Apple posts job listing focused on improving cloud services

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 03:07
Category: Mobile, Rumor, Software

applelogo_silver

When the job listings go up, things become interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is building a small team to write software which will lay the groundwork for the company’s future Web services, which it has advertised as “the future” of its cloud-based offerings.

This week the company posted a new job listing for the position of “Cloud Systems Software Engineer.” The full-time role at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., campus will join a “small team” that is said to be building “the future of cloud services at Apple.”

That small team writes “software which forms the foundation” for some of Apple’s “most exciting new products and services,” the job listing reads. In keeping with Apple’s legendary secrecy, the listing does not reveal what services the company’s cloud-driven future will include.

The company is apparently looking to hire an engineer with experiencing in scalable and extensible systems. The ideal candidate will collaborate with other engineering teams at Apple to build the platform frameworks and systems that will power Apple’s next-generation Web services.

Apple has offered cloud-based services for some time with its US$99-per-year MobileMe service. According to unconfirmed rumors, Apple is expected to unveil an enhanced version of MobileMe this year, featuring a digital “locker” that would store personal files such as photos, music and videos. That content could be streamed to Internet-connected devices like iPhones, eliminating the need for a large amount of local memory on devices.

In particular, Apple is believed to be working on a cloud-based music service that would allow users to stream their music from anywhere. Such a product could be powered by Apple’s new massive data center in North Carolina, expected to go online this spring.

This week’s latest job listing from Apple comes only months after the company sought to add software engineers to its iOS development team with an emphasis on remote storage for data access. Cloud support is rumored to be a major component of iOS 5, the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad. One report from March said Apple plans to release iOS 5 this fall.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple’s component suppliers say Retina Display might not arrive for iPad devices in 2011

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, 04:45
Category: iPad, Rumor

As nifty as Apple’s Retina Display is, it might be hard to put in all of its devices.

Per DigiTimes, component makers for Apple’s iPad claim that the company has released its roadmap for higher-resolution touchscreen tablets, but the project is still at the “initial planning stage” and an upgraded iPad is unlikely to come later this year, according to a new report.

Insiders suggest that Apple could choose AMOLED technology or a high-resolution standard as part of its plan to upgrade the image quality on the iPad.

“Sources from touch panel makers pointed out that Apple recently released its latest tablet PC plan and is asking the panel makers to provide products that are capable to support higher image quality than the current iPad 2,” the report read.

“Apple may even choose AMOLED panel or panel that support Full HD standard to accomplish the plan. However, since the project is still at the initial planning stage, the actual products are unlikely to appear in 2011.”

Sources also cautioned that Apple may hold off on moving to AMOLED because rival Samsung mostly controls the technology. “If Apple is adopting AMOLED panel into its device, Apple would be facing a great risk having the key technologies being held by its competitors,” the report noted.

Upstream component makers pointed out that, given the production ramp up for the iPad 2, launching an iPad 3 this year would “simply bite off share” from the iPad 2.

Further quashing rumors of an iPad 3 in 2011, sources said that they have yet to receive “any notice for next generation iPad products” and do not believe the iPad 2 is a “transitional product.”

Even before the iPad 2 had been announced, rumors emerged earlier this year that Apple would release an iPad 3 in 2011.

Those rumors appeared to have been put to rest after Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared 2011 “the year of iPad 2.” However, intermittent reports since then have continued to suggest that Apple could release an iPad upgrade in 2011.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with Concorde Securities, Apple faced supply constraints and cost limitations that prevented the iPad maker from adding an improved display to the iPad 2. Kuo has suggested that a Retina display is still in the pipeline, and could make its way into the iPad 3 in early 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iOS 4.3.2 to feature FaceTime, Verizon iPad, WebKit fixes and changes

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 12th, 2011, 03:31
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

If iOS 4.3.1 is driving you mildly nuts, there’s hope down the line.

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple is rumored to issue its next mobile operating system update, iOS 4.3.2, for the iPhone and iPad in the next week, addressing problems with FaceTime and connectivity issues related to the Verizon iPad 2.

The web site allegedly obtained an early copy of the iOS 4.3.2 software and loaded it on an iPhone, but apparently didn’t notice any standout changes with the incremental software update. Even so, a tipster reportedly said that the new software will pack a fix for FaceTime, as well as security fixes for WebKit vulnerabilities, among other minor changes.

The update is also said to resolve connectivity issues with the Verizon CDMA iPad 2. Last Friday, Apple said in a statement that it is looking into connection problems users have reported with the 3G-capable Verizon iPad 2. The issues have not been reported by users of the AT&T-compatible 3G iPad 2.

