iOS 6 code points to integration of Apple Maps on Intel-based Macs

Since Apple unveiled its new in-house Maps app for iOS 6, we have discovered bits and pieces of what it has planned for the final release this fall. Apple already showed off Yelp integration, turn-by-turn navigation, and the 3D flyover mode, and it appears to be utilizing a new Avenir typeface. Today, Techpp posted a code dump from the iOS 6 maps app courtesy of developer Cody Cooper who found some interesting evidence of potential Maps integration with OS X:

Our developer friend, Cody Cooper has now stumbled upon an interesting code dump in iOS 6 maps application which hints at the possibility of Apple Maps coming to Macs in the near future.

During his routine investigation of Maps app, Cody found some interesting bits in the file altitude_manifest.xml

In this XML file, there is a reference to a set of Intel based graphics chipsets for which certain features like Shading are disabled.

While this is not solid proof that Apple is working on a full-blown Maps app for Mac, it could hint at possible integration between core apps and features in Mountain Lion and Maps on iOS. For example, location features in iPhoto could integrate with iOS Maps. As noted in the report, the code refers to shading being disabled for older Intel chipsets, which Cooper guessed could likely not support the app’s shading features. We will do some digging, and then update you if we discover anything new. The public release of Mountain Lion is scheduled for this month. Read more

Modbook Pro: Pen-based OS X tablet returns as a converted 13-inch MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion

Almost three years before Apple launched the original iPad in 2010, a company by the name of Axiotron unveiled the first “Mac tablet” with the launch of the Modbook—a stylus-based tablet running OS X that is made from a converted MacBook Pro. Today, the Modbook is officially returning thanks to one of its original developers and designers. Former co-founder of the now-defunct Axiotron, Andreas Haas, and his new company LA-based Modbook Inc., today announced the new Modbook Pro- “the world’s most powerful and largest-screen tablet computer.”

Like past generations of the Modbook, the Modbook Pro uses the guts of one of Apple’s new MacBook Pros. The company will offer two configurations, both with a 13.3-inch, 1,280-by-800 flush-mounted display, based off the specs for the recently refreshed non-Retina MBPs running Mountain Lion:

The Modbook Pro’s configurable base system includes a 2.5GHz dual core Intel® Core™ i5 processor or 2.9GHz dual core Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, a 2.5–inch SATA drive (up to 1TB HDD or up to 960GB SSD), an 8X SuperDrive® DVD burner, an Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity capability

The company is promising seven hours on a full charge from a built-in 63.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery (Modbook will also utilize a 60W MagSafe adapter). As for the digitizer and included stylus, Modbook will once again use Wacom tech:

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Skype 5.8 for Mac out with redesigned contact list & full 10.8 Mountain Lion support

Skype updated its Mac client today to version 5.8 to add full support for 10.8 Mountain Lion and a number of features that aim to bring the app up to par with the current Windows version. Perhaps the most notable new feature included in the update is a refined contact list that replaces the old floating menu. Accessible from the “Window” menu, the new Contacts Monitor (pictured right) provides a simplified view of your contacts in a window that can be repositioned and resized. Skype said it is meant to be much like older versions, such as Skype 2.8, that users seemed to prefer. The new contact list also has filters such as “Friends” and “Family,” and the ability to right-click to start a call or new message.

Another new feature for Skype 5.8 on Mac previously only available to Windows users is access to group screen sharing. The feature is for premium subscribers, but it supports up to groups of 10 with only one member of the group required to have a premium subscription. You will also now be able to share your video feed simultaneously while screen-sharing with multiple users.

A few other updates we noticed in the latest release:

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Apple announces Mountain Lion ships in July for $19.99

After giving a demonstration for some of the new features in Mountain Lion today, Apple confirmed during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote that Mountain Lion would ship in July for just $19.99. That price is good for Lion and Snow Leopard users who want to upgrade all their personal Macs. Apple also noted it would be free for all developers attending WWDC. Apple will ship a developer preview today.

Stay tuned to our live blog for the latest updates.

Apple releases Safari 5.1.5 with minor bug fix

Apple just released Safari 5.1.5 on its website and through Software Update, and it only contains a fix for a bug “that could affect website usability” when in 32-bit mode. The update follows a larger release earlier this month with Safari 5.1.4, which included a long list of Javascript, PDF, and HTML5 related security and performance improvements. In February, Apple rolled out Safari 5.2 for Lion to developers as part of the Mountain Lion preview. That release will likely be available to the public alongside Mountain Lion this summer.

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Air Display update makes iPad a Retina monitor for Mac, enables HiDPI mode

Developer Avatron announced its “Air Display” app, which allows iPhones, iPads and Macs to act as a second or third monitor, would be implementing support for the 2048-by-1536 resolution of the new iPad’s 264-DPI Retina display. That means you will soon be able to use your third-generation iPad as a 2048-by-1536 computer monitor.

The update will also benefit the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S with “dramatically better frame rates.” In addition, the upcoming update will allow you to enable HiDPI mode in Lion or Mountain Lion, a “feature in Mac OS X that renders with double-resolution on a double-resolution screen.” The results of turning on HiDPI mode in OS X is viewable in the image to the right. Avatron explained on its blog:

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Hackintoshers: Mountain Lion natively supports AMD Radeon HD 6950, 6970, & NVIDIA 5xx cards, no hacks required

According to a forum post on tonymacx86, Apple’s latest release of Mountain Lion, the 10.8 developer preview, is able to natively support AMD Radeon HD 6950 and 6970 without the need for any tweaks or hacks. As for the 6950 and 6970 specifically, the reports originate from the netkas.org forums where several posters report a 6950 running Netkas EFI working natively in 10.8. One poster even reported the 6950 continues to be recognized in Lion with unmodified drivers after “warm booting back to Lion from Mountain Lion.”

