New Snow Leopard Seed and Server Features for iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, April 28th, 2009, 14:08
Category: Apple, iPhone, Mac, Mobile, Server, Services, Software

Apple sent an announcement to developers last Thursday that the next seed for Snow Leopard was available for downloading. AppleInsider reported that this was the second beta of the software released this month and is labeled Mac OS X 10.6 build 10A335.

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The new download is reported to also include a new version of 10.6 Snow Leopard Server which incorporates a number of new features. Some of the features mentioned, “[...] new junk mail filters in Mail Server, better automated account creation in Calendar Server, and completely re-written certificate management code”.

One of the developments that may be of interest to businesses that have, or want to deploy, a fleet of iPhones to their employees is the addition of the secure Mobile Access Server. The first hints of the new mobile services comes as a listing on Apple’s Developer site as one of the sessions available at WWDC called Deploying Mobile Access Server. The session has the following description:

Secure remote access to your business network has never been more critical than in today’s increasingly mobile world. The Mobile Access Server provides a path through a corporate firewall for IMAP, SMTP, HTTP, and CalDAV without using VPN. Learn about the features of, and deployment tips for, this powerful new service in Snow Leopard Server.

This comes in addition to features already mentioned such as remote access and control of mobile devices as well as push notifications. This positions OS X Server as a means to deliver intranet web services to iPhone and iPod touch users far more cost effectively than Microsoft Windows Server, and takes advantage of the popularity of the iPhone.

Mark/Space Releases Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.1 Update

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Date: Tuesday, April 28th, 2009, 07:49
Category: iPhone, Software

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Mark/Space on Tuesday announced the release of The Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.1, the new version of its data synchronization utility for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch handsets. The application allows users to synchronize data that the iPhone won’t ordinarily synchronize with the Mac, such as notes, documents, and tasks and archives text messages on the iPhone to the Mac as well as archives call histories, and features a “Migration Assistant” of its own that lets you transfer contacts and other data from another smartphone to the iPhone.
The new version, a 12 megabyte download (courtesy of MacUpdate), sports the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed a crash that could occur while transferring files to Fliq Docs.
  • Fixed an issue where notes syncing would not work on Mac OS 10.4.x (Tiger) systems.
  • Fixed an issue where notes edited on the iPhone would not sync back to the desktop.
  • Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.1 retails for US$39.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later and iPhone OS 2.1 or later to install and run.

    Rumor: Apple, Verizon in Talks for 2010 iPhone

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 27th, 2009, 08:34
    Category: Rumor

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    Despite its exclusive contract with carrier AT&T, Apple is now claimed to be in discussions with Apple for its own version of the iPhone in 2010.
    According to USA Today, anonymous sources familiar with the negotiations stated that Verizon reportedly entered serious talks before Steve Jobs’ hiatus and has been continuing those talks even with Jobs temporarily sidelined for medical reasons.
    Other than a 2010 target release window, little else has been divulged by the apparent insiders.
    Though not explicitly stated, the article infers that the phone would be a CDMA device compatible with Verizon’s existing network and therefore using EVDO for its 3G Internet access. Such a move would give the phone broad coverage but directly contradicts Apple COO Tim Cook’s own dismissal of CDMA last week. During a previous speech regarding iPhone expansion plans, the executive justified the absence of a CDMA model by arguing that a single, GSM phone model is easier to produce than building a separate version for a relatively small batch of customers. Cook also sharply criticized CDMA by asserting that it has no future, as most CDMA carriers plan to phase out the calling technology in favor of the same 4G standard that will be used on GSM networks.
    A direct leap to a 4G seems more liekly and Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg recently explained that a deal is more likely for a phone with the advanced networking technology as it would let Apple continue making one phone but still service North American carriers that are for now off limits.
    Verizon has stated that it plans to officially launch its commercial 4G network in early 2010 and would therefore have at least some of its network ready for an iPhone by the time AT&T’s exclusivity term ends, which is likely for the same year.

    Apple Announces Q2 Financial Results, Reports US$1.21 Billion Profit

    Posted by:
    Date: Thursday, April 23rd, 2009, 07:19
    Category: Finance

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    Amidst strong iPhone and iPod sales, Apple Inc. reported a US$1.21 billion profit for its second quarter despite Mac sales being down 3% for the quarter compared to last year.
    “We are extremely pleased to report the best non-holiday quarter revenue and earnings in our history,” Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO said during the conference call announcing the results.
    According to Macworld, Apple posted a total revenue of US$8.16 billion, its best non-holiday quarter to date. The quarter’s revenue and profit was higher than the $7.51 billion revenue and $1.05 billion profit posted during the same quarter last year.
    During the quarter, Apple sold 2,216,000 Macs with notebook sales comprising 63% of this at 1,398,000 units and desktop Macs accounting for the remaining 818,000 units.
    When asked about Apple’s plans for releasing a netbook, Apple executive Tim Cook said, “If we find a way that we can deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution, then we will do that–we have some interesting ideas in this space.” Cook said that netbooks currently have cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, and very small screens, “not something that we would put the Mac brand on, quite frankly.” He added that people who want a small computer that does browsing and e-mail might want to buy an iPod touch or an iPhone.
    iPod sales reached 11,013,000, a 3% gain over the same quarter last year. Apple said its U.S. market share for digital music players is more than 70%, based on data from market-reseach firm NPD. The iPod also grew in worldwide markets, with healthy unit sales growth in the U.K., France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and China.
    Click the jump for the full story…

