O'Grady's PowerPage » Apple

Apple releases Apple TV 4.4.4, iOS 5.0.1 update for iPhone 4S model

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Date: Thursday, December 15th, 2011, 12:57
Category: Apple TV, iPhone, News, Software

Firmware: It’s nifty and it makes a difference.

Per MacNN, Apple has released two minor firmware updates for iOS devices. The first is v4.4.4 for the Apple TV, which implements what Apple terms as “general performance and stability improvements, including a fix for an issue that displayed an error when playing some video content.” The update can be installed automatically via an Apple TV’s normal update functions, or manually by technically savvy users with access to the IPSW file.

Unusually, Apple has also published a slightly different version of iOS 5.0.1 for the iPhone 4S. The new build is listed as 9A406. Why Apple would push out such an update is unknown, although any changes are likely to be extremely small given the same version number, and the need for compatibility with apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen any changes in your device(s) after installing the updates, please let us know in the comments.

Microsoft adds XMPP support for Messenger, allows connectivity with iChat, other IM clients

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Date: Thursday, December 15th, 2011, 07:48
Category: News, Software

As tempting as it might be to be snarky towards Microsoft, perhaps they’re opening things up a bit more to the Mac side of things.

Per AppleInsider, Microsoft has opened up public access to its Messenger IM network via XMPP, enabling Apple and others to build open clients capable of interacting with Microsoft users.

Recently, the company has announced “public availability of access to the Messenger network via XMPP,” a step that finally brings Microsoft into the fold using eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol.

Unlike email, which has long used Internet standards to exchange messages between servers, IM providers each created their own proprietary protocols for sending IM, making it difficult or impossible for users on AIM, Yahoo, MSN and other IM services to connect with each other.

Apple initially partnered with AIM to launch iChat in 2002, but by 2004 had introduced a new iChat 3 version that supported XMPP, allowing users to seamlessly connect with Google Talk. In this summer’s release of Mac OS X Lion, Apple also added support for Yahoo IM, enabling the chat client to connect to three different chat networks (AIM, Yahoo and open Jabber/XMPP servers like Google Talk, Facebook chat and Apple’s own iChat Server).

Conspicuously absent was any support for Microsoft’s MSM/Windows Live IM network, which is extremely popular in some areas, particularly in Europe. Microsoft’s move to support the open XMPP may explain why Apple didn’t build in support for Microsoft’s previous, proprietary Messenger network. Apple has separately worked with Microsoft to support its Exchange Server protocols, so it was likely privy to Microsoft’s Messenger plans.

Apple and XMPP :
Apple has invested significantly in the open XMPP, not only using it to support Bonjour local chat in iChat, but also adding support in Mac OS X Server to allow companies to set up their own XMPP IM services, just as easily as setting up local email services.

Additionally, Apple has used XMPP to power push notifications in iOS and Mac OS X, enabling an energy efficient mechanism for supporting third party app notifications and support for FaceTime and iMessage.

Now that Microsoft Messenger enables open XMPP access, iChat users should be able to add Messenger accounts and directly interact with Messenger users without needing to configure a gateway, use a multi-protocol chat client, or use Microsoft’s own chat application.

iOS Messages app flirts with IM functionality :
Apple appears to be headed toward adding direct IM support to iOS devices through its Messages app. The company has already released direct iPhone to iPad to iPod touch support for iMessage, which automatically connects via XMPP when it detects a connection with an iOS client (using a direct XMPP message rather than SMS, a telephony protocol that requires a mobile connection).

With Microsoft adding 300 million Messenger users to the open XMPP world, Apple appears capable of supporting direct chat functionality with Messenger, Facebook and Google Talk users to its iOS Messages app, as seamlessly as it has added iMessages support alongside SMS/MMS.

Last month, a developer reported that Apple’s iOS 5.0 includes IMService code that makes mention of AIM and Jabber (XMPP) alongside iMessage and FaceTime, indicating that it plans to incorporate external IM features on a system wide level.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release 2880 x 1800 resolution MacBook Pro with Retina Display in Q2 2012

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Date: Wednesday, December 14th, 2011, 05:59
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor


This could be amazing.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is rumored to be preparing a new MacBook Pro for launch in the second quarter of 2012 with a Retina Display resolution of 2,880 by 1,800 pixels.

Citing sources in Apple’s upstream supply chain, the publication reported on Wednesday that Apple’s new Retina Display MacBook Pro lineup is expected to set off “a new round of competition for panel specifications in the notebook industry.” A resolution of 2,880 by 1,800 would be exactly twice that of the 1,440-by-900 display currently found on the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

“While the prevailing MacBook Models have display resolutions from 1680 by 1050 to 1280 by 800, the ultra-high resolution for the new MacBook Pro will further differentiate Apple’s products from other brands,” the report said.

