News

Apple said to Weigh expanding AirPlay for Streaming Video on Devices

Apple Inc. is weighing an expansion of its AirPlay audio service to include streaming video from an iPhone or iPad to television sets, according to two people familiar with the project.

Under the plan, Apple would license its AirPlay software to consumer-electronics makers that could use it in devices for streaming movies, TV shows and other video content, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous because the plans haven’t been made public. Apple now only licenses AirPlay for streaming audio. Devices that could be used for video may be available this year, one of the people said.

Bertrand Serlet leaves Apple

Apple’s senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, Bertrand Serlet, is leaving the company.

Apple made the announcement on Wednesday and said that Craig Federighi, Apple’s vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will assume Serlet’s responsibilities and report to Steve Jobs. Federighi has been managing the engineering group for the last two years according to Apple.

Federighi also worked at NeXT with Steve Jobs and returned to Apple in 2009.

Sparrow for Mac finally gets General IMAP Support, Multitouch

Sparrow.png

Sparrow 1.1 is now available via the Mac App Store, finally bringing promised compatibility with IMAP accounts from MobileMe, Yahoo, and AOL in addition to any general IMAP server. Developers Dominique Leca and Dihn Viêt Hoà have also added multitouch gesture support for trackpad users, easier formatting for rich text, priority inbox support for Gmail, and a new "minimalist" view for faster inbox scanning.

The original 1.0 version of Sparrow only supported accessing Gmail accounts. The developers decided to focus on Gmail support for the initial release because much of the UI was centered on Gmail-specific features, and its IMAP implementation has a number of quirks not generally present in standard IMAP servers. Once the initial version was released, however, the team went to work on integrating support for general IMAP.

"Many people were requesting support for IMAP outside of Gmail," Leca told Ars. "Especially MobileMe users, and people with custom IMAP."

Encyclopaedia Britannica unveils Latest Edition of iOS app

Britannica.png

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia 2011, the latest version of the encyclopedia app for both the iPhone and iPad, is now available for download from the App Store. The app gives you offline access to more than 25,000 articles and 2,700 images that cover, in the developer’s words, “just about every aspect of human endeavor”—ranging from art to history to geography and more.

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia 2011 costs $20, and is compatible with devices running iOS 3.0 or later.

U.S. Senators ask Apple to pull Police Evasion Apps

A group of U.S. senators is calling on Apple to remove applications that alert users to the presence of police and other law enforcement checkpoints that have been set up to combat drunk driving.

U.S. Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) are named as senders in the letter, which is addressed to Apple's senior vice president of iPhone software, Scott Forstall. No specific applications are named, but the letter highlights apps that "contain a database of DUI checkpoints updated in real-time" as well as one that sends out real-time alerts about the existence of these checkpoints.

"With more than 10,000 Americans dying in drunk-driving crashes every year, providing access to iPhone and iPad applications that alert users to DUI checkpoints is harmful to public safety," the group wrote. "We know that your company shares our desire to end the scourge of drunk driving and we therefore would ask you to remove these applications from your store."

Adobe patches Critical Flash Security Flaw

Adobe released an update for its Flash Player on Monday to addressed a critical security flaw that could let attackers gain control over user’s computers or Android OS devices. Flash Player 10.2.152.33 patches a flaw that takes advantage of maliciously crafted SFW filed embedded in Excel documents.

According to Adobe, attackers are currently embedding a maliciously crafted SWF file in Excel spreadsheet documents delivered as email attachments. Once the Excel document is opened, attackers can potentially take control of the victim’s system.

The update for Flash Player is available at the Adobe Web site.

Apple patches Pwn2Own Bug, 55 others in Mac OS

Apple on Monday patched 56 vulnerabilities, most of them critical flaws that could be used to hijack machines, as part of 2011's first broad update of Mac OS X.

Among the fixes was one for a vulnerability also found in iOS that four-time Pwn2Own winner Charlie Miller and his research partner Dion Blazakis used to hack an iPhone at the contest earlier this month.

