Apple releases iOS 6 beta 2 to developer community

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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.

Rumor: iOS 6 Maps feature to include Yelp integration

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Date: Monday, June 25th, 2012, 06:44
Category: Rumor, Software

This could prove nifty.

Per Bloomberg, Apple’s newly redesigned Maps application in iOS 6 will feature built-in support for users to check in with the social service Yelp, according to a new report.

Citing materials distributed to Apple software developers, Bloomberg reported on Monday that users will be able to post information to Yelp without exiting the Maps application and opening separate software. The documents provided to developers include screenshots of Yelp check-ins within the Apple Maps application.

When Apple unveiled its new Maps application earlier this month, it noted that integrated support for Yelp will be a part of the software. But Apple’s information detailed user reviews on Yelp, and did not reveal that further support for other features on the service, like check-ins, will also be integrated.

Monday’s report speculates that integration with Apple Maps could allow Yelp’s check-in functionality challenge similar services offered by Foursquare and Facebook. Using the GPS on a smartphone, these services allow users to share their current location with other approved friends.

The new Maps application in iOS 6 is a major change, as Apple is abandoning Google’s own mapping service for its own in-house solution. The all-new application has been built from the ground up by Apple and includes built-in turn-by-turn navigation, and anonymous, real-time, crowd-sourced traffic data.

Maps in iOS 6 also include new 3D mapping technology that Apple has dubbed “Flyover.” It recreates cities and buildings in an interactive, three-dimensional layout.

The new Maps application also includes Siri integration, allowing users to ask for directions and offer estimated arrival times.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts Frequently Asked Questions guide for Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter

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Date: Friday, June 22nd, 2012, 07:16
Category: Hardware, News

The mysteries of Thunderbolt, they’re being unraveled.

Per CNET, Apple has posted a short FAQ on its new Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter, which outlines some uses and limitations of the adapter, and also hints at potential troubleshooting for both it and other Thunderbolt devices.

In the FAQ, Apple makes particular note about the daisy-chaining of Thunderbolt devices; each chain can support up to eight devices (including the host computer). While in most cases users will have peripheral devices such as hard drives or I/O controllers attached to their systems, it is also possible to connect multiple computers in the same daisy chain (one use of this is for Target Disk mode). If such a setup is used, then peripheral devices such as the Ethernet adapter may be captured and used by one computer over the other, so the solution to this would be to first pair it with one computer and then attach the second computer to the daisy chain.
In addition to which devices might be using the controller, the adapter may show reduced performance when connected to high-bandwidth devices such as RAID enclosures, which suggests that other Thunderbolt devices may show similar performance degradation when attached to high-throughput peripherals. Therefore, if your devices are not giving you the performance you desire, try rearranging them in the daisy chain, or using separate Thunderbolt connections. While many of Apple’s systems only have one Thunderbolt connection, newer systems are being developed with two, that give users more possibilities for troubleshooting odd Thunderbolt problems.

In addition, the FAQ suggests that some systems using Apple’s Ethernet adapter may not go to sleep while it is connected to their systems. If your computer has a built-in Ethernet port, then having the adapter connected will keep it awake. In these cases and possibly others in which Thunderbolt devices keep the system awake, you will have to unplug the adapter to put the system in Sleep mode. It may be possible that future software support may allow for proper system sleep, but for now this is the workaround.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple switching from 30-pin to 19-pin dock connector in 2012

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Date: Friday, June 22nd, 2012, 06:40
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor

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It’s the rumor that just won’t die.

Per TechCrunch, multiple manufacturers have independently indicated that Apple is planning to shrink its 30-pin dock connector to a 19-pin port in the next iPhone.

Though rumors of an upcoming “mini dock” connector for Apple’s next-generation iOS devices have swirled for some time now, although the Wednesday report offered the most confident claim yet about Apple’s plans for it by stating it had “independently verified” and “confirmed” the company is prepping a smaller 19-pin port for inclusion on its next iPhone.

According to the report, three independent manufacturers said Apple was working on the connector, adding that accessory makers are currently in limbo as they wait for Apple to officially announce the new standard, which will presumably be incompatible with current accessories. The new port would reportedly come close in size to the Thunderbolt port found on Apple’s newest Macs, but it is not expected to have the same “pin-out.”

Author John Biggs added that a purported video of the next-generation iPhone that surfaced earlier this month partially showed the new connector. That video appeared to show a sixth-generation iPhone metal back plate component with a smaller dock port.

The main reason for the new port is believed to be Apple’s continual quest to free up space in its mobile devices. The dock connector was first introduced in 2003 in the third-generation iPod. The advent of iCloud and wireless syncing has also reduced user reliance on the dock connector.

In addition to this, Apple is hiring engineers to work on new iPod connectors. Late last month, the company posted job listings for design engineers who would help manage “multiple connector designs and developments.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Blizzard optimizing Diablo III to take advantage of Retina Display MacBook Pro

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Date: Thursday, June 21st, 2012, 13:29
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

This could turn out to be very, very awesome.

On Thursday, Blizzard announced that its best-selling Diablo III title currently runs on the new MacBook Pro at the native resolution of its Retina display and that the developer is working on further improvements to the title specific to Apple’s latest notebook.

Per AppleInsider, Blizzard said it was “pleased” that Apple decided to include Diablo III I its keynote presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference last week.

“While we can confirm that the game runs natively on and takes full advantage of the full screen resolution for the new MacBook Pro, we need to do some work to optimize it for windowed mode on the new system,” the developer said. “We will provide our Mac players with an update when we have further details to share.”

In recent benchmarks, Diablo III consistently ran around 30 frames per second on the Retina Display MacBook Pro when playing at the highest possible resolution of 2,880 by 1,800 pixels with all settings on high and anti-aliasing disabled.

