Apple Releases Safari 4.0.5 Update

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Date: Thursday, March 11th, 2010, 16:34
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple Safari 4.0.5, the latest version of the company’s web browser.

The new version, which which can be downloaded here, includes the following fixes and features:

- Performance improvements for Top Sites.
- Stability improvements for 3rd-party plug-ins.
- Stability improvements for websites with online forms and Scalable Vector Graphics.
- Fixes an issue that prevented Safari from changing settings on some Linksys routers.

The update can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later to install and run.

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

Recent Study Finds Neither Adobe Flash, HTML5 Has Significant Performance Advantage

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Date: Thursday, March 11th, 2010, 06:36
Category: News

As the war between Adobe Flash and HTML5 heats up, a recent comparison with numerous different browsers on both Mac and Windows produced wildly different results based on the operating system and browser, making neither a clear winner.

Per Streaming Learning Center, which conducted the study in response to recently alleged comments from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that reportedly called Flash a “CPU hog”, the test found that HTML5 is significantly more efficient than Flash on the Mac when running the Safari Web browser, those same advantages do not exist on other Mac browsers, or in Windows.

“It’s inaccurate to conclude that Flash is inherently inefficient,” author Jan Ozer wrote. “Rather, Flash is efficient on platforms where it can access hardware acceleration and less efficient where it can’t. With Flash Player 10.1, Flash has the opportunity for a true leap in video playback performance on all platforms that enable hardware acceleration.”

The report noted that Apple has not enabled the hooks to allow GPU-based acceleration for H.264 video decoding. Anand Lai Shimpi, founder of AnandTech, asserted “it’s up to Apple to expose the appropriate hooks to allow Adobe to (eventually) enable that functionality.”

Adobe’s update to Flash 10.1 on the Mac improved CPU efficiency within Safari by 5%, but the Web format still trails far behind HTML5 due to hardware acceleration. With Google Chrome, neither were particularly efficient, and Firefox saw slightly better performance than Chrome.

On Windows, Apple’s Safari browser doesn’t play HTML 5 content. But the Google Chrome browser in Windows played Flash 10.1 content with 58% more efficiency than HTML5.

HTML5 has yet to receive native support in Firefox or Internet Explorer, but the update from Flash 10 to Flash 10.1 improved CPU performance for the browsers by 73% and 35%, respectively. Flash 10.1 in Windows offers added hardware acceleration.

“When it comes to efficient video playback, the ability to access hardware acceleration is the single most important factor in the overall CPU load,” Streaming Learning Center noted. “On Windows, where Flash can access hardware acceleration, the CPU requirements drop to negligible levels.

“It seems reasonable to assume that if the Flash Player could access GPU-based hardware acceleration on the Mac (or iPod/iPhone/iPad), the difference between the CPU required for HTML5 playback and Flash playback would be very much narrowed, if not eliminated.”

Google added native YouTube support in January. The beta opt-in program is available only for browsers that support both HTML5 and H.264 video encoding.

Scrutiny over Flash has grown in recent months since Apple introduced its multimedia iPad device, which does not support the Web format from Adobe. Apple, instead, has placed its support behind HTML5.

Firefox Web Browser Unlikely to Come to iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Wednesday, November 18th, 2009, 05:55
Category: iPhone, News

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Representatives from Mozilla, the company responsible for Firefox, have announced that the web browser will not be coming to the iPhone. Responding to questions from ElectricPig.co.uk, Mozilla’s European president, Tristan Nitot, said that Firefox on the iPhone isn’t an option with Apple’s current restrictions on web browsers that would compete with Mobile Safari.

“The issue is more with Apple than with us because they control the App Store and because they refuse applications which compete with something that is already on the phone. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a version of Firefox running on the iPhone,” said Nitot.

Nitot also stated that Mozilla is so sure it isn’t going to happen that he said the foundation isn’t even looking in to making a version for just in case Apple changes their mind.

“We’re not investing time and energy in this direction because we’re pretty sure it would be blocked by Apple, so we’re better off using our time in terms of development to do things on open platforms”.

“[Firefox for mobile] is a modern browser with all the bells and whistles that you’ll find in your desktop browser so you need a powerful operating system such as Android or Maemo or Windows Mobile,” he said. “The list of operating systems we want to support in the mobile world is already pretty long – I guess BlackBerry would be one of the last in our priority list”

Firefox Mobile will be launching on Symbian, Android, Windows Mobile, and Nokia Maemo tablets in December.

Apple Releases Safari 4.0.4 Update

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Date: Thursday, November 12th, 2009, 05:33
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple Safari 4.0.4, the latest version of the company’s web browser.

The new version, which which can be downloaded here, includes the following fixes and features:

- Improved JavaScript performance.
- Improved Full History Search performance for users with a large number of history items.
- Stability improvements for 3rd-party plug-ins, the search field and Yahoo! Mail.

The update can be located and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know in the comments.

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update

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Date: Monday, November 9th, 2009, 14:14
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Apple released its second maintenance update to its Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system. Mac OS X 10.6.2, a 473 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes for the following issues:

- An issue that might cause your system to logout unexpectedly.
- Graphics distortion in Safari Top Sites.
- An issue wherein Spotlight search results not showing Exchange contacts.
- A problem that prevented authenticating as an administrative user.
- Issues when using NTFS and WebDAV file servers.
- The reliability of menu extras.
- An issue with the 4-finger swipe gesture.
- An issue that causes Mail to quit unexpectedly when setting up an Exchange server.
- Address Book becoming unresponsive when editing.
- A problem adding images to contacts in Address Book.
- An issue that prevented opening files downloaded from the Internet.
- Safari plug-in reliability.
- General reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, and iDisk.
- An issue that caused data to be deleted when using a guest account.

