O'Grady's PowerPage » Apple

Apple to shut down iWork.com on July 31st, advises users to be ready

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 2nd, 2012, 09:57
Category: News, Software

With MobileMe now shuttered, it’s time to move on to the other technologies due for retirement.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s next online service set to go dark is iWork.com, and the company sent out an e-mail on Monday reminding customers to download their documents by July 31.

Come August, users will no longer be able to access documents stored on the iWork.com website. Those who participated in the iWork.com public beta must back up their documents by July 31 if they wish to keep them.

Instructions are available on Apple’s website informing users how they can save a copy of their documents on their computer before the deadline passes. Users are also encouraged to migrate to Apple’s new iCloud service, which allows remote storage of documents and data in the cloud.

iWork.com users were first notified in early March that Apple will shutter the website on July 31. The iWork.com service first launched as a beta in early 2009, offering iWork users on the Mac the ability to more easily collaborate with others using Windows and Microsoft Office.

Since then, the iWork suite of applications has also become available on iOS, with Pages, Numbers and Keynote among the most popular downloads on the iPad App Store.

The iWork suite and iOS 5 now offer integration with the iCloud service, which launched last October. At the iCloud.com website, users can access their up-to-date iWork documents, synced through iCloud’s Documents & Data service.

The full e-mail text sent out to iWork.com users on Monday is included below:

“Dear iWork.com user,

Remember, as of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web.

We recommend that you sign in to iWork.com before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer. For detailed instructions on how to save a copy of your documents on your computer, read this support article at Apple.com.

Moving forward, you can use iCloud to store your documents and make them available across your computer and your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Learn more about iCloud.

The iWork team”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases extensive batch of printer driver updates for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 operating systems

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 29th, 2012, 09:03
Category: News, Software

It’s not the sexiest set of updates in the world, but it’s useful.

Per AppleInsider, Apple released the following printer driver updates as listed below. The updates provide additional support for a wide range of devices from assorted providers and vary in size:

NRG Printer Drivers v2.3

InfoPrint Printer Drivers v2.3

Lanier Printer Drivers v2.3

Savin Printer Drivers v2.3

Ricoh Printer Drivers v2.3

Gestetner Printer Drivers v2.3

Infotec Printer Drivers v2.3

Lexmark Printer Driver v2.8

Epson Printer Drivers v2.10

Canon Printer Drivers v2.9

The updates require an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Adobe to discontinue new Flash Player installs on August 15th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 29th, 2012, 05:08
Category: News, Software


Sometimes a Web technology just has to ride off into the sunset.

According to The Verge, Adobe’s mobile Flash days are now numbered, as the company has announced that it will no longer accept new Flash Player installations through the Google Play application store after August 15 and will not support the upcoming 4.1 Jelly Bean version of Android.

Following up on the announcement last November that it was discontinuing development of Flash for mobile browsers, Adobe published a blog post on Thursday detailing deprecated support for the player on Android.

“Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed,” the post read.

Adobe also said that there will not be any Flash-certified Android 4.1 devices. Though in the past unsupported devices were sometimes able to get Flash Player working, the company said that this is “no longer going to be the case” because it has not developed or tested the player for the upcoming version of Android and its browsers.

Android users who want to keep running Flash as legacy software will need to download and install Flash before the August 15th deadline. Adobe also recommends that they stay on Android 4.0, as Flash Player on 4.1 Jelly Bean could exhibit “unpredictable behavior.”

“We recommend uninstalling Flash Player on devices which have been upgraded to Android 4.1,” the company wrote.

Last year, an Adobe manager put part of the blame on Apple for the demise of mobile Flash. Mike Chambers acknowledged that the software would never reach “anywhere near the ubiquity” of its install base on desktops because Apple would not allow Flash Player in the iOS browser.

“No matter what we did, the Flash Player was not going to be available on Apple’s iOS anytime in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs set off an intense debate about the merits of Flash in 2010 with his open letter criticizing the format as outdated and needlessly proprietary.

Android makers decided early on to advertise Flash as a differentiating feature of their devices as compared to Apple’s own. The move ultimately backfired on companies like Motorola, as Flash support ended up being postponed due to technical issues.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Aperture 3.3.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 13:48
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released version 3.3.1 of Aperture, its pro-grade image editing application. The new version, which is available as a direct download or via Mac OS X’s Software update feature, is a 529 megabyte download and offers the following fixes and changes:

– Fixes an issue that in rare cases could cause Aperture to hang or quit unexpectedly when upgrading libraries.

Aperture 3.3.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running 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 looking into technologies to help improve iOS device typing speed/autocorrect

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 06:47
Category: News, Patents, Software


This could be useful.

Per AppleInsider, a trio of patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered on Thursday show that Apple is looking into automatic typing and spelling correction, while a third application could indirectly relate to the feature.

