Google Voice to Hit iPhone as Web-Based App

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, 04:42
Category: iPhone, Software

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In spite of recent drama between Google and Apple, Google Voice will soon be available for the iPhone, though as a web-based application according to the New York Times.

The all-things-phone-management application (which was widely speculated to have been rejected for threatening AT&T profits on calling plans) will be rewritten as a stylized Web site that offers everything the rejected app would have.

It’s currently unclear as to whether Apple would reject a repurposed Google Voice app, though considering that Apple’s recent decision to reject the app managed to draw attention from a wide range of people, including some at the FCC, the company probably thought it best to allow a Google Voice variant slide.

Web-based apps can be bookmarked on the iPhone interface and appear like an app purchased from the App Store.
A text-heavy version of Google Voice can currently be tested on your iPhone by pointing Safari to google.com/voice/m.

Rumor: Apple to Include Blu-Ray Support, Social Media Web Site Integration with iTunes 9

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Date: Monday, August 10th, 2009, 04:00
Category: iTunes, Rumor

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A new report suggests that the next version of Apple’s iTunes could carry support for Blu-ray discs, visual management and rearrangement capabilities for App Store software, and integration with social media Web sites.

According to Boy Genius Report, a “pretty reliable source” revealed new features on Saturday that could be anticipated with the release of iTunes 9.

Citing a “pretty reliable source,” The Boy Genius Report revealed Saturday what could become new features in an anticipated upcoming new release of Apple’s digital media software.

“One of the new additions to iTunes is said to include Blu-ray support,” the report states. “Something else that will most likely make a bunch of people happy is that we’ve been told iTunes 9 will finally include the ability to visually organize and arrange your iPhone and iPod touch applications. Something that wasn’t so clearly described was some kind of Twitter/Facebook/Last.fm integration. Maybe broadcasting what song you’re playing to your friends?”

Sources have recently suggested that two compelling new features would come with Apple’s newest iMacs, leading some to speculate that official Blu-ray support from the company could be coming in the near future. One of those features is said to have long been on the wish-lists of many Mac users while the other is expected to cater to the semi-professional audio/video crowd.

The source for The Boy Genius Report reportedly didn’t provide a time frame for the new iteration of iTunes, but one might assume that Apple could make an announcement at its annual iPod event in September.

If the Blu-ray rumors pan out, it would be a major turnaround for Apple. Less than a year ago, Chief Executive Steve Jobs went as far as to call the technology “a bag of hurt.”

Apple Working on Fix for Hard Drive Noise Issue in MacBook Pro Notebooks

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Date: Monday, August 10th, 2009, 04:32
Category: hard drive, MacBook Pro

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Apple may be working on a fix for a MacBook Pro issue in which owners have complained of annoying hard drive beeps and clicks from their notebooks.

According to AppleInsider, an Apple Discussions Board thread containing hundreds of posts features users complaining that their 7,200RPM hard drives will randomly click and beep, and some have experienced slower access times. The issue appears to have grown since it was first reported in January.

In recent days, numerous users have posted in the thread on the Apple Support forums, stating they were told on the phone by AppleCare representatives that the company is working on a fix. On Friday, user jgcamil wrote that he was told by Level 2 support that Apple is “highly” aware of the issue and it is one of the company’s “highest priorities.” But, he was also told he would have to “live with” the issue until an update is made available.

One AppleInsider reader whose MacBook Pro beeps occasionally said he’s frustrated that Apple has remained quiet on his costly investment. He said after researching the problem, he believes it’s caused by the original firmware for the hard drive.

“The crazy thing is that you can read comments about AppleCare Engineers stance on this issue: ‘Its normal behavior,’ (and) ‘Apple´s Working on a fix,’” he told AppleInsider. “Also, some of them are recommending doing a complete reinstall, when this issue is factory related.”

Users have also uploaded videos documenting the issue, including the one below:



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

Report Finds Running Windows 7 on MacBook Pro Drains Battery Life Quickly

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 04:55
Category: MacBook, News

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Users hoping that the arrival of Windows 7 will lessen the power drain on Apple’s MacBook Pro notebook may have some hard news to face up to, as CNET’s Eric Lai discovered for a recent article he wrote. Running Windows 7 in Boot Camp caused one CNET reviewer’s battery life to fall by more than two-thirds.

