Apple outlines iOS 6 at WWDC, highlights Facebook integration

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Date: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 06:29
Category: iOS, News, Software

Over at WWDC, Apple began to lay out the basics as to what to expect from its upcoming iOS 6 operating system.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s iOS software chief, Scott Forstall, showed off some of the new features at Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, including the ability to query Siri for sports scores, dinner reservations with OpenTable, and movie times via RottenTomatoes.

Siri can now also be used to launch Applications. Forstall demonstrated onstage asking the voice control software to play the game “Temple Run,” and it opened on the iPhone. Users can also post messages to Twitter by using their phone.

Language support for Siri has also been improved with Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and more.

When it launches this fall, iOS 6 will be compatible with the second- and third-generation iPads; the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S; and the fourth-generation iPod touch.

Facebook integration will also go system-wide with iOS 6. Much like with the existing Twitter integration, users simply log in to their Facebook account in the iOS settings application, and users can quickly post to their account or share music, applications or photos with their friends.

Facebook events and birthdays will also appear in the iOS calendar. Users will also be able to “like” applications on the App Store.

Enhancements have also been made to the native phone application in iOS. When declining a call, users are given the option to send a quick message to the person calling, or ask to be reminded later of the call. Quick messages are available to select such as “I’ll call you later” or “I’m on my way.”

Another addition called “Do Not Disturb” allows users to choose a set time range where notifications and alerts are silenced completely. This feature is customizable to allow calls from certain people to come through during those hours.

With iOS 6, users will also be able to make FaceTime video calls over cellular data networks, and are no longer required to be connected to Wi-Fi. The phone number and Apple ID have also been unified, so if someone sends a FaceTime request to a phone number, it can still be answered on an iPad or Mac.

Enhancements for Safari in iOS 6 include iCloud Tabs, which allows users to view and sync websites across a range of devices, as well as the ability to upload photos from directly within Safari on popular websites. Safari will also gain fullscreen support in landscape mode.

PhotoStream has also been enhanced with new sharing features that allow users to share specific pictures or entire albums with others. The social networking style serve will also let users comment on and like photos shared via PhotoStream.

And Mail for iOS will receive a new feature called VIPs, which allows users to specify people whose e-mails are of high priority. These flagged messages will show up in their own separate inbox.

Mail in iOS 6 also adds the ability to easily insert pictures and videos when composing a message, and users can also pull down on the app to refresh and check for messages.

The company also announced that its iOS 6 developer preview was now available as a 186 megabyte download, albeit this requires a developer account to log in and access.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.6.3 update

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Date: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 06:43
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Apple released version 10.6.3 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 170 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Addresses a problem where iTunes may become unresponsive when syncing an iPad (1st generation) that contains an iBooks textbook.

– Fixes a problem where photos synced to a device may appear in an unexpected order.

– Resolves an issue where iTunes may unexpectedly delete playlists created on a device.

– Fixes issues where iTunes may unexpectedly delete apps on a device.

– Improves overall performance and reliability.

iTunes 10.6.3 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 Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 firmware upgrade

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Date: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 06:27
Category: Hardware, News, Software

Late Monday, Apple released its Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 firmware upgrade for its Thunderbolt-equipped Macs running Mac OS X 10.7 (“Lion”). The update, a 510 kilobyte download, adds support for the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

In addition to the direct download, Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 is available through Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature. The update requires a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iMovie 9.0.6 update, adds support for MacBook Pro Retina Display

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Date: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 06:02
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, Apple released iMovie 9.0.6, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 1.08 gigabyte download, which is available through the Mac App Store’s updater and Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Enhancements for the MacBook Pro with Retina display.

– Language support for Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Thai, Turkish and Ukrainian.

iMovie 9.0.6 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.4 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.

Siri to arrive on wider array of devices, gain additional features in iOS 6

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Date: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 06:28
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Even if Siri can be a bit flummoxing at times, Apple believes in it.

Per Macworld, company representatives stated during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote Monday that Siri will have a starring role in iOS 6, the next version of the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Representatives also cited that the technology will move just the iPhone 4S to the latest version of Apple’s iPad.

During his demonstration, Apple’s Scott Forstall pointed out how Siri on iOS 6 can launch apps. Forstall demonstrated by launching Temple Run with a voice command.

Siri’s integration with iOS 6’s overhauled Maps app runs deep. Ask Siri how to get somewhere, and you immediately get turn-by-turn directions—even from the lock screen. Then you can ask Siri to repeat herself, where gas stations are along the way, what the traffic is like, how long until you get there, and every traveling kid’s favorite question: “Are we there yet?”

Forstall also mentioned a new feature called Eyes Free. He said Apple is working together with car manufacturers to integrate a button for triggering Siri from your steering wheel; among the companies looking to integrate that feature in the next twelve months are GM, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda.

Siri’s also getting more international, with support for Canadian French and English; Italian; Spanish (for Spain, Mexico, and the U.S.); Swiss Italian, French, and German; Mandarin for Taiwan; Cantonese for Hong Kong; and Mandarin and Cantonese for mainland China.

And soon another iOS device will find its voice, too: Forstall said the third-generation iPad will get Siri support as well.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox updated to 1.5.1 via public beta

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Date: Monday, June 11th, 2012, 06:31
Category: News, Software

You just can’t knock a decent Dropbox update.

On Friday, Dropbox released a beta of version 1.5.1 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 22.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed “lazy” install not working on 10.4.

