Apple releases OS X 10.9 Mavericks, offers OS upgrade for free

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:21
Category: News, Software

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You’ve REALLY been waiting for this one.

On Tuesday, Apple released its long-awaited OS X 10.9 Mavericks operating system. The new OS, which stands at roughly a five gigabyte download via OS X’s Software Update utility, offers the following fixes, changes and new features:

iBooks:
- Download and read books from the iBooks Store.

- Pick up right where you left off. iCloud keeps your current page up to date across all your devices.

- Swipe through Multi-Touch books with interactive features, diagrams, photos, videos, and more.

- Keep multiple books open while using other apps — great for writing a paper or doing research.

Maps:
- Send directions from your Mac to your iPhone and use voice navigation when you’re on the go.

- Explore select cities in stunning, photo-realistic 3D with Flyover.

- See detailed directions, real-time traffic, and alternate routes.

- Find restaurants, stores, and other places of interest with local search in Maps.

Calendar:
- Create new events in a snap with the new, streamlined event inspector.

- Enter event locations fast with address autocompletion.

- Add walking or driving travel time to your event so you know when to leave.

- See a map of your event’s location, as well as the weather forecast for that day.

- See holidays and Facebook events in Calendar.

Safari:
- Use Shared Links to discover new, interesting links posted by people you follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.

- Browse longer thanks to new core technologies that boost energy efficiency.

- Easily access your bookmarks, Reading List, and Shared Links in the new Sidebar.

- Protect your online privacy with new tracking-prevention features.

iCloud Keychain:
- Don’t worry about remembering passwords — iCloud Keychain fills them in so you don’t have to.

- Keep your website passwords, credit card numbers, and Wi-Fi passwords up to date across your trusted devices. Robust 256-bit AES encryption helps keep your information safe.

- Sign in once to all of your mail, contacts, calendar, and other internet accounts, and iCloud pushes them to all your Mac computers.

Multiple Displays:
- Just plug in a second display to use it with your Mac — no configuration required.

- Access the Dock and the menu bars on each display.

- Use full-screen apps on any or all of your displays.

- Use your HDTV as a second display with Apple TV.

Notifications:
- Reply to mail or messages right from a notification, without having to leave the app you’re using.

- Receive notifications for incoming FaceTime calls and reply with an iMessage or set a callback reminder.

- Receive notifications from websites, even when Safari isn’t running.

Finder Tabs:
- Declutter your desktop by consolidating multiple Finder windows into one.

- Move files between your tabs by simply dragging and dropping them.

- Select a custom view — icon, list, or column — for each of your tabs.

- Use tabs with full-screen Finder to organize and access all your files and folders.

Tags:
- Organize files with tags no matter where they’re located — in iCloud or on your Mac.

- Give a document as many tags as you want.

- Click a tag in the Finder sidebar to see all the files with that tag.

Advanced Technologies:
- With energy-saving core technologies in OS X Mavericks, you can surf the web longer on a single charge.

- Watching iTunes HD video is now more efficient, so you can watch more video when you’re not plugged in.

- App Nap regulates applications you’re not using so they consume less energy.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks is available for free and requires any one of the following 64-bit Intel-based Macs to install and run:
iMac (Mid-2007 or later), MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later), MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17- inch, Late 2007 or later), MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later), Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later), Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later), Xserve (Early 2009)

If you’ve tried OS X 10.9 Mavericks and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1 to check for faulty SSDs in mid-2012 MacBook Air models

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:18
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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It’s kind of a weird firmware update they sent out, but it might be useful.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday released an update for its MacBook Air lineup meant to test the thin-and-light laptop’s solid-state drive for a data loss issue and, if no fault is found, install a fresh firmware version.

Apple’s MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1, a 2.3 megabyte download, specifically targets mid-2012 models, a “small percentage” of which was found to have flash drives containing an unspecified issue that erases data. As noted below, if a problem is discovered and the drive cannot be update, Apple will replace the affected SSD at no cost.

From the release notes:
“Apple has discovered that a small percentage of flash storage drives in these MacBook Air models have an issue that may result in data loss. This update tests your drive and, in the majority of cases, installs new firmware to resolve the issue. If your drive cannot be updated, Apple will replace it, free of charge.”

It is unknown how widespread the issue may be, though a quick search of Apple’s Support Communities forum reveals multiple threads pertaining to SSD failures and data loss.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7 update for mid-2013 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 20:49
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

This might come in handy.

On Friday, Apple released MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7, a 4.6 megabyte download that offers the following fixes and changes for the mid-2013 MacBook Air notebook:
- MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.

The update requires a mid-2013 MacBook Air running OS X 10.8.5 or later to install and run and can also be downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the firmware update and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.5 Supplemental Update 1.0

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Date: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, 13:28
Category: News, Software

It’s been a little while since Apple released a supplemental update…

On Thursday, Apple released OS X 10.8.5 Supplemental Update 1.0. The update, an 831 megabyte download (for the combo updater) adds the following fixes and changes:
- Resolves an issue that may prevent certain applications from using the FaceTime HD camera on mid-2013 MacBook Air systems.

