O'Grady's PowerPage » Apple

Apple Security Update 2012-004 out the door for Mac OS X 10.6.x operating systems

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 20th, 2012, 07:07
Category: News, security, Software


You can’t go wrong with a timely security update.

Late Wednesday, Apple released Security Update 2012-004, the company’s most recent security update for its Mac OS X 10.6.x (Snow Leopard) operating systems.

The update, a 2.36 megabyte download, offers a series of fixes and changes detailed here.

Security Update 2012-004 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

Apple releases firmware updates for late-2010 MacBook Air, mid-2012 MacBook Air, mid-2012 MacBook Pro and mid-2012 Retina Display MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 20th, 2012, 07:06
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

Pretty much everything in the known universe was updated on Wednesday.

And assorted firmware updates for your MacBook…those tend to be important, so let’s go through them.

On Wednesday, Apple released MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.9 for its mid-2012 MacBook Pro notebook. The update, a 4 megabyte download, resolves an issue which can cause the system to hang during heavy processor loads and requires an Intel-based mid-2012 MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

The company also released MacBook Air SMC Update 1.7 for its late-2010 MacBook Air notebook. The update, a 668 kilobyte download, enables Power Nap support on MacBook Air (Late 2010) computers, is recommended for all users running OS X v10.8.2 or later and requires an Intel-based late-2010 MacBook Air running OS X 10.8.2 or later to install and run.

Second to last, the company also released MacBook Pro Retina EFI Update 1.0 for its mid-2012 MacBook Pro Retina Display notebook. The update, a 5.2 megabyte download, resolves an issue which can cause the system to hang during heavy processor loads, and resolves an issue where NetBoot does not function properly when using an Ethernet adapter and requires an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Retina Display running Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

Finally, the company also released MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.5 for its mid-2012 MacBook Air notebook. The update, a 5 megabyte download, fixes an issue where Turbo Boost does not activate when using Boot Camp, and resolves an issue where NetBoot does not function properly when using an Ethernet adapter and requires an Intel-based mid-2012 MacBook Air running Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

As always, these updates can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. Be sure your computer is plugged in while the firmware updates take place and you should be home free.

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

Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, 10:21
Category: News, Software

You’ve been hankering for this for a while now.

On Wednesday, Apple released version 10.8.2 of its OS X Mountain Lion operating system. The new version, a 665 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Single sign on for Facebook.
– Adds Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos.
– See Facebook friends’ contact information and profile pictures in Contacts.
– Facebook notifications now appear in Notification Center.

Game Center:
– Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages.
– Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations.
– Added Facebook “Like” button for games.
– Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement.

Other new features:
– Adds Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010).
– iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac.
– You can now add passes to Passbook (on your iPhone or iPod touch) from – Safari and Mail on your Mac.
– FaceTime can now receive calls sent to your phone number.
– New shared Reminders lists.
– New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them.
– Dictation now supports additional languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian.
– Dictionary app now includes a French definition dictionary.
– Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts.

General fixes:
– Adds an option to discard the changes in the original document when choosing Save As.
– Unsent drafts are now opened automatically when launching Mail.
– Receive Twitter notifications for mentions and replies from anyone.
– URLs are shortened when sending tweets from Notification Center.
– Notifications are disabled when AirPlay Mirroring is being used.
– Adds SSL support for Google searches from the Smart Search Field in Safari.
– Adds a new preference to have Safari launch with previously open webpages.
– Resolves an issue that may cause the “Enable Autodiscover” checkbox to always remain checked.
– Enables access to the Mac App Store when Parental Controls are enabled.
– Support for @icloud.com email addresses.
– Resolves a video issue with some VGA projectors when connected to certain Mac notebooks.
– Addresses an issue that may prevent Active Directory accounts from being locked out.
– Resolves an issue that may cause the policy banner to re-appear prior to logging in.
– Improvements to SMB.
– Addresses an issue with NIS users when auto-login is enabled.
– Addresses an issue in which the Keychain may not be accessible.
– Ability to pre-authenticate a FileVault protected system.
– Addresses an issue that may cause Xsan to not automatically start after migrating from Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

OS X 10.8.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8 to install and run, the update itself being attainable by using OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.5 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, 10:41
Category: News, Software

It may not be quite as snazzy as the iOS 6.0 release, but it’s still helpful to have updates.

