March 18, 2012

Apple serves up first beta of OS X Lion 10.7.4 to developers

By Katie Marsal

Published: 07:18 PM EST (04:18 PM PST)
Apple has asked its Mac developers to begin testing Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4 build 11E27 — the first external beta of the company’s fourth maintenance release to its current Lion operating system.

The Friday release to Apple Developer Connection members, as first predicted by AppleInsider on Monday, was accompanied by a note asking developers to focus their testing efforts on AddressBook, Graphics, iCal, Mail, and Printing.

The 580MB delta release is said by those familiar with the software to contain just one known issue related to the inability to play content purchased through iTunes in QuickTime. 

Separately, Apple on Friday also served up OS X Lion Server Software Update 10.7.4 build 11E27 — a 622MB delta update to Lion’s server software with changes to Calendars, Contacts, Server App, Web Server, WebDAV Sharing and ServerAdmin DNS.

Earlier in the day, the Mac maker also released the second developer preview of Mountain Lion, the successor to Lion due for release sometime this summer.


First look: Apple’s new third-generation iPad with Retina display

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 12:15 PM EST (09:15 AM PST)
With Apple’s new iPad officially available, users on Friday are getting their first look at the new high-definition Retina display that is the defining feature of the third-generation tablet.

The box and packaging for the new iPad is largely the same as its predecessor. In fact, the biggest change is a silver iCloud logo on the bottom of the box, opposite the silver Apple logo displayed on the other side.

Opening the box of a new 32-gigabyte Wi-Fi model, it’s all iPad, with the plastic-covered device sitting atop the included instructions, USB cable and wall charging adapter. Holding down the power button boots the device with a quick and showy flash of the Apple logo before the PC-free setup begins.

Even in the setup process, the improved clarity with the new Retina display is apparent. Text and fonts are much sharper, and this can immediately be noticed even during the iCloud restore.

Another new addition that will appear during the setup process is the “Dictation” feature. Here, users are informed of how it works, and are allowed to enable or disable the feature.

After about a 15-minute restore from iCloud, the new iPad was good to go. Apple’s official magnetic Smart Cover still fits the device just fine.

The new model is said to be slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor, but any changes are subtle at best. One would need to compare the new model with the iPad 2, side by side, in order to truly notice any differences.

Once the iPad boots to the restored home screen, the benefits of the new Retina display become even more apparent. Text is sharper, images are clearer and the whole device feels like a major step up from its predecessor.

The jump in clarity is so strong that even the tiny versions of application icons displayed in an iOS folder look razor sharp. Of course, the icons of applications that have not yet been updated to take advantage of the Retina display also stand out next to their sharper counterparts.

If this isn’t your first iPad, one of the first things you might want to do with your new iPad is update the wallpaper. Whatever you were using before might have been passable, but on the new Retina display, it might just look murky.

The enhanced display is really all about the text: Something as simple as browsing the Web now takes on an entirely new life with super-crisp fonts that are much easier on the eye.

Initial tests with the new voice dictation feature were also positive. Simply tap the microphone icon on the keyboard and begin speaking. When done, tap the microphone again, and an accurate transcription of what you speak will be written on the iPad. It lacks the wow-factor of Siri on the iPhone 4S, but is still a strong addition to the new iPad.


My First Impressions Of The New iPad: Like Putting On A Pair Of Glasses

My First Impressions Of The New iPad: Like Putting On A Pair Of Glasses

The new iPad. Now with more pixels.

I was fortunate to get my hands on a new iPad a little earlier than expected, and I’ve been playing around with it and comparing it to my iPad 2. I’ve read all the early reviews from the likes of Walt Mossberg and Joshua Topolsky, and I’m sure you have to, so I won’t waste your time rehashing what you’ve already read.

The new iPad is great. It really is. If you’ve never owned an iPad before, this third-gen iteration will blow your mind. It’s by far the best tablet on the market in every way. Nothing compares. It’s not perfect, but it’s about as close as you can get right now.

Here are some of the highlights I’ve gleaned from spending a little time with the new iPad:

My First Impressions Of The New iPad: Like Putting On A Pair Of Glasses

The Retina display is gorgeous. You’ve likely heard this over and over, but the screen is definitely an improvement. You’ll notice it right away.

Some early reviewers have had a hard time putting the new iPad’s Retina display into words — they see it as being that amazing. I would say that they’re embellishing reality. The Retina display is simply a crisper version of the old display. It looks great and you can see the difference when look at text or zoom into a webpage on the old iPad and the new. After looking at the Retina display, you notice pixelation on the old iPad you didn’t see before. It’s exactly like when we made the switch from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4’s Retina display. It’s like putting on a pair of glasses.