Of the 56 bugs patched in the update for Snow Leopard, 45 were accompanied by the phrase "arbitrary code execution," Apple-speak for rating the flaws as "critical." Unlike many other major software makers, like Microsoft and Oracle, Apple doesn't assign severity rankings to vulnerabilities.

BlackBerry PlayBook to Ship April 19, starting at $499

Research In Motion (RIM) announced Tuesday that its long-discussed PlayBook tablet will begin to ship on April 19, 2011, at prices starting at $499. The BlackBerry PlayBook with Wi-Fi comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB varieties, priced at $499, $599, and $699 respectively – the same price as Apple’s similarly-equipped iPad 2.

Billed by RIM as “the world’s first professional-grade tablet,” the BlackBerry PlayBook weighs 0.9 pounds and measures 5.1 x 7.6 x 0.4 inches. That’s lighter than an iPad but only about half its length. The device as a 1024 x 600-pixel resolution capacitive LCD touch screen, and is powered by a 1GHz dual processor.

Where RIM hopes to significantly differentiate its device from the iPad is support for Adobe Flash Player (version 10.1) and a user experience based around BlackBerry Tablet OS. It’s a positive step for RIM, which announced the PlayBook in September but is yet to actually ship the product.

Apple Chief Jobs ordered to Answer Questions in iTunes Antitrust Lawsuit

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs was ordered to answer questions in an antitrust lawsuit alleging the company operated a music-downloading monopoly.

Lawyers for consumers who filed the 2005 complaint won permission to conduct limited questioning of Jobs, under an order issued yesterday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd in San Jose, California. The deposition can’t exceed two hours and the only topic allowed is changes Apple made to its software in October 2004 that rendered digital music files engineered by RealNetworks Inc. inoperable with Apple’s iPod music player.

“The court finds that Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues at the center of the dispute over RealNetworks software,” Lloyd wrote.

iPad 2 arrives in 25 more Countries this Friday

Apple announced that iPad 2, the second-generation of its third post-PC device, will go on sale in 25 additional countries this Friday, March 25. iPad 2 will be available at Apple retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers at 5 p.m. local time, and online through the Apple Store beginning at 1 a.m. Apple today also announced that all models of iPad 2 will be available in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and additional countries in April.

iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25

“While competitors are still struggling to catch up with our first iPad, we’ve changed the game again with iPad 2,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re experiencing amazing demand for iPad 2 in the US, and customers around the world have told us they can't wait to get their hands on it. We appreciate everyone’s patience and we are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone.”

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.7

If you thought your old friend Snow Leopard was getting a little long in the tooth, fear not: Apple has released Mac OS X 10.6.7, the latest update to the venerable feline.

In addition to providing the standard enhancements for stability, compatibility, and security, 10.6.7 improves the reliability of Back to My Mac, resolves an issue with transferring files to SMB servers, and makes minor updates to the Mac App Store. In addition, the update incorporates a number of security fixes to Snow Leopard, which are also available separately as Security Update 2011-001.

Apple's iPhone again Tops J.D. Power Satisfaction Ranking

JD.png

Apple's iPhone again took first place in J.D. Power and Associates' smartphone customer satisfaction rankings. Thursday's announcement by J.D. Power was the iPhone's fifth consecutive win in the firm's semi-annual ratings.

Apple scored 795 out of a possible 1,000 points in the customer satisfaction survey, leading the two closest rival makers, Motorola (with 763), and HTC (762). Although Apple's score was slightly lower than in last September's survey, its margin of victory was greater.

"It really is Apple, and then the next tier," said Kirk Parsons, J .D. Power's senior director of wireless services. Parsons attributed the larger gap between Apple and rivals to the release of the iPhone 4 last summer, and the relative lack of new models from Motorola and HTC in the second half of 2010, when J.D. Power conducted its survey.

"The iPhone just keeps getting better," said Parsons. "Apple keeps upping the ante by finding something, one key feature or a design change, to separate it from the rest."

AT&T slashes Prices of 1st Gen 3G iPads

Pricey iPad 2s may be showing up in online auctions, but for those of you who just want to get an iPad for web surfing or downloading apps, original iPad Wi-Fi+3G models just had their prices slashed at AT&T. Original iPad Wi-Fi+3G models sold through AT&T have now dropped to $429 for the 16 GB model and only $529 for the 64 GB model (the 32 GB 3G model is sold out).

