Rumor: Microsoft may ship Windows 8 public beta in late February

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Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2011, 05:27
Category: Rumor, Software

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Windows 8: It’s on its way, though it might take a little while to get here.

Per TNW, Microsoft’s Windows 8 public beta might have been moved further into the year. A rumor from “sources close to Microsoft” has the release tentatively slated for late February, more than a month after the CES expo intro hinted earlier. It’s not known if this was a delay or always part of the schedule.

The developer preview version released in September was in a rough state, missing e-mail and otherwise being in a state only really suitable for third-party app testing. A beta is defined as feature-complete, however, and it’s likely that any delays might be to polish the release for regular users.

A public beta so late would rule out an April release to manufacturing. Microsoft always produces at least one release candidate build and rarely turns so quickly. Talk of a June or later completion date and a second-half 2012 release are more likely.

If true, the timing could create problems for Windows 8 and Microsoft’s attempts to reclaim the tablet space. The first truly touch-native Windows tablets may not be on the market until 2.5 years after the iPad, and possibly months after the iPad 3 appears.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5.1 SDK beta, Xcode 4.3 preview, references upcoming iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, 03:29
Category: iOS, News, Software

The next major iOS update: it’s usually a pretty cool thing.

Per Electronista, Apple has released a new iOS 5.1 beta for developer testing on all iPad, iPod touch and iPhone models that support iOS 5.0. The beta contains references to next-generation iPhone and iPad models with references to a next-generation iPhone, “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2″ and “iPad3,3″ located via Twitter user Filippo Bigarella.

References to an apparent unreleased iPad 2 model, labeled “iPad2,4″ have also been discovered in the beta release. Current second-generation iPad models range from “iPad2,1″ to “iPad2,3.” It has been suggested that the unreleased version may have been developed for an additional carrier partner, such as Sprint.

The new build, designated as 9B5117b, must be downloaded from Apple as it is not yet available through over the air updates as previous developer builds have been.

The 5.1 software includes enhanced dictation support during text input “on supported devices,” something that has currently been limited to iPhone 4S, the only iOS device that supports Siri. Nothing in Apple’s notes to developers suggests that Sir will be expanded to other devices, but the phrasing leaves open the possibility that at least the speech recognition portion of Siri’s technology could be added to iPod touch, iPad and earlier iPhone models.

Adding basic speech recognition features across all iOS 5 devices would bring Apple’s offering into parity with Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, both of which include basic speech recognition features, although reviewers note that Apple’s Siri performs both more accurate recognition and far more sophisticated actions based on recognized speech.

Apple warns developers that the new build, once installed on a device, cannot be rolled back to previous versions of iOS, likely due to baseband firmware changes. The company also warns that unauthorized use of the developer beta could result (for the same reasons) in an unstable device, possibly necessitating repairs that are not covered under any iOS device warranty.

The latest version of iOS requires the use of the newest Xcode 4.3 developer preview toolset for building third party apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your hands on the new builds please let us know what you make of them in the comments.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.3 beta, focuses on iCloud storage features

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Date: Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, 04:48
Category: iCloud, News, Software

Apple on Tuesday began widespread testing of Mac OS X 10.7.3, the third maintenance update to its relatively new Lion operating system that will improve upon iCloud’s Documents in the Cloud, among a handful of other areas.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the first external build of the forthcoming update — labeled OS X Lion 10.7.3 build 11D16 — say the company has requested developers to focus their evaluation efforts on iCal calendars, Mail, AddressBook and iCloud’s document storage.

The 633MB delta update is reported to have no known issues at this time. It was accompanied by a pre-release copy of OS X Lion Server 10.7.3 that carried the same build number and set of focus areas.

Apple last updated Mac OS X 10.7 Lion in mid-October when it released Mac OS X 10.7.2, which delivered initial Mac support for iCloud.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the betas and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple releases third iTunes 10.5.1 beta, focuses on iTunes Match feature

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Date: Monday, November 14th, 2011, 07:23
Category: iTunes, News, Software

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After erasing developers’ iTunes Match accounts, Apple has supplied its developers with a third beta of iTunes 10.5.1 to test the new US$24.99-per-year service.

Per AppleInsider, the third beta of iTunes 10.5.1 is now available to members of Apple’s developer program. The company said it includes “a number of important stability and performance improvements for iTunes Match.”

All who are testing the iTunes Match service, which also remains in beta, must update to the latest iTunes 10.5.1 beta in order to continue using the subscription service. The last beta was supplied earlier this month, and brought iTunes Match testing to the Apple TV.

The first beta of iTunes 10.5.1 was supplied to developers in October, soon after the public release of iTunes 10.5. Apple originally promised that iTunes Match would become publicly available by the end of October, but that deadline came and went without comment from the company.

As Apple continues to attempt to work out kinks with iTunes Match, the company once again erased accounts Saturday morning. Developers were notified on Friday that their iTunes Match beta libraries would be erased as Apple continues to prepare for the forthcoming launch of the service.

