June 18, 2012

Facebook just teased more iOS integration in a short post on the company’s Developers page amid buzz that it bought another successful company with an iOS app at its core.

According to the social network, it is working on a “major update” to the Facebook SDK for iOS that will launch soon:

We’re very excited about the Facebook integration in iOS 6 that Apple announced last week at WWDC 2012. We’re working on a major update to the Facebook SDK for iOS that will launch in the coming weeks. It includes significant new features and enhancements that make it easier to add Facebook to your iOS apps, along with support for the Facebook integration in iOS 6. Stay tuned!

There are no details on the update, but TheNextWeb speculated it involves the Open Graph, “allowing iOS developers to easily hook into your Timeline and its News Feed and Ticker products has become a way to send an app’s growth into the stratosphere.” The publication also wondered if the update would help developers launch apps in the App Center more easily.

Integration between Apple and Facebook unveiled last Monday for both iOS 6 and Mountain Lion during the Worldwide Developers Conference.

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June 14, 2012

Apple and others, like Google, LinkedIn, and Path, now know that privacy is synonymous with users’ information, and the iDevice-maker is finally attempting to rights its wrongs by requiring user permission in iOS 6 before apps can access any sensitive particulars.

Congress, regulatory bodies, and consumer advocates alike became aware earlier this year that apps uploaded data—such as entire contact lists—to their servers without notifying or even asking for permission from users first. Apple responded to the uproar in February when a representative said future software releases would require explicit user approval.

Not too long after, Apple launched OSX Mountain Lion beta, and —lo and behold—it required apps to seek permission and alert users before cropping data. Now, iOS 6 does the same thing.

According to the “Security” section of the release notes:

In iOS 6, the system now protects Calendars, Reminders, Contacts, and Photos as part of Apple’s data isolation privacy initiative.

Users will see access dialogs when an app tries to access any of those data types. The user can switch access on and off in Settings > Privacy.

There are APIs available to allow developers to set a “purpose” string that is displayed to users to help them understand why their data is being requested.

There are changes to the EventKit and Address Book frameworks to help developers with this feature..

Apple’s iOS 6 preview launched during the opening keynote of the Worldwide Developers Conference. It is now in beta for developers but will release to the public this fall.

The full release notes are below.

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T-Mobile details progress of 4G network rollout, continues testing iPhone compatible 1900MHz HSPA+

Following a keynote from T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray at the NGMN conference this morning, Senior Vice President of Technology Dave Mayo provided an update today regarding the company’s $4 billion 4G-network plan.

We already knew T-Mobile would be make its 4G HSPA+ in the 1900 MHz band available to iPhone users later this year as its new network equipment gets installed. It recently confirmed that it began testing the network on a small scale. Today, we get an update on the progress of the carrier’s 4G rollout with Mayo confirming installations of new equipment at the first 400 modernized GSM / HSPA+ sites, which will be complete by the end of June, with the number growing to 2,500 sites a month after. He also noted the carrier was approved for 19,500 additional sites. This indicates the LTE network is on track for its 2013 rollout.

9to5toys 

The new 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is either out of stock, coming soon, on pre-order, or experiencing delayed shipping on almost every retail website, but it appears one seller is offering the latest Cupertino notebook on eBay—for roughly $1,700 more than Apple’s asking price.

Check it out: Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-inch MC975LL/A (June, 2012) with Retina Display

The above eBay deal comes with same day, free shipping and includes insurance (if this is even considered a deal). Another eBay listing offers the base model MacBook Pro for $3,199 USD, but another $95.80 USD is required for USPS priority shipping from Canada.

It is probably safe to say these puppies are in high demand, as evident by the exorbitant price markups. expand full story

Woz poo-poos Siri as Poo Poo [Video]

Steve Wozniak traveled to upstate New York recently to visit a farm of rescued horses, and the local paper managed to snag a brief interview with the co-founder of Apple, where he discussed the criticism surrounding Siri.

Apple’s little personal assistant in iOS can handle questions, give recommendations, and delegate requests, but many wonder if it really lives up to expectations. The folks in Cupertino like to roll out commercials that show Siri capable of compiling individual preferences with personalized results, and even completing basic tasks like finding a nearby restaurant, but the software met very mixed reactions after it débuted on the iPhone 4S in October. Those who felt misled by Siri’s beta functionality depicted in ads eventually sought reimbursement by filing a class action lawsuit against the company earlier this year.

While in Patersonville, N.Y., Wozniak described his strong opinions on the voice-recognition application.

According to The Times Union:

“A lot of people say Siri. I say poo-poo,” Wozniak said. “I was using it to make reservations long before Apple bought it.”

