Apple Releases Updated Mac OS X 10.6.3 Dev Build, Official Release Seems Close

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Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2010, 05:21
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday Apple released a new version of its Mac OS X 10.6.3 beta to its developer community. The build, labeled 10D561, currently lists no known issues, which suggests that a formal release via Software Update may be in the near term.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the latest beta claim no changes have been made to the software’s enhancements checklist, which includes an update to QuickTime X that improves security and compatibility while simultaneously enhancing overall reliability.

Other changes present since earlier betas include tweaks that enhance the performance of Apple’s 64-bit Logic Pro audio suite and improved compatibility with third-party printers and OpenGL-grounded applications.

Those familiar with Wednesday’s beta say Apple is now asking developers to focus their evaluation efforts on Bluetooth, iChat, and USB, in addition to two previously listed focus areas: graphics drivers and QuickTime.

An earlier emphasis on AirPort testing has reportedly been omitted from build 10D561.

Mac OS X 10.6.3 currently weighs in at just over 716MB in Delta form, down slightly from the 737MB package distributed with the previous seeding.

If you’ve had a chance to play with the new build, let us know.

Apple Releases iPhone OS SDK 3.2 Beta 3

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Date: Wednesday, February 24th, 2010, 06:01
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

Earlier this week, Apple released iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 3, the most recent update of the company’s iPhone OS development tools. Although details of the beta have emerged, MacNN is reporting that it allows “existing iPhone projects to include the necessary files” to support the iPad. Developers should thus be closer to producing working iPad apps, as there is now a Universal Application binary format that wraps iPhone, iPad and iPod touch code into the same bundle.

Sources with access to the kit point out that its documentation has also confirmed the presence of PowerVR SGX technology in the iPad. “Using OpenGL ES on iPad is identical to using OpenGL ES on other iPhone OS devices,” Apple writes. “An iPad is a PowerVR SGX device and supports the same basic capabilities as other SGX devices. However, because the processor, memory architecture, and screen dimensions are different for iPad, you should always test your code on an iPad device before shipping to ensure performance meets your requirements.”

If you’ve gotten your hands on the SDK and can offer any feedback about it, please let us know.

Syncing Issues Cited Between iPhone OS 3.x and iTunes 9.x

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Date: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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As useful and convenient as iPhones and iTunes tend to be, there may be some serious issues left to resolve.

Per reader Martin Joyce, a number of users have been experiencing syncing issues between their iPod and iPhone handsets running iPhone OS 3.x and iTunes 9.x. The issue, which is being discussed at length over at the Apple Discussion Boards, cites that the most common issue is that of there being no content on the iPhone or iPod handset after a sync. The discussion has yet to conclude with Apple publicly acknowledging the issue in any way, shape or form.

If anyone has seen this on their end or has heard of a possible forthcoming fix from Apple, please let us know.

Apple Hunting for Engineering Manager to Bring iPhone OS to “New Platforms”

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Date: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, 05:47
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

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A recent job posting from Apple may demonstrate that Apple plans to grow the iPhone OS. Per MacNN, the company is currently searching for an engineering manager to be based out of Cupertino. The person should specifically be responsible for a team handling low levels of the iPhone OS, including the “bring-up of new hardware platforms.” Candidates are therefore expected to have deep experience in areas like Unix kernels and ARM-based systems-on-chip.

The new platforms mentioned are mostly likely updated iPods, iPads and iPhones, although just the iPod and iPhone are cited, and then only tangentially. The ambiguity could in fact leave room for an unannounced platform. One possibility could be an updated Apple TV, since the device is relatively simple but potentially ready to benefit from iPad-style media playback controls. The present Apple TV hardware has not been updated in any significant fashion since May of 2007.

If you have any guesses, please let us know.

Rumor: Hulu May Only Be Available to iPad Via Paid Service

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Date: Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPad, Rumor

Ok, this is strange and a bit frightening.

Per MediaMemo, the Hulu TV streaming service may be offered by subscription only on Apple’s new hardware, according to a new report.

Citing sources familiar with Hulu, which is owned by three of the largest U.S. broadcast networks, Peter Kafka reported Friday that the service, which is free for Web users, will likely be pay-only for the iPad. He said the “most likely scenario” would involve some sort of subscription package.

Hulu has been rumored for months to be exploring some sort of subscription plan to help the Web site turn a profit. Sources reportedly said the company is still unsure of the approach it will take with its anticipated premium service, and those issues would need to be resolved before an iPad plan could be made official.

Among the problems for Hulu would be Adobe Flash. Last week, the media Web site was rumored to be working on an iPad-friendly version of its Web site, which would operate without Flash.

Given all of the hurdles that lie in front of the service, Kafka said it’s “very unlikely” that Hulu would launch its subscription plan or have a presence on the iPad when it launches at the end of March. But he noted that Apple would “love it” if Hulu could meet that tight time frame.

Weeks ago, Jobs was in New York meeting with numerous media outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to pitch the iPad. In addition to the Hulu-related rumors, the trip produced allegations that Jobs disparaged Flash as “old technology” doomed to failure in meetings with newspaper officials.

iPhone OS 3.2 SDK Icons Hint at Upcoming Video Chat Feature for iPhone/iPod Touch

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Date: Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 05:31
Category: iPhone, News

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You’ve got to love the framework files in the software development kits, as they sometimes indicate more than Apple would like them to.

Per 9 to 5 Mac, a discovery in the iPhone OS 3.2 developer kit suggests Apple is opening the door to video calls on its device. Icons in the Telephony UI framework would cover accepting or declining a video chat invitation and code references alternately make references to “iChat” and “VideoChat.” No apps are currently included that would support the feature.

