Happy “new iPad” Day! It’s been a long day for those of us here at MacLife.com, pecking away at our keyboards until our fingers are mere nubs, all in the name of getting you, the dear readers, the latest and greatest Apple news as quickly as (in)humanly possible. But the new iPad and a new Apple TV aren’t the only surprises from Cupertino today — you’ll be busy this evening downloading lots and lots of updates, so here are the ones you’ll be looking for this fine Wednesday, March 7, 2012.
Apple Releases iTunes 10.6 with 1080p HD, iTunes Match Improvements
As usual for a day filled with so many Apple product announcements, the Mac and Windows software at the heart of it all — that would be iTunes — has also received some attention today. Shortly after today’s festivities in San Francisco wrapped up, Apple pushed a button (or maybe pulled a lever) in Cupertino to unleash the hounds and bring you iTunes 10.6. The marquee feature of today’s update is “the ability to play 1080p HD movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store,” but those of you ponying up .99 per year for iTunes Match may be more excited by a trio of other improvements. “This release also includes many improvements for iTunes Match, including improved song matching, improved album artwork handling, downloading and display and addresses an issue where songs may skip when playing from iCloud.” Those all sound like good reasons to head to Software Update — or the Apple website — and get your download on.
Apple TV Version 5.0 Brings Updated Interface to Second-Gen Model
MacRumors is reporting that Apple has begun pushing its new Apple TV Version 5.0 update to current users of the second-generation media box. The announcement of a new Apple TV today created some question as to whether or not the older model would see a software update with the new user interface, and Apple hasn’t wasted any time doing so. Owners of the older model won’t benefit from 1080p HD playback since the A4 processor can’t handle it, but you will receive the new icon-based UI as well as “other enhancements such as support for direct Netflix billing” to your iTunes account. If you’re currently enjoying a jailbroken Apple TV, the makers of aTV Flash are warning users to hold off upgrading until they’re able to tackle the latest update.
App Update Armageddon: Apple Coughs Up New Versions
Hey, we love our app updates — it gives us a giddy little boost to see that a new version of an app is available, even if we’ll just open it once to see what’s new and then never touch it again until the next update. But Apple is going hog wild with the updates today — and we’re not just talking about the new iPhoto or the previously reported Retina Display-friendly versions of iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers or Keynote. If you don’t believe us, just do an update check in iTunes right now — seriously, we’ll wait. While not all of Apple’s apps received an update today, you’ll definitely find new versions available for Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, iBooks, Remote and iTunes U, which is a pretty good chunk of the company’s iOS offerings. Most of the updates enable Retina Display support for the new iPad, but Remote also adds support for iTunes Match on the Apple TV, as well as the expected bug fixes and stability improvements, which are always welcome. The Mac also got a little love today, with new Xcode 4.3.1, iBooks Author 1.1 and iPhoto 9.2.2 updates — the latter adds the ability to delete photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream, so we’d stand by for a similar update to Aperture soon as well. They’re all free updates, and you know where to find them.
Apple Release iOS 5.1 Software Update
iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users: To the software update cave! Apple made only the briefest mention of it at today’s media event, but iOS 5.1 is now available to make your existing device feel all fresh and new again. There’s a long list of changes, but the big ones include Japanese support for Siri, the ability to delete photos from Photo Stream (yay!), camera face detection now highlighting all detected faces, a redesigned Camera app for the iPad, Genius Mixes and playlists for iTunes Match subscribers and optimized audio for TV shows and movies on the iPad “to sound clearer and louder.” iOS 5.1 also promises to squash a few more battery life-related bugs, and read on to find out why AT&T users are suddenly upgraded to 4G. (Trust us, it’s worth the read!)
iOS 5.1 Brings 4G Status to AT&T iPhone 4S Users (Say What?!)
First noted by the folks over at Cult of Mac, iPhone 4S users might get a little surprise after installing today’s iOS 5.1 update — assuming you’re not on Wi-Fi all the time. That little “3G” icon in the upper left corner might just be replaced with a “4G,” depending on where you are in the country. Before you get excited, no, your device didn’t just magically gain the powers of 4G LTE through a simple software update — rather, the change reflects a connection to AT&T’s HSPA+ network. You’ll still get the same data rates that you did yesterday, but now you might feel a bit better about them from seeing that 4G icon. Of course, now that the new iPad has true 4G LTE — a likely sign that the next iPhone may gain the same superpowers — we won’t blame you for being super-confused in the meantime.
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Research in Motion has taken some considerable abuse in the last year over its highly anticipated and ultimately dismissed BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, but owners of the device can finally hold their heads high — a version 2.0 update is now available which finally brings native email, Android app support and other features to the tablet.
The Verge is reporting that RIM’s much-touted BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 software update is finally pushing out to end users on Tuesday, only weeks after being shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show. Judging from screenshots, the 505MB version 22.214.171.12471 aims to get beleaguered PlayBook owners excited about their devices all over again — assuming they were excited about them in the first place, of course.
