audio problems, Logic X questions and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members help other long-time users and Fresh-Faced Recruits resolve problems. Forum members are assisting one Fresh-Faced Recruit with an iMac that is unable to recognize audio inputs or outputs after a power failure, but so far have been unsuccessful in their attempts. Yesterday, Junior Member "phkc070408" was trying to determine if there was a way to assign a specific key or series of keys to type a pre-programmed set of text.
file sharing, backlit keyboards and more
This week on the MacNN forum, members have been assisting Mac Enthusiast "jszrules" with determining why File Sharing is automatically enabled on multiple occasions after having to restart their computer due to it freezing. Yesterday, Grizzled Veteran "jmiddel" shared their joy with the forums after finding a Logitech backlit keyboard to use with their Mac desktop after years of blindly plucking away at the standard Apple keyboard for years.
Can encrypt and hide files and folders with 256-bit AES protection
While at the Macworld Expo last weekend in San Francisco, MacNN got a chance to talk with members of the MacPaw software team, best known for their duplicates finder Gemini II and their utility app Clean My Mac. The company released its latest upgrade, file-and-folder encryption tool Hider 2 (formerly MacHider), for OS X 10.8 and higher on Wednesday. The program is designed to allow users to hide, encrypt and password-protect sensitive files, whether they are confidential business documents or those pictures of an ex.
Fantastical 2 calendar app for iPad takes advantage of large display
Flexibits has introduced Fantastical 2 for iPad, a calendar app for iOS 7. Including features such as half-screen and full-screen week view, reminders, and intuitive parser, background app refresh and more, Fantastical 2 for iPad takes advantage of the larger display over what is available for the iPhone. Newly included in Fantastical 2 for iPad is its Dashboard feature, a schedule manager, and users can toggle between the DayTicker, half-screen view, and full-screen view.
PDFs, GPUs, Free Apps and more
This week the MacNN forums, forum-goers discussed a wide range of topics -- from virtual machines and merging PDFs to new GPUs for a Mac Pro. One long-time member turned to the forums yesterday looking for virtual machine software that was able to assign specific optical drives to specific VMs after having no luck finding software with this feature in the past. Mac Elite "And.reg" started a thread this week looking for a way to merge multiple PDFs into one PDF using Preview.
Three-episode 'season pass' now available for $20
The epic quest platformer BioShock Infinite on Tuesday saw the simultaneous release on Mac and Windows of its third and final expansion pack, Burial at Sea - Episode 2. The add-on follows the release of Burial at Sea - Episode 1 and Clash in the Clouds for the artistic platformer, which makes exceptional use of rich environments, and offers new achievements as well as a continuation of the previous pack's storyline. The $20 "Season Pass" has been updated to include the new content.
Long time coming, but BYOD movement paying dividends to Apple
Another survey of Macs in the workplace has both reinforced older studies as well as added surprising news about the growing acceptance of Macs in the workplace -- long thought to be the unassailable domain of Windows PCs. Virtualization software maker Parallels has polled more than 200 IT chiefs in its latest study, and found that nearly half -- 45 percent -- of the companies surveyed now offer their employees the option of using a Mac at work, and find the platform "more reliable" for both Mac and Windows application use.
Study notes US education sales now up over $1B per quarter
Analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham and Company has focused on Apple's success in the education market in his latest note to investors. Pointing out that the company recently achieved EDU segment sales of over $1 billion per quarter, Wolf notes that Mac sales have held steady over the past seven years, including post-2010 when the iPad was introduced and became an extremely popular educational tool, eating into sales of other PCs.
Ode to iPad 2
This week in the MacNN forums, Clinically Insane member "subego" was praising the iPad 2, even though he initially wrote it off for not having a Retina display. He soon realized, however, that he had misjudged Apple on this one. Today, Mac Enthusiast "biscuit" started a thread looking for advice on the best way to migrate their data from their old MacBook to the new one.
the future of Mac OS X debate continues
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to debate what the future of Mac OS X will hold, with some forum-goers noting that Microsoft is attempting major redesigns and customers are rejecting it. On another topic, "Can I delete apps without having to enter ID?" asked Mac Elite "jeff k" yesterday.
