Apple posts Apple TV 4.1 update, adds AirPlay, VoiceOver, other features

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, 03:33
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

In addition to Apple’s release of iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices, Apple on Monday also released an update for its Apple TV set top box today, bringing AirPlay support for wireless streaming.

Although the company made no mention of the Apple TV update when announcing the forthcoming launch of iOS 4.2, the software arrived at the same time, around 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern on Monday. Per AppleInsider, the Apple TV software update can be initiated through the device’s settings menu, and is done directly over a wireless or wired Internet connection.

In addition to AirPlay, which will allow streaming of video and audio from iOS devices to the Apple TV, the 4.1 update also brings VoiceOver functionality. The new feature can be turned on through the accessibility menu of the Apple TV.

VoiceOver reads menus and metadata, including episode descriptions for TV shows. In the settings, users can also set the speed of voice playback.

The Apple TV 4.1 software update automatically enables AirPlay without password protection. If users choose, they can turn AirPlay off entirely through the settings menu, or can add a password to limit access.

AirPlay is built in to iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It allows users to stream video or audio content directly to the Apple TV over a Wi-Fi network. Users can also directly stream music to an AirPort Express.

If you’ve downloaded the new Apple TV update and have any feedback, please let us know.

Apple releases long-awaited iOS 4.2.1 update for iPod touch, iPhone, iPad devices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 11:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

At long last, Apple has finally released its iOS 4.2.1 update for the following devices:

- iPad

- iPod touch (second generation and up)

- iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4

The update, which tops out at several hundred megabytes and is available via iTunes (as usual, just plug the device in, click the device window in iTunes, then click “Update”), adds the following fixes and changes:

- AirPrint

- AirPlay

- FaceTime Improvements

- Find text on the Web page in Safari

- New fonts settings available for Notes

- New SMS/MMS text tones and the ability to set custom tones per contact

- Additional restrictions (parental controls)

- Import .ics files to Calendar

- Bug fixes

- Multitasking on iPad: iOS 4.2 brings multitasking from iPhone and iPod touch to iPad. So you can be more productive as you work, have more fun as you play, or do a little of both. Everything happens smoothly and efficiently — without slowing down the performance of the foreground app or draining the battery unnecessarily.

- Folders on iPad: Now your iPad has more room for more apps. Move apps into folders with drag-and-drop simplicity to declutter your Home screens and keep your apps organized for fast access to your favorites.

- Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch — the MobileMe feature that helps you locate your missing device and protect its data — is now free on any iPhone 4, iPad, or fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4.2.3 Once you set it up, you can find your lost device on a map, display a message on its screen, remotely set a passcode lock, and initiate a remote wipe to delete your data. And if you eventually find your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can restore everything from your last backup.

Not all features are compatible with all devices. For example, multitasking is available only with iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.

Honestly, this was a long time coming and after two golden master development releases, it’s time to see how it pans out. Please let us know how the updates worked for you and, positive or negative, feel free to comment on it!

Apple to launch iPad to several European countries in near-term, iOS 4.2 beta error messages hint at free MobileMe accounts

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 06:18
Category: iPad, News, Software

This is going to be an interesting week as Apple plans to release the iPad in several northern European countries soon while a slew of error messages in the most recent iOS 4.2 golden master suggest the possibility of free MobileMe accounts for iOS users.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple is set to continue the global rollout of its highly successful tablet device in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Alongside the launch, several Nordic telecom operators will soon offer 3G data packages for the iPad, the Journal reports. European carriers Tre, TeliaSonera AB and Tele2 AB all announced Friday that they will provide data subscriptions for iPad users, though they declined to give details on when exactly the plans will launch and prices for the subscriptions.

TeliaSonera did confirm, however, that it will not sell the iPad. “As things look right now, we will only offer subscription packages for the iPad,” said Bengt Olsson, TeliaSonera’s head of communications. “The iPad launch is imminent and we plan to release our subscription offer in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Demark simultaneously,” he said.

Early demand for the iPad after its initial U.S. release in April surprised Apple, forcing the company to delay the international launch of the tablet until May.

During Apple’s second fiscal quarter 2010 conference call, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that sales “far exceeded” Apple’s expectations. “It has shocked us, the level of demand, at least initially,” Cook said.

