Apple releases iBooks 3.1.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, August 21st, 2013, 09:58
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t kvetch about this kind of update.

Late Tuesday, Apple released version 3.1.1 of its iBooks update for its iOS reader program.

The new version, a 41 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- This version of iBooks improves compatibility with iOS and iCloud.

iBooks 3.1.1 requires a compatible iOS device and iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases iTunes 11.0.5 update

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Date: Monday, August 19th, 2013, 06:22
Category: News, Software

You can’t really argue against a substantial iTunes bug fix.

Late Friday, Apple released version 11.0.5 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 196.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Corrected an issue with iTunes in the Cloud, where some purchases may download or play unexpected items.

iTunes 11.0.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 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 Mavericks Developer Preview 5, OS X 10.8.5 build 12F33 to developer community

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Date: Thursday, August 8th, 2013, 06:14
Category: News, Software

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Mavericks is coming that much closer to fruition and bringing iBooks for the Mac with it.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday released the latest beta versions of OS X 10.9 Mavericks, allowing developers for the first time to test its iBooks software for Mac.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks Developer Preview 5 comes a little over two weeks after the fourth preview was made available at the end of July. Due to an eight-day downtime after Apple’s Developer Center was affected by an intruder, the timing of the latest Mavericks release is slightly off from the two-week cycle Apple had kept until Developer Preview 4.

Notable in the latest preview is the inclusion of iBooks for OS X, which was announced at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Like Apple Maps, iBooks will make the crossover from iOS to OS X when Mavericks launches this fall.

As with previous version of Mavericks, Developer Preview 5 contains minor backend changes. Release notes from a previous Developer Preview suggested changes were made to bring support for iCloud Keychain.

Apple’s maintenance update for the current OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion, dubbed build 12F33, comes with no known issues and once again requests developers focus on graphics, Wi-Fi and wake from sleep functionality. Prior to the temporary Dev Center shutdown, Apple was releasing builds of 10.8.5 on a weekly basis.

Both Mavericks and the Mountain Lion update are slated to launch this fall.

Apple releases Q3 2013 numbers, cites $35.3 billion in revenue, $6.9 billion profit

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Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 06:17
Category: Finance, News, retail

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There wasn’t massive growth, but the numbers were still good.

Per Macworld, Apple reported sales of US$35.3 billion, with net profit at US$6.9 billion for its third fiscal quarter. That translated to earnings of US$7.47 per diluted share. Apple’s revenue marked a record for the June quarter, ticking up 1 percent from the $35 billion Apple posted in last year’s third quarter. Still, profits fell 22 percent year-over-year, down from US$8.88 billion in 2012. Apple also reported a drop in profit during its fiscal second quarter of 2013.

With a tiny increase in revenue but a drop in profit, you’d rightly conclude that Apple’s gross margin dropped: For the quarter, it was 36.9 percent, versus 42.8 percent on the year-ago quarter. That’s because Apple’s most popular products now have lower margins than the top-sellers a year ago.

The company also says it has issued US$18.8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and buybacks.

While Apple generally keeps a tight lid on future product announcement, company officials did reiterate a point made during its second-quarter earnings announcement in April—that the company plans to roll out new products starting this fall and into the next year. “We are laser-focused and working hard on some amazing new products,” CEO Tim Cook said in an statement accompanying Apple’s earnings announcement.”

Apple says it sold 32.2 million iPhones—a record for the June quarter. That’s up from 26 million iPhones in the year-ago period. For the U.S., iPhone sales rose 51 percent year-over-year, Apple says.

The picture was less rosy for iPad sales, but Apple has a perfectly reasonable explanation for the 14 percent drop in tablet sales from last year’s third quarter. A year ago, Apple introduced the third-generation iPad and enjoyed a full quarter’s worth of sales to the tune of 17 million units. This quarter, sales fell to 14.6 million iPads.

Still, Apple has plenty of reason to remain bullish on the iPad. Company chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said that the iPad ranked tops in a 2013 U.S. tablet satisfaction survey by JD Power and Associates. And during the quarter, the company inked a deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the U.S., to roll out iPads to 640,000 students.

In fact, the iPad got the bulk of the credit for a strong quarter of sales to U.S. schools. According to Oppenheimer, the last three months generated the highest quarterly revenue ever for Apple’s U.S. education institution business.

Mac sales also fell in the quarter, down 7 percent from last year to 3.8 million units. Still, Oppenheimer pointed out that the 3.8 million Macs sold beat Apple’s own expectations. And Apple’s sales still were ahead of the total PC market, which saw sales contract by 11 percent according to estimates from research firm IDC. By Apple’s math, the Mac gained market share during the quarter.

