Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.6 8I1119 (intel) & 8I127 (PowerPC)
The new builds still have "no issues", but fix a problem with CFNetwork and some problems with CoreImage from previous seeds. Apple's preparing to release this build later today according to my sources, although - as always - things could change late in the game.
5 years to go 'til OS X is gone.
Today's the first day of the last five years of Mac OS X' reign. When Apple introduced Mac OS X yesterday five years ago, Steve Jobs said it would be the OS for the next decade. So let's start to anticipate the mourning after, erh, the morning after. What will we see on March 24, 2011? OS 11? Would make some sense. Something more spherical? OS elEvate? Bah, whatever.
It's been five years
of OS X now, and I remember every version since before that day in 2001 (March 24) well. Although I must say that I've forgotten some details about Panther (10.3) already, certainly couldn't say whether one or the other feature was introduced in Jaguar (10.2) or Puma (10.1), but I know
for sure that Cheetah (10.0) did not have CD-burning capability until some dot-dot update came along, and that it generally sucked speed-wise but still let me work faster throughout the day than OS 9 did, because I didn't have to reboot three or four times, depending on how bad OS 9 felt (depending on, erh, weather?) that day.
Either way: I'm looking forward to Leopard (10.5) and what changes might come, and I hope you'll all enjoy the ride with me while we near the end of OS X in five years.
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.6 8I1116 (intel) and 8I124 (PowerPC)
Apple seeded another build of 10.4.6 for both PowerPC and intel, fixing some of the left-over bugs from the previous builds. The increased development speed (last minute bug-fixing) indicates, that Apple wants to release this as soon as possible. 10.4.6 is expected to be the system for the new intel iBook replacements, which will be called simply "MacBook" according to our sources, although some still claim Apple will call it something else, for example the "MacBook mini".
The bug found in the previous build about the PowerBook keyboard backlight is not mentioned as fixed in this build, so it's unclear whether that'll take yet another build or was simply a "freak accident" of some kind. (The bug was confirmed by two sources who had it installed on PowerBooks with keyboard backlights.) So: *If* Apple releases these builds as the final version, I'd be cautious to wait until someone reports "okay" for PowerBooks with the keyboard-light feature.
Where's *my* intel Mac?
iBook G4, PowerBook G4 (12/17 inch models), eMac G4, PowerMac G5 and Xserve. These are the Mac models that are still using PowerPC processors at the moment. We can probably strike that eMac from the list, since it kinda falls out of the normal product line, sometimes is only available for the edu-market and sometimes not, yadda-yadda...
So... When can we expect the MacBook (iBook), other MacBook Pro (PowerBook), Mac Pro (PowerMac) and Xserve computers with intel processors? It seems clear by now that Apple doesn't want to use the older P4-type processors that use more energy than an average house - if you power down the P4-type computers inside of it, that is. So the assumption is that the Mac Pro line, and maybe the Xserve line, too, will wait for Conroe to appear, which is based on Yonah, but will bring 64-bit extensions. Last week, we mentioned
that Apple could make use of the Sossaman processor in the Xserve line and maybe even in the Mac Pro line to surprise us with earlier and more intel-based Macs. However: It might not make much sense to move the PowerMacs over to intel just yet. First: The quad-core PowerMac G5 is still a very powerful machine, and probably the one PowerPC machine where Apple still has decent sales (measured by how many of the top end Macs Apple actually sells, that is...). The Xserves lack an operating system just yet. Apple hasn't released the intel version of Mac OS X Server, although it'll probably be ready by the time the hardware is without too many problems.
What about the MBs and MBPs? The processors are there, so what's taking Apple so long? Probably just "the plan". The intel iBook replacements have been rumoured to be ready a couple of times in the past, and from what we hear, they are. But Apple wanted to do this transition in steps. Say: If the MBP 15" had sold badly, Apple would've probably further postponed the introduction of the 17" MBP model. But it probably was planned from the beginning to give the 15" model a couple of months in the test waters.
But I'd say the time has come. The end of March should show us both the iBook and PowerBook G4 12" models' replacement: The 13" widescreen MacBook. It'll sell like hot cakes.