For those of you keeping track, the 16 GB iPad Wi-Fi+3G through AT&T is now only $30 more than the 16 GB iPad Wi-Fi model through Apple (same goes for the other iPad 3G models).

Criminal Probe into iPhone Prototype nears End

A probe into a prototype iPhone 4 purchased by a gadget blog is nearing its end, with investigators expected to report their findings soon.

Stephen Wagstaffe, district attorney for the county of San Mateo, Calif., told CNET today that "the investigation is ongoing" and he expects it could conclude as early as next month. Investigators are close to finishing their interviews and will present him with their findings, he said.

The investigation began early last year when Robert Gray Powell, a 28-year-old Apple computer engineer, left an unmarked prototype iPhone in a German beer garden in Redwood City, Calif. Brian Hogan, a 22-year-old student, found the prototype and sold it to Gawker Media's Gizmodo for $5,000. Gawker editors and Hogan could be charged with crimes.

Adobe Photoshop Express 2.0 adds Camera Pack Option

Adobe has released Photoshop Express 2.0, a new version of its universal image editing and sharing software for iOS. It’s a free download from the App Store.

New to the 2.0 release is support for a $3.99 in-app purchase called the Adobe Camera Pack. The Camera Pack includes three new features – Reduce Noise, a self-timer, and “auto review,” which gives you a quick look at your photos as you’re taking them.

Other changes in the 2.0 release include a new Camera workflow; support for the “Retina Display” found on the iPhone and fourth-generation iPod touch; and multitasking support.

iPad 2 selling at Crazy Prices in Hong Kong’s Gray Market

Steve Jobs did not announce an official release date for the iPad 2 in Hong Kong, but residents can buy them at retail – for a premium, just two days after the iPad 2 launches in the U.S. You will be shocked, a 16GB Wi-Fi model costs about $7,900 Hong Kong Dollars (around $1014) in the gray market, that’s about twice the U.S. price!!!

It is perfectly normal to see this in Hong Kong. Last year, the iPhone 4 and iPad were sold to local Apple fanboys at crazy prices in the gray market, since fanboys wanted to get the latest Apple gadget at the soonest. Just like always, vendors in the bustling gadget market in Hong Kong’s Sin Tat Plaza, known colloquially as the ‘Mobile Phone Mall’, are promising to bring the latest Apple product, iPad 2, to early adopters. Since the iPad 2 will be available for sale in the U.S first, the retailers will only have to import the iPads from America.

Making Twitter more Secure: HTTPS

Today, we’re taking an important step to make it easier to manage the security of your Twitter experience – we are adding a user setting that lets you always use HTTPS when accessing Twitter.com. Using HTTPS for your favorite Internet services is particularly important when using them over unsecured WiFi connections.

For some time, users have been able to use Twitter via HTTPS by going to https://twitter.com. We’ve made it simpler for users to do this by adding the option to always use HTTPS.

To turn on HTTPS, go to your settings and check the box next to “Always use HTTPS,” which is at the bottom of the page.

Apple Stores accepting Old iPad Donations for Teach for America

tfa.gif

Do you own an original iPad that you no longer need (pfft, original iPads are so 2010), but have no plans to resell? Apple may have a solution for you: the company has begun promoting a new donation program that will put old iPads to good use through the Teach for America program.

Teach for America takes well-trained teachers—referred to as "corps members"—and places them in one of 39 urban and rural regions across the country that are identified as low-income. The volunteers agree to teach in those areas for two years with the goal of providing a higher-quality education to low-income students. And, according to Teach for America's website, recent research shows that its corps members are "more effective than other teachers, including certified and veteran teachers."

AT&T: Free Month of Data Service to iPad 2 Owners

Competition is a great thing for consumers. With Apple now selling the iPad 2 through AT&T and Verizon, both carriers are competing to land as many customers on their networks as they can. Both carriers offer a range of data plans for iPad 2 users and AT&T is upping the ante by throwing in a free month of data for new iPad 2 owners.