Timing and Geometry:
Application No. 12/976834, titled “Combining timing and geometry information for typing correction,” describes a process for using keystroke geometry and timing to better detect a user’s intended input.

In one embodiment of the invention, a string of typed characters is timestamped and can be analyzed by a process for use in either autocorrection or autocompletion. The invention also suggests that “baseline typing speed data” could be gathered in order to determine whether double strikes, transpositions or other errors have occurred.

“For example, if the string “theere” is entered and the time between the keystrokes “ee” is less than an associated baseline by more than a threshold amount, the replacement candidate “there” may be assigned a higher score,” the application read.

Apple’s invention could start with a pre-determined typing speed that would be monitored and adjusted in case users type slower or faster than a “typical” user.

The system would also take into account the location of letters on the keyboard and the geometry of the typed words in order to catch mistakes.

“For example, a word that is similar to the typed text except for one or more errors associated potentially with keyboard geometry, such as differing by a letter where the correct letter is located adjacent to the typed incorrect letter on the keyboard, may be suggested,” Apple wrote.

Douglas Davidson and Karan Misra are named as the inventors of the patent, which Apple filed for in late 2010.

Parts of Speech:
A second autocorrect-related patent application (No. 12/976849) is entitled “Using parts-of-speech tagging and named entity recognition for spelling correction.” The proposed process involves understanding the context surrounding typed words in order to tag their parts of speech and identify named entities, such as differentiating between the company “Apple” and reference to the fruit.

The technical details for Apple’s invention are relatively advanced, as they involve a “statistical language model.” That process would involve parsing words, phrases and sentences and would make use of clues like capitalization, suffixes and prefixes and other “contextual features.”

Apple filed for the patent in December 2010. Brent Ramerth, Douglas Davidson and Jennifer Moore are listed as its inventors.

Contextual Lookup:
Apple’s application for “Using statistical language models for contextual lookup” (No. 12/976864), closely resembles the aforementioned parts-of-speech tagging application, but it describes a system for applying language processing to search queries.

According to the invention, a process for analyzing parts of speech could help make searching documents or the Internet more efficient. In its filing, Apple provided examples of phrases and words that could be interpreted different ways and would benefit from a process for forming specific and targeted searches.

Autocorrect Lawsuit:
Apple has put some of its autocorrect-related patents to work in its legal complaint against rival handset maker Samsung. In February, the compiled asserted a patent for a “Method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations” against the South Korean company.

Autocorrect on the iPhone has also entered popular culture by giving rise to several Websites documenting humorous or embarrassing instances of the feature, such as Damn You Auto Correct! and Autocorrect Fail.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple updates Retina Display MacBook Pro FAQ, explains display settings and resolution differences in article

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 27th, 2012, 06:17
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

The Retina Display on your new MacBook Pro is nifty.

Now it’s time to learn the ins and outs of it.

Per AppleInsider, a Frequently Asked Questions page on Apple’s support website offers detailed information about settings for the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display in an attempt to clear up confusion about the new screen’s capabilities in low-resolution mode and Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

The page explains the difference between scaled resolutions and the Retina setting on the new notebook.

Apple also noted in the article that all of its applications included with OS X Lion support the Retina Display.

“Additionally, iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, Aperture, Final Cut Pro X, and Motion all support the Retina display,” the page read.

Users experiencing “functional or visual issues” with applications are instructed to go into Finder to switch the application into Low Resolution mode.

“Some applications work best using the Low Resolution mode. Other applications will only run in Low Resolution mode,” said the FAQ.

For applications, such as 3D games, that want to use their own resolution settings, Apple recommends the 1440 x 900 resolution. Blizzard’s “Diablo III” game is one of the few titles that supports full 2880 x 1800 resolution on the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, though the studio is working on further optimizations that should improve the performance.

Apple provided a detailed response on options for using an external display with its high-end laptop. It also offered a hint that users can hold down the Option key when clicking the Scaled button to get more resolution choices in extended desktop mode.

Windows users will be relieved to know that installing Windows 7 via Boot Camp is supported on the Retina Display. The article did, however, note that Windows on the new MacBook Pro will automatically start up with small icons because it defaults to the maximum dpi supported (144 dpi, or 150 percent magnification). Users can adjust their settings in the Windows Display Control Panel.

As the first of Apple’s Mac models to sport a Retina Display screen, the MacBook Pro is leading the transition to high-dpi resolutions on OS X. The laptop has received largely positive reviews, with special praise reserved for the screen.

The new screens are not without problem, though. Scattered reports have emerged that users are experiencing image retention issues on some MacBook Pro models. Apple Genius technicians have reportedly been instructed to replace the screens, but crushing demand has left some owners waiting for up to three weeks.