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.6 8I1113 (intel) and 8I120 (PowerPC)
The builds don't have any known issues currently and are expected to be released tonight or tomorrow - unless a bug is submitted that has to be fixed. Changes in the current seed contain a fix to Help Viewer, some fixes to Core Graphics and CoreImage, an issue with WebKit (and plugins) and an iSync/iPod Conduit fix.
Generally, Apple says the following things are seeing improvements from 10.4.5 to 10.4.6: Sharing using AFP, SMB/CIFS, NFS and FTP file sharing protocols; Reliable access to Open Directory, LDAP and Active Directory services; Login and authentication in a variety of network environments, File access and byte range locking with AFP file sharing; Network access when using proxy server automatic configuration files; Connecting to Cisco VPN servers using IP/Sec and NAT; AirPort and Bluetooth wireless connectivity; RAW camera support, including updated ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers; Usability of Dashboard and widgets; Searching iWork '06 and Microsoft Office documents with Spotlight; Saving Word documents automatically when using a network home directory; Viewing of QuickTime streaming media behind a firewall; Creating Automator workflows for iPhoto 6; Synchronizing contacts and calendars to .Mac and mobile phones; Mounting and unmounting iDisk volumes; Time zone and daylight savings for 2006 and 2007; Address Book, AppleScript, Automator, Dictionary, Font Book, iCal, iChat, DVD Player, Mail, Preview, Safari, and Stickies; Disk Utility, Keychain Access, Migration Assistant, and Software Update; Compatibility with third party applications and devices.Update:
Apparently, this build disables the backlight-feature of some PowerBook keyboards in some way, so at least one newer build is expected before the update can be released through Software Update and the preferred combo updaters on Apple's support pages...
2007: PowerPC Macs deprecated?
So Apple's on track with the transition to intel. They're even "early", as they put it. Well, yes, most applications aren't universal binaries just yet. Now in this report
, ThinkSecret mentions that while Adobe might bring Production Studio 2 (or 3) to the Mac (now only released on Windows), Adobe may only do so for intel Macs. Together with Apple bringing out new professional apps with support that doesn't go very far back (Aperture for example crawls on earlier PowerBook G4s, and to make use of its highend feature set, you really need a good G5 at least), I think those professionals who now buy into the last G5 systems may wake up already in 2007 and find their PowerPC Mac systems older than they want them to be. Sure: They'll run the software for which they were originally bought just fine, and I'm sure that Mac OS X will support them for at least 10.5 and 10.6, but OS support alone does not make a production system. Microsoft, for example, stopped supporting classic Mac OS quite quickly when they released the first version of Office for Mac OS X (Office v.X). Suddenly, OS 9 users were stopped at the 2001 version of Office. (Although in that specific case, that wasn't too much hassle, really, since the file format didn't change so far.)
All I want to say is this: If you're in charge for the Macs at a professional graphics design shop, I'd stop buying PowerPC Macs rather sooner than later. It might seem like the intel Macs are not ready yet, but the day Adobe stops supporting PowerPC Macs in a new version of their software, that Quad G5 PowerMac has the same age as a single processor G4 Mac mini or a blue&white G3 PowerMac: They're going to be out of the loop.
Rather, I'd use this year (2006) to closely watch what's happening on the intel side of Macs. Maybe buy one machine like the intel Mac mini to see for yourself what's available universally, how things run in Rosetta etc. And whenever you feel the urge to buy one of the last G5 PowerMacs, it might be better to buy that G4 or G5 you already have a little RAM and a faster/bigger harddrive and maybe clean the system up by reinstalling it. It'll make your system faster and buy it some time. Before long, you'll want that Mac Pro system that runs Adobe CS 3 at four times the speed it'd run on a dual-core PowerMac G5 and will also run Adobe CS 4 in 2008/9, while the PPC quite probably won't.
The next stupid thing...