In addition to this, virtualization software such as VMware Fusion suffer from the same complaints. Some blame Apple’s Boot Camp drivers (the last ones were released in April 2008) while others blame Windows’ bloated codebase. With Apple and Microsoft both trying to avoid responsibility for improving the experience, Windows 7′s reported improvements in power management will be moot for MacBook Pro users for a while.

If you’ve tested the Windows 7 beta on your MacBook and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple Releases Security Update 2009 – 003

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 04:34
Category: security, Software

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Along with yesterday’s release of the long-awaited Mac OS X 10.5.8 update, Apple also released four security updates for users of OS X 10.4.

According to Macworld, the updates for the PowerPC version of Tiger, the Intel version of Tiger, the PowerPC version of Tiger Server, and the Universal version of Tiger Server address security issues that could have cause applications to quit unexpectedly or arbitrarily execute code. Those issues include decompressing maliciously crafted data, viewing a maliciously crafted image with an embedded ColorSync profile, viewing a maliciously crafted OpenEXR, or processing a maliciously crafted PNG image. The update also addressed a format string issue in Login Window that could lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.

The updates can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and require Mac OS X 10.4.11 to install and run.

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.5.8 Update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 04:22
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.5.8, the latest version of the Mac OS X operating system. The new version, which varies in size per its download, offers the following fixes and changes:

* Upgrades Safari to version 4.0.2.
* Improves the accuracy of full history search in Safari 4.
* Resolves an issue in which certain resolutions might not appear in the Display pane in System Preferences.
* Dragging an Aperture image into Automator now invokes an Aperture action instead of incorrectly invoking an iPhoto action.
* Resolves an issue that could prevent importing of large photo and movie files from digital cameras.
* Improves overall Bluetooth reliability with external devices, USB webcams and printers.
* Addresses an issue that could cause extended startup times.
* Improves iCal reliability with MobileMe Sync and CalDav.
* Addresses data reliability issues with iDisk and MobileMe.
* Improves overall reliability with AFP.
* Improves overall reliability with Managed Client.
* Improves compatibility and reliability for joining AirPort networks.
* Improves Sync Service reliability.
* Includes additional RAW image support for several third-party cameras.
* Improves compatibility with some external USB hard drives.
* Includes latest security fixes.

The Mac OS X 10.5.7 update is available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Leopard. A combo updater, weighing in at a hefty 759 MB download, is also available for those upgrading from versions of Mac OS X 10.5.

If you’ve installed Mac OS X 10.5.8 and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments!

Analytical Firm Cites Apple Touchscreen Purchases, Anticipates Sub-Notebook or Tablet Device

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 04:21
Category: News

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Per AppleInsider, Apple has reportedly purchased a number of screens ranging from 4″ to 12″ over the last few years, as it explores its possible entry into the tablet and sub-notebook market, according to a financial analyst.

In a research note issued Tuesday, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu revealed that Apple has bought screen sizes of 4″, 7″, 9″, 10″ and 12″ inches over the last two years. Some of the purchases were allegedly of such a large amount that the firm suspects they were for more than a simple sample, but a more significant small production run.

“We are under the impression that these screens could be used in new form factors including a sub-notebook and/or tablet, and would more likely launch in 2010 as opposed to 2009,” the note reads. “As usual, exact timing is always tough to pinpoint as Apple works on its own schedule.”

Wu stated that he expects the new form factor adopted by Apple to help carry the company’s stock higher. Kaufman Bros. has set a price target of US$184 for AAPL stock and recommends that investors buy.

Latest iPhone OS 3.1 Beta Cites Unknown Device

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Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 04:44
Category: News

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Once again, a mystery device in the latest iPhone OS 3.1 firmware beta is being referred to, the device featuring a new model number and fueling speculation that Apple has a new touchscreen device based on its mobile operating system coming soon.

According to ArsTechnica, a device called “iProd 0,1″ was first discovered in March in the iPhone 3.0 OS beta firmware. The latest beta update also includes a reference to iProd, but this time the USBConfiguration.plist file gives the product the “1,1″ distinction — something Apple typically uses to refer to its first-generation products.