The Mac was one of the few product lines to see any changes during the quarter, with Apple updating its MacBook Air lineup at the beginning of June by adding new Intel processors. Company executives had little to say about any impact those new laptops had on overall Mac sales, but Oppenheimer did call it the most successful MacBook Air launch to date, adding that customer response was great.

But during the call, executives implied that there were better things to come. Oppenheimer noted that June’s Worldwide Developers Conference included previews of both the Mac Pro and the next version of OS X, code-named Mavericks.

The iTunes Stores—which includes the App Store, Mac App Store, iBookstore, and the music, movies, and TV sections of iTunes—generated $4.3 billion in billings, Oppenheimer said, culminating in the best week and best month ever for App Store. That translated to quarterly revenue of US$2.4 billion, up 29 percent year over year. Total quarterly revenue from iTunes, software, and services generated US$4 billion in revenue.

Oppenheimer said that Apple now has over 320 million iCloud accounts, and 240 million Game Center accounts.

As for brick-and-mortar retail efforts, the Apple Store saw revenue of US$4.1 billion for the quarter, virtually unchanged from the year-ago quarter. Oppenheimer reported that Apple saw 16,000 visitors per store each week.

For the quarter, Apple had an average of 405 stores, with average revenue per store at US$10.1 million, down US$1 million from the year-ago quarter. Apple opened six stores across five countries during the quarter, giving it 408 stores around the globe; 156 of those outlets are outside the U.S.

The company plans to open nine new stores during the September quarter, giving it 27 new openings during the 2013 fiscal year. It’s not just about new stores, however: Apple says that it relocated four of its stores to more appealing spots; it will complete 23 such relocations before the end 2013 fiscal year in September.

Where stockholders are concerned, the company’s Board of Directors has announced another cash dividend, this one at US$3.05 per share of common stock, payable on August 15 to any shareholder as of August 12.

For the next quarter, Apple is predicting revenue between US$34 billion and US$37 billion, with gross margins between 36 and 37 percent. That sales figure would put Apple’s performance in line with the US$36 billion in revenue it reported in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the coming quarter, Apple also predicts operating expenses will be between US$3.9 billion and US$3.95 billion, with a tax rate of 26.5 percent.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox announces upcoming data sync service for apps

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Date: Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 07:12
Category: News, Software

Dropbox is growing.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Dropbox announced that it will begin an iCloud-like data sync service.

The announcement went as follows:

“Today, we’re excited for you try out the beta release of the Datastore API – simple databases for your apps with Dropbox sync built-in! Use datastores to save your app’s data – settings, contacts, or any other content that users create – and Dropbox will take care of all the syncing for you. People who use your Datastore-enabled app can be sure their information will always be up-to-date and available, no matter what device or platform they use.”

Developers will now be able to use Dropbox’s DataStore sync databases to sync any number of different types of data across devices on multiple platforms. This not only includes contacts and files, but also things like game saves and app settings. The DataStore sync also works when a user does not have an Internet connection. Changes are saved locally and the next time a connection is made the changes are synced across devices.

Not a bad thing and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Mavericks Developer Preview 3 to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, July 9th, 2013, 08:38
Category: News, Software

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Mavericks is coming…

Per MacNN, Apple has posted OS X 10.9 Mavericks Developer Preview 3 on Monday. While it is too soon to notice any significant changes or improvements, the beta is focused on compatibility and performance issues, as well as integrating the forthcoming “iCloud Keychain” feature. The update is still dealing with assorted known issues, including some that render it incompatible with even the last Mavericks and iOS 7 betas. Installation on production machines remains strongly discouraged.

The update, which is just over 1GB in size, doesn’t support virtual machines made by VMWare Fusion, nor does Adobe’s After Effects CS6 work properly. A number of functions in DP3 are not backwards-compatible with previous versions — such as new Fusion Drive volumes, screen recordings, Recovery Partition reinstalls and iCloud Keychain. The latter, an expansion of the ability to sync keychains between devices, still has a number of serious known issues.

The iCloud Keychain proposes to move the centralized storage of secure passwords, website usernames and other important data to iCloud, with entries encrypted using 256-bit AES. This enables users to take more advantage of the built-in Password Generator that creates unmemorable complex passwords for online accounts, since users don’t have to remember the password itself, just the one master password that unlocks the keychain and can be used across any devices the user has.