– Fixed rare bug where Dropbox will notify you of your own changes.

– Performance improvements.

– Korean Language support.

Dropbox 1.5.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 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.

Google releases Picasa 3.9.9.637 update

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Date: Monday, June 11th, 2012, 06:01
Category: News, Software

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Over the weekend, software giant Google released Picasa 3.9.9.637, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac. Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments. The new version, a 33.1 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed various crashes.

Picasa 3.9.9.637 requires Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Adium updated to 1.5.1

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Date: Friday, June 8th, 2012, 06:25
Category: News, Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.5.1.

The new version, a 23.7 megabyte download adds the following fixes and changes:

– Adium is now securely signed with an Apple Developer ID for OS X 10.8 / GateKeeper compatibility.

– Updated to libpurple 2.10.4

– AIM/ICQ: Fixed communication with buddies containing periods and underscores.

– MSN: Fixed messages to offline contacts.

– Fixed a number of security issues (see http://pidgin.im/news/security), small memory leaks, miscellaneous bugs.

– Fixed MSN public display names not being set. (Chenguang Li) (#15915)

– Adjusted the minimum size of the message window to be 200px. (#15794)

– Fixed status indicators in chat windows with only one chat. (#9620)

– Increased the size of the focus indicators so that they can be better seen when using overlay scrollbars.

– Fixed the transcript viewer not saving the user list size.

– Corrected some MSN emoticon shortcuts. (Paul Wilde) (#15926)

– Renamed “Send Notification” to “Request Attention”. (#15789)

– Adjusted the layout of the profile selection window.

– Fixed alphabetical contact list sorting involving diacritics such as “å” and “ä” (Rafael Glauber) (#12678)

– Made “View Release Notes” localizable. (#15914)

Adium 1.5.1 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later and an Intel-based Mac to run.

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

Virgin Mobile to offer iPhone calling plans starting at $30/month beginning June 29th

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Date: Thursday, June 7th, 2012, 13:56
Category: iPhone, News

It never hurts to have a cheap calling plan, even if you do have to buy the handset at the unsubsidized price…

Per AppleInsider, wireless carrier Virgin Mobile USA announced on Thursday that it will offer Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 beginning Friday, June 29, with contract-free plans as low as US$30 per month.

Customers will be able to purchase the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for US$649, matching the price of a contract-free handset purchased through the Apple Store or AT&T. That’s different from regional wireless carrier Leap, which announced late last month that it would sell a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for US$500, meaning the carrier is subsidizing the price by about US$150.

While customers who buy the iPhone through Virgin Mobile USA will pay a higher upfront premium, they could also see considerable savings on their plans. The carrier offers customers a US$5-per-month discount when they register for automatic monthly payments, which results in a basic plan with “unlimited” data and text messaging and 300 voice minutes for US$30.

Users can upgrade to 1,200 voice minutes for $40 per month, or obtain unlimited minutes for US$50 per month. Though data is advertised as “unlimited,” all plans include 2.5 gigabytes per month of full-speed data, and any overages can be throttled.

Virgin Mobile USA will also offer Apple’s previous-generation iPhone 4 for US$549 in the 8 gigabyte capacity. The contract-free phones will be available at Virgin Mobile’s website, RadioShack, Best Buy, and select local retailers.

Word first surfaced on Tuesday that Virgin Mobile USA would become the second American carrier to offer Apple’s iPhone without a service contract. However, the launch date and exact pricing were not known until the official announcement was made Thursday by Virgin Mobile.

Virgin’s voice and data service relies on Sprint’s “Nationwide Network.” The sale of iPhones through Sprint’s Virgin mobile could go toward the US$15.5 billion in iPhones sprint had pledged to sell over a four-year span in a deal with Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google unveils new 3D mapping feature for iOS, Android devices

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Date: Wednesday, June 6th, 2012, 10:05
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

You can’t knock a kickass 3D mapping system, especially when it’s on your iPhone or iPad.

Google on Wednesday unveiled what it has promoted as the “next dimension” of its Maps service, with new full 3D renderings that were demonstrated live on an Apple iPad.

Google has been using automated technology to extract data from aerial models captured by airplanes owned by the company. With planes flying overhead in tightly controlled patterns snapping pictures, Google can use the imagery and data to create three-dimensional mapping imagery.



Images of the ground are snapped from 45 degrees at four angles, and those pictures and data can be combined to recreate maps in three dimensions. The whole process allows 3D maps to be built without human interaction, unlike with previous 3D imagery in Google Earth.

In a live event on Wednesday, Google demonstrated 3D models of individual buildings and entire cities. The new features were shown off to members of the press on an Apple iPad, rather than an Android-based tablet.

The company promised that its new 3D imagery will be coming to both iOS and Android devices “in the coming weeks.” The technology will be part of both the Google Maps service, as well as its Google Earth application.

By the end of the year, Google expects to have communities home to about 300 million people mapped in its new space.

Google also revealed that it will bring an offline version of its Maps software to Android devices. The company said it is “working very hard” to bring offline Maps to iOS as well, but did not offer any more information.

Wednesday’s media event comes just five days before Apple is set to hold its own keynote address at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. There, Apple is expected to unveil an all-new version of its Maps software for iOS that will ditch Google Maps.

Apple’s mapping intentions have been evident since at least 2009, when the company began acquiring mapping technology companies. The iPhone maker bought Placebase that year and then Poly9 in 2010. Last year, Apple bought Swedish 3D-mapping company C3.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.