Apple releases Mac OS X 10.4.8 8L(2)127
Apple has released the newest update to Mac OS X for both intel and PowerPC Macs a little earlier than expected (still a seed after 8L2125 for intel and 8L125 for PPC), after testing of the latest seed went well. The most important aspect of this update for most intel users will be the long-expected Rosetta-update. At 149/294 MB, the recommended combo updater (PowerPC page
| intel page
) is quite a biggie for both operating systems. (Combo updaters are always recommended over delta, i.e. software update, updaters by macnews.net.tc, because they're considered safer. Trust us on this one, please.)
Secondary display through network? -> ScreenRecycler
Using ScreenRecycler, you can use an older PC or Mac (say, an iMac) as a secondary screen for your newer Mac. The idea's quite ingenious. ScreenRecycler has two parts. One is a VNC server, the other's a driver (kernel extension). This way, if you start the VNC server, the Displays preference pane shows you a second monitor. From your second machine (whether it's running OS X, Windows or linux), you connect to your first Mac via a good VNC client. Make sure to turn off video mirroring in the Display preference pane and choose the second computer's native display resolution from the first Mac's Display preference pane. Nice. :) It sure doesn't match a real display connection speed-wise, but for many tasks it's fast enough if your network's up to speed. Just give it a try
, the current beta version is free - the final version will probably be shareware (but if you've got a use for it, certainly worth a couple of bucks).
As for VNC-Clients: VNCThing is good on PowerPC Macs, VNC Navigator on Windows and there are several options on linux as well. Some Mac VNC Clients are slow, so you might want to try another one before telling ScreenRecycler off.
iTunes and Mac OS X 10.4.8 news...
iTunes has been updated to 7.0.1 to solve a couple of performance and stability issues. You'll find the update in Software Update and on Apple's site, of course. In other news, Mac OS X 10.4.8 is nearing release, although sources expect at least another build after the recently seeded 8L(2)125. The combo updater for 10.4.8 will be over 300 MB for the intel version, the PowerPC version is significantly smaller, mostly due to performance increases in Rosetta - specific to the intel release.
Parallels Desktop Mac 2.2 released!
Parallels Inc. has released the newest build of the software on their Release Candidate update page
. The main page will probably be updated to reflect the final status of the release later on. The build fixes various issues, kernel panics among them (although I haven't met any with previous builds) and improves performance. It also lets Vista RC1 live as a guest OS (previously only Beta 2 worked).
Parallels also announced that a new RC build would follow in about two weeks to solve the problem for 64bit Macs with more than 2 GB of RAM. In the current version, users have to restrict RAM to 2 GB through an included tool.
Next stop: No testing at all?
By now, consumers all around the world are probably aware of the fact that they're actually betatesting hard- and firmware of their consumer products they've bought. You know: You buy that new mobile phone, but you expect
to find bugs in its firmware, take it to the dealer a few weeks later for an upgrade - only to find it to have fixed some
bugs, while getting new features and bugs with it. It's normal, nowadays. Part of the way how companies can reduce pricing on these "goods".
Apparently, Nokia ("disconnecting people") has released an update for their business phone E70 that can render the phone a brick. They've by now pulled the update (which is still available through some forums), of course, since this beta-test obviously was successful, since one of the major bugs has successfully been found. *Cough...* Are we headed to a time where consumer electronics companies deliver products with no user-testing before release-time at all? A time where a firmware upgrade introduces "new features" only to remove them later on, if enough users complain about them? Is this the end of user interface tests completely? Let's hope not.
On a side note: You'll probably find ads for Nokia business phones etc. on webpages covering this. But explaining the serendipity of that would make a whole other article. ;)
ArsTechnica stress-tests the iPod nano 2G
Remember last year, when ArsTechnica dropped the first iPod nano from various heights until its screen died? While their test of the 2G iPod nano
doesn't show the new iPod to do well in that particular area (screen gives out after the first real drop, although it could
have fallen in a particularly bad position, it still played music afterwards - and even survived being washed with clothes.
Now if only it'd play video podcasts out of the box (no, I don't want to go linux with my iPods, thank you...), I guess a black 8 GB iPod nano could lure me away from a "real" iPod...
Apple's pre-Photokina special event
Taking place on 2006-09-24, the presentation is expected to show off Aperture 2, which was in development since 1.0 was released last year in October. Throughout the year, there was a little ruffling of feathers. Apple dropped part of the team working on 1.0, while the rest of it worked on fixing issues with the initial release. It seems like Apple used a different team for the second version, although key members probably remained for it.
A word of caution to all readers, though: We don't expect anything else
that day, i.e. no really new products. The time, though, would be right for the introduction of the new MacBooks. Normal models will make use of the new lower-end Core 2 Duo (Merom) processor, while Pro models use the highend version. The difference between the chips is mainly the size of the cache on the chip. Apple is expected to release the new models silently on their website towards the end of this month.
