Apple Releases iTunes 8.2.1, Cripples Palm Pre iTunes Syncing with Update

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Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009, 04:14
Category: iTunes, Mac, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 8.2.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 77.3 megabyte download, offers support for the iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. The update offers a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned “verification of Apple devices” toes the line as to which handhelds can sync to iTunes and which can’t. According to Macworld, the fact that the update “addresses an issue with verifying Apple devices,” essentially means that Apple’s drawn up a list of which devices are allowed to sync and which aren’t—and the Palm Pre is public enemy number one on the latter.

Back in May, prior to the Pre’s official release, Palm executives announced that the device would be able to sync with iTunes, pulling down your music, podcasts, and videos. The trick? As far as iTunes was concerned, the Palm Pre was an iPod.

While the media sync worked pretty well in previous tests, it was unclear as to whether Apple would allow it to sync to iTunes should future versions be released. Apple may have toed the line via a Knowledge Base article describing third party media players being supported by iTunes.

With iTunes 8.2.1, Apple seems to have stopped the Palm Pre from syncing to iTunes altogether, a move confirmed by the company in a statement to the Dow Jones Newswire. Also speaking to Dow Jones, a Palm spokesperson seemed to suggest that not upgrading iTunes is a good solution—but it seems unlikely most users will be willing to do that, especially over the long term as Apple adds more iTunes features.

While the Pre also works as a USB drive, it’s possible to just copy songs over manually, though it can be a laborious process. There’s also the option of third-party syncing software, such as Mark/Space’s The Missing Sync for Palm Pre, doubleTwist, and the forthcoming Salling Media Sync 1.1, which is currently in beta.

Hulu Desktop 0.9.6 Released for Mac OS X

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Date: Monday, July 6th, 2009, 03:41
Category: Mac, Software

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Over the weekend, Hulu released Hulu Desktop 0.9.6, a lean application for Mac OS X allowing users to navigate Hulu’s library via the Apple remote control. For users without remotes, the application is keyboard and mouse-enabled.

The application, a 2.2 megabyte download, is currently available as a public beta and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.4 or later with a 2.0 GHz or faster Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM, 2 Mbps Internet connection and Adobe Flash Player 9.0.124 or later to install and run.

iPhone OS 3.0 SDK Beta 5 Continues Next-Gen Device Pictures, References

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Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 07:47
Category: iPhone

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Ok, this is nifty.
Per MacNN, images located in beta 5 of the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK provide clear references to next-generation hardware according to anecdotes. In searching for a separate file through Spotlight, one Australian developer is said to have found a collection of the PNG graphics displayed when people sync a device with iTunes. Although two of these reference the original and 3G iPhones — “iPhone1,1″ and “iPhone1,2″ — and a third refers to the second-gen iPod touch, the remaining ones are listed as black and white variants of an unknown device, “iPhone2,1.”
The “iPhone2,1.” model number has appeared repeatedly throughout the iPhone OS 3.0 betas, but until now only as text strings. The new beta seems to lack some previously-cited devices, such as iPod2,2, iPod3,1 and iPhone 3,1 and Apple has also yet to include a “human-readable” name for iPhone2,1, leaving question marks in place of a designation.
The PNG files discovered are low-resolution and difficult to discern, but show little if any visible distinction from the iPhone 3G. The discovery could reinforce rumors that the next iPhone will make mostly internal changes, but might also suggest that Apple is merely using placeholder art. A formal announcement of future iPhone hardware is expected at WWDC 2009, scheduled to begin June 8th in San Francisco.


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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.

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

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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.

Blu-Ray Support Code Found in iTunes 8.2 Beta

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Date: Thursday, April 30th, 2009, 09:24
Category: Rumor, Software

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Apple’s long had a strange relationship with Blu-Ray support on its machines, often cited as the company’s hesitancy when it couldn’t get all the concessions it wanted on licensing. Even with this, an interesting article on MacRumors has discovered references to Blu-Ray data from the Gracenote music service in the latest version of the iTunes 8.2 beta.
In short, official Blu-Ray support may not be far off for the Mac.

Voice Recognition Feature Seems Likely for iPhone OS 3.0

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Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:22
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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As the iPhone OS 3.0 beta software has been picked apart, some interesting new discoveries have emerged for consideration. The latest one, which centers around voice recognition and voice synthesis, may take the cake, though.
According to Ars Technica, the software, nicknamed “Jabbler”, will be built into the SpringBoard application (the software component that controls the home screen, launches other applications and will be the basis of the upcoming Spotlight search feature).
Jabbler will likely have voice functionality similar to the software bundled with the latest iPod Shuffle, i.e. a computerized voice reading off playlists and other textually-based content.
Sources close to the story have mentioned the upcoming feature, which has yet to be confirmed by official Apple sources. The ability to control voice features via the iPhone headset has also been mentioned.
Voice control features could bring the iPhone up to speed with many other phones that come with voice-dialing, and will broaden the playing field with a voice search function like the Google app as well as be useful for turn-by-turn GPS navigation, eBook reading capabilities, and on-the-spot note-taking.