Gmail update for iOS adds background mail retrieval, simplified sign-in
Google's email service Gmail has received an update for its iOS app. The newly redesigned app provides real-time notifications, multiple account support and search across one's entire inbox. In v3.0, Gmail now includes background app refreshing, meaning that email is fully downloaded and retrieved as it arrives in one's inbox, as opposed to syncing only when the app is opened. Sign-in has been simplified, with consolidated authorization with all Google apps now enabled. Gmail for iOS now requires iOS 7 for all features to function.
Best result for Mac growth in holiday quarter in five years, says analyst
Though Apple surprised analysts in fiscal Q4 2012 with an unexpected drop in Mac sales, overall the company has been outpacing the global downturn in PC (desktop and notebook) for at least the past five years. Though demand bounced back to expected levels during the holiday season in 2013, exactly how well Apple did compared to its rivals in the traditional PC space was not precisely known. It has now been revealed that Apple outpaced the industry in Q4 by 25 percent, its best showing in five years.
Mac sales average $1,300 even as PC sales slip; share still growing
Analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham & Company has sent a memo to investors noting that while the rest of the PC industry continues to experience an unprecedented dip in sales and profit, the Mac -- Apple's often-neglected-by-analysts entry in the traditional PC market -- has held steady on both its average selling price and in terms of continuing, albeit modest, growth. The average price of a Mac is around $1,300 and has remained constant for many quarters, a fact Wolf had previously thought would decline as tablets such as the iPad picked up in popularity.
Small World 2 digital game board launches on Mac via the Steam platform
Small World 2 has launched for Mac, and is available via the Steam platform. Featuring maps accommodating two to five players, the aim is to play fantasy societies with special power combos for the purpose of conquering as much of the 'land' as possible. Originally only in physical form, Small World's digital version offers players to challenge fiends to a real-time game across iPad, Android tablets, and PCs via Steam or Days of Wonder Online.
Software creates 'video walls,' digital signage, remains Mac-exclusive
Renewed Vision has unveiled its Mac-exclusive ProVideoPlayer (PVP) version 2.0, sporting improvements and new features alongside a rewritten application and redesigned user interface in what the company says is the culmination of eight years of real-world experience with using the software in live presentations, installations and other events. The software is used for digital signage, video walls and other professional video presentations.
Features 'top Valentine's gifts' and deadlines for holiday delivery
Taking a page from its own Christmas promotions, and coming on the heels of the asian stores' Lunar New Year celebrations, the online Apple Store has "redecorated" somewhat in preparation for the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday. It has added love-themed taglines, red graphical images and a new "Top Valentine's Gifts" section. The company also updated its Apple Store app for iOS to include the "Top Valentine's Gifts" section.
Now covers entire Apple product line from 1976 forward
In a substantial update on Friday, the Mac and iDevice reference catalog app MacTracker (free) has added Apple's entire pre-Macintosh inventory to its database for the first time, along with a few minor tweaks and updates. It had previously only gone as far back as the Lisa (under its later "Macintosh XL" name). The program itself has a long history, having been created by Canadian Ian Page in 2001 and faithfully updated ever since.
FileMaker releases FileMaker Training Series: Basics
FileMaker has announced its release of an all-new free training series for its recently-premiered FileMaker 13 Platform. FileMaker Training Series: Basics assists with learning how to build professional custom business applications and solutions that run on iOS, Windows and Mac OS X, and the web. New users can learn the fundamentals of FileMaker, and then progress quickly to create what they need for business and professional use.
New Mac Pro with 64GB of RAM for $4,461
Expercom is currently offering a great deal on the new Mac Pro. This configuration is normally priced on the site at $4,597, but has been reduced to $4,461 with about $17 for shipping, making it about $738 less than the price Apple charges for this same configuration. That makes this the lowest price with these specs that we have seen anywhere. It features a 3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 64GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage with dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics cards. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
Shipments of Mac Pro begin in Europe following regulatory withdrawal
The new Mac Pro has apparently started to ship in Europe, marking the first time the computer has gone on sale on the continent since March 1st in 2013. Though the Apple website shows it as shipping in February in a number of European countries, there are reports of some customers receiving shipment notifications for as early as January 14th.
