Apple seeds new OS X 10.10.2 beta with build number 14C99d to developers

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Apple has released a new beta version of OS X 10.10.2 to developers through the App Store’s software update mechanism and the Mac Developer Center. The update, which has a build number of 14C99d (compared to 14C94b in the previous release) is not yet available to AppleSeed users.

The 10.10.2 update will include fixes for common Wi-Fi problems, issues with the built-in Mail app, VoiceOver, and more. With only one week passing between pre-release builds, it seems the patch is getting closer to completion, and could be expected for public release soon.

KGI: Apple is designing its own Mac processors; Intel and Global Foundry added to Apple’s chipmaking stable

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Is an A-series chip destined for a future model of the 12-inch MacBook Air?

A KGI report predicts that Apple will begin using its own processors for Macs “in the next 1-2 years,” with a specific prediction of a Samsung-fabbed A10X chip powering at least one Mac made in 2016. The wording appears to suggest an entry-level machine–possibly a future model of the 12-inch MacBook Air.

Apple may launch Mac products that use own AP [Application Processor] in next 1-2 years. This prediction is based on the assumption that Apple’s self-developed AP performs at a level between Intel’s Atom and Core i3 and is good enough for Mac. Using self developed AP can help Apple better control the timing of Mac launches and Mac product features.

With performance between an Atom and Core i3, the chip would not be suitable for mid- to high-end Macs.

An accompanying table (below) shows an A10X chip made with a 10-nanometer process to be made by Samsung at some point during 2016 …

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OS X Yosemite Spotlight search ignores Mail content setting posing potential security risk

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Apple’s Mac operating system is generally considered to be secure, but German security researchers have discovered what appears to be an oversight in how OS X 10.10 Yosemite’s overhauled search feature, Spotlight, handles remote content loading in messages through the default Mail app.

As Ars Technica reports, Spotlight search on OS X Yosemite appears to be overriding Mail’s security feature that prevents content stored on remote servers like images from being loaded which spammers can use to track personal information including IP address and more. Read more

The best iPad, iPhone + Mac accessories at the 2015 CES

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There are thousands of new Apple accessories at the 2015 CES – so many that it’s hard sometimes to separate what’s truly cool from everything else. Starting with HomeKit-integrated accessories, here’s our running list of the best new iPad, iPhone, and Mac products 9to5Mac has seen at the show. We updated this article on January 9, 2015 – the final day of CES – to include our last batch of top picks.

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Opinion: Does the minimalist 12-inch MacBook Air design represent the future of MacBooks?

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While we’ve been expecting the 12-inch MacBook Air for quite some time and some of the details have long been rumored, the design exclusively revealed in Mark Gurman’s report has raised eyebrows throughout the tech world. Especially the most dramatic element: the reduction of the ports to just one multifunction USB-C socket, a headphone socket and a pair of microphones.

The $64,000 questions are: will this ruthlessly cut-down approach prove workable—and is this a design unique to this one machine, or does it represent the future of all MacBooks … ?

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Braven announces $99 Fuse wireless audio mixer that pairs with your Bluetooth devices & speakers

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There are a lot of audio mixers and DJ controllers on the market specifically for iPad and iPhone users, but so far most require you to run cables or dock your device in a rather large unit. The latest option that we got a chance to try during CES today is Braven’s new Fuse Bluetooth audio mixer, a lightweight wireless option that lets you connect two audio sources and your output all through Bluetooth: Read more

Apple’s next major Mac revealed: the radically new 12-inch MacBook Air

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Apple is preparing an all-new MacBook Air for 2015 with a radically new design that jettisons standards such as full-sized USB ports, MagSafe connectors, and SD card slots in favor of a markedly thinner and lighter body with a higher-resolution display. Sources within Apple, who have used internal prototype versions of the upcoming computer, have provided in-depth details about the machine, and our exclusive artist renditions of the revamped MacBook Air provide the first close look at Apple’s first major step in mobile Mac computing since the Retina MacBook Pro launch in 2012.

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Seagate and LaCie debut fashionable/wireless hard drives for iOS and Mac ahead of 2015 CES

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Seagate and its LaCie subsidiary have announced five new hard drives just ahead of this week’s 2015 CES, including two new iOS-compatible wireless models and three new Mac-only disks. All except one will be available in January from the company’s web sites.

For iOS, the 500GB Seagate Wireless ($130) is an economical and portable, battery-powered hard disk designed to compete with G-Technology’s G-Connect and Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless. Just under 4″ on each side and less than an inch thick, Seagate’s version is designed to look fun, with your choice of green, blue, gray, red, or white matte housings, and uses integrated Wi-Fi to connect with iOS devices and Macs for media playback as well as Android/Windows/Chrome. It runs for nine hours between charges and can connect to 3 devices simultaneously.

Seagate Seven ($100) is a Mac-only alternative that promises to be the world’s thinnest portable hard drive. Made from 100% stainless steel, the enclosure is only 7mm thick and includes a USB 3.0 cable for connecting to a computer, giving up wireless in order to achieve its small size. In a break from traditionally boxy or rounded hard drives, Seven is actually slim enough to let you see the contours of the traditional hard disk mechanism inside. Three additional drives are discussed below…

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Apple’s unreleased iBeacon hardware exposed in user manual published by FCC

Way back in July, Apple registered FCC certification for a new piece of iBeacon Bluetooth hardware. Naturally, 9to5Mac covered the release of wireless certification documents for the hardware. It was unclear by those filings the nature of the product, whether it was targeted at use in Apple Stores, some form of developer testing equipment or something else entirely. The product was never made publicly available for purchase, for unknown reasons.

However, time has elapsed such that the rest of Apple’s submitted documents are now available to the public. Vitally, this includes a user manual which immediately signals that this iBeacon hardware was meant for developers, presumably to test iBeacon integration in their own apps. It’s unclear, though, if this is meant to be used ‘in the wild’. Read on for an exposition on the workings of this mysterious device.

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GoodReader app forced to remove some iCloud Drive features to comply with App Store policies (update: reversed!)

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UpdateGoodReader 4.8.1 has now been released and the iCloud functionality has returned without explanation. It is unclear what prompted the reversal, although it is likely that Apple has once again backtracked on a public App Store decision.

Continuing the string of controversy regarding App Store approval in recent weeks, an update pushed through by GoodReader ($4.99, iPhone and iPad) earlier today shows that the company has been forced to remove some significant iCloud Drive features, in order to comply with iCloud Drive usage guidelines and remain in the App Store.

Specifically, the GoodReader update removes the ability to add folders, remove folders or move files around the iCloud Drive storage location. The update notes reference a ‘usage policy’, although it is unclear what document the company is referring to.

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Security researcher rewrites Mac firmware over Thunderbolt, says most Intel Thunderbolt Macs vulnerable

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A security researcher speaking at the Chaos Computer Congress in Hamburg demonstrated a hack that rewrites an Intel Mac’s firmware using a Thunderbolt device with attack code in an option ROM. Known as Thunderstrike, the proof of concept presented by Trammel Hudson infects the Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) in a way he claims cannot be detected, nor removed by reinstalling OS X.

Since the boot ROM is independent of the operating system, reinstallation of OS X will not remove it. Nor does it depend on anything stored on the disk, so replacing the harddrive has no effect. A hardware in-system-programming device is the only way to restore the stock firmware.

Apple has already implemented an intended fix in the latest Mac mini and iMac with Retina display, which Hudson says will soon be available for other Macs, but appears at this stage to provide only partial protection…  Read more