Jobs Apparently Still “Closely Involved” in “Key Aspects” of Apple

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Date: Monday, April 13th, 2009, 06:04
Category: News

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According to “people familiar with the matter,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs remains “closely involved” with “key aspects” of running Apple according to a Wall Street Journal article.
Though currently on medical leave since January, the paper is reporting that Jobs is working hard from home and is still involved in both strategy and key products, including details surrounding the new interface elements in iPhone 3.0.
Apple’s comment on the situation is a blanket statement that “Steve continues to look forward to returning to Apple at the end of June.”
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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Apple Releases VoiceOver Kit 1.0.1 Update for iPod Shuffle

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Date: Monday, April 13th, 2009, 06:50
Category: iPod shuffle, Software

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Late Friday, Apple released its VoiceOver Kit 1.0.1, an update containing several fixes for the newest generation of its iPod Shuffle media player. According to Macworld UK, the update, a 17 megabyte download contains corrected pronunciations for several artist names as well as a series of unspecified minor bug fixes.
The update is currently not listed on Apple’s Web site, but it is available via the Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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Review: Beach Buoy

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Date: Friday, April 10th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Review

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By Robert Kaneko
It’s spring! At least, it’s spring in the northern hemisphere. If, like me, you live in the Pacific Northwest, you may have despaired of spring ever arriving. However, as I type this, it’s sunny and 65°, so there is hope. With spring in mind, it’s time to start thinking about outdoor activities. However, many of our beloved gadgets don’t really like our outdoor activities. Sand, dirt and water seem to be particular problems. That’s where the Beach Buoy comes in.
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The Beach Buoy is a product available from Proporta. It is essentially a very rugged, very nice looking ziplock bag with a cord so you can wear it around your neck. It is rated to keep your iPhone, iPod Touch, or other expensive electronic gadget safe from water at depths of up to 5 meters/16 feet. The top of the Beach Buoy contains two double ziplocks.
The idea is, you place your device inside the Beach Buoy, seal both ziplocks, and then fold the ziplocks over, securing the folds with a Velcro flap.
The result is a very watertight (and sand-proof) container.
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Click the jump for the full review…

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Rumor: Apple Places Mass Order for 100 Million Flash Chips

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Date: Friday, April 10th, 2009, 07:55
Category: Rumor

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Recently, Apple placed a massive order for flash memory chips, the quantity of which seeming lower in density than one would expect from the company.
Citing supplier-based sources, DigiTimes has stated that Apple has ordered 100 million 8Gb NAND flash chips for delivery later this year with the bulk of this order to come from Samsung. Other suppliers such as Toshiba, Hynix, Intel and Micron may also provide some of the order.
The order is suspicious in that it’s for very low density chips. Contrary to some inaccuracies being reported around the Web, the parts in question are 8 gigabit chips, representing 1 gigabyte of storage each, not 8 gigabytes of storage each.
Though these parts could theoretically be used to facilitate the production of 6.25 million 16GB iPhones or 12.5 million 8GB iPhones, Apple has historically purchased higher density chips for its handheld offerings due to space constraints.
Apple is also thought to be using a single high-density 32Gb NAND chip in its most recent 4GB iPod shuffle, though this has yet to be confirmed . A tear-down analysis of the player performed last month found only a single chip inside — a multi-layered stack containing the CPU, RAM, and flash memory — making a face value determination inconclusive.
It’s also unclear from the report whether the 8Gb NAND parts are finalized chip packages, or bare memory chips that will later be stacked to form a higher density package.
Their inclusion in future Macs is yet another remote possibility, though rumors of Apple adopting small flash chips for an implementation of Intel’s Robson technology (which promised faster startup, application launching, and battery life by caching key pieces of code in the solid-state memory parts) fizzled some years ago. Apple now offers customers the option of configuring a handful of Macs with much larger flash drives, doing away with the need for a traditional hard disk drive entirely.