Another important thing believed to come true at the Photokina: Adobe will show off betas of Adobe CS 3 products. I'm sure Apple has quite a bit of interest in Adobe pushing that.
iTV: Erhm, yeah. Hm. So... What?
For only 299 USD, you'll be able to stream media from your Mac to your, erh, TV set. Really, let's look at this again. iTV, it seems, does *nothing* but that. And only *selected* material, too. The material that's compatible with iTunes. Either bought from the iTunes store or ripped into a format iTunes supports. So what would *I* suggest? Buy a used Mac mini. I'm sure you'll get one for the 300 bucks the iTV costs. It even looks similar. But gives you so much more. You'll be able to do *exactly* the same thing, since they also come with FrontRow and Apple remotes, so you *can* stream stuff from other Macs, but you can also just pop in DVDs, VCDs, DivX CDs etc. and watch them from the mini. You can even buy a TV tuner for the Mac mini, if you want to record stuff from time to time. Remember: iTV will instead make you want to *buy* the free TV shows. So is there *really* an argument pro the iTV - or whatever clever name it will be called once it arrives? Maybe the iPod TV or the "iTunes Xtender Express"? The *least* they should do, in my opinion, is add the AirPort functionality the AirPort Express has. I.e. it should double as a Wireless Access Point. It has the connectors for it, doesn't it. Maybe they do that and just haven't talked about it, because they wanted to emphasize the iTunes movies...
New iPod: 5G.
Some sites on the 'net have started calling the new iPod the iPod 6G. But if you look at the changes (most of which also come with an update to 5G iPods) and compare those to what was changed between the original 4G iPod and the 4G iPod photo, it becomes clear that the iPod introduced today is simply a better iPod 5G, and certainly not a "new generation" of iPods.
Of course this is totally different for the other iPod lines. The nano is now at 2G - and so is the shuffle.
The 6G iPod is still forthcoming - and is actually expected to be released in January at MWSF. You know: The one with the screen which'll fill the entire face of the iPod.
Software Update: iTunes, QuickTime, FrontRow
Of course, all three updates are connected. FrontRow 1.3 gets better integration with iTunes 7, and QuickTime 7.1.3 is needed to play new content bought on the iTunes Store. (So it's not the iTunes Media Store, but now simply the iTS.)
Steve Jobs on stage...
He's on stage, talking about iPods today. Carkits, iPod + Nike etc. Of course, this is all not _really_ interesting for us... ->
Updating the iPod... New features: Instand searching and new games. Screens are much brighter now (60%!). The games feature also comes to the old 5G iPod. (The new one seems to be an updated version, so still 5G.) Games can be bought on iTMS for 4.99 USD. It's no PSP or Gameboy, but the games are fun - and cheap. 30 and 80 GB versions. 249 and 349 USD. Battery life has much improved. At least the 80 GB version has 6.5h video playback (640*480 videos at 1.5 Mbps). The 30 GB version has 3.5h of video playback. New iPod nano now in metal and in colours (silver, green, blue, pink and black). 52% less volume (size) for package, iPod nano is the size of the Apple remote. 2 GB version for 149 USD (silver only), 4 GB version for 199 USD (all colours except black), 8 GB version (black only) for 249 USD. New iPod shuffle (size of radio remote), 1 GB, 79 USD. (One model only.)
iTunes 7 released today. Each category now has its own library. Much faster. Gives you album art for self-ripped albums for free. If you have an iTunes Music Store account, that is. (Bleh...)
Videos are now encoded in H.264 at 640*480 pixels. (That's more like it.)
And: Movies. Apple starts with Disney. (Including Miramax, Pixar etc.) - Movies have the same DRM as TV shows. Apple hopes to take this international in 2007. (Well, "hope" is probably a very optimistic view. We're still waiting here in Switzerland for any TV shows other than those who took matters in their own hands by giving us video podcasts for free...) Pricing is 9.99 USD for older movies, 12.99 for preorders and first week buys, 14.99 USD for new movies after the 12.99 period. Starts with Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (preorder now). Overall, this is certainly good news for US citizens. For everyone else, the most important stuff is the new, updated iPods.
Q1/2007, though, will bring the long-awaited Apple SetTop Box! Codename: "iTV". Half the size of a Mac mini, wireless, works with the Apple Remote. Has HDMI and classic output options. No harddrive. So this is actually just streaming from your Mac, of course. Will cost 299 USD (a bit much for a "streamer" without harddrive, I'll use my MacBook directly, thank you...). I'm personally not so sure, whether this will be enough for entering the consumer electronics market largely. You still need to use a computer, and your computer will still have to *run* in order to stream the videos (and music etc.) to the TV set. Maybe Apple is too focused on keeping the Mac the digital hub? On the other hand, it's not like Media Center PCs made it big so far.
Will Apple stream live this time?
At least the streamlink (MPEG 4) is active
already, although it goes to pause. Either way: Load it and try from time to time. The event should start in 53 minutes.
Apple's Online Store down as well...
... which definitely means new hardware, too. Right? :) ... Let's hope for a good, entertaining evening (or morning, if you're where Steve Jobs is...).
iTMS update coming. Definitely.
