Roundtable: What we want to see at Apple’s WWDC conference next week

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We’ve already run down much of what can be expected from iOS 9, OS X 10.11 and Apple Music at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference, and now it’s time to run down what 9to5Mac’s editors want to see at the conference. You can find our hopes below, and stay tuned for our comprehensive roundup of what to expect at WWDC.

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Apple to widen pre-release iOS testing by roping in retail employees

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Apple will begin providing select retail store employees access to upcoming versions of iOS in order to widen its pre-release testing program, according to multiple sources. The program will begin in the near-future with an upcoming iOS release, perhaps version 8.2, which is slated to be released alongside the Apple Watch

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AutoCAD for Mac 2015 catches up with Windows feature-set

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Autodesk has announced the release of AutoCAD for Mac 2015 with a feature-set that for the first time brings it close to that of the Windows version. The lower-cost AutoCAD LT for Mac version has also been updated.

Autodesk is emphasizing cross-platform compatibility for companies using a mix of OS X and Windows machines. The ability to save layer information like color and line type has been added to the Mac version in line with the Windows edition.

The company also says AutoCAD for 2015 is faster at the same time as offering improved stability …  Read more

Apple releases OS X Yosemite Public Beta 6 to match latest developer GM

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Apple today released the sixth public beta of the upcoming OS X Yosemite to AppleSeed testers. The build number is 14A388b, which coincides with last week’s OS X Yosemite Golden Master Candidate 3.0 release for registered developers. Apple plans to provide final details on OS X Yosemite at the October 16th event, then release it as soon as later that date.

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On OS X Leopard? Don’t worry, Skype says Mac version for legacy users returning soon

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Earlier this week, concerns emerged on Skype official message boards about the Skype Mac app no longer functioning on OS X 10.5.8 Leopard (an operating system that launched the same year as the original iPhone), and a Skype representative on the forums apparently confirmed that Skype will no longer be supported on Macs running operating systems below OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

While Skype has not been downloadable nor functional for Leopard users the past few days, a Skype spokesperson tells us this morning that this will soon change: “We have a Skype version for Mac OS X 10.5 users which will soon be available for download.” No additional timing details are available as of yet, but it’s good to know that Leopard users will soon be able to go back to making Skype calls and sending messages as normal.

We’re also told that this new download will be for Leopard users only, so anyone on OS X 10.4 Tiger or below will need to upgrade to Leopard or something newer (like Mavericks) in order to keep on using the Microsoft-owned communications tool.

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Apple considered ditching iconic Apple Menu for Control Center in OS X Yosemite

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In addition to the comprehensive redesign, OS X Yosemite could have made a significant change to how the Mac operating system functioned since it originally shipped just over thirty years ago. The above image from a source shows a March build of OS X Yosemite that featured a Control Center panel. The panel did not end up shipping in the first beta of Yosemite and was not announced on the WWDC stage last week, but Apple definitely considered including it.

In fact, developers have located numerous code strings in the first Yosemite build that confirms Apple’s testing of an OS X variant of Control Center:

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The backstory: Sony’s 2001 offer from Steve Jobs to run Mac OS on Vaio laptops [Updated]

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Update: the rumor was true, Sony confirmed that it is selling its PC business and the VAIO brand to Japan Industrial Partners, with the deal set to complete by the end of March.

Former Sony President Kunitake Ando says that Sony turned down an offer from Steve Jobs back in 2001 to allow it to run Mac OS on Vaio laptops, several years after the original Mac clone program ended in 1998.

Speaking to freelance writer Nobuyuki Hayashi, Ando described the moment Steve Jobs met senior Sony execs to make the offer.

Most of Sony’s executives spent their winter vacation in Hawaii and play golf after celebrating the new year. In one of those new year golf competitions back in 2001, ” Steve Jobs and another Apple executive were waiting for us at the end of golf course holding VAIO running Mac OS”

But there is an interesting Backstory told through Quora by the wife of an ex-Apple Engineer working on the Marklar project…  Read more

Apple seeds a pair of OS X Mavericks updates internally

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Apple has seeded two software upgrades for OS X Mavericks internally, according to a source with knowledge of the upcoming updates. This person says that the updates are labeled as OS X 10.9.1 and OS X 10.9.2. The first update is expected to be released later this month, and it will serve as an update to squash bugs that accompanied the OS X 10.9.0 release of Mavericks last month. Many users have complained about issues relating to the Mail and iBooks applications, and Apple is preparing to release individual bug-fix updates for those apps in the coming days…

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Pixelmator 3.0 FX released: adds layer styles, ‘Liquify’ warping tools, Mac Pro and Mavericks optimizations

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Today, the team behind Pixelmator has released the latest version of their app, version 3.0 FX. As before, the app is available on the Mac App Store for $29.99. The update brings a slew of changes to the already popular image editor, especially considering version 2.2 was only released a few weeks ago. 9to5Mac has had access to a preview copy of the update for a few days … so read on for a full walkthrough of the changes.

The headline feature for Pixelmator 3.0 is the addition of layer styles. Layer styles apply effects such as strokes, fills, shadows and reflections to the entire layer in very few clicks. More importantly, these changes are non-destructive — they affect the layer, not the canvas pixels themselves. This means layer effects can be undone and manipulated without changing the underlying image data. In fact, layer styles can even be copied to the clipboard and duplicated across layers.

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Tune in Oct. 22 for new iPads, Mac Pro details, MacBook Pros, and Mavericks

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Apple’s next event is upon us, and it’s likely to be action-packed. As Apple says: it has “a lot to cover.” So besides the speculation that rings in from the word cover (new Smart Covers, anyone?), Apple has some new tablets, computers, and software to discuss. Read our full roundup of what to expect (and not expect) on Tuesday, October 22nd, from Apple:

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Apple’s OS X Mavericks release planned for end of October

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Apple plans to release its next Mac operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, at the end of October, according to sources with knowledge of the launch plans.

This comes despite claims and speculation that Apple will release OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 in tandem this month. iOS 7 is set to ship alongside the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C later in September. There has also been chatter about Apple holding the iPad iOS 7 release back until October.

For the launch of both OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion, Apple released the new operating systems the day following an earning results release. Apple traditionally shares its Q4 earnings numbers during the second half of October, so perhaps Apple will release Mavericks the day following its Q4 results announcement…

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Ultracompact universal audio/MIDI interface announced for recording on Macs & iOS devices

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IK Multimedia has announced what it claims is “the most versatile compact audio interface on the market”. iRig is a small battery-powered box that allows musicians to connect microphones, guitars, line instruments or MIDI devices to a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

iRig PRO is designed to give mobile musicians and songwriters an interface that can handle the widest variety of audio input signals, so they can create music and audio on the go anywhere, any time.

It accepts virtually every type of audio and MIDI input. Users can plug in a dynamic or condenser microphone; a guitar, bass or other Hi-Z instrument; or any line-level source.

Additionally, iRig PRO is equipped with a MIDI input for keyboards, pads and controllers, making it a truly universal compact interface for recording and composing on the go or in the studio. Its audio and MIDI inputs can be used simultaneously, for example, to control guitar or vocal software with MIDI foot controllers or pedals, for switching presets or controlling effects levels …  Read more