Apple releases seventh OS X 10.8.5 build to developer community

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Date: Thursday, September 5th, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

With any luck, the OS X 10.8.5 update is just around the corner.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday seeded the latest version of the upcoming OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion maintenance update to developers for testing.

According to people familiar with build 12F36, the Mountain Lion seed comes with no known issues and asks developers to focus on many of the same areas as previous releases.

Two new areas of interest were added to the usual graphics, Wi-Fi and wake from sleep functionality. With build 12F36, Apple requests testing of PDF viewing and accessibility and mobile device management.

The latest seed comes one day after the release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks Developer Preview 7, and nearly one month after the last Mountain Lion beta was issued.

Apple is expected to release both the Mountain Lion maintenance update and next-generation Mavericks later this year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop 9 to arrive in early September, will hone in on OS X Mavericks features

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Date: Monday, August 19th, 2013, 07:15
Category: News, Software

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Parallels 9 Desktop is en route.

And can be pre-ordered with a Parallels Desktop 8 order between now and Halloween.

Per MacNN, Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac will ship the first week of September according to its parent company. One of the primary features will be optimization for OS X Mavericks, which has yet to be released, but has been in beta for some time and may be launched as soon as next month. At the moment, Desktop 9 is itself in beta testing.

Other enhancements will include copy and paste support for OS X virtual machines, and a better Coherence View, which gives Windows apps the appearance of running natively on a Mac. Parallels has also made improvements to creating and customizing keyboard shortcuts, and installing Windows on a Mac without a DVD drive — important because Apple has been stripping optical drives from the Mac lineup.

Customers buying Desktop 8 between today and October 31st will be eligible for a free upgrade to Desktop 9, so long as they have a dated proof of purchase. The former retails for US$80 new, or US$50 as an upgrade from Desktop 6 or 7.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 7 Golden Master to partners, employees on September 5th

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Date: Thursday, August 15th, 2013, 07:47
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

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Apple’s long-awaited iOS 7 release is getting that much closer to a ship date.

Or at least there’s now a Golden Master date.

According to Boy Genius Report, Apple is preparing to release the final beta release of iOS 7, beta 6, sometime next week followed by a final Gold Master release ahead of Apple’s expected September 10th iPhone event. This time frame would mark two weeks from the release of beta 5, and Apple was on a two week schedule prior to the Developer Center outages. BGR is also claiming that Apple plans to seed a final GM version of the software on September 5th to employees and partners and release it to developers after the event early next month:

“After iOS 7 beta 6, Apple will be seeding a GM (gold master) version for its employees and partners to test starting around September 5th. This will mostly likely be the software that is released to the public later on in the month of September, barring any major bugs or problems that might be discovered… After Apple and its partners are comfortable with the gold master build, the company will release it to developers on September 10th, the day of the company’s iPhone event.”

It’s not hard to predict that a GM is just around the corner, as Apple would clearly want to have it ready for its reported September 10th iPhone event. No specific source has been identified as having provided a specific source of the information, but a release of the final iOS 7 version on September 10th to developers is a given if Apple continues in the tradition of years past.

Apple releases fifth iOS 7 beta to developer community, tweaks icons, Control Center, etc.

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Date: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013, 06:07
Category: News, Software

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The fifth iOS 7 beta is out and the new operating system is coming that much closer to fruition.

Per 9to5Mac, a little over a week after iOS 7 beta 4, Apple has seeded iOS 7 beta 5 to developers via and over-the-air Software Update. The previous beta brought several minor interface and performance tweaks to the operating system and beta 5 will likely continue doing that.

The new beta adds the following fixes and changes:
- All Settings icons redesigned (left is new).

- More Yahoo presence.

- New Twitter icon in share sheet.

- Can now disable Control Center while in apps.

- Major performance improvements across the system.

- Camera swipe access from Lock screen is easier.

- New slide to power off design.

- New in-call icons.

- New option to pull down on a banner.

- Some transparency, blur, UI animation changes across the system.

- Can access icons in a folder during animation.

- Some blurs and effects disabled on iPad mini (likely to improve performance).

- Users can now bring back “on/off” labels on switches. Enable in Accessibility.

iOS 7 is expected to be released this fall as well as feature a significant redesign and new features for the mobile operating system.

If you’ve had a chance to play with the new beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Adobe releases Lightroom 5.2 release candidate beta

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Date: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013, 06:42
Category: News, Software

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You can’t argue with a good release candidate.