“I would say, ‘Siri, what are the five largest lakes in California?’ and it would come up, one, two, three, four, five. And I would ask ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and they would come up all in a row. That was pretty incredible,” Wozniak said.

He said he told family and friends about Siri and how “This was the future: speaking things in normal ways, feeling like you’re talking to a human and how Siri was the greatest program,” Wozniak said.

“Then Apple bought Siri,” he said. He then paused, lifted his right hand and gave it a big thumbs down.

“‘What are the largest lakes in California?’ I’d get all these lakefront properties. And I’d say ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ And I’d get prime rib,” Wozniak said.

“I’m really disappointed, but it’s still a market for the future,” Wozniak said. “I think voice recognition for all the platforms is going to get better and better and better at putting together complete sentences and phrases. What did a human really mean? Like, if you said ‘Five, I mean six.’ It will understand a backup, the little faults in our speech that humans understand. It will understand that eventually.”

Wozniak iterated similar rumblings to a developer at FourSquare earlier this year. He even used the same lake/prime rib example. The reporter in this interview should have asked him, “Perhaps Siri knows you like prime rib?”

[tweet https://twitter.com/stevewoz/status/207658404808900608]

[tweet https://twitter.com/stevewoz/status/212765709556649986]

Despite Wozniak’s criticism of Siri, the quirky businessman seemed enthusiastic about Apple’s latest developments revealed at the Worldwide Developers Conference. He specifically said he is excited about Apple’s new computer lineup and app called “Passbook,” which essentially turns a user’s iPhone into a digital wallet.

“People are always going to be disappointed,” he added, when asked if Apple let down consumers at WWDC. “I really like the new MacBook.”

Apple to grab portion of Baidu ad sales in iPhone

Apple announced earlier this week at the Worldwide Developers Conference that Baidu will come to the iPhone in the iOS 6 software update, but it just came to light that the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company plans to seize a portion of the China-based search engine’s advertising sales as part of the deal.

According to Bloomberg:

The revenue-sharing agreement with Apple follows similar accords between Baidu and manufacturers of handsets that use Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system, Wang Jing, vice president at Beijing-based Baidu, said in a phone interview today. He declined to disclose the commercial terms.

Apple said this week it will offer Baidu’s search-engine as an option for iPhone and iPad customers, and add Chinese- language support for its Siri voice technology, as the world’s most valuable company tailors its products for Chinese consumers. Baidu, which fields about 80 percent of China’s Web searches, is prepared to incur costs to add smartphone users by offering services such as music streaming for free, Wang said.

Eric Wen, who rates Baidu buy at Mirae Asset Securities, told Bloomberg that Baidu previously shared revenue with websites to encourage traffic for the search engine, while it now has a focus on sharing with smartphone manufacturers. He further estimated that Baidu distributed less than 10 percent of its generated smartphone revenue to those manufacturers.

The deal reflects Baidu’s need to invest in the mobile industry instead of computers, because more people in China are accessing the Internet through smartphones. It is worth noting that Baidu is already baked into 80 percent of Android devices.

9to5google 

June 13, 2012

After iOS 6 hit the Developer Center on Monday, its new features began to come out. Apple n Apps found a new feature today that involves Apple’s iTunes Match, which launched last November as a way to scan and match tracks in users’ iTunes library to all of their devices. One of the downfalls of iTunes Match was its absence of streaming music. Songs had to be downloaded and could not be played from the cloud. With iOS 6, however, songs stored on iTunes Match can be streamed. This leaves out any need to download songs to your device. Since iTunes Match is $24.99 a year, Apple should have always included this feature. Perhaps this will encourage some to ditch Spotify and others, which cost roughly $10 a month. Do not be mistaken, though. You still have to purchase the music to stream it.

Another small change came to Siri that makes her pretty social:

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‘Rage of Bahamut’ game reaches No. 1 on iOS and Android, pulls similar revenue from both platforms

Japan-based DeNA announced that its “Rage of Bahamut” app became the No. 1 grossing game on both iOS and Android yesterday, while earning roughly the same revenue per day from each mobile platform.

The game’s success pokes holes in recent findings from Flurry, which claimed revenue generated per active user is four times greater on iOS than Android. The analytics firm noted that for every $1 earned on iOS, a developer could expect to earn about 24-cents on Android.

“Contrary to what we read, we’ve been very happy with Android monetization. There is not a big discrepancy between the two now,” said DeNa Director Neil Young to TechCrunch.

