Rumor: Apple working to include RFID, near-field computing functions into next-gen iPhone

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Date: Monday, November 1st, 2010, 10:37
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Ok, this could be interesting.

Citing an anonymous source, Mac web site Cult of Mac has reported that Apple is working on adding a near-field communication chip to Apple’s next-generation iPhone would add not only “e-wallet” transactions, but also the ability to securely turn a nearby Mac into your own computer, complete with custom settings and personal passwords.

Citing an anonymous source, Cult of Mac reported Monday that Apple is working on near-field communication technology for both its smartphone and future Macs. The functionality is rumored to appear in Apple’s next iPhone, expected to launch in June 2011.

The source said an iPhone with near-field communications like an RFID chip could be used within proximity of a Mac, allowing users to load applications, settings and data on the Mac from the phone. When the iPhone is taken away from the proximity of the computer, the data would disappear with it.

“The Mac authenticates with the iPhone, which contains a lot of the information the computer needs, such as bookmarks, passwords and other data,” the source reportedly said. “The system would essentially turn any Apple computer into your own — like you’re actually working on your own computer. Same settings, look, bookmarks, preferences. It would all be invisible. Your iPhone would be all you needed to unlock your Mac.”

The information contained on the phone would reportedly include contacts, desktop picture, mouse and keyboard settings, website passwords, and even software licenses. Taking the iPhone away from the proximity of the computer would then restore the Mac to its original state.

The source indicated that Apple is interested in making it easy for users to carry all of their information with them, but that task has become difficult as file sizes and the amount of data continues to grow. They said it’s possible that Apple could store larger files in the cloud, while the basics like passwords and documents would be contained on the phone.

Last week, a report alleged that Apple is developing a new open SIM for its next-generation iPhone, which would allow one handset to work with multiple carriers. It was also speculated that the technology from a partnership with Gemalto could also enable contactless transactions through an integrated RFID chip.

Rumors of an RFID-enabled iPhone have existed for some time, though the product has yet to come to fruition. Apple has also filed patents related to near-field communications, including an application in July that described a system allowing users to rely on NFC functionality in the iPhone to research products and quickly find helpful information, such as an instruction manual.

The company has also hired experts on near-field communications, and was even rumored to be testing iPhone models with RFID chips as recently as August.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.5 build 10H562 to developer community for testing

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Date: Friday, October 22nd, 2010, 06:16
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released a new beta for its forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6.5 update. The new build, labeled “10H562″ was released to developers late Thursday as a 616MB delta update. According to the release notes, there are no known issues. With new builds coming steadily for several months now, the update is expected to arrive in advance of the November release of iOS 4.2.

Per AppleInsider, the seed note accompanying the build specifies Printing as a “Focus Area.” 10.6.5 will work with iOS devices running iOS 4.2 to enable the new AirPrint wireless printing functionality. 10.6.4, the last update to Mac OS X 10.6, came in June with fixes to Adobe Creative Suite 3 issues and a resolution for unresponsive keyboards and trackpads.

Stay tuned for additional details as we get it and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new build for testing, let us know.

Apple previews Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” at media event

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Date: Thursday, October 21st, 2010, 01:53
Category: News, Software

In the midst of Apple’s product announcements yesterday, the company previewed its next-generation operating system, Mac OS X 10.7, dubbed “Lion”.

Per AppleInsider, the update will bring iOS features to the Mac platform, including multi-touch gestures, the App Store and Home screens, and will arrive in the summer of 2011.


Features of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” highlighted by Jobs Wednesday include:
- Multi-touch gestures

- App Store

- App Home screens

- Full screen apps

- Auto save

- Apps resume when launched

The preview highlighted just a few of Lion’s features, including the Mac App Store, a new way to discover, install and automatically update desktop apps; Launchpad, a new home for all of your Mac apps; system-wide support for full screen apps; and Mission Control, which unifies Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces and full screen apps into an innovative new view of everything running on your Mac, and allows you to instantly navigate anywhere.

“Lion brings many of the best ideas from iPad back to the Mac, plus some fresh new ones like Mission Control that Mac users will really like,” Jobs said in a press release. “Lion has a ton of new features, and we hope the few we had time to preview today will give users a good idea of where we are headed.”