Adobe on Monday announced the availability of the latest version of its prosumer photo editing software, Lightroom 5.2. The new version, a 467.2 megabyte download via MacUpdate, offers the following fixes and changes:

New features:
- A Smoothness adjustment slider has been added to the Detail Panel under Color Noise.

- Reduction. This helps to reduce low-frequency color mottling artifacts.

Refinements to the Spot Healing Tool:
- New Feather control.

- Auto find source method now works better for images with textured areas like rocks, bark, and foliage.

- Auto find source method now prefers source areas within the crop rectangle.

- Smart Preview size has been updated to 2560 pixels on the long edge.

Refinements to the Local Adjustment Brush:
- Right Click (PC) / Control-click (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to bring up a context menu to duplicate or delete.

- Control+Alt+Drag (PC) / Command+Option+Drag (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to clone (duplicate) that adjustment.

Bug fixes:
- Catalog containing images processed with PV2003 were adding a post-crop vignette when catalog upgraded to Lightroom 5.

- Pressing the “Reset” button while holding down the Shift key caused Lightroom to exit abruptly.

- Output Sharpening and Noise Reduction were not applied to exported images that were resized to less than 1/3 of the original image size.

- Incorrect photo was selected when trying to select a photo in segmented grid in Publish Services.

- The Esc key did not exit the slideshow after right clicking screen with mouse during slideshow playing.

- Import dialog remained blank for folders that contain PNG files with XMP sidecars.

- Metadata panel displayed incorrect information after modifying published photo. Please note that this only occurred when metadata was changed after the photo was published.

Lightroom 5.2 is available for both Mac and PC platforms. Mac users will need a multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, running OS X 10.7 or later along with at least 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended) 2GB of available HDD space, and a 1024×768 resolution to install and run.

The software is available from Adobe’s website for US$79 when upgrading from an earlier version, or US$149 for new users. Those already subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service will find that the new software is included in their memberships.

If you’ve tried Lightroom 5 and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Latest Apple TV beta allows for iOS device pairing, NFC-like setup

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Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013, 07:58
Category: iOS, News, Software

It’s been proven time and time again: the beta versions show the cool stuff that’s en route.

Per 9to5Mac, the latest beta version of iOS 7 for mobile devices and Apple TV introduces a new method of pairing your iOS device’s Remote app with your Apple TV. Previously, the pairing procedure required the use of the regular infrared remote that comes with the Apple TV. The new beta allows the user to simply tap the phone on the Apple TV to connect using Bluetooth. The feature requires a Bluetooth 4.0-capable device, which means only more recent iOS devices are supported.

It’s possible that Apple is using this setup process as a testing platform to decide whether Bluetooth 4.0 could be used as a method of authorizing payments, much like NFC is used on many Android phones. While Phil Schiller noted last year that he did not believe NFC was a critical feature for the iPhone, perhaps Apple is making plans to add NFC-style features via Bluetooth instead. The company could also be considering a tap-to-share AirDrop much like the “bump” feature seen on recent Nexus devices and other Android phones.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 7 beta 4 code strings point towards forthcoming fingerprint recognition feature

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Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013, 12:44
Category: News, Software

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It’s the beta code that tells you where things are going.

Per Electronista, code strings buried in iOS 7 beta 4 suggests that one or more next-generation iOS devices will indeed have fingerprint sensors. An unused folder in the firmware, discovered by Hamza Sood, is titled “BiometricKitUI.axb.” Accompanying code strings moreover make reference to a “Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb,” a percentage completion meter for fingerprint recognition, and “a fingerprint that changes colour [sic] during the setup process.”

Apple has been expected to add a fingerprint sensor to iOS devices ever since it bought out AuthenTec last year. It was unclear if Apple would have the technology ready for this year however, and indeed Apple could simply be laying the groundwork for 2014 devices. At the same time, rumors have sometimes pointed to an iPhone 5S getting fingerprint recognition, and there would be competitive advantages.

On a basic level, the feature could let people unlock an iPhone or iPad without having to enter a passcode. It could also enable multiple user accounts however, since iOS would be able to automatically differentiate users. If Apple brings NFC to the iPhone, if might permit an upgraded Passbook app to make transactions, instead of just store coupons, tickets, and passes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iWork for iCloud beta invitations beyond developer community, asks ordinary users for feedback

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Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 06:28
Category: News, Software

It’s kind of nifty when you get an invite for something typically accessible to the developer community.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has apparently begun inviting non-developers to the online document editing program. Tipsters have stated that the company asked them to try out the services and send in feedback.