Earlier in November, Apple released a golden master of iOS 4.2. Within the beta, it was discovered that the MobileMe settings now asked for Apple ID account info, rather than MobileMe account info. Apple has since released two more golden masters of iOS 4.2, including one build labeled iOS 4.2.1.

On Friday, MacRumors uncovered in the latest iOS 4.2 betas a “new private framework” with error messages referencing free MobileMe accounts. The errors include: “The maximum number of free accounts have been activated on this iPhone” and “This iPad is not qualified for free MobileMe service.” Though Apple currently offers a 60-day free trial of its US$99 a year MobileMe service, it remains unclear how an iOS device would “qualify” for the rumored free service.

Analysts have speculated that MobileMe will play a pivotal role in Apple’s continued expansion into cloud-based services, pointing to the company’s US$1 billion data center in Maiden, N. C. as potential evidence. MobileMe currently offers calendar, email and contact syncing, as well as file sharing and a “Find My iPhone” remote tracking feature.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple releases iOS 4.2.1 golden master to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 15:10
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Um, good things are worth waiting a fairly long time for?

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday issued yet another iOS golden master to developers, this time dubbed iOS 4.2.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Sources familiar with the latest software update said it is known as Build 8C148. Software that has reached the golden master status is typically final code that will be released to the public.

However, two golden masters of iOS 4.2 were issued to developers: the first one for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch on November 1st, and a second specifically for the iPad less than two weeks later.

Previous reports indicated that the release of iOS 4.2 was held up by issues with Wi-Fi connectivity in the first golden master. The release of numerous golden masters to developers would suggest that an issue with the software was spotted before it could be released to the public.

Some users who connected their iPhone or iPad to iTunes on Thursday were given error messages that the software update server could not be contacted. That led to some anticipation that iOS 4.2 might finally be released, though it never came to be.

The update will mark the debut of iOS 4 on the iPad and is expected bring features like folders and multitasking.

Google Docs editing en route to iOS, Hulu Plus now available for $7.99/month

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 05:48
Category: News, Software

Tech giant Google on Wednesday introduced a new mobile editor for its Google Docs productivity service, while Hulu Plus officially launched with a monthly rate of US$7.99, US$2 less than it charged during its “preview” phase.

Per AppleInsider, users of Google Docs will be able to access the service on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch by visiting docs.google.com in the Mobile Safari Web browser. This will support all iOS devices running version 3.0 or later and be active within the next couple of days.

The service will initially be available to English-language users around the world, though support for other languages is expected to be added “soon.” Users can also edit spreadsheets from their mobile browser with the service.

Changes to documents appear in real time, so that shared documents will show updates for other users on other devices and browsers.

In other news, the Hulu Plus service was officially launched Wednesday with a new monthly price of US$7.99. Subscribers who enrolled in Hulu Plus during its trial period at US$9.99 per month will be given a credit for the difference that will be applied to their next billing cycle.

The company also announced that over the next week it will issue updates for its iPad, iPhone and iPod touch applications, which allow Hulu Plus subscribers to stream content to their Apple devices. The streaming service is also offering one free week trial for all new subscribers.

Hulu Plus launched in late June with a US$9.99-per-month subscription price. It works on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with Hulu’s iOS application, and allows users to watch shows over both Wi-Fi and 3G.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple finally accepts official Google Voice app for App Store

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, 05:57
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple finally accepted the official Google Voice application into the App Store on Tuesday, bringing to the iPhone an application that was previously rejected and resulted in an inquiry from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Per the Google Voice Blog, the Google Voice App is a free download available in the App Store, and works for any users of the Google Voice telephony service. Features of the application advertised by Google include:

- Cheap rates for international calls

- Free text messaging to U.S. numbers

- Voicemail transcription

- Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls

The software also offers a number of features that can only be accomplished with a native iPhone application. Previously, Google had offered a mobile Voice service through a website.

The native app will alert users when they receive a new voicemail or text message with push notifications. In addition, most calls will be placed via Direct Access Numbers, making them connect just as quickly as regular phone calls.

Google Voice for iPhone requires iOS 3.1 or later and a valid Google Voice account to use the App. It is currently available in the U.S. only.

Reports that Apple would change its stance on the Google Voice application first surfaced in September, after Apple revised and published its own App Store Review Guidelines. Applications that accessed the Google Voice service were pulled in 2009, after Google submitted its own official application.

