Microsoft completes Skype acquisition, deal still under review in some European countries

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Date: Friday, October 14th, 2011, 11:36
Category: News, Software

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It had to happen sometime.

Per Macworld, Microsoft announced on Friday that it has closed its US$8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, the Internet telephony provider in Luxembourg, and the company will function as a new business division within Microsoft.

Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the new Skype Division immediately, reporting directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The acquisition is however still under review in a few countries, and will be completed in those countries when such reviews are closed, Microsoft said without naming the countries. The deal was cleared by the Department of Justice in the U.S. in June and antitrust regulators in the European Union this month.

Microsoft announced in May that it had agreed to acquire Skype, and said at the time that it would be integrated with Microsoft’s products, without affecting availability of the popular Internet telephony application on platforms from competitors.

The Skype division will continue to offer its current products to millions of users globally, Microsoft said on Friday. In the long term, Skype will also be integrated across an array of Microsoft products to broaden Skype’s reach and accelerate its growth as a fundamental way for people to communicate online, it added.

Founded in 2003, Skype was acquired by eBay in September 2005, and then acquired by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009. Other members of the selling investor group led by Silver Lake include eBay International, CPP Investment Board, Joltid in partnership with Europlay Capital Advisors, and Andreessen Horowitz, Microsoft said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you make of the deal in the comments.

PocketMac unveils BerryMover, helps with BlackBerry-to-iPhone migration

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Date: Friday, October 14th, 2011, 10:33
Category: iPhone, News, Software

This could be useful.

Per the cool cats at the Apple Core, Information Appliance Associates on Tuesday released BerryMover, an app capable of bringing Blackberry data files over to an iOS-based device.

BerryMover allows you to open the Blackberry backup file and can recover calendars, contacts, tasks, notes, email messages and text messages for the iPhone. The company said owners can “import as many backup files as you want.”

Developer and PocketMac co-founder Tim Goggin stated there was increasing demand for this Blackberry-to-iPhone migration utility. His company previously created the Mac-Blackberry sync software.

“We developed the app because a lot of people are moving away from the BlackBerry to their iPhone,” he said. “Overall, I think it shows how seriously business takes the iPhone that so many people are migrating from BlackBerry to it.”

He described the development process as tough, especially getting the iPhone to work with BlackBerry backups, he added.

BerryMover retails for $9.99 and requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later to install and run.

Sprint clarifies iPhone 4S unlocking/roaming terms

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Date: Friday, October 14th, 2011, 09:18
Category: iPhone, News

With the launch of the iPhone 4S, Sprint cleared up its policy regarding international roaming on the new handset, announcing its intent to lock the phone’s micro-SIM slot and then unlock it for good customers only by request.

Per Macworld, on Thursday, Sprint spokesperson Michelle Leff Mermelstein issued a new statement to me regarding the iPhone 4S and international unlocking for Sprint customers.

Here’s the deal:

Indeed, the Sprint iPhone 4S will ship with its micro-SIM slot unlocked. However, Sprint now says that it will be locking that slot “shortly after launch” via an update pushed to those devices. After the slot has been locked, Sprint says that it will allow customers in good standing to unlock the SIM for international use in the future.

Mermelstein’s verbatim statement went as follows:

“Sprint’s policy is to have the iPhone 4S SIM locked to our network domestically and internationally. At launch, the International SIM will be unlocked. We do expect a SIM lock to be pushed to the devices shortly after launch. We will then allow existing customers in good standing to unlock the SIM for international use if needed in the future.

Customers can sign up for one of our international rate plans and use this phone all over the world. When traveling internationally, there is a setting that must be turned on within the device to connect to GSM. The phone will work with a SIM that is provided within the device out of the box. International voice and data charges are on a pay-as-you-go basis and vary based on the country where the customer is using their phone; a list of rates is available at www.sprint.com/international.”

Sprint offers two international voice plans that customers can subscribe to for discounted voice rates:

The Canada Roaming add-on is US$2.99 per month and all calls placed from Canada are only 20 cents per minute. Without this add-on, calls from Canada are 59 cents per minute.

The Sprint Worldwide Voice add-on is US$4.99 per month and offers discounted rates in countries around the world. For example, calls from Italy are US$1.69 per minute with this add-on or US$1.99 per minute without the add-on; calls from Peru are US$2.29 per minute with the add-on or US$2.49 per minute without it.