Rage of Bahamut is a free trading card game that lets users battle either through a live single or multiplayer action mode against a “database of battle hungry foes.” It is on Apple’s App Store and boasts a 4.5-star rating on nearly 4,000 reviews as of press time.

TechCrunch further elaborated:

The game had the top slot on both platforms yesterday, but Kabam’s Kingdoms of Camelot took back the #1 iOS slot in the U.S. this morning. […]Young says Rage of Bahamut is seeing some impressive revenue numbers per day per user. In casual games, you usually see an average revenue per daily active user of a couple cents to 10 cents per day on mobile. The better games can get to 15 to 25 cents per day per daily active user. But Young says Rage of Bahamut has been able to do 4 or 5 times that. He didn’t say how much revenue overall the title is earning, but we’ve seen dual platform hits like Draw Something earn anywhere between $5 and 10 million per month through in-app purchases and advertising.

Those numbers are welcomed news for developers with growing concerns about mobile platforms lacking solid business models that encourage monetization.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Google.

electrek 

June 12, 2012

Apple aired a commercial this evening titled “Every Dimension.” It shows off the 15.4-inch Retina MacBook Pro that released yesterday. It looks like the company is ready to push its $2,199 laptop to the masses, but who can afford it? Read more about it in yesterday’s coverage of the Worldwide Developers Conference. Have any of you picked it up?

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Apple’s website listed the refreshed Mac Pro as “new” after the opening keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday, but complaints from critics, including an ex-Apple engineer, likely spurred the company to remove the alerting icon.

Former Apple engineer and current Google employee Andy Hertzfeld expressed his disappointment in the new Mac Pro through a Google+ post this morning. He said the high-end desktop “seems like it’s stuck in time in 2010” and only received an “inconsequential processor clock bump.”

Apple unveiled an all-new MacBook Air and Pro lineup during its keynote, but the company did not announce any updates to its Mac Pro. The blogosphere jumped online to gobble up the notebooks, where they finally discovered the Mac Pro’s minor spec-bump listed under the familiar “new” notation. Since then, the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company has been under-fire for displaying the machinery as new when it only boasts a few slight changes.

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Apple spokesperson confirms new Mac Pro slated for 2013 [Updated]

A day after the iMac and Mac Pro (besides a spec-bump that popped up in the store) were neglected from this year’s slew of Mac announcements, an Apple spokesperson confirmed to Forbes that new models and new designs of the iMac and Mac Pro are likely to release in 2013. Connie Guglielmo said today:

An Apple spokesman just told me that new models and new designs of the Mac Pro, as well as the iMac desktop, are in the works and will likely be released in 2013.

This confirms what New York Times’ columnist David Pogue said yesterday:

Many Apple observers also wonder if Apple thinks that desktop computers are dead, since not a word was said about the iMac and Mac Pro. An executive did assure me, however, that new models and new designs are under way, probably for release in 2013.

And what Apple’s CEO Tim Cook supposedly told a reader via email:

  • Thanks for your email. Our Pro customers like you are really important to us. Although we didn’t have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro at today’s event, don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year. We also updated the current model today.
  • We’ve been continuing to update Final Cut Pro X with revolutionary pro features like industry leading multi-cam support and we just updated Aperture with incredible new image adjustment features.
  • We also announced a MacBook Pro with a Retina Display that is a great solution for many pros.
  • Tim

iFixit delves inside refreshed 13-inch MacBook Air [Photos]

iFixit is hardcore when it comes to breaking open our favorite electronics to see what’s inside, and the website did it again today with the refreshed MacBook Air that unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday.

The updated 13-inch MacBook Air, equipped with USB 3.0 and MagSafe 2, sports a few new sizes for those pentalobe screws on the back. It also houses the same battery found in the preceding MacBook Air. Moreover, at first sight, its 128 GB SSD looks strikingly similar to the mid-2011 module:

“But upon closer inspection, the connector for this model’s flash memory module is slightly different than last year!”

The adjusted SSD form factor also shifted to a fresh flash controller. The current unit is SandForce SATA-III controller chip-based, but displays Toshiba marks. The tweaked notebook further boasts Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 128 GB flash memory, 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L RAM, and Broadcom BCM 943224. iFixit said, again, that the wireless board is identical to the mid-2011 flavor, but this one carries rotated stickers (sarcasm intended).

Lastly, the RAM is still not upgradeable. Oh, and that MagSafe 2 connector is thinner and wider, and it is not compatible with Apple’s current Cinema displays unless paired with its $10 adapter.

Go to iFixit for the entire teardown.  