My second biggest feature of the new iPad is Siri Dictation. I’ve been wanting this since Siri was introduced, and it works beautifully on the new iPad. After testing it for 10 minutes I already know I’ll be using Dictation constantly. Email and word processing will be so much speedier.

My First Impressions Of The New iPad: Like Putting On A Pair Of Glasses

Before and after connecting to a WiFi network

Also, a little nuance I noticed: Apple automatically hides the Dictation mic in the iOS 5 keyboard when the iPad is not connected to a network. It magically reappears when connected. Very slick.

The new iPad’s cameras aren’t that exciting. They take slightly better pictures, and that’s about it. I do, however, love the new Camera app interface on the iPad in iOS 5.1.

The iPad I’m using right now is WiFi-only, I haven’t been able to try LTE yet.

Ultimately, the new iPad is Apple’s best iPad yet. That sounds cliche, but it’s true. As much as I don’t want to make this analogy, it feels like moving from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S. Everything is better, but not earth-shattering. The Retina display is probably the biggest improvement, and I’m sure Apple will sell truckloads of these things because of the display alone. Personally, it didn’t knock my socks off like I thought it would — at least not yet. I think it’s growing on me.

Should you buy? If you have the iPad 2 and you’re more than content about it, I would wait. Unless you’re able to sell your current iPad to help cover the cost, you can probably wait for the fourth-gen version. If you’ve never owned an iPad, buy now.

Apple Might Not Be Able To Ship A Retina Display iPad Until The iPad 4

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First Look: New 1080p Apple TV

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Alongside the new iPad, Apple released a new Apple TV with updated hardware capable of receiving (via AirPlay) and displaying 1080p video on an HDTV set.

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First 1080p Apple TV shipments begin to arrive a day early (pictures)

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 12:21 PM EST (09:21 AM PST)
Customers in the U.S. who were among the first to order the new Apple TV with 1080p video output began receiving the set-top box on Thursday, a day before it is set to officially launch.

AppleInsider received its own Apple TV, and numerous readers also wrote in to share that they, too, had received their order in the mail on Thursday. The new Apple TV shipments are arriving early, while carriers are still holding shipments of the new iPad for delivery on the official launch Friday.

Orders of the new Apple TV began shipping to customers on Wednesday, and initial tracking information suggested that the $ 99 devices would in fact be delivered a day early. That was confirmed on Thursday morning as deliveries began around the country.

Customers who attempt to order the new Apple TV from Apple’s online store are now faces with a one to two week wait. That’s still a shorter wait than those looking to buy a new iPad have, as online orders of the third-generation tablet are estimated to ship in two to three weeks.

The new model looks identical to the previous model, with similar packaging and identical ports on the rear of the device. It also ships with the same remote, power cable and HDMI cable as its predecessor.

The latest Apple TV outputs high-definition 1080p video, thanks to a new custom single-core A5 processor found in the device. To support this functionality, 1080p content is available on iTunes, and the Netflix Instant Watch application has also been updated.

Below are pictures of Apple TV deliveries made on Thursday. Thanks to AppleInsider readers Christoph and Jim.


First 1080p Apple TV orders begin shipping, may see early delivery

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 02:43 PM EST (11:43 AM PST)
Some customers began receiving word on Wednesday that their new Apple TV set-top box has shipped, with delivery even scheduled for a day early.

One AppleInsider reader sent a copy of their shipment notification for a new Apple TV they ordered last Wednesday, after it was officially announced. The living room media player sells for $ 99.

Apple’s e-mail states that the package will deliver on March 16, but FedEx’s own tracking information shows the item is scheduled to be delivered in the U.S. a day early, on Thursday. The new Apple TV will officially go on sale this Friday, the same day as the new iPad.

The new Apple TV, announced last week, outputs high-definition 1080p video, thanks to a new custom single-core A5 processor found in the device. To support this functionality, 1080p content is available on iTunes, and the Netflix Instant Watch application has also been updated.

In addition to Netflix, 1080p content available on the new Apple TV includes iTunes movies and TV shows, Vimeo, and photos. Apple has also updated its iTunes in the Cloud functionality, allowing customers to play movies and TV shows bought on the iTunes Store instantly on their Apple TV.

