Users must have Apple ID, signed confidentiality agreement
For the first time, access to OS X beta releases has been opened to non-developers. Apple has introduced the Beta Seed Program, which requires only that a person have an Apple ID and sign a confidentiality agreement. The agreement blocks people from sharing information to anyone not also registered to receive betas.
Safari update allows turning off push notification prompts
Apple has released Security Update 2014-002, an OS X patch that addresses various security flaws. The software applies to Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks. More significantly it comes bundled with Safari 7.0.3, which in addition to improved security includes some minor feature additions and bugfixes.
App sends variety of video codecs to Apple's media streaming box
Apple's "hobby" Apple TV may not have been the first to market, or the most flexible, but it was the cleanest interface and easiest to use of all the media streamers. Bound to the iTunes ecosystem, it allowed for simple connection and content navigation for all levels of experience. However, for the experienced user, the limit on codecs the device supports is a bit of a problem. A few solutions exist for wider codec playback, but one that promises simplicity is Beamer 2.0 by Tupil. The simple app purports to allow drag-and-drop playback of nearly any video file to an Apple TV, but how well does it actually perform?
Some users may be forced to upgrade or choose new AIM ID
As of June 30th, Apple will be discontinuing AIM iChat login support for users of OS X below v10.7.2, according to a new support document. The decision specifically affects people using a mac.com or me.com address as an AIM ID to sign into iChat. To get around the issue, people must either create a new AIM ID -- which will also require reentering contacts -- or upgrade to a later version of OS X.
Content of v7.1.1 update unknown
Apple is preparing an immediate follow-up to iOS 7.1 in the form of v7.1.1, according to web traffic data from 9to5Mac. The site says that it has received "numerous" hits from v7.1.1 devices operating in areas around Apple's Cupertino campus. It's not clear when the update will go live, or what it will contain, but the version number suggests that it should arrive relatively soon and mostly contain bugfixes.
Re-release of popular franchise for modern hardware and OS
Sim City 4's original release on OS X had a bum rap, mostly as a virtue of timing. The first release, in 2003, was aimed at the PowerPC architecture, and games often got short shrift when Apple migrated to Intel. The title worked on Rosetta, but not well. In 2007, Aspyr released an Intel patch for the game, but it ran poorly, and crashed often. Surprisingly, last week, Aspyr re-released the game with more burly hardware requirements, but this time, Intel-optimized.
Xcode update a bug-fix release, iMovie adds features
A week after developers received the "golden master" for Xcode 5.1.1 (free), the minor update has been released to users by Apple. The 2.18GB program, which allows developers to author programs for OS X Mountain Lion and Mavericks (10.8 and 10.9) as well as iOS 7.1, has received a handful of bug fixes, and improves the reliability of Quick Look within the debugger. In addition, Apple has updated iMovie for Mac to v10.0.3, which adds new sorting, title and font options.
Latest release comes with minor tweaks to new features
On Wednesday, Apple issued its sixth beta of the forthcoming maintenance release, 10.9.3. As with last week, developers are asked to focus on graphics drivers, audio, Mail, Safari and the newly-restored local syncing of contacts and calendar data over USB through iTunes. In earlier versions of iTunes 11, syncing was exclusively handled by iCloud. The new build, 13D38, is only five revisions higher than the previous release, suggesting that a public debut is likely to happen relatively soon.
Digital Heaven announces release of utility software Disksomnia 4.0
Digital Heaven today announced the release of Disksomnia 4.0, a new version of its utility software that stops hard disks from going to sleep. Its latest version offers an entirely rewritten structure, presented as a menu bar app that works in the background to keep disks awake. Users can now see when Disksomnia is active, and also adjust how frequently disks are kept awake, with options ranging between five and 999 seconds. A new visual countdown is featured, displaying the next "poke" to selected disks. Priced at $10, Disksomnia 4.0 is available for systems running OS X 10.7.3 or later.
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.