When it is eventually publicly available, iTunes Match will support music collections of up to 25,000 songs for US$24.99 per year. The service will scan users’ personal music libraries, including songs obtained from ripped CDs or other locations, and match them up with tracks sold on the iTunes Store.

iTunes Match subscribers will be able to re-download any of their matched songs on other enabled devices, including iPhones and iPads. Those downloads will be 256Kbps AAC files, even if the original user-owned files are of lower quality.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases second beta of iOS 5.0.1 to developer community, focuses on iPhone 4S battery fix

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Date: Friday, November 4th, 2011, 11:16
Category: iPhone, News

The fix, it’s in the works…

Now it’s time for the developers to help out a bit.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is apparently working quickly to publicly release iOS 5.0.1, as evidenced by the company’s second beta in two days released on Friday.

Sources familiar with the latest build made available to iOS developers said it is known as “9A404.” It is available as a download from Apple’s developer site, or as an over-the-air update for those already running the first iOS 5.0.1 beta.

The first iOS 5.0.1 beta was issued on Wednesday with a few hiccups, as some developers said they were unable to activate their devices when updating to the pre-release software. Some developers were incorrectly given the message: “This device is not registered as part of the iPhone Developer Program.”

Apple is working quickly to issue iOS 5.0.1 publicly after the company acknowledged this week that flaws iOS 5 have cause battery life issues for some users. The company said that “a small number of customers” were experiencing the issue, which would be patched through the forthcoming software update.

The first beta of iOS 5.0.1 was labeled build “9A402.” It included a number of improvements listed by Apple:

– Fixes bugs affecting battery life.

– Resolves bugs with Documents in the Cloud.

– Improves voice recognition for Australian users during dictation.

– Contains security improvements.

– iOS 5.0.1 beta introduces a new way for developers to specify files that should remain on device, even in low storage situations.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the beta on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome updated to 15.0.874.102, moves beyond beta version in 15.x version

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Date: Wednesday, October 26th, 2011, 05:46
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 15.0.874.102 for the Mac. The new version, a 34.9 megabyte download, offers the following change:

– Crash fix.

The release is also significant in that this is the first version of Google 15.x that moves beyond the beta stage and is now classified as stable.

Google Chrome 15.0.874.102 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the feedback and comments.

Apple releases iTunes 10.5.1 beta update to developer community, focuses on upcoming iTunes Match feature

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 04:50
Category: iCloud, News, Software

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Following the public release of iTunes 10.5 with support for iOS 5 devices, Apple also privately released iTunes 10.5.1 to its developer community, allowing them to test the forthcoming iTunes Match service.

Per AppleInsider, the final release of iTunes 10.5, released earlier Tuesday, does not include support for the US$24.99-per-year iTunes Match service. It will become publicly available later this month, along with another update to iTunes.

Developers can test the iTunes Match service with the first beta of iTunes 10.5.1, supplied to them by Apple on Tuesday. The beta is available for both Mac and Windows, and iTunes Match is currently available only to developers in the U.S.

When it launches later this month, iTunes Match will scan users’ personal music libraries on their computer for music files that were not purchased through iTunes. Those tracks will then be matched up with Apple’s library of over 20 million songs in the iTunes Music Store.

With the annual fee, users will be able to access their library of up to 25,000 songs from any device, and will be able to re-download songs via iTunes in the Cloud. Users will also be able to replace their matched files with higher quality 256Kbps iTunes Plus AAC files, even if the original copy is of lower quality.

Apple’s iTunes Match service is different from competing options with Google and Amazon, which require that a user upload their personal library of tracks to remote servers. Apple’s method bypasses the need for uploading songs by simply matching the files with its own extensive selection.

For songs that may not be available on iTunes, Apple will also upload those files and remotely host them. The songs will then also be available for users to re-download on another Mac or PC, or on the go with an iPhone or iPad.

If you’ve gotten a chance to play around with the beta, please let us know what you make of it.

Otherwise, stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.2 seed to developers, includes built-in iCloud support for the first time

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Date: Monday, September 12th, 2011, 03:54
Category: News, Software

It’s inevitable.

And with system updates, that’s never a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Sunday seeded Mac OS X 10.7.2 beta to developers with support for the beta version of iCloud incorporated directly into the build.

For the first time, the pre-release version, labeled build 11C55, does not require a separate install of iCloud services. No known issues are listed for the beta. Apple reportedly lists iCloud, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Safari, and MobileMe as focus areas for the release.

One source familiar with the matter also indicated that Apple has begun transitioning user accounts from MobileMe to iCloud, allowing the transfer of mail, contacts, and calendars to the iCloud.com.

The last beta release of Mac OS X 10.7.2 came on Sept. 2 and included the 10th test version of iCloud as a separate install.

Developers have seen a steady stream of beta software as Apple gears up for several major releases this fall. The launch of iOS 5 and iCloud will be supported by updated versions of iTunes and Mac OS X. Last Friday, Apple issued a beta release of iTunes 10.5, along with pre-release versions of iWork for iOS. The company also recently extended the test period of its iTunes Match service to additional developers.

