AT&T Staggering iPhone MMS Feature Release, Some Users Report Early Activation

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Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 04:20
Category: iPhone, News

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A number of iPhone users have reported that the long awaited MMS feature seems to have been enabled on their devices well in advance of AT&T’s declared September 25th start date according to howardforums.com.

The MMS support feature will allow iPhone OS 3.0 users to send pictures, video and audio recordings, contacts, or locations from Maps via 3G-capable iPhones.

In announcing its plans to enable the feature for iPhone users, AT&T explained, “It was important to give our customers a positive experience from day one. We support more iPhone customers than any other carrier in the world so we took the time necessary to make sure our network is ready to handle what we expect will be a record volume of MMS traffic. We truly appreciate our customers’ patience and hope they’ll understand our desire to get it right from the start.”

Rather than turning on MMS service for millions of American iPhone users all at once, AT&T has been selectively activating users across the country. Once activated, iPhone 3G and 3GS users should see a new “Cellular Data Network” menu item within the General/Network page of the Settings app and a new camera icon within the Messages app for sending photos.

It’s possible to install a modified carrier bundle for AT&T to activate MMS software features, but this does not necessarily result in functioning MMS. Without AT&T removing your opt out, MMS messages will queue up with a red exclamation icon as they fail to actually send.

Many users are reporting that there is no correlation between working MMS and either their installed software version, their carrier bundle version, their service or texting plan, or their geographic location. AT&T appears to turning on MMS for users at random to achieve a staggered release up to the September 25th deadline.

Apple Files Patent for iPhone Theft Prevention Technology

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 05:58
Category: iPhone 3GS, Patents, security

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A recently published patent application filed this week by Apple suggests the company is looking to use the device’s accelerometer to detect possible theft of the hardware. Per AppleInsider, in a application entitled “Acceleration-Based Theft Detection System for Portable Electronic Devices,” Apple describes a system that would analyze movement via a device’s accelerometer to determine whether a theft is present. If the system were to interpret fast movement as a theft, it would initiate an alarm.

“The drive toward miniaturization of electronics has resulted in computer-based systems that are becoming much more portable,” the application reads. “Current portable electronic devices such as laptop computers, hand-held devices such as cellular telephones and personal media devices, such as the iPod from Apple Computer, Inc., and even devices such as compact disc players, are sufficiently compact and lightweight as to make them easily movable. Unfortunately, such ease of transport also implies ease of theft. While the rightful owner of a portable electronic device may conveniently transport it almost anywhere, so can a thief. ”

The patent application goes on to state that traditional theft-prevention methods like mechanical locks are bulky and tether the device, eliminating portability and convenience. In the proposed system, the accelerometer would be used to determine whether the device is currently in a likely theft condition.

“Typically, theft or other large-scale movement of the device results in an acceleration signal having characteristics different from other events such as shock, impact, nearby machinery, etc,” the application reads. “The detected acceleration as a function of time is thus analyzed to determine whether it corresponds to such large-scale movement of the device, rather than an innocuous event such as the impact of a book dropped nearby. If so, an alarm is produced in order to alert others to the theft.”

The described system would have methods to prevent false alarms through “signal conditioning,” which could filter out events such as shock or impact associated with an iPhone being dropped. The system would also allow the phone owner to display a “visual warning” for potential would-be thieves. Such a warning would warn potential thieves that the device “has an active theft detection system protecting it.”

The patent was filed by Apple on May 20th, 2009 and is credited to Paul J. Wehrenberg of Palo Alto, Calif.

Apple Releases Security Update 2009-005 for Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 Operating Systems

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 04:56
Category: Software

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On Thursday, Apple released Security Update 2009-005, its consolidated security update containing the four previous security fixes for the Mac OS X 10.4 (“Tiger”) and Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”) operating systems.

Full details as to fixes and changes within the update can be found here.

The updates are also available as regular downloads for the following operating systems:
- Tiger PPC
- Tiger Intel
- Leopard
- Tiger Server PPC
- Tiger Server Universal
- Leopard Server

As usual, the update can also be downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software update feature.

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.6.1 Update

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 04:23
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its first maintenance update to its Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system. Mac OS X 10.6.1, a 71.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Compatibility with some Sierra Wireless 3G modems.
- An issue that might cause DVD playback to stop unexpectedly.
- Some printer compatibility drivers not appearing properly in the add printer browser.
- An issue that might make it difficult to remove an item from the Dock.
- Instances where automatic account setup in Mail might not work.
- An issue where pressing cmd-opt-t in Mail brings up the special characters menu instead of moving a message. – Motion 4 becoming unresponsive.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6 to install and run and can also be snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Apple Releases QuickTime 7.6.4 Update

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Date: Thursday, September 10th, 2009, 03:44
Category: Software

