Apple to seed OS X 10.8.3 beta to developers for week of November 26th

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Date: Tuesday, November 20th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

Look, let’s face facts: it’s Thanksgiving week, which leads into a four day weekend that’s only preceded by gluttony.

In short, this week’s kind of a lost cause and you’re more likely to get stuff done NEXT week.

Per AppleInsider, in a note to developers on Friday, Apple revealed that it will be seeding one of the first beta builds of OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion sometime after Nov. 26.

Sources close to the story stated that the email was sent out to members of AppleSeed, the group of developers selected to test Apple’s next Mac update, and said the invites the company sent out last month were “too early.”

From the email:
“Thanks for accepting our invitation to test OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3. The invites were sent out a little too early! We are working hard to provide you with a seed build soon, but we wanted to let you know that you have not missed any seed announcements. Please enjoy the USA Thanksgiving holiday! The Seed Team will be enjoying a break as well. Look for more information about the 10.8.3 seed during the week of November 26th.”

AppleSeed participants began receiving invites on Oct. 31, signaling that a beta for the next version of Mountain Lion was nearing completion. In the past, AppleSeed members have receive builds of new Mac versions alongside registered OS X developers.

The most recent Mountain Lion update came in September when OS X 10.8.2 was released, bringing system-wide Facebook integration and other features.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Public Radio Exchange Labs locates multiple-download bug in iOS 6.0.0, says bug may be responsible for data overages

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Date: Thursday, November 15th, 2012, 07:17
Category: iPhone, News, Software

There’s a reason bug fixes exist and this might be one of them…

According to the Public Radio Exchange Labs, a system-wide bug in Apple’s iOS 6.0.0 AV Foundation framework has been found to trigger multiple downloads of streaming media, such as podcasts, over Wi-Fi and cellular networks that could lead to massive data bills.

The flaw was discovered by Public Radio Exchange Labs, the host of popular podcasts such as This American Life and The Moth, after researching a curiously high spike in download traffic. According to PRX, there is an issue in iOS 6 Audio Playback frameworks that results in files being downloaded multiple times, however the problem has apparently been resolved in iOS 6.0.1 and 6.1 beta.

First tipped off by This American Life, which complained of unusually high content delivery network (CDN) bills, PRX thought that the “rather extreme” spike in bandwidth was due to Apple’s release of its Podcasts app. Following a series of tests that compared transfer activity in iOS 6 with iOS 5, it was determined that audio files were being downloaded multiple times due to errors in the new operating system’s code.

“The player appears to get into a state where it makes multiple requests per second and closes them rapidly,” PRX wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Because the ranges of these requests seem to overlap and the requests themselves each carry some overhead, this causes a single download of an MP3 to use significantly more bandwidth than in iOS 5. In one case, the playback of a single 30MB episode caused the transfer of over 100MB of data.”

Not only does the bug affect Apple’s first-party Podcasts app, but third-party titles as well, indicating that the underlying issue is system-wide.

It is unknown what exactly triggers the re-downloading of content, though it appears the timing is variable as the PRX test saw normal content downloads lasting for up to five minutes. What is consistent, however, is the activity seen when a file has completely downloaded. The tests show that once a file has finished downloading, the AV player restarts the download from the beginning and continues to do so as long as a user is streaming the file.

As seen in the video below, which shows the HTTP activity of the Podcasts app on iOS 6, the system sends multiple rapid requests even after buffering is complete and the file is downloaded.

PRX speculates the bug could be the cause of recent complaints regarding trouble with iPhone 5 data overages, with subscribers from various carriers claiming the handset was using cellular data despite being connected to Wi-Fi.

Because iOS 6.0.1 appears to have fixed the error, it is recommended that users running iOS 6.0 upgrade to the latest version to avoid incurring unintended and costly data charges.

If you’ve seen this bug on your end, please let us know.

And, well, take the time to update to iOS 6.0.1 today. It tends to be worth it.

Apple releases updated iOS 6.1 beta, Apple TV beta and Xcode 4.6 preview to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, November 13th, 2012, 07:08
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, Software

The iOS updates, they’re en route…

Per AppleInsider, a new build of iOS 6.1 was provided to developers on Monday, less than two weeks after the first beta was issued, along with a new preview of Xcode 4.6, and new beta software for the Apple TV.

Sources familiar with the second beta of iOS 6.1 indicated it is known as build 10B510c. It’s compatible with the fourth-, third- and second-generation iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 3GS, and fifth- and fourth-generation iPod touch.

The second beta of iOS 6.1 arrived Monday alongside a new Xcode 4.6 Developer Preview 2, said to be known as build 4H95e, as well as a new beta software release for the Apple TV set-top box.

As with the previous beta of iOS 6.1, the latest build enhances the Map Kit framework in iOS, allowing developers to search for map-based addresses and points of interest.

In one example provided to developers, users could search the string “coffee,” and it would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.

