SkyDrive OS X client pics, specs leaked, iCloud may have worthwhile competitor

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 21st, 2012, 07:10
Category: Rumor, Software

If you’re not totally enthralled with iCloud at all times, Microsoft is working to ensure that there are options.

Per Germind, Microsoft is readying a significant update to SkyDrive in Windows 8, and reportedly leaked screenshots of the revamped file syncing and cloud storage service show that a Mac OS X client could be poised to compete with Apple’s iCloud.

Also of note are paid storage options that can be purchased in 20GB, 50GB or 100GB flavors for approximately US$10, US$25 or US$50 per year, respectively.

The extra space will supplement the already copious 25GB in free storage offered by SkyDrive. In comparison, iCloud only offers 5GB of free cloud storage, however Apple’s system does not count Photo Stream, iTunes’ media, apps and iBooks against the limit.

According to Microsoft’s blog, the Metro-style cloud-based Windows 8 app will share characteristics with Dropbox in that users can sync and backup certain files automatically, though SkyDrive goes further and allows limited remote access to files not synced to the cloud. Maximum file size for remote file fetching is pegged at 2GB.

Additional shots have also leaked through liveside.net that showed SkyDrive would support file sharing through social networks like Twitter and Facebook, BitLocker recovery keys, OpenDocument files from Office Web Apps and URL shortening.

iCloud’s current file-syncing implementation is aimed mainly at iOS users who can backup device profiles and data to the cloud. Apple’s free service does support certain automatic syncing to OS X programs such as Photo Stream and a clunky Pages document syncing procedure, but the process is not as smooth as other third-party solutions.

This situation could change when OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is released this summer as many iOS features like Notification Center and iMessage will be ported to the desktop operating system, though no official word has been given regarding iCloud upgrades.

Apple has invested heavily in iCloud, and the service which was introduced alongside iOS 5 could be getting more features, as previous reports that the company offered to buy Dropbox in a failed nine figure deal point to a definite interest in automatic file storage and syncing.

The SkyDrive update is set to launch later this year with support for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 already announced.

It remains to be seen which Windows 8 SkyDrive features will be implemented in the rumored Mac client, if any, and to what extent the service will affect iCloud.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, developers granted access to preview

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

Remember how you sort-of-recently upgraded to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)?

You’re about to upgrade again this summer.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday announced Mac OS X 10.8, dubbed “Mountain Lion,” the next major release of its Mac operating system, set to launch on the Mac App Store this summer, with a preview now available for Mac developers.

A developer preview of the forthcoming operating system update was released to developers on Thursday, and Apple has boasted that Mountain Lion packs over 100 new features, including many brought from the iPad and iOS mobile operating system.

New features introduced with Mountain Lion include Messages, which replaces iChat, as well as Notes, Reminders and Game Center for the Mac. In addition, Mountain Lion will also feature Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration, and AirPlay Mirroring.

Mountain Lion will also be the first OS X release with iCloud for easy setup and integration with applications. The developer preview also includes Gatekeeper, which helps keep users safe from malicious software by giving control over what applications are installed on a Mac.

The preview of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting Thursday. Mac users will be able to buy the upgrade from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012.

An in-depth preview of Mountain Lion was provided by the mighty Jim Dalrymple at The Loop who has had his hands on a copy of Mountain Lion for the past week. He said that the latest operating system is “packed with new features that existing Mac users and iOS users will enjoy.”

“If there was a theme in Mountain Lion, I’d have to say it’s familiarity,” he wrote. “Apple brought many new features into the new operating system from IOS, so millions of users will recognize the names of the apps and features.”

Mountain Lion also features tighter integration with iCloud, connecting it with Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Messages, FaceTime, Notes, Reminders, Game Center, the Mac App Store, Documents & Data, and Bookmarks. By simply entering an iCloud user ID and password, users will have many features automatically set up for them on their new Mac.

Mountain Lion also brings Notification Center from iOS to the Mac. It can be accessed by choosing a circle button on the top right of the screen. With a gesture of two fingers sliding from the right edge, the Notification Center can be pulled from the right side of the screen.

Reminders and Notes will help users create and track to-do lists across all of their devices. And Game Center lets users personalize their Mac gaming experience, find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

AirPlay Mirroring is also coming to the Mac, allowing users to wirelessly send a secure 720p video stream of what’s on their Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV.

