Source comments on WebKit 2 framework for upcoming browsers

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 9th, 2010, 04:20
Category: News, Software

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Apple’s been able to pull off a number of cool tricks with its WebKit framework. Per AppleInsider, anew framework for the WebKit open source Web browser layout engine was revealed Thursday, bringing with it a built-in “split process model” that will keep Web content such as JavaScript, HTML and layout in a separate process in browsers such as Apple’s Safari and Mobile Safari.

Patches that comprise the new framework, dubbed “WebKit2,” are due to be released shortly, according to Anders Carlsson, who works on Apple’s Safari browser as well as the open source WebKit engine. In addition to Safari, WebKit also powers the Google Chrome browser, the Android Web browser, and Palm’s WebOS.

“WebKit2 is designed from the ground up to support a split process model, where the web content (JavaScript, HTML, layout, etc) lives in a separate process,” wrote Carlsson. “This model is similar to what Google Chrome offers, with the major difference being that we have built the process split model directly into the framework, allowing other clients to use it.”

In this method, each tab within a browser is “sandboxed,” or existing in its own space. In essence, this means each tab is like its own separate browser. While Chrome currently does this in its own proprietary way in its WebKit-based browser, building the capability into the framework of WebKit2 would allow other WebKit-based browsers such as Safari to employ this same technique.

Documentation accompanying the WebKit2 release noted that one goal for the new framework is to create a stable, non-blocking application programming interface. That would allow an unlimited number of threads to call an API at once, making the browser more flexible. This would be achieved, the documentation said, through a number of techniques listed below:

- Notification style client callbacks (e.g. didFinishLoadForFrame): These inform the embedder that something has happened, but do not give them the chance to do anything about it.
Policy style clients callbacks (e.g. decidePolicyForNavigationAction) These allow the embedder to decide on an action at their leisure, notifying the page through a listener object.

- Policy settings (e.g. WKContextSetCacheModel, WKContextSetPopupPolicy): These allow the embedder to opt into a predefined policy without any callbacks into the UIProcess. These can either be an enumerated set of specific policies, or something more fine-grained, such as a list of strings with wildcards.

- Injected code (e.g. WebBundle): Code can be loaded into the WebProcess for cases where all the other options fail. This can useful when access to the DOM is required. [Planned, but not currently implemented]

Apple debuts iPhone OS 4.0 in San Francisco

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 12:22
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Over in San Francisco, Apple gave iPhone developers and the media a sneak preview of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 operating system, announcing major changes in multitasking capabilities, changes to the Mail application, and a built-in advertising system highlight the features that make up iPhone OS 4.0.

Per Macworld, developers could get their hands on a preview of the 4.0 update on Thursday although users will have to wait until at least the summer. Owners of the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch users will be able to take advantage of all the features, while second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G models will only support some of the update’s enhancements. iPhone OS 4.0 won’t be available for the iPad until the fall.

The iPhone OS 4.0 update will reportedly introduce 1,500 new application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers and more than 100 new user features, including playlist creation, 5x digital zoom in the camera app, tap-to-focus for video, auto photo-geotagging, and support for Bluetooth keyboards. During the preview, Apple focused on seven new aspect that it called “tentpole” features: multitasking, folders, Mail improvements, iBooks for the iPhone, enhancements for business users, a social gaming network, and iAd.

iAds, perhaps the newest thing, functions as Apple’s new advertising platform designed specifically for the iPhone OS. The architecture allows developers the functionality to build ads directly into their apps; the ads, written using the HTML5 standard, are designed to provide a rich promotional environment, complete with what are essentially mini apps-inside-the-app.

Camera for iPad allows iPad users to borrow iPhone, iPod touch cameras via Bluetooth

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Software

The iPad currently lacks a built-in camera.

And some of you are combining your pitchfork technology with your torch technology and planning on waving flaming pitchforks outside 1 Infinite Loop (and Steve’s office) about this.

Still, there might be a solution to this.

Headlight Software’s Camera for iPad [App Store, US$0.99] allows iPad users to take photos on their iPad using their iPhone camera. Per iLounge, users load the Camera for iPad app on both their iPhone and iPad and can then establish a Bluetooth connection between the two devices.

