollout

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Date: Friday, October 9th, 2009, 06:02
Category: News, wireless

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United Airlines this week began deploying Wi-Fi on some of its flights. Per the Chicago Tribune, the rollout will at first cover longer flights between California and New York and should have 13 Boeing 757 planes in United’s fleet offering Internet access by mid-November. Like similar approaches from Virgin and other airlines, the new approach is based on Aircell’s Gogo technology and shares a 3G cellular connection (typically EVDO Revision A) with the entire cabin over a Wi-Fi hotspot in the plane itself.

All the proposed flights so far will be long-haul trips and so will use the higher end of Gogo’s existing pricing plans. Those with notebooks or netbooks will pay US$13 for access during the entire flight, while owners of iPhones and other handhelds/smartphones pay US$8 for the same period. Voice over IP remains off-limits as a consideration for other passengers.

Echoing the strategies of Delta and US Airways, United so far is using the service in trial form and will wait for feedback before it decides to bring Wi-Fi to all of its flights.

Adobe Working on Tools to Create Flash-Based Apps for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009, 05:18
Category: News, Software

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Adobe announced on Monday that its developers will be able to use an upcoming version of its Flash Professional software to create apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement, made at the company’s Max developer conference in Los Angeles, coincides with the unveiling of its Flash Player 10.1.

According to Macworld, Flash Player 10.1 will be operable with a large number of smartphones, though none of them currently include the iPhone. Apple’s smartphone doesn’t run Flash in any form, and Monday’s announcements don’t change that. What has changed is the ability of Adobe developers to use the Flash platform to build standalone apps for Apple’s mobile devices.

New features in the upcoming Flash CS5 Professional will allow developers to write applications and compile the code to run on the iPhone and iPod touch. Applications can target the iPhone OS 3.0 and later.

“We are ecstatic to announce that we’re enabling you to use your Flash development tools to build applications and compile them to run natively on the iPhone,” said John Loiacono, head of Adobe’s Creative Solutions business unit, who made the announcement at Adobe Max.

A public beta of Flash CS5 will be available on Adobe’s Web site later this year and the final shipping version could arrive anywhere between March and September of 2010, according to Adobe’s typical upgrade cycle. The CS5 version will contain a feature that allows developers to export Flash’s native FLA files to IPA, the iPhone app format.

Developers can create brand new content, or repurpose content they’ve already built, for the iPhone. “In some ways it’s more exciting, because they can actually charge for the apps and get revenue coming in,” Voltmer added. “Apple’s going to be excited because they’ll see more revenue from all these new developers; and end-users get more choices.”

Though Adobe is still unable to offer a standard Flash Player for the iPhone or iPod touch because Apple’s license terms prohibit plug-ins for the built-in Safari browser, these new Flash apps are different: iPhone apps built with Adobe Flash Professional CS5 don’t include any runtime interpreted code. The applications would go through the same approval process, and follow the same rules and procedures, as other iPhone apps to be sold in the App Store.

Flash Player 10.1 is due in beta form later this year and final form in the first half of 2010, will be available for many smartphones: Google Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm WebOS, and Nokia Symbian. Adobe holds out hope that eventually, Flash will arrive in its full form on the iPhone, in spite of complaints about the mobile version from the very top of Apple. “We do know that people are looking to have a Flash-enabled experience on their iPhone,” Voltmer said, “But it’s really up to Apple to finalize that and to let us get that working. We’d love to work with Apple, but Apple does control the hardware, and at this point we’re waiting for them.”

Recent NPD Group Report Finds Mac Market Share up to 12% in U.S. Households

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Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009, 05:59
Category: News

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If you’ve been having the market share debate with your friends for years (if not decades), this may come as a welcome surprise. Per an article on The Loop, nearly 12% of U.S. computer-owning households now own a Mac according to the NPD Group’s second annual Household Penetration Study. The new report places the market share up three percentage points from the market-research firm’s 2008 findings.

According to the report, 72% of those Mac users have laptops, and are very likely to live in mixed environments, a staggering 85% of those Mac users surveyed also own a Windows-based PC and 66% of those households contain three or more computers, compared with 29% for Windows households.

Those in Mac households are also greater consumers of consumer electronics. The survey found that 63% of Apple households own an iPod, compared to 36% of overall computer owners. 32% own a DSLR camera (versus 12%), while 18% own a 50+” LCD TV (versus 8%).