9to5toys 

Andy Hertzfeld: The only thing that’s still high-end about [Mac Pro] is the bloated price

Update: MacRumors received a tip from a reader who claimed Apple’s CEO Tim Cook responded to his email to confirm new Mac Pros are coming next year. We received a tip last year detailing a similar email exchange between a Pro customer and the late chief Steve Jobs. Cook’s response to the reader is below:

Our pro customers are really important to us…don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year.

We were not too shocked when Apple quietly updated its Mac Pro lineup following its WWDC keynote yesterday. We had previously revealed the spec-bumped Mac Pros, but many were skeptical Apple would release such a minor refresh for the product that otherwise had not received an update in two years.

Was it really an upgrade, or did Intel simply run out of the older CPUs? USB 2 and no Thunderbolt seem like a bad joke to high-end Mac Pro users.

Not surprisingly, many are calling out Apple for its decision to not release a major refresh to the Mac Pros. Perhaps most notably is former Apple engineer and current Google employee Andy Hertzfeld. In a Google+ post, Hertzfeld congratulated Apple on its new Retina MacBook, while expressing disappointment in the new Mac Pros:

The next generation MacBook Pro announced today at WWDC looks fantastic. I ordered one immediately and can’t wait to start using it. Unfortunately, the euphoria was negated by my deep disappointment with the meagre, lame update that was silently bequeathed to the Mac Pro today… The specs for the “new” Mac Pro had hardly changed, except for a tiny, inconsequential processor clock bump. Still no Thunderbolt, still no USB 3.0, no SATA III or RAM speed improvements – it seems like it’s stuck in time in 2010. The only thing that’s still high-end about it is the bloated price… Even though I’m well aware that Apple’s future lies increasingly with mobile iOS-based devices, it still makes no sense to drop the ball on your high end desktop Mac so thoroughly, and to utterly disappoint your most loyal customers like yours truly.

As for complete refreshes for the iMac and Mac Pro lineups, David Pogue for the New York Times claimed an Apple executive confirmed they are in development and likely set for a 2013 release:

Many Apple observers also wonder if Apple thinks that desktop computers are dead, since not a word was said about the iMac and Mac Pro. An executive did assure me, however, that new models and new designs are under way, probably for release in 2013

Update: Apple’s website is now listing the Retina MacBook Pros as available in “3-4 weeks”.

Apple’s updated MacBook Pro with Retina display made a huge splash at yesterday’s opening keynote for the Worldwide Developers Conference, but droves of Mac-lovers will have to wait a few weeks before they can get their eager paws on one of these divine notebooks.

Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller noted the super-high resolution MacBook Pro would ship immediately while on stage at WWDC, but those taking a peak at Apple’s online store today will find a “2-3 weeks” shipping notice listed under the 15-inch Retina-optimized computers

The delay in shipping is likely due to high demand, but CNET pondered the alternative reasons:

It’s not immediately clear if the delay is due to miscommunication, a shipping snag, or simply that the first batch has sold out. In previous Apple launches, the company has promised a particular shipping time, only to find that the first group of units sell out, forcing it to modify the timetable for future orders.

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June 11, 2012

Benchmarks for SSDs and USB 3.0 performance in new MacBooks

Even before Apple’s unveiling of the all-new Retina MacBook Pros, refreshed previous-generation MacBook Pros, and MacBook Air lineups today, we knew most of Apple’s new Macs would receive performance improvements courtesy of new SSDs and USB 3.0. We are now getting our first look at benchmark data for the two new features—thanks to a Retina MacBook review unit benchmarked by AnandTech.

As for SSDs, we told you before that the new MacBook family would probably receive Samsung’s speedy 830 series. AnandTech’s report seems to narrow down the 830 series as the most likely scenario noting his review unit appears to be running a Samsung drive approaching read speed of 500MB/s, and writes close to 400MB/s:

The same updated SSD is present across all of Apple’s lineup: from the MacBook Air to the next-gen MacBook Pro. Based on the model number in Apple’s System Report I’d guess my review sample features a Samsung based drive… I ran a few tests using Quick Bench to validate Apple’s claims. In general it looks like read speed approaches 500MB/s, while sequential writes are closer to 400MB/s

When it comes to initial benchmarks for USB 3.0 performance, the chart to the right speaks for itself by showing a remarkable jump in performance over USB 2.0 on the early 2011 MacBook Pro:

USB 3.0 performance is much improved over the previous generation MacBook Pro. I used an Apricorn SATA to USB 3.0 adapter to measure copy time to/from a 512GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD. The performance gap between USB 2.0 and 3.0 is nothing short of significant.

