Apple to Begin Stress-Testing iPhone OS 3.0 Push Notification Functions

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Date: Tuesday, May 19th, 2009, 09:03
Category: iPhone, Software

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This week, Apple joined forces with the Associated Press and called upon some of its iPhone developer community to help stress test a Push Notification service scheduled to arrive with iPhone OS 3.0 later this year.
According to AppleInsider, the e-mail stated that “We have selected a pre-release version of the Associated Press app for iPhone OS 3.0 to create a high-volume test environment for our servers.”
The test application, which requires iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5, will activate over the next week and then expire. During this week, “AP will be sending a high-volume of real news alerts” to give Apple an opportunity to monitor how well the system works and what optimizations can be made.
The Push Notification system, which was originally slated to arrive in the fall, was delayed after Apple had apparently underestimated the demands third parties would make of the system. Given these new conditions, Apple pulled the plug and began designing a system that could simultaneously address an audience of tens of millions of iPhone and iPod touch users.
The planned iPhone OS 3.0 Push Notification system for sending alerts from third party application developers to mobile users is believed to use the same technology as its push notification system for MobileMe and the push notification system planned for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server.
In all cases, the alert being “pushed” is minimal, essentially a tweet that indicates more information is ready. The notification alerts act like an instant message because that’s exactly what they are; an analysis of MobileMe push messages indicates Apple is using the open source XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), used in Jabber.
The XMPP feature can allow a variety of applications to alert the user as to changes and updates and the technology could find its way into e-mail, calendar and contact changes via Apple’s MobileMe cloud services.

How-To: Get Around MacBook/MacBook Pro Sleep Issues with Mac OS X 10.5.7

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Date: Tuesday, May 19th, 2009, 08:46
Category: How-To

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Mac OS X 10.5.7 has been out less than a week and, according to MacFixIt, a number of users have reported sleep issues with MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks upon installing the updated operating system software.
Over on the Apple Discussion Board, reader “Roger G” reported the following:

“The 10.5.7 upgrade (both with Combo and Delta from Safe mode) killed the ability of my white MacBook to sleep via clamshell closing. After a reboot, the system would sleep normally, but awakening the system and then sleeping would result in a system freeze. The monitor light on the case would not wax and wane in brightness but would stay on full. A few minutes later the fans would start spinning at full speed until the battery drained or the machine was rebooted.”

User “smitty 195″ expressed a similar sentiment with the following:

“I am having the identical problem as everyone else (freezes on 2nd sleep attempt). I have a MacBook Pro, and upgraded to 10.5.7 yesterday.”

Per various reports around support forums, the issue appears to be tied into Ethernet settings on the notebooks, as described by “Andreas S.”:

“It appears that if the Ethernet is not enabled (airport only network settings) that on the MacBook Pro the sleep only works once and crashes the second time.”

The following steps are currently being offered as a fix for the issue:

1. Open System Preferences > Network
2-1. If you see your Ethernet port in your list of network ports (on the left-side of the window) and it says “Inactive,” activate the port by clicking the gear wheel icon and selecting “Make Service Active.” Click “Apply.”
2-2. If you do not see your Ethernet port in your list of network ports (on the left-side of the window), click the “+” button in the bottom-left corner.
3. In the “Interface” drop-down menu, select “Ethernet.”
4. Enter a name and select “Create.” You should see your new Ethernet connection appear.
5. Click “Apply.”
Note: If you are having this issue and your Ethernet port is already enabled, try disabling it (using the gear wheel icon menu > “Make Service Inactive”). Log out or restart your Mac, then enable it. Be sure to “Apply” your changes.

Once complete, the notebook can be testing by closing the screen and seeing if the sleep function succeeds. Be sure to try this twice, as several reports have pointed to the second attempt at sleep to be the one that causes the issue.