Apple’s native applications in OS X already take advantage of the Retina display of the new MacBook Pro, and separate updates are also available for iMovie, iPhoto, Final Cut Pro and Aperture.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Testing shows Retina Display MacBook Pro capable of powering 3 external monitors

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Date: Thursday, June 21st, 2012, 05:14
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

Ok, this is cool.

Per Other World Computing, testing has shown that Apple’s new Retina Display-equipped 15-inch MacBook Pro can power up to three external monitors for an impressive total of four screens.

The peripheral sales company put the new flagship professional-level laptop through its paces by hooking it up to two iMacs in display mode via Thunderbolt and an LG monitor via HDMI while setting the machine’s own display settings to “Best for Retina.”

Even with all four displays active, the new MacBook Pro did not appear to have any performance issues. “Moving images and media didn’t create any lag and we were able to play video on all four displays simultaneously,” OWC wrote in a blog post about the experiment.

Counting the full resolution of the MacBook Pro’s display, OWC’s four-screen setup shows the laptop powering a whopping 14.86 million pixels.

Apple’s own technical specifications for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display only detail support for two external displays at 2,560 by 1,600 pixels, plus the built-in display. The laptop’s graphics are powered by NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 650M GPU and Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4000.

The new MacBook Pro has received gushing reviews, with most noting the US$2,200 price as the only major downside.

In addition to the Retina Display, the new MacBook Pro features a thinner form factor, SSD storage, USB 3.0 and Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors. A recent teardown of the laptop’s display called Apple’s design, which removed a layer of glass, an “engineering marvel.”

So, if you’ve got a brand new Retina Display MacBook Pro and have three external displays to power today…have at it!

LG pinpointed as supplier for MacBook Pro Retina Display

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Date: Wednesday, June 20th, 2012, 06:27
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

Per a tweet by iFixit, electronics maker LG was identified as one of the parties responsible for the new Retina Display in the recently-released 15-inch MacBook Pro notebook.

Particular interest has been paid to who supplies components to Apple since its largest supplier, Samsung, has become a fierce rival and legal opponent. Over the last year, Apple has shown signs that it would like to move away from relying on Samsung for components, but the company is believed to have been the only partner who could produce Retina displays for the third-generation iPad at launch earlier this year.

The wedge between the two companies has been driven by competition in the smartphone and tablet markets. Last April, Apple was first to sue, when it accused Samsung of copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad, and the two companies are now involved in a number of lawsuits that span around the world.

LG has been a major supplier of LCD displays to Apple over the years, and in 2009 the two companies reached a US$500 million deal for the supply of flat-panel displays through the year 2013. But the relationship between the two companies may have strained late last year, when LG was said to have lost its status as the leading display maker for Apple’s iPad 2, when a batch of LCD shipments were reportedly plagued with quality issues.

Going forward, Sharp is also expected to be a major partner with Apple for screen production. Last year, reports indicated Apple had invested in a Sharp plant in Japan, while this year Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn bought a 10 percent stake in Sharp to help boost its LCD business.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple requests developers focus on graphics for recent Mac OS X 10.7.5 beta

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Date: Wednesday, June 20th, 2012, 06:34
Category: News, Software

The Retina Display is king for Apple, so graphics have to be pretty high up there these days.

Per AppleInsider, Apple supplied its development community with the first beta of OS X 10.7.5, its forthcoming maintenance update to the Lion operating system.

Sources familiar with the beta issued on Tuesday indicated that it is identified as build 11G15. Those testing the software have reportedly been asked to concentrate on testing graphics performance and quality along with networking reliability and performance.

Another area of focus is said to be the importing, editing or viewing of images and media. The delta download is reportedly a 937-megabyte installer, while the combo update weighs in at 1.87 gigabytes.

Details on what exactly has been changed in the first beta of OS X 10.7.5 remain unknown, but any fixes or updates are likely to be relatively insignificant with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion set to hit the Mac App Store in July.

The most recent update to Lion, OS X 10.7.4, was publicly released in early May. It included a fix for a potential security flaw in FileBug.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases external Mac OS X 10.7.5 beta to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012, 06:28
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a good operating system beta.

Per AppleInsider, work on OS X 10.7.5, the next performance and maintenance update for Lion, is far enough along that Apple is preparing to issue a preview of the software to its developers for testing.

A pre-release build of OS X 10.7.5 is set to be released to a limited number of members of Apple’s development community in the coming days, sources familiar with the software indicated on Monday. Public testing among all members of the Apple Developer Connection will likely begin soon after.

Details on what fixes or updates OS X 10.7.5 might include remain unknown. But any changes are likely to be relatively insignificant, as Apple is gearing up to launch the next major version of its Mac operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, next month.

The last update to Lion, OS X 10.7.4, was publicly released in early May. It included a fix for a potential security flaw in FileBug.

OS X 10.7.4 also quietly added support for Retina display Macs, more than a month before Apple officially announced its next-generation MacBook Pro with 15-inch Retina display. That notebook began shipping last week with OS X 10.7.4 installed, featuring high-resolution support for icons and native applications.

Apple announced last week that Mountain Lion will arrive on the Mac App Store in July for US$19.99. Those who purchase a qualifying Mac between now and the date Mountain Lion hits the App Store will be eligible for a free upgrade to OS X 10.8.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know via the comments.

Apple releases Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2.1 firmware upgrade

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Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012, 06:59
Category: Hardware, News, Software

On Tuesday, Apple released its Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2.1 firmware upgrade for its Thunderbolt-equipped Macs running Mac OS X 10.7 (“Lion”). The update, a 506 kilobyte download, adds support for the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

In addition to the direct download, Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2.1 is available through Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature. The update requires a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

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