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

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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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Next-Gen iPhone, iPod Touch Models to Support Faster, Low-Power 802.11n Protocol

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Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 10:02
Category: iPhone

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A list of wireless radio component specifications found within beta distributions of the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware offers details for a new chip enabling low power 802.11n bound for the third-generation iPod touch handset. According to AppleInsider, the chip is also likely to be en route for Apple’s upcoming iPhone models.
The version of the existing Broadcom chip that supplies WiFi and Bluetooth on existing models jumps from BCM4325 to BCM4329 in the description. The component upgrade adds new support for 802.11n features, including the ability to find and join 5GHz networks.
Current iPhone and iPod touch generations provide support for 5GHz 802.11a networks, or 2.4GHz 802.11b/g networks, pushing users who want the top speed of 802.11n (available on all MacBooks) but compatibility with 802.11b/g networks (to use the existing iPhone) to set up a 2.4GHz compatible network. That resulting push forces the wireless network to deal with interference from other networks on the often-crowded 2.4GHz band.
Apple’s latest firmware update for its AirPort base stations added support for dual-band networks, allowing both slow and fast devices to hook into 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz signals at the same time.
New support for 802.11n in the upcoming iPhone and iPod touch models would also provide the devices with additional network speed and reception range features of the significantly faster 802.11n specification as well as channel bonding (using two channels at once to double the top reception speed) and MIMO, the ability to use multiple transmit and receive antennas to improve reception speed and range.
The new device also focuses on efficient power management, with a special integrated PMU (power management unit) and a shared Bluetooth and WiFi receive signal path, which “eliminates the need for an external power splitter while maintaining excellent sensitivity for both Bluetooth and WLAN.”
The new component could dramatically speed up WiFi throughput and flexibility as AT&T and other providers also upgrade their 3G networks to take advantage of parallel improvements in mobile 3G speed capacity expected in the new iPhone.

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Equity Firm’s Report Points Toward Two Architecturally Unique iPhones in Development

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Date: Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, 08:53
Category: iPhone

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A report released by little-known equity research firm Lazard Capital Markets could points towards two architecturally distinct models of iPhone being developed for release this year.
“Our checks confirm that two versions of iPhones will be introduced this year,” Lazard Capital Markets semiconductors analyst Daniel Amir wrote in the opening paragraph of the report. “Production of the new phones should start at the beginning of April and will ramp in May.”
According to AppleInsider, the analyst stated that both models are likely to be introduced in June, one being a “high-end” model while the other represents a “low-end” version.
Unlike analyst reports earlier this year, which suggested Apple was developing a scaled down iPhone in addition to a new high-end model as part of a volume play, Amir said he believes the two models will target different geographical regions rather than different classes of consumers.
“We believe it is possible that the two phones will be aimed at different regions,” he wrote. “The high-end version is expected in North America and Europe, and the low-end version may be for the BRIC countries [Brazil, Russia, India, and China] or China only.”
Amir suggested that the high-end version will have video capability, a better camera and 32GB of storage. Tthe low-end version will include less storage, no video functions, and possibly lack Wi-Fi (a move which could potentially cater to the demands of Chinese wireless carriers).
Last fall, stories emerged that wireless carrier China Mobile had asked Apple to supply iPhone handsets with both Wi-Fi and 3G features disabled.
In addition, various code strings present in the first external beta of iPhone OS 3.0 have been titled “iPhone 2,2″ and “iPhone 3,1″. Apple makes changes to the first numeral in these kind of identifier strings to distinguish products from their predecessors or family members only when there’s a significant architectural difference between the two.
Within the report, Amir also told clients that iPhone shipments for the first calendar quarter of the year ending tomorrow could come in as high as 4 million thanks to record shipments for the month of March.
“Our checks suggest that March iPhone shipments have been much stronger than previously expected and may reach 1.5 million units, which is the highest level over the past five months,” he said. “Total iPhone shipments in [first quarter of 2009] are therefore tracking slightly higher than Street expectations of 3-3.5 million units and could reach 3.8 to 4 million units.”
The analyst then went on to suggest that second quarter shipments could surge as high as eight million units.
“April shipments, including both the current and new versions of the iPhone, could increase 40%-50% month-over-month, and be up another 20%-30% month-over-month in May,” he wrote. “Accounting for the new versions of the iPhone shipping in April, total iPhone shipments in [the second quarter] could reach 7-8 million units, which equates to approximately 3-4 times last year’s shipments during the same period.”
If you have anything to add to this, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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