“The biggest new feature is that RIM is finally including a native email client on the PlayBook, which features a unified inbox, tabs, and a rich text editor,” the report said. “Along with the email client, the PlayBook 2.0 OS will also pull relationship and event information from multiple sources into built-in Contacts and Calendar apps. RIM has updated Documents To Go, added Print To Go, and fully integrated the necessary hooks to let IT managers provision PlayBooks with BlackBerry Fusion.”
The update also introduces a new BlackBerry Video Store to U.S. users, as well as access to “thousands of new apps” in BlackBerry App World — “new” being a relative term. They’re Android apps, so if you’re already familiar with that platform, the apps won’t be new to you, but they’re certainly new to RIM’s tablet.
The Verge noted that their update installed in about 45 minutes from a previous developer beta version 126.96.36.19911, so your mileage may vary. Given that there are still plenty of places users can pick one of these up for 9, the new update might inspire some fresh new sales for those averse to the iOS and Android tablet offerings already in existence.
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(Image courtesy of The Verge)
Whether you’re sharing it with a significant other or not, Happy Valentine’s Day to MacLife.com readers everywhere! Don’t forget, we love you unconditionally, 365 days a year. So don’t be cynical about this love-drenched holiday, because we’ve dug up some tasty nuggets of tech news and app updates for your reading pleasure on this fine Tuesday, February 14, 2012.
Readability for iOS Still Coming, Android App Created During Review
Way back in mid-November of last year we reported about the Readability service going free, with an iOS app on the way. Flash-forward three months later and the iOS app is still MIA, much to the chagrin of “read it later” fans everywhere. So what gives? According to The Verge, the app is very much alive, although there’s no word on what the holdup might be. In the interim, the Readability service has been incorporated into Twitterific, Tweetbot, Longform and Pulse in addition to Reeder, where it has been featured in both the iOS and Mac apps. As it turns out, Readability hasn’t exactly been sitting around waiting for Apple to approve the iOS app — they’ve also created an Android version which is likely to debut alongside the App Store version. Developer Teehan+Lax claims “we’re hoping to have both the apps, which we’re incredibly excited about, in the hands of customers soon.” Come on, Apple… let’s go!
DisplayMate Weighs in On Rumored iPad 3 Retina Display
We defer to Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation, quite a bit here at MacLife.com. Dr. Ray’s knowledge of display technology is second to none, and his input is particularly welcome in this era of tablets where the screen is everything. So what does Dr. Soneira think about the rumors of an incoming iPad 3 with a so-called Retina Display? “I would be shocked if the iPad 3 doesn’t have a 2048×1536 display,” Dr. Ray commented. “Doubling the resolution is overkill, but does make it easier to scale up legacy applications.” On the subject of whether the iPad 3 qualifies as a “Retina Display” the way Apple CEO Steve Jobs explained it at the launch of the iPhone 4, Dr. Ray notes that the iPad is held 15 to 18 inches away from the user, rather than the 12 to 15 inches customary with a smaller device like the iPhone 4/4S. “As a result, to meet the 300 ppi Retina Display specification made by Steve Jobs at WWDC for the iPhone 4, an iPad Retina Display would need only 240 ppi,” Dr. Ray explains. “2048×1536 is 264 ppi so it qualifies as a Retina Display,” which is technically referred to as a “20/20 Display.” Last but not least, on the subject of brightness and power issues when going to a higher resolution, Dr. Ray offers a Tablet Shoot-Out on the subject on the DisplayMate website.
return7 Celebrates Valentine’s Day with BillMinder, DebtMinder Sale
Valentine’s Day is coming to an end, but if you’re still stuck for the perfect app-related gift for that special someone, developer return7 is having a 50 percent off sale on their popular BillMinder and DebtMinder software. BillMinder for iPhone is now only 99 cents and keeps tabs on your upcoming bills, including a snapshot of what’s past due, what’s due in the next week and even what’s coming up in the next month (the iPad version is also on sale for only .99, a 60 percent price cut). Likewise, the universal DebtMinder app is only 99 cents and works in conjunction with BillMinder to develop a plan to pay down existing debt, with payments made in BillMinder reflected immediately in DebtMinder. Best of all, the sale is good for two days, so you can gift it to a loved one today and buy it for yourself on Wednesday, February 15 as well.
