Push Notifications Ready for WWDC?

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009, 14:51
Category: iPhone, Software

As WWDC gets closer (less than a week now!), people are beginning to wrap their predictions for the Keynote. A new iPhone is pretty much in the bag, but there are still a lot of questions on the minds of iPhone watchers.

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It is presumed that any new iPhone models will not go on sale until at least the end of July, based on the previous two generations. If the hardware is ready, will the software be ready and solid? Apple already missed the boat on Push Notifications in firmware 2.x, as noted by Scott Forestall’s apology during the iPhone 3.0 sneak peek. Will it be ready in time for the release of 3.0?

According to MacRumors, Appple seems to be wrapping its high-volume testing of the push notification feature that it began in mid-April. A special “developer” build of the Associated Press’s iPhone app was distributed by Apple for testing the service. It is believed that the notification that testing is complete coupled with the release of iTunes 8.2, which reportedly adds compatibility with firmware 3.0, is the signal that Apple is wrapping up the iPhone OS development for imminent release.

Since it is expected that many of the WWDC sessions will focus on the new mobile OS, it will need to be ready in time for the event so that developers can start putting the finishing touches on their apps to be ready for 3.0 and the new iPhone (s?). One question I have is that given that OS 3.0 will be backwards compatible with both the original and 3G iPhones, is there a chance we might see Scott, Phil, or even a surprise visit from Steve, announce that the 3.0 version is ready for download on June 8th?! If you think about it, it might just be a good way to roll out the new OS and put it through it’s paces before the new hardware is in stores.

What do you think? Less than one week left to speculate. Share it in the forums!

Microsoft Launches Bing Preview

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 13:59
Category: Microsoft, Software

Having lost the battle to acquire Yahoo! so many times, Microsoft decided it still needed to get into the search engine business, and this weekend they launched a “preview” of the service.

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Called “bing“, the service doesn’t look much unlike Google, except for some prettier formatting. Opinions online seem pretty varied so far, as people try to test the new engine search capabilities. Much like the recent Wolfram|Alpha preview, most users seem polarized from being very impressed, to not at all, with search results of some terms leaving much to be desired. However, as a preview, it seems to do a pretty good job.

Personally, I did not spend a lot of time hammering on the service, but I did find the image search to be very good, and I liked the way the images were displayed where a roll-over would give you the additional details and location of the picture.

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It also seemed pretty fast compared to Google, but maybe bing just doesn’t have enough data to bog it down yet. If there was one thing that really disappoints me about the service, it is that I don’t see anything new or revolutionary. Perhaps that is coming, but it seems like Microsoft is doing the usual thing and just putting their spin on something somebody else has already done. Come on guys, lets see some innovation!

Send us your thoughts in the forums!

Hulu Desktop released for Mac and PC

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 13:51
Category: Software

Last week, Hulu released it’s Hulu Desktop application for Mac and Windows, which allows you to stream it’s library of videos without using a web browser.

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The current release is considered a “beta” while Hulu “[...] plan[s] to gather and incorporate user feedback to improve the service”. The software and it’s interface fill the entire desktop screen, much like Apple’s DVD player application, to provide a menu of available videos and full-screen viewing. The software is designed to be controlled by an Apple Remote or Windows Media remote as well as keyboard controls. At the moment it doesn’t seem like Hulu Desktop offers much of an advantage over the web based version.

If you want to try it, however, you will need a fairly new Mac or PC. The minimim requirements to run Hulu Desktop are as follows:

Minimum requirements for Mac:
Intel Pentium Core Duo 2.0GHz
At least 2.0 GB of RAM
Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger) or later
2 Mbps Internet connection
Flash 9.0.124

Minimum requirements for Windows:
Intel Pentium Core Duo 1.8GHz
At least 2.0 GB of RAM
Windows XP or later
2 Mbps Internet connection
Flash 9.0.124

And if you have a PowerPC-based Mac, don’t even bother. There has been some speculation that this was the reason Hulu was so intent on shutting down Boxee’s access to Hulu feeds, but that seems odd since Hulu gets revenue from showing the ads, not from the software, so I would think the more programs that can play those ads would be better for them. Plus Boxee can run on PPC Macs, Apple TV, and Ubuntu Linux. No Windows version yet. You can read more about their response on their blog.

Discuss your thoughts in the forums!

Apple Releases QuickTime 7.6.2 Update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 07:09
Category: Software

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On Monday, Apple released the latest version of QuickTime, its multimedia support system for Mac OS X and Windows. The new version, known as QuickTime 7.6.2, is available as a variably-sized download (depending on version chosen through the download page), improves reliability, application compatibility and addresses security issues.
The update requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Apple Releases iTunes 8.2 Update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 07:24
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 8.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 77.3 megabyte download, offers support for the iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. The update also includes many accessibility improvements and bug fixes.
iTunes 8.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Apple Releases iWork ’09 9.0.2 Update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 29th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Software

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Amid a small series of updates yesterday, Apple released version 9.0.2 of its iWork ’09 productivity suite. The update, a 42.7 megabyte download, improves reliability when saving some iWork documents and when playing some presentations more than once per Keynote session.
The update, which can also be located via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