Testing focus remains unchanged
A new beta of OS X 10.9.3 is being seeded to developers, 13D28, accounts say. In release notes Apple asks for testing to continue in the same areas: audio, graphics drivers, Safari, and USB sync of contacts and calendars via iTunes. The updated beta follows an internal Apple-only distribution.
Free upgrade pushes
Five months after launch, Mavericks has already grabbed slightly over 40 percent of all North American OS X usage, according to web traffic data from ad network Chitika. By comparison, Mountain Lion is currently sitting at just 21 percent, and took 14 months to hit a peak of 34 percent. Lion and Snow Leopard each account for 18 percent of OS X usage at present; Leopard has shrunk to one percent, and Tiger and a miscellaneous "other" category each have one percent shares.
New tool forces encryption on device, monitors transfers across network
Security solutions provider CoSoSys has released Endpoint Protector 4, the first digital loss prevention tool that provides enforced encryption on removable storage devices. The new app suite aims to secure sensitive data and prevent data loss on computers in a "bring your own computer" environment using OS X.
iTunes update returns local calendar and contact sync
Apple has begun seeding new pre-release betas of OS X 10.9.3 and iTunes 11.1.6 within the company. Of the two the latter is the most significant, since it's the first v11.1.6 beta and makes a critical change to iTunes, restoring the ability to sync contact and calendar information to iOS devices via a Mac. The alternative for affected people has been using iCloud sync or manual entry.
Says OS X is 'very safe' overall
At this week's Pwn2Own hacking contest, a group calling itself the Chinese Keen Team successfully used two vulnerabilities to run arbitrary code through Safari, according to ThreatPost. The exploit is reported to have been executed via a flaw in Safari's WebKit engine and a bypass of the sandboxing in recent versions of OS X. One member of Keen, Liang Chen, comments however that OS X is "regarded as very safe and has a very good security architecture," and that what vulnerabilities there are are "very difficult to exploit."
Squad based strategy comes to mobile and desktop worlds
Trying to mash tactics and strategy into a game that spans computers and mobile devices is no easy task. Not only do the controls need to be precise enough to use with a mouse and touchscreen, but the game must offer a consistent experience. Best known for Battlecruiser 3000AD in the late 90s, 3000AD has offered gamers a tactical, squad based strategy game in Line of Defense Tactics across multiple platforms -- OS X, Windows, iOS and Android. The game focuses on strategic thinking and resource management to get a squad of four through their missions in one piece. Does the game hit all the right marks considering its ambitious reach? Or will Line of Defense Tactics end up a frustrating game because of it?
Appears intended to support 4K displays
The OS X 10.9.3 beta supports new graphics scaling options which appear aimed at supporting 4K displays, users say. While a Mac Pro or Retina MacBook Pro can connect to a 4K monitor, they normally do so at resolutions up to 4096x2160 at 24Hz, which results in OS X's interface being spread out and shrunk, and choppiness in the case of things like the mouse cursor. The MacBook Pro can alternately use 3840x2160 at 30Hz, but this isn't an improvement.
where is OS X heading?
This week in the MacNN Forums, a discussion was started about the direction that OS X might be headed after Mac Elite "PeterParker" posed the question "Do you think OS X will receive a radical redesign?" to fellow users. Forum-goers discuss what iPhone choice would be better, an iPhone with 16GB of storage or 32GB.
Site gathers together previously disparate content
Apple is hosting a new webpage at its developer center, highlighting resources for designers looking to tailor their apps for the look and feel of iOS 7 and OS X. Although most of the page's content -- which includes videos and text documents -- was already available, it was previously scattered across pages devoted to different subjects.
Issue does not affect all users; differing types of failures reported
Threads in the Apple Support Communities reporting issues with AirPlay mirroring and extended displays after installing OS X 10.9.2 have appeared, with no clear pattern or cause determined as of yet (though having older hardware may be a factor). Apple released 10.9.2 on Monday to address a serious SSL vulnerability and to upgrade some features. Users have reported a menagerie of different issues, complicating the situation.
