Apple Releases iWork ’09 9.0.3 Update

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Date: Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, 04:58
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Apple released version 9.0.3 of its iWork ’09 productivity suite. The update, a 59.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Addresses general compatibility issues, improves overall stability, updates the help, and fixes a number of other minor issues in Keynote, Pages, and Numbers.
- Reducing file size of images that have Instant Alpha applied.
- Managing file size when inserting some movies.
- Working with dates and durations in the Chart Data Editor in Keynote and Pages.
- Exporting to CSV from Numbers when using table categories.

The update, which can also be located via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later to install and run.

Atlona Announces DVI to Mini DisplayPort Converter

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Date: Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, 04:18
Category: Accessory

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Third party accessory provider Atlona has announced the release of a DVI to Mini DisplayPort converter which allows Mac users who purchased their computers before 2009 had been running into a wall when considering purchasing an Apple Cinema 24’’ or any of the new Mini DisplayPort monitors being released this year and next.

The new AT-DP200 unit, which starts shipping next week, inputs DVI and outputs Mini DisplayPort signal while passing along all EDID and HDCP information. This device converts while allowing your computer to scale to the optimal resolution offered by your display including 1920 x 1200 or 1280 x 800.

The device is also scheduled for PC interoperability testing with all standard DVI video cards and will allow use of any Mini Display port product with and DVI graphics card, meaning the new 24” Cinema Displays from Apple can be used by users with legacy Macs.

The AT-DP200 will has begun shipping for a suggested retail price of MSRP of US$179.00.

Some Snow Leopard Users Complain of Spontaneous Logouts

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Date: Monday, September 28th, 2009, 05:31
Category: Software

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If Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) is behaving strangely for you, you’re not alone. Per CNET, a number of users have reported that Mac OS X 10.6 (as well as 10.6.1) will spontaneously log out of their account in the middle of using applications. The issue does not appear to be related to specific applications running as users have reported it happening while using Excel, Word, Safari, Photoshop, and Filemaker Pro among others. Most guesses have the problem related to Rosetta running on the new operating system, though an official fix has yet to be reported.

Over on the Apple Support Discussions, forum poster “Stu Baker” writes:
“I am having spontaneous logouts while I am in Snow Leopard. This is happening a couple times a day and it is very annoying. When it logs out it instantly goes to a blue screen and then the login screen appears. When I log back in all my apps have quit and it is like I am logging in for the first time. I did have this happen in Leopard too, but very rarely.”

One forum poster suggested a complete erase and install of Snow Leopard. If you’re going to attempt this, make sure you have all your data backed up to a safe location, if not a Time Machine archive on an external disk to make setup that much easier after the OS is installed.

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

Rumor: Apple to Unveil Updated iMacs, Refreshed Plastic MacBooks for Holiday Season

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Date: Monday, September 28th, 2009, 04:33
Category: iMac, MacBook, Rumor

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The rumor mill is starting back up again and The Unofficial Apple Weblog as well as other sites have begun to report on Apple’s expected releases for the holiday season.

French Mac site Mac4Ever is citing tips indicating that a new iMac, possibly quad-core powered, is in the works for a possible release before the holiday season. Like the MacBook Pro line, the new iMac would feature an SD card reader. There’s also the thought that a high-end iMac could even pack in a Xeon processor. AppleInsider has added its two cents, citing that an iMac boost is in the works, although they’re not speculating on quad-core or Xeon processors, and even reports that a new, slimmer design has been churning off Taiwanese assembly lines for the past two weeks.

The second rumor, also from AppleInsider, points to a less expensive and slimmer white polycarbonate MacBook. If Apple is able to reduce the price of the low-end laptop below its current US$999 level, it could stem the tide of sales of low-cost Windows and Linux netbooks.

They’re just rumors, but there’s generally some nuggets of truth to be found. If you’ve heard anything or want to chime in on this, let us know what’s on your mind.

New iMac Generation Almost Ready for Holidays, Could See Introduction This Month

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Date: Friday, September 25th, 2009, 05:03
Category: iMac, News

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Before the start of October, Apple could begin to fill out its 2009 Mac product line with a new family of iMacs sporting classier enclosures and a few added bells and whistles. Per AppleInsider, the new iMac dual-core desktops were finalized earlier in September and have been rolling off the Mac maker’s Taiwanese product lines for roughly two weeks, according to two people sources.

