27-inch Thunderbolt display exhibiting noise issue with 2012 Retina Display MacBook Pro, MacBook Air

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2012, 06:01
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News

Firmware updates were invented for a reason…

Per Electronista, a number of MacBook Air owners are experiencing audio issues when they connect their laptops to Apple’s Thunderbolt display and complain of static, distortion and crackling emanating from the speakers built into the 27-inch screen’s chassis.

The problem usually presents itself intermittently after a few hours’ use when sound from Apple’s new 2012 MacBook Air, which was announced during WWDC in June, is routed through the Thunderbolt display’s speakers.

It should be noted that as of this writing a single report claiming the same issue was found on the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, though it seems to be an isolated case not associated with the MacBook Air matter.

An Apple Support Communities thread started on June 23 is now six pages long though the issue seems to be affecting only a small number of users. Owners of both the 11-inch and 13-inch versions of the MacBook Air have reported identical problems, though some experience the issue more frequently than others.

The exact cause of the problem remains unclear though it could be related to how the thin-and-light’s firmware handles audio output. Sound played directly through the MacBook Air’s internal speakers are unaffected by the supposed bug meaning the issue lies in the interconnect.

Forum members have speculated that the adaptor needed to connect Apple’s new MagSafe 2 power connector to the Thunderbolt display’s power cord is somehow related to the static. This seems unlikely, however, as owners have unsuccessfully attempted to switch adaptors and run the laptop without plugging in to the Thunderbolt display’s power connector.

Most users have found that a workaround involving the switching between audio outputs solves the issue for a short time while others note that terminating and restarting an offending application gives temporary relief. Unplugging and replugging all connections also seems to remedy the problem.

Apple is aware of the issue though no official response has been released.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases InDesign fix to alleviate crash on Ivy Bridge-equipped MacBooks

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2012, 06:19
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

It never hurts to issue a bug fix.

Per AppleInsider, Adobe on Monday issued a ZIP file complete with instructions to manually fix an API bug that would crash the company’s InDesign professional layout software on Intel Ivy Bridge-equipped MacBooks.

The fix comes less than a week after Adobe acknowledged a problem with its program and Apple’s OS X 10.7.4 which comes pre-installed on all 2012 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. According to a user support forum thread started in mid-June, the issue can be traced back to an API that handled InDesign’s system icons which was removed in the latest update to OS X.

The problem caused blank dialogue boxes to pop up as InDesign failed to retrieve the correct icon assets which in turn crashed the program.

It appears that the issue is confined to mid-2012 MacBooks that have “MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Software Update” installed. Previous to Monday’s response some users created a workaround by rolling back the machine’s operating system to factory defaults.

Adobe is working closely with Apple on both their current and future OS releases to resolve this issue in a more comprehensive manner.

Adobe’s pseudo-patch involves the running of a script that installs three InDesign icons automatically or, for cases where the script does not run, a manual installation of the files directly into the application’s resources folder.

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

Apple releases iOS 6 beta 3 to developer community

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2012, 12:26
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t have a final version without a few betas…

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday supplied developers with the third beta of iOS 6, arriving three weeks after the previous beta build, adding new features like expanded settings for the Maps application..

Developers can now download iOS 6 beta 3 from Software Update on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. In addition, full downloads are also available from Apple’s developer portal.

Sources familiar with the latest build indicated that there are new options in the Settings application for Apple’s new Maps software. Specifically, the third beta now allows developers to customize certain aspects like the volume of turn-by-turn navigation, and whether to measure distances in miles or kilometers.

The last update, which arrived in late June, included a pair of fixes related to touchscreen keyboard performance. iOS 6 beta 3 is compatible with the third-generation iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and fourth-generation iPod touch. The final software will be released to the public this fall.

iOS 6 was formally announced last 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.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release 7.85-inch iPad this fall at sub-$499 price point

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2012, 06:02
Category: iPad, Rumor

A rumor’s got to be true on some levels…

Per the New York Times, previous rumors have been confirmed saying consumers can expect the as-yet-unannounced iPad to boast a 7.85-inch form factor and cost “significantly less than the latest US$499 iPad” when it debuts later this year.

Previous reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg both claimed Apple was working on the so-called “iPad mini” and said the new device is expected to launch before year’s end.

Most recently, images of purported iPad mini “engineering samples” were leaked and included side-by-side comparisons with the current third-generation iPad. The samples showed a rearranged speaker assembly flanking a diminutive 19-pin dock connector seen before on alleged next-generation iPhone parts.

