Apple releases OS X 10.8.4 12E52 build to developer community

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Date: Thursday, May 16th, 2013, 06:05
Category: News, Software

It’s a long haul to OS X 10.8.4, but it’s getting closer…

Per 9to5Mac, a week following the previous build, Apple has released build 12E52 of the OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4 beta to developers. Apple, once again, asks developers to focus on WiFi, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

We previously noted that 10.8.4 includes support for Mac computers with 802.11ac WiFi chips.

While 10.8.4 is a minor update to OS X Mountain Lion, Apple also has a major release launching in the next couple of months. It’s also been rumored that OS X 10.9 will include an enhanced Finder, much improved multiple-monitor support, a new version of Safari, and various other features from iOS, so larger improvements are waiting down the line.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you want to hurl your two cents in, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments section.

Siri receives update, now prompts users to speak in shorter, more recognizable sentences

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Date: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013, 08:49
Category: iOS, News, Software

Keep it short and sweet, folks.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple’s voice interaction system Siri has been updated, this time specifically to ask users to keep it short. Siri’s system doesn’t deal well with longer user queries, so if you happen to ask something that’s just too long for Siri to deal with, she’ll interrupt you, giving you a quote from a famous person, and then asking you to rephrase the question, shorter or in fewer words. Siri herself doesn’t have the authority to change your speech patterns, apparently, so she’s recruited figures such as William Strunk and Thomas Jefferson to make her point more clearly.

So, um, try speaking long sentences to Siri and see if it begins correcting you with quotes of some of the greatest wordsmiths of the past.

Apple releases iMovie 9.0.9 update

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Date: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013, 07:34
Category: News, Software


It’s a huge update file, but it might be helpful.

Late Tuesday, Apple released iMovie 9.0.9, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 1.08 gigabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
– Addresses issues where iMovie does not recognize video cameras connected to your Mac.

– Improves compatibility with projects imported from iMovie for iOS.

– Includes stability improvements.

iMovie 9.0.8 requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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

Rumor: Next-gen iPhone could incorporate sapphire crystal Home button, built-in fingerprint sensor

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Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:01
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

It’s a rumor, so it kinda sorta has to be true…

Per Cult of Mac, the next-gen iPhone 5S handset could come with a sapphire crystal capacitive touch home button that incorporates a new fingerprint sensor, according to supply chain sources in Taiwan and

Apple is expected to do away with the traditional physical home button, which has long been one of the most unreliable components on iOS devices. It’s thought that using sapphire crystal, which has a hardness second only to diamond, will prevent the button from getting scratched and ruining the fingerprint sensor.

This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has used sapphire crystal in an iPhone. The iPhone 5 has a sapphire crystal camera lens on its back, which Apple chose to try to prevent scratches from ruining your photos.

According to sources close to the story, the Cupertino company will choose the same material for the iPhone 5S’s home button.

But it won’t be a physical button like existing iOS devices. They insist Apple will employ a capacitive touch home button for the first time with the iPhone 5S, eliminating one of the most unreliable components in an iOS device (the physical home button has a tendency to fail after long periods of use).

Not only will it be a capacitive touch button, but it’ll also incorporate a fingerprint sensor, the sources claim. We’ve been hearing for many months that Apple will add fingerprint sensing technology to the iPhone 5S, following its acquisition of AuthenTec last year.

As for the handset’s release date, the current rumors have its arrival pinned around August or September, alongside a plastic low-cost iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple apparently hiring personnel for iWork for iOS development, QA, HiDPI engineers sought

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Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:59
Category: News, Software


There may be new life for iWork on the horizon.

Per AppleBitch, a handful of recently discovered job listings suggest a possible next-generation iWork software suite may soon see release, with the latest postings asking for specialists in quality assurance, one of the final steps in software building.

While some of the listings date back to the end of March, the most recent ad for “SW QA iWork” hit Apple’s job portal only two days ago.

At present, there are eight iWork-related positions on the “Jobs at Apple” webpage, three of which deal with quality assurance or software verification. One listing, posted on May 11, is looking for a software quality assurance specialist, a sign that Apple could be readying deployment some time soon.

