Apple releases iOS 4.3 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices

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Date: Thursday, March 10th, 2011, 04:02
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

If you missed it yesterday, Apple released its latest version iOS on Wednesday, the long-awaited iOS 4.3 update becoming available through iTunes and introducing the following new fixes and features:

– Personal Hotspot – Share iPhone 4 cellular data connection with up to 5 devices (combination of up to 3 Wi-Fi, 3 Bluetooth, and 1 USB).

– iTunes Home Sharing – Play music, movies and TV shows from a shared iTunes library on a Mac or PC (requires iTunes 10.2).

– New Airplay features – Play videos from the Photos app including the Camera Roll album, iTunes previews, enabled third-party appsand websites on Apple TV – Play slideshows from Photos on Apple TV using transitions available on Apple TV.

– Faster Safari performance with Apple Nitro JavaScript engine.

– HD video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter – View 720p HD videos from Videos app, iPod app, Photos, YouTube, Safari, Keynote, and enabled third-party apps on an HDMI display
Ping features.

– Push notifications for comments and follow requests.

– Post and Like songs directly from the Now Playing screen.

– Parental controls.

– New Settings.

– Messages setting for number of times to repeat an alert.

– iPad side switch setting to lock screen rotation or mute audio notifications and sound effects.

– Single tap conference call dialing with a pause to send a passcode.

– Bug fixes.

Amongst the biggest inclusions are Home Sharing (the ability to stream audio and video from iTunes on a local network to the iOS device); AirPlay (the ability to stream audio and video from the iOS device to an Apple TV or computer) for third-party developers; and the ability to create a personal WiFi hotspot from an iPhone or iPad with 3G support.

Per Macworld UK, users may need a qualifying data plan from your carrier and any necessary hotspot or tethering options to enable the much-anticipated Personal Hotspot feature. Users with an unlocked iPhone can use the feature without restriction. However, we advise users of this feature to keep a close eye on data charges as some mobile phone companies are now restricting data usage.

A couple of minor features snuck into iOS 4.3. Users can now enable Push Notifications for Ping activity, and the iPod app’s Now Playing screen offers the options to post about songs and like them on your Ping profile. Also new is a preference to specify how many times an SMS alert is repeated, as well as a conference dialing option to add a pause for entering a passcode.

Missing from iOS 4.3, however, are the new multitouch gestures that Apple asked developers to test on the iPad during the beta period. Gestures like four- and five-finger swipes could switch between apps and reveal the multitasking bar, and a pinch could exit an app and return you to the Home Screen. With the second iOS 4.3 beta, however, Apple clarified that these features were only for testing and would not ship to consumers in the final version. Obviously, they could return in a future iOS update or upgrade, but Apple hasn’t stated any plans.

iOS 4.3 is available now as a free update in iTunes for the iPad, iPhone 3GS, the GSM iPhone 4, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. As for the Verizon iPhone 4, it runs a custom version of iOS 4.2.6 that includes some features like hotspot support. Comments from an Apple representative at the iPad 2 event suggest that it might take a little while for Verizon’s iPhone 4 to converge with the same iOS version as Apple’s other mobile devices.

If you’ve snagged the iOS 4.3 update, please let us know how it’s working on your devices, for better or for worse.

Apple releases iTunes 10.2.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, March 9th, 2011, 04:00
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 10.2.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 75.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– iTunes 10.2.1 also includes improved Home Sharing, and lets users play music from their iTunes library on any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch over Wi-Fi using iOS 4.3. Any other changes to iTunes from version 10.2 are likely minor, as Apple did not detail them.

iTunes 10.2.1 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple to cut certain products from retail locations, focus on personalized setup services

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Date: Tuesday, March 8th, 2011, 04:38
Category: News

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As much as you love a certain selection in the Apple Store locations, the old stuff has to go.

Per The Loop, Apple reportedly plans to ax some hardware and software products from its store shelves to make room for an expansion of its popular personalized in-store setup service. The lineup includes some of the printers, scanners and potentially hard drives presently on display. Though they will not be directly shown in the store, such peripherals will still be available for sale if a customer requests them.

Apple is also said to drastically cut the number of games it sells in stores. Sources reportedly said that the company will get rid of 32 game titles from its retail locations, leaving each store with only about 8 games on display.

Unlike the hardware, which will still be available for sale, the games will not be available for purchase in Apple stores, as such software is said to not be strong sellers. Customers will reportedly be advised that they can download titles for Mac OS X from the Mac App Store.