According to analysts and executives in the technology industry, the smaller iPad is part of an Apple strategy to garner and retain a larger marketshare by introducing a variety of tablet sizes. The publication notes the Cupertino-based company used a similar model with the iPod line which now ranges from the iPod shuffle to the iPod classic.

If and when the iPad mini is announced, it will be facing stiff competition from Google’s recently-announced US$199 Nexus 7 Android tablet as well as expected offerings from Amazon. The online sales giant is rumored to be readying three distinct 7-inch Kindle Fire models for fall as well as an 8.9-inch version that may be released in late 2012 or early 2013. Sunday’s Times report cites sources who claim the larger-screened Fire is being developed as a competitor to Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad.

Yet another new entrant into the tablet arena is Microsoft’s Surface, a Windows 8-powered device set to be the centerpiece to the company’s “PC+” environment despite CEO Steve Ballmer’s claim that the unit is merely a “design point.” Rather than creating hardware and software separately for different tasks, as does Apple with the iPad and iOS, Microsoft believes that a one-OS-fits-all solution is the future of computing. The ARM architecture-based Surface for Windows RT is expected to debut alongside Windows 8 in October.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Retina Display MacBook Pro shipping times drop to 2-3 weeks

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Date: Friday, July 13th, 2012, 06:36
Category: MacBook Pro, News

It never hurts to catch up to demand for your product.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has begun catching up with demand for its popular new MacBook Pro with Retina display, as estimated shipping times have improved to two-to-three weeks.

Shipping times advertised at Apple’s online store for both models of the 15-inch Retina display MacBook Pro were shortened this week, and as of Friday, both the 2.3 gigahertz and 2.6 gigahertz models ship within two-to-three weeks.

The latest shipping estimate from the Apple Store is a slight improvement from the three-to-four weeks that were previously advertised. It’s also the shortest estimated shipping time seen since mid-June.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display was announced last month, and was heralded by Apple as “the most beautiful computer we have ever made.” It takes design cues from the MacBook Air by ditching the optical disc drive and relying solely on flash memory, allowing it to have a thinner design while maintaining long battery life.

The standout feature of the new MacBook Pro is its 2,880-by-1,880-pixel Retina display that features 220 pixels-per-inch on the 15.4-inch screen. The new design also cuts glare by 75 percent by removing the glass cover found in previous models.

Apple’s top-of-the-linenotebook also features two high-speed Thunderbolt ports, USB 3.0 connections, a dedicated HDMI port, and a built-in SD card reader. The 2.3-gigahertz model with 256 gigabytes of flash storage has a suggested price of US$2,199, while the 2.6 gigahertz model with 512 gigabytes of flash storage runs US$2,799.

Alternatively, the MacBook Pro with Retina display is also available and in stock at Apple Authorized Resellers. Prices through these resellers can be found included below.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iPhoto 9.3.1 update

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Date: Friday, July 13th, 2012, 06:17
Category: News, Software

eliphoto

Late Thursday, Apple released its anticipated iPhoto 9.3.1 update. The update, a 600 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Addresses a problem during the migration of albums from MobileMe Gallery that may cause photos to be moved from their original events into a new event called “From MobileMe”.

– Fixes an issue that in rare cases could cause iPhoto to hang when upgrading libraries.

iPhoto 9.3.1 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires 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.

Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) currently impervious to new Java malware, older operating systems remain susceptible

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Date: Thursday, July 12th, 2012, 09:43
Category: News, security, Software

Following up on yesterday’s new Java malware story, there’s some good news: if you’re running Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), you’re in the clear.

Per Macworld, the new Java malware was discovered on a compromised Colombian Transport website, with a bit of social engineering thrown in for good measure: You need to approve the installation of a Java applet, which OS X will warn you is from a root certificate that “is not trusted,” to get infected.

Once authorized, the exploit downloads additional malicious code from the Web. Security firm Sophos says that the malware then attempts to open a backdoor on your computer, through which hackers could remotely access the machine.

Because the Mac version of the malware runs as a PowerPC app, only Macs that can run PowerPC software are at risk. Since Lion (and Mountain Lion) no longer include Rosetta, the technology that allows Intel-based Macs to run PowerPC software, computers running those versions of Mac OS X cannot be infected.

Mac users may not too fondly experience some flashbacks to the insidious Flashback Trojan horse that affected even fully up-to-date Macs, since Apple hadn’t kept up with Java security updates as rigorously as its competitors. Starting in late April, Java developer Oracle began issuing security updates directly to Mac users at the same time those updates became available for other platforms, bypassing Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts official list of OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)-compatible Macs

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Date: Thursday, July 12th, 2012, 06:38
Category: News, Software

If you qualify, you’ll try to high-five everyone you meet today and your friends will eventually want you to shut up about it.