Relevance behavior rules have also changed with Passbook iOS 6.1 for boarding passes with both a date and location. Developers are encouraged to provide both piece of information, when appropriate, to make boarding passes relevant for a longer window of time.

Because it is beta software, a number of known issues remain with iOS 6.1. For example, Apple has notified developers that when browsing for TV shows in iTunes Store, options to view content by networks, genres and Genius recommendations are not available.

Sources who tested the first beta of iOS 6.1 indicated that the software was relatively stable, aside from some crashing issues that were present when using the camera’s panorama mode.

The last update to iOS arrived in the form of software version 6.0.1 earlier this month. It addressed a number of minor bugs with the software, including screen distortion, issues with the camera flash, and problems with Exchange.

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

Dropbox 1.5.46 beta goes live, now available for download

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Date: Thursday, November 8th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a decent public beta.

On Wednesday, Dropbox released a public beta of version 1.5.46 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 24.5 megabyte download, which adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed Web Login opening an HTML editor instead of a Browser in OS X.

- Other small fixes.

Dropbox 1.5.46 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iOS 6.1 beta, updated Xcode beta to developers, looks to improve iOS Maps application functionality

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Date: Friday, November 2nd, 2012, 07:22
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, Software

It’s time to sort out this iOS Maps snafu in a major way.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday provided developers with a prerelease version of its forthcoming iOS 6.1 update, featuring improvements to its Maps application programming interface, and also issued a beta of Xcode 4.6.

Both iOS 6.1 and Xcode 4.6 are now available to download from Apple’s developer website. People familiar with the first iOS 6.1 beta indicated it is identified as “Build 10B5095f.”

The iOS 6.1 beta is available for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS; fourth-, third- and second-generation iPads; and the fifth- and fourth-generation iPod touch.

Beta versions of iOS 6.1 compatible with the iPad mini and new fourth-generation iPad, which will become publicly available tomorrow, are not said to be offered on Apple’s developer website.

The only major new addition to iOS 6.1 is said to be “Map Kit Searches” as part of the “Map Kit” framework. It now lets developers search for map-based addresses and points of interest.

A new class labeled “MKLocalSearch” is also said to offer map-based content using a natural language string. This will allow users to enter place name information or portions of an address to return relevant information.

In one example provided to developers, users could search the string “coffee,” and it would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.

The new Xcode 4.6 beta is reportedly labeled as “Build 4H90b,” and it includes the iOS 6.1 beta SDK, along with Mac OS X 10.8 SDK. The pre-release version of Xcode includes the Xcode IDE, iOS simulator, and all required tools and frameworks for building OS X and iOS applications.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new development tools and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Dropbox 1.5.42 beta goes live, now available for download

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Date: Tuesday, October 30th, 2012, 07:39
Category: News, Software

If you’re feeling a little brave today, this might come in handy.

On Tuesday, Dropbox released a public beta of version 1.5.42 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 25.7 megabyte download, which adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fix web login not opening a browser.

- Other small fixes.

Dropbox 1.5.42 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

Opera 12.10.1615 public beta goes live, now available for download

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Date: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012, 07:17
Category: News, Software

operalogo

Late Tuesday, Opera Software released a public beta of version 12.10.1615 of its web browser. The new version, a 20.1 megabyte download via MacUpdate, boasts the following fixes and changes:
- Extensions, improved

Several new and improved APIs are included in this version of Opera including:
- API for URL filtering

- Context Menu API

- Screenshots API

- Resource Loader API

- High-resolution Display Support: Improved support for all high-resolution displays, including Apple’s new Retina Displays is included in this beta.

Web Specifications Support:
- Opera 12.10 beta will include changes in the Opera Presto 2.12 engine up to core-integration-point 388.

- SPDY: Support for the SPDY (“Speedy”) network standard is included in Opera 12.10 beta. SPDY was designed to cut down the time it takes for a webpage to load, while reducing some of the security risks posed by HTTP.

- CSS3 Gradients, Transitions, Animations, and Transforms: All members of these specifications are now available without the -o- prefix and have been updated to the latest published versions.

- CSS Site Compatibility: To improve site compatibility and interoperability, Opera 12.10 beta also introduces aliasing for a selection of prefixed CSS properties.

- Fullscreen API: Fullscreen API support has been implemented and fully supports Draft 7 of the Fullscreen API specification.

- Page Visibility API: Basic support for the Page Visibility API specification has been added, including support for visible and hidden.

- WebSockets: Support for WebSockets has been updated in Opera 12.10 beta and is now enabled by default.

- ICC Profiles: International Color Consortium profile support has been added, ensuring images look as the author intended.

Improvements:
- Display and Scripting.

- Add onpaste to document.

- Add an href attribute to the widget element in config.xml.

Fixes and Changes:
- The OS X version of Opera has been reverted to in-process plugins while stability issues stemming from the out-of-process plugin system are investigated and resolved.