Once connected, users can take photos on the iPad from the iPhone camera. A live view is shown on the iPad screen and users can zoom in and out and rotate the view using standard pinch and swipe gestures. Photos are taken at the maximum resolution of the iPhone camera and automatically transferred to the iPad over Bluetooth and stored in the iPad’s Saved Photos album.

The application can also be used with a second- or third-generation iPod touch or another iPhone 3G or 3GS although the original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch are not currently supported.

Camera for iPad is a Universal app and requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later to install and run.

Keep your iPad cool, out of direct sunlight

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 04:58
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

As nifty as the iPad may be, one of the largest concerns regarding the new tablet is an apparent problem with rising temperatures when operating the touch-screen tablet in direct sunlight or other hot conditions.

Per CNET, several sites around the Internet have cited the heat problem, which brings back memories of the iPhone’s heat issues, especially prevalent with the release of the iPhone 3G.

It is widely expected, however, that a firmware update will likely fix the heating issues (as it did with the iPhones). Some users, in the meantime, have resorted to refrigeration as a means of cooling their iPad. Apple suggests keeping your iPad in operating temperatures at a maximum of 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), which may be a tall order for iPad owners living in warmer climates.

For the time being (and until the first inevitable firmware update), keep an eye on your iPad usage when you’re outside. Try and stay out of direct sunlight and keep your iPad covered whenever possible. Should you get the overheated warning, move your iPad to a cooler location, wait a few minutes, and reset it. Everything should work fine.

If you’ve seen your iPad overheat or come close to it or have figured out a nifty way of keeping it cool, please let us know.

Opinion: iPad – iWork (NOT)

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:55
Category: iPad, Opinion, Software

If you are planning on buying an iPad to be a portable editing device for your iWork content – think twice. The Apple Discussion boards are all aflutter with teachers and professors who hoped they could leave their laptops in the office and only take their new iPads to the lecture hall. This is not the case. Although Apple has branded the programs the same as the versions you can buy for your Mac , this is where the similarity ends. It’s like using Google Translation to convert a foreign web site into your language of choice, but worse. The two programs i was interested in were Pages and Keynote and they both corrupt files on import (once you can get them in – that’s another article). Formatting is lost in Pages so formulas and footnotes disappear in Keynote transitions and builds go away. It is not as if they are temporarily suspended while on the iPad they are gone so when and if you save back to your Mac they are no longer there.

My comment is, if you are calling it by the same name it should have the same display features. I can agree to editing and creative limitations on a mobile class device but display corruption is unacceptable. To me that’s synonymous with PDF’s looking different on different computing devices and operating systems, not what a PDF is supposed to be.

My biggest complaint is that Apple re-confiigured some of their standard fonts, and when you import a Keynote Presentation of simple Text and Paragraph builds everything is scrambled, mostly because replaced fonts don’t translate to the same font size constraints. I gave up looking for a way to reduce the font size so the text would fit on the slide and have gone back to my laptop to write this article. Now if you create on the iPad and leave it, there’s not a problem. I guess I got my hopes up, with iWork Beta working so seamlessly between cloud and desktop I figured the transition to iPad would be as painless. I was wrong!!

Look at the Samples Below and see if the change from Chalkboard to Chalkduster font would cause you sufficient grief to not make the transition.

Apple schedules iPhone OS 4.0 preview for April 8th, speculation emerges

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, 03:46
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News

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On Monday, Apple announced that it would hold a special invite-oly press event in San Francisco on April 8th to offer a preview of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 operating system.

“Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS,” the event invitation reads per Macworld UK.

With nothing specific on the table, speculation as to what can be expected has run across the following lines:

Multitasking:
Per recent rumors and reports, Apple has been looking to include full multitasking and may be doing this via an Expose-like approach which will show open programs revealed when the user double-clicks the iPhone’s Home button. Multitasking always seems to have a place on iPhone OS wish lists and it makes sense to match Android OS-based smartphones on their own ground.

Global Mailbox and Home Screen Contacts:
Recent iPhone OS 4.0 rumors have centered around a global inbox that merges multiple e-mail accounts into a unified view, plus the ability to add specific contact names as icons on the iPhone’s home screen. These changes could be useful on a lot of levels but might also be stepping stones to larger feature inclusions.