On Wednesday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.7.5. The new operating system update, a 1.14 gigabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– The 10.7.5 update is recommended for all OS X Lion users and includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac. It also includes Gatekeeper, a new security feature that helps you keep your Mac safe from malicious software by giving you more control over what apps are installed on your Mac.

– Resolve an issue where icons in Launchpad may get rearranged after a restart.

– Improve Wi-Fi reliability for iMac (Late 2009 and newer).

– Resolve an issue using Spotlight to search an SMB server.

– Improve compatibility connecting to Active Directory servers.

The Mac OS X 10.7.5 update is available for free and can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Mac OS X 10.7.5 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iOS 6.0 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, 09:59
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

The wait is over.

On Wednesday, Apple released its long-anticipated iOS 6.0 update. The new operating system, a 912 megabyte update available through iTunes, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Apple designed vector based maps.
– Turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions on iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (2nd and 3rd generation).
– Real-time traffic information.
– Flyover for photo-realistic, interactive 3D views of major metro areas on iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad (3rd generation), and iPod touch (5th generation).
– Local search results with Yelp photos, ratings, reviews, and available deals.
– Siri integration for requesting directions and finding places along a route.

Siri improvements:
– Sports: scores, player stats, game schedules, team rosters, and league standings for baseball, basketball, football, soccer and hockey.
– Movies: trailers, showtimes, reviews and facts.
– Restaurants: reservations, reviews, photos and information.
– Send a Tweet.
– Post on Facebook.
– App launch.
– Eyes Free in supported automobiles.
– Local search available in Siri supported countries (availability may be limited during initial rollout).
– Additional country and language support for Canada (English and Canadian French), China (Mandarin), Hong Kong (Cantonese), Italy (Italian), Korea (Korean), Mexico (Spanish), Spain (Spanish), Switzerland (Italian, French, German), Taiwan (Mandarin), US (Spanish).
– Supported on iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad (3rd generation) and iPod touch (5th generation).

Facebook integration:
– Single sign-on from Settings.
– Post from Photos, Safari, Maps, App Store, iTunes, Game Center, Notification Center and Siri.
– Add location and choose audience for any post.
– View up-to-date Facebook profile photos and contact information in Contacts.
– View Facebook events and birthdays in Calendar.
– Like content and see your friends’ Likes in App Store and iTunes Store.

Shared Photo Streams
– Share selected photos with the people you choose.
– Friends can view shared photos in Photos app, iPhoto and Apple TV.
– Friends can like and make comments on individual photos.

– One place for boarding passes, store cards, movie tickets and other passes.
– Barcode display for boarding flights, buying coffee, getting into movies and other actions.
– Passes displayed on Lock Screen based on time or location.
– Passes can be automatically updated.
– Supported on iPhone and iPod touch.

FaceTime improvements:
– FaceTime over cellular support for iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd generation).
– Receive FaceTime calls, sent to your iPhone number, on your iPad and iPod touch.

Phone improvements:
– Do Not Disturb to suppress incoming calls and notifications.
– ‘Reply with message’ option when declining a call.
– ‘Remind me later’ option based on time or location when declining a call.

Mail improvements:
– VIP mailbox to quickly access mail from important people.
– Flagged email mailbox.
– Insert photos and videos when composing email.
– Open password protected Office docs.
– Pull down to refresh mailboxes.
– Per account signatures.

Safari improvements:
– iCloud tabs to see open pages on all your devices.
– Offline Reading List.
– Photo upload support.
– Full screen landscape view on iPhone and iPod touch.
– Smart app banners.
– JavaScript performance improvements.

App Store and iTunes Store improvements:
– Updated store design.
– iTunes Preview history.
– Complete my season.
– Complete my album.

