Apple releases OS X 10.8.3 to the public with Mac App Store camera gift card redemption, Boot Camp improvements & fixes

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Following the release of OS X Mountain 10.8.3 build 12D78 to developers earlier this week, Apple today released 10.8.3 to the public with a number of new features and enhancements. One of the more notable new features is the ability to redeem iTunes gift cards using the Mac’s built-in camera within the Mac App Store. It’s a feature that Apple originally introduced with iTunes 11 in November.

Other improvements in today’s release include support for install Windows 8 in Boot Camp and Boot Camp support for Mac’s using 3TB hard drives. Users had previously been using workarounds to utilize Boot Camp on Macs with hard drives larger than the utility’s old 2.2TB limit.

The release also includes Safari 6.0.3 and audio related fixes for Logic Pro and 2011 iMacs:

-The ability to redeem iTunes gift cards in the Mac App Store using Mac’s built-in camera
-Boot Camp support for installing Windows 8
-Boot Camp support for Macs with a 3TB hard drive
-A Fix for an issue that could cause a file URL to quit apps unexpectedly
-A fix for an issue that may cause Logic Pro to become unresponsive when using certain plug-ins
-A fix for an issue that causes audio to stutter on 2011 iMacs
-Includes Safari 6.0.3

27-inch iMac with 3TB Fusion Drive can’t yet do Boot Camp, early adopters frustrated

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As customers begin receiving the new iMac this month, business-end users and gamers may find one issue when booting up their new machine. As reader Michael Verde first shared with us, the built-to-order 27-inch iMac configuration with a 3TB Fusion Drive (an extra $400) will not allow any Boot Camp use. This essentially cuts off access to a full Windows experience that some Mac users may want to benefit from. Many might consider this a bummer, as a sizable amount of users turn to Boot Camp to access necessary Windows programs or just simply enjoy Windows paired with Mac hardware.

Apple highlighted the issue on both its iMac configuration and Fusion Drive explanation page. “Boot Camp Assistant is not supported at this time on 3TB hard drive configurations,” Apple said in buried text. “At this time,” could mean the feature is enabled down the road in a software update, but it is non-existent as of now.

There are virtualization solutions, such as Parelles and VM Ware, that provide a Windows experience, but they do not offer a full experience that many may want. Boot Camp users include gamers who want to run games at full settings and business users looking to use specific business apps in a full Windows environment.

Right now it is not clear what the cause is, or if it has anything to do with Apple’s new Fusion Drive technology, but it seems that Boot Camp is limited to hard drive with less than 2TB of space (PC World has a good explanation for this). Announced in October and shipping in the new Mac Mini and iMacs, the top Fusion Drive configuration provides 128GB of flash storage coupled with 3TB of HDD space. The cheaper configuration, 128GB Flash Storage + 1TB HDD, supports Boot Camp. So, we have to wonder: what is holding back the more expensive configuration? We reached out to Apple for comment.

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