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On Thursday, Apple released the latest version of QuickTime, its multimedia support system for Mac OS X and Windows. The new version, known as QuickTime 7.6.4, is available as a variably-sized download (depending on version chosen through the download page), improves compatibility with iTunes 9 and improves audio device support on Windows Vista.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.1, iTunes 9.0 at Media Event

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Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 11:14
Category: iPhone, iPod, Software

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An Apple media event is nothing without significant software releases and to this end, iTunes 9 and the long-awaited iPhone OS 3.1 update should suffice.

iTunes 9, which is available as an 82.8 megabyte download, features the following changes and fixes:
- An improved look and feel, including a new Column Browser for easily browsing your artists or albums, movies, TV shows, and more.
- iTunes Store has a brand new look, with improved navigation for quick and easy exploration.
- iTunes LP and iTunes Extras create unique experiences that feature exclusive interviews, videos, photos, and more – available with select album and movie purchases on the iTunes Store.
- Home Sharing helps you manage your family’s iTunes collection between computers in your home. iTunes can automatically transfer new purchases, or you can choose just the items you want.
- Genius Mixes are created for you by iTunes and play songs from your library that go great together.
- iPod and iPhone syncing now allows you to organize your iPhone and iPod touch home screens directly in iTunes. Syncing is now also more flexible, allowing you to sync individual artists, genres, or TV show and Podcast episodes.
- iTunes U items are now organized into their own section in your iTunes library.
- Sync with iPod nano (5th generation), iPod classic (Fall 2009), and iPod touch (Fall 2009)..
- iTunes 9 also includes many other improvements, such as HE-AAC encoding and playback, more flexibility with Smart Playlists rules, simpler organization of your media files inside an iTunes Media folder, and more.

iTunes 9 is also available for free via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

For iPhone and iPod touch users, iPhone OS 3.1 offers the following features and changes:
- Improved syncing for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and photos.
- iTunes U content organization.
- Redeem iTunes Gift Cards, codes, and certificates in the App Store.
- Display available iTunes account credits in the App Store and iTunes Store.
- Save video from Mail and MMS into Camera Roll.
- Option to “Save as new clip” when trimming a video on iPhone 3GS.
- Better iPhone 3G Wi-Fi performance when Bluetooth is turned on.
- Remotely lock iPhone with a passcode via MobileMe.
- Use Voice Control on iPhone 3GS with Bluetooth headsets.
- Paste phone numbers into the keypad.
- Option to use Home button to turn on accessibility features on iPhone 3GS.
- Warn when visiting fraudulent websites in Safari (anti-phishing).
- Improved Exchange calendar syncing and invitation handling.
- Fixes issue that cause some app icons to display incorrectly.

Like previous iPhone OS updates, simply attach your iPhone or iPod touch to your computer, go into iTunes, select the device and click the “Check for Update” button. iTunes will then download and install the update, which requires a Mac running Mac OS X 10.4 and iTunes 8.0 or later to run.

As always, let us know if good things happen (your terrier begins teach physics at the local high school), bad things happen (the living room is now on fire) or if things remain relatively hunky-dory per your Mac, your iTunes and your iPhone or iPod touch.

Apple Introduced New iPod Touch, Classic, Video-Capable Nano Models at Media Event

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Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 11:42
Category: iPod, News

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Following weeks of anticipation, Apple released all new models of its iPod media player series at its “Rock and Rock” event in San Francisco on Wednesday. The new models include a 160GB iPod classic (which features an additional 40GB than the previous model) and retains the moving hard drive as opposed to a Flash-based drive.

Apple’s revised iPod shuffle, which is physically unchanged from the previous model, now arrives in black, silver, pink, green and blue and arrives in 2GB and 4GB capacities for US$59 and US$79, respectively. A new “special edition” 4GB model retails for US$99.

According to Macworld, Apple has responded to critics of the previous iPod shuffle design which moved the shuffle control on to the cord, Apple says that it’s working with third-party headphone makers to integrate the controls into their designs as well, and that adapters are also available with more on the way.

As expected, Apple also made changes to its best-selling iPod touch on Wednesday, reducing the price of its 8GB model from US$229 to US$199 while adding a 64GB model for US$399 while its 32GB model now sells for US$299.

The company also announced that the new high-end 32GB and 64GB models are now 50% faster and feature support for Open GL|ES version 2.0, the cross-platform graphics API.

The big news, however, arrived in the form of a new iPod nano with a built-in video camera. The unit arrives in 8GB and 16GB models, each model incorporating a video camera and microphone on the back of the device as well as a built-in speaker. The camera itself shoots H.264 VGA video at up to a 640 x 480 pixel resolution at up to 30 frames per second with AAC audio in either portrait or landscape modes.

The nano features 15 special effects that can be applied in real time: Sepia, Black and White, X-Ray, Film Grain, Thermal, Security Cam, Cyborg, Bulge, Kaleido, Motion Blur, Mirror, Light Tunnel, Dent, Stretch, and Twirl and can display video or sync it back to your computer. From here, users can easily upload the clip to YouTube, Facebook, MobileMe, or share it via e-mail. The microphone can also be used with the nano’s voice recording feature.

