Apple announces intel Mac mini, iPod Hi-Fi.
Apple today announced the new intel-based Mac minis. Sad: There's no 499 USD model anymore. The entry level is a 599: An 1.5 GHz Core Solo model with 60 GB harddrive and combo drive (DVD/CD-RW). The 799 USD model has an 1.67 Core Duo processor, 80 GB harddrive and a SuperDrive.
The iPod Hi-Fi is a 349 USD boombox with an integrated iPod dock. All dockable iPods are compatible (and are charged through this dock, of course), the iPod shuffle is compatible, but you'll need a cable to connect it to the analog input at the back of the boombox.
So: Fun new products... Yes. But I guess most expected more from a special event. The Mac mini is a logical step - albeit unexpectedly pricey. The boombox is not really necessary by Apple, although I guess it's still a good product.
DropCopy: Useful.
Sure, you can install Mac OS X Server on one of your various Mac minis or turn on FileSharing on each machine in your network, but if all you want is a simple way to send files to other users' desktops, DropCopy 1.01 is the way to go. The little utility is free for smaller networks and personal use (25 USD for larger networks) and should be installed and run on any Mac. There's one feature that makes me shiver a little, though: It lets me copy other users' clipboards. I'm sure they've covered the security issues about this in the preferences, though. If not, wait for the next version. ;)
The Making of "iPod Video fake"
You'll find the video mirrored here. Apparently those iPod Video rumours are based - at least in part - on a picture made to look similar to the picture leaked previous to the 5G iPod's introduction.
This does not necessarily mean Apple's not working on something like it, of course. After all, it's stupid to assume Apple's not working on a 6G iPod. It's just unclear what the feature set of the next full-featured iPod will be.
10.4.6 development started
Apple has seeded first builds for Mac OS X 10.4.6 to developers. 8I109 for PowerPC and 8I1102 for intel. According to our sources, this update will be mostly about .Mac synching, AFP, AppleScript/Automator, BT, Cocoa, Carbon, Core Graphics, CD/DVD burning, harddisk management, printing, Safari (hopefully also the security issues), Rosetta (for intel builds) and graphics drivers. There are still a couple of known issues with these builds. Targetted release date is "end of March" for now, although this might or might not change in the future.
The combo updater seeds vary in size: 131 MB for the PPC, 166 MB for the intel build. We'll keep you posted about the development.
No more PB G4 15", but MacBook Pro shipping...
The Apple Online Store is out of those old PowerBooks (15") and only sells the MacBook Pro 15" now. That's a good thing, too. ;) ... You can take a look at the insides of the MBP here, and first tests show that the MBPs should do "okay" even with Rosetta-emulated applications.
Battery life should be the same or better (really depends on testing) than the old G4 PowerBooks, according to first tests done by various readers who have received their MBPs by now.
WinXP on intel Macs. Kind of.
While everyone's still unable to boot either Windows XP or Vista-betas on their intel Macs, there now is some success doing it via linux. It's now possible to have an intel Mac boot into a Knoppix live system which runs WinXP via VMWARE.
The "real thing" is still missing, though. Because Mac users will either want to run VMWARE directly on Mac OS X (without having to leave OS X and boot into linux) or reboot into WinXP directly. But progress is progress nonetheless.
oh, and yeah...
... if you get an E-Mail with a "JPEG" by a "friend", drag it to Preview, don't let open it, because it's obviously Launch Services, which'll still open the shell script in a shell, possibly doing harm to your Mac. (It's still not a virus, though.) ;) ...

On a more serious note: The last couple of days have shown a few attempts to tinker with Mac OS X' security. While the statement, that there's no virus for Mac OS X, is still true, it might not be in the future. It's not impossible to exploit security issues of Mac OS X. They exist. But if people like to say "Macs are not more secure than Windows", they ignore how easily viruses on Windows spread and do harm.
Feb. 28 special Apple event
As we first predicted here on, Apple will introduce the intel iBook replacement (MacBook, probably) at the end of February/the beginning of March. Now that we know the date of the special event (2006-02-28), it seems clear that the MacBook will be part of that presentation.