In addition to more affordable pricing, the systems are expected to come clad in a thinner industrial design. Though details are admittedly limited, it’s likely these new enclosures will also take design cues from the Cupertino-based company’s LED-lit Cinema Display offerings.

Aesthetic revisions aside, the late 2009 iMac line should also debut several features previously unavailable to Mac buyers.

People familiar with Apple’s thinking have suggested in recent months one of these moves could see the company finally embrace Blu-ray

With the costs of such drives remaining relatively high, it’s reasonable to presume such capability would fetch an added premium on most models.

A pair of other associated enhancements, one believed to be related to audio, should be seen with this new generation of iMacs according to sources close to the story.

For its part, AppleInsider believes Apple is primed to extend the capabilities of at least one technology introduced on the Mac platform as recently as last fall.

To make way for these new models, Apple’s corporate and educational sales teams this month have reportedly been offering their volume customers instant discounts of US$100 to US$200 on existing models. Anxious to clear inventories, representatives have allegedly stressed to buyers that these offers would be valid for just one week.

AT&T to Launch MMS Feature for iPhone Friday via Carrier Profile Update Over iTunes

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Date: Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 04:49
Category: iPhone, News

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American iPhone users will finally see AT&T’s MMS feature unlocked late Friday morning on the west coast by way of a carrier update file that will be delivered through iTunes, AT&T announced Wednesday.

“MMS Update: We know you’ve been eager for this service so we wanted to offer a quick update on the launch plans for MMS on Friday, Sept. 25,” AT&T wrote on its official Facebook page. “Late morning, Pacific Time, on Friday, the new carrier settings update enabling MMS should be live and ready to download through iTunes. We’ll provide the steps and all of the details you need right here at that time.”

Per AppleInsider, east coast residents will likely see their update available sometime early Friday afternoon. It also confirms that an iTunes update to the phone’s carrier profile will be necessary for MMS to be activated.

An article published over on DSLReports cited a source familiar with the company’s MMS upgrade as saying, “Starting at 10AM Eastern (on the 25), AT&T will send out a mass text to a group of iPhone users telling them that MMS now works on their phone.

Assuming all goes well, “They will keep doing groups of phones on the hour throughout the day,” the source said. Official word from company spokesman Seth Bloom said the upgrade would be targeted at early afternoon on the East Coast, or late morning for users on Pacific Time.

The source said AT&T was “very nervous” about the launch, due to seeing a surge in traffic from just a limited number of iPhone users selected to participate in advanced testing of the new service.

MMS allows users to send graphics, audio clips, location and contact files, and even video clips via an SMS-like messaging system. The new MMS features require an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS.

Picture and video messaging was originally scheduled to arrive in the summer, but will be a few days late. AT&T has said that iPhone data usage has been very taxing on its network, leading to delays as the company attempts to strengthen its service.

Originally, iPhone tethering was also announced for the summer, but AT&T officials have said that service is coming at a later date, with no specifics given. The company apparently has no intentions to cap bandwidth for iPhone users.

Apple Clears Legal Hurdle to Sell iPhone in South Korea

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Date: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, 03:05
Category: iPhone, News

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South Korean authorities cleared Apple’s iPhone for sale in the country on Wednesday by lifting a legal bar on operation of location-based services by Apple, a spokesman for a government regulator said. Per Macworld UK, the Korea Communications Commission decided to allow Apple to operate the services itself in a “flexible” application of local law, the spokesman said. Without the clearance, Apple would have needed a local operator to run the location services and manage user privacy for the data gathered, he said.

The move is partly aimed to avoid limiting choices for South Korean consumers, according to a spokesperson’s press release. South Korean’s mobile phone market is currently dominated by local handset makers Samsung and LG Electronics.

South Korean mobile carrier KT is in talks with Apple about offering the iPhone, though details are not yet available. Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Apple recently removed Wi-Fi functionalities from the model of the iPhone to be offered in China this year to obtain the country’s regulatory approval for the handset.

Apple Hunting Down Feedback from iPhone 3GS Users Citing Poor Battery Life

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Date: Monday, September 21st, 2009, 04:52
Category: iPhone, News

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Albeit Apple is not openly acknowledging the issue, it’s taking the “shy kid” approach to reaching a solution. Per iPhone Blog, Apple is apparently seeking feedback from iPhone users over claims that the recent iPhone 3.1 Software Update is draining batteries.