Memorex has invented it
. It's called the "FlashDisc" and looks like a disc, but it's actually a *HUGE* USB flash memory stick with 16 MB memory. Yes, with the *HUGE* size I didn't mean the drive's space, rather its outer shell. They want to replace the 3.5" floppy disk with those. I guess nobody has told them that the floppy disk has already
been replaced by the same thing they're inventing now, but in a much smaller package with a lot more space on the inside
, where it's important. The form of the "FlashDisc" also hinders other USB-sticks from using USB ports next to the one used for it. Granted: The price of 19.99 USD for three 16 MB disks sounds like not too much, but you'll find one 128 MB USB stick for about the same price, and not only has it got 80 MB more memory, it can also hold files that are, erh, 17 MB in size, for example. ;)
intel has started shipping Sossaman processors
, low-voltage Xeon processors based on the Core Duo notebook processor aimed at 1U-rack servers like the Xserve.
According to the article from TheRegister linked above, the chip runs at 2 GHz and its two cores share 2MB of L2 cache. There's also a 1.66 GHz version, which would be of less interest to Apple, I guess. Apple could make single processor (dual core) and dual processor (quad core) models available anytime now, theoretically.
A look at the Mac through linux eyes...
Linux Box Admin takes a look
and finds a few interesting things.
What I only recently learned personally, is that many, many Windows and linux users have problems when they first meet disk image files that are so common in the Macintosh world. A short explanation for outsiders: Disk images (.dmg, .img, .smi) are similar to ISOs and are supported by the system, so that you double-click them and they're mounted in the filesystem. Most applications for Mac OS X come as .dmg-files. You double-click them, copy the contents to the Applications folder and unmount the disk image again. Afterwards you can archive or delete the disk image file, since the application has been installed already through the copying process. On first run, an application will create its preference file(s) etc. (Wow, now I can point those forum users with problems with disk images here. Great!)
MS releases Office 2004 11.2.3 update
The 57.3 MB update has quite a few fixes and still one or the other issue with intel Macs (Rosetta emulation), but according to the update page
, Microsoft is working with Apple on these issues and Apple will fix them with a future Tiger release (probably the ongoing 10.4.6 development).
Full-length movie on iTunes Music Store (US)
Apparently, there is/was a Disney TV-movie of 1:39 length
at the US iTunes Music Store. It's a Disney flick called "High School Musical", and it costs 1.99 USD.
Now: We all know that there will
be movies in iTMS one day, but there still are some issues.
First and foremost: There's still no bloody video content for anyone in Europe and other parts of the world. Bad.
Then, the video mentioned is 320*240 H.264, which wouldn't exactly look great on a higher resolution iPod video. Does this mean there will be no higher-res iPod video - or does it mean Apple will have to offer "different sizes"? Or will the 5G iPods be neglected after a while?
More importantly: Full-length movies, while fun on an iPod 5G or 6G, are really meant to be viewed on a big TV or rather a video beamer, if you really want to give the movie the size it wants. But for the big screen 640*360 is rather a minimum
, not the maximum or optimum. They'd have to be 720 pixels wide, really, to match DVDs. Not really a technical problem, but I'd hate to have to buy a movie three times in order to watch it on a 5G, a 6G iPod as well as on the big screen. I guess Apple will have the perfect solution, though. And 640 pixels wide, while not the optimum, could be something one can live with. For one or two years.
So the thing to take home with probably is: Apple's on the verge of going into movies. And for us non-US citizens, the thing to take home with is patience. Apple did have a hard time bringing music to the masses, too.
Update 2006-03-15, 02:16: The movie has vanished from US' iTMS. Which only proves that Apple is up to something there.
Promising legacy BIOS on intel Macs code?
You can read about BAMBIOS here
, a project that aims to deliver an emulated legacy BIOS to the EFI-wielding intel Macs. Mind you: This is not a success story yet
. But it seems like a semi-decent way to bring Windows 2000 and Windows XP support (as well as Vista support later on) to intel Macs.
TomTom Go 710: iPod integration
Apparently, TomTom has unveiled one or the other new Navi system for cars that integrate iPod control
through their touch screens. Nice. :)
Security Update 2006-002
Apple has released another security update about mainly the same subjects. (apache_mod_php, CoreTypes, LaunchServices, Mail, Safari, rsync)
Sounds as if the earlier one was preliminary, or that shortly after the code being finished or nearly finished, other things cropped up. Either way: Use Software Update to update your system(s) again...
