Rumor: Apple may be planning iOS 5.0 around a fall release

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Date: Monday, March 28th, 2011, 04:59
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor, Software

Even if you’re still trying to figure out if Apple’s iOS 4.3.1 update provided any meaningful fixes, there’s still iOS 5.0 on the horizon. Per TechCrunch, iOS 5.0 may not see the light of day until this fall, the rumor mill stating that Instead of Apple possibly unveiling the latest version this spring, we may not see an official preview until summer, possibly alongside WWDC.

The current rumors have presented the following details:
-iOS 5 will launch in the fall and will be a major revamp of the OS.

-It could well be previewed at WWDC, but won’t be released then.

-The iOS 5 launch may coincide with the release of the oft talked about iPad 3.

-The new iOS would be built heavily around the cloud, and could see the launching of several new services by Apple that would take advantage of this.

-One of those said services would be a “music locker” service, which would see the aim for a fall launch, which is usually when Apple hosts their music-themed event.

-Much of the cloud information would first be covered at WWDC.

-The new cloud service element would include a location service for finding friends and family members.

-Some of the new cloud features could also make their way into OS X Lion as well.

Still, it could be interesting stuff, even if the usual timeline is thrown off a bit.

Stay tuned to PowerPage and we’ll bring you additional information as it becomes available.

Apple releases iOS 4.3.1 update

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Date: Saturday, March 26th, 2011, 03:35
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Apple on Friday released iOS 4.3.1, the latest update to its mobile operating system. The update includes a handful of bug fixes and security patches for iOS devices.

Per Macworld, the update centers around a pair of graphics-related fixes: one for an occasional glitch on the 4th-generation iPod touch and one for flickering problems when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs. iOS 4.3.1 also resolves a problem with authenticating some enterprise Web services and some bugs experienced when activating and connecting to cellular networks.

The update is recommended for all users of the GSM iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touches. To download and install it, connect your device to your Mac or PC and click Check for Updates in iTunes.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes (for better or for worse), please let us know in the comments.

Mac OS X 10.6.7 internal references point to widening graphics card support for future Mac hardware

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 25th, 2011, 04:13
Category: News, Software

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Dig around inside an update’s code and you’ll find all sorts of interesting stuff.

Per the tonymacx86 Blog, the Mac OS X 10.6.7 update for early 2011 Mac Book Pro models features native graphics acceleration for some Radeon HD 5000- and 6000-series cards. The supported cards are off-the-shelf graphics processing units, not Mac-only cards as have been in the past.

It’s likely that at least some of the cards will be part of the new iMac refresh expected from Apple in the near future. A new rumor this week claimed that Apple plans to ship a refresh of its all-in-one desktop by early May, with Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors and a high-speed Thunderbolt port.

But the number of graphics cards natively supported by Mac OS X 10.6.7 has led “tonymacx86” to suggest that it could signal “the end of the Mac-only graphics card.”

“Could Apple be opening up the platform more?” he asked. “What happens to NVIDIA? Why support for cards that aren’t in Macs yet? Will the 2011 Sandy Bridge iMacs contain one or more of these new 6xxx cards?”

The Mac OS X 10.6.7 Snow Leopard build unique to early 2011 Sandy Bridge MacBook Pro models apparently contains native support for the following graphics cards:

– ATI Radeon HD 5630 Device ID 0x68D8

– ATI Radeon HD 5630 Device ID 0x68D9

– ATI Radeon HD 5670 Device ID 0x68D8

– ATI Radeon HD 5730 Device ID 0x68D8

– ATI Radeon HD 5770 Device ID 0x68B8

– ATI Radeon HD 5850 Device ID 0x6899

– ATI Radeon HD 5870 Device ID 0x6898

– AMD Radeon HD 6850 Device ID 0x6739

– AMD Radeon HD 6870 Device ID 0x6738

– AMD Radeon HD 6970 Device ID 0x6718

Apple also released a special build unique to the new MacBook Pros with Thunderbolt also addresses performance issues with FaceTime. It also improves graphics stability and external display compatibility with the new notebooks released in February.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC 1.1.8 update released

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Date: Thursday, March 24th, 2011, 03:12
Category: News, 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 1.1.8. The new version, a 25.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Security update regarding video width concerning some demuxers.

