O'Grady's PowerPage » Software

Apple releases third iOS 4.2 beta, adds SMS ringtones, changes AirPlay functionality

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Date: Wednesday, October 13th, 2010, 04:47
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Late Tuesday Apple released the third beta of iOS 4.2 to developers alongside the second beta of iTunes 10.1, making subtle changes to the distributions of the former for both the iPhone and the iPad.

Per fscklog, the iOS 4.2 build releases seem to be following a two week cycle, as the first iOS 4.2 beta was released four weeks ago, with the second beta arriving two weeks after.

People familiar with the latest iOS beta said it is known as build 8C5115c.

The beta contains several significant changes, including an updated version of the modem firmware. Noticeably missing from the beta were AirPlay features from previous builds. The AirPlay button has disappeared from the Photos, Videos, and YouTube apps on the distribution for the iPad.

Developers have noticed a bug with the AirPrint functionality. When printing from an iPhone, the image sometimes prints as just the size of the iPhone’s screen, not the original image size.

The beta also packs a number of smaller additions. According to fscklog, the new beta adds “a larger number” of tones for receiving text messages on the iPhone 4. The 17 new SMS ringtones include tones such as “Calypso,” “Choo Choo,” “Sherwood Forest,” and “Tiptoes.”

In a minor change to the iPad, the Connect to iTunes recovery screen now uses the controversial new iTunes 10 icon.

The iTunes 10.1 beta released alongside the iOS 4.2 beta continues to support printing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it.

Microsoft releases Office 2004 11.6.1, Office 2008 12.2.7, Open XML Converter 1.1.7 updates

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Date: Wednesday, October 13th, 2010, 04:20
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Microsoft released version 11.6.1 of its Microsoft Office 2004 suite, version 12.2.7 of its Microsoft Office 2008 suite and version 1.1.7 of its Open XML Converter Utility. The Office updates, which weigh in at 16.4 and 333 megabytes, respectively, focus on improving security for both suites, fixing vulnerabilities that could allow malicious code to overwrite portions of your Mac’s memory and run arbitrary commands.

Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 1.1.7 is a 45MB update and repairs similar bugs.

The updates are free and available through the Microsoft AutoUpdate programs and require Mac OS X 10.2 or later to run Office 2004 and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run Office 2008.

If you’ve installed the updates and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

Rumor: Fifth-gen iPhone to support GSM, CDMA, will forego 4G for the time being

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Date: Tuesday, October 12th, 2010, 04:44
Category: iPhone, Rumor

There’s some nifty stuff en route for the fifth generation iPhone, even if it doesn’t encapsulate everything at once.

Per TechCrunch. the upcoming iPhone will be capable of running on networks based on both of the world’s most popular 3G wireless standards but will forgo support for the faster 4G networks that are just now coming online.

Following rumors up to 11 months old, the article claims that Apple’s next major iPhone revision will run on both GSM and CDMA networks (presumably via a dual-mode Qualcomm baseband chip) but won’t support the next-generation of faster, Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, more communally referred to as 4G networks.

The handset will reportedly take a less aggressive approach that will see it delay the iPhone’s support of 4G networks until some time in 2012, allowing it to bypass the first generation of power-hungry and potentially problematic LTE baseband controllers in favor of boosting its efforts around proprietary technologies like FaceTime.

Such an approach would be in the vein of more traditional efforts such as the launch of the original iPhone, which only supported AT&T’s robust 2.5G EDGE network despite broad availability of the faster 3G technology around the same time.

“Apple simply doesn’t want to be the guinea pig on new LTE networks that aren’t ready for primetime, and Steve Jobs knows not to trust the hype that’s spewed by the carriers on 4G,” the report says. “The truth is that 3G networks have many more years of life, and the transition to LTE will be much slower than the carriers want you to believe (LTE doesn’t even have its voice standard fleshed out yet).”

It’s for these reasons, the report adds, that AT&T has been upgrading its network for broader support of the faster HSPA+ (or the so-called 3.5G) standard while Verizon has been working to implement an enhancement to the CDMA standard that will let future devices transmit both data and voice communications simultaneously.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple investigating potential iPhone 4 scratching issue

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Date: Friday, October 8th, 2010, 04:37
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

Apple is reportedly in “something of a panic” concerning an issue with the state of the glass on its best-selling iPhone 4 handset. Per MacNN, sources internal and external to the company have commented that engineers have discovered an issue related to the rear glass. If dirt or debris gets trapped in a slide-on case covering the phone’s back, this may potentially scratch the device. Whereas it would only ruin the look of an older iPhone, on the iPhone 4, the damage is thought to carry the risk of eventually cracking or outright fracturing the glass.

As a response, the company is said to have blocked sales of most iPhone 4 cases from Apple Stores. Only the online storefront is believed to have reversed the policy, and then just this week. The iPhone team is currently said to be running a lab with a large, dedicated test program, although there is no indication of a solution on the horizon.

The issue may be even more critical for case makers than it is for Apple. While the latter has the reputation of the iPhone at stake, as well as income reaped from accessory licensing, case manufacturers are significantly smaller and can generate much of their revenue from the high foot traffic at Apple outlets. These companies may have have been relegated to selling at third-party stores or from their own websites.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Apple releases MacBook SMC Firmware Updater 1.4 for older MacBook, MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Friday, October 8th, 2010, 03:04
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its MacBook SMC Firmware Updater 1.4 for older MacBook and MacBook Pro models solves a charging issue that takes place when using the latest MagSafe power adapters.

The update, an 880 kilobyte download, requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or 10.6.4 to install and run.