Rumors of an iOS 4.3.2 update first surfaced earlier this month. It was said that the security and maintenance update would include bug fixes, but no additional details were given at the time.

iOS 5.0 is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to kick off June 6 in San Francisco, Calif. Apple has said that this year’s conference will be used to “unveil the future of iOS,” and rumors have indicated that Apple will preview iOS 5, but will not announce a new iPhone as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

2011 MacBook Pro notebooks booting to gray screen, freezing, workarounds suggested

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 04:25
Category: MacBook Pro, News

el17.jpg

As nifty and drool-worthy as the 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks may be, there still may be issues to sort out.

Per MacFixIt, a number of owners have noted an issue wherein the machine will start up to the gray Apple logo screen without a progress indicator and freeze. Apple has also noted the issue, releasing a knowledge base article to help with the situation.

Apple Support Discussions forum user CoryCripita writes:
“So for the second time my Macbook Pro is stuck on the ****** gray screen and won’t boot. The first time this happened 2 days ago I HAD TO resort to Archive and install. The only thing that I can even think caused this was again the fact that I updated via Software Update then rebooted.”
One suggestion offered on the forum was to reset the PRAM. To do so, turn off your machine. While holding Command + Option + P + R, turn your Mac back on. Wait for the boot chime to ring three times and your machine will start normally.

Apple has released a knowledgebase article to address some causes of this problem. According to the article, the Mac booting to the gray logo screen “may happen if the computer starts up from the hard drive or from an external drive using the wrong version or build of the operating system.”

If this happens, reinstall the proper build of Mac OS X from your install DVDs that came with your Mac. Later versions of Mac OS X will also work, but the article notes that using a version of OS X that was released before the computer will likely cause this issue.

You can check and see which version of Mac OS X your machine is attempting to start from by booting your Mac in Verbose Mode. When starting up, hold Command + V. If a DOS-like white text on black screen pops up, you’ve done it correctly.

“If the computer has the wrong build of the OS installed, the startup process will stop. The following line of text will appear on the display: “Loading SystemLibraryCachescom.apple.kext.cachesstartupExtensions.mkext.””
Hold the power button to shut down and quit Verbose Mode. When you next power on your Mac it will start normally.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know how it went.

German iPad 2 orders sped up, could show positive improvements for other markets

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 03:09
Category: iPad, News

A number of early German iPad 2 buyers are reporting that shipping times for their orders, placed on the first day of European availability (March 25th) but immediately slapped with a 2-3 week delay, are now shipping and expected to arrive faster than the company had previously estimated.

Per i4u, the actual duration of shipping has been reduced from 11 days to five.
Customers who ordered online from the first hours of European availability are seeing orders filled in exactly two weeks, but were quoted as having to wait another week or two beyond that for the order to actually arrive.

The reduction in the filling of online orders as well as shipping delay would suggest that Apple’s European distributors have refreshed their stock, though it’s currently unknown how this will portend for other markets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if your iPad 2′s ship time has been dramatically reduced, please let us know.

2011 MacBook Pro-Specific Boot Camp 3.2 update appears to lead to brightness issues

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 03:44
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

Here’s the thing with updates: they’re great and generally resolve problems and turn a disaster around.

Then there’s the other 10% for whom they make the sky fill with brimstone, the seas boil over and cause your cat to start waltzing across the living room floor with your terrier.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s small Boot Camp update for the new 2011 Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro models appears to be causing problems with adjusting screen brightness for some users.

While Apple said the update addresses issues that existed with system shutdowns and resolves problems with Japanese and korean keyboard, users on the official Apple Discussions page have reported that new issues were created with the update. Specifically, numerous Boot Camp users have reported since Thursday that the 3.2 update mistakenly disables the ability to control screen brightness in Windows.

“Clicking the brightness buttons (fn + F1) causes the little brightness icon to come up and move up or down, but the actual screen brightness won’t change and stays at 100%,” user pwhe23 wrote. “I don’t remember this happening before I upgraded.”

A number of other users chimed in on the thread, reporting similar results, even with a fresh install of Windows 7. User ckahn said they managed to address the problem by installing the 32-bit version of Windows 7, rather than the 64-bit operating system.

And user Polytonic found a “temporary workaround” by setting the brightness in Mac OS X, then rebooting to Windows. The Mac will apparently remember the brightness setting applied in Mac OS X and it will carry over to Windows upon the system reboot.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Apple releases Boot Camp update for 2011 MacBook, MacBook Pro users

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:36
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

Per the cool cats at MacFixIt, Apple has released an update to the Boot Camp drivers for the latest MacBook Pro systems. This update addresses a couple of problems with Japanese and Korean keyboards in the system, and also fixes shutdown problems, according to the update’s download page. The update is specific for Windows 7, so if you are using an alternative version of Windows, this will not apply to you.