The report went on to explain that Mac households tended to make more money and thus had additional income for gadgets. In a statement accompanying the report, Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis, wrote, “36% of Apple computer owners reported household incomes greater than $100,000, compared to 21% of all consumers. With a higher household income, though, it’s not a surprise that those consumers are making more electronics purchases.”

He also said that Apple households own twice as many consumer electronics devices—48—as the average computer household.

The results come from a survey of more than 2300 of NPD’s online panelists.

Dutch Google Ads Hint at Updated iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Minis

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Date: Monday, October 5th, 2009, 03:02
Category: iMac, Mac mini, MacBook, News

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A series of Dutch-based Google AdSense ads appear to have prematurely revealed new Apple iMacs, entry level white MacBooks and Mac minis. According to AppleInsider, the ads, now mostly removed from Google searches, appeared over the weekend, suggested “thinner iMacs, redesigned polycarbonate MacBooks with thinner, sleeker enclosures, and speed-bumped Mac minis,” could be revealed sooner than later, even as early as this month.

Italian, German, Austrian and Belgium Google searches also reportedly produced similar results.

The ads revealed a “faster and more affordable than ever,” Mac mini “from only €499,” a €100 saving on the current cheapest price.

Alongside the Mac mini, the white MacBook notebook was listed as “thinner, lighter and stronger,” according to some translations – “Dunner, lichter en krachtiger! Gratis bezorging. Bestel vandaag” on the Belgium version of Google – while the new iMac was described as “ultra thin,” starting from €1099.

Rumours of a redesigned iMac with a “thinner, organic design, likely with smoothed or rounded edges” have also been doing the rounds for the last few weeks with analysts helping to fuel claims a refresh is imminent. Observers have claimed a new look iMac could be close to the current Apple Cinema Display in design.

The reports of a new Mac mini, with faster NVIDIA graphics processor appear to be new.

Intel Working on Apple’s “Light Peak” Brainchild to Eventually Replace Multiple Connection Cables

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Date: Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 04:10
Category: Hardware, News

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Ok, this is interesting. A new interconnect technology called Light Peak is being developed by Apple as a potential replacement for FireWire, USB and traditional monitor cables. Engadget reports that Apple brought the technology to Intel and asked them to create it.

Per Engadget, Apple had reached out to Intel as early as 2007 with plans for an interoperable standard which could handle massive amounts of data and “replace the multitudinous connector types with a single connector (FireWire, USB, Display interface).”

According to documents reviewed by Engadget, Light Peak would enable users to connect a variety of devices into a single Light Peak port. Longer-term, Light Peak has the potential to replace almost all the ports that are on your current computer, including networking, display driving, and general connectivity.

The technology is centered around fiber optics capable of transferring data at 10Gbps . At this speed, you could transfer a full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds. According to Intel, Light Peak can scale to 100Gbps over the next decade and has a number of other benefits.

Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible. Light Peak also has the ability to run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable, enabling the technology to connect devices such as peripherals, workstations, displays, disk drives, docking stations, and more. The technology is faster than the recently ratified SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) which can transfer data at 4.8Gbps and could wind up in Apple systems as soon as Fall 2010 in a line of Macs destined for back-to-school shoppers. Following the initial launch, a low-power version of Light Peak is planned for 2011, which could find its way into tablets and mobile phones.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a gander at the video from the lab…



TomTom Announces Clarification, States Car Kit, Application to be Sold Separately

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Date: Friday, September 25th, 2009, 05:47
Category: Accessory, iPhone, iPod, News

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Following up on an incident where its product was briefly displayed at the European Apple Store web site yesterday, TomTom U.K. announced that its upcoming iPhone Car Kit accessory will have a retail price of £99.99 but will not include the TomTom application.

“TomTom announces today that the TomTom car kit for the iPhone will have a recommended retail price of £99.99,” the company said in a press release. “The TomTom car kit will be available this October and will be sold separately from the TomTom app. It will be compatible with the iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS. All further details on the car kit will be made available soon.”

The announcement conflicts with earlier reports that the kit would include the software as a bundle.

The press release didn’t clarify whether the iPod touch will be compatible with the hardware kit, though the product’s windshield mount includes an external GPS receiver that is said to improve the reception of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

Unlike those models, first-generation iPhone does not include an internal GPS receiver, but the press release states that the device will work with the hardware. That corrects an apparent error in the previous Apple Store listing, which said that the TomTom software would not work on the first-generation iPhone.

Originally due for release over the summer, the kit was delayed until October. The TomTom application was released in the App Store in August at a price of US$99 U.S.