If you have your own take on this, please let us know in the feedback and comments.

iFixit completes full teardown of iPhone 4S, posts results (updated)

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Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 09:48
Category: iPhone, Pictures

With only one day (uno dia) remaining before the iPhone 4S officially goes on sale in brick and mortar locations, the supremely cool cats at iFixit have performed a full teardown of the long-awaited handset. Beyond the 1GHz A5 dual-core processor and 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, here’s what else they stumbled across:

– The iPhone 4S also has an upgraded Qualcomm MDM6610 radio chipset, plus flash memory provided by Toshiba.

– The Retina Display on the iPhone 4S hasn’t changed from its predecessor, Apple stuck with the linear oscillating vibration motor that was standard in the Verizon iPhone 4 (the AT&T version contained a rotational electric motor).

– The teardown confirmed the process of 512 MB of RAM.

– Yep, there’s a larger battery. And that’s never a bad thing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Security Update 2011-006 for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 operating systems

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Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 06:10
Category: News, security, Software

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On Thursday, Apple also released Security Update 2011-006 for the Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7 operating systems. The update, a 136 megabyte download, offers a series of fixes and changes detailed here.

Security Update 2011-006 requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later on the Mac OS X 10.6 end or Mac OS X 10.7.1 or later on the Mac OS X 10.7 end to install and run.

If you’ve tried the security update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple in talks with studios to begin streaming movies to iCloud

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 06:23
Category: Apple TV, iCloud, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

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Additional movies: They’re never a bad thing.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple is said to be involved in negotiations with Hollywood movie studios in an effort to give customers the ability to stream movies they own to devices like an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.

Citing sources close to the story, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Apple wants to give its customers the ability to stream movies they have purchased through iTunes without the need to manually transfer the files. The talks come as Apple has launched its iCloud product, and movie studios have rolled out their own cloud-based movie streaming service, dubbed UltraViolet.

UltraViolet movies can be streamed to an iPhone or iPad using the Flixster application available on the iOS App Store, however an UltraViolet account does not include any movies that may have been purchased through iTunes. The new UltraViolet format lets people stream a film they have purchased on DVD or Blu-ray, and is seen as a way to help boost slumping sales of movies.

Rumors that Apple wants to give users the ability to stream and re-download movies they have purchased are not new. Apple has already secured deals for iTunes customers, allowing them to re-download songs and TV shows they own, but Hollywood movies cannot be re-downloaded.

Previous reports have claimed that the so-called “HBO window” has been a sticking point in negotiations. The window is a deal in which three of the top six film studios have distribution deals with premium network HBO, and under the terms of that deal, outlets must halt sales or distribution of a film when it premieres on HBO.

As recently as August, Apple was still said to be pursuing a cloud-based streaming and re-downloading service, though such a deal with Hollywood studios was said to not be imminent.

The studios’ UltraViolet service launched this week, giving customers access to “digital lockers” that let customers stream or download a digital copy of physical purchases on a wide variety of devices. The service requires customers to create an account that serves as a hub for all of their purchased media, and passcodes that ship with physical discs allow users to access those movies online from remote servers.

All of the major movie studios except for Walt Disney Co. are backing UltraViolet, while it is planning its own proprietary service called KeyChest. Neither Disney nor Apple were part of the consortium that formed UltraViolet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV 4.4 update out the door, adds Photo Steam, AirPlay mirroring, other functions

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Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 06:48
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

If there’s one universal truth, it’s this: updates are nifty.

Per Mac|Life, Apple on Wednesday released iOS 4.4 for its second-generation Apple TV set top device. The update adds Photo Stream as well as new content from the National Hockey League and Wall Street Journal Live functionalities to the device. That update also provides AirPlay mirroring for wireless playback from your iOS 5 device, and can be downloaded directly from your black Apple TV.

To update your Apple TV to the latest software, go to Settings -> General -> Update Software and follow the directions.

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

Apple releases iPhoto 9.2 update

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Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 04:20
Category: News, Software

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Along with almost everything else, Apple released iPhoto 9.2 on Thursday, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 357 megabyte download which can be be snagged directly or via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, offers the following major fixes and changes:

– Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in Magnify (1-up) view.

– Previously imported photos are now displayed in a separate section of the Import window.

– Book/calendar themes and card categories can now be selected using a pop-up menu in the carousel view.

– Resolves an issue that could cause some pages of books to print incorrectly.

– Rebuilding a library now correctly preserves saved slideshows and books.

iPhoto 9.2 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.2 update

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 12:06
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.7.2, the update to its recently-released Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” operating system. The update, a several hundred megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:

– Allows reordering of desktop spaces and full screen apps in Mission Control.

– Enables dragging files between desktop spaces and full screen apps.