Safari executes shell scripts automatically!
And that's a bad thing, of course. Read more about it here. And turn off Safari's default behaviour of automatically expanding and running "safe" files. They just might not be.
Michael Lehn, who found the vulnerability (link in German), says Apple's on it to fix the issue. But until then: Be safe. A script could simply erase *everything* your user has access to. And that would at least concern all of your files as well as backups connected to your account currently via USB or FW.
Apple: Bring on more mobile intel Macs soon!
While some people think that the intel iMac may only be marginally faster than the older G5 iMac (this, of course, changes drastically with time, as more software's available as universal binaries instead of running in emulation...), things are heavily different on the mobile computer front. It's easy math, really. If an intel iMac has roughly 200% the speed of a G5 iMac with native applications and 50% the speed with emulated ones, emulated applications should still definitely run faster on a MacBook Pro than on a venerable PowerBook G4. So while there's discussion on whether the iMac really profits from the move to intel (and I'm very pro intel here, since I don't think you should buy a Mac depending on yesterday's state of things), the mobile Macs really need to go intel as quickly as possible, and I hope our rumours are true that the turn of February to March will bring the MacBook (iBook replacement). Recent rumours on other sites suggest that Apple will also reveal a 17" MacBook Pro in the coming two months.
The "latestpics" Trojan
Apparently, someone posted a Mac OS X trojan to the forum (link goes to explanation and discussion on forums). The file in question is called "latestpics.tgz", which you should not download and unpack, although that alone is not yet dangerous. The dangerous thing is that the UN*X executable it unpacks looks like a JPEG file, although it doesn't have the file extension. (It just has a JPEG icon pasted onto it.) If you do double-click it, it installs itself as an input manager and tries to infect applications with itself and to propagate through iChat (it'll send itself to your iChat buddies).
This is not a virus, though. And if you don't double-click files you don't know the source of, you're still safe. Also: Never doubleclick images without file extensions, anyway. (Set the Finder to _show_ you file extensions, of course.)
So: Don't panic. But be safe. :)

Update: Sites like TheRegister (their "article" about Leap.A here) are now keen to call this a virus, although by definition it is not. They also fail to mention that the script does no harm other than to propagate via iChat. Again: Of course we shouldn't go into denial whenever something like this pops up. But in order to do even a little harm, the user still has to actually execute this script himself. And things like that have always been known on Mac OS X. It tries to take advantage of a vulnerability of the user, not the operating system. Unless you open/execute the UN*X script yourself, you're safe!
iLife '06 Update
Apple has issued a couple of updates to the iLife suite. iDVD is now at 6.0.1, iPhoto at 6.0.1, iWeb at 1.0.1. Also, iTunes was updated to 6.0.3.
March 1st: Join Steve and Bono
Apple holds a special, invitation-only press event in Frisco on the first of March. Rumours say that among other things, a red version of the iPod nano (or maybe another iPod?) will be announced. The event is about fighting AIDS.
10.4.5 solves new iMac's problem
Apparently, yesterday's Mac OS X update solves the FrontRow problem of the 20" intel iMac with 256 MB VRAM. Good, Apple.
Mac OS X 10.4.5 released
Apple has released the update through Software Update – and it has also released the more important combo updaters. (Always use the combo updaters, even though the SU version is a lot smaller...) You can get the PowerPC version from this page (build 8H14) and the intel version from this one (build 8G1454).
Mac OS X on any PC (again)
Maxxuss has done it again. About a month after the release of Mac OS X 10.4.4 8G1165 (the build installed on the intel iMacs), there's preliminary patches available. While they're not really simple to use, this is still proof that Mac OS X can still be installed on hardware other than Macs. And this time around, it's about a final version of Mac OS X, not some developer build.
Camino 1.0 released
The final version of Camino, the macified mozilla-based webbrowser, has been released. Compared to the previous version 0.84, a lot has changed. Not so much compared to the 1.0 RC1 from a couple of days ago, of course.
