Apple Ends OS X 10.8.4 Beta Testing Program, Suggesting Imminent Release [Mac Blog]

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Apple may be planning to release the final version of OS X 10.8.4 in the near future, as it today sent out notices to AppleSeed members announcing the closure of the OS X 10.8.4 software update project.

As noted by AppleInsider, participants received a notification stating that weekend infrastructure maintenance requires the company to close existing products.

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The notice thanks AppleSeed members for participating and notes that an email will be sent out when the final version of the software is publicly available. Apple first released the OS X 10.8.4 beta on April 1st and released eight different builds, ending on build 12E55. Throughout the beta, Apple asked users to focus on Wi-Fi, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

    

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2013/05/31/apple-ends-os-x-10-8-4-beta-testing-program-suggesting-imminent-release/

Apple Updates Service Tech Training and Certification Program [Mac Blog]

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

applecare_boxApple has updated its Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT) Certification, making it easier for individuals to get their initial certifications and for existing techs to keep theirs without yearly recertification exams.

The company is making its AppleCare technician certifications permanent as of June 23rd, making it so technicians will not need to go through a yearly recertification process. Additionally, exams of all kinds will be performed online rather than in a testing center.

However, individual product qualifications — certifications to repair more complicated products like the iMac — will still need to be performed.

Changes include the following:

No more ACMT recertifications: All service technicians with existing ACMT certifications as of June 23 will be granted a new ACMT certification that eliminates yearly recertification exams. This new certification will allow the same ordering of service parts as the preceding ACMT certification and will not expire.

New exam resources: The following Apple service exams will be available solely from a new online resource:

– 9L0-010 – Apple Macintosh Service Certification Exam
– 9L0-064 – OS X v10.8 Mountain Lion Troubleshooting Exam
– 9L0-E04 – iOS Qualification Exam

Notes:

– All other AppleCare online exams are not affected by this change. You will still access other exams at ibt.prometric.com/apple.
– Details on the new exam resource will be provided in other communications.

No more testing centers: All AppleCare Service exams will be available online. You will be able to take these exams without the need to travel to a testing center.

No more proctored exams: Initial ACMT certification exams will no longer require exam proctors for exams taken at training centers.

Apple has posted a knowledge base article outlining the program, and has also provided an email address for technicians to ask further questions.

It’s not clear if the changes are related to a rumored update to Apple’s AppleCare support program, or simply an unrelated streamlining of the technician certification process.

    

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2013/05/31/apple-updates-service-tech-training-and-certification-program/

Mac Pro Supplies Tightening as WWDC Approaches

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Earlier this month, we reported that Apple resellers were seeing dwindling numbers of MacBook Airs, and it appears that many outlets are also experiencing low supplies of Apple’s Mac Pro.

According to MacTrast, the entry level quad-core 3.2GHz Mac Pro is backordered or out of stock at a number of online stores, including MacMall, B&H Photo, CDW, PowerMax, Adorama, and J&R Electronics.

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Popular Apple reseller Amazon.com has just nine of the low end Mac Pros in stock, and other retailers like MicroCenter, Frys, and Best Buy also have limited supplies.

Dwindling product supplies at third-party Apple retailers is often an indication that a refresh is imminent and the Mac Pro may be a prime candidate for an update at WWDC in June, as it has been more than 1,000 days since the product last saw a significant release.

The Mac Pro received a slight update at WWDC last year, which included a small processor bump. Many Apple customers were dissatisfied with the update, but an Apple spokesman later confirmed that a new Mac Pro would be introduced in 2013.

    

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2013/05/31/mac-pro-supplies-tightening-as-wwdc-approaches/

More Details on Apple’s New Orlando ‘GPU Design Center’

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

We’ve learned more details about Apple’s new ‘GPU Design Center’ in Orlando, Florida, following our reporting from earlier this week.

Sources told MacRumors that the engineers Apple hired recently were not laid off from AMD, but were instead actively recruited — largely via their LinkedIn profiles. Apple is said to have learned that many of AMD’s 3D graphics patents were issued from its Orlando offices and targeted this area specifically. AMD has job listings for its Orlando offices to fill several of these recently vacated positions.

The temporary office space that Apple has leased for the new team in Orlando is located very close to AMD’s campus in the city, though Apple is reportedly building permanent offices as well. Apple hired more than twenty employees from AMD and recruited more than that, with Apple reportedly looking to build the GPU team up to roughly forty engineers.

The newly hired employees are said to be reporting to the former Intrinsity team that Apple acquired two years ago. Intrinsity technology was used in the A4 processor, and their expertise has contributed to Apple’s more recent chips as well.