Proview Wants China Customs to Stop iPad Imports, Exports
Yesterday morning we reported that Chinese authorities in one city had started to confiscate iPads from store shelves in the wake of a trademark dispute, and now the story is taking a turn for the uglier. Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that Proview International Holdings Ltd., who owns the trademark to the iPad name in mainland China, has asked customs officials there to block not only the importation of Apple’s tablet but also exports from the country as well. Apple previously purchased worldwide rights to the iPad trademark from Proview in 10 countries, which supposedly includes China. “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China,” explained Carolyn Wu, an Apple spokeswoman based in Beijing. “Our case is still pending in mainland China.” Needless to say, halting iPad exports from China would be “catastrophic” in the words of intellectual property attorney Stan Abrams, given the tablet is manufactured there in the first place. Proview apparently seeks a settlement of 10 billion yuan (.6 billion US), although the report cautions that amount is strictly “preliminary.” Quite a step up from the ,000 Apple paid through a third party to acquire the trademark rights back in 2006…
PushMail Developer Calls It a Day, For Now
One of the few things remaining on our iPhone wish list is IMAP-IDLE support for push on email accounts other than iCloud and Yahoo. While Apple happily supports it with the Mac OS X Mail app, the dream goes unfulfilled with iOS. That’s where the PushMail app has come in, gleefully letting us know when we have new mail — complete with the classic AOL “You’ve got mail!” voice — on our iPhone and iPad. Unfortunately, developer Simon Patarin announced via Twitter this week that he’s removing PushMail from the App Store — but don’t despair, it may not be forever: “I have decided to remove PushMail from sale for now, mostly because I do not have enough resources to keep supporting my users as much as I would like,” Patarin explains on the app’s website. “Latest iOS 5 update has created its share of issues which I haven’t been able to address in any satisfactory way. I do hope that I’ll get some more time to work on PushMail in the near future.” The good news is that the servers pushing emails will continue running “until further notice” — which means if you already own the app, PushMail will continue to work just fine. The developer promises a six month lead before he kills the app completely, at which time he would open source the client and server code for another enterprising developer to work on. Here’s hoping we’ll see PushMail back in the App Store again sooner than later!
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(Image courtesy of The Verge)
Ah, Friday: Time to kick up the feet and relax, assuming you don’t have to work the weekend. (Sadly, we do — feeling sorry for us yet?) Despite the weekend being upon us, today was a rather busy day in the tech world, with Apple briefly removing 3G-equipped iOS devices from its online store thanks to a Motorola injunction, RIM baiting Android developers with free BlackBerry PlayBooks and a whole lot more. Read on to find out what’s making news for this Friday, February 3, 2012.
German Motorola Victory Briefly Removes 3G Devices from Apple Online
If you live in Germany and have been trying to buy a 3G-equipped iOS device aside from the iPhone 4S in the last day or so, you might have been out of luck. According to AllThingsD, Apple removed all 3G-equipped iOS devices from their online store in that country with the exception of the iPhone 4S in compliance with an injunction granted to Motorola Mobility last December, part of the ongoing patent dispute between the two companies. Even as Apple was moving to comply, they were hard at work on an appeal, and this morning it came through — although it’s only a temporary measure until the matter is resolved, which patent expert Florian Mueller says could take upwards of a year. “Apple appealed this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago,” an Apple spokeswoman explained to AllThingsD.
Free BlackBerry Tablet for Android Developers
iOS developers must surely be getting a good chuckle out of this: BlackBerry PlayBook maker Research in Motion is trying to woo Android developers to their tablet by giving them the necessary hardware for free. According to The New York Times, “all an Android programmer has to do to get one is make a PlayBook app and submit it to RIM’s app store, BlackBerry App World, by Feb. 13.” We’re not even talking about native BlackBerry QNX apps here — RIM wants that Android goodness, presumably in the hopes of expanding its user base the way Amazon has with the Kindle Fire and its own Appstore. However, the report notes that RIM has an ulterior motive here: “Oddly, the PlayBook giveaway could have less to do with the tablet than it does with future BlackBerry smartphones.” Perhaps the idea is to lure Android developers and turn them to the Dark Side, writing QNX apps for the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 (and, presumably, the next PlayBook tablet as well).
Oops, Apple Did It Again: Snow Leopard Security Update Breaks Rosetta
While OS X Lion users had to content with a cryptic CUI error after installing Mac OS X 10.7.3 this week (assuming they could successfully open apps at all!), it turns out the seemingly harmless Security Update 2012-001 for Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard that Apple pushed out at the same time is also causing some ticks in that big cat’s fur. According to Macworld, Snow Leopard users who install the update are finding they can no longer run PowerPC apps, which require Rosetta to run. “People have reported cursor glitches, printing errors, and crashes when quitting an application,” the report reveals. “The popular financial package Quicken 2007, which requires Rosetta to work on Intel Macs, appears to be a frequent victim.” Thankfully, an enterprising group of system administrators at a Nebraska high school have already come to the rescue with the aptly named RosettaFix, which swaps out the afflicted files for the ones installed prior to applying the Security Update. The only caveat is that the fix may not work for all apps, but it’s worth a try if you find yourself stuck with no other choice.
