Parallels Desktop 5.0 Released

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Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 10:26
Category: Software

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Parallels Desktop 5.0 for Mac shipped today, its developer citing that the latest version of the virtualization software runs 64-bit Windows 7 22% faster than its nearest competitor on a MacBook Pro. Per AppleInsider, the developer said that the tests, conducted by Crimson Consulting Group, also found that the new Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac is up to 300% faster for virtual machine operations than its predecessor. In addition, 3Dmark 2006 Professional test scores perform up to 7 times better for 3D and graphics performance.

The latest version of Parallels Desktop boasts more than 70 new features, including a new “Crystal view” mode, which can make Windows completely disappear. The new software also allows users to enable Apple multitouch trackpad gestures such as pinch, swipe, and rotate within Windows.

Other new features include:

- Full support for Aero in Windows Vista and 7 through Windows WDDM driver, including Aero Flip 3D.
Virtual machine size automatically optimized for best performance with Parallels Compressor.

- Improved performance for Linux guest OS from KVM paravirtualization.

- A more Mac-like experience in Windows applications through Apple trackpad gestures technology, horizontal scrolling and the application of full-screen active corners and curl page effect.

- Copy and paste fidelity for formatted text and complete layouts including images, even between Windows and Linux guest OSes.

- Freedom and flexibility to run Windows and Mac applications across multiple monitors.

- Seven times better graphics performance for games and 3D applications than the previous version with Direct X 9Ex with Shader Model 3 and OpenGL 2.1 support.

- Superior graphics performance for Linux guests through OpenGL 2.1 support.

- Full hardware resources can be utilized with support for 8 virtual CPUs, 64-bit Windows and Snow Leopard Server 64-bit.

- Easily move PCs (including Windows 7) and third-party virtual machines to the Mac with the enhanced Parallels Transporter.

Parallels is also offering users a free trial of the software, which is available now in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, and localized versions in Chinese, Czech, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish and Russian are expected in the coming weeks.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac retails for US$79.99, requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run and includes US$175 worth of additional software: Parallels Internet Security 2009 by Kaspersky with a one-year subscription, Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0, and Acronis True Image Home 2010.

Onyx 2.1 Out the Door

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Date: Monday, November 2nd, 2009, 10:32
Category: Software

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Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.1. The new version, a 12.1 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Very many modifications in this version of Onyx. They relate to primarily compatibility with Snow Leopard.
- No installer anymore… Just drag and drop.
- Now, you can uninstall OnyX from the OnyX menu of the application.

OnyX requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

Orange Announces November 10th Launch Date for UK Customers

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Date: Monday, November 2nd, 2009, 06:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier Orange announced that Apple’s iPhone 3G and 3GS handsets will be available to the company’s customers on November 10th, marking the end of a two- year exclusive deal with operator O2.

Per BBC News, Orange said it would offer the handset to pay as you go, pay monthly and business customers.

Customers taking out 24 month contracts worth £30 or £45 a month will get the handset for free.
The Orange tariffs are very similar to O2 and the cheapest 24 month contract is £29.36, compared with £34.26 with O2.

“Since we announced the iPhone on Orange we have already seen more than a quarter of a million customers register their interest on our website,” said Tom Alexander, head of Orange UK.

Back in September, both Orange and Vodafone announced that they would be offering the iPhone. Vodafone said the phone would be available on its network from 2010 but has yet to confirm pricing details.

O2 has offered the iPhone since its UK launch in 2007.

VLC Updated to 1.0.3

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Date: Monday, November 2nd, 2009, 05:54
Category: Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.0.3 over the weekend. The new version, a 41 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

Video outputs:
- Fixed video quality when resizing the video on Windows Vista and 7, due to regressions in most popular drivers.
- New deinterlacers modules based on yadif and yadif(x2) algorithms.

Decoders:
- Windows version supports now natively the WMA Professional codec, as it didn’t work in the packaged version of 1.0.2.
- Fixed downmixing of particual 4.0 AC-3 audio tracks.

Encoders:
- x264 has profile-limitter, like: #transcode{vcodec=h264,venc=x264{profile=baseline,level=12}..}.

Input:
- Update for appletrailers lua script.
- Fixes on the RAR stream filter.
- Fix for E-AC3 in ATSC/TS streams.
- Various fixes for v4l and v4l2.
- Fixed a crash in mjpeg demuxer.

Service discovery:
- New udev module for linux.

Qt4 interface:
- Fixes on the playlist and the stream output panels.

Translations:
- French, Galician, Korean, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Slovak and Ukrainian updates.

VLC 1.0.3 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and is available as a free download.

Opera 10.01 Web Browser Released

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Date: Friday, October 30th, 2009, 04:39
Category: Software

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Early Tuesday, Opera Software released Opera 10.01, the latest version of its free web browser.

The new version, a 16.3 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Added:
- Opera Link button with dropdown menu on the status bar; access to Opera Link in the main menu moved to Tools.

Fixed:
- Issue with Opera Turbo and plug-in placeholders.

- Enabling Opera Turbo for the first time not showing the Opera Turbo information page.

- Opera not synchronizing more than 9 Speed Dials.

- Open instance of Opera not running when a laptop enters its wakeup stage.

- Issue with the Flip4Mac plug-in.

- Problem creating a new mail account.

- Drafts sometimes missing after upgrading to Opera 10.00.

- Follow/Ignore contact not working from the message header toolbar.

- Fixed an issue where certain domain names could allow execution of arbitrary code.

- Fixed an issue where scripts can run on the feed subscription page.

- Custom changes to operaprefs not appearing when upgrading from a version older than Opera 10.00.

- Issue of 100% CPU usage fixed by preventing and avoiding the filling up of message loop.

Opera 10.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple TV 3.0 Out the Door

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Date: Friday, October 30th, 2009, 04:17
Category: Apple TV, Software

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About six weeks after dropping the 40 gigabyte Apple TV model and reducing the price on the remaining 160 gigabyte model to US$229, Apple has released version 3.0 of its Apple TV software. Per Macworld, the updated software offers a new main menu interface that provides direct access to rented and purchased movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, photos, and YouTube videos. Your content (My Movies, for example) now sits at the top of lists instead of at the bottom. Once you drill down into secondary menus, however, the interface is the same as before.

The new software also lets Apple TV users enjoy iTunes LP and iTunes Extras content for albums and movies, respectively.

The Apple TV now supports Genius Mixes as well, a new feature of iTunes 9 that also works on some iPod models.

For photos, the latest software adds support for iPhoto ‘09’s Events and Faces (but not Places) features.

Finally, Apple has stated that users can now listen to thousands of Internet radio stations and tag stations for later listening. You could in fact listen to Internet radio on the Apple TV previously, you just had to put the stations in a playlist.

The software is a free update for all Apple TV owners and can be snagged via the Apple TV’s Software Update feature.

Apple Releases iTunes 9.0.2 Update

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Date: Friday, October 30th, 2009, 04:49
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 9.0.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, an 85.8 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Adds support for Apple TV software version 3.0, adds an option for a dark background for Grid View, and improves support for accessibility.

iTunes 9.0.2 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Posted by:
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.