Apple releases OS X 10.8.4 12E52 build to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 16th, 2013, 06:05
Category: News, Software

It’s a long haul to OS X 10.8.4, but it’s getting closer…

Per 9to5Mac, a week following the previous build, Apple has released build 12E52 of the OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4 beta to developers. Apple, once again, asks developers to focus on WiFi, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

We previously noted that 10.8.4 includes support for Mac computers with 802.11ac WiFi chips.

While 10.8.4 is a minor update to OS X Mountain Lion, Apple also has a major release launching in the next couple of months. It’s also been rumored that OS X 10.9 will include an enhanced Finder, much improved multiple-monitor support, a new version of Safari, and various other features from iOS, so larger improvements are waiting down the line.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you want to hurl your two cents in, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments section.

Siri receives update, now prompts users to speak in shorter, more recognizable sentences

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013, 08:49
Category: iOS, News, Software

Keep it short and sweet, folks.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple’s voice interaction system Siri has been updated, this time specifically to ask users to keep it short. Siri’s system doesn’t deal well with longer user queries, so if you happen to ask something that’s just too long for Siri to deal with, she’ll interrupt you, giving you a quote from a famous person, and then asking you to rephrase the question, shorter or in fewer words. Siri herself doesn’t have the authority to change your speech patterns, apparently, so she’s recruited figures such as William Strunk and Thomas Jefferson to make her point more clearly.

So, um, try speaking long sentences to Siri and see if it begins correcting you with quotes of some of the greatest wordsmiths of the past.

“ABC Player” app renamed to “Watch ABC”, now allows live streams of all ABC programming in select markets

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013, 07:21
Category: iOS, News, Software

abc-current-logo1

You can’t say ABC’s not investing in the iOS side of things…

Per AppleInsider, Tuesday saw the launch of of version 3.0.0 broadcaster ABC’s iOS app, one that for the first time will allow users in select markets to watch live television from a U.S. broadcaster.

The new version saw ABC’s app’s name change from ABC Player to Watch ABC. App users in New York City and Philadelphia will now have the ability to see a live stream of ABC’s programming, and plans are underway to roll out the live service to at least six more markets where ABC owns local stations.

The live stream feature will arrive in an additional 13 Hearst-owned stations over the rest of the year. ABC is working to bring the feature to users in other markets, but that will depend on the willingness of more than 200 local broadcasters to join in on the live streaming.

The service is currently unrestricted, but ABC’s release notes for the app state that the app will begin verifying whether users are customers of an eligible local cable system beginning July 1.

The live streaming move is a first among the major U.S. broadcast networks, and it signals a shift in their thinking. While cable giant ESPN — which, like ABC, is also owned by Disney — has gradually grown, the capabilities of its apps to the point where it now includes the ability to watch live content, the broadcasters have been reluctant to move beyond delayed release of content to their apps.

The live streaming also functions as a salvo against services like Hulu. The near future will see ABC holding back its most recent TV episodes from the free versions of Hulu and ABC.com.

Among the more troubling developments has been the rise of Aereo, a service that uses antennas to capture broadcast content and stream it to subscribers, who watch it on their iPads and other mobile devices. The major broadcast networks say Aereo’s service amounts to illegal rebroadcasting, a violation of their content rights. So far, though, the courts have disagreed.

By putting its own live content out in an app that it controls, ABC is taking a risk, but also partly wresting control from Aereo and similar services. Announcing the move, Disney-ABC Television Group president said it was the result of a realization that ABC wasn’t moving fast enough to give consumers what they want.

“We keep a very close eye on consumer demand,” said Anne Sweeney, the Television Group president. “We watch how people are behaving with their devices, and we really felt that we needed to move faster.”

The Watch ABC app is available as a free download in the iTunes App Store. The 38.8MB download requires an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 5.0 or later.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iMovie 9.0.9 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013, 07:34
Category: News, Software

imovieicon.png

It’s a huge update file, but it might be helpful.

Late Tuesday, Apple released iMovie 9.0.9, the latest version of its consumer-level video editing application. The new version, a 1.08 gigabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Addresses issues where iMovie does not recognize video cameras connected to your Mac.

- Improves compatibility with projects imported from iMovie for iOS.

- Includes stability improvements.

iMovie 9.0.8 requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run and can be snagged manually or via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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

Google Drive space upgraded to 15 GB for all accounts, transition to take place over next few weeks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:25
Category: iOS, News, Software

Google-Drive-Logo

You can’t knock healthy competition.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Google announced that it will be upgrading its complimentary Google Drive storage space from 5 GB to 15 GB.