Readdle Introduces Innovative New Remarks App for iPad
The creators of the popular Readdle Docs and PDF Expert apps are back, fresh from the recent Macworld/iWorld expo, with their latest work: Remarks, a .99 digital notebook app for the iPad. “Write down your thoughts, capture ideas and information, annotate documents and outline notes anywhere from university class to sofa at home,” the app description reads. “To let you write anything you have in mind we included all the tools you might need: pens and highlighters of different colors, floating text boxes, shapes and of course an eraser.” But this isn’t just a simple note-taking app: iPad users can also extensively annotate their notes, which are saved in PDF format and can be easily shared with others, imported to other iPad apps or even saved to the Mac or PC. Judging from early user reviews on the App Store, Ukraine-based Readdle has another winner on its hands with this 17.8MB app, which is now available and ready to purchase.
Apple’s iBooks Author License Not Quite as Evil
You may recall that the launch of iBooks 2 and the free iBooks Author was somewhat marred by a firestorm of controversy surrounding exactly what users could do with their finished work. According to MacRumors, many took the EULA quite literally, “believing that Apple was claiming rights to all content used in the production of the iBooks Textbooks, perhaps attempting to exclude books from being published in any other form.” Thanks to today’s iBooks Author 1.0.1 update, the licensing terms have now been clarified: Apple is claiming rights only to the .ibooks document format, while authors are free to sell their content in other formats as they please. A subtle change, but one that should send content creators back to the village to snuff out those torches and hang up the pitchforks — at least for now.
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Some people are more fortunate than others — for example, yesterday’s Mac OS X 10.7.3 update is causing grief for many who used Software Update to install it, while our 27-inch iMac was smooth sailing all the way with this method. If you’re one of those affected, read on for the fix — and while you’re at it, stick around for a little bit and take in the rest of the day’s news for this fine Thursday, February 2, 2012.
Mac OS X 10.7.3 Update Woes? There’s A Fix for That
Hey, nobody’s perfect, and that includes the engineers at Apple. As noted by Macworld, yesterday’s Mac OS X 10.7.3 update appears to be hiding a little bugaboo that has caused some grief for a number of users. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution, which is to download the larger Combo updater and simply install it over the system having the problem. So what’s the problem? It appears that a number of users who updated via Software Update “discovered upon rebooting that every app they launched would crash, and the ensuing error dialog box sported bizarre overlays: gradient boxes reading ‘CUI CUI,’ along with bright red question marks.” While the fix is easy, if your particular system is crashing every app, you may need to resort to using FireWire Target Disk mode from another Mac to install, or if worse comes to worse, use Lion Recovery mode to get things going again. No word yet from Apple on what the problem might be or how they intend to fix it — most likely they’ll pull the update and replace it with a patched version in the near future.
Avid Studio Brings Powerful Editing to iPad
It’s been quite a week for video editors, with Apple releasing an update for Final Cut Pro X that finally restores missing features from the legacy version and now their rival Avid landing on the iPad with a .99 prosumer offering called Avid Studio. Avid is a familiar name in the pro video world, having pioneered much of the non-linear digital editing used by Hollywood. The company’s latest offering isn’t quite as ambitious, but aims to take on Apple’s own iMovie solution instead. Avid Studio promises “big-screen moviemaking” on the iPad. “Swiftly arrange your clips in the Storyboard, make precision edits using the Timeline, and add high-quality transitions, effects, and a soundtrack,” the app description reads. “Then share your movie directly to YouTube, Facebook, and more — or export your project to Avid Studio for the PC and continue editing with even more advanced tools.” Avid Studio is a 30.7MB download from the App Store and available now for .99.
Apple Leapfrogs LG to Become Third Largest Mobile Phone Maker
MacRumors is reporting that Apple’s recent success with the iPhone 4S is paying off in many ways, including a new report out from research firm IDC today that positions Cupertino as the third largest manufacturer of mobile phones worldwide — and that’s not strictly smartphones, but rather mobile phones of all types. With a 128.4 percent year-over-year-change, Apple handily breezed from fifth place to third place, bumping rival LG down a notch. The iPhone maker is now perched behind Nokia in first place and Samsung in second place, although that pair will be much harder to dethrone: Nokia and Samsung sold 113.5 million and 97.6 million handsets respectively in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with Apple’s relatively modest 37 million.
Skype for Mac Update Brings Video Call Stability, UI Improvements
The folks at Microsoft-owned Skype are back for another heapin’ helpin’ of update fun for the Mac edition, with a new version out today that promises “improved video call stability and improvements to the calling interface.” Of course, that all comes on top of the VoIP giant’s recent bear hug with Facebook, which allows users to check news feeds, instant messages and even video call their friends with or without the client software, thanks to the wonders of modern browser technology. But enough of our yakking, it’s time to click the link and get your update on…
iMessage “Bug”? Not So Fast
There’s been plenty of chatter this week about what everyone assumes is a bug with iOS 5’s iMessage service, which allows text messages to continue to be received even on stolen or lost devices. As it turns out, the “bug” only rears its ugly head when proper protocol is not followed. According to The Loop, one such incident recently documented by Gizmodo found a customer’s text messages inadvertently going to an iPhone owned by the Apple Genius who assisted her with an unrelated problem. Since the customer’s device had no SIM card, the Genius popped out his own and placed it inside the customer’s, causing a shift in the time-space continuum. Okay, not really, but it did cause the iPhone to start routing the customer’s iMessages to the Genius’ device. As it turns out, toggling iMessage on and off or having the customer put their own SIM card back into their device would have eliminated the problem, as explained by an Apple representative. Problem… solution.