GPS Navigation:
With Google adding free, turn-by-turn, voice-guided GPS navigation to its Android phones, and Nokia doing the same for several of its handsets, the pressure’s on Apple to offer something similar. Apple acquired mapping company Placebase last summer, and also posted a job ad last November seeking an engineer to help overhaul the iPhone’s Maps app. A major GPS application seems likely and Apple has taken several important steps towards this.

Verizon iPhone, 4G iPhone:
It’s worth pointing out that Apple’s event is aimed at the iPhone’s operating system, not hardware. Don’t expect to hear anything about Verizon iPhones or next-generation iPhones. Just as Apple announced the 3.0 OS in March 2009, and the iPhone 3GS in June, any news on the hardware front is probably a few months away.

Email Attachments, Contact and SMS Groups, Rotation Lock:
Though this is pure speculation, a lot of iPhone OS users have griped about it. To this day, users can’t attach files within the e-mail app (you can only send them from outside apps), and the inability to create groups for contacts or text messages is a pain. With the iPad getting its own handy rotation lock switch, it may be time to build this into the larger iPhone OS.

Stay tuned for additional details and full event coverage come April 8th.

And if you have any changes you’d like to see made to the iPhone OS in version 4.0, please let us know in the comments.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.3 update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 5th, 2010, 03:47
Category: Software

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Late last week, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.3 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.6 megabyte <a href=”http://www.mozilla.com/products/download.html?product=firefox-3.6.3&amp;os=osx&amp;lang=en-US”>download</a>, sports the following major change:

- Fixes a critical security issue that could potentially allow remote code execution.

Firefox 3.6.3 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.

Apple launches iBooks app for iPad

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 03:40
Category: iPad, Software

The day before the official U.S. launch of the iPad, Apple’s long awaited iBooks app is now available in the App Store. Per MacRumors, the app offers both a book reader, an online bookstore to purchase new books and the following:

- Complimentary copy of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.

- Read a free sample of any book on the iBookstore.

- Change font size, pick from five different included type faces.

- Highlight your favorite passages with the built-in bookmarking feature.

- Accessibility features such as speaking words on a given page.

iBooks requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later and an iPad to install and run.

Rumor: iPhone OS 4.0 could support multitasking via Expose-like user interface

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

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Earlier reports surrounding Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 firmware focused on the idea of multitasking for the operating system. Per AppleInsider, these rumors have expanded to state that the supported multitasking will be resemble the Expose function in Mac OS X.

According to “people familiar with Apple’s plans for the new firmware,” a keystroke combination consisting of hitting the Home button twice will bring up the icons of currently running apps, allowing users to quickly choose the one they want to switch to.

The article notes that this sounds more like the basic “Command + Tab” app switcher (similar to Microsoft Window’s “Ctrl + Tab” option) than Expose, which scales all open windows down to tiny little versions of themselves, but their sources insist that the new iPhone multitasking will exhibit “several characteristics of the Expose brand.”

Multitasking, or its absence, has long been an issue for iPhone OS-based devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and, come Saturday, the iPad. Although number of bundled iPhone apps, including the phone and the iPod functions, are perfectly capable of running in the background while the user performs other tasks. Third-party app multitasking currently isn’t supported, which means that users must quit any third-party app they are using in order to run another third-party app.

Apple addressed the multitasking issue (sort of) in its iPhone OS 3.0 update, when it introduced push notifications. Push notifications notify users of changes in third-party apps (email, instant messages, and so on), so that users can switch over to that app if necessary.

Currently, multiple smartphone operating systems support multitasking. Compatible devices include Palm’s WebOS, Google’s Android OS, RIM’s BlackberryOS, and Windows Mobile (though the new Windows Phone 7 series will reportedly not support multitasking), leaving Apple is a bit behind.

Apple releases AirPort Utility 5.5.1, updated firmware for Time Capsule, late 2009 AirPort Extreme units

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 04:28
Category: Software, wireless


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Late Wednesday, Apple released AirPort Utility 5.5.1, a 10.2 megabyte download which offers the following fixes to the AirPort Utility software:

- Not importing all settings when importing a configuration.

- Not propagating MAC address control lists when using an extended network.

The company also released a firmware update for its Time Capsule and late 2009 AirPort Extreme Base Station devices. The updated firmware repairs a problem with wireless performance in the 5GHz band and an issue with creating a Guest Network in that same band.

Both updates require Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run and the AirPort Utility update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature or via the update feature in Airport Utility itself.