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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