– Addresses an issue that causes the menu bar to not appear in full screen apps.

– Improves the compatibility of Google contact syncing in Address Book.

– Addresses an issue that causes Keynote to become temporarily unresponsive.

– Improves VoiceOver compatibility with Launchpad.

– Addresses an issue that causes a delay in accessing the network after waking from sleep.

– Enables booting in to Lion Recovery from a locally attached Time Machine backup drive.

– Resolves an issue that causes screen zoom to stop working.

– Improves Active Directory integration.

The update can be located, downloaded and installed via the Software Update feature in Mac OS X.

Mac OS X 10.7.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.1 to install and run.

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

Apple releases iOS 5.0 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 12:25
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Software

After months of anticipation, speculation and generally looking forward to it, Apple has released iOS 5.0 for its current iPhone, iPod touch and iPad models.

The update, a several hundred megabyte download, can be snagged by plugging in your respective iOS device and checking for updates in iTunes and will take several minutes to create a backup file in iTunes, install, update firmware and perform additional tasks.

The update offers the following fixes and changes:

Notifications:
– Swipe from the top of any screen to view notifications in one place with Notification Center

– New notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen

– View notifications from lock screen

– Slide the notification app icon to the right on the lock screen to go directly to the app

iMessage:
– Send and receive unlimited text, photo, and video messages with other iOS 5 users

– Track messages with delivery and read receipts

– Group messaging and secure encryption

– Works over cellular network and Wi-Fi*

Newsstand:
– Automatically organizes magazine and newspaper subscriptions on Home Screen

– Displays the cover of the latest issue

– Background downloads of new issues

– Reminders for managing to do lists

– Syncs with iCloud, iCal and Outlook

– Location-based reminders when you leave or arrive at a location for iPhone 4S and iPhone 4

Built-in support for Twitter:
– Sign-in once in Settings and tweet directly from Camera, Photos, Maps, Safari and YouTube

– Add location to any tweet

– View twitter profile pictures and usernames in Contacts

Camera improvements for devices with cameras:
– Double click the home button when device is asleep to bring up a camera shortcut on iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (4th generation)

– Volume Up button to take a picture

– Optional grid lines to line up shots

– Pinch to zoom in the preview screen

– Swipe to camera roll from preview screen

– Tap and hold to lock focus and exposure, iPad 2 and iPod touch (4th generation) only support exposure lock

– Photo improvements for devices with cameras

– Crop and rotate

– Red eye removal

– One tap enhance

– Organize photos into albums

Mail improvements:
– Format text using bold, italic, or underlined fonts

– Indentation control

– Drag to rearrange names in address fields

– Flag messages

– Mass mark messages as flagged, read or unread

– Customize mail alert sounds

– S/MIME

Calendar improvements:
– Year view on iPad and new Week view for iPhone and iPod touch

– Tap to create an event

– View and add event attachments

Game Center improvements:
– Use personal photos for your Game Center account

– Compare your overall achievement scores with your friends

– Find new Game Center friends with friend recommendations and friends of friends

– Discover new games with custom game recommendations

– AirPlay Mirroring for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S

Multitasking Gestures for iPad:
– Use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen

– Swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar

– Swipe left or right to switch between apps

– On-device setup, activation and configuration with Setup Assistant

– Software updates available over the air without tethering

iCloud support:
– iTunes in the Cloud

– Photo Stream

– Documents in the Cloud

– Apps and Books automatic download and purchase history

– Backup

– Contacts, Calendar, and Mail

– Find My iPhone

– Redesigned Music app for iPad

– Hourly weather forecast

– Real-time stock quotes

– Wireless sync to iTunes

Keyboard improvements:
– Split keyboard for iPad

– Improved autocorrection accuracy

– Improved Chinese and Japanese input

– New Emoji keyboard

– Personal dictionary for autocorrection

– Optionally create keyboard short cuts for frequently used words

Accessibility improvements:
– Option to light LED flash on incoming calls and alerts for iPhone 4S and iPhone 4

– Custom vibration patterns for incoming calls on iPhone

– New interface for using iOS with mobility-impairment input devices

– Option to speak a selection of text

– Custom element labeling for VoiceOver

– Exchange ActiveSync improvements

– Wirelessly sync tasks

– Mark messages as flagged, read or unread

– Improved offline support

– Save a new contact from a GAL service

– More than 1,500 new developer APIs

– Bug fixes

iOS 5.0 requires an iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S, an iPad, iPad 2 or third or fourth generation iPod touch to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new iOS update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.