From the job listing:
“The iWork team is looking for a software QA engineer to work on the next generation of Desktop, Mobile and Web application/services. This position requires a self-motivated individual with strong problem solving skills who can contribute in a dynamic team environment.

Bug reporting and isolation:
Planning, designing, and executing test cases
Ensure the successful delivery of a quality product by performing ad hoc and structured tests on a daily basis”

In another interesting post from May 7, a “HiDPI Image Specialist” is sought, with the ideal candidate to be tasked with aiding the iWork visual design team in translating graphics to Retina-toting devices. At the very least, the job ad reveals Apple is looking add high-resolution screen support to its productivity suite.

While there has yet to be any official word on a next-gen iWork product, the number of job listings and information therein strongly suggest such a product is in the offing, and could be released in the near future. The current iWork ’09, which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote, was released in 2009, and is seen by some to be long overdue for an upgrade.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple rolls out two-step ID recovery option to additional countries

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Date: Monday, May 13th, 2013, 03:58
Category: News, security


This might help keep your Apple ID credentials a bit safer.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple recently introduced two-step verification for your Apple ID in certain countries, and the process is now being expanded to the rest of the world. The feature, which requires two different codes for verifying your Apple ID was initially only available in the US, UK, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. But Apple has now included Canada in on the feature, as well as users in Argentina, Pakistan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium and Portugal. In other words, two-step authentication is now rolling out to a more or less worldwide release.

The authentication process is still optional — if users don’t think you need it, they can still stick with just their Apple ID passwords as a login. The process does help security, though it’s still not a perfect solution. Apple only implemented this procedure earlier this year due to some security concerns on behalf of users. But it will help against some attacks, and it should work as another step to keep unwanted invaders out of your Apple ID account.

As always, please let us know what you make of this over in the comments section.

AppleCare, AppleCare+ to undergo significant changes this fall, feature updated warranty policies, in-store iOS device repairs

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Date: Monday, May 13th, 2013, 03:34
Category: iPhone, News, retail


You’re going to see some changes in AppleCare this fall.

Per AppleInsider, in a town hall session held on Thursday, Apple informed tech staff that major changes to the AppleCare and AppleCare+ service programs will be enacted starting this fall, with a broadening of current policies likely to cut costs and make the service more attractive to consumers.

The town hall session was led by Apple Vice President Tara Bunch, who revealed a set of after-sales policy shifts would soon be rolling out across the U.S., and eventually the world, with many of the changes referred to under the “One Apple” brand, said a source close to the story. While Bunch was referred to as Vice President of AppleCare, AppleInsider cannot confirm this assertion. On her LinkedIn page, Bunch lists her current job as simply “Vice President at Apple,” but it is known that she was previously vice president of Global Customer Support Operations at Hewlett-Packard prior to joining Apple in 2012.

As for the “One Apple” moniker, it is unclear if the term is an internal designation for the vast restructuring about to take place, or is intended to become a consumer mark once the new changes are in place.

“The biggest announcement, was the way repairs for iPhones will be handled soon,” the person, who asked not to be identified due to their active status as an Apple employee, told reporters. “The way it is now, if almost anything is wrong with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the entire device is exchanged for a like-new re manufactured (sic) device, whether brought into an apple store or sent in for mail in repair. Now we are starting to actually repair the products and return the same device to the customer.”

Currently, Apple Stores have the tools to replace speakers, receivers, home buttons, the vibrator motor and battery. Come June, capabilities will be expanded to display replacement, and by July cameras, sleep/wake buttons and logic boards will be dealt with in-store. In addition, employees will have access to advanced diagnostics tools that can remotely assess hardware issues and relay the data directly to technicians, allowing for quicker turnaround times.

The new in-house repairs are to be rolled out across the U.S., with international support coming online soon thereafter. Bunch reportedly said Apple expects to save nearly US$1 billion per year with the change in policy.

In another huge departure, Apple will reportedly reconfigure its paid AppleCare service as a subscription model, or introduce a new tier, which will be attached to a customer rather than a specific product. Under the proposed system, a customer is entitled to in-store training similar to the One to One program available to new Mac buyers, with each device owned being covered by the warranty. The new AppleCare may also include “exclusive” 24/7 support, though that has not been confirmed as a full set of features and pricing is not yet etched in stone.