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The dust has settled, everyone has cleared out of the Guggenheim in New York City, and we all know Apple’s education plans, which include an update to iBooks and new iBooks Author and iTunes U apps. Before we switch back to gossip about the next iPad or even the iPhone 5, let’s address the rest of today’s news, which includes the unfortunate (and unsurprising) bankruptcy of photo legend Kodak. Here’s the rest of the news for this Thursday, January 19, 2012.
Facebook Timeline Gets All “Appy” On Us
If you need further proof that the world has gone app crazy, look no further than Wednesday night’s Facebook pow-wow, which introduces the concept to Timeline. According to The Facebook Blog, users can now “enhance your timeline with apps that help you tell your story, whether you love to cook, eat, travel, run, or review movies.” Sure, Facebook has always had bolt-on apps, but the new initiative promises to integrate them into a user’s Timeline in a more organic way, with 60 companies providing apps at launch, including Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot and TripAdvisor. Facebook promises “there will be apps for all types of interests, as more apps will launch over time.” You have been warned…
An Unfortunate Moment for Kodak: Bankruptcy
The rumor mill has unfortunately churned up another true tale, as AllThingsD is reporting that photography legend Kodak has filed for bankruptcy protection. The news isn’t much of a surprise and “follows years of struggle by the film giant to transition to a digital imaging company.” Kodak will continue operations using 0 million in financing from Citigroup and hopes to come out of restructuring next year. “Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation,” said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in a company press release. “At the same time as we have created our digital business, we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs, and reducing our workforce by 47,000 since 2003. Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetizing non-core IP assets. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company.”
Apple Releases iTunes 10.5.3 for Textbook Syncing
The Big Apple was home to a (little) Apple media event this morning at the Guggenheim, which introduced iBooks 2, iBooks Author and iTunes U to the educational community. Along with those releases, Apple also pushed out a minor update to iTunes which is now available for download. “iTunes 10.5.3 allows you to sync interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad,” the release notes explain. “These Multi-Touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad.” Hit the link to download the update directly or check Software Update if you prefer a smaller download.
Patently Apple Details Siri, “The Killer Patent”
Siri may be old news to those of us who bought iPhone 4S handsets back in October, but for patent junkies, things have just started to get interested. Patently Apple is reporting today that “the first killer patent application behind Siri was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.” Not surprisingly, Apple doesn’t plan to limit the technology to iOS devices but instead “envisions the technology playing a role in vehicles and in-vehicle entertainment systems where an Intelligent Assistant will be considered the king of user interfaces.” The website has a lengthy and detailed examination of the Siri patent filing, dating back to 1987’s “Knowledge Navigator Concept” which proves that Apple has envisioned this kind of technology well before the iPhone was even introduced. The report closes with some prospective uses for Siri which includes “the iPod touch (a personal digital assistant), iMac (desktop computer), MacBook (laptop computer), iPad (tablet computer), consumer electronic devices, consumer entertainment devices; iPod (music player); camera; television; Apple TV (set-top box); electronic gaming unit; kiosk or the like.”
How Can Apple Sell a Textbook for ?
Riddle us this: How can textbook publishers manage to sell a textbook for only through Apple? According to AllThingsD, it’s a matter of simple volume — or at least that’s how McGraw-Hill CEO Terry McGraw is looking at it. But there’s more than meets the eye, because such publishers traditionally sell their printed textbooks direct to schools, which continue to use them for “an average of five years.” The new iBookstore method is only .99 (or less), but the burden of the purchase is on the student (or their parents), although many schools will provide students with codes to download their textbooks. Since the digital textbook can’t be resold or passed on to another student, McGraw views it as a win for his company because in theory, each year another student will be purchasing a copy — and in five years’ time, they’ll have netted the same amount, even after Apple takes their slice of the pie. Apple’s Eddy Cue also confirmed that .99 isn’t part of any kind of “pilot pricing,” explaining “all of our books will be .99.”
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It’s a sad day when a once-mighty company like Eastman Kodak Co. is reported to be filing bankruptcy in the next few weeks, but that’s exactly what appears to be going down this Wednesday. Of course, we’re all to blame, what with the convenience and quality of digital photography these days. Thankfully, there’s some brighter news to be found today as well, so without further ado let’s commence with a handful of tidbits for this Wednesday, January 4, 2012.
Apple Announcing Q1 2012 Financials on Tuesday, January 24
The 2011 holiday season is over, but we won’t have to wait long to find out just how merry Apple’s Christmas was — the company has announced that it will be reporting their first quarter 2012 financial results at 2pm PST (5pm EST) on Tuesday, January 24. As usual, the conference call will be streamed via QuickTime and there’s sure to be a lot of talk about just how many iPhones, iPads and iPod touches got opened on Christmas Day, not to mention the rest of the company’s 2012 first quarter, which is actually the October through December calendar period.