SSL fix present but undocumented
(Updated with Safari, security updates for Lion, Mountain Lion) Following a long beta-testing period, Apple has released the finished v10.9.2 update for owners of OS X Mavericks. The software primarily adds support for FaceTime audio calls in both the FaceTime app and Messages. The two apps have also gained contact blocking, allowing people to screen out individual users.
Update expected to include FaceTime improvements, fix for SSL vulnerability
Apple has started seeding a pre-release version of OS X 10.9.2 to some of its own staff, sources tell AppleInsider. The code is listed as build 13C64, and is thought to foreshadow an imminent public release. Significantly the update is said to include a number of important changes, including the ability to block individuals in Messages, audio calls and call waiting for FaceTime, and a promised fix for SSL security.
Role unspecified, but had reverse-engineered iOS, OS X for porting
A well-known hacker of OS X and iOS, who single-handedly rewrote the core of both operating systems to allow them to be ported to other devices and contributed to various jailbreak apps for iPhones, has announced that he will be joining Apple as an intern or employee later this year. The coder, known as "winocm," is 17 years old but already an expert reverse-engineer who says he has been doing "insane things" with the cores of iOS and OS X.
Follows shortly after latest OS X 10.9.2 beta
Apple is seeding a new build of the OS X Server 3.1 beta to developers, reports say. The code is identified as build 13S4101b. So far, any further improvements have gone undiscovered.
No significant changes listed; rumors of early March release continue
Apple on Wednesday released its sixth OS X 10.9.2 Mavericks beta to develops right on schedule, using a build number exactly six digits higher than last weeks'. The new update lists no significant changes, and again asks developers to focus their testing on Mail, Messages, SMB2, graphics drivers, VoiceOver and VPN. The company has been battling mostly-minor but annoying issues with its re-written Mail program, and bug fixing continues on that.
Logitech releases its Global Fan Collection, flag-inspired mice
Logitech has announced the release of its new Global Fan Collection, comprised of flag-inspired designs for its popular wireless mouse. The Global Fan Collection features graphic designs that represent 14 nations' flags, intended for users who are enthusiastic about a country as well as its sport culture. Countries represented by the designs include the United States, Argentina, the UK, Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Switzerland, and more.
No final release date, no significant changes from previous beta
Developers can now download the fifth version of OS X Mavericks 10.9.2, an upcoming maintenance release, from Software Update through their registered developer accounts, or from the Apple developer portal. The latest update has no significant changes in the release notes, but again asks developers to focus on networking, Mail, Messages, VoiceOver, VPN and graphics drivers. The new build, 13C53, comes one week after the previous release.
Should minimize impact of exploit
Apple has silently updated malware definitions in OS X to block anything but the latest Mac version of Adobe Flash, v184.108.40.206, according to a security memo. Adobe issued the new Flash code yesterday to deal with a serious vulnerability that could let hackers seize control of a computer. Equivalent Windows and Linux patches were also made available.
More profile manager fixes, general server updates in patch
Apple has deployed another beta release for OS X Server. The new build, 13S4090C, has cleaned up more Profile Manager problems as well as general Server fixes and patches. The new version can only run on the current beta of 10.9.2, which is also only available for developers. The new version focuses on general improvements with the server.
'New' look replaces Windows 7-inspired desktop in previous version
While it continues to dominate the vast majority of worldwide, there is a sense that both consumers and industry are moving slowly away from Windows software as alternatives -- primarily Apple's OS X and iOS -- gain more mainstream attention. This drift seems to be embodied in the latest release of "Red Star OS," a Linux variant developed for the last decade by North Korea as a state-sanctioned OS. In a bold move, version 3 has adopted a directly OS X-like look, dropping the previous Windows 7 stylings.
