Apple Releases New Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6 Builds Over Weekend

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Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009, 04:45
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple released new builds of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.5.8 and Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) Server operating systems.

According to AppleInsider, Mac OS X 10.5.8 build 9L25 may show signs of capping development of Mac OS X 10.5. Users have stated that each new build has arrived with a focus area noticeably distinct from the last, with lower-level technologies and frameworks seeing greater attention than usual. As such, it’s been speculated that the Mac maker may be giving its Leopard OS a final once-over.

This trend appears to have culminated with this past weekend’s release of build 9L25, which no longer asks that developers focus their attention on a small subset of Leopard’s components. Instead, it groups together the more than three dozen components that had been isolated into smaller focus groups in earlier betas.

The latest build also lists no known issues and addresses just two new bugs, one related to saving mail messages as individual message documents and another to URL localization.

Developers were also granted access to a new build of Mac OS X 10.6 Server, labeled build 10A403. With it, Apple asked that they test upgrade installs of the server software itself, in addition to upgrade installs of Calendar server. Where testing was concerned, users were also reportedly asked to spend some time with the system’s new Podcast Producer, evaluating as many third-party video and web cams as they possibly can. Included with the software is a new Web Podcast Capture which leverages a new Dual Source Video Capture feature for allowing users to create picture-in-picture format podcasts.

Finally, Mac OS X 10.6 Server build 10A403 arrived on the heels of Mac OS X 10.6 Client build 10A402a earlier in the week. That build introduced some widely-reported interface tweaks to the Dock’s pop-up menus and Expose.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the new builds, please let us know what you think in the comments!

Apple Applies for Wireless License in China

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Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple may have finally cleared a major hurdle in bringing its iPhone handset to China, as the company has reportedly applied for a Network Access License in the Asian country. The moves could put a release just a few months away, albeit without Wi-Fi.

According to AppleInsider, Wedge Partners analyst Matt Mathison claims that the application was filed on Friday, July 10th, but doesn’t make any mention of onboard Wi-Fi. Rumors have repeatedly hinted that Apple may be forced to remove Wi-Fi to appease the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which would prefer that iPhone owners use local networks.

Apple has supposedly been “hellbent” on shipping the iPhone to China with Wi-Fi but appears to have relented in order to get the phone into the populous nation.

If the process moves along as usual, this revised iPhone would take between four to six months to receive the green light and go on sale. This would put a launch no later than January, and Mathison seemed confident that the device would arrive before the Chinese New Year, which in 2010 will start in mid-February. Mathison stated that he views the licensing as partly a negotiation tactic that would help bring Apple closer to a deal with China Unicom, the carrier recently pegged as the most likely candidate for an iPhone due to its inherent compatibility with the iPhone’s existing 3G standards.

While it’s rare to have an estimate that narrows the release window for an iPhone in China, whether or not this latest prediction is accurate remains debatable. Local carriers have been in talks with Apple since at least late 2007, and one-time favorite China Mobile has often tried making multiple special requests that have likely stalled hopes for a quick agreement, such as demanding that the American company either use the government-backed TD-SCDMA standard for 3G or cede control of the App Store.

Apple has so far only stated that it wants to have the iPhone in China within the next year and has been silent on the progress of negotiations.

iPhone OS 3.0 Users Reporting Difficulties with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Connections

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Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 04:46
Category: iPhone, Software

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As nifty as iPhone OS 3.0 may be, there may be some issues to sort out. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS handsets are reported to have wireless connectivity issues that, in over fourteen Apple Discussion threads and over six hundred messages, have placed the blame for this issue on iPhone OS 3.0.

The problem, verified by many, states that when updating to the new software, Wi-Fi connectivity on the iPhone 3G either decreased or vanished entirely. Those who were used to getting full bars of Wi-Fi connectivity now experience markedly less bars. Worse, even if some signal strength bars are displayed, often there is no Internet connectivity.

Many solutions have been proposed including resetting the router, changing settings (seemingly at random), and even putting the 3G in the freezer:

“Also i might note, I turned off wifi, turned off the phone, put it in the freezer (in a bag) for 10 mins, turned the phone back on, put the phone right next to my wifi antenna and then turned on wifi and it joined, it JUST joined and I couldnt believe it,” says one forum poster. Several others report similar results, but this fix did not last long. In fact, blog posts have been written about possible solutions, but none of them seemed to pan out after using Wi-Fi for a short period of time.

Replacement iPhones have been circulated through Apple Stores, though this didn’t seem to fix the problem either.

A lesser yet still present problem reported in the Discussions is a lack of Bluetooth connectivity in conjunction with the lack of Wi-Fi. It seems that losing Bluetooth for those affected is a package deal with Wi-Fi.

Apple is reported to be well aware of this problem and as time goes on and the number affected increases, Apple Stores are acknowledging the problem and replacing phones, albeit without a solid set of solutions at the moment.

If you’ve seen these issues on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Mark/Space Releases The Missing Sync for Palm Pre 1.0

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Date: Thursday, July 9th, 2009, 05:44
Category: Software

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Software developer Mark/Space released The Missing Sync for Palm Pre 1.0, a software package that allows the Mac to sync data with Palm’s Pre smartphone on Wednesday.

Per Macworld, the software allows users to sync data such as music, ringtones, photos, contacts, calendar data and other content between the Mac and the Pre. The software works with Address Book, Entourage, iCal, iTunes, iPhoto and other familiar software.

