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Jake Smith

November 26, 2012

Canadian iPhone users can now unlock their iPhone on Bell and Virgin Mobile for $75. Mobile Syrup obtained more information on a previous report and discovered that Bell and Virgin’s unlocking programs are available for all Bell and Virgin iPhones, but a customer must not be on contract, must be a post-paid Bell or Virgin customer, and must pay a one-time $75 fee. The unlocking program began today, according to the leaked documents, and it can be completed by contacting Bell’s Credit & Prevention line or Virgin Care. The unlocking program will be “launched in a phased approached,” while “the next Phase in 2013″ will come where they will “expand the eligibility guidelines.”

Before this month, Canadian iPhone users could only unlock their iPhones via TELUS ($35), Rogers ($50), and Fido ($50), according to Apple’s support page. Unlocking the iPhone allows customers to use a SIM card from any carrier with the same bands, allowing for easy mobile travel around the world. Pretty cool, eh?

SourceMobile Syrup, iPhone in Canada

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Mozilla releases Firefox beta featuring Retina display support

Mozilla released a new beta for Firefox this afternoon, featuring Retina display support that is sure to appease the Firefox devotees out in the crowd. Release notes below:

This update includes JavaScript improvements that make Web apps and games perform better and support for W3C Touch Events. Firefox Beta also supports Retina Display for Mac users.

  • IonMonkey: IonMonkey is a new JavaScript JIT compiler that provides a more efficient way for Firefox to process JavaScript. With IonMonkey, Firefox will perform faster with Web apps, games and other JavaScript-heavy pages.
  • Retina Display Support: Firefox Beta supports Retina Display for Mac users to make Firefox even sharper when watching movies, playing games and browsing the Web.
  • Disable Insecure Content: Firefox Beta can disable insecure content on HTTPS secure websites to maintain the privacy of your communication with the website. You can enable the feature in about:config.
  • Support for W3C Touch Events: Firefox Beta supports standard W3C touch events in addition to MozTouch events.

[Download via iClarified]

Apple had to acquire Lightning trademark from Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson

In order to get its new Lightning technology out on the market, Apple had to acquire the trademark “Lightning” from the popular motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson. According to Patently Apple, two trademark applications published on Sunday by the EU Patent and Trademark Office show the transfer of the trademark officially went down on Saturday. The term “Lightning” is still protected until 2013 under the original filing, and Harley-Davidson still owns some rights to the term. Still having access more than likely gives the Motorcycle manufacturer the right to use Lightning on some of its products, which includes helmets and electrical parts, while Apple also has free reign. It seems somewhat odd that a term like “Lightning” can be trademarked. [Patently Apple via Gizmodo]

November 21, 2012

Following this morning’s report that Apple’s grand spaceship campus introduced by Steve Jobs in 2011 won’t open until mid-2016, Apple has sent its revised plans to the city of Cupertino this afternoon. The 176-acre campus was originally slated to complete in 2015 after the company was set to start work this year; however, the City of Cupertino still needs to complete an environmental review. Apple notified Cupertino of the time-frame change in the updated project proposal and added, “This schedule may be modified to meet Apple’s business needs.”

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2012 Mac Mini found to support 450 Mb/s Wi-Fi

Past the new Fusion Drive, upgraded RAM, and speed, French publication Macg.co found the 2012 Mac Mini introduced in September also boasts upgraded Wi-Fi antennas. The upgraded antennas brings the desktop to a maximum Wi-Fi speed of 450 Mb/s, now up-to-par with the 2011 MacBook Pro and iMac.

Of course to reach 450 Mbits/s you need a router to support it, and luckily, both Apple’s latest Time Capsule and Airport Extreme. There’s also other factors such as room configuration, interference and so forth. As to why Apple isn’t advertising the speeds is unknown.

November 20, 2012

Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 Supplemental Update 2 for 2012 Macs, fixing Keychain issues

Yesterday, we reported the 2012 Mac mini, Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro, and iMac were unable to update to OS X 10.8.2 after Apple pulled the first update from the App Store last Friday. Today, the folks in Cupertino have released their second supplemental update for OS X 10.8.2 that should allow those users to install the update. Additionally, Apple said the update “is recommended for all Mac systems introduced in 2012” and mainly “fixes an issue with Keychain that can affect 2012 Mac systems.” Grab it from the source link below, and let us know how the update experience fares in the comment section down south.