Email client not fetching new messages as intended
Apple has posted a new support article explaining a temporary workaround for people having trouble with Mail in OS X Mavericks. When the OS was first released, some users had problems with Mail like the app failing to fetch messages or properly move and delete them. Many of those glitches were fixed by the release of OS X 10.9.1, but some people are still having trouble getting the app to fetch messages without quitting and restarting.
Portable Puku S8 charger offers 900 hours of smartphone standby time
Puku has announced its new portable charger, the Puku S8. Featuring a powerful rechargeable battery, the S8 provides three to five full charges for an average smartphone in a small form factor. Compatible with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices that charge through a micro USB cable (or adapter for micro USB), its compact design allows for easy carrying while travelling. One charging of the S8 can power up to 900 hours of standby time, 36 hours of talk time and 153 hours of media play time. The Puku S8 is available in six colors, and is priced at $100.
Forthcoming update edges closer to release, continues to fix issues
Late on Thursday, and just a week after the previous release, Apple has seeded a fourth beta of the upcoming OS X 10.9.2 Mavericks to developers, again focusing on issues in Mail (specifically related to Smart Mailboxes and Gmail compatibility), Messages, graphic drivers, VoiceOver and VPN. In addition, Apple has asked developers to test SMB2 network file sharing, which replaced the long-standing Apple File Protocol when Mavericks was released.
4K monitor with OS X
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss a wide range of topics from 4K displays to iPhone Wi-Fi problems. Mac Elite "FireWire" was wondering if a 4K display that was attached to a Retina MacBook Pro would have scaling that is similar to the Retina display, or if the icons and text would just be "ridiculously small." Today, "Eden Aurora" was asking what files are necessary for transferring video from iMovie 9 to iMovie 10.
3D scenery gradually becoming more universal
Apple has added two new cities to the areas covered by Maps' Flyover feature, users note. These include Helsinki, Finland and Cape Town, South Africa. The official list of cities with Flyover support has yet to be updated, but Apple hasn't made any changes to it in some time, despite constant service improvements during 2013.
'Traditional' PCs outsell Macs 19 to 1, but used to outsell them 56 to 1
Mostly on the back of iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been predicted to outsell the combined Windows empire sometime this year, according to statistician and analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco. To reach this conclusion, he combined sales of all of Apple's OS X and iOS products together and compared them to combined Windows sales (including the tablet-based Window RT and Pro, not that it materially affects the results) to arrive at his estimate.
Public release timing remains unclear
[Updated with more details] Apple has released the first OS X 10.9.2 beta build, enabling registered developers to begin testing the update ahead of public availability. The build arrives just a few days after Apple began distributing the release version of Mavericks 10.9.1, which brought changes to the Mail client and a number of bug fixes. The new release is the first to bring FaceTime audio to the Messages and FaceTime programs for the Mac.
Free upgrade, wide compatibility for Mavericks designed to encourage upgrading
Last week, Apple updated its Safari browser for Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks -- but for the first time since 2010, did not include an update for the Snow Leopard version, last updated to 5.1.10. The move may signal that Apple is winding down support for the three-generations-back OS, which remains the third-most popular version of OS X behind the current version, Mavericks and 10.8 Mountain Lion (respectively).
New OS X update improves stability, fixes Gmail issues
Apple on Monday released an update for OS X Mavericks, bringing the operating system to version 10.9.1. The update tweaks the Mail client built into the OS, improving the way it interacts with Gmail (following a standalone patch that previously addressed some of the biggest issues) and fixing a number of bugs with Smart Mailboxes, search within Mail and "group" name handling from Contacts (formerly known as Address Book). It also tweaks the function of VoiceOver, fixing an issue that kept sentences with emoji characters from being read.
Workers prepped to deal with update's changes
Apple is now seeding the latest build of OS X 10.9.1 -- 13B40 -- to AppleCare workers, a report says. The code reached developers Tuesday night, but its distribution to AppleCare is believed to be more significant, since it implies that the software is close enough to completion that AppleCare workers can start familiarizing themselves. A finished update might therefore reach the public within the next week or two.