In order to expand its personalized setup program, the article stated said that new employees are being hired in some locations. In other stores, the employee that sells a product will be the one to do the setup.

The personal setup service is said to be viewed as an opportunity for Apple to differentiate itself from competitors. With the service, customers are guided through setting up their Mac, signing up for an iTunes account, and given a quick walkthrough of the Mac experience.

In February, it was said that the initial success of the Mac App Store has sped up Apple’s plans to cease all sales of boxed software at its retail stores. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company allegedly plans to rely solely on digital distribution of software, and in the process will clear out space in its retail stores.

The company has also halted retail boxed sales of one of its own major digital products, MobileMe, late last month. The cloud-based syncing service, which costs US$99 a year, is rumored to receive a significant makeover in the near future.

Let us know if you’ve seen anything of this on your end and please let us know what you think of the changes in the comments.

Apple releases iOS 4.3 Golden Master build to developer community

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Date: Friday, March 4th, 2011, 05:08
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released the gold master build of its iOS 4.3, its forthcoming operating system update for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, just over a week ahead of its scheduled March 11 release.

Per AppleInsider, the download is available to developers through Apple’s official iOS developer portal. People familiar with the software say it is known as build 8F190.

Typically a gold master issued to developers is identical to the version that eventually becomes the final release, though two Golden Masters of iOS 4.2 were released after the first was found to have issues.

Apple announced the mobile operating system software update’s March 11 released date on Wednesday, and also showed off new, previously unannounced features. Among them is improved JavaScript performance, which is now said to be two times faster thanks to the Nitro engine taken from Mac OS X.

Improved iTunes Home Sharing will also allow users to access all of their content directly over Wi-Fi. And enhancements to AirPlay will allow applications and websites to stream over Wi-Fi to the Apple TV set top box. Sharing of photos over AirPlay can also use the built-in slide show options of iOS.

The new Personal Hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 lets users share their 3G data connection over Wi-Fi. Personal Hotspot will work with supporting carriers and monthly data plans on the iPhone 4.

iOS 4.3 also adds the ability to change the purpose of the hardware switch on the right side of the iPad and iPad 2. Users can choose to have the switch mute audio from the device, or have it serve as an orientation lock, as it originally did when the iPad first shipped last year.

The iOS 4.3 update is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, first-generation iPad, iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. iTunes 10.2 has already been publicly released, adding compatibility with devices that are running iOS 4.3

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

Apple releases iTunes 10.2 update

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Date: Thursday, March 3rd, 2011, 04:38
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 10.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 75.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.3.

– Improved Home Sharing. Browse and play from your iTunes libraries with Home Sharing on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.3

iTunes 10.2 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Rumor: iPhone mini could drop internal storage, rely extensively on MobileMe streaming

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Date: Monday, February 14th, 2011, 10:50
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that keep technology interesting.

With that in mind, the iPhone mini is making the rounds with the cool cats at Cult of Mac stating that the smaller iPod smartphone combo may rely on the also rumored MobileMe cloud-based iTunes storage server for streaming content from user’s media libraries.

Access to music, video and photos on the iPhone mini “would be a mostly cloud-based iOS,” according to Cult of Mac’s anonymous sources.

The rumored changes to Apple’s MobileMe service include a new Internet-based iTunes library storage system for iPhone users. Since content would be pushed wirelessly to them, the need for large amounts of RAM for local data storage would go away.

The notion that users would be able to stream their entire iTunes library may not, however, go over well with cell service providers. Relying on 3G data connections instead of Wi-Fi networks at least some of the time would push up iPhone user’s wireless data usage dramatically, and carriers may not want to deal with the extra network traffic per the Mac Observer.

Streaming content libraries would also a problem in places where data connections aren’t available, such as many flights. Unless the iPhone mini includes at least some local storage for media, users won’t be able to listen to music or watch movies when they can’t get an Internet connection.

It’s been presumed that an iPhone mini would have at least some built-in storage so users could load apps and store their contacts and appointments on the device.

As of now, Apple has yet to offer any comment, leaving the rest of this up to speculation…

Apple releases iTunes 10.1.2 update

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Date: Friday, January 28th, 2011, 04:05
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 10.1.2, the latest version of its digital jukebox/digital hub software. The new version, an 90.4 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.