The release notes refer to issues with QuickTime Player, Aperture, Photoshop, Maps and others. The new update does include a newer version of OpenSSH, 6.2p2, but also lists a number of odd bugs such as “the headphone port on the new 2013 MacBook Air will not operate unless headphones are present at boot” and “on some machines, frequently sleeping and waking may result in the machines restarting,” indicating that the latest release is still far from being ready for public consumption. Migration from Windows is still not supported, and network migration from earlier versions of OS X requires a Migration Update (for Snow Leopard and later) that is only available from the Mac Dev Center.

The forthcoming Mavericks promises users long-requested features such as Finder Tabs and better multi-monitor support, extensive efficiency routines that should prolong battery life, improved Maps, a faster Safari, iBooks for the Mac and many other new and improved features. It is expected sometime in the early fall, although no exact release date has been released.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 7 beta 3, adds extensive changes across the board

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Date: Tuesday, July 9th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iOS, News, Software

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The third iOS 7 beta is out, complete with a fairly massive list of updates and changes.

Per AppleInsider, Apple Apple on Monday released the third beta build of iOS 7 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to its development community for testing, addressing pre-release bugs related to a range of issues, including Messages, iCloud and AirPlay.

Those with authorized Apple developer accounts can update their devices directly through the Software Update section of the built-in Settings application. Monday’s launch confirms an earlier rumor that Apple planned to follow a two-week release schedule.

The third beta includes the following fixes and changes:
The third beta is said to address a number of issues that previously existed when using Apple’s iCloud services. Specifically, users familiar with the accompanying release notes said a number of problems associated with the new iCloud Keychain feature have been fixed in beta 3. Issues that also existed with Find My iPhone and Bookmarks toggles have reportedly been addressed.

Apple also indicated to developers that it has fixed an issue in the Messages application that would present an empty message list on a clean install of iOS 7. Another issue that would cause Messages to crash when viewing attachments on two separate threads has also been addressed.Fixes in iOS 7 beta 3 are wide ranging, covering issues with push notifications, iCloud Keychain, Messages, and Newsstand.

Developers testing iOS 7 beta 3 will also no longer be prompted with authorization alerts when Newsstand background downloads using HTTP basic or digest authentication are initiated.

The latest beta also squashes a bug that would not save per-app settings in the Background App Refresh option in Settings. In addition, an issue that would not respect custom Passcode Lock and Auto-Lock settings has been fixed.

Apple has also reportedly addressed a common issue where some apps may receive either duplicate push notifications, or no push notification at all. The app switcher has also been updated to show all suspended apps, Apple told developers.

Finally, a bug that would not allow Reminders to work with VoiceOver functionality is said to have been addressed.

As before, Apple has warned users that the second beta “should only be deployed on devices dedicated for iOS 7 beta software development.” The prerelease software is not intended for use among the general public.

As such, a number of known issues are said to remain in iOS 7 beta 3 in a range of applications, including Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Safari, Passbook and more.

The second iOS 7 beta was provided to developers two Mondays ago, on June 24. It added new voice options for Apple’s Siri personal assistant software.

Apple gave developers the first beta of iOS 7 a month ago at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. That was also the first time the world, outside of Apple’s team, got to see a major design overhaul for the platform.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new iOS 7 beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

First look at OS X Mavericks developer preview goes live

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Date: Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, 07:05
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

The mighty Jim Dalrymple got his hands on a developer version of Apple’s upcoming OS X Mavericks operating system and had a few things to say about it.


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Over on The Loop, Dalrymple threw together a comprehensive first look at Apple’s upcoming operating system. The piece delves into the new Finder layout, new iCloud elements, updated Calendar, Maps and Notifications elements and how the developer preview behaved on a 13-inch MacBook Pro for his day to day work.

It’s a good read, take a gander and the Beard does not fail!

iOS 7 developer beta incorporates password disable feature

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Date: Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, 07:00
Category: iOS, News, security, Software

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As mentioned before, it’s the beta versions that point out the cool stuff on the horizon.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s latest beta build of iOS 7 makes it more difficult for thieves to get away with stealing an iOS device by requiring a user’s password to be entered when disabling the “Find My iPhone” functionality.

The new feature, found in pre-release builds of iOS 7 made available to developers, also applies to the iPad. Users can open the Settings application, choose iCloud, then “Find My iPhone,” and flipping the switch to off brings up a password prompt.

The addition addresses a potential issue that users have noticed for years, since the “Find My iPhone” functionality came to iOS 4 in 2010. With iOS 7, users who may not feel the need to utilize the passcode lock screen can still enjoy added security for the Find My iPhone feature, making it more difficult for a thief to turn it off.

Of course, someone who has stolen an iPhone or iPad could simply turn off the device, or remove a SIM card. But the new feature is just an added level of security for those who may be unfortunate enough to have their device stolen.

Still, not a bad addition.

