Palm Releases webOS 1.1, Restores Pre’s Ability to Sync with iTunes

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:12
Category: News, Software

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One week after Apple disabled the Palm Pre’s capacity to sync with iTunes, Palm has responded by releasing webOS 1.1, an update that again enables Palm’s phone to access media from the current version of iTunes.

Per the company’s blog, Pre users can expect the new software to arrive via an over-the-air update.

“Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync,” the post reads. “That’s right — you once again can have seamless access to your music, photos and videos from the current version of iTunes (8.2.1).”

Last week, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1. In accompanying release notes, the company was vague about what the upgrade actually did, stating only that the update provided “a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.”

Soon after the new version of iTunes was released, Pre users realized that the update had broken their ability to sync music with the software.

The webOS 1.1 update brings a number of changes focused on business users, including remote wipe, inactivity timeout, improved certificate handling and more for Exchange ActiveSync. The update also provides emoticons in the messaging app.

When Palm initially unveiled the handset, the company boasted about the the handset’s ability to transfer media from iTunes. According to AppleInsider, the feature worked by identifying the Pre in its hardware ID as an iPod — a trick Apple warned might not work for long.

Last month, Apple warned Pre users that future software updates may kill sync capability with the device.

“Apple designs the hardware and software to provide seamless integration of the iPhone and iPod with iTunes, the iTunes Store, and tens of thousands of apps on the App Store,” Apple warned a document released in June. “Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players.”

In its blog post, Palm declined to elaborate on how they circumvented the changes presented in iTunes 8.2.1.

Apple Releases ProKit 5.0 Update for Professional Applications

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Date: Friday, July 24th, 2009, 03:55
Category: Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its ProKit 5.0 update, an 18.1 megabyte download that improves general user interface reliability for Apple’s professional applications and is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express HD, Soundtrack, Logic Pro and Logic Express.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can also be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Apple Apparently Delaying iPod Fire Incident Report

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Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPod, News

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When one of your best selling products sort of starts catching fire, you might be hesitant to investigate it.

According to KIRO 7, a Seattle-based reporter says that Apple actively prevented her and others from learning the true scope of the safety hazard.

KIRO 7′s Amy Clancy claims that her seven-month search for data was repeatedly frustrated as Apple asked for Consumer Product Safety Commission reports to be exempted from the Freedom of Information Act, hiding them from public view.

The investigation began in November after one iPod shuffle owner was burned when the battery ignited during a run, burning her where the iPod was clipped on. The victim, Jamie Balderas, said she contacted Apple and provided photos as evidence but was purportedly dismissed by an AppleCare agent as encountering an “isolated incident” and that access to proof of previous incidents wasn’t an option. The mother of a child given a mild burn also says Apple phone representatives didn’t appear responsive to the problem.

Clancy searched on her own but submitted the FIA request after discovering the already widespread reports of iPod battery fires, which among other responses had prompted a Japanese government investigation.

When she finally received the requested information, Clancy was surprised at just how long Apple and the CPSC had been aware of problems: fires had been reported as long ago as 2005 and have been noted periodically ever since. The 800-page report had even already pinpointed the lithium-ion battery packs as the likely causes because of their occasional tendency to overheat, but despite the evidence, hadn’t led to a mandatory recall. Commission officials had determined that the the scarcity of incidents (just a handful compared to the 175 million iPods sold at the time) had made the risk of any injury, let alone any serious injuries, “very low.”

It also believed that newer batteries weren’t shown to be vulnerable to the same sort of overheating.

In the past, Apple began a voluntary replacement program last year for owners of first-generation iPod nanos, some of whose batteries were known to be defective, it hasn’t given recourse to owners of other iPod models affected by the problem, whether Balderas or a Cincinnati woman who just in March sued Apple for negligence in the wake of a second-generation iPod touch fire exhibiting similar symptoms.

Apple Facing Constrained iPhone Supplies, Could Delay Some Overseas Launches

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Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, 04:10
Category: iPhone 3GS

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After selling 5.2 million iPhones in fiscal Q3, including a million units that sold in the first three days, Apple has announced being “unable to make enough 3GSs to meet demand.”

According to AppleInsider, voracious demand for the latest iPhone has helped restrict it to 18 launch countries out of the 80 where Apple currently sells iPhones. With demand for the new iPhone 3GS far outpacing supply, Apple COO Tim Cook admitted that limited stock could briefly delay the planned launch of the new iPhone in more countries overseas.

Cook said Apple expects to have the iPhone 3GS available in most nations where the iPhone 3G is currently available by the end of the September quarter and said channel iPhone inventory was flat sequentially in comparison with the last quarter and that the “channel is not loaded.” He then went on to admit that with demand for the iPhone 3GS currently very high, it’s possible that some overseas launches could be delayed. “In terms of affecting the country rollout, I believe the vast majority of the countries that we are selling the 3G in we will be selling the 3GS I think by the end of the fiscal quarter,” he said. “It may move a date by a few weeks here or there.”

