Skype 2.0 app out the door, adds for bug fixes, 3G call support

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 07:12
Category: iPhone, Software

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While you were barbecuing and watching the game, Skype released version 2.0 of its Voice over Internet Protocol app for the iPhone. The new version, which is available for free, introduces support for making calls over 3G wireless data networks.

Per Mac Observer, Skype-to-Skype calling over 3G networks is free for now, but the company plans to start charging for the service at the end of the year. While that’s bad news for users hoping to get a free ride, it’s still better than Skype’s original plan to start charging for the service this August.

Skype 2.0 also includes several performance improvements and bug fixes. The application requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run and is available here.

Apple working to include Bing within iPhone OS 4.0 web services

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 05:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Per a report by TechCrunch, Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 will also include search and related web services from Microsoft’s Bing as well as inclusion of Google, as per usual.

The new iPhone OS won’t drop Google for Bing entirely, but will expand the number of search options iPhone users see, and apparently make those options more visible.

TechCrunch originally reported that Google would be entirely replaced by Bing search in iPhone OS 4, a claim that was later retracted in an update that said sources clarified “it’s more complicated than this” and that Apple wouldn’t be removing support for Google search.

Apple already provides an option to use Yahoo for web search in Safari, although that option is not obvious and requires visiting system settings to make the switch.

A report by Kara Swisher of the “All Things Digital” blog indicates Microsoft has been asking that Bing search be added to the iPhone’s search options for some time, and also wants to make the choice more visible to users.

Microsoft has also been in talks with Apple to get its mapping services integrated into the iPhone. Individual iPhone apps have already made use of Microsoft’s mapping services, but Apple’s own Maps app on the iPhone and iPad is hardwired to Google’s mapping services.

Last fall, Apple purchased Placebase, a mapping service designed to overlay demographic, economic and environmental data on top of maps. It has since been speculated that Apple planned to use the acquisition to either build an alternative mapping service for iPhone Maps, or more likely, add additional layers of features on top of the current Maps data to differentiate the iPhone from Google’s own map app for Android.

Last fall, TechCrunch writer Michael Arrington stated that “Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google.” He added, “other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features.” That comment was repeated in the most recent article regarding Bing.

Arrinton’s dismissal of the iPhone OS as being little more than a client for Google services was further exaggerated by fellow writer Erick Schonfeld, who wrote “in fact, some of the best apps on the iPhone—Mail, Maps, YouTube, Search—were developed by Google.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Videos of possible fourth-gen iPhone components continue to surface

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 04:15
Category: iPhone

Apple’s good at a lot of things.

Keeping its upcoming fourth generation iPhone hardware completely under wraps isn’t one of them. Per iPhone Portugal and 9 to 5 Mac, the hardware was “delivered” to the iPhone Portugal web site with the corresponding video focusing on the sub-frame assemblies, the unit having been purchased in China by a reader.

It’s impossible to tell if the apparent iPhone frames are the real deal as they don’t appear to be stamped with an Apple logo or official tag. No actual electronics are included in the video, so there’s also a chance this could come from a Chinese knockoff.

The site goes on to say that the two frames it purchased are “more then (sic) perfect” with “no defects” and that there’s “not even one difference between the 2 we have, this seems to be made in mass production.”

Still, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so let us know what you think:





Security researchers locate additional iPhone security hole, publish findings

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 04:02
Category: iPhone, News, security

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Even if you feel absolutely secure in entering your PIN every time you unlock your iPhone, there may still be some security shortfalls. Per a blog post by Bernd Marienfeldt, Marienfeldt and fellow security wonk Jim Herbeck have discovered that plugging even a fully up-to-date, non-jailbroken iPhone 3GS into a computer running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx allows nearly full read access to the phone’s storage even when it’s locked.

The belief is that they’re just a buffer overflow away from full write access as well, which would surely open the door to making calls. Bernd believes the iPhone’s lack of data encryption for content is a real problem, and also cites the inability to digitally sign e-mails as reasons why the iPhone is still not ready for prime time in the enterprise.

Still, better that these guys found it and put the evidence in front of Apple than another party locate the security hole.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T revises employee work schedules, fourth-gen iPhone expected

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 03:56
Category: iPhone, News

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It’s all falling together as it has in years past. Per Boy Genius Report, AT&T employees have been informed that the phone is actually coming, and may in fact be on sale in the month of June.

The announcement matches employee vacations for June affecting the cell carrier and back at the end of April, it was hinted that the fourth generation iPhone might go on sale during the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference itself.

Even so, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster has stated that he doesn’t expect to see the new iPhone anytime in the immediate future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

VLC updated to 1.1.0 release candidate

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 03:45
Category: Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.1.0 release candidate. The new version, a 23.1 megabyte download, adds a massive list of fixes and changes detailed here.

VLC 1.1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Half-Life 2 for Mac OS X to hit Steam today

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 04:18
Category: News, Software

Half-Life 2, the groundbreaking first-person shooter, will become available for Mac OS X today via the Steam digital storefront. The game follows the exploits of scientist Gordon Freeman as he fights through the dystopian world of City 17 in an effort to battle and interdimensional force known as the Combine.

Per AppleInsider, Valve, the developer of the Half-Life series, released a video Tuesday echoing Apple’s iconic “1984″ commercial, which introduced the Macintosh platform to the world in what many have heralded as the greatest television advertisement of all time.

