O'Grady's PowerPage » Software

Apple looking to hire additional software engineers to boost iOS navigational features

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Date: Monday, December 20th, 2010, 04:21
Category: News, Software

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A quartet of job postings on its employment web site (1, 2, 3, 4) shows that Apple is looking to hire at least four new employees for its iOS development team. The description for the full-time job based in Santa Clara Valley, Calif., calls for “outstanding engineers to deliver the next generation of Apple products.”

“Seize this ground floor opportunity to help us build the world’s best hosted platforms at massive scale,” it reads.

Per AppleInsider, Apple seeks job candidates with “valuable knowledge” related to the development of navigation software, as well as “deep knowledge of Computational Geometry or Graph Theory.” Candidates are required to have at least 3 years’ experience of developing “high quality, robust software systems.”

The hires, and the mention of navigation software, could signal that Apple is gearing up to build its own personal navigation tools into the iOS mobile operating system. Apple’s chief competitor in the mobile space, Google, introduced its own turn-by-turn software for Android devices over a year ago.

A cloud-based navigation solution could also be a major use for Apple’s new massive data center in North Carolina. Another job listing posted this week for an iOS software engineer notes that it looking for an employee to manage and automate “distributed image processing on a server cluster.”

“The position is with an emerging and rapidly growing product team building software used by millions of Apple customers in rapidly growing markets worldwide,” the description reads. “The candidate will be part of a team that develops and maintains a complex array of global content.”

iOS 4 also includes a video out feature that could allow remote control and display of an iPhone, a feature that has already been taken advantage of by BMW. It’s possible that Apple’s solution could seamlessly integrate turn-by-turn directions with a vehicle using this method.

Apple has also shown interest in developing its own unique mapping solution for the iPhone, with two key acquisitions related to maps: Placebase and Poly9.

In April of this year, Apple began integrating its own databases for location-based services following the release of the iPad and iOS 3.2. Previously, Apple relied on databases maintained by Skyhook Wireless and Google for location services.

The iOS Maps application still relies on Google for map imagery as well as its “Street View,” but the change could signal that Apple plans to rely solely on its own technology in the future. In addition, in 2009, Apple indicated it wanted to hire someone who would help take the iPhone’s Maps application “to the next level,” with the intention of changing how users use Maps and find things.

“We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way,” that job listing read. “We’ve only just started.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases AirPort Utility 5.5.2

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 17th, 2010, 05:22
Category: News, Software, wireless

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Late Thursday, Apple released AirPort Utility 5.5.2, a 10.2 megabyte download which offers the following fixes to the AirPort Utility software:

– Resolves an issue that caused the DHCP settings tab to display incorrectly.

– Resolves an issue that caused the application to quit unexpectedly when automatically launched.

– Resolves an issue that prevented the network password from being stored in the Keychain when the network on the 5GHz band was named differently.

The update requires 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.

Apple releases Time Capsule and AirPort Base Station Firmware 7.5.2

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Date: Friday, December 17th, 2010, 05:22
Category: News, Software, wireless

Late Friday, Apple released its Time Capsule and AirPort Base Station Firmware 7.5.2. The update provides bug fixes for all 802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Stations, AirPort Express Base Stations, and Time Capsules. Some of the fixes include the following:

– General fixes to Wi-Fi base station stability.

– Fixes some issues with AirPlay streaming.

– General fixes with USB interoperability including connection to external storage devices.

– Fixes some issues with NAT port mapping settings.

– Disables TKIP security with 802.11n rates per the Wi-Fi Alliance specifications.

The update can be found, downloaded and installed via the software update feature in the AirPort Utility program (Applications–>Utilities), takes about a minute to install and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iBooks 1.2, folds in AirPrint, organizational changes

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Date: Thursday, December 16th, 2010, 06:05
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released version 1.2 of its iBooks app for its iOS devices. The new version, available through the App Store, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Experience fully illustrated books, from children’s picture books to beautifully designed art books, available for download in the iBookstore.

– Organize your books and PDFs into personal Collections. Swipe left or right to jump between Collections.

– Print PDF documents and notes you’ve written in iBooks using AirPrint.

– iBooks now fits more words per page by automatically hyphenating text, available only on iOS 4.2 or later.

iBooks 1.2 is available for free and requires iOS 3.2 or later to install and run.

Apple releases LED Cinema Display Firmware Update 1.0 for 27″ monitor

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Date: Thursday, December 16th, 2010, 06:00
Category: Hardware, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released its LED Cinema Display Firmware Update 1.0 to try and fix a bug that’s been plaguing some users.

Per Macworld, the issue in question involves audio from the display’s speakers dying intermittently. In order to fix the sound issues, users have resorted to unplugging and replugging the monitor’s USB cable or even rebooting their Mac.

The update, a 957KB download, can be snagged from Apple’s support download site or via Software Update and then run it from your /Applications/Utilities folder and requires a Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iTunes 10.1.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010, 15:25
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 10.1.1, the latest version of its digital jukebox/digital hub software. The new version, an 90.5 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and new features:

– Addresses an issue where some music videos may not play on Macs equipped with NVIDIA GeForce 9400 or 9600 graphics.