New Twitter integration also allows users to sign in once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview, and third-party applications. The new system-wide Share Sheets also makes it easy to share links, photos and videos directly from Apple and third-party applications.

Mountain Lion also features enhanced support for Chinese users, including the option to select Baidu search in Safari. It also sports “significant enhancements” to the Chinese input method, Apple said, along with connectivity for Contacts, Mail and Calendar through top e-mail service providers QQ, 126 and 163, and Share Sheets connectivity with Youku and Toudou.

For developers, there are hundreds of new APIs that allow access to core technologies and enhanced features in OS X. The new Game Kit APIs tap into the same services as Game Center on iOS, allowing developers to create cross-platform multiplayer games for iOS and Mac. There’s also a new graphics infrastructure underpinning OpenGL and OpenCL and implementing GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, making it easier to create OpenGL apps.

Also found in Mountain Lion are enhanced multi-touch APIs that give developers double-tap zoom support and access to the system-wide lookup gesture. Additionally, kernel ASLR improves security through enhanced migration against buffer overflow attacks.

Pricing on Mountain Lion has not yet been announced, but the new operating system will only be available via the Mac App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the developer preview, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple releases AirPort Utility 6.0, AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule Firmware Update 7.6.1

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 31st, 2012, 04:25
Category: News, Software


Airportlogo.png

You can’t knock a networking update.

Late Monday, Apple released AirPort Utility 6.0 and its AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule 7.6.1 firmware updates. The updates, which are available for all 802.11n AirPort Express, 802.11n AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models, fix an issue with wireless performance and provides support for remote access to an AirPort disk or a Time Capsule hard drive with an iCloud account.

The AirPort Utility 6.0 update can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature while the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule 7.6.1 firmware update can be snagged via AirPort Utility.

The updates require Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later to install and run.

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

Shareware solutions available to help resolve iCloud syncing bug

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012, 09:10
Category: iCloud, News, Software

There are various quotes about labor pains.

And they tend to be pretty darn valid.

Over on the New Jersey end of things, PowerPage head honcho has noticed something you may have seen with your iOS device: despite being hooked into the iCloud, normal bookmarks are having literally thousands of duplicates appear in the Bookmarks Bar and Bookmarks Menu folder. The issue has been noticed over on the Apple boards and to this end, El Jason has penned a good piece as to workarounds, shareware solution and the like over on the Apple Core.

Head on over, take a gander and if you’ve seen this issue on your end or found your own fixes or workarounds, please let us know in the comments.

Apple reports $46.33 billion in sales, $13.06 billion profit for Q1 2012

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, 16:37
Category: Finance, News

applelogo_silver

You just can’t ignore a US$13.06 billion profit.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday reported that it tallied US$46.33 billion in sales and US$13.06 billion in profit for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31.

Both the revenue and profit figures were quarterly records for Apple and blew away the numbers recorded in the year-ago quarter. Sales rose 73 percent from last year’s figure of US$26.74 billion; profits more than doubled from the US$6 billion earned in the fiscal first quarter of 2011.

Apple earned US$13.87 per share for the just-completed quarter, up 116 percent from last year. That handily beat consensus analyst estimates of US$10.08 per share. Analysts were expecting Apple’s sales to come in at US$38.85 billion.

“We are very proud of these results and extremely pleased with the momentum of our business,” Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts during a conference call to discuss the company’s results. Noting the record sales across three of its major product offerings, Oppenheimer hailed what he called the “strongest product lineup in Apple’s history.”

Apple’s strong performance during the quarter comes with a minor caveat. To align the fiscal first quarter with the end of the calendar year, Apple’s quarter ran 14 weeks—that’s an extra week over the typical fiscal quarter.

The company sold 37.04 million phones during a quarter which saw the release of the iPhone 4S. That’s a 128 percent jump from the iPhones sold during the year-ago quarter, and it tops the previous record for iPhone sales of 20.34 million units sold during 2011’s third quarter.

Apple reported US$24.4 billion in recognized revenue from its iPhone product line, up from US$10.5 billion in the year ago. While Apple doesn’t break out sales by model, Cook noted that the 4S was the most popular of the smartphones sold by Apple. (The company also sells a US$99 iPhone 4 and offers a free iPhone 3GS with a two-year service agreement.)