Images now available in direct messages, mirroring Twitter addition
Both the Mac and iOS versions of Twitter client Tweetbot have been updated recently, bringing support for images in direct messages (reflecting an upcoming change in Twitter itself) as well has generally improving how the apps handle images overall. Both also received the usual "various bug fixes," with the Mac version specifically fixing a problem with reading unread feed items. Twitter has not yet publicly implemented images in direct messages, but will soon.
Desktop client introduces darker, modern design, UI tweaks
One week after rolling out a free music streaming service to tablets and smartphones, Spotify has started to roll out a visual upgrade to its apps. The Windows and Mac desktop clients have a darker and more modern appearance to them, along with less drastic changes to a number of pages, with the Android app also receiving some minor interface tweaks.
Pay-what-you-want bundle offers DRM-free games for charity fundraising
Once again, the Humble Bundle team has put together a package of DRM-free indie games in support of its chosen charities, with users paying whatever amount they want for four cross-platform games. Buyers paying above the average price ($4.03 at present) also get two additional games, with more said to be coming. Soundtracks are included for some of the games, all of which run on the PC, Mac, Linux and Android platforms (system requirements vary).
Mac Pro from $3,239
This week at Apple's online store, save on refurbished aluminum Mac Pro models and more. A $560 discount is offered on the refurbished Mac Pro with two 2.4GHz Intel 6-core Xeon processors, 12GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive, now $3,239. For $4,249 is the Mac Pro with dual 2.66GHz 6-core Xeon processors, 12GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, now $4,249.
Apple devices dominate wish-lists in most other electronics categories -- even routers
If there was one word to summarize what's at the top of US Christmas gift lists when it comes to electronics, the word is "Apple." Retail analyst firm Parks Associates revealed that in its latest survey, the iPhone maker -- long the most popular brand for tablets, smartphones, MP3 players and TV set-top boxes -- is now also the hottest brand in desktop computers. The top spot for desktops was previously held by Dell for the last two years, with Apple coming in second until the 2013 survey.
MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMacs on sale at B&H, MacMall
Black Friday sales are well under way today, and online retailers promoting Apple products are selling out quickly. Presently, the best Black Friday deals still available at this writing can be found for Mac computers at B&H and MacMall. The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with an i7 Dual-Core 2.9GHz CPU, 8GB RAM and 750GB hard drive is available from B&H for $1,250 (saving $200), and the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display with an i5 Dual-Core 2.5GHz CPU, 8GB RM and 128GB hard drive is available for $1,150 from MacMall.
Chair makes original Infinity Blade free for limited time
The three-year-old but still highly-regarded game Infinity Blade for iOS has been made free for a limited time in celebration of Black Friday -- only the second time the game has gone free since its debut. The game, the first in the series, is compatible with iPhones from the 3GS on up and all iPad models, as well as the third-generation or later iPod touch. The game -- in which players take on the role of a knight and his descendants battling the God King and his minions in a single-player campaign marked by lush, cinematic graphics -- normally sells for $6.
Also improves reliability when updating projects, events from previous versions
In a rare move, Apple has updated its Mac iMovie application to expand its compatibility with some older video cards, and now lists its only system requirement as being "OS X 10.9 Mavericks," suggesting it has dropped the previous requirements for "an OpenCL-compatible graphics card" and "a display with 1280x800 resolution or higher" as strict requirements (though they are likely still recommended). The move could allow some Mac models that can run Mavericks but don't have OpenCL-supported cards, or have added third-party cards, to run the latest iMovie.
Dramatically faster troubleshooting, resolution achieved with visuals
In a quiet update today, Apple is now giving users who have a problem the option of initiating a screen-sharing session directly with AppleCare representatives. While screen-sharing has been a tool available for the reps for some time to help customers, it usually comes only after many other areas of discussion and testing of a problem have already been tried. The practice can be a great help in quickly troubleshooting or identifying the cause of a problem.
Version 11 brings 120 features, migration to OS X Cocoa frameworks
Cross-platform small business client and project management tool Studiometry has received what developer Oranged Software calls "probably our biggest change to the app since its initial release." Version 11 of the Windows, iOS, and OS X application ships today with a brand new user interface, adding over 120 features and improvements and finally transitioning to Cocoa on Mac.