– Support for a new Dirac encoder based on libschroedinger.

– Package of the new VP8/Webm encoder ‘Bali’.

– Notable updates in .mp4, .ogg, .ape demuxers.

– Major updates in most language translations.

– Fixes in skins2 supports of Winamp2 skins.

– Upgrade on the look of VLC for Mac OS X.

– Auto-detection for .txt subtitles is fixed.

– Fixes on Windows integration, notably regarding volume keys.

– Codecs updates.

– Many miscellaneous fixes.

VLC 1.1.8 requires 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.

Apple TV 4.2.1 update released, addresses “HDTV flicker” issue

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Date: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011, 03:52
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

Apple on Tuesday released a minor update for its second-generation Apple TV set top box, with software version 4.2.1 addressing an issue that caused screen flickering on some older high-definition TVs.

Per AppleInsider, the Apple TV Software Update 4.2.1 can now be downloaded directly from the device. It applies only to the second-generation Apple TV, released last year. The new version’s fixes and changes include the following:

– TV compatibility: Addresses issues that may cause the screen to flicker or display incorrect color on some older TVs.

– Wake from sleep: Addresses an issue where Apple TV may not wake from sleep.

– Audio: Addresses an issue where audio may not be heard on some TV models after switching from another input.

– Stability and performance: Apple TV software Update 4.2.1 includes stability and performance fixes for Apple TV.

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

Mozilla releases Firefox 4.0 web browser

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Date: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011, 03:52
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 4.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 26.8 megabyte download offered the following fixes and changes:

– Firefox 4 is available in over 80 languages

– Uses JägerMonkey, a new, faster JavaScript engine that is up to six times faster than Firefox 3.6

– Support for the Do Not Track (“DNT”) header that allows users to opt-out of behavioural advertising

– Firefox Sync is included by default, allowing you to securely synchronize between multiple computers and mobile devices

– Certain graphics rendering operations are now hardware-accelerated using Direct3D 9 on
Windows XP, Direct3D 10 on Windows Vista and 7, and OpenGL on Mac OS (OpenGL on Linux will be supported in the future)

– Direct2D Hardware Acceleration is now on by default for Windows 7 users

– WebGL is enabled on all platforms that have a capable graphics card with updated drivers

– Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM video format, hardware accelerated where available

– Firefox button has a new look for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users

– Tabs are now on top by default on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux

– You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar

– The stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux

– The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you’d like)

– Crash protection for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins

– You can turn any tab into an “App Tab” by right-clicking on it and selecting “Make into App Tab” from the context menu

– The default homepage design has been refreshed

– Overhaul of the bookmarks and history code, enabling faster bookmarking and startup performance

– Per-compartment garbage collection is now enabled, reducing work done during complex animations

– Additional polish for the Firefox Add-ons Manager

– Improved web typography using OpenType with support for ligatures, kerning and font variants

– Web developers can animate content using CSS Transitions

– Responsiveness and scrolling improvements from the new retained layers layout system

– HTML5 Forms API makes web based forms easier to implement and validate

– Support for the new proposed Audio Data API

– Support for HSTS security protocol allowing sites to insist that they only be loaded over SSL

– A new feature called Panorama gives users a visual overview of all open tabs, allowing them to be sorted and grouped

– An experimental API is included to provide more efficient Javascript animations

– Firefox now supports the HTML5 video “buffered” property

– Changes to how XPCOM components are registered in order to help startup time and process separation

– New Addons Manager and extension management API (UI will be changed before final release)

– Significant API improvements are available for JS-ctypes, a foreign function interface for extensions

– CSS Transitions are partially supported

– Core Animation rendering model for plugins on Mac OS X. Plugins which also support this rendering model can now draw faster and more efficiently

– Web developers can update the URL field without reloading the page using HTML History APIs