The iPad also enjoyed record sales during the quarter, with Apple selling 15.4 million tablets. That’s an increase of nearly 111 percent from the 7.3 million iPads sold during the year-ago quater.

Recognized revenue from the iPad line jumped 99 percent to US$9.1 billion, up from US$4.6 billion in last year’s quarter.

Since releasing its first iPad a little less than two years ago, Apple has sold 55 million tablets, according to Cook.

Looking at all products that run the iOS mobile operating system, Apple says it’s sold 315 million cumulative iOS devices, with 62 million of those devices being sold in the just-completed quarter.

One of those iOS devices—the iPod touch—accounted for more than half of the iPods sold by Apple during the holiday season. That’s a bright spot in the otherwise stagnant iPod segment—sales dipped 21 percent for the quarter to 15.4 million units.

Still, Apple says that the iPod still continues to command a 70 percent share of the MP3 player market, and its music player remains the top-selling device in most of the countries the company monitors.

Apple completed its hat trick of product line records by selling more Macs during the first quarter than in any previous quarter. The company says it sold 5.2 million Macs, a 26 percent increase from the year-ago quarter. Oppenheimer said the growth was driven by strong MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac sales

Sales of both desktops and laptop topped quarterly records as well, though laptops continue to drive the company’s Mac business. Apple sold 3.7 million portables during the quarter, nearly 72 percent of the total Macs sold.

The strong Mac sales come at a time when the rest of the PC industry is struggling with stagnant growth. Oppenheimer noted that research firm IDC forecasted a flat growth rate for the quarter—a figure that Apple easily outpaced. It’s the 20th consecutive quarter that Apple’s Mac business had outgrown the overall PC market.

In fact, Apple outgrew the PC market in each of the geographic regions it does business. Growth was particularly strong in the Asia Pacific region, where Mac sales grew 58 percent.

On the retail front, Apple’s 361 stores brought in US$6.1 billion in revenue for the quarter, up from US$3.85 billion last year. The stores reported strong year-over-year growth across all product lines—Apple sold 1.1 million Macs through its retail stores, for example, with half of those going to customers new to the platform. Average store revenue rose from US$12 million last year to US$17.1 million.

Apple says 110 million people visited its stores during the holiday quarter, an increase of 45 percent from last year. That works out to a weekly average of 22,000 visitors per store. Oppenheimer credited two initiatives—Apple’s EasyPay self-checkout process and Personal Pickup, where customers shop online and pick up products at the store of their choice.

Apple opened four stores during the quarter—one in New York’s Grand Central station and the other three in Europe. Oppenheimer usually provides an estimate of planned store openings for the coming quarter, but that was absent this time around. In September, Apple said it would open 40 new stores in 2012 with three-quarters of those slated for outside the
U.S.

Apple ended its first quarter with US$97.6 billion in cash, up from US$81.6 billion at the end of the September quarter. Oppenheimer said that Apple was “actively discussing uses of our cash balance,” but added that there was nothing to share at this time.

Looking ahead to the second quarter ending in March, Oppenheimer told analysts to expect $32.5 billion in revenue and earnings per share of US$8.50. That compares to revenue of US$24.67 billion and earnings of US$6.40 a share in the 2011 second quarter. Analysts are looking for earnings of US$8.03 a share on sales of US$32.04 billion.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.7.3 build 11D46 to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 11:21
Category: News, Software

Hold your horses, Mac OS X 10.7.3 will get here eventually.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has released build 11D46 of its anticipated Mac OS X 10.7.3 update. The build, a 1.2 GB combo update / 989 MB delta update, focuses on iCloud document storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari.

The last seed was released a week ago. Apple released Mac OS X 10.7.2 to the general public in October, which added iCloud support.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the build, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Intego warns of new, detailed phishing scam aimed at Apple’s user base

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 28th, 2011, 05:02
Category: News, security

applelogo_silver

There’s a few things you can count on: death, taxes and various groups of wanders trying to get personal information from you via scams and phishing efforts.

Per AppleInsider, security firms have issued warnings regarding a new “well-crafted” phishing scam that attempts to fool customers into providing their AppleID billing information.

Intego posted an alert on the scam earlier this week, noting that the first emails appeared to have gone out on or around Christmas day. The phishing email purports to come from “appleid@id.apple.com” and informs recipients that their billing information records are “out of date.”