Apple media event near April 1st?
AppleInsider says so
, and it was to be expected, anyway. It marks the 30th anniversary of Apple, which is sure enough reason to celebrate. AI says the date will not be exactly the first of April because that'd be a Saturday. Well, I'd say there's another
reason not to present new hardware on exactly the fool's day of the year. ;) AI expects the 13" widescreen intel iBooks (our sources still claim they'll be called "MacBook") as well as maybe a 17" MacBook Pro and maybe the highend iPod video.
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.6 8I1109 (intel) and 8I116 (PPC)
There are still a couple of issues, development moves along normally. In these builds, there were a couple of fixes about CoreImage and CoreAudio as well as iSync and some other services.
No EFI-boot support in Windows Vista!
Microsoft today announced that Windows Vista won't initially support booting from EFI, i.e. PCs with EFI will need the BIOS-compatibility mode which intel Macs lack. This definitely means that Windows Vista won't
be installable out-of-the-box. The intel Mac users are still waiting for workarounds to install Windows XP or Vista betas on their Macs. So far, the only success has been to use linux (which can be installed) and VMware, which certainly isn't a good
solution. Rather, we'd want direct VMware support in Mac OS X. Another option will be DarWINE, which already has preliminary support for running Windows apps in Mac OS X with X11.
The Daily Show, Colbert Report on iTunes
While the rest of the world is still waiting for any real video content, the US customers now have even more fun: Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and Stephen Colbert's "The Colbert Report" are now available in the US iTMS with a new "Multi-Pass". You can buy individual episodes for 1.99 USD or buy a 16-episode pass for 9.99 USD. If you do so, the current episode is downloaded and the 15 following ones follow as they become available.
I guess we'll see "season passes" one can buy before the next season starts for popular shows rather sooner than later. Well, with "we" I actually mean "you" US citizens, of course.
The rest of the world, video-capable iPods in their hands, has to find "other ways" to fill their iPods with videos.
Windows XP Boots on MacBook Pro
... erh, it's a joke. Sorry, it's a joke
. But sure makes a good headline. ;)
Flip4Mac on intel Macs
Apparently, Flip4Mac – the WMV-plugin Microsoft has endorsed while killing WMP for the Mac – doesn't yet install and/or run on intel Macs. Until a native version is available there's a workaround using Rosetta
for you intel Mac users out there...
Basically, you have to set "Installer.app" to open in Rosetta-emulation in order to install Flip4Mac, otherwise it just won't install. After having successfully installed Flip4Mac, turn Installer.app back to its original state. Now, if you have to watch a WMV file, simply set QuickTime Player to also run in Rosetta-emulation. I guess you could duplicate the application and set one to open in Rosetta, the other natively. (Flip4Mac will only work if QT Player runs in emulation right now.)
The real thing will, of course, be a universal binary distribution of Flip4Mac, for which intel Mac users are waiting.
WWDC 2006: August 7-11!
Apparently, Apple's changing things. It looks like WWDC is shifted from June to August this year, which could have consequences...
1.) So far, we expected that Apple would show developers Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) for the first time in June, then Apple would extensively test and further develop it until the very end of the year, having it ready for MWSF 2007 at the very, very latest. Now that seems kinda unclear. Will developer testing of Leopard start earlier? Or is Leopard postponed?
2.) August looks like a good time for introducing the PowerMac's intel replacement, since it's about when intel will release the Merom and Conroe processors, both of which are developments with roots in Yonah. The "Mac Pro" is expected not to be available before Conroe. WWDC would look like a good place to finalise the transition, too.
Assuming the Full iPod AV comes true...
... would you buy one? I've looked at this picture (other sites have taken them now by now, I guess I'll have to take this one down, soon, too...) for a while, and I must say, I'm intrigued. Whether the "leaked images" are fakes or the real thing: It's the logical evolution for the iPod with video, because a "real" clickwheel, even if further reduced in size, simply takes too much space on an iPod to allow a bigger screen, and a bigger – and more importantly *wide* – screen is certainly the next step that Apple has to take if it wants the iPod video to succeed in the long run.
