Apple to Upgrade Nearly 150 Components in Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update

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Date: Thursday, October 29th, 2009, 05:34
Category: Software

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Recently, Apple shipped yet another beta of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6.2 operating system update to developers, the update altering nearly 150 components. Per AppleInsider, the latest beta, labeled Mac OS X 10.6.2 build 10C535, arrives one week after the Mac maker issued build 10C531 to address issues with Snow Leopard’s Dock, ColorSync, QuartzCore and graphic driver components.

This week, Apple has asked developers to continue to provide feedback on graphics drivers while also tasking them with focusing their evaluation efforts on TrackPad preferences and the ability to create virtual machines, sources close to the story say.

As was the case with last week’s beta, documentation accompanying build 10C535 reportedly lists no known issues. While Apple has temporarily ceased its practice of providing a running list of bug fixes that will come baked into the impending release, it did identify 148 components that have seen tweaks.

Among those components are AppleBacklight, Battery Menu, Dictionary, Expose, FileSync, Family Controls, Fonts, Front Row, HFS, Inkwell, iPhoto, MobileMe, OpenCL, Parental Controls, QuickTime, Screen Sharing, Spell Checker, Spotlight, Time Machine, and USB.

In bare bones Delta form, Mac OS X 10.6.2 currently weighs in at a roughly 480 megabyte download. The update is expected for release sometime in November.

TomTom Car Kit Lacks Support for iPod Touch Units

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Date: Thursday, October 29th, 2009, 05:31
Category: Software

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The good news: The TomTom Car Kit is finally available for the iPhone.

The bad news: Contradicting previous rumors, TomTom has stated that their recently launched TomTom GPS Car Kit will not add GPS capability to Apple’s touchscreen handhelds that do not have GPS chips of their own, namely the first generation iPhone and all current and past models of iPod touch. Per AppleInsider, the Car Kit features GPS unit built in that it uses for navigation with the iPhone 3GS to enhance functionality, leading some to believe that it could be made to work with non-GPS devices.

A notice on TomTom’s web site states:
“Note: The TomTom app for iPhone is not included with this TomTom Car Kit. The Car Kit dock is compatible with all iPhone models, but the Car Kit app only works with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.”

The TomTom GPS app can be found in the App Store for US$99.99.

When asked if the application could be updated to run on the first generation iPhone and iPod touches, devices with no GPS receivers of their own, a company spokesperson said they have not made any “public announcements”.

The Car Kit is available on the Apple Store web site for US$119.95.

Rumor: Apple May Switch From AT&T to Verizon as Official iPhone Carrier

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Date: Wednesday, October 28th, 2009, 08:51
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

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Should Apple end its exclusive carrier agreement with AT&T next year, it will likely mark the end of its estimated US$450 carrier subsidy for the iPhone, a new analysis has forecast.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Brian Marshall with Broadpoint.AmTech said that the “sweetheart” carrier subsidy provided by AT&T for the iPhone would not be attainable with Verizon. According to Marshall’s note to investors, the analyst believes that the iPhone will be added to the Verizon network in the second half of 2010, but not without consequences.

A non-exclusive iPhone, Marshall forecast, would command roughly a US$300 carrier subsidy. But he believes that any losses would be made up in volume, as Verizon is predicted to sell roughly 14 million iPhones in the 2011 calendar year. With an average selling price of around US$500, which would account for another US$7 billion in revenue for Apple.

“While AAPL started off with exclusive arrangements in 2007 with the original iPhone launch, the company has since migrated towards multiple carriers per region,” the note said. “In our view, diverse carrier support is a key element to driving global penetration of the iPhone (from ~3% share today of the total handset market). Therefore, we believe the chances are high the iPhone will find its way onto the VZ network in 2H10.”

Marshall’s assumption of 14 million Verizon iPhones is based on the performance Apple has had on AT&T’s network. Within six quarters of the iPhone’s launch, the handset has become 4% of AT&T’s postpaid subscriber base.

In the September quarter, the iPhone was said to represent more than 90% of AT&T’s total postpaid additions — an increase from 57% from a year earlier, and 33% in September 2007. It is based on the strength of the iPhone that AT&T has posted subscriber gains on market leader Verizon, adding 2 million customers last quarter to Verizon’s 1.2 million.

AT&T activated a record 3.2 million iPhones last quarter, of which nearly 40% were customers new to the wireless carrier. But CEO Ralph de la Vega also predicted that the iPhone will not remain exclusive to AT&T forever, though he believes his company’s portfolio will remain strong after the device jumps to other carriers.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5.4 Update

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Date: Wednesday, October 28th, 2009, 07:09
Category: Software

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Early Thursday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5.4 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.7 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:
- Fixed several security issues.
- Fixed several stability issues.
- Added the ability to re-submit crash reports (bug 378528).
- After using Clear Recent History some SSL sites would not load all images and styles without pressing reload (see bug 480619).

Firefox 3.5.4 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

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

VMWare Releases Fusion 3.0

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Date: Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, 08:57
Category: Software

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On Tuesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 3.0 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:

- Support for 4-way SMP to maximize performance on the latest iMac and Mac Pro. Lower overhead and up to 2X faster resume time for a suspended virtual machine.