– More responsive page rendering using lazy frame construction

– Link history lookup is done asynchronously to provide better responsiveness during pageload
CSS :visited selectors have been changed to block websites from being able to check a user’s browsing history

– New HTML5 parser

– Support for more HTML5 form controls

– Web authors can now get touch events from Firefox users on Windows 7 machines

– A new way of representing values in JavaScript that allows Firefox to execute heavy, numeric code (used for things like graphics and animations) more efficiently

Firefox 4.0 requires an Intel-based Mad and Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.7 update

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Date: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011, 03:32
Category: News, Software

snowleopard

Late Monday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.7, the most recent version of its Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” operating system. The update, which alternates between 313 MB and 1.12 gigabytes for the combo update, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Improve the reliability of Back to My Mac.

– Resolve an issue when transferring files to certain SMB servers.

– Address various minor Mac App Store issues.

– Includes all the improvements in the previous Mac OS X v10.6.1, 10.6.2, 10.6.3, 10.6.4, 10.6.5, and 10.6.6 updates.

– Includes Safari 5.0.4.

– Includes RAW image compatibility for additional digital cameras.

– Resolves a window resizing issue with X-Plane 9 on Macs with ATI graphics

– Addresses an issue with MacBook Air (Mid 2010) computers that could cause a kernel panic.

– Address issues in the AirPort driver for certain devices.

– Improves brightness on external displays and projectors.

– Addresses an issue where DVD Player may display black video on some Macs using the 64-bit kernel.

– Addresses an issue with some NEC displays in which the screen may appear black when connected to a Mac Pro (Mid 2010).

– Resolves an issue in which some Multiple Master (MM) fonts were missing from Mac Pro (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (15-inch & 17-inch Mid 2010), and iMac (Mid 2010) computers.

– Addresses various issues with MacBook Air (Mid 2010) computer performance.

– Resolves an issue in which clicking the Updates tab in the Mac App Store could cause the Mac App Store to become unresponsive.

– Fixes a problem opening an afp:// URL that points to a file, and changes the AFP mount path to conform to previous Mac OS X releases.

– Includes the ability to repair certain issues that may prevent hardware RAID volumes from mounting.

– Fixes a rare issue in Mac OS X v10.6.5 that could cause user accounts to disappear from the Login window and System Preferences after putting the system to sleep.

– Improves the reliability of dragging files or folders to the Trash when using an NFS home directory.

Mac OS X 10.6.7 can be directly downloaded here or via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, positive or negative, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

AT&T/T-Mobile USA deal could take up to one year for federal approval

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 21st, 2011, 07:00
Category: iPhone, News

Even if AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA for US$39 billion may come as good news, it might be a while before T-Mobile can offer an iPhone.

Per T-Mobile, U.S. customers of T-Mobile likely will not have access to Apple’s iPhone for at least one year, assuming a proposed acquisition from AT&T is granted federal approval.

Following the announcement on Sunday that AT&T plans to buy T-Mobile to create the largest wireless provider in the U.S., a list of frequently asked questions were posted on the official T-Mobile website. In that list, one question is specifically devoted to the iPhone, which is currently only available to AT&T and Verizon customers.

“T-Mobile USA remains an independent company,” the FAQ reads. “The acquisition is expected to be completed in approximately 12 months. We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.”

T-Mobile cannot yet offer the iPhone because its wireless network is not compatible with the 3G radio found in the GSM version of Apple’s best-selling smartphone. And that won’t change until AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile is approved by federal regulators — a milestone that is by no means guaranteed.

The merging of customer bases from AT&T and T-Mobile would create a total of about 130 million users, making AT&T the largest carrier in the U.S. AT&T has touted that the acquisition of T-Mobile will help to speed up its own existing nationwide network.

Though they operate on different radio frequencies, the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile have a common technology base with 3G UMTS. That will make it easier for AT&T to merge the two networks and ensure that handsets from both companies will be compatible on the same network.

T-Mobile’s FAQ also notes that the acquisition will offer “significant benefits” for customers, improving network quality and boosting speeds.

