Apple releases updated MacBook Pro notebooks, offers $200 drop from previous price points

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:59
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

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If you were hoping for a cool new Apple notebook from today’s media event, this might be it.

Per Mac|Life, Apple VP of Marketing Phil Schiller announced significant updates for the 13- and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros. Schiller announced that the 13-inch version is now both thinner and lighter, clocking in at 3.46 pounds and .71 inches thin.

The new notebooks also feature a Haswell chip, Iris graphics, all of which makes it up to 90 percent faster. All total, that deliver nine hours of battery life, enough, Schiller said, to watch Christopher Nolan’s entire Dark Knight saga in one go. But with all those improvements, Schiller had some other good news. The new MacBook Pro will sell for US$1,299, marking US$200 drop from before, and it’s even shipping today.

Schiller then moved on to discuss the 15-inch version, which has 2.4GHz Core i5, 4GB ram and a 128GB SSD, which is also shipping today. The new unit includes Crystalwell chip with Iris Pro graphics with the option to add a GeForce 750M. Additional specs include around 8 hours of battery life, PCIe Flash, 802.11ac, and Thunderbolt 2. The 15-inch unit also saw a price decrease–it now sells for US$1,999, down from US$2,199, and is also shipping today.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.9 Mavericks, offers OS upgrade for free

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:21
Category: News, Software

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You’ve REALLY been waiting for this one.

On Tuesday, Apple released its long-awaited OS X 10.9 Mavericks operating system. The new OS, which stands at roughly a five gigabyte download via OS X’s Software Update utility, offers the following fixes, changes and new features:

iBooks:
- Download and read books from the iBooks Store.

- Pick up right where you left off. iCloud keeps your current page up to date across all your devices.

- Swipe through Multi-Touch books with interactive features, diagrams, photos, videos, and more.

- Keep multiple books open while using other apps — great for writing a paper or doing research.

Maps:
- Send directions from your Mac to your iPhone and use voice navigation when you’re on the go.

- Explore select cities in stunning, photo-realistic 3D with Flyover.

- See detailed directions, real-time traffic, and alternate routes.

- Find restaurants, stores, and other places of interest with local search in Maps.

Calendar:
- Create new events in a snap with the new, streamlined event inspector.

- Enter event locations fast with address autocompletion.

- Add walking or driving travel time to your event so you know when to leave.

- See a map of your event’s location, as well as the weather forecast for that day.

- See holidays and Facebook events in Calendar.

Safari:
- Use Shared Links to discover new, interesting links posted by people you follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.

- Browse longer thanks to new core technologies that boost energy efficiency.

- Easily access your bookmarks, Reading List, and Shared Links in the new Sidebar.

- Protect your online privacy with new tracking-prevention features.

iCloud Keychain:
- Don’t worry about remembering passwords — iCloud Keychain fills them in so you don’t have to.

- Keep your website passwords, credit card numbers, and Wi-Fi passwords up to date across your trusted devices. Robust 256-bit AES encryption helps keep your information safe.

- Sign in once to all of your mail, contacts, calendar, and other internet accounts, and iCloud pushes them to all your Mac computers.

Multiple Displays:
- Just plug in a second display to use it with your Mac — no configuration required.

- Access the Dock and the menu bars on each display.

- Use full-screen apps on any or all of your displays.

- Use your HDTV as a second display with Apple TV.

Notifications:
- Reply to mail or messages right from a notification, without having to leave the app you’re using.

- Receive notifications for incoming FaceTime calls and reply with an iMessage or set a callback reminder.

- Receive notifications from websites, even when Safari isn’t running.

Finder Tabs:
- Declutter your desktop by consolidating multiple Finder windows into one.

- Move files between your tabs by simply dragging and dropping them.

- Select a custom view — icon, list, or column — for each of your tabs.

- Use tabs with full-screen Finder to organize and access all your files and folders.

Tags:
- Organize files with tags no matter where they’re located — in iCloud or on your Mac.

- Give a document as many tags as you want.

- Click a tag in the Finder sidebar to see all the files with that tag.