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

Sony introduces 16.41, 8.13 megapixel camera sensors

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Date: Thursday, October 7th, 2010, 04:24
Category: iPhone, iPod, News

Late Wednesday Sony unveiled a 16.41-megapixel IMX081PQ camera sensor that the company says could overcome many of the traditional barriers for phone cameras. The IMX081PQ is Sony’s first Exmor R-based CMOS sensor for a phone and uses the back-illuminated sensor to cut back significantly on noise. A unique photo diode positioning has let Sony achieve high image quality even with photo cells as small as 1.13 micrometers.

Per Electronista, the sensor can still shoot 1080p video at 30 frames per second. A new, very thin lens system keeps the thickness to 7.9mm (0.31 inches), which while not thin doesn’t protrude as much as previous phones.

Another, noticeably smaller 8.13-megapixel design, the IMX105PQ, is tailored for smartphones where space is at a high premium. Combined with its own thin lens, this could fit into a 5.67mm space while still offering most of the benefits of the 16.4-megapixel option, including the Exmor R design and high light sensitivity.



Sample production of the 16.41-megapixel and 8.13-megapixel sensors won’t ship until January and April respectively, when individual sensors will cost US$30 and US$18 without a lens. Adding the optics will boost the prices to US$145 and US$97, respectively. These prices should fall significantly once the devices are made in large volumes and discounted for the economy of scale.

No customers have been confirmed, other than likely Sony Ericsson, but the sensors could be serious contenders versus the OmniVision sensors that have been staples of the iPhone since launch. As of yet, Apple isn’t expected to adopt Sony’s sensors, but it has been a fan of image quality over sheer resolution and may be eager to offer both in a phone.

OmniVision has yet to directly respond with an alternative product.

Verizon COO states new iPhone announcement would arrive from Apple, not Verizon

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Date: Thursday, October 7th, 2010, 04:58
Category: iPhone, News

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Per the cool cats at Macworld, Verizon President and COO Lowell McAdam commented made a recent comment at the CTIA conference in San Francisco that reports of a Verizon iPhone would be addressed by Apple, not Verizon.

When asked to comment about a story from The Wall Street Journal that Apple will begin building a Verizon-compatible iPhone by the end of the year, McAdam dismissed the story as “one of those things that rolls out every few weeks whether there’s a basis for it or not.”

“I can’t give you any insights,” he continued. “But I think Apple is the one that has to make that announcement.”

McAdam remains hopeful that a deal will eventually be reached, especially as Verizon rolls out its Long-Term Evolution 4G data network.

“What I’ve always said is I expect at some point in time our business interests are going to align,” McAdam said. “I think things like LTE are another great reason why they’d want a device or tablet on that network. But I don’t have anything to say today about timing.”

Back in September, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg downplayed rumors of an upcoming Verizon iPhone by telling investors that he hopes Apple will work with Verizon to sell an LTE 4G smartphone.

Despite the remarks, rumors have persisted that a CDMA iPhone will arrive in early 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4 shipping times drop to 5 to 7 days

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Date: Wednesday, October 6th, 2010, 05:48
Category: iPhone, News

Apple looks to have worked its its supply constraints for the iPhone 4 since the device’s June launch, AppleInsider reporting that the handset is now advertised for shipping within 5 to 7 days from Apple’s online store.

Both models of the iPhone 4 (available in 16GB and 32GB capacities for US$199 and US$299, respectively, with AT&T contract) now ship within 5 to 7 business days. The 8GB, US$99 iPhone 3GS ships within 1 to 2 weeks, while the white iPhone 4 remains unavailable.

The change in shipping times would imply that Apple has begun to catch up with strong consumer demand for the iPhone 4.

Shipping estimates had remained at three weeks or longer since the handset launched in June. In its first three days of availability, the phone sold a record 1.7 million units.

Apple has struggled to meet demand since launch, as supplies for overseas expansion have been constrained. Last month, the iPhone 4 launched in China, and carrier China Unicom was only able to fulfill about half of the preorders placed by customers.

In a similar fashion, Apple could not meet iPad demand for months after the touchscreen tablet launched in April. It took until late August for the Cupertino, Calif., company to improve online order shipping times to 24 hours.

The white iPhone 4 is still listed as unavailable, and Apple has not provided an update on the status of the device since July, when it said the product would not be available until “later this year.” The company has said that the white model proved “more challenging to manufacture than expected.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Acrobat Reader, Pro 9.4 versions, patches security holes

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Date: Wednesday, October 6th, 2010, 04:06
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Adobe released version 9.4 of its Adobe Reader and Acrobat Pro applications. The updates, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, address security vulnerabilities while providing additional stability.

Acrobat Reader 9.4 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel or PowerPC-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.

Apple strips AirPrint support for second-gen iPod touch devices

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Date: Monday, October 4th, 2010, 10:42
Category: iPod Touch, News, Software

Per 9 to 5 Mac, Apple has revised its original AirPrint announcement, removing promised support for the second-generation iPod touch device. Still in development, AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks that can print text, photos, and graphics wirelessly over Wi-Fi networks without the need for additional drivers or software.

Apple’s original documents stated that printing would only be supported on iOS devices that support multitasking, yet listed the second-generation iPod touch as compatible. The second-generation iPod touch has since been removed from the compatible device list.

This marks the second incident in the last few months where Apple has revised its list of supported devices before a software update’s official launch, as it removed Game Center support for the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G while it was still in beta testing, only to once again include support for the second-gen touch shortly before the feature’s debut in iOS 4.1.