9to5google 

During the opening keynote of WWDC 2012 that took place this afternoon, Apple announced a slew of new features in Mountain Lion, Apple’s next Mac OS that is set to ship next month for $19.99. Earlier this evening, Apple released Developer Preview 4, giving us a first look at the new features. Namely, the new features include Facebook integration through the entire operating system, Apple’s new Mac Dictation feature that works much like it does on iOS, 1080 AirPlay mirroring, and several UI enhancements throughout. The additions definitely make the operating system feel like it’s ready to ship, as a GM is most likely coming out in the coming weeks. Let’s talk specifics.

When developers first got their hands on Mountain Lion earlier this Spring, Twitter was integrated throughout the entire OS. Now, Apple has now become sort-of buddies with Facebook, which now brings integration across Mac and iOS. Apple has added a Facebook login under the “Mail, Contacts, and Calendars” setting in System Preferences (note: developers have to download a separate .dmg to enable). Notifications for Facebook now appear in Notification Center and appears with the various sharing methods that are now present in Mountain Lion. For instance, you can just click the share button in a number of apps to simply post links and such to Twitter and Facebook. Safari is where this type of sharing is big. Speaking of Safari, it has gotten a nice makeover in Mountain Lion, with a huge Javascript boost and new features like Smart Search Field (think Google Chrome Omnibar), a new iCloud Tabs that keeps your tabs and bookmarks synced across your devices, and a new Tab View feature that lets you swipe through the tabs loaded on your other devices. As for when Facebook integration will actually hit the masses, it won’t be actually until this Fall, we learned this evening. It’s upsetting that it’s actually not going to be included at Mountain Lion’s launch.

We’re really excited for the new Dictation feature that allows you to natively speak to your Mac by simply just right clicking the microphone button. Apple says this feature works throughout Mountain Lion, “even in Microsoft Office.” From there you just speak natively, like saying “9to5mac.com” into Safari. We know you type it a lot, so why not make it easier by just saying it.. But seriously, it’s really cool.

If you have an Apple TV, you’re going to love Apple’s new AirPlay Mirroring, which allows you to mirror what’s on your Mac in a 1080p stream to your Apple TV, allowing everybody to look what your working on. This feature is perfect for meetings, getting rid of the need for expensive projectors.

Other minor enhancements included in the new Mountain Lion build are Game Center, better feature integration for Chinese users, and a whopping list of 1,700 APIs that give developers a little more flexibility when developing their apps. The Game Center is a lot like the Game Center featured on iOS, allowing you to share scores and more with the friends you’ve added on the social network. Speaking of the Chinese features, Apple has added an all new Chinese dictionary, integration with the popular Baidu search in Safari, and the ability to hook up with various popular Chinese email providers in Mail. As for UI tweaks, Notification Center has been given a new logo, a larger amount of space when it’s opened, and Mountain Lion’s dock has been given a bit of a tweak — looking quite nice.

Mountain Lion is sure to feature a ton of great features when it hits next month. Check out our tour of the new features we just discussed in the gallery that Sonny Dickson helped us build, below:

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During today’s WWDC keynote, Apple gave some demos of the sharing features in the next versions of their desktop and mobile operating systems, including deep Facebook integration in iOS 6. One thing they didn’t mention, however, was the same Facebook integration for the Mac. As it turns out, there’s a good reason for that. The version of 10.8 that launches next month will not support Facebook.

According to a tiny banner hidden on Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion website, Facebook integration won’t be available in OS X until this fall. Conveniently, that’s the same timeframe given for the iOS 6 release, and the presumed timeframe of the next iPhone launch.

Oddly, Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4, released earlier this evening, does contain full Facebook integration. Why Apple chose to omit this feature from the shipping version is a mystery, since it seems to be functioning well in its current form. Perhaps Apple’s agreement with Facebook is to launch all integration in fall. For example, iOS 6 launches in the fall.

electrek 

Just after its opening keynote this afternoon, Apple released OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4 (build 12A239) and Server Preview 5 (build 12S254j) to developers. Unlike previous developer previews of Mountain Lion, Apple does not ask developers to look into any certain issues, perhaps because Mountain Lion is going to ship in July for $19.99 (a GM to come soon?). Apple also does not list any issues out of the ordinary, as you can see in the release note after the break.

For those looking to test the new Facebook integration announced today (much like Twitter) within Mountain Lion, you could download a separate .dmg from the Developer Center titled “OS X Facebook Developer Preview.” If you are registered with Apple’s paid developer program, you can get the Mountain Lion update on the Developer Center now. For those who are not, it does not look like you will be waiting much longer to play with this latest beast. Let us know if you find anything: tips@9to5mac.com.

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