Rumor: Apple prepping iOS 6.1 beta, build expected to go Golden Master

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Date: Monday, January 14th, 2013, 07:51
Category: iOS, News, Software

Just the term, “golden master”, it pretty much sounds awesome.

Per German web site iFun, Apple is said to be internally testing a new beta of iOS 6.1 that is expected to be the golden master build, suggesting the software is nearly ready to be released to the public.

Citing a “reliable source,” the web site reported Friday that the fifth beta of iOS 6.1 is about to be released to developers. The software is said to have gone through “extensive internal testing,” and if all goes well it will be the golden master of the software.

The software is expected to be released to developers either on Friday or potentially on Monday.

Apple began supplying beta builds of iOS 6.1 to its development community in early November. To date, there have been four betas seeded, the most recent arriving in mid-December.

Changes in iOS 6.1 are mostly minor, with the most significant user-facing additions including the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri, and a new prompt that asks users to enter security questions for iCloud when setting up their device for the first time.

For developers, iOS 6.1 includes an enhanced Map Kit framework that will allow third-party applications to search for map-based addresses based on points of interest. For example, a user could search the term “coffee” and the new framework would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.

iOS 6.1 builds released to date have been compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS; fourth-, third-, and second-generation iPad; iPad mini; and fifth-and fourth-generation iPod touch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 6 security bug in wild, reenables JavaScript under Safari without input from user

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Date: Monday, December 24th, 2012, 08:57
Category: News, security, Software

This is the reason bug fixes were invented.

Per AppleInsider the Safari web browser in Apple’s iOS 6 platform has a potentially serious JavaScript bug that could have major security and privacy implications.

The new “Smart App Banner” feature in iOS 6 is designed to allow developers the ability to promote App Store software within Safari. The Smart App Banner detects whether a user has a specific application installed, and invites them to view the software on the App Store or open it on their iOS device.

But for users who choose to turn off JavaScript in the Safari Web browser, the appearance of a Smart App Banner on a website will automatically and permanently turn JavaScript back on without notifying the user.

iOS device owners can test this issue by opening the Settings application and choosing Safari, then turning off JavaScript. Then simply launch the Safari browser and visit a website with a Smart App Banner.

Users can then go back into the Settings application to verify that the JavaScript setting switch has been flipped back to the “on” position without warning. Accordingly, JavaScript features on websites will begin working again.

The issue has reportedly existed since the release of iOS 6 months ago, though it has not been widely reported. In addition, people familiar with the latest beta of iOS 6.1 said the problem also remains in Apple’s pre-release test software on the iPhone.

Peter Eckersley, technology products director with digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he would characterize such an issue as a “serious privacy and security vulnerability.”

Neither Eckersley nor the EFF had heard of the bug in iOS 6, nor had they independently tested to confirm that they were able to replicate the issue. But Eckersley said that if the problem is in fact real, it’s something that Apple should work to address as quickly as possible.

“It is a security issue, it is a privacy issue, and it is a trust issue,” Eckersley said. “Can you trust the UI to do what you told it to do? It’s certainly a bug that needs to be fixed urgently.”

But Lysa Myers, a virus hunter at security firm Intego, said she doesn’t see the bug as a major concern for the vast majority of iOS device owners.

“While this issue is certainly not an ideal situation, by itself it actually isn’t that large a problem,” said Myers. “At the moment it doesn’t pose a threat, but we’ll continue to monitor it to make sure it doesn’t become more exploitable. There’s also the fact that few people actually disable JavaScript completely as it can partially, or totally, disable the majority of websites.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple seeds updated OS X 10.8.3 build, focuses on Software Update notification for pre-release builds, other changes

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Date: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012, 08:12
Category: News, Software

It’s hard to knock a beta that’s making the rounds.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday seeded a fresh OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion beta to developers and Apple Seed participants, asking testers to focus on AirPlay, Graphics Drivers and other areas while further detailing the new Software Update feature for pre-release builds.

According to people familiar with build 12D43, the software contains no known issues and the focus areas remain unchanged from the last beta seeded earlier this month.

With the previous build, dubbed 12D38, Apple introduced a new beta installation feature that allows participants to download and install new seeds through the Mac App Store. The company explained the option further in the Tuesday’s release, saying that users will be alerted via OS X notification when new seeds are available, much like consumer versions of the operating system.

In order for developers to take advantage of the Mac App Store tool, they must download and install the “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility,” which grants Software Update access to pre-release builds. Users can also opt out of the Software Update mechanism if they so choose.