Game Center improvements:
– Challenge friends to beat high scores and achievements.
– Post high-scores and achievements to Facebook and Twitter.
– Friend recommendations based on your Facebook friends.

Accessibility improvements:
– Guided Access to limit device to one app or restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen.
– VoiceOver integration with Maps, AssistiveTouch and Zoom.
– Support for Made for iPhone Hearing Aids for iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.

– Improved privacy controls for Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos and data shared over Bluetooth.

– Reminders can be reordered in the Reminders app.

– Custom vibrations for alerts on iPhone.

– Clock app for iPad.

– Clock alarm with song.

– Search all fields in Contacts.

– Automatic movie mode for improved video sound quality.

– Definitions of a selected word for Chinese, French, German and Spanish.

– New keyboard layouts for French, German, Turkish, Catalan, Arabic and Icelandic.

– Keyboard shortcuts shared across devices via iCloud.

– Bluetooth MAP support.

– Global network proxy for HTTP.

Features for China:
– Baidu web search.
– Sina Weibo integration.
– Share videos to Tudou.
– Share videos to Youku.
– Improved text input for handwriting and Pinyin.

– Bug fixes.

iOS 6.0 requires an iPhone 3GS or newer, or a third-generation iPod touch or second or third-gen iPad to install and run.

As always, please let us know how iOS 6.0 works for you, no matter what the feedback may be.

Initial iSuppli report estimates production cost of 16GB iPhone 5 for $207

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, 07:20
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

The exact cost of an iPhone 5 is still under wraps until the handset’s release on Friday, but there’s still a pretty good guess in the meantime.

Per a report released by iSuppli on Tuesday, Apple apparently pays an estimated US$207 to build the base model 16GB iPhone 5, a cost slightly higher than last year’s iPhone 4S.

The market research company noted in its report that while previously-expensive NAND flash memory prices have dropped, the iPhone 5’s display technology and 4G LTE wireless components brings the build cost up to US$207, or US$8 more than consumer pricing after wireless carrier subsidies. In comparison, the bill of materials, or price without labor costs, for last year’s iPhone 4S was estimated to be $188.

In total, the iPhone 5 is estimated to have a BOM of US$199, while the 32GB model rises to US$209 and the 64GB version jumps to US$230. With a manufacturing cost of US$8 across the line, the final cost comes out to US$208, US$217 and US$238 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, respectively.

A report last Friday from UBM TechInsights pegged the 16GB iPhone 5′ BOM to be around US$168, substantially lower than the IHS estimate.

The most expensive part in the iPhone 5 is the new 4-inch display which comes in at US$44. Apple is sourcing its screens from multiple suppliers, including LG Display, Japan Display and Sharp, as manufacturing the cutting-edge in-cell displays is complex and results in relatively low yield rates.

“The iPhone 5 makes a big evolutionary step in technology that we have not seen elsewhere with the use of in-cell touch sensing,” said IHS Senior Principal Analyst, Teardown Services, Andrew Rassweiler. “Most other smartphones LCDs use a completely distinct capacitive touchscreen assembly that is physically separate and placed on top of the display. The iPhone 5 partially integrates the touch layers into the display glass, making the product thinner and reducing the number of parts required to build display that senses touch without the need for a separate capacitive touch layer.”

Instead of sandwiching the touch sensing layer between glass substrates, Apple’s in-cell technology integrates the capacitive components with the LCD array, thus doing away with at least one layer of glass.

The company is expected to be using a US$34, LTE-capable wireless system from Qualcomm similar to the one found in the iPad 3. However, the new iPhone’s subsystem swaps out the first-generation MDM9600 baseband processor for the more advanced and power efficient second-generation MDM9615.

In previous years, NAND flash memory was one of the more costly components, however current prices have nearly halved in less than one year.

“NAND flash continues to come down in price as manufacturing processes for these memory chips become more advanced,” Rassweiler said. “And because it is the world’s largest buyer of NAND flash, Apple gets preferential pricing. Apple’s massive leverage in this market is reflected in our price estimate.”