- More Mac-Like Than Ever. Banish the start menu and launch Windows apps from the new “always-on” applications menu, even when VMware Fusion isn’t running.

- Optimized for Snow Leopard. Built from the ground up for the Mac, VMware Fusion 3 leverages Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s advanced architecture with a new 64-bit core engine and native support for the 64-bit kernel.

- VMware Fusion 3 will be the first to enable the full Windows 7 experience, side-by-side with your Mac, complete with Windows Aero and Flip 3D.

- Support for OpenGL 2.1 and DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3 will enable users to run their favorite 3D Windows games and applications.

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

Elgato Releases EyeTV 3.2.1 Update

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Date: Monday, October 26th, 2009, 04:13
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Elgato Systems released version 3.2.1 of its EyeTV software application, which finds and tracks all television programming you want to see and allows users to pause live television and save content to file.

The new version, which can be found here (and can also be found through EyeTV 3.0′s update feature), adds the following fixes and features:

- Fixed a problem where no sound would play with digital audio output.
- Fixed a hang on quit with digital audio output.
- Improved support for the Mac OS X firewall.
- Fixed a problem with the guide data when accessed from the iPhone.
- EyeTV now detects Double NAT configurations when using the My EyeTV service.
- Fixed a problem while automatically configuring routers for port forwarding.
- Resolved a problem with EyeTV DTT Deluxe and the infrared remote control.
- Various performance improvements.

EyeTV 3.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run. The program retails for US$79.95.

Current Version of Boot Camp Will Lack Support for Windows 7 on Some 2006 Mac Models

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Date: Friday, October 23rd, 2009, 03:24
Category: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Software

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In a recent memo to retail partners, Apple has announced that it will deliver support for Windows 7 in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s Boot Camp utility by the end of the year via a software update, but exclude support for some Macs sold in 2006. Per AppleInsider, the drivers provide native support for Mac-specific hardware under Windows, such as a backlit keyboard, built-in iSight camera, trackpad, Bluetooth, graphics, networking, audio, and so on. Snow Leopard’s Boot Camp 3.0 also installs read-only HFS+ support for viewing Mac volumes under Windows.

According to the announcement, a series of Mac models “will not be supported for use with Windows 7 using Boot Camp,” specifically:

- iMac (17″, Early 2006)

- iMac (17″, Late 2006)

- iMac (20″, Early 2006)

- iMac (20″, Late 2006)

- MacBook Pro (15″, Early 2006)

- MacBook Pro (17″, Late 2006)

- MacBook Pro (15″, Late 2006)

- MacBook Pro (17″, Early 2006)

- Mac Pro (Mid 2006, Intel Xeon Dual-core 2.66GHz or 3GHz)

The reason for not officially supporting these models has not yet been officially stated. Because of how Boot Camp works, the only reason specific Mac models would not be supported is because compatible drivers are not available. This would not prevent Windows 7 from being installed on these machines, but could result in certain devices not working as expected while running Windows.

Third party drivers for the unsupported devices (if they exist) could solve any issues, and Windows 7 may offer to install drivers for devices it recognizes but does not have built in support for; it may even identify and download the drivers automatically.

Of the unsupported machines in the supplied list, the Early 2006 iMacs and MacBook Pro models have 32-bit Core Duo CPUs, but the other models specified feature 64-bit Core 2 Duos or Xeon processors, and no other 32-bit Macs (MacBooks, mini) are excluded. Apple has yet to release any comments about providing support for the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 only, so the support issue does not appear to have anything to do with these models’ CPU or firmware.

The only other common thread between these machines is that they all originally shipped with either no or disabled support for 802.11n wireless networking. However, late 2006 MacBooks also shipped with disabled support for 802.11n, and no Mac minis supported 802.11n until 2009, so this does not appear to be a factor either.

Apple is expected to clarify the issue when it releases the Windows 7 driver update for Boot Camp users.

Apple Releases Pro Application Support – 2009-01 Update

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Date: Friday, October 23rd, 2009, 03:34
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released Pro Application Support – 2009-01, its Revision to Final Cut Studio 7. This update includes Final Cut Pro 7.0.1, Motion 4.0.1, Soundtrack Pro 3.0.1, Color 1.5.1, and Compressor 3.5.1 and addresses general compatibility issues, improves overall stability, and addresses a number of other minor issues.

The update can be found via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature provided you have an application installed that requires it and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 Build 3848 Released

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Date: Friday, October 23rd, 2009, 03:11
Category: Software

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Virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop for Mac build 3848 on Monday. The new version, which can be downloaded from here (courtesy of VersionTracker), contains Windows 7 support.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 retails for US$79.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Delicious Library Updated to 2.3

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Date: Thursday, October 22nd, 2009, 05:33
Category: Software

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On Wednesday, software company Delicious Monster released version 2.3 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The new version, a 19.7 megabyte download, incorporates significant fixes and changes, the full list of which can be found here.

Delicious Library 2.3 retails for US$40 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.