The information has led to speculation that a new, unannounced piece of hardware running the iPhone OS could be nearing launch.

The reference to iProd 1,1 has a product ID of 4762, while the original iProd 0,1 was model 4757. The new model also features references to Ethernet configurations, leading the report to suspect the supposed new device could have “gained high-speed networking capabilities” since the 0,1 hardware incarnation.

“What we are willing to bet on is that with a 1,1 moniker the product will see public release soon—perhaps as early as September, when Apple typically unveils new iPods,” the report concludes.

Apple always uses the first number in these device identifiers to refer to major revisions, the naming schemes allude to a second major reworking of the iPhone in testing at Apple as well as a minor revision of the current iPod touch and a third-generation overhaul. The original iPhone is seen as iPhone 1,1, while the iPhone 3G appears as iPhone 1,2 — a minor upgrade to an existing design. The first- and second-generation iPod touch show as 1,1 and 2,1 respectively.

Rumor: Netflix May Bring Streaming Service to iPhone, Other Handsets

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 05:16
Category: iPhone 3GS, Rumor

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Citing an unnamed source described as “an industry executive familiar with Netflix’s plans,” an article in Multichannel News is claiming that Netflix will soon offer its Watch Instantly streaming video service on the iPhone, iPod touch and the Nintendo Wii.

The brief reportdescribes the move as the next step for Netflix’ content, which currently streams to Windows PCs, Macs, the Xbox 360, TiVo DVRs, the Roku, and certain TV and Blu-Ray players built to support video downloads.

Unlike its DVDs-by-mail service, Netflix’ Watch Instantly library offers much less variety, with limited popular content such as recent movies and TV series. Older titles and oddball independent films are also available for immediate viewing and the Watch Instantly service is also included for viewing at no extra cost over the base Netflix subscription, in contrast to iTunes’ pay per view pricing.

Unlike media purchased or rented from iTunes, Netflix’ streaming content plays back directly with no download. This requires no local storage on the playback device, but results in playback quality that is dependent upon the available network bandwidth. With iTunes and the Apple TV, content is progressively downloaded, enabling users to obtain HD content even with a slower connection, albeit with a longer wait.

The advantage of Netflix’ instantly streaming video is that little or no storage is required. If the iPhone and Wii are powerful enough to decode the live stream, this could add a new customer segment for Netflix, the users not having to worry about their devices storing the downloaded content.

Whether the iPhone or Wii could decode quality video only using software may be an issue, as Netflix playback on the more powerful Apple TV has been cited by some as not practical due to its lack of any Windows Media codec hardware acceleration.

Video playback over AT&T’s mobile network would likely also be prohibited by any Netflix streaming player app, making any iPhone version Wi-Fi only, in line with other video streaming apps such as SlingPlayer Mobile.

As a workaround to the iPhone’s intentionally missing support for Windows DRM, Netflix could also take a page from Google and utilize the native support in iPhone OS 3.0 for HTTP Live Streaming, which plays streaming video to the iPhone and iPod Touch using standard MPEG AAC/H.264 codecs over familiar web-based protocols.

At the launch of the iPhone, Google shifted its Flash-based YouTube service to also support H.264 at Apple’s behest, allowing the iPhone to work around the need for Flash playback while also delivering hardware accelerated video playback using open protocols.

Support for HTTP Live Streaming will also be built into QuickTime X playback for Snow Leopard, and appears to be slated for adoption in the next revision of Apple TV. Third parties will also be able to implement HTTP Live Streaming on their own devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Some Users Reporting Hard Drive Lag with 17″ MacBook Pro Notebook

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 04:31
Category: News

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Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, multiple users are contributing to a thread discussing hard drive lag on Apple’s current 17″ MacBook Pro notebook. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, several users report hearing the hard drive park itself, but at inappropriate times, causing the rainbow spinning wheel to appear and bringing all tasks to a halt. This comes a short time after other users have reported a strange beep.

One user reported no red flags while running Activity Monitor while another went so far as to swap the hard drive to no avail. Still another user reportedly fixed the problem by creating a secondnd user account.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or arrived at your own fix, please let us know in the comments.