Multi-Touch:
Jobs said that touchscreens don’t work when in front of a user, which is why devices like the iPhone and iPad are successful. Given that, Jobs said Macs will stick with products like the trackpad and Magic Mouse for input.

“This is how we’re going to use multi-touch on our Mac products,” he said.

Mac App Store:
Lion will bring the Mac App Store, which, like on iOS, will include one-click downloads, free and paid downloads, and revenue sharing with developers. The Mac App Store will also include automatic updates, and software will be licensed for use on all personal Macs.

Apple said the Mac App Store brings the App Store experience to OS X, making discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier than ever. Like on iPad, you purchase apps using your iTunes account and they download and install in just one step. App updates are delivered directly through the Mac App Store, so it’s easy to keep all of your apps up to date. The Mac App Store will be available for Snow Leopard within 90 days and will be included in Lion when it ships next summer.

A demo showing off the Mac App Store showed off the ability to purchase and install Pages with just one click. Applications can also be added to the Launch Pad, which can be selected from the Mac OS X Dock and brings an iPad-style grid of icons and pages onto the screen as an overlay.

Mission Control:
Jobs also announced a new feature, Mission Control, which allows users to view anything running on a Mac and instantly navigate to anywhere. He said this will combine existing features, like Expose, with new ones like full screen.

Apple said that Mission Control presents you with a unified view of every app and window running on your Mac, so you can instantly navigate anywhere. Mission Control also incorporates the next generation of Exposé, presenting all the windows running on your Mac grouped by application, alongside thumbnails of full screen apps, Dashboard and other Spaces.

Mission Control clusters alike apps, making them easy to select when in Mission Control.

LaunchPad:
Similar to the Home screen on iPad, you can see all the apps on your Mac elegantly displayed just by clicking the Launchpad icon in the dock. Apps can be organized in any order or grouped into folders, and you can swipe through multiple pages of apps to find the one you want.

Lion includes system-wide support for full screen applications. With Lion, you can enter full screen mode with just one click, switch from one full screen app to another with just a swipe of the trackpad, and swipe back to the desktop to access your multi-window applications.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mac OS X 10.6.5: What Will Change

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:40
Category: News, Software

snowleopard

With Apple releasing Mac OS X 10.6.5 seeds to its developer community, word around the campfire is that the new OS update will address the following issues according to MacNN:

AirPrint:
Due for a release ahead of iOS 4.2, Mac OS X 10.6.5′s key focus will be interfacing with iPhones, iPod touches and iPads running the new flavor of iOS, to allow them to print wirelessly to any printer on that’s connected to a Mac on the same WiFi network via Apple’s new AirPrint technology.

Without Mac OS X 10.6.5, devices updated to iOS 4.2 next month will only have the option of printing to the Print Simulator (an Apple development tool) or one of three HP Photosmart printers that already include built in support for AirPrint, and don’t require a Mac running 10.6.5:
- HP Photosmart Premium Fax e-All-in-One Printer series – C410
- HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer series – C310
- HP Photosmart Plus e-All-in-One Printer series- B210

General Stability Enhancements:
- Improve reliability with Microsoft Exchange servers.
- Resolve a delay between print jobs.
- Address a printing issue for some HP printers connected to an Airport Extreme.
- Resolve an issue when dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal.
- Address an issue where dragging an item from a stack causes the Dock to not automatically hide.
- Add SSL support for uploading files to iDisk.
- Resolve an issue with Wikipedia information not displaying correctly in Dictionary.
- Improve performance of MainStage on certain Mac systems.
- Resolve spacing issues with OpenType fonts.
- Improve reliability with some Bluetooth braille displays.
- Resolve a VoiceOver issue when browsing some web sites with Safari 5.
- Address stability and performance of graphics applications and games.

While the last several pre-releases of Mac OS X 10.6.5 have contained no known issues, according to documents accompanying the betas, Apple continues to request that developers focus their testing efforts around a handful of key areas, namely traditional printing and AirPrint.

In addition, developers have been asked to test the software against any of their own applications that include 3D graphics, make use of QuickTime, or read and write from USB devices. Apple has also been tweaking the performance of Time Machine, its automated backup software, for improved reliability.