Rumor: AT&T May be Looking into $20/Month Limited Data Plan for iPhone

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Date: Monday, May 18th, 2009, 12:11
Category: Rumor

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With next-generation iPhone and iPhone OS 3.0 around the corner, the rumor mill is jumping. Per BusinessWeek, sources within AT&T have stated that the company “is considering cutting the price of its monthly service package or offering a range of lower-priced plans.”
Among the new offerings would be a US$20 monthly limited access iPhone data plan that could appear before the end of May. AT&T currently offers a one-size-fits-all US$30 unlimited data plan as a mandatory add-on for iPhone subscribers, which helps push monthly services fees for those customers above US$70 with taxes and fees.
Though the report is speculative, it does suggest that Apple could introduce a pre-paid or $99 iPhone to accompany reduced plans from AT&T in a bid to attract lower income consumers. The article also cites a survey indicating that 43% of existing iPhone owners make salaries in excess of US$100,000, noting that this pool of wealthy consumers is quickly running dry.
“A cheaper plan, coupled with new and possibly cheaper iPhones, could give AT&T a larger share of the U.S. smartphone market,” the report says. “And unless prices drop on other smartphones in AT&T’s stable, those rival handset makers, such as Research In Motion could end up losing market share in AT&T’s stores.”
Apple’s attempts to reach lower income markets to expand its iPhone market share aren’t unheard of, as the company currently introduced the handset to various Wal-Mart locations earlier this year.
In its report Monday, BusinessWeek also noted that Apple may have greater freedom to mark down the price of its next-gen iPhones with the cost of touchscreens, the most expensive component, having declined by more than 30% in the past year.

VMWare Cautions Users with ATI Graphics Cards from Installing Mac OS X 10.5.7

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Date: Monday, May 18th, 2009, 07:16
Category: News

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VMWare, makers of the popular Fusion virtualization software, has officially warned users away from installing Mac OS X 10.5.7 if their Mac uses an ATI graphics card or chip.
According to VMWare’s blog, the update will break the 3D graphics acceleration feature supported by Fusion.
“You will likely see issues ranging from slow performance, to incorrect rendering, and even crashes, when you run your 3D applications in a Windows virtual machine on Mac OS X 10.5.7,” reads the blog.
“Both Apple and ATI are aware of this problem and are working to correct it in a future software update. In the meantime, if you have an ATI graphics card in your Mac and need VMware Fusion’s 3D features to work, we recommend that you do not upgrade to Mac OS X 10.5.7,” the entry concludes.

Adium X Updated to 1.3.4

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Date: Monday, May 18th, 2009, 07:39
Category: Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.3.4.
The new version, a 21.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Facebook fixes:
    Updated to pidgin-facebook 1.5.0, fixing a major bug in which massive amounts of data could be continuously sent and received under certain situations as well as several minor bugs.
    Fixed a bug in which the Facebook numeric ID rather than name could be shown in the contact list (#11676).
    Improved proxy support.
  • Fixed a crash when loading Jabber/XMPP account preferences when the computer’s host name is not set (#11246).
  • Fixed a display issue in message windows when running Safari 4.
  • Updated to libpurple 2.5.6.
  • Adium X is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

    How-To: First Mac OS X 10.5.7 Problems Reported, Fixes Offered

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, May 15th, 2009, 08:40
    Category: How-To, Software

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    Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5.7 update has been released, none of my Macs are on fire and I consider this a good thing.
    Still, there’s bound to be problems and the hep cats at MacFixIt have begun to collect reports on a couple of outstanding issues:

    Blue Screen
    This update may automatically restart your computer up to three times during the update process, and for some people this has not happened but instead has hung on the first restart at the blue screen. Several people have reported waiting for the hang to resolve itself, but that has so far not been successful. When this happens, the fix so far has been to manually reset the computer:
    -Listen to the computer and be sure the hard drive is not being accessed.
    -Press and hold the power button until the computer shuts off.
    -Power on and hold the shift key to boot into safe mode.

    This procedure has apparently helped a few people, and while some did not need to boot into safe mode, for others the computer would continually hang until they tried safe mode.
    Blue screens have occurred via past Mac OS X updates and are generally due to permission and accessibility problems during the update. The likelihood of these can be reduced via the following steps:

    -Don’t use Software Update. Instead, download the standalone “Combo” updater.
    -Reboot into Safe Mode.
    -Run Disk Utility and perform a Permissions fix and hard drive repair.
    -Run the updater.
    -Immediately repair permissions again.

