Verizon to tack on $2/month fee for users not using autopay system

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2011, 07:22
Category: iPhone, News

verizonlogo.jpg

You may not like this.

Per Droid Life, a leaked memo shows that Verizon Wireless will soon be charging customers US$2 for every month they aren’t using the company’s autopay/autodraft system. The leaked memo details what has to be done with the policy change since the carrier boosted its early termination fee for “advanced devices.”

Effective January 15th, any customer that opts to pay their wireless bill online or over the phone will be charged an extra US$2 each month, and the only way to sidestep it is to sign up for AutoPay or to pay by electronic check, where there’s no credit card fee passed on to the carrier.

For those unaware, AutoPay automatically drafts the most recent amount from either a linked checking / savings account or a credit card on file.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you make of this in the comments.

Argentina enacts ban on iPhone, BlackBerry imports as part of effort to boost local production

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2011, 07:10
Category: iPhone, News

If you were planning on hitting up Argentina any time soon, snagging an iPhone there just got that much harder.

In an attempt to rectify issues with Argentina’s economy, the South American country placed a temporary ban on imports of foreign-made electronics. Two of the most well-known of those electronics are the iPhone and BlackBerry devices. Apple and RIM collectively account for 60 percent of Argentina’s smartphone market, so the ban is going to have a substantial impact on its mobile industry.

According to Electronista, Neither of the operating systems nor the hardware manufacturers were affected because they — Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Microsoft, etc. — have manufacturing facilities within Argentina. Android and Windows Phone will very quickly see a boost in sales, while iPhone and BlackBerry sales will drop to zero, unless of course Apple and RIM open up local plants or partner with other manufacturers.

In all actuality, the iPhone and BlackBerry markets have been struggling in Argentina for a while. A law was already in place that added a 20.48 percent tax on electronic imports on top of the standard 21 percent sales tax.

The government of Argentina says they will lift the ban on iPhones and BlackBerrys when the economy shows significant signs of stabilization, but there’s no telling just when that will happen.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Spire hack allows Siri to operate on jailbroken iPhones, requires proxy server

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2011, 10:38
Category: Hack, iPhone

One day, Siri will run on everything (the toaster included).

Per The Mac Observer, pre-iPhone 4S owners that like to jailbreak can add Siri to their combo smartphone and iPod thanks to a new tool called Spire from chpwn. The hack apparently works around copyright concerns by letting users install the Siri files from Apple’s own servers instead of copying them from an iPhone 4S.

While Spire may side step some copyright issues, it doesn’t necessarily make it easy to keep Siri running on your jailbroken iPhone.

“Spire is not a complete solution. Apple still requires authorization to use Siri, so information from an iPhone 4S is still required,” chpwn said on his blog. “To insert this information, Spire allows you to enter your own proxy server address.”

The trick to keeping Siri running on a jailbroken iPhone is to set up a proxy server, and then to connect an iPhone 4S to it on a regular basis since the needed authentication keys change often.

Spire isn’t a perfect solution for hackers wanting to try Siri on an older iPhone, but it tends to be easier than previous methods. For now, however, this looks like an option for more tech savvy iPhone owners.

Spire is available as a free download through the Cydia app only on jailbroken iPhones.

If you’ve tried the Spire hack and have any feedback about the process or its results, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

iPhone 4S to arrive in mainland China come January

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2011, 10:52
Category: iPhone, News

The iPhone 4S is en route to the easy…just wait about a month.

Per Chinese web site People’s Daily, Apple has met all of the requirements for the iPhone 4S to launch in mainland China, and the handset will reportedly debut before the Chinese New Year in late January.

The web site reported this week that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Compulsory Certification for the iPhone 4S on Dec. 22. That means Apple has met all of the requirements necessary to launch its latest smartphone in mainland China.

The report said the handset will debut “at the beginning of January 2012,” and will hit the market before the Chinese New Year. That takes place on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.

Filings with the Chinese government show a WCDMA phone manufactured by Apple was granted approval. Though it does not specifically reveal that the device is the iPhone 4S, it is listed as model number A1431, which is the same number Apple used to obtain a network entry permit for the iPhone 4S.

The approval process and anticipated release of the iPhone 4S has dragged out in China as Apple has quickly launched its latest smartphone in other major markets around the world. It’s been the fastest rollout ever for a new iPhone model.

The iPhone 4S did debut in Hong Kong in the first week of November, and sold out within minutes. Some regional branches of China Unicom in mainland China have been taking advance bookings for the iPhone 4S for weeks in anticipation of the device’s launch as it goes through China’s approval process.

One of the major selling points of the iPhone 4S is Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant application. Rumors have suggested that Siri will gain support for Mandarin, the most popular form of the Chinese language, by March of 2012.

If you have two cents to hurl in on this, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Boxee updated to 1.5, sings swan song for Mac OS X, Windows versions

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 26th, 2011, 09:05
Category: News, Software

The good news: There’s a nifty new version of Boxee available for the Mac.

The bad news: This will be its final version for the Mac.

Per Electronista, Boxee marked a swansong for its desktop app with the launch of version 1.5. The new version, an 82 megabyte download, has a newly refreshed interface with quicker access to the browser and the menu appearing as an overlay with quicker search. Movie and TV sections have been given their own updates, such as easier navigation by genres and sources, more details, and a better way to check for unwatched video episodes.

The app requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run. Its release is the last official desktop version and will be pulled after late January, when the interface comes to Boxee’s own hardware with the Live TV Tuner add-on.