Mac OS X 10.6.5 is expected to arrive any time in the next few weeks. The last time Apple released an update to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was back in June, when it issued Mac OS X 10.6.4 to address trackpad issues and compatibility problems with Adobe’s Creative Suite 3.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple launches updated MobileMe calendar, removes membership requirements

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:14
Category: News, Software

Apple announced Thursday that its new web-based calendar application for MobileMe subscribers has officially exited the beta stages and is now available to all members.

Users looking to become new calendar members simply need to sign in to me.com/calendar, click “Upgrade now” in the lower left corner of the Calendar web application, and follow the instructions. Current members who’ve been using the Calendar since it was a beta product don’t need to do anything.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has stated the new MobileMe Calendar was designed to integrate more fluently with the built-in calendar app on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches by always keeping it in sync with a Mac or PC. New events or changes are automatically pushed to iOS 4 devices so the calendar stays up to date. Users who schedule a meeting on their iOS devices will also see that meeting pushed everywhere too.

The new version also makes it easier for users to share calendars with one or more MobileMe members to keep everyone on the same page. For example, users can create a shared calendar called “Family” for weekend activities, then allow family members to edit events, and then receive email notifications informing them of those changes.


Another new features lets users share a read-only public calendar, which Apple says is ideal for publishing an events calendar such as a child’s sports team schedule. Once set up, a link to view the calendar can be sent to other team members for viewing on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.


Users can also invite guests to an event by adding their email address to the event (they don’t have to be a MobileMe member) and guests will get an invitation email they can respond to directly by clicking a link. The event then automatically updates, making it easy to track RSVPs right in the calendar.

These features tie into new web application at me.com with redesigned day, week, and month views, as well as a new list view to make scanning events easier.

Apple says the new web application works best with the Safari 5, Firefox 3.6, and Internet Explorer 8 web browsers. Compatibility with iPhone or iPod touch requires iOS 4.1, while iPad users must be running either version 3.2 or 4.2 (due this November). Mac users must have Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later installed and PC users will need MobileMe Control Panel version 1.6.3 and Outlook 2007 or 2010.

If you’ve tried the new calendar and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

SpamSieve updated to 2.8.4

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Date: Thursday, October 14th, 2010, 05:50
Category: News, Software

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Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.8.4. The new version, a 7.8 megabyte download, makes the following fixes and improvements:

- SpamSieve now integrates with Microsoft Outlook 2011. For more information, see the Setting up Outlook section of the manual.

- SpamSieve now integrates with Postbox, an enhanced version of Thunderbird. For more information, see the Setting up Postbox section of the manual.

- Adjusted SpamSieve’s tokenizer to improve the filtering accuracy.

- The Train as Good command in Apple Mail is better at moving messages in the spam folder or trash back to the inbox.

- Fixed a regression where the whitelist and blocklist windows wouldn’t open when running SpamSieve under certain localizations.

- Improved the localizations.

SpamSieve is available for a US$30 registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The new version can either be downloaded directly from the web site or brought up to the current version via the program’s built-in update feature.

Apple announces “Back to the Mac” media event for October 20th

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Date: Thursday, October 14th, 2010, 05:41
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Rumor, Software

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On Wednesday, Apple announced that the company will hold a special media event next Wednesday to reveal its latest offerings in the Mac space, which may include new MacBook Airs, a preview of Mac OS X 10.7, and an unveiling of iLife and iWork ’11.

Per AppleInsider, the event is set to begin at 10:00 am Pacific time on Wednesday, October 20th in the Town Hall on Apple’s Cupertino Campus.

MacBook Air:
Persistent rumors out of the Far East have suggested Apple is gearing up to overhaul the MacBook Air line with a newly designed 11.6″ display, creating a more aggressively priced notebook for students and the business traveler. Those reports claim that Apple plans to ship around a half-million units before the end of the 2010 calendar year. The current MacBook Air sports a larger 13.3″ display.

Rumors of a MacBook Air with an 11.6: display first cropped up in July. It was said the redesigned hardware will be even slimmer and lighter, and will be powered by an Intel Core i-series ultra-low voltage processor.

