Apple releases iBooks 1.5 update, adds night reading theme, other features

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Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 06:56
Category: iOS, News, Software

Apple on Wednesday issued an update to its iBooks iOS app, adding a night-time reading theme, full-screen layout, new fonts and an improved annotation palette.

iBooks 1.5 for iPhone and iPad arrived in the App Store early Wednesday. The free 20.7MB download requires iOS 4.2 or later.

The update adds the following fixes and changes:
– Nighttime reading theme makes reading books in the dark easier on the eyes.

– Full-screen layout lets you focus on the words without distraction.

– iBooks now features an improved selection of fonts, including Athelas, Charter, Iowa, and Seravek.

– Beautiful new classic covers for public domain books.

– A redesigned annotation palette makes it easier to choose a color for your highlighted text.

iBooks 1.5 requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later to install and run.

If you’ve played with the new version and have any feedback, let us know.

Cox TV Connect streaming app goes live in App Store

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Date: Monday, December 5th, 2011, 11:13
Category: iPad, News, Software

You’re fond of your cable service and you’re fond of your iPad, so maybe it’s time for the two of them to finally tie the knot.

Per Electronista, Cox on Monday rolled out its Live TV streaming app in the form of its free Cox TV Connect for the iPad. As with those from most other cable providers, it lets those with the Apple tablet watch live TV as long as they’re on Wi-Fi paired up with a Cox Internet connection and the right level of TV service. The app has a full programming guide and lets viewers watch through an inset while they check the full guide, or else launches a pop-over to show other currently running shows while minimizing the effect on the full-screen view.

The access isn’t a full range of channels but includes 35 more frequently watched channels, such as AMC, Bravo, History, and Spike.

Anyone who uses the app can get away with watching through at least a Cox TV Essential bundle, but they also need a Preferred, Premier, or Ultimate Internet connection. The app itself requires any iPad that can run at least iOS 4.3. No mention has been made of Android or iPhone ports.

As with most such services, the in-home requirement is likely to appease TV producers that see tablet TV as a second use, even if it’s the same feed. Viacom has tried suing providers like Cablevision, even for service within the home.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve tried the app on your end, please let us know how it went in the comments.

Google Earth 6.1.0.5001 released

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Date: Monday, December 5th, 2011, 07:40
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, software giant Google released version 6.1.0.5001 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 30.6 megabyte download, adds a slew of fixes and changes that can be found here.

Google Earth 6.1.0.5001 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Rumor: Mac OS X 10.7.3 beta references hint at upgraded Mac Pro units, improved video cards

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Date: Monday, December 5th, 2011, 07:20
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Software

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It’s the beta references that provide the best hints.

Per netkas.org, Apple’s Mac Pro may be getting a long awaited refresh according to hints tucked away in the most current Mac OS X 10.7.3 beta. The beta version of the OS update includes references to an ATI video card code named “Tahiti” tucked away in the ATIRadeonX3000 driver file, which would give a new Mac Pro model even more powerful graphics processing than current models.

The article stated that “Tahiti” is a code name for ATI’s next generation AMD-based video cards, and may be the upcoming high-performance 7900-series.

The Mac Pro was last updated in July 2010, making the current configuration well over a year old.

The long interval between updates has to reports claiming Apple is questioning whether or not to continue selling its pro-level tower computer, especially since processors like the Core i7 are available, and Thunderbolt ports offer a potential alternative to the Mac Pro’s built-in expansion slots.

Referencing new AMD video cards doesn’t, however, necessarily mean new Mac Pros are on the way. Apple could simply be adding support for the upcoming cards as a build-to-order option, or developers might be misinterpreting what the references in the driver files mean.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adium updated to 1.4.4

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Date: Monday, December 5th, 2011, 06:58
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 1.4.4.

The new version, a 22 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Services:
– Facebook: Fixed connectivity. (#15544, #15583)

– Yahoo: Fixed avatars of contacts not updating correctly.

– Gadu-Gadu: Fixed logging in on PPC Macs. (#15153)

Chat Window:
– Renamed the “Show Info” toolbar item to “Get Info” for consistency. (Ariel Chinn) (#14072)

Contact List:
– Turned off rubber band scrolling for the contact list, as this looks bad when using a borderless window. (#15455)
Xtras

– Fixed a crash when installing an Xtra from the website. (#15581)

Localisation:
– Updated German localisation. (#15477, #15658)

– Fixed two small mistakes in the Brazilian Portuguese localisation. (#15511).

Adium 1.4.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

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

iPhone 4S battery issues remain after iOS 5.1 beta, further work might be needed

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Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 08:06
Category: battery, iPhone, News

The iPhone 4S battery issue…it might take a little more work.

Per ArsTechnica, Apple’s first beta of iOS 5.1 issued to developers reportedly does not address battery problems experienced by some users, as solutions to the complex problem continue to elude.

ABI Research’s Michael Morgan spoke with ArsTechnica about the problems that some have reported since the release of iOS 5. In addition to existing iPhone users who updated their handset to iOS 5, the problems have been reported by those who have bought the new iPhone 4S, which comes with iOS 5 preinstalled.

Morgan said that although Apple has apparently not yet been able to solve the battery life issues for all users, an eventual software fix is still the most likely solution. He said that software is the most likely cause of the problems seen by some, not hardware.

“We tore down the 4S and tested some of the major components, including the new A5 processor,” Morgan said. “Nothing that we tested was significantly different from the iPhone 4, and power draw was right where we expected it to be.”