Spool Announces New Funding, Content Sharing with Friends
Billed as “Instapaper on steroids,” the folks behind the Spool app are beefing up their arsenal as the service continues to roll through its beta period. According to TechCrunch, Spool has secured million in new funding through SVAngel, Felicis Ventures, Yuri Milner’s Start Fund and YouTube founder Steve Chen which will help the gears keep turning behind the scenes. The company’s Chrome and Firefox extensions are now capable of sharing links to Twitter, Facebook, Techmeme and other sites as well as dropping content “directly into the Spool library of a friend’s device.” Spool has a free universal iOS client app and is also available on the Android Market as well as the Amazon Appstore, where it even works with the new Kindle Fire.
Report: Kodak Preparing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Somber news from The Wall Street Journal today, who is reporting that legendary photo giant Eastman Kodak Co. “is preparing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing in the coming weeks should efforts to sell a trove of digital patents fall though.” The company employs around 19,000 people and has been in discussions with potential lenders for billion in debtor-in-possession financing to stay afloat during bankruptcy proceedings, which could begin later this month or in early February, according to the usual “people familiar with the matter.” A “portfolio of 1,100 patents” would then go up for sale in a court-supervised bankruptcy auction. It’s a sad bit of news for those of us in a certain age range, the ones who grew up with the Kodak brand being synonymous with photography. Here’s hoping they can find a way to turn things around before it’s too late…
CloudOn Brings MS Office to iPad — Then Poof, It’s Gone
On Tuesday, an intriguing new iPad app hit the App Store called CloudOn, which allowed users to run a cloud-based version of Microsoft Office on Apple’s tablet — all for free. If you thought it sounded too good to be true, it probably was: MacRumors is now reporting that the CloudOn app has vanished from the App Store, with the startup claiming the app is “currently sold out.” So how can a digital app sell out? Beats us, but given that CloudOn was doing its magic on the company’s servers and the app was free, we can only imagine that things got overloaded quickly. The company promises it will return again soon, and in the meantime, interested parties can sign up for advance word on when the app will return from the CloudOn website.
SugarSync Beefs Up iOS App with Photo, Video Sync
If you’re a SugarSync user with one or more iOS devices, the company has some big news for you today. Version 2.5 has just been released and SugarSync is billing it as the most “photolicious” update yet. The app now includes the ability to upload multiple photos and videos at once with improving browsing performance and complete control over photo and video compression. The Photos tab has also been revamped to now display album covers and sorting options, and uploading/downloading of files now happens even when the app is in the background. The SugarSync team has also squashed another round of bugs for a pretty fantastic update all the way around; the 8.5MB download is now available in the App Store.
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It’s looking like a green Christmas for those of us on the East Coast, so we can use all of the cheering up we can can get over here. Yeah, we won’t have that awful snow to shovel or plow out of our driveways when the family comes to visit, but there’s just something not quite right about a holiday weekend without the white stuff. With that in mind, let’s settle in for a short winter’s night with some tasty tech news for this fine Thursday, December 22, 2011.
Evernote Releases Skitch for iPad
We annotate a lot of screenshots here at MacLife.com, and one of the key tools we do it with is Skitch, the Mac software that Evernote acquired earlier this year and made free to all. Last night, the company announced the release of Skitch for iPad, which managed to slip into the App Store at the eleventh hour before Apple’s elves shut down for a week to enjoy the holidays. Skitch for iPad is also a free app and from a quick test, includes almost all of the power of the desktop version but with a touch-friendly interface. Annotated images can be saved to Evernote or shared via Twitter, email and even AirPlay to an Apple TV, which is pretty cool. Best of all, the Evernote gang promises that an iPhone version “is in the works” as well. Skitch for iPad is a free 10.1MB download that requires an iPad running iOS 5 or later; iPad 2 users will also have access to that model’s cameras.
Real Racing 2 Speeds into Mac App Store
The Mac App Store has only been in business for less than a year, but developers are moving quickly to bring their best iOS titles to the Mac. One of the latest is Firemint’s popular Real Racing 2, which is now ready to burn rubber on your desktop or laptop Mac. The critically acclaimed racing game features 30 officially licensed cars and races in 15 different locations, with up to 10 hours of continuous playback in Career Mode. Best of all, Real Racing 2 for Mac lets you control the on-screen action via touch or tilt by steering with your iPhone, iPad or Mac controls. Real Racing 2 for Mac is a 711MB download requiring Mac OS X 10.6.6 and is available now in the Mac App Store for only .99.