Advanced Technologies:
- With energy-saving core technologies in OS X Mavericks, you can surf the web longer on a single charge.

- Watching iTunes HD video is now more efficient, so you can watch more video when you’re not plugged in.

- App Nap regulates applications you’re not using so they consume less energy.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks is available for free and requires any one of the following 64-bit Intel-based Macs to install and run:
iMac (Mid-2007 or later), MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later), MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17- inch, Late 2007 or later), MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later), Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later), Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later), Xserve (Early 2009)

If you’ve tried OS X 10.9 Mavericks and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Cocktail updated to 7.0 (Mavericks Edition) released

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, 23:51
Category: News, Software

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Not all the hefty updates came from Apple today.

On Tuesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 7.0 of CocktailCocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 2.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- Added OS X 10.9 Mavericks compatibility.

Cocktail 7.0 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.9 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.

Apple releases iTunes 11.1.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, 23:08
Category: News, Software

An updated iTunes, of course, came out in the midst of everything.

On Tuesday, Apple released version 11.1.2 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 231 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Optimized for OS X Mavericks.

- Adds support for Arabic and Hebrew.

- Improves performance and stability.

iTunes 11.1.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iPhoto 9.5 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, 23:45
Category: News, Software

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Pretty much everything got an update today, iPhoto being part of that “everything”.

On Tuesday, Apple released its iPhoto 9.5 update. The update, a 1.15 gigabyte download from the Mac App Store, adds the following fixes and changes:
- 64-bit support.

- The Places feature now uses Apple maps to display photo locations.

- Adds support for iCloud Photo Sharing, including the ability to post videos to shared photo streams and the ability to have multiple subscribers contribute to a shared stream.

- Adds support for iOS 7 camera filters applied to photos imported from iOS devices.

- Includes a new, streamlined interface for printing.

- Replaces the Create menu with an updated Share menu providing access to all sharing options, including print products such as books, cards and calendars.

- Fixes an issue that could cause iPhoto to quit unexpectedly when sharing an edited photo from a MacBook Pro with Retina display.

- Addresses an issue that could cause iPhoto to show incorrect file type and size information for imported TIFF and PSD files.

- Comment sheet now appears correctly when sharing multiple photos to a new or existing photo stream.

- Fixes an issue that caused photos with specific color profiles to display incorrectly on iOS devices after being shared via iCloud.

- Captions instead of version names are now synced between iPhoto and Facebook for newly-created albums.

- Privacy settings can now be managed when sharing photos from iPhoto to a Facebook Timeline.

- Videos up to three minutes long can now be shared to Flickr.

- Addresses an issue that could cause photos synced to iPhoto from Flickr to appear rotated incorrectly.

- Fixes an issue that could cause photos synced to iPhoto from Facebook or Flickr to be duplicated and reposted.

- URLs in the photo comments field can now be clicked to open the corresponding links.

- Improves reliability when working with custom locations in the Places feature.

- Improves reliability when copying and pasting photos to a new event.

- When a single photo is selected in an album, clicking the Trash button in the contextual menu now removes the photo from the album rather than from the library.

- Includes stability and performance improvements.

iPhoto 9.4.3 retails for US$14.99 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.9 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know.

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.10

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, 23:51
Category: News, Software

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SpamSieve got a boost today.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.10. The new version, a 10.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- SpamSieve is now compatible with the updated GM build of Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks. It is recommended that you update to SpamSieve 2.9.10 before installing Mavericks. If you’ve updated to Mavericks first, and you don’t see the SpamSieve commands in Apple Mail’s Message menu, be sure to choose Install Apple Mail Plug-In from the SpamSieve menu.

- The How can I hide SpamSieve’s Dock icon? section of the manual has been updated for Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

- Improved various other parts of the manual and Read Me.

- Tried to work around a problem where the Outlook installer received an error from the system when the Mac was running in French.

SpamSieve 2.9.10 retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iOS 7.0.3 update, addresses accelerometer, security, assorted issues

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, 23:37
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You’ve been hankering for this fix.