If recent reports are to be believed, Apple could add another Retina Display-equipped Mac this fall in the form of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Though some rumors have suggested that Apple would also upgrade its iMac all-in-one desktop to a Retina Display, multiple sources recently told one blogger that it would not happen until 2013.

If you’ve snagged a MacBook Pro with a Retina Display and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.14

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 13:03
Category: News, Software


On Tuesday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.13, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, an 8.2 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:

– Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D / Kiss X6i

– Sony Alpha SLT-A37

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.

Some users complain of “ghost image” on Retina Display MacBook Pro units

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 09:40
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

You have an awesome new Retina Display MacBook Pro.

And it’s demonically possessed.

Ok, it might not be that bad. Per The Next Web and Mac|Life, early adopters of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display have been complaining of image “ghosting” issues with the notebook’s display at Apple’s discussion boards. Users are referring to the issue as a screen “burn-in” and the forum threads contain a slew of comments echoing the problem. The issue appears after leaving a bright static image up for awhile and then immediately switching to a dark grey image, with the previous image reporting leaving its trace behind for up to five minutes.

Some news outlets have reported that the issue is common with IPS displays, but DisplayMate, publishers of powerful display calibration software, report that this issue is usually caused by an electrostatic build up, a chemical impurity build up, a thermal imbalance, or an electronic levels issue within the display panel. What’s more curious is that new iPad doesn’t have any ghosting issues, even though it has a higher pixels-per-inch IPS display than the MacBook Pro.

Unfortunately, no one has been able to yet pinpoint what is causing the ghosting issues. Apple is apparently aware of the issue and has instructed its Geniuses to order replacement units for users complaining of malfunctioning screens.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve seen the issue on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Upcoming OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) to feature automatic security updates

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 06:26
Category: News, security, Software

If you don’t click “Software Update” that often, Apple will do it for you come Mountain Lion.

On Monday, Apple indicated that the company’s upcoming OS X Mountain Lion will feature an automatic security check feature that will ensure users have the most up-to-date software protection amid a growing number of Mac-targeted malware.

As reported by AppleInsider, an update to the Mountain Lion Developer Preview shows a new automated system that runs a daily check with Apple’s servers to make sure OS X 10.8 users have the most current security patches and protections against known malware and viruses.

Called “OS X Security Update Test 1.0,” the automated feature will run either daily or whenever a Mac restarts and has the ability to download and install updates in the background, making the task of manually performing checks less of a necessity.

The new feature also creates a “more secure connection” to Apple’s servers possibly hinting to new encryption technology or more stringent default settings. Also included are the usual stability and general updates for the operating system set for launch in July.

Apple is making security a priority in the next iteration of OS X to counter new threats that continue to crop up as Macs gain a larger user base. In April the highly-publicized Flashback trojan used a Java exploit to spread onto an estimated 600,000 Macs around the world prompting Apple to release both a Java disabler for Safari and a standalone malware uninstaller.

In a related action, Apple notedly toned down the language of its OS X web page, changing the statement that the Mac “doesn’t get PC viruses” to “It’s built to be safe.”

Coming exactly one week after OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4 was released, the new Security Update is available through the Mac App Store and comes in at 1.15 GB.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6 beta 2 to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2012, 06:38
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, News, Software

It’s not the most amazing update in the world, but it moves things a bit closer to iOS 6’s release date.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday issued its second beta of iOS 6 for developer testing, including a pair of fixes related to touchscreen keyboard performance.

Developers began receiving word that an update was available from “AppleInternal” on Monday afternoon. The “operating system 6.0” update is a 322-megabyte download for iPhone 4S users.

People familiar with iOS 6 beta 2 said it is identified as build “10A5338d.” When updating to the new software version in the Settings application, the icon with gears is animated and actually moves.

The release notes that accompany the update reportedly indicate that Apple fixed an issue where key clicking sounds could be skipped during fast typing. Apple also indicated it addressed an issue in which the keyboard would be wrongly positioned when switching from landscape to portrait orientation.

Apple also reportedly fixed an issue where the iOS SpringBoard may crash during a phone call if the screen would fade to black when using a speakerphone or headphones. It also addressed a crash that would occur if a new iCloud account was created during initial setup of the iOS device.

The latest iOS 6 beta also adds the podcasts section back into the iTunes application. That was missing from the first beta, and there have been rumors that Apple plans to introduce a standalone podcast application when iOS 6 officially launches this fall.

iOS 6 beta 2 is compatible with the third-generation iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and fourth-generation iPod touch.

Also released on Monday were Xcode 4.5 Developer Preview 2, as well as a second beta of the next software update for the Apple TV set-top box.

iOS 6 was formally announced earlier this month at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Developers were also provided with the first beta after its unveiling, allowing them to test their applications before the formal public launch this fall.

If you’ve gotten a chance to tinker with the new beta, please let us know what you think in the comments.