Google developing Chrome version for iOS

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Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012, 12:08
Category: News, Software

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It never hurts to have a choice.

Per macq.wir.jp, Google is said to be planning to compete with Apple’s own Safari by releasing a version of its Chrome Web browser for iOS devices.

The launch of Chrome for iOS on the App Store could be as soon as this quarter, according to Macquarie Equities Research. Its debut is seen as igniting a modern browser war on mobile devices, similar to the “Browser Wars” of the late 1990s between Internet Explorer and Netscape.

All third-party browsers for iOS must be based on WebKit, Apple’s open source browser engine. The existing versions of Google Chrome, available for Mac, Windows and Android, are already based on the WebKit layout engine.

Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter said Chrome for PCs has been a “home run” for Google, as it has “significantly” reduced desktop traffic acquisition costs for the search giant.

He expects that Google will launch a major marketing campaign to hype the debut of Chrome for iOS. The company has run television spots promoting Chrome for desktops for some time, featuring celebrities like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, helping its advertising budget quadruple in the U.S. last year to US$213 million.

Google’s own Android operating system ships with a generic browser, but the company released a mobile version of Chrome for its Google Play application store in February. The free software remains in beta, but is well reviewed.

Third-party browsers first began appearing on the Apple-controlled iOS App Store in early 2009. Prior to that, browsers that would rival Apple’s own Safari were rejected from the App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to debut next-gen, thinner, Retina Display-equipped MacBook Pro units at WWDC 2012

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Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012, 05:11
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that make things interesting.

Per Bloomberg, Apple will reportedly debut multiple new MacBook Pro models at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, each said to sport Retina Display-like screens and high-performance Intel Ivy Bridge processors.

The refreshed lineup is rumored to feature a slim design that will bring the laptop more inline with Apple’s popular MacBook Air series.

The sources also mention that flash memory will be used to decrease boot times and extend battery life, though it was not made clear if the new MacBook Pros will rely on pricey solid state drives exclusively as does the MacBook Air.

While the exact dimensions of the supposed next-generation laptop went unreported, rumors have suggested that the design will take cues from the MacBook Air and may do away with the existing optical drive in an effort to give the machine a slim, tapered appearance.

Also “confirmed” was the implementation of Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors which were recently unveiled in April. Built on “the world’s first 22nm process” and boasting new 3D transistor technology, the chips are said to be highly-efficient and powerful enough to support 4K resolutions. Intel is initially rolling out the silicon as part of the Core i5 and Core i7 families.

The inclusion of Intel’s powerful new processors could allow for screens with resolutions rivaling those seen on the current iPhone 4 and 4S as well as the new iPad, and rumors have persisted since last year claiming that Apple was working on a Retina Display laptop. Offering further evidence to a possible Retina Display MacBook are the latest OS X Lion updates which brought Hi-DPI UI assets in 10.7.3 and doubled icon resolution in 10.7.4.

Reports from upstream supply chain sources said that mass production of new MacBook Pro models would ramp up starting with the 15-inch model in April followed by a June manufacture for the smaller 13.3-inch unit. No mention of the 17-inch MacBook Pro was made and some predict that Apple will discontinue the large-screened model due to declining shipments.

Apple is also said to be showing off the “future of iOS and OS X” at WWDC 2012, alluding to a possible unveiling of iOS 6 and more Mountain Lion details. The conference will take place from June 11 through the 15 at Moscone West in San Francisco.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple creating its own mapping services for iOS 6

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Date: Friday, May 11th, 2012, 10:40
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

Ok, this could be interesting.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple will move away from Google Maps services in iOS 6, making the transition to an in-house mapping service that included 3D views. According to the report, Apple’s prior acquisitions of mapping companies Placebase and Poly9 could work with last year’s purchase of 3D mapping firm C3 Technologies rounding out the suite of services.

The most important aspect of the new Maps application is a powerful new 3D mode. The 3D mode does not come enabled by default, but users simply need to click a 3D button that is conveniently and visibly stored in the app. This 3D mode is said to essentially be technology straight from C3 Technologies: beautiful, realisitic graphics based on de-classified missile target algorithms.

Apple’s in-house mapping services will otherwise be rather similar in appearance to the current Google Maps application, although Apple’s implementation is said to be a “much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience” and will include a new icon based on the same view of the company’s Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino but with new colors and styling.