AT&T’s iPad 2 promotion gives users one free month of 2GB data when they sign-up for AT&T’s standard 2GB data plan. AT&T normally charges $25 for their 2GB data plan so the deal isn’t bad for users looking to save a little money.

Apple says Demand for iPad 2 is ‘Amazing’

“Demand for the next generation iPad 2 has been amazing,” Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller, told The Loop. “We are working hard to get iPad 2 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible.” Apple would not say exactly how many iPad 2s were sold over the weekend.

The iPad 2 went on sale at 5:00 pm local time on Friday and by the end of the weekend, there wasn’t an iPad 2 to be found anywhere in the country, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Other interesting notes from Munster’s checks showed that 70 percent of iPad 2 buyers were new to the iPad. In addition, the split between Mac (51%) owners and PC (49%) owners was almost even.

Report: Apple to sell 3.5 Million Macs this Quarter

According to new research, Apple will sell between 3.5 million and 3.7 million Macs in the fiscal quarter ending in this month.

The data comes from market research firm NPD and was sent to clients by Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster. Interpreting the data, Munster says he believes Apple will finish the quarter at the lower end of expectations.

For January and February, Apple is trending up 16 percent over the year-ago quarter.

iPad 2 Launch predictably draws Crowds, Sellouts

If there were any lingering doubts that Apple's iPad sequel would draw the same interest the first-generation device did, they were quashed before stores even opened their doors yesterday. The iPad 2, a device that was unveiled just 10 days ago, launched to huge crowds and inventory that sold out quickly, both in stores and online.

Shipping times for online orders, which opened yesterday morning at 1 a.m. PT--some 16 hours before the first Apple retail stores began selling the iPad 2--were quickly pushed from days into weeks. This left the best chance for customers who wanted to pick up a device before April being to head to one of Apple's stores, or its partner retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, and carrier stores for Verizon and AT&T.

Analysts like Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster are already setting estimates for first day sales somewhere between 400,000 to 500,000 units, some 200,000 better than the first iPad did during the same time period in its launch. Apple is expected to unveil preliminary unit sales on Monday, as it did on the Monday following the launch of the first iPad.

IDC: iPad Market Share to stay 70 – 80% in 2011

International Data Corp. (IDC) reports that 10.1 million “media tablets” shipped in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011. Apple’s share of that pie dropped from 93 percent in the previous quarter to 73 percent, according to the report, but IDC says that Apple still has a “strong leadership position” in the media tablet market that it will retain throughout 2011.

IDC says that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab device was Apple’s primary competitor for the holiday season, and captured more than 17 percent marketshare. “A number of smaller regional players also participated.”

Looking forward, IDC expects Apple to retain 70 – 80 percent marketshare in 2011 with the release of the iPad 2, thanks to its release into the market at a time “before most competitors come to market with first generation media tablets.”

Competition for Apple to look out for, IDC opines, includes Samsung’s forthcoming 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab running Android 3.0 “Honeycomb,” the same operating system powering Motorola’s Xoom, which IDC also counts as competition.

Apple set to Open Pop Up Shop in Core of SXSW Action

Apple Inc. will open a temporary store Friday in the Scarbrough Building on Congress Avenue downtown, timed to the start of South by Southwest Interactive Conference and the release of the iPad 2 tablet computer.

On Wednesday, construction workers were busy retrofitting the 5,000-square-foot space in the building, at Congress and West Sixth Street, that Apple will lease for two weeks. Black vinyl sheeting covered the windows fronting Congress.

Rance Wilemon, a partner in Plat.Form Real Estate, has been trying to land an Apple store in the Second Street District since his firm took over leasing for that area last summer.

Wilemon said the deal for Apple's popup, or temporary, store came together quickly. He said an Apple real estate representative notified him Monday that the company had settled on Sixth and Congress for the location. "They came in town on Monday, did a quick tour, found a spot, and they're in there working and will open by Friday," Wilemon said. "We would have loved to have had them" in the Second Street District. "They're just a great draw."