Of course the version of iOS 5.1 seeded to developers on Monday is only the first beta of the pre-release software, and Apple will continue to make changes to it before its release. The final, public debut of iOS 5.1 could turn out to resolve the battery issues being reported by some iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 users.

But Apple already released iOS 5.0.1 in November, an incremental update that aimed to fix bugs affecting battery life on the iPhone. However, some users said that installing iOS 5.0.1 failed to address the battery life problems they were experiencing.

Apple quickly responded the same week iOS 5.0.1 was launched, and issued a public statement in which it admitted there may be some issues that still need to be addressed. While Apple said iOS 5.0.1 addressed “many” battery bugs, the company said it was still investigating “a few remaining issues.”

General battery-related issues, or any “undefined glitch,” are a “massive problem” for Apple, Morgan said, noting how difficult it can be to pinpoint a problem in software as complex as Apple’s iOS 5.

Morgan said what makes the battery issues so difficult for Apple to completely address is not only the complexity of the software that powers the iPhone, but also the variables involved with how users actually use their device. New features like Notification Center, automatic updates to content in Newsstand, and syncing with iCloud mean people are using their device more, which will naturally drain battery.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Microsoft may ship Windows 8 public beta in late February

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Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 05:27
Category: Rumor, Software

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Windows 8: It’s on its way, though it might take a little while to get here.

Per TNW, Microsoft’s Windows 8 public beta might have been moved further into the year. A rumor from “sources close to Microsoft” has the release tentatively slated for late February, more than a month after the CES expo intro hinted earlier. It’s not known if this was a delay or always part of the schedule.

The developer preview version released in September was in a rough state, missing e-mail and otherwise being in a state only really suitable for third-party app testing. A beta is defined as feature-complete, however, and it’s likely that any delays might be to polish the release for regular users.

A public beta so late would rule out an April release to manufacturing. Microsoft always produces at least one release candidate build and rarely turns so quickly. Talk of a June or later completion date and a second-half 2012 release are more likely.

If true, the timing could create problems for Windows 8 and Microsoft’s attempts to reclaim the tablet space. The first truly touch-native Windows tablets may not be on the market until 2.5 years after the iPad, and possibly months after the iPad 3 appears.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Keynote 5.1.1 update

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Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 04:00
Category: News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released version 5.1.1 of its Keynote document presentation application. The update, a 29.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– This update addresses issues when working with large Keynote presentations on Mac OS X 10.7.

– It also includes improvements in stability and accessibility for Keynote.

Keynote 5.1.1 retails for US$79.00 as part of the iWork ’09 suite and requires iWork ’09, an Intel processor and Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later to install and run. The update can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature if Keynote is already installed on your Mac.

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

BBC iPad Player app comes to Canada, should arrive in U.S. market soon

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Date: Thursday, December 1st, 2011, 06:28
Category: iPad, News, Software

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It’s been in the works forever but it may just be close to done.

Per the BBC, the BBC’s long-awaited iPad app has been updated to version 1.2.5 and is becoming available in Canada. The app debuted back in July bringing iPlayer streaming access to tablets across Western Europe, before taking its programs to Australia back in September. The app is currently retailing for $8.99 per month in the Canadian market for access BBC shows like Fawlty Towers, Whitechapel, and Hustle, but viewers in all 16 territories with access can snag one free episode per day through December 25th. The long wait has been stated as year-long pilot phase with a next step of opening it up to US audiences.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple in discussions with wireless carriers over LTE-capable iPads, iPhones

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Date: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011, 12:58
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor

What a difference a year might make.

Per Macotakara, Apple is gearing up to release new iPad and iPhone models in 2012 that will connect to long-term evolution 4G high-speed data networks, according to a new report.

Japane’s Nikkei Business reported that carrier NTT DoCoMo is in talks to release an LTE-capable iPad in the summer of 2012. That would be followed by a new 4G LTE iPhone in the autumn, or one year after the iPhone 4S launched.

Executives with the wireless carrier were said to have visited the U.S. in mid-November to talk with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. The two parties allegedly agreed to begin “full-scale negotiations” for the sale of LTE-capable iPhones and iPads.

That runs in contrast to an earlier report this month from The Wall Street Journal, which claimed that negotiations between Apple and NTT DoCoMo came to a standstill. It was said that the two parties reached an impasse over the carrier wishing to install proprietary applications on the iPhone, something that Apple would not agree to.

NTT DoCoMo President and Chief Executive Ryuji Yamada said it was difficult for his company to offer the iPhone because of large commitment requirements and Apple’s control over the iOS platform. But the latest report claims that Yamada came to the U.S. in mid-November to discuss Apple’s apparent next-generation LTE products and a potential partnership.

Claims of a 4G LTE iPhone and iPad are not new, and rumors have persisted for years that Apple plans to build such devices. There were even scattered reports claiming that the iPhone 4S would feature LTE, though most reports prior to the device’s announcement pegged 4G as a feature more likely to appear in 2012.

Reports from earlier this year claimed that Apple had eyed building an LTE-capable iPhone in 2011, but opted to push back the launch of such a device in 2012. It was said that the implementation of LTE networks had not yet matured enough to satisfy Apple.

In a quarterly conference call earlier this year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, then the company’s chief operating officer, said that poor battery life and other issues with current LTE technology were enough to dissuade the company from pursuing an LTE iPhone at the time.

“The first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make,” Cook said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.