Reuters: Weak European Economy Taking Its Toll on iPhone
Despite the enthusiasm that greeted the iPhone 4S in the United States, Great Britain and Australia, Apple’s market share is slipping throughout continental Europe, according to Reuters. While research film Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows Apple’s smartphone share rising to 36 percent in the U.S. (up from 25 percent a year ago) and 31 percent in the U.K. (up from 21 percent a year ago), the reverse is true in France, where the share slipped from 29 to 20 percent or Germany, down to 22 percent compared with 27 percent a year ago. “Similar drops were seen in Italy and Spain,” the report reveals. So what’s behind the slip? Google’s Android, as usual, appears to be the culprit, with “a dominant 61 percent share of smartphone sales in the latest 12 weeks” in Germany, where Samsung’s Galaxy S II is currently the top seller. “European consumers are keeping a lid on their expenses as government spending cuts and job losses deprive companies of demand for goods and crush exports,” the report explains.
LogMeIn Debuts Free iOS App with In-App Subscription Option
Remotely accessing your Mac or Windows computer from a mobile device is wildly popular, finally breaking the chains for many of us to get out and enjoy the world while remaining close to our work. LogMeIn, Inc. has one of the better solutions (if not one of the priciest) with LogMeIn Ignition, which they’ve now rebranded as simply Ignition at the same time as they introduce a free universal LogMeIn app today. LogMeIn gives you a taste of what the app can do, then dangles a .99 annual in-app subscription to unlock new features like HD video and audio streaming, which only works with Windows computers for now (Mac support promised in early 2012). If you already own LogMeIn Ignition, you’ll get the latest goodies at no extra cost, but the legacy app now carries a stiff .99 penalty — er, price tag — for those who haven’t purchased yet.
Intuit Caves, Will Add Lion Compatibility to Quicken in Early 2012
Sometimes, it pays to complain. Financial software maker Intuit has announced today that its popular Quicken for Mac 2007 will finally get an OS X Lion compatibility update sometime in early spring of next year. The news was announced in both a support document as well as an open letter to Quicken Mac customers from Aaron Forth, the general manager of Intuit’s Personal Finance Group. Forth writes that he understands customer frustration over the lack of OS X Lion compatibility, and promises the company has “put a team in place to address that issue.” Of course, the better solution might be to introduce a proper Quicken for Mac 2012, but the GM admits the Lion fix “is just a first step in winning back” customer confidence. Now there won’t be many reasons left to avoid an upgrade to Apple’s big cat…
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It’s only the middle of December, but the presents are already coming for Apple fans, including today’s update to the Netflix iOS app, a new Pogoplug hardware device and a juicy rumor about new MacBook Pros with a type of “Retina Display” for early 2012. But that’s just scratching the surface of today’s news items, so read on and get all the details for this Wednesday, December 14, 2011.
Rumor: New MacBook Pro with High-Resolution Display Incoming?
If you’re in the market for a new MacBook Pro, the rumor mill says you may have some interesting choices early next year. According to DigiTimes, Apple is “likely to launch” a new line of MacBook Pros “with a display resolution of 2880 by 1800” sometime in the second quarter of 2012. Considering that current MacBook Pros top out around 1680×1050, that would essentially bring a Retina Display-style boost to the laptop, eclipsing competitors such as Acer and Asustek who are planning “high-end Ultrabook models with a display resolution of 1920 by 1080” by the middle of next year. Retina display Mac portables? Drool…
Original Apple Contract Fetches .6 Million at Auction
You’ll recall our recent news item about co-founder Ronald Wayne’s original signed contract from the founding of Apple Computer back on April 1, 1976 was headed to the Sotheby’s auction block, and that item has now been sold to the highest bidder. 9to5Mac is reporting that the document, originally expected to sell for upwards of 0,000, actually fetched a whopping ,594,500 — which amounts to about .3 million after deducting a “buyers tax.” The winning bidder is Eduardo Cisneros, the CEO of Cisneros Corp., whose family is listed as the second wealthiest in South America. No word on what Cisneros plans to do with the documents, which includes the original signatures of co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as well.
Netflix Updates iOS App with New iPad UI, Latin America Availability
Beleaguered streaming giant Netflix is making up for some bad mojo in recent months with version 2.0 of their iOS app. The service is now available to customers in Latin America and also introduces a sleek new user interface for all regions on iPads running iOS 5 or later. While it may not make up for the price hike or having your DVD account jerked around like a ragdoll (Quickster… seriously?), if you happen to love Netflix viewing on your iPad, it’s a start.
Time Snubs Steve Jobs as Person of the Year
AppleInsider is reporting that Time magazine has announced their annual “Person of the Year,” and sadly Apple co-founder Steve Jobs did not make the cut yet again. While the former CEO was recognized in a special “Fond Farewell” written by Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter, the “Person of the Year” went to an unlikely choice: “The Protester,” which symbolizes those who participated in the demonstrations across the Middle East, Europe and even here in the United States with the “Occupy” movement. While we’re down with the goodwill of the people uprising against their oppressive governments in the Middle East, we can’t help but feel that Jobs was cheated again, even in death. On the plus side, the issue also touts new Apple CEO Tim Cook as among “People Who Mattered” for 2011 for his ability to stand in for an otherwise “irreplaceable” co-founder.
