Apple releases MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7 update for mid-2013 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 20:49
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

This might come in handy.

On Friday, Apple released MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7, a 4.6 megabyte download that offers the following fixes and changes for the mid-2013 MacBook Air notebook:
- MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.

The update requires a mid-2013 MacBook Air running OS X 10.8.5 or later to install and run and can also be downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Study shows Microsoft’s Windows market share falling from 90% to 33% in post-PC device world

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Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 06:21
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

microsoftlogo

The day you never thought would arrive may finally be here.

Of course, it still depends on how you look at the data…

According to Asymco’s Horace Dediu, over the last five years, Post-PC devices have displaced conventional Windows PCs so rapidly that Microsoft’s dominance over personal computing has plummeted from roughly 90 percent share to less than a third.

The data highlights in implosion of growth that has sapped Worldwide PC shipments starting with at the launch of Apple’s iPad in 2010.

While PC shipments have stagnated over the past five years, Apple’s sales of iPhone and iPads and the estimated shipments of Android-based devices have grown rapidly.

The personal computing industry has shifted from 92 million shipments in 2008 to today’s market of 269 million units, as the site further details in charts.

Five years ago, Windows PCs accounted for the vast majority of computing devices – around 90 percent. But after failing to materially participate in the shift to tablets and smartphones, Microsoft has been left with its OS software on less than a third of the devices companies and individuals now use.

Dediu’s figures come from Gartner’s PC and tablet shipment data. The firm, along with IDC, suddenly stopped counting certain tablets among PC sales after Apple released its iPad. Both companies have since added Microsoft’s Surface and other Windows-branded tablets to their PC numbers while relegating iPads and Android tablets into a separate “media tablet” category.

Ostensibly, this was to separate devices used only for “media consumption” from PC figures, but the firm’s PC data has always included vast numbers of PCs that have only ever been used to browse the web or check mail, and have also included low powered netbooks and other limited-duty PC devices.

In stark contrast, complete PC market data from Canalys has more clearly shown how modern tablet form factors have had a tremendous impact on the PC market, without regard for how flattering the truth is to Microsoft.

iPhone 5s handsets entering short supply stage while iPhone 5c units remain fully stocked, more readily available

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Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 06:38
Category: iPhone, News, retail

iphone5c

If there’s a new iPhone handset popularity contest going on, the iPhone 5s is currently the winner.

Per AppleInsider, three weeks after the latest iPhones went on sale in the U.S., availability of the iPhone 5s has actually declined while Apple prepares for greater international roll-out.

Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has been checking inventory levels of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c since they went on sale Sept. 21. In a note to investors released on Friday, he indicated that supply of the iPhone 5s went from 27 percent availability two weeks ago to 6 percent over the past week, based on a check of 60 Apple stores.

In addition, the number of stores that had at least one iPhone 5s SKU available dropped from 90 percent two weeks ago to 40 percent over the past week. Munster believes the shrinking supply is probably a result of Apple preparing for an international launch, with 51 new markets set to receive both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c by Nov. 1. Resale value of the iPhone 5s is currently 32% above market value in the U.S.

In another sign of demand, Munster has also been tracking resale value, and found that the entry-level 16-gigabyte iPhone 5s is currently selling at a 32 percent premium in the U.S.

The story is different for the iPhone 5c, which is selling at an 11 percent discount over its retail price. Munster’s checks also found that the iPhone 5c remains well-stocked, and he expects that demand for the mid-level handset is about in-line with market expectations.

In comparison, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 currently sells for a 12 percent discount in the U.S., putting it about on par with Apple’s iPhone 5c.

“We expect iPhone aftermarket prices should decrease as 5S supply catches up to demand and would consider the 5S fully stocked when the 5S is available to ship in a 24 hour lead time,” Munster wrote. Currently Apple’s online store quotes iPhone 5S October lead times in Apple’s 6 largest countries, and 24 hours for the 5C.”

Dropbox updated to 2.4.2

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Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 06:46
Category: News, Software

The Dropbox update-o-rama continues…

On Friday, Dropbox released version 2.4.2 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 32.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- Fixed Import to iPhoto and Screenshots not working for some international users.

- Other minor fixes.

Dropbox 2.4.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

AOL to discontinue iCloud account support for its Alto webmail service come December 2nd

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Date: Thursday, October 10th, 2013, 06:42
Category: iCloud, News, Software

aollogo

If you weren’t enchanted with AOL before, then this won’t help win you over.

According to 9to5Mac, AOL has informed applicable users that it will be dropping support for accessing email from Apple’s iCloud service from its recently launched Alto webmail client. Alto is a web-based mail client that intelligently sorts and integrates email from services such as iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL. AOL has informed iCloud users who have logged into Alto that support for iCloud will be dropped on December 2nd via the following e-mail:

“Thanks for using Alto to read and send mail from your @iCloud, @me or @mac account. We’ve been honored to host those accounts and get great, positive feedback on the experience from users like you. But we’re sad to say that Alto will no longer support iCloud accounts as of December 2, 2013. We sincerely regret the frustration this will cause.”

iCloud accounts will automatically be disabled in Alto on that date, but users can begin the process early by removing iCloud accounts from Alto manually. All iCloud accounts, no matter if the domain is @icloud.com, @me.com, or @mac.com will no longer be supported. AOL has not shared why it is dropping support for Apple’s email service, and AOL does not appear to be dropping support for any other provider.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple job listing points towards partnership with China Mobile wireless carrier

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Date: Thursday, October 10th, 2013, 06:18
Category: iPhone, News

china-mobile-logo

It’s the job postings that show where Apple’s headed…

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Bloomberg, a new Apple job listing seeking an engineer experienced with China Mobile’s proprietary TD-LTE network. The job listing notes that the position will “support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones.”