A final price for the U.S. edition has yet to be officially accounced.

New iMac Generation Almost Ready for Holidays, Could See Introduction This Month

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Date: Friday, September 25th, 2009, 05:03
Category: iMac, News

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Before the start of October, Apple could begin to fill out its 2009 Mac product line with a new family of iMacs sporting classier enclosures and a few added bells and whistles. Per AppleInsider, the new iMac dual-core desktops were finalized earlier in September and have been rolling off the Mac maker’s Taiwanese product lines for roughly two weeks, according to two people sources.

In addition to more affordable pricing, the systems are expected to come clad in a thinner industrial design. Though details are admittedly limited, it’s likely these new enclosures will also take design cues from the Cupertino-based company’s LED-lit Cinema Display offerings.

Aesthetic revisions aside, the late 2009 iMac line should also debut several features previously unavailable to Mac buyers.

People familiar with Apple’s thinking have suggested in recent months one of these moves could see the company finally embrace Blu-ray

With the costs of such drives remaining relatively high, it’s reasonable to presume such capability would fetch an added premium on most models.

A pair of other associated enhancements, one believed to be related to audio, should be seen with this new generation of iMacs according to sources close to the story.

For its part, AppleInsider believes Apple is primed to extend the capabilities of at least one technology introduced on the Mac platform as recently as last fall.

To make way for these new models, Apple’s corporate and educational sales teams this month have reportedly been offering their volume customers instant discounts of US$100 to US$200 on existing models. Anxious to clear inventories, representatives have allegedly stressed to buyers that these offers would be valid for just one week.

AT&T to Launch MMS Feature for iPhone Friday via Carrier Profile Update Over iTunes

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Date: Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 04:49
Category: iPhone, News

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American iPhone users will finally see AT&T’s MMS feature unlocked late Friday morning on the west coast by way of a carrier update file that will be delivered through iTunes, AT&T announced Wednesday.

“MMS Update: We know you’ve been eager for this service so we wanted to offer a quick update on the launch plans for MMS on Friday, Sept. 25,” AT&T wrote on its official Facebook page. “Late morning, Pacific Time, on Friday, the new carrier settings update enabling MMS should be live and ready to download through iTunes. We’ll provide the steps and all of the details you need right here at that time.”

Per AppleInsider, east coast residents will likely see their update available sometime early Friday afternoon. It also confirms that an iTunes update to the phone’s carrier profile will be necessary for MMS to be activated.

An article published over on DSLReports cited a source familiar with the company’s MMS upgrade as saying, “Starting at 10AM Eastern (on the 25), AT&T will send out a mass text to a group of iPhone users telling them that MMS now works on their phone.

Assuming all goes well, “They will keep doing groups of phones on the hour throughout the day,” the source said. Official word from company spokesman Seth Bloom said the upgrade would be targeted at early afternoon on the East Coast, or late morning for users on Pacific Time.

The source said AT&T was “very nervous” about the launch, due to seeing a surge in traffic from just a limited number of iPhone users selected to participate in advanced testing of the new service.

MMS allows users to send graphics, audio clips, location and contact files, and even video clips via an SMS-like messaging system. The new MMS features require an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS.

Picture and video messaging was originally scheduled to arrive in the summer, but will be a few days late. AT&T has said that iPhone data usage has been very taxing on its network, leading to delays as the company attempts to strengthen its service.

Originally, iPhone tethering was also announced for the summer, but AT&T officials have said that service is coming at a later date, with no specifics given. The company apparently has no intentions to cap bandwidth for iPhone users.

Apple Clears Legal Hurdle to Sell iPhone in South Korea

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Date: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, 03:05
Category: iPhone, News

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South Korean authorities cleared Apple’s iPhone for sale in the country on Wednesday by lifting a legal bar on operation of location-based services by Apple, a spokesman for a government regulator said. Per Macworld UK, the Korea Communications Commission decided to allow Apple to operate the services itself in a “flexible” application of local law, the spokesman said. Without the clearance, Apple would have needed a local operator to run the location services and manage user privacy for the data gathered, he said.

The move is partly aimed to avoid limiting choices for South Korean consumers, according to a spokesperson’s press release. South Korean’s mobile phone market is currently dominated by local handset makers Samsung and LG Electronics.

South Korean mobile carrier KT is in talks with Apple about offering the iPhone, though details are not yet available. Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Apple recently removed Wi-Fi functionalities from the model of the iPhone to be offered in China this year to obtain the country’s regulatory approval for the handset.