Apple has clearly been working for some time to reduce its reliance on Google by developing its own mapping services for iOS, as evidenced by its acquisitions of mapping expertise and job postings addressing its ambitions for mapping. The company has already moved location services in-house and revealed last year that it is building a crowd-sourced traffic database based on users’ GPS data.

With the release of iPhoto for iOS back in early March, Apple took its first big step outside of the actual Google mapping services, taking advantage of OpenStreetMap and other services to generate its own map tiles for the application’s Photo Journals feature.

Apple is expected to preview iOS 6 at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, with the operating system presumably making its public debut alongside new iPhone hardware later in the year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: AppleCare training schedule now pointing towards June launch of Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

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Date: Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, 05:30
Category: Rumor, Software

No one ever said it was easy to keep a secret.

Per AppleInsider, the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) division of AppleCare is allegedly hiring and training new staff on certain aspects of Apple’s upcoming OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, possibly hinting that a release date is soon to arrive.

According to an unnamed source familiar with the matter, AppleCare EMEA is hiring a number of new employees who will serve as customer support for the new operating system that has yet to receive an official launch date.

The source went on to say that Mountain Lion may be just a few weeks from launch as internal training recently commenced regarding certain facets of the operating system. Apple usually restricts the operating window of support staff training to a minimum before large product release presumably to avoid leaks.

Though purely speculation, the training could point to a OS X 10.8 debut at WWDC 2012 which is scheduled to take place from June 11 to June 15.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was announced on Feb. 16 with an expected release date of summer 2012. Beyond the basic information provided on Apple’s website, developer previews have revealed that the new OS will offer a bevy of new features like Messages and more comprehensive integration with iCloud that will further blur the line between OS X and iOS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5.1.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 7th, 2012, 09:58
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Not that iOS 5.1 wasn’t perfect, but there’s always room for a few bugs fixes.

Per Mac|Life, Apple released iOS 5.1.1 on Monday. The update offers the following fixes and changes:

- Improves reliability of using HDR option for photos taken using the Lock Screen shortcut.

- Addresses bugs that could prevent the new iPad from switching between 2G and 3G networks.

- Fixes bugs that affected AirPlay video playback in some circumstances.

- Improved reliability for syncing Safari bookmarks and Reading List.

- Fixes an issue where ‘Unable to purchase’ alert could be displayed after successful purchase.

Users can install iOS 5.1.1 using the over-the-air Software Update from your device Settings, or by plugging into iTunes and downloading it from there. As always, recommends devices are plugged into a power source while installing.

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

Skype iOS app updated to 4.0

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, 06:29
Category: News, Software

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Let’s face it: updates never hurt.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Skype has released version 4.0 of its app for iPad and iPhone. The new version lets you pre-position your video preview as you like, provides automatic restarts crashes and offers improved accessibility and overall stability along with some minor UI improvements and bug fixes.

The version change can be found for both Skype for iPhone/iPod touch and Skype for iPad.

Skype 4.0 for iOS requires iOS 4.3 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.

Google Drive service launched, users begin with 5GB of free online storage space

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Date: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012, 06:21
Category: News, Software

You just can’t knock free cloud space.

Per Google’s official blog, the company launched its long-rumored Google Drive service was officially launched on Tuesday, offering users 5 gigabytes of free cloud-based file storage.

Google Drive was presented as a service that allows users to “create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff.” It allows users to upload and access all file types, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and more.

Users can start at drive.google.com/start#home and the Google Drive application can also be installed on a Mac or Windows PC to sync files locally. A Drive application is now available for Google Android devices, while the company said it is “working hard” on a version of Drive for iOS devices.

Storage can be upgraded to 20 gigabytes for US$5 per year, 80 gigabytes for US$20, 200 gigabytes for US$50, 400 gigabytes for US$100, and one terabyte for US$256.

Upgrading to a paid account will also give Gmail users a boost on their e-mail storage through Google to 25 gigabytes. Storage used in Gmail does not come out of space allotted for Google Drive.

In comparison, Apple’s iCloud service, which launched last October, comes with 5 gigabytes for free, while users can buy an additional 10 gigabytes for US$20 per year, 20 gigabytes for US$40, or 50 gigabytes for US$100.

Google said that Drive allows users to work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Using the new service, users can also share content easily, and add and reply to comments on anything, including PDFs, images, or video files.

Of course, the company’s search technology is also a part of the package, granting the ability to search by keyword and filter by type, owner and more. Google Drive can also recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition technology.

Drive also ties in with other Google products, allowing users to attach photos from Drive to posts in the Google+ social networking service. Soon, users will also be able to attach files from Drive directly to e-mails in Gmail.