If you don’t, well, you can meet me down at the corner pub for happy hour…

Per The Verge, Apple has posted a “How to Upgrade” page on its website that contains a list of Mac models with Intel chipsets that qualify for Mountain Lion:

– iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)

– MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)

– MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)

– MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)

– Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)

– Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

– Xserve (Early 2009)

After verifying that a Mac is eligible for the upgrade, users are instructed to check that they have OS X Lion or the latest version of Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.8) installed. The third step is simply to “download OS X Mountain Lion when it becomes available in July” and follow the onscreen instructions to install it.

Apple announced OS X Mountain Lion in February, specifically mentioning newer Macs as qualifying for the upgrade. At the time, it was suspected that Macs with Intel’s GMA 950 and GMA X3100 integrated graphics processors would not be capable of running OS X 10.8.

By distributing new versions of OS X solely on the Mac App Store, Apple has also drawn a line in the sand, since Macs not capable of installing at least OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 won’t be able to access the App Store.

The Mac maker appears on track to release Mountain Lion this month as promised. Developers received the Golden Master version of the OS on Monday and an invitation from Apple to submit applications for the update to the Mac App Store. The US$19.99 upgrade contains over 200 new features, such as closer integration with iCloud, new security checks and voice dictation.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

And as much as I love my 2006 Mac Pro, maybe it’s time we started seeing other people…

Adobe confirms InDesign app crashes under 2012 MacBook portables

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 10:31
Category: News, Software

This is why they invented the software update…

Per AppleInsider, users running Apple’s latest MacBooks featuring Intel Ivy Bridge processors are experiencing system crashes with Adobe’s popular InDesign software.

The issue has been documented by InDesign users on Adobe’s official website where a forum thread has been growing since mid-June. The problem appears to be limited to users who are running just-released MacBook Pros or MacBook Airs featuring Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors and Mac OS X 10.7.4.

Adobe technical support employee Scott Worthington confirmed in the thread that the issue is related to a change made by Apple in OS X 10.7.4 The latest MacBook models, including the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, ship with OS X 10.7.4 preinstalled, making it difficult to “roll back” the operating system to a previous version.

“At this time it appears the update is removing an API we use to control our use of system icons,” Worthington wrote. “At present the solution appears to be to rollback the update for the software to continue to function as expected.”

Worthington added in a subsequent post that he’s unsure if the problem will persist when Apple releases OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion later this month. He did not attempt to explain why the issue appears to be isolated to new 2012 MacBook models with Ivy Bridge processors.

“We’re taking this issue very seriously,” he said. “I wish we had more to share at this time but I’ll be sure to share what comes down the line from the engineers relating to solutions or any workarounds they can find.”

User “arminvit,” who started the thread on June 15, found that they were able to address the problem by restoring their 2012 MacBook to factory settings and not installing the “MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Software Update” available from Apple that includes OS X 10.7.4.

When running the latest version of OS X on their 2012 MacBook Pro, that user found that InDesign would crash when trying to delete a page that has content, and also when packaging a file. Users in the thread said the issue occurs with both Creative Suite 5 and Creative Suite 6.

When the crash occurs, InDesign attempts to post a warning box. However, the box is displayed blank except for the text “Warning,” and InDesign promptly crashes.

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

OS X 10.8 may not run on earlier 64-bit Macs

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 07:24
Category: News, Software

The good news: OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) has gone gold master and will probably arrive this month.

The bad news: It might not run on your older 64-bit Intel-based Mac.

According to Ars Technica, Apple has updated the upgrade page of its website, tweaking which models will be supported by the latest big cat.

Despite a few older Macs being otherwise 64-bit capable — a requirement for both the current OS X Lion and the upcoming OS X Mountain Lion — it appears that 32-bit graphics drivers may be to blame for Apple’s decision.

“While Mountain Lion is compatible with any Mac capable of running a 64-bit kernel, the kernel no longer supports loading 32-bit kernel extensions (KEXTs),” Ars Technica explains. “Since those older drivers are 32-bit, Mountain Lion won’t load them. We believe Apple decided it was better to draw the line in the sand for some older machines rather than invest the resources into updating the drivers for these older GPUs.”

As noted by Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion upgrade page, supported Macs now include the following:

– iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)

– MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)

– MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)

– MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)

– Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)

– Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

– Xserve (Early 2009)

If you’re running close to edge of this cutoff, now might be a good time to consider a new Mac anyway, as Apple will chuck in a free copy of Mountain Lion with the purchase.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.