The nano now offers full VoiceOver support, which provides audible navigation cues in 20 languages, and the new Genius Mixes feature, which creates up to 12 endless playlists of music based on your existing library. A new built-in pedometer which can measure your steps and sync the information with the Nike+ service and, in a first for an iPod, an FM radio tuner. The radio tuner now supports live pause, which allows users to pause a live program and resume it later, and iTunes Tagging, which lets listeners tag radio songs they like and then preview and optionally purchase the song next time they sync with iTunes.

The revised nano now features a larger 2.2″, 240 x 376-pixel, display and comes in nine colors: silver, black, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, (PRODUCT) RED and pink. The 8GB model retails for US$149 and the 16GB for US$179.

Both new models are shipping today and require Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later as well as iTunes 9 or later to install and run.

Apple Quietly Drops Certain iPod Model Prices Ahead of Media Event

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Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 03:38
Category: iPod, News

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With things gearing up for Apple’s iPod-focused media event, Apple appears to have begun quietly cutting the prices of certain existing iPods ahead of the event. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the following changes have just taken place:

-The iPod nano is now US$129 for 8GB and US$149 for 16GB.
-The iPod classic is now US$229.
-The iPod touch is now US$189 for 8GB, US$249 for 16GB and US$279 for 32GB.
-There is no change to the price of the iPod shuffle.

Stay tuned for additional news from the media event throughout the day.

Early Mac OS X 10.6.1 Update Details Emerge

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Date: Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, 05:32
Category: Software

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As spiffy as Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) is, there will always be patches. Per AppleInsider, Mac OS X 10.6.1 will deliver a number of fixes and tweaks focusing on Mail, networking, Bluetooth, Flash and more.

The first external pre-release build, labeled Mac OS X 10.6.1 build 10B503, began making its way to Apple’s broad Apple Developer Connection community Thursday evening in the form of a 74.1MB delta image.

The update apparently addresses some problem areas with fixes such as Bluetooth, the Dock, Mail, printing services, Software Update, and System Preferences.

Once released, Mac OS X 10.6.1 should allow users to delete manually-entered DNS values for DHCP configurations via the system’s Network Diagnostics, people familiar with the software say. Meanwhile, a couple of SMTP-related tweaks to Mail.app will tackle issues with blank server responses and upgrades on email accounts that require authentication.

Also planned are a number of printer-related enhancements. For example, local Bluetooth printers should properly connect to Snow Leopard-based Macs on startup. Additionally, printer drivers for both Bonjour and USB printers will be delivered over Software Update, while generic drivers should become visible from printer driver list.

Following this week’s news that the retail version of Mac OS X 10.6 bundled an older, less secure version of Adobe Flash, those familiar with with the first builds of 10.6.1 say the update will bump the plug-in to version 10.0.32.18.

Other focal areas of Mac OS X 10.6.1 include graphics drivers, wireless WAN cards and the DVD player. In all, 11 specific issues with Mac OS X 10.6 have been addressed thus far by 10.6.1.

Boot Camp Sound Bug Found for 13″ and 15″ Unibody MacBook Pro Notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, 04:11
Category: MacBook Pro, Software

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A number of owners of Apple’s latest 13″ and 15″ unibody MacBook Pro notebooks have reported speaker failures when running Windows via Boot Camp according to an article on MacNN. The problems have affected many gamers who use Mac OS X for daily computing, then switch to Windows to play games. The problem appears to have begun with Boot Camp v2.1, which was launched in June. The recent Boot Camp 3.0 release, designed for Snow Leopard, does not seem to have helped resolve the issue.

Per testimonies on the Apple Discussion Forums, the latest 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros exhibit the issue with Windows XP, Server 2008 x64, Vista x32 and x64, and Windows 7 RC x32 and x64. Users have complained of very low sound volumes from the built-in speakers, even at full volume, along with a red light emanating from the speaker jack. Several systems are also unable to recognize microphone input. Although the specific source of the problems remains unknown, user reports suggest the Cirrus Logic CS4206A sound driver could be the culprit.

Forum posters (starting on page 10 of the forum) have posted workarounds that outline a user-hacked replacement for the Cirrus drivers which requires command-line work in Windows to resolve the issue. Frustrations have run high in the forums and the 270+ posts have not yet received any comments or help from Apple representatives in the three months the issue has been commented on.

Failure to address the issue in Snow Leopard’s Boot Camp 3.0 revision has also caused negative sentiment from posters, some of whom describe themselves as first-time Mac buyers who bought the new notebooks expressly because of Boot Camp support for their Windows games.

If you’ve seen this bug on your end or discovered your own fix or workaround, please let us know.