Apple launched Mac OS X 10.7 Lion on the Mac App Store in July. The company then updated its flagship desktop operating system to version 10.7.1 in August, adding improvements to Wi-Fi and audio out functionality.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds updated iTunes 10.5 beta with iCloud iTunes Match feature to developers

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Date: Tuesday, August 30th, 2011, 03:35
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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The rest of the iCloud is coming.

And it will have additional snazzy features.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has released a new version of iTunes for developer testing of the functionality of iCloud’s new iTunes Match feature for storing songs “in the cloud” for flexible access from mobile devices.

Apple has already publicly introduced some new iCloud features in iTunes, including the ability to browse and download any previously purchased songs at no additional charge.

The new iTunes 6.1 beta release is the first to support the “scan and match” cloud access feature that Apple first announced at this summer’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

This new feature allows users to pay for an annual iTunes Match subscription that will make their entire existing music collection (including songs not purchased through iTunes) available from Apple’s cloud servers as well.

The service will support music collections up to 25,000 songs and costs US$24.99 per year. That library limit does not count any songs purchased from iTunes, which are already cloud accessible. The service is also limited to music, and does not support the uploading of apps, audiobooks, books, movies, TV shows, ringtones or interactive content such as iTunes LP liner notes or iTunes Extras for movies.

Users can upload any music they want (up to the 25,000 title limit) onto Apple’s cloud servers, but the biggest feature of iTunes Match is its upload-free, automated file matching service.

Rather than forcing users to upload the many gigabytes of data that thousands of songs would involve, Apple’s iTunes Match will simply scan the user’s library and then make those same songs available from iTunes’ vast catalog of songs, effectively allowing users to upgrade their CD collections into cloud-accessible, high quality iTunes downloads without having to repurchase their music as digital downloads.

The beta program is for developer testing only, and Apple warns that any content copied up to its cloud servers during the test period may be erased. For this reason, developer notes tell users testing the service to back up their original songs, and not to delete any music they’ve uploaded into the service.

Developers participating in the program pay the standard subscription fee, but are given three free months for participating. The iTunes Match feature is currently limited to the Mac version of iTunes only, but once songs are added to the iCloud library, they can be accessed from any computer running the iTunes 10.5 beta as well as any iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running the latest iOS 5 beta.

The iTunes Match service works with up to 10 iTunes PCs and iOS devices connected to the same Apple ID, although only five of those devices can be computers. Apple also notes that a computer or iOS device can only be associated with a new Apple ID once every 90 days.

Apple notes that iTunes Match is currently limited to certain supported song formats “at this time,” and that some songs may be matched incorrectly. Matched songs may also be a different version of the same song.

Apple also tells developers to watch out for performance issues on iOS devices, and notes that under the existing iOS 5 beta, music will continue to download from the cloud over cellular connections even if that option has been restricted to WiFi only in the Settings app.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new beta and have any feedback, let us know what you think in the comments.

4G LTE network code located in iOS 5 beta code

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Date: Monday, August 22nd, 2011, 04:10
Category: iPhone, Rumor

If you were hankering for 4G LTE speeds on the upcoming iPhone 5, your wish might come true.

Per MacRumors, evidence has surfaced that Apple has built 4G Long-Term Evolution testing code into beta builds of iOS 5, prompting further speculation that the iPhone maker will adopt the standard in future versions of its mobile devices.

Recently, a rumor emerged that Apple’s carrier partners have begun testing an iPhone prototype with LTE, based in part on code reportedly from an internal iOS test build that was sent to “one of Apple’s major carrier partners.” That code has now been found in recent builds of iOS 5 issued to developers.

The GSM iPhone 4 and CDMA iPad 2 builds of iOS 5 apparently contain an LTE.plist file with a “key” tag for a “Connected mode LTE Intra-frequency Measurement.” However, the file is not found in other “counterpart” versions of iOS 5 and has only been located in “at least the last couple” of beta builds of the forthcoming upgrade.

LTE is the 4G network standard of choice for carriers such as Verizon and AT&T, with real-world data rates of between 5 and 12 megabits per second downstream, and 2 to 5 Mbps up. Verizon launched its network first late last year, while AT&T plans to reach 70 million customers in 15 markets by the end of 2011.

Though rumors have suggested that Apple’s partners are testing LTE iOS devices, separate reports claim LTE technologies will not be ready for Apple to mass produce until at least 2012. Qualcomm’s LTE chips are said to be experiencing problems with “yield rates” that will prevent Apple from implementing them this year.

Last week, spy shots allegedly showing LTE equipment being installed at a “major” Apple Store followed on the heels of the rumor that Apple’s carrier partners have been testing an LTE-capable iPhone. The leaked photos drew speculation that Apple was improving LTE signals in its stores ahead of the release of some kind of LTE-compatible device from the company.

It should be noted that there has yet to emerge any strong evidence that Apple will include LTE in the fifth-generation iPhone, which is expected this fall. Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said in April that “the first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset,” some of which the company is unwilling to make.

Executives from Verizon and China Mobile have hinted that Apple is planning an LTE iPhone, but have been unable to provide further details.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available.