AT&T to Deploy HSPA 7.2 Network Ahead of Third Generation iPhone Launch

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 28th, 2009, 09:13
Category: 3G Wireless, iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier AT&T has formally announced plans to deploy its 7.2 Mbps HSPA 7.2 network this year, the deployment supporting faster iPhone models expected for release this summer.
According to AppleInsider, AT&T has stated that the HSPA 7.2 upgrade will deliver theoretical peak speeds twice that of the company’s current 3G network. The company has stated that installation will continue through 2011 and that AT&T will begin trials of LTE (Long Term Evolution), with deployment of that technology to begin in 2011. LTE plans to eventually reach theoretical peak speeds of 20 Mbps.
Both HSPA and LTE are components of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies, which include GSM/EDGE and UMTS, the worldwide “3G” service supported by the iPhone 3G.
Because AT&T’s network is currently based on 3GPP standards, the company can deliver the upgrade to HSPA 7.2 service immediately to support faster smartphones prior to the buildout of LTE, which isn’t expected to become widely available until at least 2011-2012.
AT&T has stated that its current 3G service is available in 350 major US metro areas, with deployment in another 20 planned this year. The company stated that its new HSPA 7.2 technology “will be deployed widely in the network, with the benefits of the network upgrade to be announced on a local basis as the faster speeds are turned up.”
The company also said it will introduce “multiple HSPA 7.2-compatible laptop cards and smartphones beginning later this year.” Apple is expected to release a new iPhone model in June that supports HSPA 7.2 service. In addition to having access to a faster network, the new iPhone model is expected to have a significantly faster processor, enabling it to better handle the data it can receive, resulting in faster overall operation.
Along with the upgrade to HSPA 7.2, AT&T also reported plans to build out other network improvements this year as part of a capital investment plan costing $17-18 billion.
Elements include:

  • Near-Doubling Radio Frequency Capacity: In 2008 and 2009 to date, high-quality 850 MHz spectrum has been deployed in more than half of AT&T’s 3G network footprint to improve overall coverage and in-building reception, with additional markets planned for later in the year.
  • More Bandwidth to Cell Sites: AT&T is adding fiber-optic connectivity and additional capacity to thousands of cell sites across the country this year, expanding the critical connections that deliver traffic from a cell site into the global IP backbone network. These upgrades will support the higher mobile broadband speeds enabled by both HSPA 7.2 and LTE.
  • More Cell Sites: Deployment of about 2,100 new cell sites across the country.
  • Wi-Fi Integration: Many AT&T smartphones will be able to switch seamlessly between 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. AT&T customers with qualifying smartphone and 3G LaptopConnect plans have access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network – more than 20,000 hotspots, including locations in all 50 states – at no additional charge. AT&T’s global Wi-Fi footprint covers more than 90,000 hotspots, and AT&T also can create permanent or temporary extended Wi-Fi zones in areas with high 3G network use, like a grouping of hotels or a festival.
  • MicroCells: Customer trials leading toward general availability of AT&T 3G MicroCell offerings, which utilize femtocells to enhance in-building wireless coverage.
  • Rumor: Possible Next-Gen iPhone Bezel Image Leaked

    Posted by:
    Date: Thursday, May 28th, 2009, 08:46
    Category: iPhone, Rumor

    A leak from yesterday morning may prove interesting as web site China Ontrade claims to be the first with a replacement third-generation iPhone’s bezel and says it comes “directly from [the] factory.” The design would have a black metallic frame instead of chrome, as found on the current iPhone 3G model. It also stops near the very top of the shell rather than running a complete circle like existing iPhone models, and appears to move the phone speaker significantly higher.
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    Although the authenticity of the bezel is difficult to determine, many firms in the region do have access (both authorized and unauthorized unauthorized) to parts from factories. Still, there is no way to verify that China Ontrade has the authentic part and not that for a different company’s device. Part leaks from China have nonetheless confirmed Apple products in the past, such as the unibody MacBook notebook.
    If real, the bezel would rebuff earlier beliefs that the new iPhones are internal upgrades alone rather than redesigns.

    MacUpdate, Koingo Offering AirRadar 1.1.7 for Free

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 11:56
    Category: Announcement, Software

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    The lads at MacUpdate and Koingo Software have announced that they will be making copies of Koingo’s AirRadar 1.1.7 wireless network scanning software available for free.
    AirRadar, which normally retails for US$10, allows users to scan for open networks and tag them as favorites or filter them out. Users can also view detailed network information, graph network signal strength, and automatically join the best open network in range.
    The application also delivers other information, including encryption status, encryption type, encryption cipher, router MAC address, first and last seen date and time, noise level, and vendor information.
    AirRadar 1.1.7 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be downloaded from here.

    iPhone OS 3.0 SDK Beta 5 Continues Next-Gen Device Pictures, References

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 07:47
    Category: iPhone

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    Ok, this is nifty.
    Per MacNN, images located in beta 5 of the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK provide clear references to next-generation hardware according to anecdotes. In searching for a separate file through Spotlight, one Australian developer is said to have found a collection of the PNG graphics displayed when people sync a device with iTunes. Although two of these reference the original and 3G iPhones — “iPhone1,1″ and “iPhone1,2″ — and a third refers to the second-gen iPod touch, the remaining ones are listed as black and white variants of an unknown device, “iPhone2,1.”
    The “iPhone2,1.” model number has appeared repeatedly throughout the iPhone OS 3.0 betas, but until now only as text strings. The new beta seems to lack some previously-cited devices, such as iPod2,2, iPod3,1 and iPhone 3,1 and Apple has also yet to include a “human-readable” name for iPhone2,1, leaving question marks in place of a designation.
    The PNG files discovered are low-resolution and difficult to discern, but show little if any visible distinction from the iPhone 3G. The discovery could reinforce rumors that the next iPhone will make mostly internal changes, but might also suggest that Apple is merely using placeholder art. A formal announcement of future iPhone hardware is expected at WWDC 2009, scheduled to begin June 8th in San Francisco.


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