Apple Releases 2009 Aluminum Keyboard Firmware 1.0 Update

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Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2010, 04:16
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released its 2009 Aluminum Keyboard Firmware 1.0 update for the 2009 Apple Wireless Keyboard. The update, a 1.1 megabyte download, improves battery performance of the device when used in combination with other Bluetooth devices. The keyboard must be connected or paired to perform this update. The update package will install an updater application into the Applications/Utilities folder and will launch it automatically.

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As always, the update can also be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The updater requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later running on an Intel-based Mac to function.

Some Users Cite Erratic Battery Life, Syncing Issues Following iPhone OS 3.1.3 Update

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Date: Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, 08:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Despite Apple’s best intentions, the iPhone OS 3.1.3 firmware update may not have gone as well as the company would have liked.

Per iPodNN, a number of users over on the Apple Discussion Board have reported that issues such as erratic battery life have emerged.

In certain cases, the unit’s battery meter may potentially swing wildly, for instance going from 25 to 7 to 10 percent, then jumping back up to 24%.

Worst-case scenarios may see phones losing hours of power, and even running unusually hot. The v3.1.3 firmware was in part meant to correct battery meter trouble on the iPhone 3GS.

Another major problem involves iTunes playlists, which in some cases are failing to sync properly with the iPod touch. While files will copy over properly, playlists may be empty or simply absent. The glitch is believed to affect only smart playlists, and potentially only those with multiple criteria. Temporary workarounds may include reducing criteria to a single field, and/or deleting and remaking previous playlists.

Apple has yet to formally address or fix either of the cited errors.

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

Apple Releases Second Beta of iPhone SDK 3.2, Adds iPad Features

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Date: Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, 08:39
Category: News

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The iPad is coming, so developers might as well be ready for it.

On Tuesday, Apple released the second beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for the iPad. Per iLounge, the new version contains functions specifically designed for the iPad, including support for the unit’s 1024 x 768 resolution, other iPad-specific interface functions, and includes an iPad simulator application so developers can pre-test their apps in an environment similar to that of the final device.

It is currently unclear if any major changes were made in the updated version.

The new beta is now available for iPhone developers via the iPhone Dev Center.

Rumor: New MacBook Pro Model Refresh Seems Imminent, Best Buy SKU System Drops Current Models

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Date: Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, 05:24
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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The folks at Best Buy may be letting on more than they intended.

Per MacRumors, the SKUs (stock keeping unit numbers) for Apple’s current MacBook Pro notebooks appear to have been deleted from the store’s database system. When that happens, no additional orders can be placed for the deleted item(s), and it’s a pretty safe bet that something new is right around the corner.

With this in mind, it may be likely that Apple is getting set to release a new line of MacBook Pro notebooks, the current rumor mill pointing towards something equipped with Intel’s Core i5 line of processors.

If you’ve seen anything from your end, please let us know and we’ll have more on this as it comes in.

Microsoft Releases Findings on Windows 7 Battery Issue

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Date: Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, 04:12
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

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Because a combination of Windows 7 and virtualization makes life interesting.

Per Engadget, a Microsoft statement from last week claiming that the company would look into reports of Windows 7 causing premature battery degradation on notebook computers has led to Microsoft stating that Windows 7 isn’t to blame.

According to the company’s testing, the new tool, which reports when a battery is down to 40% of its designed capacity and suggests replacement, hasn’t reported a single false positive. Additionally, the tool uses read-only data from the battery, and is in fact incapable of tweaking the battery’s life span or internal data, as it merely reports the data it receives, and stacks the theoretical design capacity up against the current full charge capacity.

Microsoft has attributed negative reports to the mere fact that many people might not have noticed the degradation already taking place in their batteries, as most batteries start to degrade noticeably within a year. The company has also stated that it will continue to look into the issue, but for now this sounds like a bit of a non-issue.

Whether or not Windows 7 lives up to one of its featured claims about helping to use a notebook’s battery life more conservatively remains to be seen, both on conventional PC notebook hardware and on Apple’s MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air hardware.

If you’ve tried Windows 7 on your notebook hardware and have either positive or negative feedback regarding its effects on the battery life, let us know.

Rumor: Fourth-Generation iPhone to be Slightly Taller Than Current Models

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Date: Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, 04:08
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Recently, the cool cats at iResQ leaked photos of what they claim are parts from Apple’s upcoming iPhone 4G, which is anticipated to be released this summer. Per MacRumors, the iResQ pictures focus on a screen that is apparently 1/4″ taller than current models. The site also notes that the screen is glued to the digitizer, which would make screen repair of the next-generation device more costly than 3G and 3GS models.

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The images also point out that the part has a reflective, mirror-like surface right above the earpiece. It’s generally thought that this is where a proximity sensor would be located, which also happens to be a different location than previous models. Although iResQ has been around for a while, it’s difficult to determine if this is a production part or just a prototype.

Feel free to hurl your two cents in and let us know what you think.

iPhone Dev Team Updates PwnageTool to Accommodate iPhone OS 3.1.3

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Date: Monday, February 8th, 2010, 06:58
Category: Hack, iPhone

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It’s a conflict as old as time: Apple releases an iPhone OS update and the hacking/unlocking community releases an updated version of its software.