The company also hopes to continue to expand its reach. “The world has more than 80 countries,” Cook said. During a question and answer session, Cook was asked about Apple’s plans to enter China with the iPhone. “Nothing to add today specifically,” Cook answered, “other than it continues to be a priority project and we hope to be there within a year.”

Cook also said wireless carriers worldwide are thrilled by the lower churn rate the iPhone delivers, helping them to retain loyal customers. When asked about other products Apple might tie to providers’ wireless contracts, such as notebook and netbook sales, Cook said the company was currently focused on working with carriers on the iPhone and had nothing else to announce.

With regards to AT&T specifically, Cook said Apple has an excellent relationship with the mobile provider and is very happy with it. When asked about phone sales being constrained by AT&T’s network capacity, Cook deferred the question to AT&T itself, but noted that providers were making more investments in their networks to meet consumer demand.

Cook also said that Apple had initially studied the wireless market and determined that “what we could do really well is build hardware” with features that were “revolutionary,” leaving the service side to companies with more skills in networks. “that’s their business and they’re quite good at it,” Cook said.

MacBook Sales Jump 25% in June Year-Over-Year Comparison

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Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, 04:02
Category: News

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Apple’s sales of the MacBook saw a 25% jump in the June year-over-year comparison according to NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker. The growth is attributed to Apple’s revised MacBook Pro line, which has not only changed specifications but absorbed some basic MacBooks, and fallen in price. “The Apple marketing machine is firing on all cylinders,” says Baker. “With almost every launch of new machines, sales get a boost.”

According to MacNN, the U.S. desktop sales grew 16% in the same month, in spite of slumping quarterly performance. Apple has not refreshed its desktop computers since March, when it updated its iMac, Mac Pro and Mac mini lines simultaneously. That event triggered a brief rise in sales, only to be followed by a now-common 30% decline.

Apple COO Tim Cook Defends Company’s Lack of Netbooks

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Date: Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009, 04:00
Category: News

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During yesterday’s conference call to release Apple’s Q3 numbers, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook stood by his previous assertion that Apple’s not in the market to make a netbook. At the same time, he noted that Apple’s recent laptop price cuts have helped move inventory.

According to Macworld, while many industry analysts expect that it’s only a matter of time before Apple competes in this segment of the market, Cook stated that he doesn’t see it happening any time soon.

“Our goal is not to build the most computers, it’s to build the best,” Cook told an analyst with RBC Capital. “At this point, we don’t see the way to build a great product for this US$399, US$499, this kind of price point unit.”

Pressed by a Morgan Stanley analyst for more details on a possible Apple netbook or iPhone-based tablet computer, Cook said, “I never want to discount anything in the future, and never want to specifically discuss new products.”

But Cook said that customers who buy such hardware are often disappointed with their purchases, and that Apple is focused on products with the best value.

“We’re only going to play in things where we can deliver things that are very innovative that we’re proud of,” said Cook.

During the third quarter, Apple sold 1.75 million notebooks, up 13% from the 1.553 million it sold last year during the same quarter. The strong laptop sales were boosted in part by an overhaul of the company’s laptop lineup at WWDC in June that included price drops.

Cook conceded that the average selling price (ASP) of Macs did fall somewhat in the quarter, but added that, “now you can buy a MacBook Pro for US$800 less than last year,” and that customers are happy with that strategy and pricing.

TechTool Pro 5.0.5 Released

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Date: Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009, 04:03
Category: Software

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On Tuesday, Micromat released version 5.0.5 of TechTool Pro, its best-selling utility software for the Mac. The new version, a 56.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

  • Improved RAID volume support.
  • Fixed TechTool Protection system preference loading issue.
  • Added Trash History subcategory to the TechTool Protection system preference.
  • Added low-level file defragmentation to the Volume Optimization tool.
  • Fixed RAM display issue in Memory Test.
  • Enhancements to Volume Usage in the TechTool Protection system preference.
  • Fixed shared VRAM size display issue in Video Memory.
  • Fixed incorrect eDrive size for Mac OS X 10.4.x.
  • Fixed VRAM card display issue under Mac OS X 10.4.x.
  • Fixed selection issue in the Reports category.
  • Fixed Cache size reading for Mac Pro 2009.
  • Enhancements to the File Structures test.
  • Added Backup dialog warning upon launch of the application.
  • Updated Surface Scan to only show physical devices.
  • Updated SMART Check to show volumes names associated with the tested physical hard drive.
  • Updated main application interface to show Processors (PPC) or Cores (Intel).
  • Updated French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese (Simplified) localization.
  • Added more machine identification strings for Check Computer.

TechTool Pro 5.0.4 retails for US$98 and requires a Mac with a G4, G5 or Intel-based processor running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to install and run.