- Fixes an issues that may cause external drives to be ejected after the computers goes to sleep.

- Addresses an issue that may prevent HDMI audio from working after waking from sleep.

- Fixes an issue that may prevent certain USB Bluetooth adapters from working.

OS X 10.8.5 Supplemental Update 1.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8.5 or later to install and run, the update itself being attainable by using OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Apple releases SMC firmware updates for 2012, 2013 notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, 07:35
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

The firmware fixes for your recent Apple notebook arrived yesterday.

Per Macworld, Apple released SMC Updatesfor the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Retina MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Air SMC Update v1.9 is available as a 1.09 megabyte download for MacBook Air notebooks released in 2012 and 2013. It fixes a “rare” problem where the battery stops working, the battery is no longer recognized, or the system hangs when the battery has a charge that’s less than one percent.

The MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7 is available as a 1 megabyte download for non-Retina MacBook Pro laptops released since 2012. Apple says that the update fixes a “rare” problem where a battery that has over 1,000 charge cycles shuts down or stops working.

The MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update v1.1 is available as a 504 kilobyte download that fixes a few problems, including Power Nap bug fixes, and a “rare” issue with slow frame rates in games on the 15-inch model. This update is for Retina MacBook Pros only.

All of the updates can be obtained using the links above or by running Software Update.

If you’ve tried the firmware updates and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.5 update

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Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 15:16
Category: News, Software

It’s taken a while to get here, but it’s officially out.

On Thursday, Apple released version 10.8.5 of its OS X Mountain Lion operating system. The new version, a 287 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Fixes an issue that may prevent Mail from displaying messages.

- Improves AFP file transfer performance over 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

- Resolves an issue that may prevent a screen saver from starting automatically.

- Improves Xsan reliability.

- Improves reliability when transferring large files over Ethernet.

- Improves performance when authenticating to an Open Directory server.

- Addresses an issue that prevented a smart card from unlocking preference panes in System Preferences.

- Contains the improvements included in MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0.

OS X 10.8.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8 to install and run, the update itself being attainable by using OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Rumor: Apple to unveil Haswell-based MacBook Pro at September 10th event

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Date: Friday, August 23rd, 2013, 07:02
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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The Haswell-based MacBook Pro you’re hankering for could be unveiled early next month.

Per AppleInsider and EMSone, the highly-anticipated MacBook Pro refresh is said to already be in production, setting the stage for a possible unveiling alongside new iPhones at Apple’s rumored Sept. 10 event.

Taiwanese manufacturers have begun to ship components for new MacBook Pros based on Intel’s fourth-generation Haswell processors to assembly plants, according to a Thursday report by Hong Kong-based supply chain monitor EMSOne.

The Haswell architecture, which made its Apple debut at WWDC 2013 in the MacBook Air, is designed to take advantage of improvements in transistor manufacturing processes to increase power efficiency and computational performance. Like its predecessor Ivy Bridge, Haswell chips are manufactured using a 22-nanometer process.

Apple’s 2013 MacBook Air demonstrated the substantial power savings that can be realized with the new architecture. Despite maintaining the same battery capacity as their 2012 counterparts, the 2013 Airs run significantly longer on a charge – the 13-inch model gained five hours of battery life after the Haswell update, while the 11-inch model gained four hours.

Haswell-based MacBook Pros are expected to see similarly impressive gains in graphics performance. Benchmarks have revealed that we can expect to see Intel’s Iris Pro 5200 GPU — the chipmaker’s top-of-the-line integrated graphics option that is intended to compete with discrete GPUs from nVidia and AMD — in the new models.

The future of non-Retina and hard disk-based MacBook Pros remains unclear. While Apple is not expected to discontinue either model, the report does not specify which variants will benefit from the September refresh.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Hack: 2013 11-inch MacBook Air owner deciphers means of using adapters to access external graphics card, improve performance sevenfold

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Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013, 06:34
Category: Hacks, Hardware, MacBook Air, News, Software

It ain’t pretty, but it apparently works really well.

Per MacRumors and Mac|Life, TechInferno contributor Larry Gadea was able to hook up a powerful graphics processor to his 11-inch MacBook Air with the help of several adapters.

Gadea first used a Thunderbolt to Express Card adapter which was then connected an Express Card to PCI-Express adapter. Once that was done, he plugged the whole thing into a Windows-compatible video card–specifically, a GeForce GTX 570.

In his words, “It has become very clear that gaming is not only high-performance, but super practical on an 11″ Macbook Air. There’s so much going against it: this hodgepodge of adapters, it has a low voltage CPU, disaster of wiring and exposed sensitive parts, crazy boot-time chainloading software, Intel killing companies producing adapters and products left right and center via legal threats, etc. but somehow, with the right parts and some patience, it works spectacularly. And is quite cheap too!”