The job posting seeks in-depth knowledge and experience with wireless systems including TD-LTE, which is the 4G standard used by China Mobile. Skills with WCDMA and CDMA, the technologies used by China Unicom and China Telecom, respectively, are also sought. “This role will be responsible for the overall management of the technical interface to all carriers in the Greater China region,” Apple said in the ad.

China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier with upwards of 700 million subscribers. To that end, reaching a deal with them would provide Apple with a tremendous opportunity to really create a noticeable uptick in iPhone sales.

Just recently, word emerged that in early September, Apple received a “network access license” to carry the iPhone on China Mobile.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Best Buy to open new iPhone 5s, 5c incentive program on October 11th, offer $100 credit for any working smartphone

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Date: Thursday, October 10th, 2013, 05:51
Category: iPhone, retail, Rumor

best-buy-logo

Never doubt the power of an incentive program.

Per AppleInsider and TechnoBuffalo, electronics retailer Best Buy appears on the verge of kicking off another trade-in program aimed at getting iPhone 5s and 5c customers through its doors, this time offering a minimum of US$100 toward the purchase of one of Apple’s two new phones in exchange for any working smartphone.

The new trade-in offer will launch on Friday, October 11, for customers interested in the iPhone 5c, according to an apparent internal document obtained by TechnoBuffalo. Those interested in the iPhone 5s can take advantage of the option beginning October 13. For both phones, the promotion will run through October 19.

According to the document, the trade-in program will see Best Buy offering a gift card for at least US$100 in exchange for any working smartphone. That gift card must be used toward the purchase of an iPhone 5c or an iPhone 5s with a two-year contract on a supported carrier.

This new trade-in offer reportedly can not be combined with Best Buy’s existing iPhone 5c offer. That offer makes the 5c available for US$49 with a US$50 Best Buy gift card.

Devices eligible for trade-in must power on, and devices that are water damaged or that have cracked screens are not eligible for the program. Customers bringing in smartphones in their original packaging or with their original accessories may also see their trade-in values increase.

Interested customers may also want to call ahead to their local Best Buy location, as the document notes that the offer may not be valid at all locations.

This apparent new program would be the latest in a string of iPhone-centric deals the electronics retailer has offered. Current iPhone owners looking to upgrade to one of Apple’s newer models can take advantage of a wealth of options to trade-in their iPhones.

iPhone 5s, 5c to expand to dozens of additional countries on October 25th, November 1st

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Date: Wednesday, October 9th, 2013, 07:37
Category: iPhone, News, retail

eliphone5s

The iPhone 5s and 5c handsets, they’re coming to a country near you.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has announced that the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available in 35 additional countries starting October 25, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, French West Indies, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Island, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand.

In addition, the iPhone 5s and 5c will debut in the following countries on Friday, November 1: Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, Colombia, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE.

So, yeah, it looks like you should be able to get your paws on the new handset…

Adobe Flash Player updated to 11.9.900.117

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Date: Wednesday, October 9th, 2013, 06:06
Category: News, Software

This one’s fairly substantial.

On Tuesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.9.900.117 for Mac OS X, an 18 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:
- Mobile Workers (concurrency) – Android: Workers APIs are now supported for Android. This will work only with swf-version 22 (namespace 3.9) or later. The feature is in development and there are a few known issues.

- Support for background execution in Direct render mode – iOS and Android: Presently AIR on iOS and Android does not support background execution when render mode direct is set. Due to this restriction, Stage3D based apps are not able to execute background tasks like audio playback, location updates, network upload/download etc. iOS does not allow OpenGLES/rendering calls in the background. Applications which attempt to make OpenGL calls in the background are terminated by the iOS. Android does not restrict applications from either making OpenGLES in the background or other background task (like audio playback). With this feature, we would be allowing AIR mobile apps to execute in background when renderMode direct is set. AIR iOS runtime will throw an error if OpenGLES calls are made in background. However no error will be thrown on Android, as Android native apps are allowed to make OpenGLES calls in background. It’s recommended to not make rendering calls while app is executing in background as its important to utilize the mobile resources judicially. List of Stage APIs which may throw the error 3768 – The Stage3D API may not be used during background execution”.

- XXHDPI (144×144) Icon Support – Android: With this feature we have added support for beautiful, high resolution icons on devices such as the Nexus 10.

- Mac OS X 10.9 Support: We have tested against the latest developer releases of OS X 10.9 and are ensuring that Flash Player continues to perform as expected.

- Mac .pkg Installation Support: Deploying Flash Player and keeping it up to date is a critical task for system administrators worldwide. We’re introducing a new .pkg installer format for our distribution partners so we can reduce their workload by allowing them to deploy Flash Player for Mac using their current tools and environments.

Adobe Flash Player 11.9.900.117 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.8 update

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 15:32
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a steadily updated app.

Microsoft on Tuesday released version 14.3.8 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following changes:
- This update fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code. For more information about this update, please visit the Microsoft Web site.

- Applies to: Office 2011, Office 2011 Home and Business Edition, Word 2011, Excel 2011, PowerPoint 2011, Outlook 2011, Office for Mac Standard 2011 Edition, Microsoft Office for Mac Home & Student 2011, and Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011

The update can also be located and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.8 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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