Apple extends your creative potential with GarageBand for iOS, Mac
GarageBand for iOS and Mac OS X both received comprehensive updates at Apple’s “A lot to cover” event last week. GarageBand for iOS used to cost a few dollars, but like all of Apple’s third party apps for both iOS and Mac, it is now free. GarageBand for iOS looks quite similar to GarageBand on the Mac, but the iOS version has of course been optimized for multi-touch UI. As far as music creation goes on mobile devices or on desktops, none are simpler to use. Yet at the same time, you can create highly polished pieces of music on either device with the iPhone 5s highlighting the processing processing power of Apple's 64-bit A7 chip, being able to handle up to 32 simultaneous tracks. It’s hard to believe, but every iPhone 5s owner has more recording power in their pocket than The Beatles ever had access to.
Mac Pro to begin shipping this December
Apple's Phil Schiller took time during today's presentation to provide new information on the updated Mac Pro. We now know that the Mac Pro will start at $2999 for the basic configuration, which features a 3.7GHz quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of DRAM and dual FirePro D300 GPUs, and will begin shipping this December.
Worldwide softening of PC sales also hurting Macs; iPods down 36 percent
Based on data from NPD (but with a caveat), investment analysts Piper Jaffray has maintained its "overweight" rating on AAPL and reports in a note to investors that it is "comfortable" with its original estimate of a decline in Mac sales year-over-year of around five percent, though it acknowledges that NPD is estimating seven percent. Apple's fiscal year ended on September 30, and it will report the results of that quarter on October 28.
iTunes can't download nor update Apps
This week in the MacNN forums, a frustrated "angelmb" took to the forums posting the thread titled "my iTunes can't download nor update apps" when they were trying to figure out why apps could not be downloaded or updated. Yesterday, Moderator "andi*pandi" started a thread titled "iPhoto 11 will not email photos" while looking for help in trying to get iPhoto 11 to connect to Mail.
Only security issues addressed, affects all Mac Office 2011 editions
On Tuesday, Microsoft issued a new security patch for all versions of its Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 edition, including academic, Standard and Home & Business editions and all the main applications contained therein. The update "fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code." The fix is intended for Intel Macs running OS X 10.5.8 or later.
Company's new iCloud Keychain to be included in final release
After first releasing a build of the next major version of OS X exclusively to AppleSeed members that had dropped the words "Developer Preview" from the title, very late Thursday Apple sent developers the same build -- now labelled the "Golden Master" of Mavericks. Barring the discovery of any serious flaws, the version seeded tonight will be the final that is distributed to the public when OS X Mavericks (10.9) is formally released -- though the company has not yet announced a date.
Command server down; risk low, but points out potential vulnerability
A file that looks like a image file and bears a camera-like filename with the extension not visible by default has been discovered to actually be a rogue application that could install a permanent "backdoor" on Mac systems and triggers Preview to open an image, fooling the user into thinking it was simply an unusual picture file. The purpose of the Trojan appears to be supportive of the hacker Syrian Electronic Army, which is in league with the totalitarian regime of Syria's present government. It is currently considered low-risk for a number of reasons.
new Mac Pro, Magic Mouse with Tiger and more
Excitement is growing around the imminent release of the new Mac Pro, with forum members continuing to discuss the design, and more importantly the components of the new system from Apple. Fresh rumors about the introduction of Haswell-powered iMacs has brought the thread titled "Haswell iMacs....when?" back to life.
Indirect-control soccer game by HeroCraft launched
Herocraft has launched its indirect-control soccer (or 'football') game, FootLOL, for Mac. FootLOL has gamers use mines, shields, UFOs, cows, glue and many other items to protect one's players, and beat the opposing team. Featuring four planets, each with several types of playing field, users can play in tournament mode or multiplayer. FootLOL is available for $10 at the App Store.
Beta version available for users running preview of Mavericks
Maintain, a Mac applications developer, has released version 7.0 Beta 1 of system utility Cocktail. Cocktail is a digital toolset with a variety of features that lets users repair and optimize their system. The application offers a combination of maintenance tools and interface 'tweaks'. Anticipating Apple's fall release of OS X Mavericks 10.9, the latest beta version of the software is intended for users running a developer preview. Cocktail for OS X 10.8 and earlier is available with a Single User License for $20.