Free upgrade spurs quick adoption
Mavericks is already the predominant version of OS X in use by the public, according to November tracking data from Net Applications. During that month, Mavericks' share rose from 0.84 percent to 2.42 percent of the Mac's total global share of 7.55 percent. Mountain Lion's share, meanwhile, plummeted from 3.31 percent to 1.85, while Lion dipped from 1.56 percent to 1.34. Leopard and Snow Leopard, already marginal platforms, dropped only slightly, slipping from 0.33 and 1.6 percent to 0.32 and 1.53 percent, respectively.
Side Tree Software's programs on Mac App Store $1 throughout December
Side Tree Software has announced that all of its programs available at the App Store will be $1 each through the month of December. Starting today, apps such as Abuzzle, Equal, Mymyry, SlidePuzzle and Tribbi are available for the $1 sale price.
Multiple fixes made; more sought for Mail, Safari, VoiceOver
[Updated with info on Safari beta] On Thursday, Apple released its second beta for the forthcoming OS X 10.9.1 release, build 13B35, noting some improvements from the first beta release and asking for further testing on areas such as Mail, Safari, graphics drivers and VoiceOver. In addition, the updated beta improves compatibility with VPN servers in OS X Server (addressing a standing but web hosts have had to work around) and now periodically updates Shared Links in Safari, improving that service.
Mail, graphics problems among focus areas
Apple has seeded the first OS X 10.9.1 beta to developers, reports say. In release notes, the company asks developers to concentrate testing on Mail, graphics drivers, and VoiceOver accessibility. The code is listed as build 13B27.
Requires recent Mac, iPhone hardware
A new product, Knock, promises to let Mac owners unlock their computers by knocking twice on their iPhone. Users first have to download a $4 iPhone app and a free Mac client. Once both are installed, knocking on an iPhone sends a command to a Mac via Bluetooth, triggering an automatic login.
Joins previously-rumored Mail update
Apple is preparing updates to several core apps in OS X Mavericks, sources say. The people note that Apple is now seeding new versions of Safari, iBooks, and Remote Desktop to its workers, as well as a previously-rumored Mail update. The Safari code is identified as v7.0.1, and expected to provide a number of bugfixes. The same description applies to iBooks 1.0.1, and Remote Desktop 3.7.1.
Mavericks uses light sensors as motion detectors
Apple's newest Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks, uses the light sensor included in many Macs to keep a device from prematurely falling asleep. The functionality was discovered by by a coder looking through Mavericks' code, and the coder thought that one element indicated that the iSight camera is always on and watching the user. Instead, subsequent investigations revealed that the OS taps into the ambient light sensor.
Apple shifts development efforts towards Syrah
Web traffic from the unreleased OS X 10.10 has spiked during the last week, according to data shared by AppleInsider. Although traffic was reportedly growing slowly throughout the month of October, a surge appears to have taken place after the launch of OS X Mavericks. It may suggest that with Mavericks feature-complete, Apple is beginning to shift more workers to v10.10 development.
WD suggests uninstalling company-provided drive management tools
Storage manufacturer Western Digital has informed registered customers that users of its external hard drive line with accompanying drive management software may experience data loss and other problems when using the hardware with OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Western Digital has warned users to immediately uninstall WD Drive Manager, WD RAID Manager, and WD SmartWare for the best chance of not losing data.
Political divisions continue to impact app
Taiwan's foreign ministry has issued a complaint to Apple about the way the country is characterized in Maps, reports say. In both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, Maps lists Taiwan as a province of China. "The maps don't acknowledge Taiwan as its own nation. We voiced our disapproval and hope Apple will make the change," a ministry official states. While many Taiwanese consider themselves independent, the Chinese government considers the country a possession, which in the past has led to political conflict and threats of war. Apple has yet to respond on the matter.