The TechInferno forum link can be found here, but Gadea’s unique solution to the limitations of Mac gaming has proven so popular that it’s apparently crashed the TechInferno forums. The post includes important specifics about the setup, including the understandable limitation that Boot Camp needs to be installed on your Mac in order to run many of the games themselves due to Windows-only restrictions. Gadea has stated that his graphics performance has improved roughly sevenfold since installing the hack.

The current rundown of Gadea’s setup includes the following:
- An 11-inch Macbook Air (2013 model

- A copy of Windows 7

- A Sonnet Echo ExpressCard

- A BPlus PE4L ExpressCard to PCI-Express adapter

- A copy of DIY eGPU Setup 1.X

- A 4GB USB thumb drive (to install Windows)

- A 400w PC power supply

- A video card of your choosing.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, check out Gadea’s rig (which retails for about $250) in action as it tears through Borderlands 2 in resolutions you’d otherwise never see on an 11-inch MacBook Air:



If you’ve come up with a killer hack/rig of your own like this, please let us know in the comments.

Assorted mid-2013 MacBook Air owners cite “blackout bug”, point out screen flicker issue

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Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013, 08:46
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News

This is what they created firmware updates for…

Per CNET, Apple’s mid-2013 MacBook Air appears to be suffering from a bug that results in intermittent loss of video output. When using an affected system, the screen may randomly blink to black for a brief second, or go to sleep and require a button be pressed for the system to wake again.

There is no indication on how widespread this bug is, but a number of affected users have noted the problem in a lengthy and growing Apple support discussion thread.

When the screen flashes intermittently, the system does not appear to shut down or sleep, since audio and other activity may continue; however, this does not occur at the times where the systems do go to sleep. This bug appears to affect both the 11-inch and 13-inch models, though the problem seems to happen more with the 13-inch MacBook Air. Additionally, it appears to happen more when on battery power than when plugged into its AC adapter; however, some have reported it happening on AC power as well.

The random nature of the problem suggests it is likely not software-based, so it may revolve around a physical sensor such as a magnetic switch in the lid or chassis, that could be contributing to the problem. Recently, the following YouTube video of the issue surfaced, showing an extreme condition of the bug, and its apparent tie to physical movement of the systems:



If you are experiencing this problem with your MacBook Air, then you can try some hardware resets to see if they can help the situation. The first is to perform a PRAM reset, by rebooting the system and immediately holding the Option-Command-P-R keys all at once. Continue to hold them until the system automatically resets and sounds the boot chimes again, and then release the keys to allow the system to boot normally.
The next reset you can do is for the system management controller (SMC), which governs how power and sensors are handled in the system. To reset this controller on the MacBook Air, first shut down the system and plug it into the AC adapter. Then press and hold the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard, followed by depressing the power button. Release all keys at the same time, and then press the power button to start the computer again.

If these reset routines do not fix the issue, then the next step would be to contact Apple and have the system replaced or serviced, especially since at this time the systems should still be under warranty. Since this issue came to light, Apple has swapped out a number of these for affected customers, likely with the intent of investigating the problem.

Depending on what Apple’s engineers find, we may see a firmware or software update to address the problem in the near future. Apple recently issued a software update for the Mid 2013 MacBook Air; however, this was to address a flickering display problem specific with use of Adobe software, and does not appear to address the issue at hand. Meanwhile, even though the issue may still happen, consider using the systems with the AC adapter attached, to at least reduce its prevalence.

This issue follows a similar, though unrelated, bug seen in the Mid-2010 MacBook Pro, where a faulty series of graphics cards has plagued those systems with regular crashes and black screens. In that case, Apple addressed the issue with a software update, though subsequent OS updates and upgrades have brought the issue back or exacerbated it for some systems.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end with a mid-2013 MacBook Air, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases MacBook Air Mid 2013 Software Update 1.0, homes in on reported bugs

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Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 05:28
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

If you bought a mid-2013 MacBook Air, the firmware update you’ve been waiting for has arrived.

Apple on Thursday released an update to its recently released MacBook Air models, addressing issues affecting Wi-Fi connectivity, screen flickering when using Adobe Photoshop and volume fluctuation during video playback.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s “MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0″ is the first for the company’s thin-and-light lineup that was in June, and fixes a number of bugs users have complained about over the past few weeks.

Among the initial problems cited by users was intermittent loss of Wi-Fi signals, a problem Apple partially addressed in a separate AirPort Utility software update earlier this month.

Another problem cropped up last week when MacBook Air owners complained of uncontrollable volume fluctuations while playing video content in both first-party and third-party applications. This too has reportedly been solved with the latest Software Update 1.0.

Finally, the release fixes an issue that would occasionally cause screen flickering when using Adobe Photoshop.

The MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update is available as a 3.55 megabyte download and can also be retrieved via the OS X Software Update feature on qualifying MacBook Air notebooks.

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