Gratis after-sales coverage is also slated for an update, and will move over to a new system where phone support will persist for at least an entire year, with possible two-year support offered in the future. Apple currently offers 90 days of free phone support without buying the add-on AppleCare plan. Online support, knowledge base articles, online live chats and Genius Bar visits will continue to be free.

Apple is also looking to grow its home advisor team, which currently consists of over 4,200 technical advisors who work from home instead of an office, approximately double the number from one year ago. The program is meant to cut overhead costs and provide for a larger pool of potential employees.

Finally, the source said Apple’s online resources will see an overhaul in the coming months as the company is working to expand its current offerings to include support over iMessage and a revamp of the Support Pages website, which is expected to focus on interactive tutorials and video content. Unsurprisingly, the Web-based enhancements will be optimized for both computer and iOS device perusal.

In addition, Apple personnel will begin to take a more active role in the discussion boards, helping to answer questions, consolidating threads and performing general maintenance.

Most of the changes mentioned above will roll out by fall if all goes according to plan.

The source briefed on Apple’s upcoming changes pointed out that in-store repairs would also be a plus for those customers whose products are no longer under warranty. Instead of paying a universal “swap out” fee, out of warranty hardware issues will be fixed on a per device basis. Apple has reportedly deployed advanced in-store repairs at select locations, with customer response being largely positive.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple apparently unwilling to release Windows 8 version of iTunes

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Date: Friday, May 10th, 2013, 06:48
Category: News, Software

Well, this is kind of a new one.

Per Mac|Life and CNN Money, Microsoft has apparently been pushing Apple for a Windows 8-native edition of iTunes, which currently only runs in traditional Desktop mode on the company’s Metro-style software — and not at all on the tablet-centric Windows RT.

“You shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon,” laments Windows Division CFO Tami Reller. “ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”

While Apple has grudgingly carried over iTunes, Safari, QuickTime and even iCloud to the Windows platform, the company has largely ignored Windows 8, which debuted six months ago and claims to have sold 10 million licenses during that time.

Thus far, the sole exception is a recent OS X Mountain Lion update which added Windows 8 compatibility to Boot Camp — but that’s for running Microsoft’s OS on Apple’s hardware, not for Apple software on Windows computers.

Windows RT owners are the ones suffering most from Apple’s neglect — they can’t install iTunes at all since it requires Intel hardware, which means a traditional desktop or laptop computer or more expensive Windows Pro tablet.

However, even that is a less than ideal experience, since iTunes doesn’t currently take advantage of the native Windows 8 experience, instead running as a window inside the classic Desktop view.

While the words “bargaining chip” come to mind, we’ll have to wait and see if an accord can be reached between Apple and Microsoft as to what to do with iTunes when it comes to the Windows 8 universe…

Apple releases Thunderbolt Firmware Update 1.3 for all Thunderbolt-equipped Macs

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Date: Friday, May 10th, 2013, 06:00
Category: News, Software


Never doubt a good firmware update.

Early Friday, Apple released its Thunderbolt Firmware Update 1.3 for all Macs with Thunderbolt ports. The update, a 1.3 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– This update provides stability fixes for Thunderbolt and Target Disk Mode

Thunderbolt Firmware Update 1.3 requires and Intel-based Mac with a Thunderbolt port running OS X 10.8.3 or later.

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

Apple expands iOS Maps data coverage in and around France

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Date: Thursday, May 9th, 2013, 05:15
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t say Apple’s not trying.

Apple has steadily been making improvements to its Maps data following a controversial launch. Last year Apple pushed out major updates to its 3D Maps coverage, adding a number of new cities in the US, UK, France, and Canada, while just last March it quietly pushed out some big improvements to Maps data in Japan. Per, Apple has just pushed out another big update to its 3D Flyover mode, this time bringing new content to more locations across France. Some of the new coverage areas include Paris, Versailles, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Disneyland Paris and to The Hay-les-Roses. Currently, Apple only lists support for 3D building coverage for Lyon, France.

If you’re in or around France and have seen an uptick in Maps data and coverage, please let us know in the comments.