In order to try the new beta, all you have to do is sign in to iCloud on a Mac or a PC using the current version of Safari, Chrome or Internet Explorer. Then just click on Pages, Numbers, or Keynote and you’re off.


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Users that have received the invitation don’t need to visit beta.icloud.com – they can just use the regular icloud.com address.

The free status hints at the possibility of iWork for the Mac/iOS going free in the near future. The current version of iLife is included with the purchase of a new Mac, but the iWork apps are sold for US$19.99 in the Mac App Store. Going free would probably reduce the number of Office for Mac purchases, but many argue that it could lead users to expect even more free apps.

If you’ve received the beta invitation or tried iWork for iCloud out and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iOS 7 beta 3 shows improved “2x” mode on non-Retina iPads

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 08:08
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Ok, this could come in handy.

Per MacRumors, one of the more subtle changes reported in Apple’s iOS 7 beta 3 released to developers yesterday is a move to leverage the Retina assets included in iPhone-only apps to improve the viewing experience in “2x” mode on non-Retina iPads such as the iPad mini and the iPad 2.

Since the launch of the iPad, Apple has supported the use of iPhone-only apps on its tablet platform, allowing users to toggle between a “1x” mode where the app appears in an iPhone-sized window in the center of the iPad screen and a “2x” mode where pixels are doubled to allow the app to fill more of the iPad’s screen. But up until iOS 6, this 2x pixel doubling has been performed on the non-Retina iPhone versions of the apps for non-Retina iPads, expanding a 480×320 app to fill a 960×640 space on the iPad display and resulting in jagged text and blurry images.

With the advent of Retina displays on the iPhone supporting apps at 960×640, Apple moved to take advantage of those higher-quality assets to provide a better viewing experience on the iPad for those apps that do not have native iPad interfaces. Since the introduction of the third-generation iPad last year, Apple’s Retina iPads have been able to tap into the Retina assets in iPhone apps to display higher-quality 2x apps, and with iOS 7 beta 3 Apple has now brought that capability to its non-Retina tablets.

Interestingly, on the latest iOS 7 beta, users are no longer even presented with a 1x/2x toggle on non-Retina devices such as the iPad mini, and iPhone apps are instead presented simply as 2x apps taking advantage of Retina assets included in the app package. The result is a much better looking 960×640 app on the iPad’s 1024×768 screen. Retina iPads have not, however, seen any changes to their handling of iPhone apps and continue to offer the 1x/2x toggle.

Apple’s move to leverage the Retina assets in iPhone apps by default is essentially identical to the strategy used by RetinaPad, a jailbreak tweak that provided owners of non-Retina iPads with the higher-quality 2x scaling. That tweak had gained new popularity with the release of the non-Retina iPad mini late last year, but with Apple now building that support directly into iOS 7, all users will be able to take advantage of the higher-quality experience.

Apple announced back in March that as of May 1, it was requiring all app submissions and updates to support both Retina displays and the iPhone 5′s taller display, pushing developers to support Apple’s latest devices. The Retina support requirement also allows more apps to take advantage of the new 2x improvements for non-Retina iPads in iOS 7.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve gotten a chance to play with the third iOS 7 beta, please let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Beta code hints at 120 frames-per-second camera feature for iOS 7

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 06:42
Category: iOS, News, Software

This could lead to something really interesting.

Per 9to5Mac, a new camera feature referred to as “Mogul” was allegedly discovered in the third beta of iOS 7. Tests suggested that the new software feature will allow video recording of 120 frames-per-second (fps) at an unknown resolution.

The addition of 120fps video would allow a future iPhone to offer crisp detail when playing videos back in slow motion. Such functionality is popular with sports cameras such as the wearable GoPro Hero3.

While the 120fps feature remains a secret, Apple has already revealed to developers that iOS 7 will give them the ability to record 60fps video with their iPhone applications.

There are currently applications on the iOS App Store, such as SloPro, which simulate high framerates in recording. However, in iOS 6, developers are not able to capture raw video at anything greater than 30 frames per second.

The addition of 120fps video in this year’s anticipated iPhone upgrade would allow Apple to stay on par with Samsung’s latest flagship handset, the Galaxy S4. That handset also offers super-slow-motion video capture capabilities with 120fps recordings.

This year, Apple has run an ad touting the fact that the iPhone is the most used camera in the world. And last year, the company promoted the new panorama capture feature that debuted in iOS 6.

However, hints of 120fps support in iOS 7 are not necessarily proof that the feature will appear in the next iPhone. For example, elements of an unfinished panorama feature were discovered in iOS 5 in 2011, more than a year before Apple would actually add it.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.