There are still issues, as tonymacx86 posters pointed out: “It looks like the 69xx situation seems a bit immature and experimental at this point. Even in the new OS.” Another forum poster claimed NVIDIA 5xx cards also seem to run natively with mkchis claiming full support for the GTX 570 graphics card with no hacks or mods. He said it is “running at full res even smoother than a patched Lion. It’s like native.”

When it comes to booting from Mountain Lion to Lion with unmodified drivers, one poster warned it does not seem to work if you are connecting a display to the 6950. The good news is a prominent hackintosher informed us that Chimera was updated to run on both Lion and Mountain Lion with a dev release coming within days:

We’ve fixed Chimera to work with both LIon and Mtn. Lion- there was a small change necessary to boot 10.8. We’ll be releasing that in a day or 2 for devs.

As a side note for Mountain Lion support, Robservatory shared its method of getting VMware Tools to work when running Mountain Lion in VMware Fusion. According to the post, Mountain Lion “will kernel panic” when trying to install VMware Tools. Here is the fix:

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Here’s a list of things that Mountain Lion killed today

Apple’s merging of iOS with OS X continues today with our first glimpse at 10.8 Mountain Lion, the next major OS release for Macs. Of course, in the process of bringing the best of both worlds together, some things win out. In the case of Mountain Lion, several apps and features were replaced with their iOS counterparts. Here is everything from past OS X releases that died today at the hand of Apple’s iOS-ifying of Mountain Lion:

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Apple seeds devs with Safari 5.2 for Lion, Xcode 4.4 with new LLVM compiler

As part of today’s Mountain Lion Preview roll out, Apple seeded its registered developers with new versions of the Xcode development environment and the Safari browser. Safari 5.2 for Lion, now available for download through the Dev Center, welcomes new features that cannot be found in the most recent Safari 5.1.3 version for end-users or the recently seeded Safari 5.1.4 for developers.

Apple took a page from Google’s book by integrating the search bar into the address bar (finally, some would say) in Safari 5.2. Other enhancements include visual tweaks that highlight the domain section of the URL in the address bar and a rehashed Reader icon. Features from both Safari 5.1.4 and 5.2 are likely to be included in this summer’s release of Mountain Lion.

A developer preview version of Xcode 4.4 is required to code and test applications for Mountain Lion that will become available to the public this summer. Among the new features:

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Did your Mac make the Mountain Lion obsolescence list?

If you plan to install Mountain Lion on an older Mac, you might be out of luck. The new operating system release raises the ladder in terms of graphics performance required for its new features like AirPlay Mirroring. As a result, a couple years old Mac might not cut it anymore. According to French-language website MacGeneration, any Mac sporting Intel’s sluggish GMA x3100 or 950 chip will not be able to run Mountain Lion. While we have come a long way since the GMA graphics, you probably have somewhere under your table or in the basement a legacy Mac that does not have enough oomph for Mountain Lion. Anything older than the mid-2007 iMacs, early-2008 Mac Pros, early-2009 Mac minis and Xserves are left behind. The same goes for MacBooks based on any Intel Core 2 Duo processor and the original 2008 MacBook Air. Sorry folks, that is the price of progression. In addition, the following platform changes may interest you…

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AirPlay Mirroring in OS X Mountain Lion: From the board room to the living room (and beyond)

Apple released OS X Mountain Lion preview today ahead of the planned summer release and we briefly touched upon some of the more important features like the all-new Messages app, Gatekeeper anti-malware capabilities, enhanced local services for the Chinese, system-wide Twitter integration and brand new iOS-like Notification Center. Tucked away as a side-note in Apple’s press release is AirPlay Mirroring, another welcome addition to Mountain Lion’s arsenal of over a hundred new features (so claims Apple).

Yes, there are a few apps for that, though, I have yet to find one that works as seamlessly and effortlessly as AirPlay implementation on iOS devices. Eagle-eyed readers could point out that AirPlay support was long-planned for Lion until it was abruptly pulled last-minute without an explanation. Sure enough, it took longer than expected, so we are excited with full AirPlay Mirroring now a possibility on Macs running Mountain Lion.

Just as you would expect, AirPlay Mirroring in Mountain Lion lets you tunnel whatever is on your Mac wirelessly to your television through the Apple TV set-top box. Think web pages in Safari, kitten clips on YouTube, movies from iMovies, Keynote presentations or any other content displayed on your Mac, including your desktop. Yes, just like on the iPad.

Better yet, using AirPlay Mirroring on 2011 Mac notebooks does not need a local wireless network, because the machine can create an ad hoc wireless network to pair with the Apple TV. This is gold for road warriors and educators who only need a MacBook and an Apple TV to present their portfolio or teaching material on the big screen.

There are some caveats, though.

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Apple hooks up exploding Mac userbase in China with local services in OS X Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion will cater to Chinese users more than any other OS X version. CEO Tim Cook once more underscored the importance of China by highlighting Mac sales in today’s interview with the Wall Street Journal. Sales doubled in the 1.33 billion-people market during 2011 to the tune of $13 billion in revenue.

“They know about Apple and what Apple stands for. Then they search out and look for the Mac”, he told the paper. Apple’s promotional material said Mountain Lion makes it easy to “set up Mail, Contacts, Calendar, video sharing, web searching, and blogging on your Mac using many popular services in China.”

For starters, Chinese input method in Mountain Lion has “significant enhancements.” Secondly, Apple worked hard to make sure customers in China get a localized experience by providing the ability to select Baidu search in Safari. Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, ranked No. 6 in Alexa’s global rankings and No. 1 in China with an estimated 56.6-percent share of the country’s 4.02 billion search queries as of June 2011…

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