There’s also been a mixture of chatter regarding a much cheaper, thinner 11.6″ Apple notebook that would weigh as little as 2.7 pounds due to the possibility of new carbon fiber unibody construction.

iLife and iWork:
In addition to the introduction of a new MacBook Air, Apple’s iLife suite of digital lifestyle applications and its iWork suite of productivity software are also due for a revamp. The last update to both offers came in January of 2009.

At least one recent discovery has suggested that a iLife ’11 refresh will be written entirely in 64-bit code, will include a rewritten iWeb, and will drop the iDVD application. It has also been suggested that the software will be launched for iOS devices, like the iPhone and iPad.

Mac OS X 10.7:
Meanwhile, a copy of Apple’s official invitation for next week’s event appears to show a lion peering out from behind the company’s iconic logo.

This appears to suggest that Apple may provide the first preview of its next-generation Mac OS X 10.7 operating system given that all of its predecessors have been nicknamed after large felines.

Distributions of Mac OS X 10.7 have been making the rounds inside Apple under the internal code-name “Barolo” (named after the prestigious Italian wines from the Piedmont region) since early 2010, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Those same people have said that Apple initially hoped to preview the software during this past June’s Worldwide Developers Conference but was forced to relinquish those plans when it was forced to pull resources off the project temporarily to help finalize iOS 4.0 in time for the summer’s iPhone 4 launch.

Other possibilities for the event include possible processor and graphics speed bumps for the MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. For example, both the 13″ MacBook and MacBook Pro still lack Intel’s latest generation of Core i3 microprocessors.

If you have any thoughts on what the new announcements will bring, let us know and stay tuned for continued coverage of the event!

Analyst points to supply chain activity, cites strong evidence for new Apple sub-notebook on horizon

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Date: Thursday, October 14th, 2010, 05:16
Category: MacBook Air, News

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Recent activity within Apple’s supply chain throughout 2010 has shown signs that the company is gearing up to introduce a new notebook that doesn’t fit into any of its existing hardware designs, according to one Wall Street analyst.

Per AppleInsider, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said in a recent note to clients that a new MacBook Air from Apple appears increasingly likely to make an appearance during next Wednesday’s special “Back to the Mac” event, which is set to take place at 10:00 am local time on the company’s Cupertino campus.

“Our checks with supply chain sources over the last 6-9 months have indicated evidence of a new subnotebook form factor,” he wrote. “We had thought it would be released earlier this year but believe it may finally see the light of day as the new MacBook Air.”

Meanwhile, other “industry sources” have reportedly informed the analyst that Apple is making much progress in the area of “true” multi-touch Macs. Such products are believed to be more feasible today than ever, given the success of the 9.7″ iPad which is believed to be helping to bring down the cost of touchscreens and substrates, which have previously been prohibitively expensive.

Wu also claimed that the next version of Apple’s iLife application suite, which his “sources have indicated has undergone extensive testing,” could be unveiled along with a preview of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” and possible speed bumps to the MacBook and MacBook Pro line.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft releases Office 2004 11.6.1, Office 2008 12.2.7, Open XML Converter 1.1.7 updates

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Date: Wednesday, October 13th, 2010, 04:20
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Microsoft released version 11.6.1 of its Microsoft Office 2004 suite, version 12.2.7 of its Microsoft Office 2008 suite and version 1.1.7 of its Open XML Converter Utility. The Office updates, which weigh in at 16.4 and 333 megabytes, respectively, focus on improving security for both suites, fixing vulnerabilities that could allow malicious code to overwrite portions of your Mac’s memory and run arbitrary commands.

Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 1.1.7 is a 45MB update and repairs similar bugs.

The updates are free and available through the Microsoft AutoUpdate programs and require Mac OS X 10.2 or later to run Office 2004 and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run Office 2008.

If you’ve installed the updates and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

Apple releases MacBook SMC Firmware Updater 1.4 for older MacBook, MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Friday, October 8th, 2010, 03:04
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its MacBook SMC Firmware Updater 1.4 for older MacBook and MacBook Pro models solves a charging issue that takes place when using the latest MagSafe power adapters.

The update, an 880 kilobyte download, requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or 10.6.4 to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes at all, please let us know in the comments.