MacBook Pro: Faster than expected.
Apple today said in this press release that they're glad to announce that the 1.67 and 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro are now in fact shipping as 1.83 and 2.0 GHz MBPs. Plus: At the online store, you can BTO a 2.16 GHz version, too. (Adds 300 USD, though.)
As of now, the updated processors are only available in the US online store, but are expected to trickle to the other countries' Apple websites today and tomorrow.
So either intel suddenly has more highend-parts or Apple found the lower-end parts underperforming. ;) Good news for those who've already ordered one, I'd say. Unless you really, really want the 2.16 GHz version, that is.
Adobe Lightroom Beta 2: Universal
While Adobe's main applications are "due out sometime this or next year" as universal binaries, the yet-to-be-released Aperture-competitor "Lightroom" has been released as a 2nd Beta today. It also has a new feature: The crop tool (crop, rotate-crop). If you've got an intel Mac, you can try this software natively now.
Adobe's Lightroom fills a gap between iPhoto and Aperture from Apple. The gap being that Aperture is horribly slow on anything but a very decent PowerMac with lots of RAM and iPhoto is not really an application aimed at professional photographers. ;)
Notably absent from Beta 2 is still a Windows version of the application. The Universal Binary shows that development on the Mac-side is probably done with Xcode now, something Adobe probably hasn't really touched before Lightroom. The question is whether it'll be easy for Adobe to port the application to Windows at all. It could be easy if Apple revived Cocoa for Windows API (in the days of Rhapsody, Apple had a working Yellow Box environment for Windows, and just like Mac OS X, this project is believed to not have stopped until now, although no actual product was released since that time). We're very off-topic by now, so let's have a little more of that right now: If Apple were to release Cocoa for Windows and Adobe would start to develop more of their applications in Xcode and they'd be running in Cocoa on the Windows platform, too, Apple could attract more developers to the Mac platform. And once developers start using Xcode as their primary development environment, bringing software to the Mac would be a very easy task.
Fake iPod nano
It's really simple, though: If you find an iPod nano at a fraction of the price of the original: It's a fake.
The one pictured in the MacBidouille link costs 75 EUR in Andorra, is a bit thicker than the original but it does play videos, too. So if you're a Windows user and want to be free of iTunes and Apple but still want something that looks similar, maybe a fake's the way to go? ;)
Tablet Mac or bigPod?
The drawings of Apple's application for a virtual clickwheel patent are clearly showing some version of iTunes running on a tablet computer. It's not a simple iPod interface. (It also shows a simple iPod interface with a virtual clickwheel, though.) But whether the idea of an actual product is an iPod with an extended interface and bigger screen or a Macintosh tablet with only a couple of applications or even a full Mac tablet with innovative gesture UI features – who knows.
Fact is that Apple wants to get more into the video player market, now that it has some good deals with good content on the iTunes Music Store (will it change the name at one point?). Fact is also that Apple doesn't think the 5G iPod's screen is the answer to watching videos. While video on the iPod is a nice added value, and even selecting music is a better experience with the gorgeous 5G iPod's larger screen, those TV episodes and music videos want to be seen in 640*480 (or better even: widescreen) and Apple wants to be the one giving you the 'Pod to watch it on.
Apple is an evilly closed up company. ;)
But I'm not sure whether the winking smiley face actually should be in the title of this post. My problem today is this: I've put the folder containing all the stories I've written in the past two years on a memory stick. And only when I was at a colleague's house, where I wanted to print one of them, I noticed that on a PC, I've got no chance of opening my Pages documents. Yes, the ".pages" documents are actually folders containing a gzipped XML-document which I can open after decoding it, but I'll end up with a very weird document, all formatting lost etc.
There doesn't seem to be a converter for .pages documents. Not on Mac OS X, not on Windows or linux. So do I really have to convert them to RTF before something bad happens (like I lose my PowerBook and have to work with a Windows notebook for a while or something...)? Why doesn't Apple provide a free way to look at .pages documents without having to buy a Mac and iWork?