With its hiring of these 3D graphics specialists, Apple is likely working to redevelop its 3D graphics capabilities in its iOS devices. The company has made a number of acquisitions in recent years to revamp its chip design capabilities, and this new team would seem to supplement those efforts.

    

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2013/05/31/more-details-on-apples-new-orlando-gpu-design-center/

Apple Rumored to Be Considering Launching an Ad Exchange

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Apple is planning to launch an ad exchange, according to an anonymous advertising executive who spoke to Business Insider. The site says it heard from “one of the biggest players in online advertising”, but could not confirm it — BI said it talked to other sources who said they had heard nothing about it.

An ad exchange is an online sales platform that allows advertisers to target users through a variety of mechanisms. An Apple exchange could theoretically target particular Apple users based on their location, type of device, buying habits, what apps they own and more. Apple holds a ton of data about the buying habits of its customers, making an Apple ad exchange a potential gold mine for advertisers.

We can’t confirm it. And, of course, the ad business is awash with rumors. (And, to give the full context, a couple of other sources we talked to said they’d heard nothing of the kind.)

But … it’s interesting that a bunch of people in the mobile ad business expect, even want, Apple to launch one, perhaps inside iAd, its existing mobile ad network.

Facebook and Twitter have recently announced plans to develop ad exchanges, and companies like Google and Yahoo already have their own.

Bloomberg reported last October that advertising was to be part of a broader push by Apple, in particular with its new iRadio service which is said to be partially funded by advertising:

The advertising initiative is part of broader flexibility Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is giving the company’s mobile advertising group to lure new business and integrate ads with other Apple services, according to people familiar with the matter.

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said at D11 that advertising was not a central business for the company, but Apple wanted to help iOS developers make as much money as possible.

At the beginning of last year, Apple hired former Adobe executive Todd Teresi to head its iAd mobile advertising unit and he now reports directly to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for internet software and services.

    

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2013/05/31/apple-rumored-to-be-considering-launching-an-ad-exchange/

Camino Browser for Mac Officially Discontinued [Mac Blog]

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

camino_logoLongtime Mac users are likely to be familiar with Camino, a Mac-specific browser based on Mozilla’s Gecko engine, the same engine used in Netscape 6/7, Firefox, and other browsers. Officially launched in February 2002, Camino took advantage of Cocoa APIs and Apple’s Aqua user interface elements and also integrated with several other Mac OS X features.

The open source browser continued under development for roughly a decade, although it was never able to achieve significant market share given its relatively low profile and Mac-only availability. In 2011, project contributors announced plans to shift Camino to the WebKit engine used by Safari, Chrome, and other current browsers, but the effort never took hold.

Camino was last updated in March 2012, and today the project’s website has been updated with a message announcing that development has ceased.

After a decade-long run, Camino is no longer being developed, and we encourage all users to upgrade to a more modern browser. Camino is increasingly lagging behind the fast pace of changes on the web, and more importantly it is not receiving security updates, making it increasingly unsafe to use.

The message goes on to tout the contributions of Camino to the browsing experience, noting that former Camino developers had gone on help build Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, all of which have experienced significant popularity on the Mac platform.

    

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2013/05/31/camino-browser-for-mac-officially-discontinued/

Apple’s Dashboard Widget Download Site for OS X Broken [Mac Blog]

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

One of the key features of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, launched in April 2005, was the addition of Dashboard Widgets, miniature apps with specific functions that could exist side by side on a dedicated screen accessible at the touch of a key. The feature spawned a market for third-party widgets, leading Apple to launch a dedicated page where it has hosted widgets for download and provided an easily browsable directory for users.

Widgets have, however, fallen out of fashion with Mac users, and the Dashboard itself has been reduced in prominence as Apple has emphasized other quick-access features like Mission Control and Launchpad. Apple stopped accepting new submissions to its Dashboard Widgets site in early 2011, but the directory of roughly 4,000 widgets has remained available to users.

dashboard_widget_directory_istat
As noted by a MacRumors tipster today, the Dashboard Widgets site is currently broken, with all download links simply redirecting users to the main Apple downloads page rather than initiating a download of the desired widget. Based on a pair of discussion threads in Apple’s forums, the download functionality seems to have broken within the past couple of weeks.

It is unclear at this time whether this is simply a technical glitch or if Apple is discontinuing its Dashboard Widgets directory. Apple is still promoting the Dashboard Widgets section on its main downloads page, and the directory itself is functional with the exception of the downloads themselves. A similar issue seems to have occurred in June 2012, although it is unclear how long the outage lasted.

Apple is expected to show off OS X 10.9 at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference, but it is unknown if the company is planning any significant changes to the Dashboard functionality in the release.

(Thanks, Ben!)

    

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories http://www.macrumors.com/2013/05/31/apples-dashboard-widget-download-site-for-os-x-broken/

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