For those of you who are happy to use an unlocked version of the iPhone, the iPhone Dev Team has released PwnageTool 3.1.5 that handles Apple’s newly-released iPhone OS 3.1.1 while preserving your device’s ultrasn0w unlock and jailbroken state.

As usual, there are the customary precautions to take regarding the legality of this, what Apple has to say about this, etc. Still, in the end, you can see improvements such as the improved accuracy of your iPhone’s reported battery level.

If you’re up for this, take a stab at it and let us know how it goes.

Apple Denies iPhone Developers From Creating Location-Specific Ads

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Date: Friday, February 5th, 2010, 07:59
Category: News

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In a recent update to its “News and Announcements for iPhone Developers” RSS feed, Apple both informed developers that they can use an upcoming framework in the iPhone OS SDK to determine the location of users, but cannot use this framework to craft location-aware ads to users of App Store software.

“If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store,” the update reads.

Per AppleInsider, Apple sought out mobile advertising firm AdMob, which was later purchased by rival Google. Apple later purchased mobile advertising firm Quattro Wireless, and intends to allow developers to easily integrate its own advertising solutions into App Store software.

Apple’s newly publicized policy on GPS data usage has led to some speculation that the company could retain location-aware advertising for its own, giving the iPhone maker a significant advantage over competitors like AdMob and Google. However, Apple has yet to formally roll out its own integrated advertising solutions, so whether location-based targeted ads would be a part of the network is unknown.

Apple has shown interest in expanding location-based services on the iPhone. One recent patent application described a dynamic home screen that would display specific applications automatically populated based on factors like the current location of the phone. For example, when traveling in San Francisco, a specific “San Francisco” icon could appear on the screen, and give users easy access to local weather, time, maps and contacts.

In addition, this week a new Apple patent application described a system for easily sharing a user’s current location with a contact in-call. Such a system would use the GPS data from an iPhone to allow two parties to efficiently meet one another.

If you have any thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments.

Adobe CTO Argues Jobs’ Criticisms in Recent Blog Post

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Date: Friday, February 5th, 2010, 07:59
Category: News

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There’s give and take with Steve Jobs. He gives a great presentation, then hunkers down in a town hall meeting with employees and assigns blame where he feels it should be placed. Following the most recent incident when Jobs cited a lack of Flash on the iPhone or iPad due to Flash’s buggy nature and Adobe’s “laziness”, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch responded with a blog post claiming Flash is “ready” for the iPhone and iPad.

In the post, Lynch dissected the arguments made against Flash, including one that claimed Flash had closed users off to a significant amount of content on the web:

“Some have been surprised at the lack of inclusion of Flash Player on a recent magical device. Flash has been incredibly successful in its adoption, with over 85% of the top web sites containing Flash content and Flash running on over 98% of computers on the Web… It is used for the majority of casual games, video, and animation on the Web and familiar brands like Nike, Hulu, BBC, Major League Baseball, and more rely on Flash to deliver the most compelling experiences to over a billion people.”

Lynch then went on to work to debunk the idea that Flash wasn’t ready for the iPhone or other mobile platforms:

“The Flash engineering team has taken this on with a major overhaul of the mainstream Flash Player for a variety of devices. We are now on the verge of delivering Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones with all but one of the top manufacturers. This includes Google’s Android, RIM’s Blackberry, Nokia, Palm Pre and many others across form factors including not only smartphones but also tablets, netbooks, and internet-connected TVs.”

Finally, Lynch stated that Adobe is “ready to enable Flash in the browser on [Apple’s] devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen.”

Apple Apparently Offering 15% Refund to Owners of 27″ Flickering iMacs

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Date: Friday, February 5th, 2010, 06:55
Category: News

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The saga continues.

Following up on reports of flickering 27″ iMac screens, recently released firmware fixes and the like, a number of users who have been plagued by screen flickering issues with the new 27″ iMac have reportedly been given a 15% refund on their purchase price.

Per Gizmodo, customers in the U.S. and U.K. are reporting that Apple is paying out cash to some who have been frustrated by a defective big-screen iMac. For a US$2,000 machine, the refund would amount to US$300.

“From the handful of reader anecdotes we’ve received thus far, it sounds like you need to be a repeat iMac returner who’s dealt with multiple 27″ iMacs that have been busted in some way (but they may accommodate first time buyers as well, we don’t know),” the report said. “One reader had multiple yellow screens, then received another new model with broken Bluetooth. He took the 15% and just returned it.”

On Monday evening, the Mac maker released a second potential software fix for the flickering issues that have affected some owners of the newly redesigned late 2009 model iMac. The update, entitled “27-inch iMac Display Firmware Update 1.0,” was preceded by first intended fix in December, entitled “27-inch iMac Graphics Firmware Update 1.0.”

Starting in late January, new iMac purchases were hit with a three-week wait time. This week, however, the shipment times improved to two weeks.