– Resolves an issue where iTunes may unexpectedly quit when deleting a playlist that has the iTunes Sidebar showing.

– Fixes a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly quit when connecting an iPod to a Mac equipped with a PowerPC processor.

– Addresses an issue where some music videos may not sync to an iPod, iPhone, or iPad.

iTunes 10 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Canada approves local iBookstore, Rogers Wireless to unlock certain iPhone handsets

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010, 06:22
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Canada: Colder but niftier with some of its assorted technologies.

The Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages announced Tuesday that it was granting formal approval of Apple’s iBookstore according to MacNN.

“Our Government is committed to strengthening Canada’s economy through all its sectors, especially arts and culture,” said Minister James Moore. “Apple has demonstrated how iBookstore Canada represents new opportunities for Canadian authors and publishers, and I have determined that this investment will be of net benefit to Canada.”

According to the press release, Apple has committed to the promotion of Canadian-authored French- and English-language titles in the iBookstore in Canada and internationally; increased opportunities for Canadian publishers and authors; increased access to titles from Aboriginal authors and publishers; assistance to Canadian publishers in streamlining processes of e-book creation and enhancement.

Though a limited version of the iBookstore has been available in Canada until now, offering some US-based paid titles and public domain works, government approval of a Canadian iBookstore should help draw Canadian publishers to Apple’s eBook platform.

In other news, Canadian carrier Rogers has reportedly begun unlocking iPhones for customers who have finished their contracts or bought an unsubsidized handset. The new policy for Rogers sub-brand Fido allows qualifying customers to unlock their iPhones for a US$50 fee plus applicable taxes according to iPhone in Canada.

To qualify, customers must have an account in good standing; have finished their contract or paid the unsubsidized cost for the device 30 days prior and unlock a device that is listed in their equipment history.

Canada, along with the UK and France, was one of the first countries to sell the iPhone 4 unlocked and SIM-free.

Apple releases Apple TV software update 4.1.1, looks to resolve resolution, download issues

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Date: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010, 06:49
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

Late Tuesday Apple released Apple TV software update 4.1.1 for the second-generation Apple TV, fixing some issues with TVs displaying the incorrect resolution and a downloading problem where movies or TV shows are re-downloaded.

Per AppleInsider, the updated comes just weeks after software update 4.1, which added AirPlay support and fixed some performance and connectivity issues.

According to Apple’s support documents, the 4.1.1 update addresses “an issue that causes some high-definition TVs to incorrectly display at 480p” and “an issue that may cause a movie or TV show to be re-downloaded.”

One user commented that installing the update resolved a flickering issue on his TV. “My TV (Fujitsu) 42″ (2004 model) only has a DVI port (no HDMI),” the reader wrote. “I use a HDMI to DVI cable to watch the Apple TV content. Previously, the TV flickered on the top and on the right. After the update, the flickering was gone. The system works perfectly fine now.”

Other users, found that the update doesn’t resolve their issues. Earlier this month, users stated they were experiencing HDMI “handshaking” issues and abnormally long download times.

On the Apple support forum thread detailing the HDMI connection issue, several users assert that installing the 4.1.1 software update failed to resolve their HDMI handshake issues, which cause inverted colors or solid color images.

The update can be located, snagged and installed via the Software Update feature on the set top device. If you’ve tried the update and have anything to report back, please let us know.

Microsoft releases 14.0.2 update for Office 2011

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 12:28
Category: News, Software

On Monday afternoon, Microsoft released version 14.0.2 of its popular Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac suite. The update, a 111 megabyte download which can also be located, snagged and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate program, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Reliability is improved when you open Office for Mac documents by using third-party applications: This update fixes an issue that causes Office for Mac documents not to open by using certain third-party applications.

– Office for Mac Updater request users to close Microsoft AutoUpdate during the update process:This update fixes an issue that causes Office for Mac updater to request users to close AutoUpdate when the Office updater is running. When the users close AutoUpdate, the updater also stops the Office update process.

Improvements for Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011:
– Stability is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes Outlook to crash or close unexpectedly sometimes when you import a .pst file that contains categories. Specifically, categories that have no category names assigned to them.

Microsoft Office 2011 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is available for US$149.99 and up depending on the suite purchased.

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

Google Latitude released for iPhone

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Date: Monday, December 13th, 2010, 06:28
Category: iPhone, News, Software

On Monday Google’s Latitude app finally became available for the iPhone, the app fully supporting iOS 4 and optionally providing constant position updates in the background on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4. Privacy is still a focus as users can selectively turn off both background updates, hand-pick a location or turn off positioning altogether.

Per Electronista, the official release comes roughly a year and a half after Google was forced to release an HTML5 version for the iPhone after Apple rejected the original version for reportedly being too similar to Apple’s own Maps tool. Critics have argued that the initial block was motivated by attempts to punish Google for Android, where Latitude has been a native part of Google Maps itself for most of the platform’s history.

It’s widely suspected that a loosening of App Store rules, prompted by Adobe-backed FTC and EU investigations into approval processes, may have changed Apple’s approach. Apple recently allowed Google Voice after a similar delay and what’s believed to be for identical reasons.

If you’ve played with Latitude and have any feedback, let us know.