Finally, the firm is estimating Apple’s new A6 processor is a bit more expensive at US$17.50 than the A5 found in the iPhone 4S, which cost US$15 in 2011.

A more comprehensive analysis of the new handset’s internal parts is expected to be completed later this week, when the iPhone 5 hits store shelves on Friday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit publishes teardown report of EarPods, finds more durable design

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, 06:37
Category: Hardware, News


It’s the teardowns that tell you what Apple’s really been up to.

Per the full report by iFixit, Apple’s newly redesigned Earpod headphones have been taken apart to reveal a more durable design that is more resistant to water and sweat damage.

The teardown of Apple’s new EarPods was published on Tuesday and stated that the EarPods, which arrive free with iOS devices, are “still of the throw-away kind.”

The EarPods can also be purchased separately for US$29, which is how iFixit got their hands on the new accessory before the new iPhone 5 launches on Friday. The solutions provider used a guitar pick to separate the integrated volume controls and microphone on the headphone cord, while the earbuds were taken apart with an X-Acto blade.

“Like most speakers, the EarPod speakers consist of a diaphragm/cone, a voice coil, a permanent magnet, and a cabinet,” they explained. “The voice coil is supported by a composite diaphragm made of a paper cone and a polymer surround. This is the first iteration of Apple headphones to use paper cones rather than all plastic.”

The switch to paper cones is said to make the speakers more resistant to tearing. That’s an improvement from the plastic that Apple previously used.

In their teardown, the repair website found that Apple “had durability in mind” when the company designed the new EarPods. In particular, the redesigned controls include larger cable wrapping on both ends to reduce strain on the wires.

The EarPods are also said to be more resistant to water and sweat damage. This was accomplished by removing the external microphone grate Apple employed on its previous earbuds.

“Unfortunately, these products are still of the throw-away kind,” iFixit concluded. “Sourcing parts is next to impossible, and it would be a tough sell to convince someone to take apart their earbuds instead of buying a new pair. They will never be the same once taken apart.”

Apple unveiled its redesigned EarPods at the iPhone 5 media event in San Francisco, Calif., last week. Apple design chief Jony Ive said his company scanned hundreds of ears searching for commonality between them, and the new headphones are designed to fit the geometry of a user’s ear without creating a seal.

EarPods feature a directed speaker that points forward into a user’s ear canal. A second port on the back aids with mid-level tones, and also maximizes air flow for improved sound quality.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

2012 model iPod touch, iPod nano, third-party Lightning adapters begin to appear on Amazon

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 17th, 2012, 10:56
Category: Hardware, iPhone, iPod Nano, iPod shuffle, News

Even if Apple’s Lightning connector adapter pre-orders sold out in only a few hours, there’s always third party models to choose from.

Per AppleInsider, third-party adapters for Apple’s new Lightning connector have begun to appear online. In addition, the new iPod touch and nano can also be preordered from Amazon.

As of Monday, resellers on Amazon were offering a pair of new Lightning to 30-pin adapters made by third parties. The US$17.95 Nanotch adapter features a male Lightning port on one end, with a female legacy 30-pin device port on the other. The two are connected by a 20-centimeter cord.

Also available is the US$9.99 iTronz USB Sync Data/Charging adapter. It features a male Lightning plug on one side, with a female 30-pin port on the other, and the two are connected by a single solid plastic piece rather than a wire.

Apple sells its own first-party Lightning to 30-pin adapter and cable, but those accessories quickly sold out once they went on sale late last week.

In addition, as of Monday, Amazon began taking direct preorders for Apple’s updated iPod lineup. Available for purchase are the new fifth-generation iPod touch, the seventh-generation iPod nano with multi-touch display, and the fifth-generation iPod shuffle.