Opera 12.10.1615 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Skype 5.11.0.33 public beta released

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Date: Friday, September 14th, 2012, 07:41
Category: News, Software

skypelogo.jpg

Late Thursday, Skype released a public beta (version 5.11.0.33) of its VoIP application. The new version, a 31.7 megabyte download via MacUpdate, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Sharing Instant Messages with friends on Messenger. You can now sign in with your Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID), and see presence as well as send and receive IM messages from your friends who are using Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail or Outlook.com.

- Improved Facebook integration. You can now sign in directly with your Facebook account, without needing to first create a Skype account.

- Different conversations can now be opened in separate windows by selecting this option in Preferences (General -> Open conversation in new window when I double-click in the sidebar).

- Link Microsoft and Facebook accounts to a Skype account. If you sign in with a Microsoft or Facebook account you will be offered the option to link your Skype account. If you choose the link option then Skype will display a combined list of friends. This is an area we are still working through so please let us know about your experience.

Skype 5.11.0.33 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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

Initial tests show forthcoming OS X 10.8.2 update may help resolve battery life issues

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Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 06:30
Category: News, Software

They may not be scientific tests, but they prove a point.

Per the intensely cool cats at The Mac Observer, a set of tests published on Monday claim to show significant a boost in MacBook battery life using a new developer build of OS X Mountain Lion, with the latest beta showing an 85-minute increase from the current 10.8.1.

The unscientific test from The Mac Observer pitted numerous revisions of OS X, from 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.8.2 Mountain Lion developer build 12C35, against each other to determine how the operating system effects battery life.

The test used a 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro running a 2.0 GHz i7 processor with 8 GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 6490M GPU and two internal hard drives, an OCZ Vertex 4 64 GB SSD and a Seagate Momentus 750 GB HDD.

Each operating system was tested at full charge, with all applications and services disabled save for Wi-Fi, screen adjusted to 50 percent brightness with display set for continuous use and screen saver disabled. A moderate workflow was simulated using a custom Automator application, which repeated until the battery was fully drained.

Using OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard as a baseline, the compiled test data showed a significant hit to battery performance with the introductions of 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion. Upon release, Lion lost over 40 minutes of battery life and took three revisions to regain Snow Leopard power efficiency. In contrast, Mountain Lion saw a huge 105 minute loss in battery performance when it was released in July, with the latest 10.8.1 version moving the OS only 30 minutes closer to baseline.

With OS X 10.8.2, however, battery life is not just brought back in line with Snow Leopard levels, but the OS actually outperforms its predecessor by eight minutes. This marks an 88.5 minute savings in power consumption from the most recent 10.8.1 version of Mountain Lion.

It was previously reported that Apple’s Mountain Lion was causing battery life issues for many users, with some MacBook Air owners seeing their batteries lasting half as long as when OS X 10.7 Lion was installed. Subsequent tests of the latest public version of OS X, Mountain Lion 10.8.1, showed Apple engineers were working on a fix as battery life was substantially improved. If Monday’s tests are accurate, OS X 10.8.2 will bring further battery life improvements, perhaps besting even the legacy OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

While the final public version of OS X 10.8.2 may not boast power savings identical to the home-brew test, the developer builds are promising and show Apple is taking an aggressive stance in solving the battery degradation issues seen at Mountain Lion’s launch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the current OS X 10.8.2 beta and have any feedback about battery life under the forthcoming operating system revision, please let us know in the comments.

Airlines may be preparing Passbook support ahead of iOS 6 debut

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Date: Friday, September 7th, 2012, 06:02
Category: iPhone, News, Software

No one quite knows how Apple’s upcoming Passbook feature will work in iOS 6, but it looks like the airlines are getting ready for it.

According to the Australian Business Traveler, a report on Thursday claims a Virgin Australia passenger using an iPhone running iOS 6 beta was prompted to save a digital boarding pass to Passbook, hinting that air carriers are readying support for Apple’s forthcoming organization app for coupons, membership and other barcode-based assets.

The passenger checked in to a flight using the airline’s mobile website on his iPhone, which recognized the digital boarding pass from Safari and displayed a prompt asking whether he wanted to add the digital ticket to Passbook, suggesting that Virgin Australia’s mobile site is employing Apple’s new “.pkpass” mime type.

The file type, which allows the Safari web browser and email clients to recognize boarding passes to be sent to Passbook for processing and storage, has been available to developers for some time, though before Thursday there was little evidence of a major airline using the feature.

Currently, only United Airlines has officially signed on to support the upcoming iOS 6 feature, however other carriers are sure to follow suit as many already offer barcode-based digital ticketing.

It is unclear if the traveller was able to board the plane using Passbook, however, as company protocol may not allow for the unreleased system.

Passbook is slated to debut alongside a list of new features when iOS 6 launches this fall. Apple this week sent out invitations to a Sept. 12 special event all but confirming the unveiling of its next-generation iPhone, which will run the new mobile operating system.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.