The Missing Sync for Palm Pre 1.0′s “Proximity Sync” technology enables the two device to synchronize data over Wi-Fi, removing the need to physically tether the Pre to the Mac via a USB cable. Users can customize what data gets synced and can also convert video to be played on the Pre.

The Missing Sync for Palm Pre 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later, iTunes 7.4 or later and a Palm Pre running ROM 1.0.2 or later to install and run. The software retails for US$39.95.

Apple Releases Safari 4.0.2 Update

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Date: Thursday, July 9th, 2009, 03:26
Category: Software

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On Wednesday, Apple released an update to the Safari 4 browser.

The Safari 4.0.2 Update is recommended for all Safari users and improves the stability of the Nitro JavaScript engine and includes the latest compatibility and security fixes.

Safari 4.0.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be downloaded via the Software Update control panel on your Mac.

VLC Reaches Version 1.0

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 06:41
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.), has recently been updated to version 1.0. The new version, a 29 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), adds the following fixes and changes:

Mac OS X Interface:
* Completely reworked user interface (based upon works from GSoC 2008)

Playlist:
* WPL playlist support
* ZPL playlist support

Audio filters:
* Chorus/Flanger audio filter

VLC 1.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run and is available as a free download.

Wireless Carrier China Unicom Apparently Leading Race to Bring iPhone to China

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPhone

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In the ongoing (and sometimes epic) struggle to bring the iPhone to China, wireless carrier is purportedly closest to reach a deal but still faces an attack from dominant carrier China Mobile.

According to AppleInsider, analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. claims to have sources aware of Apple’s leanings and gives China Unicom the nod as Apple favors the finances, hardware compatibility and degree of control it would get through an agreement. China Unicom is reportedly more willing to heavily subsidize the iPhone to its creator’s satisfaction and to let Apple have its usual say over the device and its software, both of which are doubtful through China Mobile. Rumors have long swirled that China Mobile is insisting on controlling the local App Store, a practice that Apple hasn’t allowed once in the history of its cellphones.

The smaller of the two Chinese carriers boasts 133 million carriers compared to China Mobile’s 488 million but is in the middle of deploying a 3G cellular network that uses UMTS and WCDMA, both standards that are already supported by the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Should Apple go with China Unicom, the deal would let Apple keep selling the same iPhone in China as it does elsewhere while also getting more reach: the faster network should reach 284 cities within several months.

In comparison, China Mobile’s government-supported TD-SCDMA standard for 3G would require that Apple incorporate a custom chipset just for the one carrier and would come with growth limitations of its own. Despite having over three times as many customers, the larger carrier will reach nearly 50 fewer cities with its 3G and doesn’t anticipate the network reaching complete coverage until three years from now, or well after China Unicom’s network is ready.

Wu’s contacts, however, maintain that Apple doesn’t entirely consider China Mobile “out of the running” both through its sheer influence and its interest in the iPhone, which would be a victory even in a country well-known for grey market imports.

Wu has indicated that he doesn’t see a deal with either carrier as close enough to force a change in predicted iPhone numbers for now and the year ahead. About 20 million iPhones should ship in 2009 and 26 million in 2010. All the same, he notes that Chinese shouldn’t necessarily be disappointed without an official deal thanks to the nation’s thriving bootleg community.

“Our sources indicate that iPhones will likely continue to flow into China,” Wu says. “There are an estimated 1 million-1.5 million iPhones in use despite lack of an official carrier relationship.”

Apple Store Locations to Begin Replacing Broken Displays

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Date: Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 03:51
Category: iPhone, News

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As mixed as Apple can be, sometimes its service offerings move in the right direction.

Last month, Apple announced that its AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone would extend technical support to two years from the iPhone’s date of purchase as well as extend hardware coverage to two years as well. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple this week announced that a specific repair, screen replacement, can be performed at Apple Store Genius Bars while the customer waits. The service is free if your phone is under warranty and would otherwise retail for US$199.

Hulu Desktop 0.9.6 Released for Mac OS X

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Date: Monday, July 6th, 2009, 03:41
Category: Mac, Software

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Over the weekend, Hulu released Hulu Desktop 0.9.6, a lean application for Mac OS X allowing users to navigate Hulu’s library via the Apple remote control. For users without remotes, the application is keyboard and mouse-enabled.

The application, a 2.2 megabyte download, is currently available as a public beta and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.4 or later with a 2.0 GHz or faster Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM, 2 Mbps Internet connection and Adobe Flash Player 9.0.124 or later to install and run.

Security Hole Found in iPhone SMS Code

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Date: Friday, July 3rd, 2009, 02:17
Category: iPhone, News

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Over at the SyScan conference in Singapore, security researcher Charlie Miller cited his discovery of a new significant exploit in the iPhone’s SMS system. The flaw may “allow an attacker to remotely install and run unsigned software code with root access to the phone.”

“The SMS vulnerability allows an attacker to run software code on the phone that is sent by SMS over a mobile operator’s network. The malicious code could include commands to monitor the location of the phone using GPS, turn on the phone’s microphone to eavesdrop on conversations, or make the phone join a distributed denial of service attack or a botnet.”

According to HotHardware, it’s unlikely that there could be any risk of a wide-spread attack on iPhones, though the high number of iPhone handsets out there make it an issue. Miller has agreed with Apple to wait until Black Hat USA expo in Las Vegas later this year to release the details of the exploit, giving Apple a window of time to patch the exploit.