The new iPod lineup is advertised to ship anywhere between two and five weeks from now. Apple has said its new iPods will ship in October. The latest iPod touch and iPod nano, along with the iPhone 5, use the new Lightning port, which is 80 percent smaller than the legacy 30-pin dock connector.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple component hints towards full gigabyte of addressable RAM on iPhone 5

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 17th, 2012, 07:48
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

If you’ve been hankering for an iPhone with a full gigabyte of RAM onboard, your wish might be about to come true.

Per AnandTech, slides of Apple’s A6 chip presented at the company’s iPhone 5 debut event on Wednesday reveal the processor likely holds 1GB of RAM, double the amount found in the legacy iPhone 4 and 4S handsets.

The unobscured parts numbers seen on the chip point to a Samsung DRAM component which boasts 1GB of addressable RAM.

The part number emblazoned on the A6 is K3PE7E700F-XGC2 which, according to Samsung’s 2012 product guide is a package-stacked DRAM module. This is in line with Apple’s A-series SoCs, which implement a package-on-package design to save space.

Breaking down the part number, “K3P” points to a dual-channel LPDDR2 package with 32-bit channels, while the “E7E7” designation denotes the 512MB density of each DRAM die, which comes out to a total of 1GB of RAM. Finally, the “C2” yields the part’s 1066MHz cycle time/data rate.

The publication notes the new package should give the A6 a 33 percent boost in peak memory bandwidth compared to the iPhone 4S.

It was recently speculated that the new A6 processor could hold the company’s first custom-designed CPU core, a departure from previous A-series SoCs which relied solely on ARM’s patented technology.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and hey…a full gig of RAM!!!

Apple cites iCloud e-mail problems as fixed, despite user complaints

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 14th, 2012, 09:01
Category: iCloud, News

They hammered away at iCloud for a bit and with any luck, the e-mail outage has been resolved.

Per CNET, Apple’s iCloud services are now being reported as fully operational again according to the iCloud status page, but some problems may linger for users.

For the past few days, a large number of iCloud users had been hit with an outage that prevented them from using their e-mail accounts. In some cases the problem resulted in delayed e-mail messages that would arrive hours after being sent, but in other cases no mail would get through at all.
When the problem happened Apple did not offer much information on what was causing the outage, and only mentioned in a terse status update on its Web site that about 1-2 percent of users were affected and that the company would be fixing the problem ASAP.

Efforts to fix the problem from the user end generated stories such as this:
“The Apple tech I spoke with had me delete my account on my iPad and then reinstall it which did nothing more than make me lose all my previous emails that I had already received. I have a case number and a direct contact to that technician but he is allowing all his calls go to voicemail and not returning any calls. I am so deeply disappointed in the service they are providing. Their lack of communication is seriously hurting my business.”

Even for those who did not touch their computer’s settings, Apple has claimed e-mails that did not arrive over the past few days should begin to do so once the problems were addressed. However, even though messages are beginning to arrive, some users are noticing other problems such as garbled messages in their e-mail inboxes that have dates of 12/31/1969 and illegible subject lines or no apparent content to them at all.

These issues have a number of the approximate 2-3 million affected users concerned that they may not be properly receiving messages sent to them during the outage.

Restoring the Mail folder in the user library to that before you made any changes to your account should restore your account as it was, allowing it to receive messages sent over the past few days during the iCloud outage.

If when you first noticed this problem you attempted to correct it by deleting your previous e-mail settings and have lost messages from doing so, you might be able to retrieve them from a Time Machine backup. To do this, quit Mail if it is running and then in the Finder choose “Go to Folder” from the Go menu. Enter ~/Library in the path field that appears, and when the library folder opens, invoke the Time Machine interface. Locate the backup from before you made your modifications, and then restore the Mail folder from this backup instance. After doing this, exit Time Machine and re-launch Mail, and both your previous messages should be in your inbox along with new ones received now that the outage has been addressed.

If you are concerned about not having received e-mails sent to you during the outage, then you might consider sending an e-mail to your contacts informing them of the outage and requesting they re-send any messages from the past few days. The service being online and operational means once users tackle any residual problems on their end they should be able to continue using the e-mail service without problems.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know if the iCloud e-mail fix did or didn’t work for you.