– The update also allows for syncing with Apple’s CDMA iPhone (a.k.a., the Verizon iPhone available on February 10th).

iTunes 10.1.2 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 looking to incorporate Near Field Communications into next-gen iOS devices, allow for easier purchases on the fly

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Date: Tuesday, January 25th, 2011, 05:41
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor

A recent Bloomberg report claims that Apple will be incorporating NFC (Near Field Communication) hardware in the next iPhone and iPad, allowing customers to use the iPhone and iPad to make purchases:

The services are based on “Near-Field Communication,” a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4″, due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2, said Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisioneering Group. Both products are likely to be introduced this year, he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.

Apple could potentially tie this payment system into people’s existing iTunes accounts. The technology has been described as allowing customers to walk into a store and make payments directly from their iOS device. Apple may also incorporate loyalty rewards and credit systems into iTunes as well. Other possibilities include using location-based transactions to improve iAd targeting.

According to the source, Apple has already made created payment terminals intended for small businesses to scan NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads. These terminals could be subsidized or even given away to encourage adoption.

Apple has been hiring NFC experts as well as applied for several patents on the technology. A couple of previous reports have also pegged the next generation iPhone as having NFC technology built in.

Stay tuned for any information on this as it becomes available.

Italian hacker locates Qualcomm references hidden in iTunes software

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Date: Monday, January 24th, 2011, 05:06
Category: News, Software

A hacker claims to have discovered evidence pointing to an upcoming Qualcomm cellular baseband inside the code for Apple’s iTunes software, possibly indicating that the iPhone maker plans to incorporate Qualcomm’s CDMA baseband into the next generation of iOS devices.

Per AppleInsider, Italian hacker Zibri published a section of code on his blog Friday that hints at Qualcomm as the baseband provider for the iPhone 5 or iPad 2 devices. Zibri obtained the code by decompiling the latest version of iTunes.

According to the post, the code is a “definitive answer” to rumors from last week that named Qualcomm as the baseband provider for the iPhone 5. As the inventor of CDMA, Qualcomm may also already provide the radios for the CDMA iPhone 4, which will arrive on the Verizon network on Feb. 10.

Per the post, the files “partition.mbn” and “AMSS.MBN,” which were discovered in the iTunes code, mean “only one thing: QUALCOMM. Those files are the building blocks of any Qualcomm baseband.”

“So I can tell you that the next wave of iProducts will be using a QUALCOMM baseband,” Zibri wrote. “Which one I don’t know… maybe the iPad2, maybe the iPhone5 most probably all of them. What is clear is that they are testing them using the same iTunes you have on your hard drives.”

However, if Qualcomm is indeed the supplier of the baseband for the upcoming Verizon iPhone, references to a Qualcomm baseband in the iTunes code may simply point to the CDMA iPhone, rather than the next-generation iPhone or iPad.

Reports of a Qualcomm baseband for future iPhone models have persisted for some time. Apple and Qualcomm reportedly met in late 2009 to discuss “future cooperation.” In August of of 2010, reporters noticed a job posting on the Qualcomm website for an “iPhone developer guru.”

Interesting things may be on the horizon so stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple looking to hire two software engineers to expand iOS’ “cloud-based” features

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Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 04:05
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

When in doubt, there’s always cloud-based services to makes things nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is looking to expand its iOS development team with new employees who will enhance the company’s cloud-based services for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Just before Christmas, Apple posted two new job listings (1, 2) for the title of “iOS Software Engineer.” While the two full-time positions have different job descriptions, both describe an emphasis on remote storage for data access.

“Apple is hiring outstanding operations engineers to deliver and manage the next generation of hosted infrastructure serving Apple products and services,” one of the listings reads. The other says, “Apple is hiring experienced software engineers to work on distributed computing for data with non-trivial properties, and efficient online services for data access.”

One of the positions also seeks a candidate who has “experience developing large-scale offline or online storage systems.” Both positions are based at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus.

Some may view the hirings as further evidence of a cloud-based iTunes or other MobileMe-style services from Apple. The hirings could also be an effort by the company to bolster its new cloud-centric Apple TV, a device that also runs a version of the lightweight iOS operating system.

Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is interested in creating its own cloud-based iTunes service, which could allow users to stream their own music library from any Internet-connected device. It is believed that some of the functionality could come from Apple’s acquisition of Lala.

There’s also an e-mail allegedly sent by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this month, in which he purportedly said that his company’s MobileMe service would “get a lot better in 2011.” The US$99-per-year Internet-based service is an existing cloud venture from Apple, but a major portion of it, Find My iPhone, became free with the release of iOS 4.2.

Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina was set to launch this year, though Apple has not yet made any announcements for its potential use. But many have speculated that it will be used for cloud computing, perhaps via MobileMe, and streaming services, likely through iTunes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.