    Other users have reported that their new display resolutions are disappearing, resulting in the computer outputting non-native display resolutions to the monitor. In most cases, instead of being able to choose 1920×1200 as the resolution (the native resolution for many widescreen displays), the computer will only output 1920×1080 (the maximum for HDMI connections). This seems to be a conflict in the drivers, since 1920×1080 is the maximum display resolution for HDMI connections.
    Fixes to this problem include zapping the PRAM (which can be done by holding the options-command-P-R keys all at once at reboot, and holding them down until the computer resets a few times, then releasing them and allowing the computer to boot normally) as well as using a program called SwitchResX, which allows for fine-tuned customization of monitor outputs. The program is a demo, but installing it, setting the screen resolution, and then optionally uninstalling it seems to clear the resolution problem the OS X update.
    Other general troubleshooting tips include the following:

    -Boot into Safe Mode and run a permissions fix with Disk Utility.
    -Reset the PRAM.
    -Reinstall the update using the downloadable “combo” update (not any other), and following the “safe” method of installation mentioned above.

    Apple Warns iPhone App Developers to be Compatible with iPhone OS 3.0

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, May 15th, 2009, 07:40
    Category: iPhone

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    Earlier this week, Apple officially warned its iPhone/iPod touch application developer base that all applications submitted for iTunes App Store approval must be iPhone OS 3.0-compliant. Per Computerworld, Apple sent an e-mail to registered iPhone developers stating that all new apps will be tested for approval on the latest beta version of 3.0. It said it may also remove any apps currently in the App Store if they do not work on the iPhone’s new operating system.
    Current speculation about the demand is pointing towards Apple wanting to ensure that the new parental controls feature for iPhone applications uncovered in the latest beta of iPhone OS 3.0 are functional. The parental controls feature would allow Apple to offer a wider variety of content and restrict more explicit material based on an iPhone user’s age.
    On Wednesday, Apple released its fifth beta version of the latest iPhone OS — a final version of 3.0 is expected to be ready in time for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next month.

    Apple Finally Offering iPhone 3G For Sale Online

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, May 15th, 2009, 07:40
    Category: iPhone

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    Apple’s iPhone 3G is finally available online, an option that hasn’t existed since the original unit was released in 2007. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has finally allowed new users to activate their services online with the iPhone 3G handset being shipped straight to their door.
    Current AT&T customers will need to reserve their iPhones online, then go pick them up at the Apple Store.
    While this takes away the personal attention (and ability to correct mistakes on the spot should they be made), it’s what’s been expected for a while and nifty altogether.
    If you’ve snagged an iPhone 3G via this method and have any feedback to offer on it, let us know how it went.

    Phil Schiller to Deliver Keynote Speech for WWDC Conference

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, May 13th, 2009, 10:41
    Category: News

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    WWDC is relatively soon and, unfortunately, for those hoping for Steve Jobs to grace the stage in order to deliver the keynote, you’ll have to wait a bit longer.
    Apple has stated that while its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco will start on Monday, June 8th with the keynote address being given at 10 AM PST, Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller will be manning the speech and offer developers an “in-depth” look at iPhone OS 3.0 as well as the company’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) upgrade.
    From there, Schiller is expected to hand the keynote off to assorted speakers, as usual.
    Attendees can also expect a “final Developer Preview release” of the forthcoming OS, though additional details are rare on the ground.

    Apple Releases Security Update 2009-002 for Mac OS X 10.4.X Users

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, May 13th, 2009, 09:34
    Category: security, Software

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    If you’re still running Mac OS X 10.4.x (“Tiger”), there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel as secure as a user running Mac OS X 10.5.7 with all its inherent updates. According to MacNN, Apple released Security Update 2009-002 for the previous operating system.
    The update patches several areas of Tiger, including Apache, CoreGraphics, CUPS, Disk images, Flash Player plug-in, Help Viewer, Spotlight, X11, and more and fixes problems ranging from keeping PDFs opened in CoreGraphics from executing malicious code to preventing maliciously crafted Mach-O executables from causing the Finder to repeatedly terminate and relaunch.
    There are four variants of the update (one each for Mac OS X 10.4.x on PowerPC and Intel-based hardware as well as two server versions) that can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.