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Apple Quietly Admits Hairline Crack Issue on White MacBook, Offers Repairs

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Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2009, 07:44
Category: MacBook

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After months of contention, Apple has privately acknowledged an issue within some of its 13″ MacBook notebooks in which hairline cracks have arisen during normal usage patterns.
According to AppleInsider, Apple issued a bulletin to its authorized service providers in March that essentially reversed its stance on replacing the bottom casing of notebooks that may be experiencing these symptoms.
Initial reports surfaced in November that Apple was refusing to cover repairs for the bottom casing of the notebooks despite its willingness (on occasion) to address identical problems with the top portion of the casings containing the keyboard and palmrests.
The bulletin apparently identified four key areas prone to hairline cracking, including the case front below the palmrests and trackpad, the portions around the I/O ports, the back rear corners, and the back rear ventilation area.
Apple has also noted that other portions of the case could be affected by hairline cracking and has asked service providers to determine whether the cracks themselves were due to the owner’s negligence.
In the event that providers are unable to identify signs that the user is at fault for the cracks, they’re advise to escalate the notebook for coverage by Apple, regardless of whether its one-year limited warranty has expired.
The exception also applies to the black plastic 13-inch MacBook that was discontinued last year, but does not extend to any other member of the MacBook family, according to those familiar with the matter.

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Roxio Toast Titanium 10.0.2 Update Released

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Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2009, 07:19
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday night, Roxio released version 10.0.2 of its Toast Titanium authoring software. The new version, available here, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Resolves crash issue that may occur with some FLAC audio files.
  • Resolves issue when converting QuickTime movies with text tracks.
  • Improved handling of corrupt PCM audio packets.
  • Toast 10 Titanium requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and retails for US$99.99.

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    Rumor: Video Recording Features, Voice Dialing Features Noted for iPhone OS 3.0 and Next-Gen iPhone

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2009, 07:09
    Category: Rumor

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    After weeks of speculation, some new finds have brought additional credibility to Apple’s plans to include video recording features as well as Voice Dialing within the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 firmware as well as the next-gen iPhone.
    According to MacRumors, an interface similar to the existing iPhone camera application has been discovered along with the addition of a digital toggle switch in the lower right-hand corner of the app for switching between still photos and video captures.
    “The video recording is not presently functional in iPhone 3.0 beta, and the interface is not accessible by default,” according to the report. “Only when configuration files were modified telling the firmware that a Video Camera was present will this interface appear.”
    In addition to the toggle switch, a square interface element on the left-hand side is also visible. This doesn’t appear to be specific to the video capture component of the application and is actually a fixture of the new Camera application due to ship as part of iPhone Software 3.0. It will display a thumbnail of the most recent image or video captured by the user.
    Other new discoveries regarding the camera include “auto-focus camera”, “magnetometer” (digital compass), and “Voice Control” features.
    Over on Boy Genius Report, additional screenshots of the iPhone OS 3.0 software show a large video camera icon with the caption “You can take videos using the camera.” The site also shows a screen in the “International” preferences panel of the beta software with the aforementioned “Voice Control” changes, which it believes may have something to do with Voice Dialing features.
    Yet another leaked iPhone 3.0 screen hinting at video features (left) and another that could imply voice dialing capabilities.
    Meanwhile, control icons for an iPhone video editing application were also uncovered in betas of iPhone Software 3.0, further corroborating reports that Apple would allow users to make rudimentary edits to their videos in a similar manner to the way the company’s new Voice Memo application allows trimming of audio recordings.

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    Recent Mac OS X 10.5.7 Beta Focuses on 100+ Fixes, Second Security Update for 2009

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    Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2009, 07:44
    Category: Software