Some Mail.app Users Reporting Difficulties with Cox Cable Provider

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009, 08:20
Category: How-To, News

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A number of Cox internet service members have been having trouble accessing their e-mail accounts through Apple’s Mail program. Per MacFixIt, the connection seems to be fine and log-in works, but while Mail will show downloaded messages in the “Activity” window, they will not show up in an in-box. Additionally, a message of “mail cannot verify the identity of pop.central.cox.net” may appear.

The issue may have arisen from a recent update of the Cox e-mail servers that is contributing to this problem, since it seems to have cropped up in the past few days. Other (such as those discussing the issue in this Apple discussion thread) have claimed this happening for a few weeks. According to Cox, its e-mail servers seem to be fine, but the problem persists for affected members.

Some users have found that turning off SSL authentication for their e-mail accounts has helped the problem, which can be done in the “Advanced” section of the accounts settings in the preferences. To have Mail work continually you may need to toggle the SSL setting periodically, but this has helped a few people experiencing problems.

One workaround to at least accessing your mail is to use the Cox Web mail program, which can be found at http://webmail.cox.net.

Apple to Release Q3 Financial Results Today

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Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009, 05:34
Category: Finance, News

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It’s that time again and Apple has released a media advisory stating that the company will be releasing the financial results for the third fiscal quarter and second calendar quarter of 2009. The results will cover sales from March 28th, 2009 through June 26th, 2009, and will be released at the close of trading (4:00 PM Eastern / 1:00 PM Pacific) on Tuesday.

The conference call discussing the results will follow at 2:00 PM Pacific and will be available via an audio webcast.

Stay tuned to PowerPage throughout the day for updates galore.

Microsoft Releases Office 2008 12.2.0, Open XML Converter 1.1 Updates

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Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009, 05:47
Category: Software

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On Monday, Microsoft released updates for its Microsoft Office 2008 suite as well as its Open XML Converter applications.

The Office 2008 update (which functions as a second service pack), is a 297 megabyte download that offers the following fixes and changes with a full description of the changes available here:

  • Stability is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes Office 2008 applications to exit unexpectedly when you open or use the applications.
  • Setup Assistant displays a message when an invalid product key is used: This update fixes an issue that causes Setup Assistant to loop when the user enters an invalid product key. The Setup Assistant now displays a message and asks the user to enter a valid product key.
  • Spell checking is improved when International System Preferences is set to Austrian or German input methods: This update fixes an issue in which the spell checking feature is disabled intermittently for Austrian and German languages.
  • Text box and the custom tab stops on a ruler align on a PowerPoint slide: This update fixes an issue that causes the text box and the tab stops on the ruler not to line up appropriately.
  • New controls for changing the alignment of text on chart elements: This update includes new controls for setting the vertical position, orientation, and custom angle of text in chart elements. It also includes controls for data label positions.
  • Improvements for Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac: Stability is improved when you use Mail Merge with pictures.
    This update fixes an issue that causes Word to crash when you use the Mail Merge Manager to insert a record with pictures from an external data source into your main document.
  • Notebook Layout View recovers audio notes after Word closes unexpectedly: This update fixes an issue that causes users to lose their audio notes when Word closes unexpectedly. When you restart Word, the AutoRecover file does not include the audio notes. This issue is fixed now.
  • Performance is improved: This update fixes performance issues that occur in the following scenarios:
    When you use the Outline View.
    When you use Japanese characters and the Formatting Palette Styles functionality.
  • Section indicator is included in the Word status bar: This update reintroduces the Section indicator to the status bar. The Section indicator provides the section number that you are currently viewing in your document.
  • Reliability is improved with display redraw issues: This update fixes various display redraw issues that might occur when you scroll through a document that contain bullets and numbering.
  • Compatibility with Word 2007 is improved: This update fixes an issue that causes a Word 2007 document that has table borders not to be displayed correctly when the document is viewed in Word 2008 for Mac.
  • Reliability is improved when you copy a numbered list: This update fixes an issue that causes a numbered list to lose its formatting when it is copied into another document.
  • Improved editing when you use Korean characters: This update fixes an issue that causes Korean characters in a document to display incorrectly when you press the arrow keys.
  • Compatibility is improved with SpellCatcher X: This update fixes an issue that improves compatibility with SpellCatcher X.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later to install and run.

Per the Open XML Converter 1.1 update, Microsoft released the 44.7 megabyte updater file for download. The new version of the utility (which lets you convert Open XML files that were created in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac or 2007 Microsoft Office for Windows so that you can open, edit, and save them in earlier versions of Office for Mac) boasts currently unspecified fixes and changes.

The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to and Microsoft Office X 10.1.9 or Microsoft Office 2004 11.4.0 or later to install and run.

Both updates can be located and installed with the Microsoft AutoUpdater application.