Time Machine add-on details backups
Tri-edre has released its latest issuing of its OS X back-up software, Back-In-Time 3. Optimizing users' experience of Apple's Time Machine, Back-In-Time displays the number of different versions of each file backed up and their respective backup dates, as well as whether items have been deleted and their availability within backups. The latest offering includes a new user interface, and improved navigation and search features. Virtual disks can be created for Time Capsule or for other Macs. Additionally, Back-In-Time 3 includes the ability to use the software without the need for administrator privileges. Back-In-Time 3 is available for download in full for $30, or as an upgrade for $10.
Total Mac percentage of Apple revenue to drop to 11 percent next year
A new report from industry analyst NPD has predicted that Mac sales will see a small year-over-year decline in sales again, mostly (and somewhat ironically) due to the industry-wise cannibalization of traditional PCs by the iPad. While still likely to beat the industry average rate of decline, Apple had until last quarter been able to continue growing Mac demand thanks to a greater emphasis on notebook sales. Apple missed expectations for Mac sales last quarter, but may have a chance to reverse its fortunes in its fiscal first quarter this winter.
Ember updated with new annotation feature
Realmac software has updated its Mac-based digital scrapbook software, Ember. New to v1.1 is a Smart Drawing feature that is capable of detecting specific hand drawn shapes and replacing them with smooth pre-rendered versions. This includes arrows, circles, squares, and more. A host of other improvements, including the ability to drag images directly from the Finder and into Collections, are also featured in this release. Ember weighs in at 21.8MB and can be purchased in the Mac App Store for $50.
iOS app update rolls out textbooks
As per Google's announcement in July regarding its plan to release textbooks to Google Play Books, listings are now available via an update to the iOS app.The textbooks are currently available to purchase outright, though some titles will be offering a six month lower-cost "rental" option. Free samples of textbooks are provided. Presently only available to US customers, the Google Play Books app is available for Android, iOS, and on the web.
Interface Builder now iOS 7 compatible, new Auto Vectorizer tool, more
Alongside the releases of fresh iOS 7 and Apple TV betas, Apple has also issued a fifth Developer Preview of Xcode 5 -- which offers some improvements and changes as well as the usual fixes and performance enhancements. The new build (5A11365y) continues to polish the Simulator and Instruments, makes slight tweaks to the user interface and overall experience, adds iOS 7 support to Interface Builder and brings a new Auto Vectorizer tool to Compiler among other changes. Though bugs remain, there are also some further changes in the new build.
New iOS app
Mac Elite "boy8cookie" is looking for some feedback on their new app for iOS called "Eyebrowse" that makes it possible to create "spaces" on your iOS device that each function as a web browser, making it possible to visit multiple websites simultaneously. "ShortcutToMoncton" is trying to figure out the best way of storing photos on their Mac, while editing them on their iPad.
Which screen recorder should I get?
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, one Fresh-Faced Recruit turned to the forums looking for advice about which screen recorder to get. Also yesterday "rotuts" was looking for some help with troubleshooting problems with a Logitech mouse which is being used with a Mac Pro that is running 10.5.6.
Retina MBPs from $1,269
The refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage has been reduced by $230 to $1,269. For $1,439, after a $260 discount, is the refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage.
Rare Twentieth Anniversary Mac listed on eBay
A new listing for a rare Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh has appeared on eBay. Recognized as the first major design project for Jonathan Ive, the TAM was introduced as a limited production in the spring of 1997. Only 12,000 machines were ever produced, and 399 of those were kept by apple to be used as spare parts. The system comes in all of its original packaging and includes all of the accessories that came with the system when it was shipped. Biding will remain open until June 23 with shipping limited to locations with the United States.
Overheating woes, Safari gripes and more
On the MacNN Forums, Mac Elite "FireWire" is trying to figure out why his iMac keeps shutting off when the CPU temp reaches 50°C in the thread titled "iMac doesn't adjust fan speed, and dies." Forum-goers are helping "Laminar" troubleshoot a problem in which Time Machine doesn't see his most recent backups.