I've told myself back when Apple introduced the iPod that I would buy every second generation – unless the feature-set would not be enough to convince me to change. So far, I've had the 2G iPod 10 GB and the 4G iPod 40 GB. I think a 6G iPod 80 GB sounds like what I'd be getting, if the images prove true.
Do I really want to watch videos on such a small screen? Heck: Yeah, I do. I've got my home cinema set up, and certainly many movies are not made for such a small screen, but many things are just fine on them. Video podcasts, animated shorts, they all work fine on a 5G iPod – and would work even better on a larger screen. The thing to tackle, for Apple, is battery life, really. While the 5G iPods do just fine with music, they don't really shine with video so far.
Buy single core Mac mini, upgrade later.
Yes, if you buy a core solo intel Mac mini at 1.5 GHz now, you can already pop in a 2.16 GHz Core Duo if you want. At 700 USD, that processor isn't exactly cheap, but one day, it will be. Or you'll buy an 1.83 GHz Core Duo then. Or the owner of an 1.67 GHz Core Duo mini will upgrade to a 2.16 and sell you his old part for cheap. Either way: Here's the xtremesystems.org
forum thread about it with pictures.
It seems like this makes the mini an even better upgrade-path machine than before. Want a fast intel Mac for cheap? Get a mini, upgrade it later.
Yet another useful utility: MainMenu
I've stumbled across it on macosx.com thread about how to easily maintain OS X installations. You know, tools like Onyx etc. MainMenu
(link to MacUpdate.com's page about it with download link etc.) is free – and definitely my new favourite among such maintenance tools. It resides in the menu bar, looks like a tool and gives you every option you might need. Handling disks, permissions etc. You'll like it, too, I hope.
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.4.6 8I113 (PPC) and 8I1106 (intel)
The new builds have quite a lot of changes from the previous ones. They still have a couple of issues (disk images handling and iPhoto RAW import for PPC, the latter not being mentioned for the intel build). A release date is yet unknown, but 10.4.6 is expected in March. File sizes for the combo updaters are changed: 180 MB for intel, 135 for the PPC build.
"Real" video iPod in March/April?
ThinkSecret today updated its rumour
about the coming video iPod to state that it'll have a 4" instead of just a 3.5" monitor. And that its introduction could be postponed due to issues with finalising contracts with the movie industry. Apparently, Apple'd prefer users to buy
movies instead of renting them in a subscription contract.
ThinkSecret has not revealed what resolution the 6G iPod would have. But if this new rumour is true and the device would have about the same form factor as previous iPods (with the wide screen filling its surface up to 1/4" to the edges), it would have to be something like 640*360, which would make the screen even more dense than the 5G iPod's. (That's a good thing.) This would also be the maximum resolution allowed for videos to stay compatible with 5G iPods. (MP4s can be up to 640px wide and have 230400 pixels overall, which results in 360 horizontal lines.) But: The 5G iPod currently only supports MPEG-4 movies in such resolutions, not H.264. Whether that restriction is hardware- or firmware-based is currently unknown.
What is clear is that Apple probably has started development of the 6G iPod even before finalising the 5G version. And while video was only an "added value" for it, it's really going to be the 6G's main selling point. (Besides having a gorgeously large screen for album art and iPhoto slideshows, of course.) One important point considering the touchscreen scrollwheel is still unclear, though: What surface will the screen be made of. Oily fingerprints don't make a good movie experience... ;)
ArsTechnica tests MacBook Pro
Read it here
FrontRow 1.2.1 on your Mac
Yep. It's been done again. Downloads and instructions here
... I've had version 1.0 run on my PowerBook G4 1.33 GHz and it stuttered. This version does not. It just works. :)
Security Update 2006-001 et al.
Apple tonight released not only a new security update, but also updates to iPhoto (6.0.2), iTunes (6.0.4) and Front Row (1.2.1). Those updates are mainly aimed at Bonjour-enabling Front Row, which has been shown at the intel Mac mini's introduction yesterday.
The security update does quite a few things. Non-surprisingly, it updates LaunchServices (at fault for the security issue with shell scripts cloaked as JPG files) and iChat (which was used to send the "worm" around). So for now: All's fine with your Mac's security again. If you've run the update, that is.