Twitter Leak Shows Apple Adding Scheduling Options for Developers in App Store

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Date: Thursday, March 18th, 2010, 04:39
Category: iPhone, News

You’ve got to admit, Twitter leaks make life interesting.

On Wednesday, developer Amro Mousa from Return7 posted to his Twitter account that Apple has now added the ability for developers to schedule a sale window for their iPhone applications, allowing them to temporarily schedule a different price. According to Macworld UK, this new feature has been independently confirmed.

App Store developers can and already do offer discounts on their apps for specific periods of time, but the process of doing so had been entirely manual to date. With the addition of advance scheduling, it’ll be easier for developers to plan their sale periods and spread the word accordingly. This can also help eliminate the chances of human error resulting in sale windows starting and ending sooner or later than planned.

This isn’t the biggest change in the world for the App Store, but it might make things a little friendlier for the developers who contribute to it.

Apple Releases iPhone OS SDK 3.2 Beta 5 for the iPad

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Date: Thursday, March 18th, 2010, 04:24
Category: iPad, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released beta 5 of its iPhone OS 3.2 SDK for the iPad via the iPhone Dev Center. According to MacNN, the release comes on the heels just over a week since the launch of beta 4 of the SDK and shows Apple accelerating its efforts prior to the iPad’s April 3rd release.

Specific changes in beta 5 are still unknown, but the company is generally understood to be focusing on bug fixes over new features. Some of the earliest betas made mention of camera-related features, but these have mostly been pruned out from beta 4 onwards, in part because the current iPad lacks any cameras. Despite allusions to multitasking, it isn’t expected until at least iPhone OS 4.0, if not later.

iPhone OS 3.2 primarily enables the UI elements needed for the iPad but also adds features that are likely to spill into the iPhone and iPod touch, such as background images that persist on the home screen and four-way screen rotation that also extends to the home screen’s icons.

If you’ve downloaded the new beta and have any feedback about it, let us know in the comments.

Apple Releases Updated Samsung, Brother Printer Drivers for Snow Leopard

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Date: Wednesday, March 17th, 2010, 03:29
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released its Samsung Printer Drivers 2.1 and Brother Printer Drivers 2.3 package for Mac OS X 10.6.x (Snow Leopard). The Samsung Printer Drivers 2.1 package, a 23.2 megabyte download, offers support for assorted Samsung printers that have shipped since Mac OS X 10.6′s introduction.

The Brother Printer Drivers 2.3 package, a 100 megabyte download, includes the latest printer drivers and scanning software for Brother’s units.

Both packages can also be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.6 to install and run.

Apple Consuming Lion’s Share of NAND Memory, Hesitant to Negotiate with Suppliers This Quarter

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Date: Tuesday, March 16th, 2010, 09:53
Category: iPhone, iPod, News

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Even as time goes by, tech parts don’t always get cheaper.

Per DigiTimes, Apple, which already consumes the lion’s share of the global NAND flash memory supply, is apparently reluctant to negotiate with suppliers in 2010 due to high prices.

Although the demand for NAND memory in devices such as memory cards and flash drives has been soft, this hasn’t significantly pushed down chip prices. Major chip suppliers like Samsung have given priority to profitable partnerships over shipment volume, which doesn’t work to the advantage of major buyers like Apple.

In addition to the lower demand, the situation has become even more volatile given that tight foundry capacity is expected to disrupt shipments and have an effect on NAND flash pricing, industry sources reportedly said.

“Some NAND flash controller suppliers,” the report said, “have indicated that their supply may not be able to satisfy customer demand in the second quarter if their foundry partners continue to see tight capacity, the sources said. This supply disruption is likely to impact NAND flash prices for the quarter.”

Industry sources expect the situation to improve in the second quarter of 2010, when they believe Apple may start negotiating long-term supply contracts for NAND flash. The report noted that Apple’s consumption of flash memory will “continue to play a significant role” in the industry this year.

Earlier this month, a rumor came out that the possible success of Apple’s iPad could increase prices of solid state drives. Apple consumes nearly one-third of total NAND flash memory supplies, and its share is expected to grow even more with the launch of the iPad on April 3.

Apple was noted multiple times in 2009 as causing a flash memory shortage due to its iPod and iPhone products consuming the largest share of NAND flash. Industry sources expect the price of NAND flash to continue to rise in 2010.

In addition to most of the iPod lineup and the iPhone, in early 2008, Apple embraced the solid state drive by offering it as an option in its MacBook Air notebook.

Apple Aperture SlideShow Support Update 1.1 Released

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Date: Tuesday, March 16th, 2010, 03:53
Category: Software

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On Monday, Apple released its Aperture SlideShow Support Update 1.1 patch, a 3.3 megabyte download which addresses an issue affecting the playback of HD video clips used in Aperture 3 slideshows on Mac OS X 10.6.x (Snow Leopard). Audio and video tracks now remain properly synced in video clips that have been trimmed.

The update can be directly downloaded or located and snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

The Aperture SlideShow Support Update 1.1 file requires Mac OS X 10.5 and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve tried the fix and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know.