On Tuesday, Apple released iOS 7.0.3, an updated new version of its operating system for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The new operating system, which weighs in as a 59.1 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Adds iCloud Keychain to keep track of your account names, passwords, and credit card numbers across all your approved devices.

- Adds Password Generator so Safari can suggest unique, hard-to-guess passwords for your online accounts.

- Updates lock screen to delay display of “slide to unlock” when Touch ID is in use.

- Adds back the ability to search the web and Wikipedia from Spotlight search.

- Fixes an issue where iMessage failed to send for some users.

- Fixes a bug that could prevent iMessage from activating.

- Improves system stability when using iWork apps.

- Fixes an accelerometer calibration issue.

- Addresses an issue that could cause Siri and VoiceOver to use a lower quality voice.

- Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the Lock screen passcode.

- Enhances the Reduce Motion setting to minimize both motion and animation.

- Fixes an issue that could cause VoiceOver input to be too sensitive.

- Updates the Bold Text setting to also change dial pad text.

- Fixes an issue that could cause supervised devices to become un-supervised when updating software.

iOS 7.0.3 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

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

French, German Amazon.com web sites seem to hint at next-gen Apple TV for Apple’s October 22nd event

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:49
Category: Apple TV, News, retail

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It’s the inventory levels that hint at the cool stuff around the corner.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Engadget, Amazon’s French and German sites are currently showing the Apple TV as out of stock, with availability “from 23 October,” lending a small amount of weight to suggestions that a new Apple TV will be one of the announcements at Apple’s launch event the day before.

This isn’t the ultimate sign of things to come, but the availability date is at least an interesting coincidence.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T’s Chris Penrose unveils $5/day “data day pass” for cellular-equipped tablets

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:18
Category: iPad, News, wireless

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This could come in handy.

Per AllThingsD, speaking at GigaOm’s Mobilize conference Thursday afternoon, AT&T vice president Chris Penrose told the audience that the lowest US$5, 250 megabyte day pass option, alongside a tier that allots users up to 1 gigabyte of data over a three month period for a one-time US$25 fee, is aimed at those who would normally rely on hotel Wi-Fi on the road.

Penrose expressed the company’s desire to connect more tablets to its network, saying “We really think that a Wi-Fi only tablet is good, but it is not good enough.” He added that AT&T would “like to see tablet manufacturers build just one tablet,” a single model equipped with a cellular radio. Currently, many manufacturers like Apple offer two tablet versions — cellular-capable and Wi-Fi only — to reduce costs for those who don’t plan on connecting to a 3G or 4G network.

To sign up for the new plans, users with cellular-capable tablets simply access buyasession.att.com through their device’s web browser and complete the four-step purchase process from there. An AT&T SIM card is required.

When Apple released the original iPad in 2010, users could purchase a US$29.99-per-month unlimited data plan directly from the tablet’s Settings app on a month-to-month basis using a credit card. The option remains, though the cost and data allotment varies by carrier, and some will charge only a prorated portion of the fee for users who only subscribe for a limited number of days in a given month.

If you’ve tried AT&T’s newest tier and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1 to check for faulty SSDs in mid-2012 MacBook Air models

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:18
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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It’s kind of a weird firmware update they sent out, but it might be useful.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday released an update for its MacBook Air lineup meant to test the thin-and-light laptop’s solid-state drive for a data loss issue and, if no fault is found, install a fresh firmware version.

Apple’s MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1, a 2.3 megabyte download, specifically targets mid-2012 models, a “small percentage” of which was found to have flash drives containing an unspecified issue that erases data. As noted below, if a problem is discovered and the drive cannot be update, Apple will replace the affected SSD at no cost.

From the release notes:
“Apple has discovered that a small percentage of flash storage drives in these MacBook Air models have an issue that may result in data loss. This update tests your drive and, in the majority of cases, installs new firmware to resolve the issue. If your drive cannot be updated, Apple will replace it, free of charge.”

It is unknown how widespread the issue may be, though a quick search of Apple’s Support Communities forum reveals multiple threads pertaining to SSD failures and data loss.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.