Google says the changes will be rolling out over the next several weeks to all customers. All that space is shared, so if you are just using Google Drive Photo (for example), that 15 GB is shared with any other Google services that require storage.

With this move, Google has unified its storage system, a similar concept to the Apple pool of iCloud storage, although at this point Apple does not count image storage in Photo Stream against your 5 GB allotment. Google has a free iOS app so you can access this storage space, and it can also be managed through a web browser on any computer.

Take a gander at Google Drive as the upgrade occurs and if you love it or hate it, please let us know in the comments, as always.

Rumor: Next-gen iPhone could incorporate sapphire crystal Home button, built-in fingerprint sensor

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, 06:01
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

It’s a rumor, so it kinda sorta has to be true…

Per Cult of Mac, the next-gen iPhone 5S handset could come with a sapphire crystal capacitive touch home button that incorporates a new fingerprint sensor, according to supply chain sources in Taiwan and TechNews.tw.

Apple is expected to do away with the traditional physical home button, which has long been one of the most unreliable components on iOS devices. It’s thought that using sapphire crystal, which has a hardness second only to diamond, will prevent the button from getting scratched and ruining the fingerprint sensor.

This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has used sapphire crystal in an iPhone. The iPhone 5 has a sapphire crystal camera lens on its back, which Apple chose to try to prevent scratches from ruining your photos.

According to sources close to the story, the Cupertino company will choose the same material for the iPhone 5S’s home button.

But it won’t be a physical button like existing iOS devices. They insist Apple will employ a capacitive touch home button for the first time with the iPhone 5S, eliminating one of the most unreliable components in an iOS device (the physical home button has a tendency to fail after long periods of use).

Not only will it be a capacitive touch button, but it’ll also incorporate a fingerprint sensor, the sources claim. We’ve been hearing for many months that Apple will add fingerprint sensing technology to the iPhone 5S, following its acquisition of AuthenTec last year.

As for the handset’s release date, the current rumors have its arrival pinned around August or September, alongside a plastic low-cost iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Amazon releases Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS users

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 13th, 2013, 04:37
Category: iOS, News, Software

amazon-100037019-large

Ne’er doubt Amazon’s ability to throw out a competing app.

Per Macworld, Amazon’s Cloud Drive Photos app has gone live and is available free of charge from the App Store, the app can transfer photos back and forth between a device and Cloud Drive, where they can be accessed using a desktop computer, Web browser, or other compatible device, like a Kindle Fire.

The app’s goal is to let customers enjoy the benefits of cloud storage—including ease of sharing and easier backups—regardless of what platform they use. In addition, the app lets you view your photo albums in various layouts from your iPhone or iPod touch and share Cloud Drive photos on Facebook, Twitter, and via email.

Launched in March of 2011, Cloud Drive offers users 5GB of free storage, which can be used for files of all kinds, including music, pictures, and video. Additional space is available for fees that range from US$10 per year for 20GB to US$500 per year for 1000GB (1TB).

The app is optimized for iPhone 5, and compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S, as well as iPod touch (3rd, 4th, and 5th generation), and iPad. It requires iOS 6.0 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the Cloud Drive Photos app and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

AppleCare, AppleCare+ to undergo significant changes this fall, feature updated warranty policies, in-store iOS device repairs

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 13th, 2013, 03:34
Category: iPhone, News, retail

applelogo_silver

You’re going to see some changes in AppleCare this fall.

Per AppleInsider, in a town hall session held on Thursday, Apple informed tech staff that major changes to the AppleCare and AppleCare+ service programs will be enacted starting this fall, with a broadening of current policies likely to cut costs and make the service more attractive to consumers.

The town hall session was led by Apple Vice President Tara Bunch, who revealed a set of after-sales policy shifts would soon be rolling out across the U.S., and eventually the world, with many of the changes referred to under the “One Apple” brand, said a source close to the story. While Bunch was referred to as Vice President of AppleCare, AppleInsider cannot confirm this assertion. On her LinkedIn page, Bunch lists her current job as simply “Vice President at Apple,” but it is known that she was previously vice president of Global Customer Support Operations at Hewlett-Packard prior to joining Apple in 2012.