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    Voice Recognition Feature Seems Likely for iPhone OS 3.0

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:22
    Category: iPhone, Rumor

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    As the iPhone OS 3.0 beta software has been picked apart, some interesting new discoveries have emerged for consideration. The latest one, which centers around voice recognition and voice synthesis, may take the cake, though.
    According to Ars Technica, the software, nicknamed “Jabbler”, will be built into the SpringBoard application (the software component that controls the home screen, launches other applications and will be the basis of the upcoming Spotlight search feature).
    Jabbler will likely have voice functionality similar to the software bundled with the latest iPod Shuffle, i.e. a computerized voice reading off playlists and other textually-based content.
    Sources close to the story have mentioned the upcoming feature, which has yet to be confirmed by official Apple sources. The ability to control voice features via the iPhone headset has also been mentioned.
    Voice control features could bring the iPhone up to speed with many other phones that come with voice-dialing, and will broaden the playing field with a voice search function like the Google app as well as be useful for turn-by-turn GPS navigation, eBook reading capabilities, and on-the-spot note-taking.

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    Updates Rumored for Pro Apps and MacBooks at WWDC

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 23:05
    Category: Rumor

    According to 9to5 Mac, Apple plans to introduce minor updates to the MacBook line as well as some significant updates to Final Cut Pro, Aperture, Logic, and Shake.

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    There has been some speculation in the last few months, fueled by rumors, that AT&T may be subsidizing MacBooks in much the same way as the iPhone due to built-in 3G connectivity. I am putting this rumor into the “unlikely” column, but 9to5 Mac’s sources suggest the laptop updates may be more than just speed-bumps. This could include changes to the battery, such as making it non-removable. I will want to be out of town if that announcement hits the floor to avoid the rioting.

    I for one don’t see Apple handing over any control of the sale of their computers, but stranger things have happened. There are almost 2 more months before WWDC kicks off, so plenty of time for more rumors to bounce around the internet. I think we all agree that a new iPhone (or 3) will be announced, but how about a netbook? Send us your thoughts in the forums!

    Additional Perks, Features Emerge in iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware Betas

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 08:00
    Category: iPhone, iPod shuffle, Rumor, Software

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    Developers working with recent betas of Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 software have uncovered some impressive new features such as changes to Safari’s user interface, new battery status indicators and notification preferences, as well as the advent of data detectors in certain apps.
    According to AppleInsider, the following changes have been the most prominent:
    Safari:
    Safari now allows the user to close out and clear all your open browser windows without having to first create a new blank page to get rid of the contents of the last active window.
    The iPhone OS 3.0 beta apparently allows the user to close out the lone remaining page. Once the “x” icon is triggered, the page disappears and a new blank page quickly slides into view.
    Battery Indicators:
    Improvements have apparently been made to the battery indicators, showing the remaining battery life left on your iPhone or iPod touch as a numerical percentage.
    Resource files contained within the new version of the device’s Springboard application include 22 new PNG files to facilitate this option. Half are numerical characters (and a “%” sign) in black typeface for representing healthy battery level percentages while the other half are in red typeface for when battery life falls bellow a certain threshold.
    Though this has yet to be confirmed, users will have the option of selecting how their battery status indicator appears in the menubar — such as an icon-only view (per current versions of the software), an icon + numerical view, or a numerical-view only.
    Push Notification preferences:
    A new Push Notifications preference pane allows users to enable or disable any of the three types of notifications that third party applications can push to your handset: Sounds, Alerts and Badges. Alternatively, notifications can be disabled as a whole.
    Data Detectors:
    Apple has enabled Data Detectors for several new applications. Data Detectors automatically detect text fragments like email addresses, phone numbers, and street addresses and allow users to execute actions on those fragments via touch selections — like dialing a phone number automatically by clicking on it or adding it to your address book.
    Finally, the iPhone OS 3.0 beta firmware apparently also allows users to change scrubbing speeds in the iPod application.
    “You press and hold on the little dot to scrub and slide your finger down the screen to get finer scrubbing speeds,” a person familiar with the software said. “There are four options: Hi-Speed Scrubbing (normal slide position), Half Speed Scrubbing, Quarter Speed Scrubbing and Fine Scrubbing (furthest down the screen).”