Google also boasted that drive is an “open platform,” which will allow third-party developers to enable new features. Some of the additions mentioned by the company include the ability to send faxes, edit videos, and create website mockups.

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

Adobe releases Flash Player 11.3.300.214 beta update

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Date: Thursday, April 12th, 2012, 06:48
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.3.300.214 for Mac OS X, a 10.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new beta version includes the following fixes and changes:

- Texture streaming.

- Background Updater for Mac.

- Driver gating hardware acceleration relaxed to 2006.

- MouseEvent.RELEASE_OUTSIDE.

- ApplicationDomain.getQualifiedDefinitionNames().

- Improved Mac App Store Support.

- Simulator Support for iOS.

- Aspect Ratio Enhancements.

- ADT support to package 144×144 size icons has been added in AIR 3.3.

- Capabilities.screenDPI now returns appropriate DPI value for high resolution iPads.

Flash Player 11.3.300.214 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, please feel free to hurl your two cents in via the comments.

Rumor: Apple internally seeding iPhone unit with 1GB of RAM, upgraded iPod touch device

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Date: Monday, April 9th, 2012, 09:48
Category: Hardware, iPod, Rumor

With one iOS device update out of the way for 2012, Apple is working on updates to the iPhone and iPod touch. While these updates are expected, some additional iOS device details have leaked.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has internally seeded a prototype next-generation iPhone with the iPhone 4 design. The actual next-generation iPhone is specifically said to not include the iPhone 4/4S design, but Apple is testing these new devices in older casings to throw off leaks. The purpose of the prototype iPhone that we heard about is to test a variation of the “A5X” chip in an iPhone. The A5X processor in the new iPad was specifically built to drive the new Retina Display, so that chip wouldn’t make much sense in an iPhone.

Instead, the iPhone prototypes feature a variation of the A5X’s S5L8945X architecture. Like the A5X-powered iPad, these new iPhone prototypes are packing 1GB of RAM. This prototype is labeled N96 internally, so it’s not certain if this internal codename will carry over to the actual next-generation iPhone. Again, this iPhone is an internal-only unit built for testing the performance of a new chip in an iPhone, not an actual phone that Apple will produce.

The iPod touch was an interesting product for Apple last year as it was the only iOS device to not receive internal nor cosmetic changes (save for a new white model). However, it looks like Apple is still interested in the iPod touch and wants a future for it. According to a file inside of an internal iOS 5.1 build, Apple is working on a fifth-generation iPod touch that is labeled iPod 5,1 internally. No specifics have been confirmed regarding the new iPod touch hardware, but the jump from 4,1 (the current internal iPod touch label) to 5,1 indicates major internal changes, at the very least. Perhaps Apple is finally moving to an A5 or A5X-like chip in the iPod touch. After all, the iPod touch is one of the most popular gaming devices on the market, and Apple’s dual-core iOS device processors offer top-of-the-line graphics performance.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Security hole discovered in Facebook, Dropbox apps for iOS, physical connection needed to exploit it (updated)

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Date: Friday, April 6th, 2012, 07:26
Category: security, Software

You’re probably not going to like this.

According to security researcher Gareth Wright and The Next Web, a fairly prominent security hole has been discovered in the popular Facebook and Dropbox iOS apps. The good news is that someone would have to have physical access to your iPhone, and you’d have to allow them to plug it into their Mac, then allow them to do a bunch of business on your phone to grab a plain text file from inside these apps, then they’d have to go and do something malicious on your Facebook or Dropbox accounts.

Although many have reported jailbreak is required to access this hole, that is simply not true. A Mac app like iExplorer, which allows you to open app folders on an iPhone, will allow you to access the security hole.

According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, it works like this: iOS apps use .plist files (aka property list files), to store all sorts of little things about an app. In this case, Dropbox and Facebook are using an unencrypted property list to apparently store both the oauth key and its secret counterpart.

By using iExplorer to find the right plist, that file can be copied and dropped into another device, which would then be able to access your account as though you had already logged in. Using a property list in this way leaves us scratching our heads.

Facebook issued a comment saying they will patch this soon and a representative with Dropbox offered the following comment:

“Dropbox’s Android app is not impacted because it stores access tokens in a protected location. We are currently updating our iOS app to do the same. We note that the attack in question requires a malicious actor to have physical access to a user’s device. In a situation like that, a user is susceptible to all sorts of threats, so we strongly advise safeguarding devices.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.