[Apple]

Google plans to launch open AirPlay-like alternative

As the television race heats up, Google said it is working on an open alternative to Apple’s AirPlay—a technology first introduced in iOS 4.2 that allowed users to share photo, audio, and video to the Apple TV.

Google had a similar streaming product to the Apple TV this summer—the Nexus Q— that allowed for sharing of content via an Android device to the TV. However, the product flopped and didn’t see the light of day for many customers. Additionally, in Google’s move to try to compliment streaming to the TV, the folks at YouTube launched an AirPlay-like feature last week that allows users to beam YouTube videos from their Android device straight to the television.

Speaking to GigaOm, Google Product Manager Timbo Drayson made it clear that Google has big plans in the space and wants to move forward. “We really want to move the whole industry forward,” Drayson told the publication.

HTC CEO says company is not paying Apple $6 to $8 per device, number is actually much lower

Last week, analysts and media began speculating the amount Apple will earn after HTC settled its patent lawsuits with the company. The 10-year licensing agreement was believed to be up to $6 to $8 for every Android-based HTC smartphone sold, according to one analyst, but HTC head Peter Chou made clear today that estimates are way too high. According to Reuters, Chou told reporters, “I think that these estimates are baseless and very, very wrong. It is a outrageous number, but I’m not going to comment anything on a specific number. I believe we have a very, very happy settlement and a good ending.”

The settlement between HTC and Apple is a first for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company. Apple has on-going patent litigations across the world with Samsung and Motorola Mobility, among others. “We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.” Chou said, “HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation.”

As promised, the folks at Nokia launched their alternative to Apple Maps for iOS: a new cross-platform solution called “Nokia Here”. Based off HTML 5, Here is now available on the iTunes App Store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad this morning, offering users full map views, the ability to save maps for later viewing, coverage of 200 countries, search history, Facebook login integration, step-by-step voice-guided navigation for the car and walking, offline map viewing, and social features that allow users to share their location. Offline Maps only work with one-specific map area, as users are only able to download 10MB of mapping data for offline use. We’re giving the app a first run right now and will let you know our first impressions. In the mean time, the full list of features and a gallery are below: [App Store]

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November 19, 2012

ITC to reevaluate its September ruling that stated iOS devices don’t infringe on Samsung patents

According to Bloomberg, the International Trade Commission will reevaluate its Sept. 14 ruling that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple did not infringe on any Samsung patents with its iOS devices. As many of you may remember, Samsung unsuccessfully tried to earn damages and block Apple’s iOS devices…for a second time. The first time was a separate case with the California court where Apple not only came out not guilty but also was victorious in its damage claims. Apple won upwards of $1 billion in damages from the South Korean electronics firm.

Jon Erlichman said the reevaluation ordered today would give Samsung another chance to try to sway the ITC in its direction in the hopes of winning. The ITC has the power to block imports of products that infringe on patents. It’s not clear why the ITC is reevaluating, but Reuters said a ruling is expected in January.

Upon its win this summer, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook expressed his gratitude to the jury. “We applaud them for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right,” Cook said. “Today, values have won and I hope the whole world listens.”

A flurry of users on Twitter and CNET report that the newest Mac Mini released last month is unable to update to the latest version of OS X Mountain Lion, 10.8.2. The update is unavailable through the App Store’s Software Update feature after Apple pulled it for an unknown reason on Friday. Additionally, users received an error when trying to install the update manually through the manual installer made available by Apple. OS X displays an error message of  “Error: OS X Update can’t be installed on this disk. This volume does not meet the requirements for this update.” Customers on the Apple Support Communities also voiced their concern.