Please let us know what you think of this in the comments.

Apple announces OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”, details feature list

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Date: Monday, June 10th, 2013, 13:54
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.9 has a name: “Mavericks”.

Granted, it’s a little unfortunate that it hooks into a word Sarah Palin frequently describes herself as, but you’ve gotta let some things slide…

Per The Mac Observer, Apple gave users their first glimpse into OS X 10.9 on Monday during a keynote event at the company’s annual World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. The next version of OS X does away with the cat naming scheme in favor of California locations — starting with Mavericks. OS X 10.9 Mavericks will also include Finder Tabs, system-wide file tagging, and enhanced multiple display support.

Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi took the stage during the keynote event to show off some of the new features in OS X Mavericks.


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Tabbed Finder Windows:
Mavericks lets users group Finder windows in tabs, much like Web browsers. Mr. Federighi said each tab can have its own location and view mode, and it makes Finder windows fit well into full screen mode.

Finder Tagging:
OS X Mavericks includes a new Tag option in Finder window sidebars that let users add extra bits of information to their documents for easier organization. Mr. Federighi said, “As I go to save a document, I can give it a name. And in addition to its location, I can also give it a tag.”

Users can apply multiple tags to documents, search and sort based on those tags, and tags are color-coded, too.

Tags extend beyond the Finder and can be used in applications, as well. In apps, tags appear in the Save dialog, and they’re also available for organizing documents saved to iCloud.

iCloud Keychain:
Apple will be beefing up password management in Mavericks with iCloud Keychain. The new version of Keychain offers system-wide password management and also syncs between Macs running Mavericks so all of your passwords are up to date on all of your computers and iOS 7 devices.

Notifications:
Notifications will be more interactive in Mavericks thanks to direct support for responding to messages and FaceTime calls, and delete email messages without jumping to the Mail app. It also supports website subscriptions for news and other alert notifications even when Safari isn’t running.

When you’re away from your Mac, Notifications continues to keep track of your alerts and displays a summary when you’re back in front of your screen.

Maps:
Mavericks will include an iOS-like Maps feature that lets users find locations, display addresses and phone numbers, get point-to-point directions you can push to your iPhone, display Yelp reviews, and more. It also appears as a built-in feature for Calendar, Contacts, and Mail.

Calendar and Contacts:
Calendar and Contacts do away with the skeuomorphic stitched leather design from Mountain Lion (which only your really weird uncle liked), and go beyond that to add new features, too. The Calendar app, for example, can display weather information along with travel time to your appointments, and will even block out that time so you don’t enter contradicting dates/appointments.

iBooks:
iBooks won’t be limited to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch when Mavericks ships this fall. Books already purchased through the iBookstore will automatically appear on your Mac, you can keep multiple books open, and it can auto-add citations when you copy quotes from books.

Bookmarks, highlights and notes, and your current page all sync between your devices via iCloud, plus notes appear in a column along side book pages, too.

Safari:
Mr. Federighi said Safari will get a boost in Mavericks, too. The new version of the Web browser app offers better performance compared to the current Safari version, pages render faster, shared links appear in a sidebar, and pages are displayed more intelligently so there’s less of a hit on battery life for notebook users.

Multiple Displays:
While OS X has always supported multiple displays, Apple ramped up what the feature can handle in Mavericks. Full-screen mode now supports multiple displays, users can access menu bars and the Dock from every connected display, full-screen apps can be moved between displays, and different apps can be displayed in full-screen mode on different displays.

Mission Control:
Mission Control will show an overview for each connected display, and lets users drag-and-drop apps and documents between virtual desktops, just as it currently does in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Mavericks also supports using AirPlay with multiple monitors with an Apple TV, but instead of simply mirroring your main display, it lets you use AirPlay to add a television to your display setup as extended desktop space. Simply select the Apple TV you want to use as an extra display and Mavericks automatically adds it to your multi-monitor setup. Apple touted this as a great way to show a presentation on an HDTV while taking notes on your Mac

Performance:
Mavericks also includes plenty of under-the-hood improvements to boost overall performance. That better performance, however, doesn’t take a hit on battery life. According to Mr. Federighi, OS X 10.9 offers accelerated scrolling, App Nap, Timer Coalescing, OpenGL 4, and Idle hygiene — a feature that improves performance by reducing how often your Mac drops into an idle mode.

The new OS uses compressed memory to improve performance, as well. Instead of requiring memory swapping through relatively slower hard drives, it swaps data in RAM. Mavericks handles recovery from sleep and standby mode about 1.5 times faster compared to Mountain Lion.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks will be available this fall, although Apple hasn’t offered a specific price point release date yet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.


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