Micromat releases TechTool Pro 6

techtoolpro.jpg

Micromat has unleashed a new version of its venerable TechTool Pro computer diagnostics and maintenance software. TechTool Pro 6 adds a number of diagnostic features for repairing hard drives, including solid-state drives and flash storage.

Most notable among the changes in Version 6 is TechTool Pro’s ability to create an emergency start-up volume on the active hard drive, thanks to Micromat’s eDrive technology. With this feature, most users will no longer need to run a boot DVD or burn an eDrive on a secondary source when repairing the internal drive on their Mac. Users also don't need the Apple boot disk to keep the software up to date. This allows for increased speeds and quicker access to the program and its features.

TechTool Pro 6 is available for sale on Micromat’s Website. The software now ships in a family pack that lets users install TechTool Pro on up to three Macs—ideal for households with multiple computers. The new version costs $100; users of previous versions of TechTool Pro, TechTool Deluxe, and TechTool Platinum can upgrade for $40. A business pack for 10 users costs $300. TechTool Pro 6 runs on Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later, though Leopard or Snow Leopard are required for creating an eDrive on an active startup volume.

iOS 4.3 arrives Ahead of Schedule

Apple today released its iOS 4.3 software ahead of schedule. The software, which was originally set to be released on Friday to coincide with the launch of the iPad 2, went out to users as an update from within Apple's iTunes software this morning.

Among the new features are support for Wi-Fi hot spots on GSM iPhones, video streaming through Apple's AirPlay technology, iTunes Home Sharing, and improved JavaScript performance in Safari. iPad users also get a new option within the settings menu that lets them turn the iPad's side switch into either a mute switch or a screen orientation lock--functionality the company had changed with the release of iOS 4.2.

The new software is the first iOS update to leave out the iPhone 3G from the list of devices that Apple will support.

Apple brings MLB.TV and NBA League Pass to Apple TV

MLB.png

In addition to releasing iOS 4.3 on Wednesday, Apple also released Apple TV 4.3, a new version of the software for its home entertainment device. We knew that Apple TV would bring some new AirPlay features, but the software also adds a couple of new Internet streams too. Apple TV now has access to NBA League Pass and MLB.tv.

You can download the update Apple TV software on your device.

Toast 11 adds Support for Social Networking Uploads, More

Toast.png

Rovi on Tuesday announced the release of Roxio Toast 11, a new version of its disc burning and media management software for the Mac. Available in Titanium and Pro editions, Toast 11 is priced at $99.99 and $149.99 respectively. Upgrades are available from the previous versions.

Toast has long been relied on for burning CDs and DVDs, but more and more in recent years, users have relied on it to convert audio and video content from one format to another. Rovi is emphasizing that in the new release. New features include support for saving custom video profiles; built-in support for adding media to social networking sites including YouTube, Video and Facebook, and “technology optimizations…tht help dramatically speed H.264 video conversion or encoding.”

Users of Toast 11 Titanium who want to burn video content to external third-party Blu-ray Disc burners can do so by purchasing a $19.99 plug-in.

Also available is Toast 11 Pro, which includes the same features as Toast 11 Titanium, the blu-ray Disc plug-in, and four additional digital media applications: Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Smartsound Sonicfire Pro 5, BIAS SoundSoap SE, and FotoMagico 3.

iOS 4.3 leaves iPhone 3G Behind

Apple will be releasing iOS 4.3 on March 11 along with the iPad 2. The update is compatible with several iOS devices, but marks the end of the line for the iPhone 3G.

The iOS page on Apple’s Web site lists the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, third and fourth generation iPod touch, as well as the iPad and iPad 2 as compatible with iOS 4.3. The first generation iPhone and iPod touch were left behind in earlier iOS releases, so it’s no surprise they aren’t listed as iOS 4.3 compatible.

Apple said to Negotiate Unlimited Downloads of Music Purchases

Apple Inc. is in talks with record companies to give iTunes customers easier access to music they’ve purchased across multiple devices, said three people with knowledge of the plans.

Apple is negotiating with music companies including Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. and EMI Group Ltd., said the people, who asked for anonymity because the talks are private. An agreement may be announced by midyear, two of the people said.

The arrangement would give users more flexibility in how they access purchased music.