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    Tweetie for Mac Coming Soon!

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, April 17th, 2009, 18:15
    Category: Software

    Who would have thought such a simple thing would become such a huge phenomenon? In a matter of months, it seems like Twitter has become a household name and “the next big thing”? You know it must be big, even Oprah is on Twitter now. News even broke that Ashton Kutcher beat out CNN to be the first to reach 1 million followers, as reported by PCWorld. Twitter is even being used to report the news, gaining popular exposure earlier this year for being used to document a Denver plane crash.
    As an avid Twitter user myself (I have four accounts), it took me a while to find the perfect Twitter client on the iPhone for my needs. After trying out several, the winner, hands-down, turned out to be Tweetie.
    Lately, I have been faced with the same dilemma for managing Twitter on the Desktop. There are variations for every workflow, from the simplicity of Twangle and Twitterific, to more full-featured clients that manage several different types of social networks such as Seesmic Desktop and TweetDeck. I’ve been trying them all. A recent favorite is Nambu.
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    About a week ago from behind a curtain came the announcement from Loren Brichter, developer of Tweetie for the iPhone, that a Desktop client for the Mac was in development. Yesterday, a preview of the new software was showcased in a screencast.
    WOW! I expected something good since I am a cheerleader for the iPhone version, but Tweetie for Mac pulls out all the stops. From the features, to the cool, GUI animations, this looks like a real Mac application that is as much fun to watch as to use. I really hope it has multiple account support and hooks into some other social networks, but I already can’t wait for it’s release on Monday to try it out. I may have found my default desktop Twitter app.

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    Mac Hacker Charlie Miller Locations Additional Security Hole in iPhone

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, April 17th, 2009, 07:33
    Category: iPod, security

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    Mac hacker Charlie Miller, a principal security analyst at Independent Security Evaluators and the winner of the the CanSecWest security conference hacking contest two years straight, has detailed his latest find wherein he was able to run shellcode on an iPhone.
    According to Macworld UK, it was widely believed by many security researchers that it wasn’t possible to run shellcode on an iPhone. Shellcode is code that can run from a command line, but the iPhone was thought not to allow it for security reasons.
    If pulled off correctly, shellcode allows users to perform malicious actions such as gaining access to a users text messages or call history from a remote location.
    Earlier versions of the iPhone OS firmware didn’t have many protections to prevent people from tampering with its memory to run other commands, Miller said. But the latest version of the iPhone’s software strengthened the overall security of the phone, Miller said.
    In his report, Miller detailed how he was able to trick the iPhone into running code which then enabled shellcode. To pull this off, Miller said he needed to have a working exploit for an iPhone and a means of targeting a vulnerability in the software such as the Safari web browser or the iPhone’s operating system.
    Miller said he doesn’t have one now but stated that if someone did, “this would allow you to run whatever code you want,” Miller said in an interview after his presentation.
    In 2007 Miller and some of his colleagues did find a vulnerability in mobile Safari that would allow an attacker to control the iPhone. Apple was immediately notified and later issued a patch for the problem.
    Miller said he isn’t sure if Apple is aware of the latest issue and stopped short of calling the problem a vulnerability, saying instead that Apple engineers may have overlooked the issue. Apple also has never come out publicly and said it is impossible to run shellcode on an iPhone, he said.

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    AT&T Pushing for Exclusive iPhone Rights Through 2011

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, 08:35
    Category: iPhone

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    After three years of holding exclusive rights to the iPhone, AT&T is looking to take one more shot at an exclusive deal for the Apple handset and may keep it away from competitors until 2011.
    According to the Wall Street Journal, “people familiar with the matter” have stated that AT&T has a deal to keep the iPhone in its stable until 2010 and that negotiations are underway to have the device onboard for one more year.
    Though there has been no specific commentary from AT&T regarding this, an Apple spokeswoman would only say that the two companies have a “great relationship.”
    The commentary follows a report from last year that also said AT&T had struck a deal to keep the iPhone until 2010 and may provide insight into current talks. At the time, the cellular carrier reportedly agreed to allow iPhone 3G subsidies in exchange for a one-year extension of the iPhone’s US exclusivity. Although the cost of discounting those phones has been severe — as much as US$1.3 billion to date, according to an estimate — the agreement renewed interest in AT&T and gave it millions of users paying at least US$60 per month (on grandfathered plans) for service.
    Should AT&T be allowed to keep exclusive rights to the iPhone, it would be able to help prevent customers from jumping ship to Verizon or an alternate carrier at a time when the market is saturated and customers are more likely to have switched than sign up for the first time. The company added 1.9 million iPhone users just in the fall 2008 quarter alone.

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