Full iPhone Third-Party App Multitasking References Located in Latest SDK Build

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Date: Friday, March 12th, 2010, 06:41
Category: iPhone, Software

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Although rumors that Apple will include a third-party multitasking capability in the iPhone are as old as the hills themselves, a reference has emerged regarding a “multitasking dialog box” buried in the new iPhone OS SDK 3.2 beta 4 that apparently didn’t exist in iPhone OS 3.1.3.

Per 9 to 5 Mac, this could be the very first by-product of a new multitasking system for developers that’s being developed for the platform, presumably destined for an appearance in OS 4.0 when it’s introduced along with new hardware this summer. Still, it’s just as likely that Apple will continue to keep the iPhone’s multitasking capability to itself, a function it uses liberally among the phone and music apps, just to name a couple.

AppleInsider is currently citing a tipster claiming that Apple’s got a “full-on solution” to multitasking that would properly address its main concern (battery life issues) for release this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Releases Safari 4.0.5 Update

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Date: Thursday, March 11th, 2010, 16:34
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple Safari 4.0.5, the latest version of the company’s web browser.

The new version, which which can be downloaded here, includes the following fixes and features:

- Performance improvements for Top Sites.
- Stability improvements for 3rd-party plug-ins.
- Stability improvements for websites with online forms and Scalable Vector Graphics.
- Fixes an issue that prevented Safari from changing settings on some Linksys routers.

The update can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 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.

EFF Publishes Full Apple iPhone Developer Agreement, Blasts Apple Over Key Points

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Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPhone, News

Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation both posted a recent version of Apple’s confidential license agreement to which all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch developers must agree as well as took a critical stance against the document.

Per AppleInsider, the foundation came to the conclusion that by controlling the App Store and preventing rival competition by blocking competing options, Apple’s “future of computing” is headed towards an era that could stifle innovation. It suggested the Cupertino, Calif., company’s actions have been that of a “jealous and arbitrary feudal lord.”

“Overall, the Agreement is a very one-sided contract, favoring Apple at every turn,” the EFF wrote. “That’s not unusual where end-user license agreements are concerned (and not all the terms may ultimately be enforceable), but it’s a bit of a surprise as applied to the more than 100,000 developers for the iPhone, including many large public companies.

“How can Apple get away with it? Because it is the sole gateway to the more than 40 million iPhones that have been sold. In other words, it’s only because Apple still “owns” the customer, long after each iPhone (and soon, iPad) is sold, that it is able to push these contractual terms on the entire universe of software developers for the platform.”

The EFF noted that public copies of the license agreement are “scarce,” in part because the agreement itself prohibits its release. The foundation managed to obtain a copy by making a request to NASA under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, and presented what it felt were “a few troubling highlights.” They include:

- Developers, including government agencies such as NASA, cannot make public statements about the iPhone OS developer agreement.

- Applications created through the development kit can be sold on the App Store only.

- The iPhone OS cannot be reverse engineered, and the foundation asserts this even applies to methods that courts have recognized as fair use.
- Apple can remove an application at any time. In 2008, a researcher discovered a “kill switch” in the iPhone software that would allow the company to remotely deactivate an application.

- No matter what, Apple is never liable to a developer for more than $50 in damages. “That’s pretty remarkable,” the foundation said, “considering that Apple holds a developer’s reputational and commercial value in its hands — it’s not as though the developer can reach its existing customers anywhere else.”

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and if you have something to offer on this, please let us know.

Microsoft Updates Office 2004, 2008, Open XML Converter

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Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, 05:29
Category: Software

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Yesterday, Microsoft updated just about everything in its Office suites, the first change being an update of Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac to version 11.5.8. The new version, a 9.7 megabyte download, improves security and includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

Office 2008 for Mac received an update to version 12.2.4. The new version, a 221.5 megabyte download, offers several improvements to enhance stability and performance. In addition, this update includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

The company’s Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition went up to version 13.0.4 yesterday. The new version, a 64.3 megabyte download, offers several calendaring improvements, this new version of Entourage synchronizes notes, tasks, and categories with Exchange Server. This update also enables logging that can be used for diagnostic purposes.

Finally, Microsoft’s Open XML Converter utility reached version 1.1.4. The new version, a 45 megabyte download, received unspecified changes.

As always, the new versions can be located, downloaded and installed with the Microsoft AutoUpdate utility.

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

iPhone “Electronic Key” Patent Surfaces

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Date: Tuesday, March 9th, 2010, 06:49
Category: iPhone, Patents

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The Daily Telegraph is reporting that a new Apple patent has recently been published which describes a method in which the iPhone, or another Apple portable, could act as a sort of electronic key. The technique could be used for cars, offices, homes, or lockers and almost anything that could have an electronic receiver mounted to it in place of a metal tumbler-style lock could then use an iPhone as a key.

The patent application itself describes a means by which almost “any suitable electronic device such as a portable media player, personal data assistant or electronic lock” that could open up any number of physical lock types just by communicating wirelessly.

Electronic key fobs already exist for certain models of cars, most notably the Toyota Prius, which not only allow keyless entry but also allow you to start the car without a traditional metal key. If Apple actually implements this patent and allows iPhones and iPods to act as an “iKey,” carrying a ring of metal keys and fobs around in your pocket could eventually seem as passé as a pocketwatch or pager seems today.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.