Apple refused to accept the official Google Voice app into the App Store, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Apple told the FCC that it was reviewing the software, but contended it did not outright reject it.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Comcast releases Xfinity TV app, offers basic remote control features through iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 16th, 2010, 05:21
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

This could be nifty.

Back in May, Comcast teased its subscribers with an iOS app that would turn the iPhone and iPad into a remote and possibly a one-stop entertainment center. Comcast has finally released the Xfinity TV app for iOS devices—right now, though, it’s largely a remote that lets you search for content, change channels, and program your DVR.

Per Macworld, the browsing and search functions allow you to scroll through listings, tap on a show, and watch it on your TV; you can also sort content by genre or search by keyword. In addition, the app lets you browse Comcast’s On Demand programming and bring it up on your TV.

At this point, the app seems to be a glorified TV guide, though Comcast is promising additional features. The company says it will release a series of app updates so that you’ll soon be able to stream video content to your iOS device. Other promised features include a personalized watch-list and integration with social networking sites. Comcast also plans to release apps for other platforms like Android and Blackberry.

The Xfinity TV app is available now for free in the App Store, but it won’t do much if you’re not a Comcast cable subscriber or don’t have one of the compatible set-top boxes. You’ll need an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 3.2 or later.

If you’ve tried the app and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know.

Apple releases second iOS 4.2 gold master to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 15th, 2010, 05:27
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Friday, Apple released a second gold master of iOS 4.2, its forthcoming software update, which may address Wi-Fi connectivity issues some have reported with the iPad.

Per AppleInsider, the new build, dubbed 8C134b, has replaced the previous gold master released to developers on November 1st. Typically a gold master issued to developers is identical to the version that eventually becomes the final release.

It is unknown what changes have been made in the second gold master, though it’s possible the latest version could be to address Wi-Fi issues that some users experienced with the pre-release build. Recent reports have claimed that Apple hoped to release iOS 4.2 sooner, but was forced to push back the launch to address issues with the software.

Regardless of whether the software has actually been “delayed” from Apple’s own internal launch goals, it has become increasingly apparent that there are issues with iOS 4.2. In addition to the Wi-Fi problems reported by testers of the first golden master, Apple has also cut features from AirPrint — specifically, the ability to print to a shared printer through a Mac or Windows machine.

Printer sharing was supposed to be a part of Mac OS X 10.6.5, but the software was released Wednesday without any official support for sharing a printer with iOS devices. The recently released iTunes 10.1 update was supposed to allow shared printers for Windows users, but the update arrived Friday also without mention of AirPrint.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 12th, 2010, 07:56
Category: News, Software

Late Friday, Apple released iTunes 10.1, the latest version of its digital jukebox/digital hub software. The new version, an 84 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and new features:

- Use AirPlay to instantly and wirelessly stream videos from iTunes to the all-new Apple TV.

- Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.2.

- Provides a number of important stability and performance improvements.

iTunes 10 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new version and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 4.2 update on Tuesday, November 16th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 12th, 2010, 05:48
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor, Software

Since Mac OS X 10.6.5 hit, I’ve been playing with the new operating system update. Still, in the back of my mind, I’ve been hankering for Apple to finally release its iOS 4.2 upgrade.

Per iPhoneHellas, Apple is “mostly likely” to release the update on Tuesday, November 16th. The same site previously had accurate reports indicating the release time of Apple’s iOS software updates.

In addition, references to a November 12th launch that were allegedly found in previous builds of iOS 4.2 carrier bundles have been removed, providing more evidence that the update may not be issued until next week at the earliest.

The Friday launch was rumored earlier this week, in a report that also said that Mac OS X 10.6.5 and iTunes 10.1 would arrive on Wednesday. That turned out to be half true, as Apple released its latest update to the Snow Leopard operating system, but did not issue an update for iTunes.

iOS 4.2 is Apple’s eagerly awaited software update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It will mark the debut of iOS 4 on the iPad, bringing features like folders and multitasking that iPhone and iPod touch owners have enjoyed for months.

The update will also bring AirPrint and AirPlay to the mobile devices, though support for shared printers in Mac OS X 10.6.5 was axed at the last minute for still-unknown reasons. The ability to stream video from an iOS 4.2 device to an Apple TV through AirPlay will also require a software update for the Apple TV.

For iPhone users, iOS 4.2 will also bring the ability to create custom text message tones.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.