The cause of the error is unclear, but what is clear is that for some reason a special version of OS X 10.8.2 is required for the Mac Mini (like the one that was pulled on Friday). Apple doesn’t explain why a special version is needed—perhaps it boils down to the new Fusion Drive that is also set to ship with the new iMac later this month—or why it pulled the update from the App Store on Friday. The best option for 2012 Mac Mini owners now is to stick it out on 10.8.1, because as Twitter user Gerald explained it, the update still didn’t work “after 5 hours and 4 reinstalls.”

There is no word on when the new version of OS X 10.8.2 will be released for Mac Mini owners or if they’ll have to stick it out until 10.8.3. We reported on Friday that Apple will soon release a build of 10.8.3 to early testers soon, and the Cupertino, Calif.-based company will provide new information about the 10.8.3 build during the week of Nov. 26.

Update: Additionally, we learned the update has also been pulled for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and latest iMac…suffering the same issue as the Mac Mini.

Update 2: Apple has released a supplemental update to address the issue.

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Four years on, almost 1M apps have been built for iOS

As we arrive on four years of the iOS App Store being made available, Apps Fire (via The Next Web) pointed out this morning that the thriving app marketplace will reach 1 million total apps approved for iOS. Apps Fire tweeted that the milestone will be reached later today; however, The Next Web said it confirmed that Apple reached 1 million total apps, already.

[tweet https://twitter.com/appsfire/statuses/270437631664476160]

According to AppShopper, another app discovery service that tracks the App Store, the current number of approved apps by Apple sits at 995,382. As for the number of apps actually available for download on the iOS App Store, there are 714,883. At any rate, it’s clear that Apple has/will reach the milestone—even if publicly announced or not.

During the iPhone 5 launch event in late-September, Apple announced that its average customer now uses over 100 apps. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said, “It’s been an absolute revolution. It’s phenomenal. Together with the incredible products, these have helped us achieve an incredible milestone.”

November 16, 2012

Letterpress 1.1 released with new ‘Rematch!’ feature, bug fixes

Game Center’s shining light, known as Letterpress, which is a free word game created by Tweetie founder Loren Britcher, has been updated to version 1.1 this evening. The popular Words With Friends competitor now features a prominent ‘Rematch!’ button that allows you to quickly fire up another game with the opponent you just lost to. Additionally, Britcher and his company have added new words to the game’s dictionary, a slew of bug fixes, and a lot more in tonight’s update, as seen below. Haven’t tried Letterpress yet? It’s available free on the App Store.

November 15, 2012

The previous version of Maps included on iOS 5.0.

After Apple moved to its own mapping solution on iOS, the rumors of Google bringing a standalone Maps app to the platform have intensified. The Wall Street Journal reported that the highly anticipated Google Maps for iOS may be here soon, with word that the app has entered its final testing stages and will include turn-by-turn navigation.

The WSJ wasn’t able to give specific time frame for the app’s launch, but the report added that the app has been distributed to a few members outside the bounds of Mountain View for testing before it is submitted to the iTunes App Store review team. The launch sounds like sooner than later, as several publications in the recent months have pegged the launch before the end of the year. The question is: will Apple accept it?

Google won’t be alone in the iOS Maps-alternative battleground, however. Nokia announced yesterday it plans to release its own iOS map solution under the “Here” brand. Nokia said it plans to make the app available on the iTunes App Store in the coming weeks, offering offline maps, voice-guided navigation, and information on public transport.

More on Eddy Cue’s Apple Maps involvement below

November 13, 2012

Dropbox remains unfazed by rival services, quadruples to 100M users over the last year

Even with the influx of cloud storage options like Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Drive, Dropbox is having continued success adding users, according to the company’s co-founder Drew Houston. Houston took to the company’s blog to boast that Dropbox now has 100 million users, quadrupling in the last year. Speaking to the New York Times, Houston further expressed that he is not worried about the competition that his company has seen. “Those companies are busy trying to build something we had four years ago. We’re out front,” Houston said, “We’re already out there and building smaller features and things. All those other companies have turf to protect, and they’re fighting a battle on a totally different front.”

Apple announced iCloud now boasts 190 million users on its last earnings call, as its integration with iOS helps bring new users. However in comparison, the Galaxy S III (not inside the US) comes with a free Dropbox account loaded with 50GB of storage, along with many HTC devices that come with 25GB — surely driving sales.