Only the 2,880-by-1,800 display was specifically cited in the report in reference to a new MacBook Pro “lineup.” Given that Apple’s different MacBook Pro screen sizes sport different resolutions, it’s likely that the 13- and 17-inch models would sport double-pixel resolutions of 2,560 by 1600 and 3,840 by 2,400, respectively.

Rumors of Retina Display MacBook Pros from Apple in 2012 have reportedly already spurred the competition to work on their own higher resolution displays for notebooks. Acer and Asustek are said to be preparing high-end Ultrabook models with display resolutions of 1,920 by 1,080, an improvement from the 1,366-by-768-pixel displays found on current models.

More evidence of Macs potentially gaining Retina Displays came in September, when Intel revealed that its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors will support the 4K display resolution, at up to 4,096 by 4,096 pixels per monitor. A 4K resolution with a 16-by-9 ratio would be screen resolution of 4,096 by 2,304, or a pixel density of 174 pixels-per-inch.

Apple introduced its Retina Display branding with the iPhone 4 in 2010, featuring a resolution of 960-by-640, packing 326 pixels-per-inch. Recent reports have suggested that Apple also plans to increase the resolution of its next-generation iPad in early 2012.

Not a bad thing if it’s true and 2012 will be interesting to watch.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple releases Lexmark Printer Driver 2.7, Brother Printer Drivers 2.8

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Date: Wednesday, December 14th, 2011, 05:19
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released updated printer drivers for the Mac OS X 10.6 and Mac OS X 10.7 operating systems. Lexmark Printer Driver 2.7, a 182 megabyte download, adds the most recent drivers for the company’s printers and multi-function peripherals. Brother Printer Driver 2.8, a 150 megabyte download, does the same.

Both updates can be located, snagged and installed via the built-in Mac OS X Software Update feature and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: Apple to purchase Israeli flash memory company Anobit

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Date: Tuesday, December 13th, 2011, 06:49
Category: Finance, Rumor


When Apple ponders buying something, it’s worth paying attention to.

Per TechCrunch, Apple is planning to spend between US$400 million and US$500 million to buy Anobit, an Israel-based flash memory company, according to a new report.

Citing a Hebrew-language report, TechCrunch relayed on Tuesday that Apple plans to acquire the 200-employee Israeli fabless semiconductor company that specializes in flash storage. If the deal comes to pass, it’s believed to be the first acquisition for Apple with Tim Cook at the helm as CEO.

“Anobit provides flash storage solutions for enterprise and mobile markets, based on its proprietary MSP (which stands for ‘Memory Signal Processing’) technology,” the report said. “Its solutions are designed to improve the speed, endurance and performance of flash systems while driving down the cost. Anobit’s technology is comprised of signal processing algorithms that compensate for physical limitations of NAND flash, the company claims.”

Apple is believed to already rely on Anobit’s solutions for its flash-based products, including the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. Of the most interest to Apple is said to be Anobit’s MSP20xx embedded flash controllers for mobile devices.

Apple has used its massive cash hoard to strategically invest in components and acquire companies that will give it a leg up on the competition. In 2005, Apple inked a major flash memory deal with Samsung, allowing Apple to build products with NAND flash including the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

The company made a similar deal earlier this year, when Cook revealed that Apple had committed US$3.9 billion to secret, long-term component contracts. Cook said the deals were a “fantastic” use of the company’s cash reserves, but declined to say what components Apple had secured, citing competitive reasons.

If Tuesday’s report is accurate, it would be a rare hardware-based acquisition for Apple. The company’s last major buyout of a hardware company came in 2008, when Apple bought P.A. Semi for US$278 million, paving the way for it to build custom ARM-based chips for the iPhone and iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Thunderbolt Display firmware 1.1

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Date: Tuesday, December 13th, 2011, 06:58
Category: Hardware, News, Software

Released alongside the iTunes update is a new version of the Thunderbolt Display’s firmware, bringing it up to version 1.1.

Per AppleInsider, the update addresses fan noise issues some users have been experiencing as well as overall stability improvements.

The download comes in at 942 KB and requires either Mac OS X 10.6.8 or OS X Lion 10.7.2 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iTunes 10.5.2 update

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Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 17:55
Category: News, Software


On Monday, Apple released iTunes 10.5.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 102 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Several improvements for iTunes Match and fixes an audio distortion problem when playing or importing certain CDs.

iTunes 10.5.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iOS 5.1 beta 2, incorporates Photo Stream fix

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Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 12:18
Category: iPhone, News, Software

It’s the betas that make life interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday provided developers with a second beta of iOS 5.1, with the latest update granting the ability to delete individual photos synced to the iCloud Photo Stream feature.