As for the “One Apple” moniker, it is unclear if the term is an internal designation for the vast restructuring about to take place, or is intended to become a consumer mark once the new changes are in place.

“The biggest announcement, was the way repairs for iPhones will be handled soon,” the person, who asked not to be identified due to their active status as an Apple employee, told reporters. “The way it is now, if almost anything is wrong with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the entire device is exchanged for a like-new re manufactured (sic) device, whether brought into an apple store or sent in for mail in repair. Now we are starting to actually repair the products and return the same device to the customer.”

Currently, Apple Stores have the tools to replace speakers, receivers, home buttons, the vibrator motor and battery. Come June, capabilities will be expanded to display replacement, and by July cameras, sleep/wake buttons and logic boards will be dealt with in-store. In addition, employees will have access to advanced diagnostics tools that can remotely assess hardware issues and relay the data directly to technicians, allowing for quicker turnaround times.

The new in-house repairs are to be rolled out across the U.S., with international support coming online soon thereafter. Bunch reportedly said Apple expects to save nearly US$1 billion per year with the change in policy.

In another huge departure, Apple will reportedly reconfigure its paid AppleCare service as a subscription model, or introduce a new tier, which will be attached to a customer rather than a specific product. Under the proposed system, a customer is entitled to in-store training similar to the One to One program available to new Mac buyers, with each device owned being covered by the warranty. The new AppleCare may also include “exclusive” 24/7 support, though that has not been confirmed as a full set of features and pricing is not yet etched in stone.

Gratis after-sales coverage is also slated for an update, and will move over to a new system where phone support will persist for at least an entire year, with possible two-year support offered in the future. Apple currently offers 90 days of free phone support without buying the add-on AppleCare plan. Online support, knowledge base articles, online live chats and Genius Bar visits will continue to be free.

Apple is also looking to grow its home advisor team, which currently consists of over 4,200 technical advisors who work from home instead of an office, approximately double the number from one year ago. The program is meant to cut overhead costs and provide for a larger pool of potential employees.

Finally, the source said Apple’s online resources will see an overhaul in the coming months as the company is working to expand its current offerings to include support over iMessage and a revamp of the Support Pages website, which is expected to focus on interactive tutorials and video content. Unsurprisingly, the Web-based enhancements will be optimized for both computer and iOS device perusal.

In addition, Apple personnel will begin to take a more active role in the discussion boards, helping to answer questions, consolidating threads and performing general maintenance.

Most of the changes mentioned above will roll out by fall if all goes according to plan.

The source briefed on Apple’s upcoming changes pointed out that in-store repairs would also be a plus for those customers whose products are no longer under warranty. Instead of paying a universal “swap out” fee, out of warranty hardware issues will be fixed on a per device basis. Apple has reportedly deployed advanced in-store repairs at select locations, with customer response being largely positive.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple expands iOS Maps data coverage in and around France

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 9th, 2013, 05:15
Category: iOS, News, Software

You can’t say Apple’s not trying.

Apple has steadily been making improvements to its Maps data following a controversial launch. Last year Apple pushed out major updates to its 3D Maps coverage, adding a number of new cities in the US, UK, France, and Canada, while just last March it quietly pushed out some big improvements to Maps data in Japan. Per igen.fr, Apple has just pushed out another big update to its 3D Flyover mode, this time bringing new content to more locations across France. Some of the new coverage areas include Paris, Versailles, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Disneyland Paris and to The Hay-les-Roses. Currently, Apple only lists support for 3D building coverage for Lyon, France.

If you’re in or around France and have seen an uptick in Maps data and coverage, please let us know in the comments.

Apple seeds OS X 10.8.4 build 12E47 to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 9th, 2013, 05:12
Category: News, Software

You’ve been hankering for OS X 10.8.4 and it’s getting closer every day…

Per 9to5Mac, just over a week following the previous build, Apple has seeded OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4 build 12E47 to registered Mac developers. The update is available via the Mac App Store for developers and should be on the Mac Developer Center shortly. Apple, once again, tells developers to focus on WiFi performance, Safari, and Graphics Drivers…

It’s been previously noted that 10.8.4 includes support for Mac computers with 802.11ac WiFi chips.

While 10.8.4 is a minor update to OS X Mountain Lion, Apple also has a major release launching in the next couple of months. We previously reported that OS X 10.9 will include an enhanced Finder, much improved multiple-monitor support, a new version of Safari, and various other features from iOS.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the 12E47 build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.