The code could be a possible carryover from conventional Mac OS X, which includes built-in video functionality for iChat. Still, these references have never been seen before for the iPhone OS SDK and firmware mentions have periodically been signs of iPhone and iPod touch features.

Which devices would get the feature aren’t clear. Alleged spare frame parts for the iPad show room for a camera in the initial design, but front video cameras have been a staple of some higher-end smartphones for years and would be borne out by hints of a taller iPhone that might make room for the added optics. Networking is also an issue as 3G has only limited bandwidth for two-way video.

If you have an opinion on this, please share it with the class.

Rumor: NVIDIA May Bring Changes to Dual Graphics Architecture for Future MacBook Pro Notebooks

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Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 08:50
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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Apple may be planning an enhancement to its next-generation MacBook Pros that will allow for automatic switching between integrated and discrete graphics processors based on whichever is the more optimal technology (power consumption vs. performance) at any given time.

Per AppleInsider, Apple, which has offered two NVIDIA graphics processors in its 17″ and higher-end 15″ MacBook Pro models, one discrete processor and one integrated processor. Users of these machines have been able use the Energy Saver pane in System Preferences to select whether they prefer “better battery life” with the integrated graphics or “higher performance” with the discrete graphics, although switching between the two requires users to log out of their accounts temporarily.

A current rumor states that NVIDIA may bring its Optimus technology to the MacBook Pro, which would allow for seamless switching between graphics processors based on automatic software settings. NVIDIA reportedly developed the technology in response to a dispute with Intel over NVIDIA’s ability to build chipsets for Intel’s latest processors, a dispute that has led to NVIDIA exiting the chipset business. NVIDIA’s Optimus technology offers computer manufacturers a means of pairing NVIDIA’s well-regarded discrete graphics processors with integrated processors provided by Intel as part of its chipsets.

The report notes that the source is not 100% certain that the change will be made in time to appear in Apple’s next-generation MacBook Pro, which is widely expected in the near future. Apple’s pressing need for a solution to the situation presented by the Intel-NVIDIA dispute, however, makes it very likely that the technology will be included in the forthcoming models.

Apple Improves 27″ iMac Ship Time, Raises Cap on 3G Downloads

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Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 05:33
Category: iMac, iPhone, News

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Following Apple’s recent troubles with its 27″ iMac and a wait time of up to three weeks, AppleInsider is reporting that the company has dropped the ship time to five to seven days, suggesting that the company has managed to address the video issues that haunted the desktops. The change applies to both the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 powered versions of the computer.

Early adopters of the big-screen iMac have seen a number of hardware issues pertaining to the screen, with reports of flickering and yellow discoloration. The company released two software updates to fix the issues, and also reportedly offered some customers a 15 percent refund for their troubles.

Supplies of the 27-inch iMac have been constrained for months, with Apple in December even apologizing for delays, citing considerable demand form consumers. When it first launched in October, the new iMac was the best-selling desktop machine for the month. The 21.5″ iMac came in first place, while the 27-inch iMac took third in overall sales.

In other news, Apple quietly doubled the download limit for files from the iPhone App Store and iTunes via 3G. Users can now download files up to 20MB in size from a wireless carrier’s data network. The previous cap was 10MB for “over the air” downloads.

In addition to applications, the new limit also applies to multimedia files, such as podcasts available through iTunes. The update expands beyond AT&T in the U.S., with international reports stating the 10MB cap has also been lifted.

If you’ve played around with the new limit, let us know.

Rumor: Apple Considering Samsung AMOLED Screens for Fourth-Gen iPhone

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Date: Thursday, February 18th, 2010, 05:09
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Apple’s fourth generation iPhone may switch to Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen technology per oled-display.net and rumors in the display business. Although Apple has purportedly been hesitant to use OLEDs due to their high power draw on bright backgrounds for e-mail and web browsing, the new screens used in the Wave and Beam could potentially overcome this problem. Apple is said by OLED-Display to have a “lifetime” deal with Samsung for AMOLED screens but to have held back on using it for now.

Apple is publicly known to have a US$500 million deal with LG Display, though the company isn’t believed to have enough capacity to produce AMOLEDs at volumes the iPhone would need.

Whether or not Apple would use the specific display technique isn’t known, although Super AMOLED is potentially ideal. The technology builds capacitive touch directly into the organic display itself and is not only thinner than the existing, two-layer LCD plus touch of the current iPhone but is potentially much more viewable. In addition to providing a much deeper color gamut and higher contrast, Super AMOLED largely overcomes the problems OLEDs have with visibility outdoors and can often be easier to read in bright sunlight than an LCD.

A choice of the sort would potentially be supported by part leaks showing a taller iPhone, which recent rumors and leaked photos have supported.

Alleged MacBook Pro Prototype with Red Motherboard Found on eBay

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Date: Wednesday, February 17th, 2010, 04:58
Category: Fun, MacBook Pro

Ok, this is interesting.

An alleged prototype of a 17-inch MacBook from the previous generation without an aluminum housing, has appeared for bidding on eBay. According to MacNN, the device allegedly integrates a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, indicating that it may have been a prototype for the MacBook Pros released early in 2008.

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Although pictures of the prototype device do not show a housing dissimilar to the MacBook Pro design that was chosen for production, the EMC number has been left blank.

The seller claims the device was purchased from a Craigslist ad posted by a “guy in San Jose.” After taking the MacBook to an Apple Store for servicing, the staff reportedly told the owner that the MacBook “doesn’t exist” and the red motherboard indicates a prototype instead of a production model.

Although it is uncommon for prototype products to surface on the market, it is routine for Apple to distribute such devices to certain employees. Possessors are typically prohibited, however, from selling the device or attempting to have it repaired.

The unit has a US$255 reserve which has yet to be met, so you could take home a cool piece of history if you wanted to…