November 12, 2012

Apple adopts two-week program that allows select employees to work on side projects

Adopting a move out of Google’s 20-percent time playbook, Apple has begun a program titled “Blue Sky” that gives select employees two weeks to work on a project not in their normal realm of responsibilities. Jessica Lessin of the Wall Street Journal shared the news on video (via Business Insider), where she said Apple’s two-week program is not as vast as the program Google offers. Instead, Apple’s program is a select amount of employees that get the free time.

Why would a company adopt such program? It gives employees a chance to work on something that interests them, in the hopes of spawning innovation. The program was created earlier this year under CEO Tim Cook, and it may signal an overall culture shift in the company. It will be interesting to see if any projects out of Blue Sky see the light of day, as many Google projects have.

Microsoft follows Forstall departure by firing their head of software Steve Sinofsky

The New York Times reported that Microsoft Windows head Steven Sinofsky has left the Redmond-based company after a “mutual decision by Mr. Sinofsky and Steven A. Ballmer.” Julie Larson-Green will take over Sinofsky’s position.

Microsoft described the departure of Mr. Sinfosky, a 23-year veteran of the company, as a mutual decision by Mr. Sinofsky and Steven A. Ballmer, the chief executive of the company. Julie Larson-Green, another Microsoft veteran in its Windows division, will take over the leadership of all engineering responsibilities related to Windows. Tami Reller, the chief financial officer of the Windows division, will run business and marketing for the group.

This is a similar situation to Scott Forstall leaving Apple earlier this month. Sinofsky joined Microsoft in 1989, where he rose to become head of the Windows division in July 2009. Much like Forstall, he was an integral part in the development of Microsoft’s core products. The Microsoft veteran gave the following statement:

“It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft. I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company.”

Ballmer added:

“I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company. The products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft. We’ve built an incredible foundation with new releases of Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Server 2012 and ‘Halo 4,’ and great integration of services such as Bing, Skype and Xbox across all our products. To continue this success it is imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings.”

WinSuperSite obtained Synopsky’s letter:

Amount of text messages decline in Q3, thanks to iMessage and other Internet services

According to research from Chetan Sharma Consulting, the amount of text messages sent during Q3 2012 showed the first decline ever. The fall can be attributed to Apple’s iMessages (when it is up), along with other Internet services like Facebook Messaging, Skype, AIM, Google Voice and more that use Wi-Fi. With less text messages being sent monthly, this has lead to less revenue in the text message area for carriers, however, they are still making plenty of money off data. The research released today says data makes up for 43 percent of carrier revenue generated, with Verizon and AT&T accounting for 69 percent data revenue during the quarter. Mobile data is expected to slow down after growing rapidly over the last five years, perhaps thanks to Wi-Fi.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he is losing sleep over services like iMessage cutting into revenue, while speaking earlier this year.“You lie awake at night worrying about what is that which will disrupt your business model,” Stephenson said. “Apple iMessage is a classic example. If you’re using iMessage, you’re not using one of our messaging services, right? That’s disruptive to our messaging revenue stream.”

[FierceMobile]

Apple updated the iPhone 5 section of its online store to show shipping estimates for the handset have improved from “3 -4 weeks” to “2 -3 weeks”. The iPhone 5 has seen shipping delays since it first went on sale in late September due to high demand and problems in production. Today’s improvements follow official word from Foxconn in October that production for the iPhone 5 has improved. Foxconn said the iPhone 5 is “the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled,” and it added production is getting better day-by-day. During Apple’s Q4 earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said, “We’re working very hard to get more into customer hands as quickly as possible.” CEO Tim Cook added, “The demand for iPhone 5 is extremely robust. We are in a significant state of backlog.”

Thanks, Luis!

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What a nice Monday morning surprise: the folks in Cupertino have seeded iOS 6.1 beta 2 (build 10B5105c) to developers on the Apple Developer Center and over-the-air less than two weeks after beta one. Additionally, Apple released new Apple TV software and Xcode 4.6 Developer Preview 2. We’re compiling a full list of new features below:

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