Short battery life has been a concern since the introduction of the iPhone 3GS amongst many users, despite Apple promising improved performance at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple said the iPhone 3GS would deliver 9 hours of use on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback and 30 hours of music on a single charge, about a 30% upgrade to the iPhone 3G.

However, a recent teardown by iFixit noted that the iPhone 3GS’s battery was just 6% more powerful than the battery in its predecessor.

Recently, the company has contacted a number of users on Apple’s discussion boards who have posted negative comments asking for feedback. A list of 11 questions – covering e-mail, push notifications, Wi-fi, Bluetooth and application use – is being sent out reports The iPhone Blog.

The note also contains an attachment which, when double-clicked, installs what looks like an unsigned profile, which apparently enables Battery Life Logging on the iPhone.

Once enabled, the iPhone will sync power logs back via iTunes, and they ask that those logs be sent back to Apple reports the The iPhone Blog.

The blog notes this isn’t the first time Apple, via AppleCare, has contacted iPhone users after posts on the company’s discussion boards.

It is not known what percentage of iPhone owners might be experiencing the problem.

Microsoft Offers Windows 7 Upgrade for $30 to Students for Limited Time

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Date: Friday, September 18th, 2009, 07:11
Category: News, Software

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As much as you may want to burn Microsoft’s headquarters to the ground, they do remain competitive on some levels. According to AppleInsider, Microsoft will allow students to purchase the upcoming Windows 7 operating system for US$29.99, roughly the same price as Apple’s competing Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Per the article, Microsoft this week launched win741.com, a Web site devoted to promoting Windows 7 to students.

“For a limited time, eligible college students can get the sweetest deal on Windows 7 – for only $29.99 USD,” the site reads. “That’s less than most of your textbooks! Hurry — offer ends January 3, 2010 and 12 a.m. CST.”

The offer applies to the Home Premium and Professional versions of Windows 7. Students will be allowed to purchase one copy of either from Microsoft’s online store. Similar offers are available in the U.K, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea and Mexico.

Rather than mailing a disc, the software will be made available for students to download in either 32- or 64-bit versions. The Web site’s FAQ recommends that those looking to do a clean install of the operating system buy a Windows 7 backup DVD.

For all non-students, Windows 7 is less expensive than Vista, but still much higher than Snow Leopard. A retail copy of the Home Premium upgrade will retail for US$120 and the standalone version is US$200. The Professional edition will cost US$200 for an upgrade, or US$300 for the full price. The Windows 7 Ultimate version is US$220 for the upgrade and US$320 for the full copy. Upgrades require Windows XP or Windows Vista to be installed on the machine.

The Windows 7 launch date is set for October 22nd.

Look at it this way: It’s not Vista, it’s gotten good feedback and it’ll happily run under Boot Camp, so there may be a bargain to be had here.

Apple Could Receive FASB Approval for Accounting Changes, Remove iPod Touch Upgrade Fees

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Date: Friday, September 18th, 2009, 04:34
Category: Finance, News

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If you’ve ever been irked at the small charges you’ve had to pay for an iPod touch software upgrade, this may be about to go by the wayside. According to Ars Technica, a rule governed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, that’s been heavily lobbied for by Apple and other electronics companies, may be enough to lift the charge that iPod touch owners have had to pay for updates of significant features to their devices. The rule focuses on “subscription accounting”, or devices that gain “significant new functionality” after their sale, like the iPhone, have to be reported over a series of years rather than all at the same time (presumably because the revenues associated with the product were the result of a series of updates, not just one lump sum).

In the case of the iPhone, subscription charges associated with them over two years round out the criteria. The iPod touch is different and because Apple doesn’t want to report the sales of those devices over a period of time, they’ve had to charge minimum fees for updates in the form of the US$10 and other fees that iPod touch owners have paid for the firmware updates. But if the new rule receives FASB approval, then Apple would be able to report sales of the iPod touch all together without having to worry about charging for updates, as well as the dual GAAP and non-GAAP reporting we’ve heard on their conference calls.

Such a chance could also help Apple’s stock price (seeing all of the iPhone’s sales at once would boost investor confidence), and it would help developers who are asking all users of both the iPhone and iPod touch to update right away, as they wouldn’t have to wait until users found the few bucks in question before downloading a large new update.