The update should be available for Boot Camp users via Apple’s Software Update utility, but it can also be downloaded and applied manually from the Boot Camp 3.2 Update web page. The update is 21.55MB in size.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments or feedback.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 4.3.2 in next couple of weeks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:06
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

Apple is rumored to be prepping another incremental update to its mobile operating system in the form of iOS 4.3.2 within the next few weeks, the update having been said to include bug fixes and enhancements.

Per Boy Genius Report, the company is currently working on iOS 4.3.2 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Tipsters allegedly indicated that the software will arrive in about two weeks.

“It’s said to include a few enhancements, address security issues, and it will also fix several bugs that have affected users,” the report said. It provided no specifics on what bugs or improvements the update might include.

The same site reported on iOS 4.3.1 in March, and said it would also arrive within two weeks. The actual software arrived just four days later, and was a minor release with fixes for cellular networks and a resolution for an occasional graphics glitch on the fourth-generation iPod touch.

Apple has already revealed that it will “unveil the future of iOS” at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, scheduled to start on June 6. It is widely believed that Apple will officially unveil the next major update for its mobile operating system, iOS 5, at that event, though rumors have suggested the company has no intention of showing off new iPhone hardware, as it has done in years past.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 1 expected next week

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 7th, 2011, 04:20
Category: News, Software

You’ve had your mitts on Office for Mac 2011 and gotten to know the suite inside and out.

As of next week, it might be going through some changes.

Per Microsoft’s Office for Mac blog, the company is set to release Service Pack 1 for Office for Mac 2011 next week, bringing the usual fixes, as well as new features and enhancements, including the ability to sync calendar, tasks and notes via Apple’s Sync Services.

“This will let you sync your Outlook calendar as well as contacts, notes and tasks with any service or device that supports Sync Services, including your iPhone and iPad,” wrote Pat Fox, senior director of product management for Office for Mac. “This has been one of our top feature requests — hopefully this is good news to many of you.”

However, Apple also plans to discontinue the use of Mac OS X Sync Services with its subscription MobileMe service starting on May 5 for all users. The change is already in place for users who have already moved their account to the new version of MobileMe calendar, which came out of beta last October.

For Outlook for Mac 2011 users who sync their iOS device with Sync Services via iTunes, calendars will remain up to date. But users who sync their iPhone or iPad calendars with MobileMe will not have them synced to Outlook 2011 with SP1.

Fox also revealed that SP1 will bring Outlook support for Exchange based on server-side rules. A new Outlook Redirect button will also allow users to redirect a message to the intended recipient while replies will go to the original sender.

Other new additions include an Outlook Resend button, Outlook edit of existing messages, and Solver integration support in Excel. SP1 will also provide increased stability and security.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on Office 2011, let us know in the comments.

Apple receives patent for dock connector with USB 3.0, Thunderbolt elements built in

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 6th, 2011, 03:02
Category: News, Patents

applelogo_silver

A patent recently granted to Apple reveals that the company is looking into a modified dock connector compatible with newer high-speed communication standards, such as USB 3.0 and a “dual-lane DisplayPort,” or Thunderbolt, connector.

Per AppleInsider, the invention, entitled “Reduced Size Multi-Pin Male Plug Connector,” was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday and describes a smaller 30-pin dock connector with updated connection standards.

“Some embodiments of the present invention can provide support for one or more new high-speed communication standards,” the filing read, citing USB 3.0 and DisplayPort as examples of these standards.

The device depicted in the application’s drawings is an iPod, but the invention extends to other mobile devices and laptop and desktop computers.

According to the patent, the multi-purpose connector could carry power, data, video and audio signals. One embodiment includes two legacy USB2 contacts, four USB3 contacts, USB power and a ground. The DisplayPort standard would transfer data at 1.3MP with one lane, 1.8MP with two lanes and 4.1MP when all four lanes are selected.

The patent does not indicate whether the new connector would be backward compatible with Apple’s current dock connector.

The invention is credited to Stephen Paul Zadesky, Brian S. Lynch and Jason Sloey. It was filed for on Sept. 29, 2009.

Though the patent was revealed by the USPTO last year, Intel’s Thunderbolt implementation, which couples a DisplayPort with high-speed interconnect, had yet to be announced.

Intel announced the Thunderbolt interconnect technology in February alongside Apple’s release of new MacBook Pros, the first to take advantage of the new specification.

Formerly codenamed ‘Light Peak,’ the technology provides PCI Express interconnect speeds of up to 10Gbps and utilizes the Apple-developed Mini DisplayPort. Intel had originally hoped to use fiber-optic cabling for the technology, but initial implementations utilize copper wiring due to cost constraints.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.