Other than the detailed information regarding the seed configuration utility, build 12D43 has no known issues and developers have been tasked with focusing on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers and Safari.

If you’ve gotten a chance to try the new build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Earth updated to 7.0.2.8415

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Date: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012, 08:13
Category: News, Software

googleearth.gif

On Tuesday, software giant Google released version 7.0.2.8415 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 40.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

What’s New:
- We have included substantial performance improvements to this build. You should see scenes load more rapidly than in our previous public Beta release.

- We have included minor tweaks to the Tour Guide UI.

Issues fixed in this release:
- We fixed the bug that prevented users from recording movies from saved tours.

- Wikipedia text displays in tours.

- Gray buildings and extruded polygons have improved lighting effects.

- Imagery holes no longer appear after sun has been turned on in DirectX on certain hardware configurations.

- Icons align correctly upon installation of .dmg.

Known issues in Google Earth 7:
- When run in DirectX mode on certain Radeon graphics cards on Windows, SketchUp models and extruded polygons will appear gray. To work around this issue, run Earth in OpenGL mode.

- When run in OpenGL mode on certain Intel graphics cards, SketchUp models and extruded polygons will appear gray. To work around this issue, run Earth in DirectX mode.

- Clamped Polygons and Image Overlays display multiple instances in 3D cities on certain hardware configurations.

- KML overlays don’t render correctly in 3D cities in DX on certain hardware configurations.

- Water surfaces around coastlines will flicker then resolve upon zoom.

- Placemark and linestring quality diminishes in the Plugin with browser refresh. To workaround, zoom closely into the KML you want to view.

- Terrain and Water Surface oddities exist at the antimeridian.

Google Earth 7.0.2.8415 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

OnyX 2.6.5 beta 2 released, now available to public

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Date: Monday, December 10th, 2012, 07:48
Category: News, Software

onyxicon

OnyX, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.6.5 beta 2. The new beta, a 16.5 megabyte download via MacUpdate, adds the following fixes and changes:

- New application developed in AppleScriptObjC now.

OnyX 2.6.5 beta 2 requires an Intel-based processor and OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases third iOS 6.1 beta to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012, 08:01
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, News, Software

This could lead to some cool stuff.

Per AppleInsider, developers on Monday were provided with the third pre-release beta of iOS 6.1, Apple’s forthcoming software update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The update is available through Software Update in the iOS Settings application. People familiar with the software said it is identified as build “10B5117b.” It arrives three weeks after the second beta was issued.

One person testing the software stated that users are now asked to enter security questions for iCloud once their device boots up. This feature was not in previous betas of iOS 6.1.

The iOS 6.1 beta is compatible with the fourth-, third- and second-generation iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and the fifth- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Apple informed developers that the beta “contains bug fixes and improvements.”

Earlier betas of iOS 6.1 added the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri.

The first two betas of iOS 6.1 also featured an enhanced Map Kit framework that will allow developers to search for map-based addresses in points of interest. In one example provided to developers, users could search the term “coffee,” and the system would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.

If you’ve managed to get your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments. Otherwise, stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases first OS X 10.8.3 beta, inclusion of AMD Radeon 7000 drivers hints at next-gen Mac Pro

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Date: Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, 07:31
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News, Software

This could turn into something really interesting.

Per Netkas.org, Apple’s first beta of OS X 10.8.3 has quietly added support for the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series of graphics cards, hinting that they could be featured in the company’s designed Mac Pro desktop.

Support for the AMD Radeon HD 7XXX series was discovered by Netkas.org this week, following the launch of the first beta of OS X 10.8.3. Specifically, the Mac operating system supports the Radeon HD 7900 series, codenamed “Tahiti,” which includes the Radeon HD 7970 and 7950.

Both of those cards feature 3 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory, and are based on a 28-nanometer chip manufacturing process. The cards are the first products to feature AMD’s “Graphics Core Next” compute architecture.

Support for the dedicated desktop graphics card series could signal that AMD’s latest GPUs may be headed for an updated Mac Pro. Apple’s lone tower computer was quietly updated in June with a modest speed bump featuring a two-year-old Intel Xeon E5645 chip.

After users expressed frustration over that update, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook quickly confirmed that his company was working on an overhaul of the Mac Pro. He indicated that the updated desktop would be released sometime in 2013.

“Don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for next year,” Cook said to a customer in an e-mail.

Signs of a sixth-generation Mac Pro appeared in internal configuration files found in the Mountain Lion operating system earlier this year. The “MP60″ is expected to be a significant overhaul of the current Mac Pro model, which has had the same basic aluminum box design introduced for the 2005 PowerMac G5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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.