Pogoplug Introduces New Series 4 Cloud Storage Device
It’s been a busy year for the gang at Pogoplug, who seems to be introducing new product offerings every month now that the cloud storage phenomenon they helped give birth to is really taking off at last. Today, the company announced the debut of Pogoplug Series 4, a new hardware solution equipped with two USB 3.0 ports, a single SD card slot and USB 2.0 port and plug and play SATA connectivity for Seagate GoFlex ultra-portable drives and other storage products that have adopted the new Universal Storage Module (USM) standard. Pogoplug Series 4 retails for .95 and the company is currently soliciting existing users with a 50 percent off deal via email as well.
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Seems like all the big news this week is app-related! Twitter has a new iOS app update, Batman flies in with a slick new Arkham City game, OnLive is coming to iOS and a whole lot more. Hey, maybe someday we’ll all be giving virtual gifts for the holidays — no more wrapping paper and bows, no more piles of gifts under the tree. While you ponder that future, read on for all the news from Thursday, December 8, 2011.
Batman: Arkham City Lockdown Flies Into App Store
Got .99 burning a hole in your iTunes account and ready to kick it Batman-style? Warner Bros. Entertainment is all too happy to take your cash and accommodate with the new Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, a universal iOS game app that just hit the App Store. “The inmates have escaped and Batman has his hands full defeating an army of henchmen and some of his most iconic villains,” the game description reads. “Scour the rooftops and the seedy underbelly of Gotham City through a series of one-on-one battles with the Joker, Two-Face and more, as well as the Batman: Arkham City Lockdown exclusive – Deathstroke.” Gamers will have a choice of several Batman skins and power-ups “as you punch, kick and combo your way to cleaning up Gotham City,” and the game is built on Epic’s Unreal Engine (the same one powering the popular Infinity Blade titles), so it should be pretty sweet.
Twitter Update Says “Let’s Fly,” Some May Flee Instead
You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Twitter: They’re not afraid of change. That includes releasing version 4.0 of their iOS app, with a redesigned user interface for the iPhone that’s already testing the patience of users, judging from a quick glance at (ironically) Twitter itself. With a cry of “Let’s fly,” the new app is broken up into four categories: Home, Connect, Discover and Me, with a fifth button for posting new tweets. While our personal favorite remains the third-party Echofon Pro, we kind of dig this update more than the last few (we know, we’re in the minority). The changes will be rolled out eventually to the Twitter website, but for now you can download the iPhone or Android versions (or hit up the mobile version of the website) to experience it for yourself.
Google Currents Aims to Capsize Personalized Reader Market
It’s been a big week for “personalized reader” apps with Flipboard finally arriving on the iPhone, and now Google is leaping into the pool with its own approach. Google Currents is a free universal app for iOS (also available on Android, naturally) with more than 150 publishing partners, offering full-length articles from more than 180 editions including CNET, AllThingsD, Forbes, Saveur, PBS, Huffington Post, Fast Company and more. (And hey, don’t forget to add Mac|Life, who’s included in the “Science & Tech” category!) The app is also tied to a new self-service platform allowing publishers to design, brand and customize their web content for Google Currents users. The app also taps into RSS, video and photo feeds, public Google+ streams and Google Reader subscriptions so you’ll never be without something to read (in theory, anyway). The universal 9.3MB app is available now from the App Store.
OnLive for iOS Incoming, Free LEGO Batman In Tow
If you love cloud-based gaming service OnLive, you’ll love it even more once the iOS client app arrives. According to TouchArcade, the release is imminent and will come with a free copy of LEGO Batman: The Videogame absolutely free for anyone who downloads the client and signs up (no purchase necessary). TouchArcade describes the service as “a lot like instantly streaming movies over Netflix, except it’s video games, and you get to actually play them in real time with minimal lag if you’re internet speeds are up to snuff.” The OnLive client has already hit Android, so if you’re rockin’ some kind of Google-blessed device, you can download that client now, sign up and be ready to go when the iOS version hits the App Store. The company is also offering a Universal OnLive Wireless Controller in their store for .99 if you don’t like doing the touch thing, and an iPhone version of the app is expected soon as well.
Pocket God Comic Celebrates 500k Downloads with Free App
Ape Entertainment and Bolt Creative have announced a milestone for the Pocket God digital comic book series. With more than seven million downloads for the popular iOS game from which it’s based, the full-color comic has itself passed the 500,000 download mark. To celebrate, the two companies have teamed up with Free App A Day (FAAD) to offer the first issue of the digital comic absolutely free today from the App Store — but don’t worry, it will also be a Friday freebie courtesy of Monster Free Apps as well. And that’s not all: The digital comic series today launches issue No. 11, which is immediately available for download on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with 20 pages of all-new content courtesy of iVerse Media as a 99-cent in-app purchase.
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