Friday, November 16, 2007

Apple Releases first Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) Update

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Just three weeks after releasing Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple on Thursday released the first update for the new operating system.

According to Apple, Mac OS X 10.5.1 addresses issues with Airport, Back to My Mac, Disk utilities, iCal, Mail, Networking, Printing, Security and Firewall, System and Finder, and Time Machine.

The System and Finder received several updates including addressing a potential data loss issue when moving files across partitions in the Finder; resolving an issue with login after turning off FileVault for a specific user account; improving compatibility with Adobe Flash-based uploaders used by .Mac Web Gallery and certain other websites and applications; and resolving a potential text drawing issue with certain Adobe Flash-based websites and applications.

Apple’s Mail application also received a hefty amount of updates in 10.5.1. Mail includes improvements to stability when resizing columns in the message viewer or switching between Stationery templates in email messages; addresses an issue in which attachments enclosed inside an HTML link may not be clickable in email messages; fixing an issue with email accounts added using the “Simple Setup” feature in which messages cannot be sent due to an SMTP connection failure; improves Smart Mailboxes compatibility with .Mac Sync, and addresses an issue with To Do’s disappearing when using Smart Mailboxes; and resolves an issue with syncing Mail accounts with .Mac in which multiple On My Mac folders appear in the Mailbox pane.

Time Machine, Apple’s new file backup introduced in Leopard, was updated to address formatting issues with certain drives used with Time Machine (specifically, single-partition MBR drives greater than 512GB in size as well as NTFS drives of any size and partition scheme). The update also resolves an issue in which files restored in Time Machine may be restored to the backup hierarchy rather than the folders to which they belong.

Mac OS X’s Firewall update addresses a code signing issue; third-party applications can now run when included in the Application Firewall or when whitelisted in Parental Controls.

Changes to Airport include the ability for password-protected accounts on AirPort Disks to show up on in the Finder’s Shared Sidebar and the update resolves an issue with saved passwords for wireless networks. Back to My Mac has been updated to allow Back to My Mac-enabled Macs appearing in the Finder’s Shared Sidebar. The update also improves compatibility with D-Link NAT gateways.

iCal has been updated to resolve an issue when inviting attendees via a CalDAV account and to more reliably deliver alarms via email. A networking issue in which Microsoft Windows shared folders may be read-only when connected via SMB has also been fixed.

There are several small changes to Disk utilities including restoring the functionality of the progress bar while repairing permissions. Finally a printing issues in which user-selected values on Paper Feed PDE are reset to default while saving a custom preset.

Mac OS X 10.5.1 can be downloaded from Apple’s Web site or via the Software Update mechanism in Mac OS X.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Brits snapped up Apple iPhones

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Britons snapped up Apple (AAPL) iPhones at a healthy clip over the weekend, according to sales estimates that appeared in the British press this morning.

The Guardian and The Times quote Peter Erskine, CEO of O2 UK, estimating that “tens of thousands” of the devices were sold at Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse stores over the weekend. The Mirror, citing an unnamed O2 spokesperson, put the number at 70,000, according to Macworld U.K.

Erskine went on to call the iPhone the fastest-selling device his network has ever seen. He said 2/3 of the iPhone customers were new to O2, which suggests that they were lured away from Vodafone (VOD), Orange or T-Mobile.

The sales figures went a long way to countering early suggestions that the iPhone might be getting a tepid reception in the U.K. A thinly reported story in The Register had gone so far as to call first night of sales a “flop,” and Apple stock fell on Monday in part reacting to such perceptions.

But Apple’s partners in both the U.K. and Germany, where the iPhone went on sale Friday at midnight, insist that sales met or exceeded their expectations. The U.K. cellphone market is particularly tough to crack because it is so saturated; there are more cellphones in Britain than people.

When population size is taken into account, however, U.K. sales may even have exceeded those in the U.S.

The U.S. population is roughly 300 million. Germany’s population is 82 million; the U.K.’s is 60 million.

T-Mobile, which carries the iPhone in Germany, hasn’t released weekend sales figures, but said that it sold more than 10,000 iPhones that first day. In the U.S., Apple sold 270,000 iPhones during the first weekend of sales; as many as 200,000 may have been purchased that first day. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster did the math for Germany’s first-day sales and calculated that Apple sold 1 iPhone for every 8,200 Germans compared with 1 iPhone for every 1,510 Americans.

If the 70,000 figure for U.K. sales is accurate, Apple may have sold 1 iPhone for every 860 Britains in 2 1/2 days as opposed to 1 iPhone for every 1,111 Americans.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Clueless flight attendant to passenger: Turn off that iPhone movie NOW!

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My colleague Tom Krazit notes a Consumerist report that an ATA Airlines flight attendant tried to get a passengerto turn off his iPhone because, well, cell phones are not allowed to be used in flight and he was watching a movie on his iPhone.

The passenger, who we know as Casey, tried to explain to the flight attendant that the Phone was in airplane mode, really truly.

If you’ve flown at all, you know that as a general rule, airplane mode use is generally allowed above 10,000 feet. And hey guess what, the plane was above the Pacific Ocean.

The passenger was briefly detained in Hawaii but was allowed to go.

There are two aspects of this story that strike me as at least somewhat relevant.

As Tom writes:

First of all, “airplane mode” doesn’t appear to be a universally defined state of being by the FCC, FAA, the airlines or the mobile phone industry, and perhaps it should. Apple’s Web page on the iPhone’s airplane mode clearly states, “If you turn on airplane mode, the wireless features of iPhone are disabled, and if allowed by the aircraft operator and applicable laws and regulations (emphasis mine), you can continue to use the non-wireless features after takeoff.

Probably this is a good juncture to note how Apple explains iPhone’s airplane mode:

Turn on airplane mode to disable the wireless features of iPhone on a plane.

Tap Settings and turn airplane mode on.
When airplane mode is on, appears in the status bar at the top of the screen, and no cell phone, radio, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth signals are emitted from iPhone. When airplane mode is on, you can still do things like:

Listen to music
Watch video (bold face is mine)
Check your calendar
Take or view pictures
Hear alarms
Use the stopwatch or timer
Use the calculator
Take notes
Read text messages and email messages stored on iPhone
When airplane mode is on, you can’t make calls, send text messages, surf the web, or check for new email.

OH, yes, my second point.

I’d also say a degree of knowledge about cell phones isn’t a common attribute among flight crews. I mean, on two of the last five flights I have been on, the OK-in-airplane-mode announcement cited “Palm Pilots.”

Palm Pilots haven’t been made in several years and are now rarely used. So would you expect a flight attendant who still refers to some handsets as “Palm Pilots” to know what is, or isn’t airplane mode on an iPhone?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Apple bumps MacBooks to Santa Rosa; offers 2.6GHz MacBook Pro

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In unusual move early Thursday morning, Apple quietly rolled out updates to its 13-inch MacBook notebook line and also began offering customers an option to custom configure new MacBook Pro orders with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo chip.

The updates came without a formal announcement and instead began appearing on the company's online store in the early morning hours.

The new 13-inch MacBooks now share the same Santa Rosa-based architecture as their professional cousins, the MacBook Pros, including an 800MHz frontside bus. They also sport Intel's GMA X3100 integrated graphics video chip.

At the same time, Apple also began offering customers the ability to upgrade its 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro notebooks with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo chip (+$250) and 250GB Serial ATA Drive (+ $150)