Andrew Kippen from the company explained the decision to axe the desktop app as a virtue of a widening gap between the software version and what the team was allowed to do with the Boxee Box. Limitations on certification and copy protection imposed by Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, and others prevented Boxee from offering much of what it wanted.

TV was also more likely to be driven by dedicated hardware, Kippen argued. Along with the Boxee Box, it saw Internet-aware Blu-ray players and TVs leading the charge as well as sharing-capable smartphones and tablets. Makeshift setups with computers hooked up to TVs were less likely to stay.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

NORAD releases updated Santa Tracking app for iOS

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2011, 10:16
Category: iOS, News, Software

The same organization that almost blew up the world in “War Games” knows exactly where Santa is this year.

Per Macworld, NORAD, the Colorado Springs-based military organization responsible for the aerospace and maritime defense of the United States and Canada, has released the the NORAD Tracks Santa app available for free from the App Store and the Android Market.

According to Colorado Springs app maker Visionbox: “The NORAD Tracks Santa App is the official mobile app of the NORAD Tracks Santa program. Watch the days countdown to Santa’s flight, follow Santa’s progress on December 24, play ‘Elf Toss’ to help Santa’s elves deliver presents, and learn about NORAD and its mission.”

Santa can also be tracked via a second-by-second countdown on the NORAD website as well as in 3D via Google Earth. Last year, the NORAD site had more than 15 million visitors on Christmas Eve, according to USA Today.

LogMeIn iOS app now available for free on App Store

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2011, 07:16
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

You can’t keep a good remote app down.

Per MacNN, LogMeIn Ignition, a US$30 iOS app that allowed users to fully access and control unlimited numbers of Macs and Windows machines from their mobile device, has effectively been superceded by a new, free app simply called LogMeIn from the same company. However, Ignition users will now be automatically upgraded to the feature set of LogMeIn Pro, as well as enjoying a new HD streaming audio and video feature that is set to debut in early 2012.

The two programs allow remote access and full use of available Macs and PCs over Wi-Fi or 3G over an encrypted (AES 256-bit) connection, running applications and viewing documents just as though they were sitting in front of the target machines. Current LogMeIn Ignition customers will receive an upgraded version with the same name that now offers all the features of LogMeIn Pro, including support for Wake-On-LAN and AirPrint printing, My Cloud Bank cloud storage integration to allow moving files between iOS devices (also works with third-party cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Docs), and HD remote control and streaming video and audio to the iOS device from Windows machines (streaming from Mac machines will arrive early next year).

The price for LogMeIn Ignition has been raised from US$30 to US$100 in accordance with its increased abilities, though existing users will be upgraded without charge. LogMeIn Pro is also available as a US$40 per year in-app purchase from within LogMeIn. Users can make their Mac or Windows machines available by simply installing LogMeIn Free on their target computers. LogMeIn Ignition users (new and existing) will get the same features as the subscription upgrade, but without the subscription.

LogMeIn requires iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Intuit to revise Quicken 2007, add Lion compatibility in “early 2012”

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2011, 06:00
Category: News, Software

You either love or hate Quicken, but you’ve got to admit it’s useful.

Per AppleInsider, Intuit announced to customers on Thursday that it plans to release a “re-engineered” version of Quicken for Mac 2007 that will be compatible with the latest version of Apple’s Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion.

A note from Aaron Forth, general manager of the Intuit Personal Finance Group, was sent out to customers Thursday, acknowledging that the company has “not always delivered” on its promise to deliver the best products to Mac customers. In particular, he was addressing the fact that Quicken for Mac 2007 does not have compatibility with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

“I understand the frustration this may have caused you and have put a team in place to address this issue,” Forth wrote. “I am happy to announce that we will have a solution that makes Quicken 2007 for Mac ‘Lion-compatible’ by early spring.”

Details on the forthcoming release are available on Intuit’s support website with a newly published list of questions and answers. There users can request to be notified when more information becomes available.

Forth told customers that the Quicken for Mac 2007 solution is “just a first step” in winning back the confidence of customers. Intuit is also expanding its development team to better support Mac users.

“I understand we have a way to go, but I wanted to start by communicating our commitment to Mac and look forward to sharing the details with you as they emerge,” he said.

Intuit last overhauled Quicken for Mac with Quicken Essentials, released in early 2010. But its latest efforts aim to support legacy customers, who have been locked out from Quicken for Mac 2007 since Apple launched Lion in July.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available. And for Mac users looking to motivate Intuit’s developers regarding the next version, you can always look up their headquarters and send them snacks and cocoa given the holiday season.

Mozilla releases Firefox 9.0.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 14:19
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

On Thursday, Mozilla.org released version 9.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as a 30.8 megabyte download (via MacUpdate) and adds the following fixes and changes:

– Added Type Inference, significantly improving JavaScript performance.

– Improved theme integration for Mac OS X Lion.

– Added two finger swipe navigation for Mac OS X Lion.

– Added support for querying Do Not Track status via JavaScript.

– Added support for font-stretch.

– Improved support for text-overflow.

– Improved standards support for HTML5, MathML, and CSS.

– Fixed several stability issues.

– Fixed security issues.

– Fixed add-on crashes.

Firefox 9.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.15052

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 10:57
Category: News, Software

parallelslogo1.jpg

On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.15052 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 304 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Better compatibility with Mac OS X 10.7.2 Launchpad.

– Improves network stability.

– Addresses the issue of Linux virtual machine not resuming upon waking the Mac from Sleep mode.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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