If you go to the iTunes Music Store (US) now, you'll see an "It's Showtime" badge instead of anything else. Clear, confirmed details of the iPod - should one be revealed - are still missing, but it seems very clear by now that we'll see movies for 9.99 USD a pop, 14.99 USD for newer ones. And only Disney and maybe some smaller ones will be initially on board. Also still unclear: The resolution and file size of the movies. Interesting times. We'll keep you updated throughout the day.
Apple seeds 10.4.8 8L112/8L2112
As Apple continues development on the next update to Tiger, they have seeded another build for PPC and intel. For owners of intel Macs, the changes to Rosetta-emulation of PowerPC applications are probably the most important. We hear that performance of PowerPC based applications has increased noticeably.
Apple taking iPod to the next level?
If you read about this new Apple patent application
, you might think several things. One of which could be this: Apple always said they didn't really believe in convergence. They believe in iPods doing music, Macs doing media creation and TV sets playing movies. But could it be that Apple holds the answer to the age-old question for a device which is handheld, can do telephony, internet, videochat, media playing and GPS all in one? And let's be honest here: *IF* Apple were to do such a thing, its interface certainly wouldn't suck.
Parallels Desktop for Mac has been updated. It's a release candidate version, but it should be "safe" enough for users out there. This update
brings support for Mac Pro machines - and also Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) support and preliminary Windows Vista support.
BBEdit 8.5 released.
Considered a "big" version, upgrades from 8.x come in at 30 USD - and then there's the usual "older upgrade" and "crossgrade" dance Barebones usually does for BBEdit. The main new features can be found here
. I'm personally an avid BBEdit 8.2.x user, and I guess I'll want to update. "Code Folding" just sounds too cool. :)
OmniWeb 5.5 released!
OmniGroup has released OmniWeb 5.5 for download
. The most important novelty from earlier 5.x versions is that OW 5.5 is using WebKit directly, i.e. it uses Safari's up-to-date version instead of being built against an older version. More details here in the release notes
Apple has released
new iMacs (Core 2 Duo, "Merom", 1.83-2.33 GHz, 17/20/24 inch display) and updated Mac minis (all Core Duo now). The highest-end iMac configuration is only available at the online store. "Normal" highend config only goes up to 2.16 GHz.
Media Event on 2006-09-12: "Showtime"
Apple has confirmed the media event on 12th September 10 AM PST. Invitations show searchlights on a white on black/blue Apple logo, implying "movies". Of course by now this is not much of a surprise anymore.
Consensus among sources is that Apple will introduce movies to the iTMS at 9.99 USD a flick, 14.99 for a newish one. What's interesting, though, and has not yet been revealed, is the reesolution of the movies. 640*x pixel resolution would fit the forthcoming video iPod well (and would also be good enough for viewing on a television set as well as your computer monitor). Sources are unclear as to whether the video iPod will be released this month, however. But downscaling to an (updated) iPod 5G would work quite well, though.
Also expected for this month - but not necessarily connected to the media event on Tuesday - are updated iMac, MacBook Pro and MacBook models (all going "Merom", the mobile variant of the Core 2 Duo processor line). The Mac mini is also ripe for an update, but Apple plans on releasing it later on, possibly early October.
Why we like Macs...
After reading this post
about why Charles loves Mac OS X, I had to slap my forehead. How could I forget? The general consensus (I don't agree on every point he makes) between us is that what I
personally love about OS X is not what Steve's been talking about in the past few years. I don't mind Steve Jobs talking about iLife, Spotlight, Dashboard, bashing Windows, templates in Keynote, templates in Pages, templates in iPhoto, templates in iWeb (and now templates in Mail.app!!!) etc.: That's all good and lures consumers into using Macs. But those "features" (bulk) are not what make me use Macs instead of linux or Windows. It's how OS X goes out of my way and lets me work productively, efficiently. And while I could care less about nifty effects on a new integrated backup machine (Time Machine in the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.5) - mostly, because I already *do* keep good backups - I'm interested in little new additions, bugfixes etc., that make the OS move even more
into the background for me. Sadly, that's not something one can easily describe in a keynote. Those little things never make a bullet-point in a presentation. The best example for me is that in Panther, you could select one item in the Finder, copy it, and paste it into a Mail.app message window. In Tiger, the long-standing bug was fixed, and you could also select two or more items and copy/paste them into mail messages. I guess many users will never ever even find out about this. They drag and drop or use the attachment-dialogue. But for me, copy/paste of two or more items from Finder to Mail.app was worth 129 USD (laugh at me, if you have to...), because I had to go back to the Finder window (which I would've closed by then) in Panther once or twice a day, which can amount to stress, leading to cancer or heart attacks or at least a mild anger I don't need in my daily life. ;)
I wonder, though, if Apple will find a similarly stupid little thing to fix for Leopard. I'll tell you when I find out. I hope the little things are not thrown out in order to find more things to make templates for. What's next? Templates for ... aaargh! :)