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    A recent Mac OS X 10.5.7 beta has made its way among Apple developer with Apple apparently also beta testingits second security update of the year for certain Mac OS X distributions.
    According to AppleInsider, build 9J44 of Mac OS X 10.5.7 was released to developers. The new beta arrives a little more than a week after the company issued build 9J39 and, per sources close to the story, offers a fix for a PDF font render along with four other fixes, thus bringing the number of documented code corrections to 104.
    Similarly, the lone issue affecting the last several builds has been the inability to install Apple’s Safari 4 beta, which hasn’t been tweaked to run on the new system update.
    Mac OS X 10.5.7, code-named Juno, is expected for a release sometime this month and reportedly weighs in at approximately 442MB. A combo updater capable of updating versions of Leopard prior to 10.5.6 and bundling earlier security improvements is currently about 730MB.
    Where the second security update is concerned, Apple has reportedly tasked security experts with evaluating its second security update to Mac OS X of the 2009 calendar year. The release is said to be in testing for versions of Apple’s Mac OS X 10.4 operating system and a version for Mac OS X 10.5 has yet to be reported.
    People familiar with the situation say Apple doesn’t brief its security testers on the improvements it bundles into beta security updates and instead asks them probe for holes blindly. As such, it’s not entirely clear what components of Tiger it targets, though the rumor is that it addresses a networking vulnerability.
    Apple is expected to recommend the update “for all users” saying it “improves the security of Mac OS X.” Four different distributions are currently being evaluated: Tiger client (PPC), Tiger server (PPC), Tiger client (Intel), and Tiger server (Intel).
    The latest known builds are reportedly 8S410 (PPC) and 8S2410 (Intel).

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    How-To: Reset Mac OS X’s Software Updater Function

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    Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 07:20
    Category: How-To

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    As nigh-indispensable as Mac OS’s Software Update feature can be to locate and install patches for the operating system and supported applications from Apple, there remains the fact that some items might not install or the updater may not seem to work at all.
    Per MacFixIt, a user identified as “The Dragon” posted this comment over in the Apple Discussion Boards:

    “After a longish while, the “Checking for new software…” progress bar [in Software Update] had reached about halfway, and the update list indicated it had found five updates. At that point however, the progress bar chose to freeze entirely. After a good while and no further progress, I Cancel the update, and attempt to relaunch. Software Update opens, but the aforementioned progress bar freezes immediately.”

    Like any other application, problems can occur if any required resources have become corrupt. From here, the application will start properly and not run correctly. These resources can include the program’s preferences files and caches. In addition, when updates are applied, a receipt is generated that Software Update reads to know what updates have already been installed. If an installation fails, but the receipt is left, software update may not try to install a needed update. Additionally, if a receipt is corrupt, then software update may try to repeatedly install the same update.
    Assorted fixes for the issue include the following steps:

    Fixes:
    1. Remove Software Update preference and cache files.
    If Software Update seems to be unable to complete an update, and either freezes or quits half-way through checking for updates, then try removing the application’s preferences and cache files from the following locations:
    /username/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.NUMBER.plist”
    /username/Library/Preferences/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist”
    /username/Library/Caches/ –> remove “com.apple.SoftwareUpdate” (folder)
    /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/ –> remove”com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist”
    After removing these items, restart the system for the changes to take effect and try launching Software Update again.
    2. Remove faulty receipts.
    If an update continuously appears and is being applied, try removing the receipt for that specific update. The receipt should be located in the /Macintosh HD/Library/Receipts/ folder and will be named something similar to the update files (i.e., FrontRowUpdate2.1.7.pkg). Do not delete the receipt, but instead move it to the desktop or some other location and retry the update. If it still does not work, replace the receipt in its original location, since it may be required and isn’t the root of the problem.

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    Apple Job Listing Points Out Possibility of iPod Touch Gaining Built-In Camera

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 07:11
    Category: iPod Touch

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    A recent Apple job listing points out that Apple may be looking to extend camera functions over to its popular iPod touch handset.
    According to AppleiPhoneApps.com, a job listing originally posted on March 16th stated that Apple is “looking for a Camera Engineering Project Manager (EPM) to drive the design, development and integration of camera modules across iPhone and iPod.”
    “The EPM is the interface between our internal engineering teams and the suppliers of sensors, lenses and camera modules,” the listing says. “In this highly cross functional role the EPM will work closely together with the HW, SW and mechanical engineering team to coordinate all aspects of the camera module design, production and integration.”
    Recent reports have indicated that Apple may be looking to expand its handset camera capabilities and that the next iPhone will see its camera upgraded from 2.0 megapixels to 3.2 megapixels as well as possibly add video functionality.
    Per an AppleInsider story, Apple changed the text of its job posting to omit the mention of iPods in the listing.

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