Customers are directed to click on a link to http://store.apple.com, but they are instead redirected to a “realistic-looking sign-in page,” according to the security firm’s report.

Though phishing scams targeting Apple customers are by no means new, this particular scam has attracted attention because it is unusually detailed in its efforts to deceive. The email makes use of the Apple logo and shading and employs better formatting than similar frauds in the past.

As a precautionary measure, users should remember not to click directly on links from email messages and instead navigate to the website in question on their own.

In August, scammers set out to trick Apple’s MobileMe subscribers into upgrading to the then-forthcoming iCloud service. Around the Thanksgiving holiday, another scam cropped up falsely advertising an iTunes gift certificate that was actually malware meant to pilfer passwords and other personal information.

Mac users were also the target of an elaborate hoax involving fake anti-virus software, usually dubbed MacDefender, earlier this year. The application would automatically download itself onto users’ computers in an attempt to obtain their credit card information. Russian police later found evidence tying the scam to online payment service Chronopay.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases updated Mac OS X 10.7.3 beta to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 05:37
Category: News, Software

Apple on Tuesday issued a new beta version of Mac OS X 10.7.3, labeled build 11D36, to developers for testing.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with Apple’s seed notes for the release, focus areas for the beta include iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari. The build was reportedly seeded with no known issues.

The combo update is a 1.25GB download, while the delta version weighs 986.68MB.

Developer releases of Mac OS X 10.7.3 have come fairly regularly in recent weeks, with the previous build, labeled 11D33, arriving on Dec. 15. Apple began testing the update in mid-November.

Earlier this month, beta drivers for AMD’s next-generation graphics cards were discovered in a beta build of the update. AMD’s new cards, which are expected to arrive on the market in the first quarter of 2012, could power a future iteration of the Mac Pro, though Apple is believed to be debating whether to continue making its full-sized workstation line.

Apple released OS X 10.7.2 in October, adding iCloud support to the desktop OS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5.1 beta 2, incorporates Photo Stream fix

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011, 12:18
Category: iPhone, News, Software

It’s the betas that make life interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday provided developers with a second beta of iOS 5.1, with the latest update granting the ability to delete individual photos synced to the iCloud Photo Stream feature.

The latest beta is now available to members of the iOS developer program. Sources familiar with beta 2 said one of the newest additions automatically deletes pictures from Photo Stream when they are deleted from the iPhone.

Currently, pictures taken on an iOS device are automatically synced with the Photo Stream feature of Apple’s iCloud. But if a user deletes a picture from their iPhone, it is not removed from iCloud. Instead, users must unsync their entire photo library in order to remove an uploaded photo.

Those same people said that the latest beta of iOS 5.1 is known as build 9B5127c. Some issues do reportedly remain with the pre-release software, including freezes related to Setup Assistant and the shake-to-shuffle feature in the iOS music player.

iOS 5.1 beta 2 is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch and stands as an 801MB download. A new beta firmware for the Apple TV was also issued Monday, and allows developers to test iOS 5.1 applications with AirPlay on the set-top box.

The first beta of iOS 5.1 was provided to developers in late November. It included references to a next-generation iPhone, labeled “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2″ and “iPad3,3.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Aperture 3.2.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 14:37
Category: News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released version 3.2.2 of Aperture, its pro-grade image editing application. The new version, a 635 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Addresses compatibility with iCloud and iOS 5.

- Resolves an issue that could cause the “Loading” indicator to reappear in the Viewer when cropping a photo.

- Aperture now automatically relaunches into Full Screen mode if the application was in.

- Full Screen mode when last quit.

- Pinch-to-zoom gesture now automatically activates Zoom mode in the Viewer.

- Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in the Viewer.

- Microsoft Outlook can now be chosen in Preferences as the application used by Aperture for emailing photos.

- Fixes a problem that could cause Aperture, running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to quit unexpectedly when using brushes to apply adjustments.

- Loupe now correctly displays magnification levels between 50-100%.

- Fixes an issue that could cause Aperture, running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to display the incorrect color profile on externally edited images.

- Import window now includes an option to delete photos from iPhone and iPad after they have been imported into Aperture.

- The Lift & Stamp tool now displays the correct cursor icons when being used in Split View and Viewer only modes.

Aperture retails for US$199 and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run. If you have Aperture 3.0 installed, the most recent version can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’re tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know via the comments.