“The merger will ensure the deployment of a robust 4G LTE network to 95% of the U.S. population, something neither company would achieve on its own,” it reads. “Also, because of our compatible networks and spectrum, the customers of T-Mobile USA and AT&T will experience improved voice and data service almost immediately after the networks are integrated.”

Customers were also advised that they should not wait to sign up with T-Mobile or upgrade their handset, as the company remains independent until the deal is approved. The company will also honor all contracted plans that are entered into before the change of ownership.

AT&T announced on Sunday its plans to acquire T-Mobile for US$39 billion. The cash and stock deal, if approved, would give Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-Mobile USA, an 8% stake in AT&T.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on the deal, please let us know in the comments.

AT&T to buy T-Mobile’s American unit for US$39 billion

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 21st, 2011, 04:52
Category: iPhone, News

attlogo

Wireless carrier AT&T has announced a definitive agreement to buy Deutsche Telekom’s American T-Mobile subsidiary in a cash and stock deal worth about US$39 billion, and giving the German carrier an 8% stake in AT&T.

Per Yahoo, the two companies issued a press release outlining the terms of the deal, which has been approved by the board of both carriers.

T-Mobile and AT&T share similar GSM and UMTS/HSPA networks, and both are working to build new next generation networks using HSPA+ and LTE. However, obtaining the rights to radio spectrum and building out these networks is both expensive and complex.

AT&T’s chief executive Randall Stephenson said the deal “provides a fast, efficient and certain solution to the impending exhaustion of wireless spectrum in some markets, which limits both companies’ ability to meet the ongoing explosive demand for mobile broadband.”

T-Mobile had been rumored to be entering talks with Sprint, but those two companies run incomparable networks and have diverging future plans, as Sprint operates both CDMA and iDEN (from its merger with Nextel, which it plans to phase out) networks and has begun building a next generation WiMAX network with Clearwire (WiMAX competes with LTE as a next generation mobile network technology).

The release said that AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers “will see service improvements – including improved voice quality – as a result of additional spectrum, increased cell tower density and broader network infrastructure,” noting that as soon as the deal closes, AT&T “will immediately gain cell sites equivalent to what would have taken on average five years to build without the transaction, and double that in some markets.”

Absorbing T-Mobile “will increase AT&T’s network density by approximately 30% in some of its most populated areas, while avoiding the need to construct additional cell towers. This transaction will increase spectrum efficiency to increase capacity and output, which not only improves service, but is also the best way to ensure competitive prices and services in a market where demand is extremely high and spectrum is in short supply,” the release says.

By bolstering its existing GSM, UMTS and HSPA+ networks, AT&T will be able to better focus on future LTE capacity, rather than struggling to get its existing network to meet today’s demand. While T-Mobile operates its 3G UMTS network on different frequencies than AT&T, its basic 2G GSM network is identical. AT&T can also use the networks and towers T-Mobile operates to strengthen its own.

The incorporation of T-Mobile’s American unit adds 33.7 million subscribers to AT&T’s network of of about 95.5 million, creating a total of about 130 million users, and becoming the largest American carrier. The deal will also expand Apple’s iPhone to three of what were the top four US carriers, as Apple has already brought it to Verizon earlier this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

How-To: View an AVI file on your iOS device

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Date: Friday, March 18th, 2011, 04:35
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

vlclogo.jpg

As nifty as Apple’s iOS devices are, there are some limitations. One of these hurdles is the ability to play videos in an AVI format, which isn’t supported by iTunes or the native video player in the iPhone and iPad.

The cool cats at Mac|Life have thrown together a quick guide as to how to solve this problem, the author recommending that the HandBrake program can be used to convert an AVI movie into an MP4 file that will play perfectly on our iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Users can also download an iPhone or iPad app that does play these files, such as CineXPlayer for iPad (US$2.99) or the universal GoodPlayer (US$2.99), and use that to watch your videos without needing to convert them.

If you’ve played with any of these programs or have conversion tips of your own, please let us know in the comments.