The latest beta is now available to members of the iOS developer program. Sources familiar with beta 2 said one of the newest additions automatically deletes pictures from Photo Stream when they are deleted from the iPhone.

Currently, pictures taken on an iOS device are automatically synced with the Photo Stream feature of Apple’s iCloud. But if a user deletes a picture from their iPhone, it is not removed from iCloud. Instead, users must unsync their entire photo library in order to remove an uploaded photo.

Those same people said that the latest beta of iOS 5.1 is known as build 9B5127c. Some issues do reportedly remain with the pre-release software, including freezes related to Setup Assistant and the shake-to-shuffle feature in the iOS music player.

iOS 5.1 beta 2 is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch and stands as an 801MB download. A new beta firmware for the Apple TV was also issued Monday, and allows developers to test iOS 5.1 applications with AirPlay on the set-top box.

The first beta of iOS 5.1 was provided to developers in late November. It included references to a next-generation iPhone, labeled “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2” and “iPad3,3.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple receives final clearance to sell iPhone 4S in China, handsets expected to arrive this month

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Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 05:29
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re traveling to the far east and need to snag an iPhone 4S, things just got a bit easier.

Per MIC Gadget, Chinese regulators have issued the final permit required for Apple to launch the iPhone 4S in the country, with wireless operator China Unicom hoping to begin selling the device by the Christmas and New Year holidays.

A new report claims that the MIIT network permit may actually be for the 8GB iPhone 4, as noted by Penn Olson. Insiders from China Unicom have allegedly stated that the iPhone 4S is still awaiting approval.

According to the report, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the necessary network access permit for the iPhone 4S earlier this week. The certificate remains valid for three years and The permit was believed to have been the last obstacle for Apple.

In response to the news, China Unicom said it expects to launch the device by the end of the month. The carrier reportedly estimates the 16GB iPhone 4S will cost 4,999 yuan (US$786) off contract.

The company revealed in late November that it had already finished preparations for the iPhone 4S and was simply awaiting the final permit from the government.

Financial analysts have indicated that their estimates of 28 million iPhone units shipped in the fourth quarter of calendar 2011 will see a strong upside if Apple manages to launch the iPhone 4S in the world’s most populous country by the end of the quarter. According to Apple, there are already 7,000 points of sale for its smartphone in the country.

As for Greater China, the iPhone 4S arrived in Hong Kong to frenzied crowds in November. The handset is set to launch in Taiwan on Dec. 16. Apple has been on a tear in the region as of late. The company saw record sales of US$4.5 billion there last quarter, making it the company’s second-largest market in terms of revenue.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available

iMac 2TB hard drive build-to-order delay reduced to 2-4 weeks

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Date: Friday, December 9th, 2011, 06:00
Category: iMac, News

Hang on a bit longer and you’ll get the 2-terabyte internal hard drive you want.

Per AppleInsider, custom-built iMac desktops with 2-terabyte hard drives now have a shipping estimate of 2 to 4 weeks, suggesting Apple has seen its stock of high-capacity hard drives improve.

The story broke a week ago that Apple’s build-to-order iMacs with 2TB hard drives had an estimated shipping time of 5 to 7 weeks. Though Apple didn’t comment on the situation, the lengthy and uncharacteristic delay was potentially the first sign of the company being hit by a lingering global hard drive shortage.

But just a week later, shipping times for 2TB iMacs have already improved to between 2 and 4 weeks, indicating that any hard drive shortage seen by Apple may be short lived.

While shipping times have improved, there is still quite a bit of a delay with an estimated 2 to 4 week shipping time. For example, a custom-built iMac with a 256GB solid-state drive has a shipping estimate of just 2 to 4 business days.

Apple’s shipping time for desktops with higher-capacity hard drives may be a result of flooding in Thailand, which has caused disruption in the hard drive supply chain, including Western Digital and Seagate. About 14,000 factories have been shut down and more than 600,000 people were put out of work by the devastating floods.

Western Digital announced last week that it had resumed hard drive production in Thailand. But industry watchers expect the industry-wide hard drive shortage to linger well into 2012.

Just this week, IHS predicted that the flooding in Thailand would cause a shortfall of nearly 4 million total PC units in the first quarter of calendar 2012. The research firm also reduced its projected total PC sales in 2012 from 399 million to 376 million, partly due to the hard drive shortage, as well as weakening demand.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.