To promote the release, Valve has offered the following commercial, the company’s own take on Apple’s legendary “1984″ commercial:



As part of the staggered rollout of Steam for Mac, Valve plans to release new titles every Wednesday, each designed to highlight specific functionalities of the Steam platform on Apple hardware. The first collection of titles included Portal, which was available to play for free for a limited time.

For users who’ve already purchased and activated Half-Life 2 on a Windows version of Steam, check in on Steam for Mac OS X today and you should be able to download and install this version of Half-Life 2 without charge.

Steam is digital game distribution platform which has more than 25 million users and offers access to 1,100 games on the PC. Valve has said it will treat the Mac as a “first-tier” platform, meaning new major titles developed for the PC will release day-and-date with the Mac.

SpamSieve Updated to 2.8.2

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 04:26
Category: News, Software

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Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.8.2. The new version, a 5.9 megabyte download, makes the following fixes and improvements:

Improved compatibility with pre-release versions of Mac OS X.
- Added Dutch, Italian, and Swedish localizations.
- Made various code improvements and modernizations.
- SpamSieve is better able to recover from certain types of damaged corpus files.
- Updated the Setting up Eudora section of the manual.
- Improved the layout of the Software Update window.
- Adjusted the packaging of the disk image and the installation instructions.
- Fixed a bug that could cause a crash when parsing messages with an invalid Date header.
- Fixed a regression where SpamSieve would sometimes bring up an alert sheet to report that you already had the latest version.
- Fixed a crash in the software updater.

SpamSieve is available for a US$30 registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The new version can either be downloaded directly from the web site or brought up to the current version via the program’s built-in update feature.

VMWare Releases Fusion 3.1

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 03:52
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 3.1 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, which can be found here, offers the following new features and fixes:

Improved Overall Performance – 35% Faster than VMware Fusion 3.0:
- Reduced time for suspending virtual machines.
- Faster Windows application launch times.
- Greatly improved scrolling speeds in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with Mac OS X 10.6.3.

2D/3D Graphics Improvements – Up to 5X Better 3D Graphics than VMware Fusion 3.0:
- OpenGL 2.1 for Windows Vista.
- OpenGL 2.1 for Windows 7.
- Greatly improved graphics performance.
- Aero is much faster on Windows Vista and Windows 7.
- Some games up to 10x faster than VMware Fusion 3.0 with VMware Fusion 3.1 and latest Mac OS X release.
- Greatly improved scrolling speeds in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with Mac OS X 10.6.3.

Unity Improvements:
- Minimizing Unity apps to the dock now shows app contents.
- Works with Exposé and Dock Exposé.

USB “EasyConnect”:
- Easily assign USB devices to virtual machine or Mac when connected.
- Remember USB device assignment between Mac and virtual machine restarts.

Bigger, More Complex Virtual Machines:
- 8-way SMP.
- 2 TB virtual disks.

PC Migration Improvements:
- Improvements to Migrate Your PC assistant, including better validation of names and better location prompt.
- Prompt user if Mac OS X guest account prevents guest access to shared folders instead of failing.
- Open new virtual machine upon successful migration.
- Enhanced user interface on PC being migrated including:
- New progress dialog on the PC being migrated as well as in VMware Fusion.
- Option to show converter logs and troubleshooting steps on PC if PC migration fails.
- Avoids port conflicts with Web server software installed on PC being migrated such as IIS, Tomcat, and Apache.

Boot Camp Improvements:
- Up to 5x disk performance in Boot Camp virtual machines.
- New option to minimize prompting for password (authentication dialogs) when using Boot Camp virtual machines.
- Handle Mac OS X disk changes better to avoid multiple references to Boot Camp partition in the Virtual Machine Library.
- Support for Office 2010 activation in Boot Camp virtual machines.

OVF Tool 2 Comes with VMware Fusion 3.1:
- Directly convert between any vSphere, VMX, or OVF source format to any vSphere, VMX, or OVF target format.
- Deploy virtual machines to vSphere using OVF Tool.
- Import and export of OVF packages into a vApprun 1.0 workspace.

User Interface Enhancements:
- Drag a disk image or virtual disk to the installation media pane of the assistant.
- Add shortcut for opening a virtual machines configuration file in default text editor for VMware Fusion (Hold down option and right-click in Virtual Machine Library).

User Interface Enhancements:
- User Experience Improvement Program.

New Guest Operating Systems Supported:
- Ubuntu 8.0.4.4: 32- and 64-bit.
- Ubuntu 10.04: 32- and 64-bit.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit.
- RHEL 5.4: 32- and 64-bit.

Fusion 3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

Walmart drops 16GB iPhone 3GS price to $97 with contract

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 03:47
Category: iPhone, News

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Retail giant Walmart on Monday announced that the chain would be selling Apple’s 16GB iPhone 3GS model for US$97.

Per The ToyBox, the new price, which becomes effective on Tuesday, May 25th, is for new phones purchased with a two-year contract.

Walmart chalks the price reduction up to its “ongoing aggressive savings announcements,” although a fourth generation iPhone to be released next month. That model was accidentally leaked in April after an engineer for the company left a disguised prototype in a bar.

It’s possible that the price will stick after the official announcement by Apple, which has previously reduced the price of the previous model to $99. (Currently, the iPhone 3GS retails for US$199; the 2008 iPhone 3G sells for US$99.)

Moreover, reports have come in suggesting that Apple is no longer accepting orders for the iPhone 3G, a move that typically paves the way for a new model.