Or in other words: Could somebody please create .pages support in
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.5 8H14
On Tuesday, Apple has seeded build 8H14 of Mac OS X 10.4.5, the forthcoming update to Tiger. This build apparently fixes an issue with audio when two applications use audio at the same time. There are no known issues with the build at the time when Apple posted it. Mac OS X 10.4.5 is expected to bring support for further intel-based Macs like the replacement of the iBook (as well as maybe another MacBook Pro), which should be announced or released at the end of February or the beginning of March.
iPod nano 1 GB
As predicted before MWSF, Apple was preparing to release a 1 GB nano. And now, Apple's released it at 149 USD. It has also reduced pricing for the 512 MB and 1 GB shuffle to 69 and 99 USD.
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.5 8H12
Apple has seeded 8H12 one night after it did 8H9 it seems. The release notes are the same. (See 8H9 info for that.) Apple has also seeded new builds of 10.4.5 server and the intel client version which is developed in tandem with the PowerPC client.
iMac 20" intel video problem...
Apparently, the 20" intel iMac with 256 MB VRAM has a problem (link: Apple's forum thread) with its video card in Front Row. It's so far unclear whether all 20" iMacs with 256 MB VRAM have this problem (update: There are reports of Macs not showing the bug), but it's only been the case with these models. It's also unclear whether Apple can/will solve this with a software (firmware) update or it's a hardware error which would take a recall/replacement. If you've ordered or bought such a machine, I'd advise you to bring it back immediately. If the problem can't be solved immediately, I might look at using the 128 MB VRAM version instead.
That being said, the problem seems to only affect FrontRow so far, so it does seem it might be a software problem only. it could be that Apple solves this with a Software Update. So maybe it's worth it to live with the bugs for a while. (Reason for the strikethrough update: iMovie '06 seems to also reveal the problem at some points...)
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.5 8H9 to developers
With fixes and improvements to CoreGraphics as well as a fix for iMovie '06 previews.
Macs: 54.4 percent.
It's true. Gartner Dataquest said it. Although I have to admit that it's a tad specific, that number, being the Mac's market share in education in Switzerland. But it's still nice that at least in one country in one market, the Mac is the absolute winner. By far.
Overall, Apple did well this past quarter in education in Europe, finding itself once again in the number one spot with 15.2 percent. (In France, Apple has 19.5 percent, in Sweden 15.2 and as mentioned 54.4 in Switzerland. In other countries around Europe, Apple was number two or three, but not far behind.)
Mail.Appetizer. Wow.
Sometimes one runs into a little free utility that just rocks. mail.appetizer is just one of these. The link goes to the Tiger compatible beta version, for Panther users, there's a final version 1.0 (I'm not sure whether the newer beta also runs on earlier versions).
What it does is simple, elegant and great. You keep in the background, and when a new message arrives, it's shown you in one of those almost-black but see through windows, where you can read the beginning of it (length depends on your preferences) and then mark it as read, open it in, delete it or just click it away. I've definitely needed this. I'm sure you already knew about this and just didn't tell me. :P
The tablet rumours thicken...
Or rather: There's new evidence that Apple is or was at least planning one. The link above shows some pictures from the patent application, showing that Apple wouldn't just do yet another tablet PC, albeit with an OS X interface. Rather, the tablet would have a gesture-driven input interface on top of just point and click as you would with a stylus. Very interesting: The lower right of the screen could show the iPod's interface. So would this tablet be a small Mac or a big media player? Of course if it's the former, it sure as hell is the latter as well. ;)
On the other hand, patents about a tablet have popped up on the 'net for years now with no Apple product to show for. So the question is: Was this project canned at some point – or has it just not seen the light of day yet?
Apple slashes PPC iMac pricing
Apple has taken 200 USD off the PPC iMac 20" pricing. Not everywhere, but if you do want to buy the dinosaur, apparently the time is coming. More info here on AI.
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