Other fixes include improved video playback, fixes for performance on certain Nvidia graphics cards and assorted security updates.

As always, the update can be snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new update and noticed anything, positive or negative, please let us know in the comments.

Apple Releases Third Beta Build of Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update to Developers

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Date: Monday, October 19th, 2009, 04:38
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple sent its third beta release of the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6.2 update with fixes for QuickTime, iChat, and a widely reported guest account glitch that could delete user data to its developer community.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with build 10C527f said the latest update has only one known issue, and has a number of fixes in 13 different focus areas. It also reportedly provides reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, iDisk, and Safari plug-ins.

The update also reportedly fixes a glitch that could delete user data. This issue is triggered by logging in and out of a guest account on a Snow Leopard machine. Upon logging back in to their regular account, some users may find that it has been wiped of all data. Apple acknowledged the issue earlier this week and has stated that the company is working on a fix.

The latest build allegedly provides a number of GraphicsDrivers fixes, including resolutions for crashes with OpenCL, a screen flickering issue, and stuttering while playing 1080p content with QuickTime Player X.

The update is also said to resolve an issue that did not allow some QuickTime movies to play in QuickTime Player X.

A handful of iMovie-related issues were also addressed, including color shift issues and a crash that occurred when looping previews of titles in the skimming palette.

The update is currently a 483.5 megabyte file, and is the third beta release in less than two weeks. The previous build of Mac OS X 10.6.2 was provided to developers on Oct. 9. The last build addressed nearly 150 general focus areas covering a wide range.

Some Snow Leopard Users Complain of Spontaneous Logouts

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Date: Monday, September 28th, 2009, 05:31
Category: Software

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If Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) is behaving strangely for you, you’re not alone. Per CNET, a number of users have reported that Mac OS X 10.6 (as well as 10.6.1) will spontaneously log out of their account in the middle of using applications. The issue does not appear to be related to specific applications running as users have reported it happening while using Excel, Word, Safari, Photoshop, and Filemaker Pro among others. Most guesses have the problem related to Rosetta running on the new operating system, though an official fix has yet to be reported.

Over on the Apple Support Discussions, forum poster “Stu Baker” writes:
“I am having spontaneous logouts while I am in Snow Leopard. This is happening a couple times a day and it is very annoying. When it logs out it instantly goes to a blue screen and then the login screen appears. When I log back in all my apps have quit and it is like I am logging in for the first time. I did have this happen in Leopard too, but very rarely.”

One forum poster suggested a complete erase and install of Snow Leopard. If you’re going to attempt this, make sure you have all your data backed up to a safe location, if not a Time Machine archive on an external disk to make setup that much easier after the OS is installed.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.0.1 to Close SMS-Based Security Hole

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Date: Friday, July 31st, 2009, 10:29
Category: iPhone

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Responding to a dangerous security exploit unveiled this week, Apple released an update to its iPhone operating system Thursday to patch the security hole.

iPhone OS has just become available for the iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS handsets. The update is between 230 and 300 megabytes and appears to exclusively fix the reported SMS exploit.

According to AppleInsider, security researcher Charlie Miller, co-author of The Mac Hacker’s Handbook, demonstrated the hack Thursday at the Black Hat 2009 conference in Las Vegas. The attack takes advantage of a vulnerability in the phone’s short messaging service, or SMS, feature, allowing an outside party into the phone’s root access without the owner’s knowledge.

The exploit takes advantage of the fact that SMS can send binary code to a phone which is then automatically processed without user interaction, and can be compiled from multiple messages, allowing larger programs to be sent to a phone. The exploit supposedly exposes the iPhone completely, allowing access to the camera, dialer, messaging and Safari. It occurs regardless of hardware revision or which version of the iPhone OS is running.

The technique involves sending only one unusual text character or else a series of “invisible” messages that confuse the phone and open the door to attack. Given that users won’t know which messages to block in advance, there’s little iPhone owners can do but to shut off the phone immediately if they suspect they’re at risk. Once exploited, the trick could also be used to make an iPhone send additional messages of its own, thereby spreading the problem.

To install the new iPhone OS firmware, simply connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC, open iTunes, select the iPhone in the device window and tell it to check for an update. The process will complete on its own.

If you’ve tried the new firmware, let us know what you make of it in the comments or forums.

Apple Releases Safari 4.0.2 Update

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Date: Thursday, July 9th, 2009, 03:26
Category: Software

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On Wednesday, Apple released an update to the Safari 4 browser.

The Safari 4.0.2 Update is recommended for all Safari users and improves the stability of the Nitro JavaScript engine and includes the latest compatibility and security fixes.

Safari 4.0.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be downloaded via the Software Update control panel on your Mac.

Apple Releases Safari 4.0.1 Update

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Date: Thursday, June 18th, 2009, 18:03
Category: Software

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On Wednesday, amid the iPhone 3.0 release craziness, Apple released an update to the Safari 4 browser.

The Safari 4.0.1 Update (a 43.8 megabyte download) is reported by Apple to address incompatibilities between Safari 4.0 and certain features in iPhoto ’09, including Places and Facebook publishing.

It can be downloaded via the Software Update control panel on your Mac. At the time of this posting, there was no stand-alone updater at the Apple website.