New developer APIs for iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 appear in open-source WebKit

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 15.54.50

The code shows that this is a new addition for OS X 10.10 and iOS 8.

Slightly ahead of the keynote later today, Apple has pushed some of its new APIs for developers into the open-source channels. The class in question is a new view that appears to replace the current iOS and OS X WebKit implementations, which enables apps to show webpages and other content inline.

The new framework seems to indicate a focus on cross-platform API compatibility, between iOS and OS X. The leaked framework seems to be fully feature-compatible across platforms. This differs to the situation today, where developers must use the ‘WebView’ class for OS X and ‘UIWebView’ for iOS. This should help developers write more reusable code.

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VLC 2.0 arriving with all-new UI, native full screen in Lion, Blu-ray support, more

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VideoLAN, the organization behind the open-source cross-platform VLC media player, is geared to launch VLC 2.0—a total rewrite of the program with new capabilities and an all-new user interface on the Mac platform. Available on Mac OS X, Windows and a variety of Linux/Unix platforms, VLC 2.0 [changelog] includes enhancements such as a native full screen mode in Lion, a redesigned subtitle manager, support for multiple video files inside RAR archives and enhanced video output modes. The Mac version will also support unprotected Blu-ray media, and Windows users will get to enjoy a 64-bit version.

The developers also added support for VLC’s lua-based extensions, letting users get information about movies from Allociné, post to Twitter, fetch subtitles automatically, and so forth. No disc burning features are included because “there are more suited apps for that.” One of the developers on the project Felix Kühne published a series of screenshots (more available on Flickr) highlighting the new Mac interface, credited to designer Damien Erambert. According to Kühne:

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MacTech declares Parallels 7 the Virtualization performance champ on the Mac

Windows/Linux Virtualization on the Mac is mostly a 3 player game these days. You have the open source/free VirtualBox that was purchased by Oracle as part of its Sun acquisition two years ago. It is a basic emulator which works as a get what you pay for kind of basic functionality solution. Oracle isn’t big on free Open Source products so don’t expect it to get a lot better any time soon.

That leaves the two big players, Parallels and VMware Fusion. Both companies recently released updates to their software and both can now virtualize another instance of Mac OS X (great for developers who need to test their apps on older software or users who need applications that require Rosetta for instance). MacTech did a comprehensive set of Benchmarks and came away with a clear speed winner.

In almost every test, the $79 Parallels 7 beat the $49 VMware Fusion in speed (as you can see from the graphic above).

In the vast majority of overall our tests, Parallels Desktop 7 won. Again, if you count up the general tests (including the top 3D graphics scores), Parallels won 60% of the tests by 10% or more. And, if you include all the tests where Parallels was at least 5% faster, as well as the balance of the 3DMark06 graphics tests, Parallels increased the lead further. In other words, Parallels Desktop 7 beat VMware Fusion 4.0.2 in 74.9% of the general tests we ran, and Parallels was double the speed or more in almost a quarter of the top-level tests.

VMware obviously has a larger install base in the Enterprise with a longer history of virtualization on the PC. However with benchmarks leaning heavily toward Parallels, some Mac-focused businesses may start to tip toward Parallels.

We’ll have an in-depth look at Parallels 7 coming up as well as a contest where we’ll be handing out a few interesting prizes including a MacBook Air. Stay Tuned!

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Apple open sources their Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC)

Apple announced on Mac OS Forge today that they have open sourced their Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). ALAC was introduced in 2004 as OS X’s core audio codec to compress audio files 40-60 percent without losing any quality. The codec is currently supported by Macs and the latest iOS devices.

The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is a lossless audio codec developed by Apple and deployed on all of it’s platforms and devices for some years now. Apple is making the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) available as an open source project. Full details can be found on the Apple Lossless Audio Codec project page.

ALAC was reversed engineered in 2005, but more and more applications could begin to adapt the codec now that it’s open sourced. Currently Plex, VLC, Boxee, and XBMC feature the codec, and there are sure more to come. ALAC has been open sourced under the Apache license.

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Hackers slap Lion overlay onto iOS, with surprisingly good results

Not, “put this on my iPhone now” good but “wow, that’s interesting and must’ve taken a lot of hard work” good. Lifehacker explains:

You can now grab the theme via an app on Theme Outlet. Here’s how. (And make sure you have Dreamboard installed, as this is a Dreamboard theme and requires it.)

  1. Open Cydia
  2. Tap Manage Sources
  3. Tap Edit, then Add, then add source fnetdesigns.com/cydia/repo
  4. Go to the Changes section and install Theme Outlet
  5. Close Cydia, go to your home screen, and open Theme Outlet
  6. Browse for OS X Ultimatum and download it from there
  7. Open up Dreamboard, browse for the OS X Lion Ultimatum theme, and install it.


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RIM doesn’t want Apple to trademark ‘WebKit’ for reasons unknown, files opposing action

RIM has filed an ‘opposition action’ (via Patently Apple) in Canada against Apple’s trademark application for ‘WebKit’, the rendering platform based on KHTML that Apple help create before making open-source. The move grants RIM more time to build their case before a November 22, 2011 deadline.

Apple originally filed the trademark application in May of 2010 which, while getting a little bit of media attention, kind of flew under the radar of most. After all, WebKit has been made open-source.. so trademark or no trademark this shouldn’t affect Google, RIM, and all other platforms currently relying on WebKit in their browsers. Right?

If Apple were granted the trademark, it would mean other companies wouldn’t be able to associate the “WebKit” name with their products. Something that could potentially become more valuable if the WebKit name was marketed more prominently as a feature of future devices. Perhaps if Apple branded “WebKit” as a feature or technology in future products, other companies inability to do so would give Apple an advantage. Apple’s trademark application asserts the company’s rights to the name based on a “screenshot of Applicant’s website [WebKit Nightly Builds page] showing use of mark in connection with download of Applicant’s software”.
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