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.

Rumor: T-Mobile could receive iPhone in 2013

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 06:58
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It had to happen sometime.

Per BusinessWeek, fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile could use a sales agreement from its parent company Deutsche Telekom AG to carry Apple’s iPhone on its network sometime in 2013 which may help the network turn around slumping profits.

In a note to investors on Tuesday, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett said Apple and Deutsche Telekom are “increasingly likely” to strike a deal for T-Mobile to offer the iPhone in the U.S. next year.

The iPhone may help T-Mobile retain lucrative post-paid or contract customers after the telecom lost 510,000 monthly subscribers in the first quarter. Contrasting the massive loss was a combined 688,000 gained customers seen by iPhone-carrying networks AT&T and Verizon over the same period. In February T-Mobile blamed a fourth quarter 2011 loss of 706,000 contract customers on not having access to Apple’s smartphone.

“IPhone (sic) availability at T-Mobile USA would likely reduce contract losses at that company, and push Deutsche Telekom U.S. to a net revenue growth position much sooner than the market expects,” Moffett wrote.

T-Mobile was originally looking to bring Apple’s handset over to its network as part of a merger with the nation’s second-largest carrier AT&T, though the agreement fell through in December. As a result of the breakup AT&T was forced to give Deutsche Telekom US$3 billion in cash along with a transfer of US$1 billion worth of spectrum to the German company’s U.S. arm.

With the additional bandwidth T-Mobile plans to upgrade its network to iPhone-compatible 4G HSPA+ by expanding operations in the 1900MHz spectrum. Tuesday’s report is consistent with the carrier’s expansion plans and solves the frequency issues that CEO Philipp Humm referred to as the “key reason” why the company doesn’t currently offer the iPhone.

A deal to sell the iPhone through an agreement with T-Mobile’s parent company would be a change to Apple’s normal operating procedures as the Cupertino tech giant usually makes first-party agreements with carriers. For example, the recent addition of the iPhone on Sprint’s network was a US$15.5 billion commitment for the telecom. It was reported in June that, while AT&T and Verizon retained the most iPhone customers, Sprint gained the most switchers using Apple’s handset.

Representatives from both Apple and T-Mobile declined to comment and no official statement regarding the situation has been issued.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple receives NFC-driven “iTravel” patent

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Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012, 08:49
Category: iPhone, News, Patents


This could be interesting.

Per Free Patents Online, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday officially awarded Apple ownership of its “iTravel” concept for e-ticketing with an NFC-equipped iPhone.

U.S. Patent No. 8,215,546, entitled “System and Method for Transportation Check-In,” was granted to Apple this week. First filed with the USPTO in 2008, the invention describes a system for ticketing and identification via near-field communications on a portable device like an iPhone.

“The handheld device may store and transmit travel reservations and traveler identifications using a travel management application,” the patent reads. “Various methods may be employed to acquire the reservation and identification information on the handheld device.”

In one example, users can make travel reservations via the so-called “iTravel” application. Similar data can also be automatically retrieved from an e-mail, a website, another NFC-enabled device, or a carrier-provided confirmation number.

The system could also identify a user by scanning a radio frequency identification tag embedded in a government-issued ID, like a passport. An ID number can also be entered via the travel management application, prompting the “iTravel” application to download the user’s identification information from the issuing authority.

Illustrations that accompany the patent show an iPhone equipped with a near-field communications chip. The iTravel application is depicted with an icon of an airplane on the iOS home screen.

The iTravel concept is a more full-featured implementation of Apple’s new Passbook application, which will be part of iOS 6 when it launches this fall. Unveiled in June, Passbook organizes various items like movie or sporting event tickets, store membership cards, and airplane boarding passes.

Passbook will feature geolocation with the iPhone, allowing users to automatically have the appropriate card pulled up when they visit a specific location. For example, when a user goes to Starbucks, they will see their membership card available to scan.

The unveiling of Passbook has prompted speculation that Apple plans to add a near-field communications chip to its anticipated sixth-generation iPhone, expected to debut this fall. With wireless NFC capabilities, Apple’s next iPhone could serve as an e-wallet and e-ticketing device.

Apple has been rumored for years to include NFC technology in a future iPhone, but to date no iPhone models have included an integrated NFC chip. Competing handsets, like Google’s Nexus S, have included NFC chips, but e-wallet payments have yet to take off with services like Google Wallet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to launch third-gen iPad in China on July 20

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Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012, 07:45
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

Apple on Tuesday announced that its new third-generation iPad will debut in mainland China next week, on Friday, July 20.

Per AppleInsider, the new iPad will be available in China through the Apple online store, select authorize resellers, and by reservation from Apple retail stores. Customers can make reservation requests beginning Thursday, July 19 for pickup the following day between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

The new iPad Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white for a suggested retail price of US$499 for the 16GB model, US$599 for the 32GB model and US$699 for the 64GB model. The iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB model and US$829 for the 64GB model.

In addition, Apple will also offer the iPad 2, its 2011 model, for US$399.

The July 20 launch date announced on Tuesday is a full week earlier than recent reports had suggested the new iPad will debut. Availability of the new iPad in China will come quickly after Apple reached a US$60 million settlement with Proview for the right to use the “iPad” brand name in China.

The Wi-Fi-only variant of the new iPad gained regulatory approval in China back in late March. Then a month later, in May, the 3G version was also certified for sale by the nation’s government.

It was speculated that the trademark dispute with Proview was the main reason the new iPad had not yet debuted in China. Last year, the iPad 2 launched in China on May 6, debuting a month and a half earlier than the new iPad will be introduced in 2012.

Apple’s new third-generation iPad initially launched in 10 places around the world on March 16, including Hong Kong, but not mainland China. Other launch territories in March were the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, and the U.K., as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple release OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) gold master

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Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012, 07:25
Category: News, Software

Your official Mountain Lion release day is almost here.

And to celebrate, you should buy an actual mountain lion as a pet.

Nothing could go wrong from this decision.

Late Monday, Apple released the gold master version of its OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) operating system. The build, a 4.3 gigabyte download, requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 and an Apple developer account (US$99 per year) to run.

The final version of OS X 10.8 will be available for direct download and installation via the App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to produce 7-inch iPad in Brazil, currently aiming for fall release

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Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012, 06:38
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

Something nifty could be happening south of the border.

Per Macotakara, Apple is working on a smaller format iPad that will be assembled in Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn’s Brazil factory starting in September for a holiday release.

According to the story, a “reliable Chinese source” said that while CNC machine testing for Apple’s much-rumored 7-inch tablet has completed in China, the actual production of the unit will take place at Foxconn’s plant in Brazil which is currently tasked with building iPhones and certain iPad models.

The source goes on to further detail the manufacturing plans and, contrary to recent whispers, quotes September as the expected production start date which will ramp up in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season.

While consensus remains on the tablet’s 7.85-inch screen size the form factor is somewhat up in the air as the source said the new device will be more akin to a third-generation iPod nano than a shrunken iPad. The prototype device is reportedly the same height as Google’s recently-announced Nexus 7 but is slightly wider and manages an iPod touch-like thickness that is said to be slimmer than Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Also on tap for the “iPad mini” is 3G wireless connectivity, though the source claims to have seen a handling list of carriers slated to receive the device and it seems not every provider that currently sells the iPad will have access to the device at launch.

The Japanese publication’s source also agreed with a previously reported rumor that claimed a next-generation iPhone would debut in September.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may revise backlight for third-gen iPad before holidays

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Date: Friday, July 6th, 2012, 12:43
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

The nice thing about rumors: sometimes they’re true.

Per DigiTimes, Apple may be readying a minor update of the iPad ahead of the holiday season, an unverified report from the same publication claims that Apple is interested in returning to a one-LED backlight module solution instead of the two-LED design used in the current iPad.

DigiTimes claimed on Friday that Apple was making the revisions to reduce the heat output of the iPad.

“The extra LED is reportedly adding to overheating and that using one LED will help solve overheating issues since more backlights along with more power to heat those backlights is causing overheating,” the report read.

The publication’s sources said that switching back to the one LED module would not affect “luminosity and clarity” of the iPad display.

Separate reports also out of the Far East have claimed that Apple will include IGZO technology from Sharp in the next iPad. The iPad maker was rumored to go with an IGZO display for its third-generation tablet, but Sharp was reportedly unable to produce sufficient volumes in time. IGZO displays are expected to allow for a thinner design with better battery life.

DigiTimes claimed on Thursday that Apple would release an iPad with “small revisions” before the end of the year. The earlier report suggested that Apple would change the battery to avoid overheating problems and also enlarge the lens hole on the device.

Shortly after Apple’s latest iPad was released, some reviews claimed the device ran noticeably hotter than its predecessor. Apple, however, insisted that the tablet was operating “well within” its thermal specifications.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.