While the tracking info suggests that some Apple TVs may arrive a day early, customers who ordered Apple’s third-generation iPad are probably less likely to receive their delivery early. Though shipments for the earliest third-generation iPad orders went out last week, the packages remain in holding ahead of Friday’s official launch.


Buying LTE iPads For Your Company? Reviewing Your Mobile Costs First Can Save Lots Of Money

Buying LTE iPads For Your Company? Reviewing Your Mobile Costs First Can Save Lots Of Money

Considering LTE iPads is a good time to get a handle on mobile expenses

The new iPad’s LTE option offers a lot of potential for mobile professionals, particularly the Verizon version because it will support the iOS personal hotspot feature. The plans available from both AT&T and Verizon are pretty much in line with the previous iPad 3G plans for individual customers.

While plans for individuals are fairly straightforward, the options for business can be much murkier. Both carriers offer business plans and bundles, but no two businesses have the same needs or mix of devices. If your business is considering new iPads with LTE, you’ll want to sit down with your account rep to get the details about what options you have and possibly negotiate with them to get the best deal – but doing a thorough review of your existing mobile plans first can put you in the driver’s seat during those negotiations and save your company a ton of money.

It’s always a good idea to go into meetings like that with as much information about your current use as well as your anticipated usage for new devices or services. That gives you more negotiating power and it can help you trim some expenses while adding new services to avoid, or at least reduce, sticker shock.

If you’re already gathering that information, it may be a good time to do a thorough review of your telecom expenses as a whole – or at least your mobile expenses.

Taking a good detailed look at what you’re paying for and what your employees are actually using will almost always result in finding ways that you can save money. It might in the number of minutes that some employees use is out of proportion to the number that you’re paying for. It could be that certain executives aren’t coming close to using the amount of data for the data plan associated with their devices (or worse, they’re exceeding it significantly and you’re being charged overages).

This is certainly a job that needs the cooperation of both IT and finance. It can also be a tedious effort, but one that often will pay off in both savings and in building a relationship between IT and finance. It demonstrates that although CIOs or IT directors often need to make large expenditures, there is an understanding of costs and an effort to minimize them.

It can also be worth hiring a telecom expense management firm to help you sort through your actual usage and make suggestions. Often these firms are more familiar with the options available from carriers and can negotiate contracts with your carrier(s) for you to ensure that you aren’t paying for more than you need or getting charged with avoidable overages.

Some mobile management vendors (Tangoe and Amtel, for example) offer expense management services. Even if your mobile management vendor doesn’t, you can often tease usage data about smartphones and tablets out of the monitoring and reporting capabilities that MDM products include.

If you’re looking at the expense of several LTE iPads, doing this legwork can easily pay off big time. The resulting information can also be a rationale for making changes to your mobile policies and programs. You might even find out that LTE iPads aren’t as cost effective as Wi-Fi models with a handful of 4G/LTE personal hotspot devices.

How The iPhone Saves Money For Businesses (And Why Android Can’t)

Cult of Mac

First sample photos from new iPad show dramatic improvement over iPad 2

By Josh Ong

Published: 02:37 AM EST (11:37 PM PST)
Ahead of Friday’s launch, a series of sample photos allegedly from the rear camera of the third-generation iPad have surfaced, revealing a significant improvement over the shooter in the iPad 2.

Vietnamese website Tinh.te claimed on Tuesday to have received an LTE-capable version of Apple’s new iPad. The site published an unboxing video and benchmarks for the touchscreen tablet.

Later on Tuesday, a group of photos supposedly taken by the new iPad were posted to (via MacNN) the website’s forums. It’s clear from the images that the new iPad camera is not as good as the 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4S, but, when compared to the iPad 2, which had a less-than-1-megapixel resolution, it’s a definite step up.

The forum poster admitted that additional testing, including night shots, would need to be performed to accurately assess the camera, but even some of the daytime shots appeared to pose a challenge for it. MacNN surmised from the sample images that the new iPad’s camera will be “truly usable for everyday shooting” and would likely produce higher quality images than tablets with comparable camera resolution, such as the Sony Tablet S or the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Apple announced the third-generation iPad last week at a media event in San Francisco, Calif with an improved camera that uses the same optics system as the iPhone 4S. The 5-megapixel rear camera has an infrared filter and ISP built into the device’s A5X chip. It features auto-focus and auto-exposure and can record in 1080p video.

The new iPad goes on sale on Friday in the U.S. and 11 other countries or regions. Some eager customers have already begun lining up for the device at Apple Stores around the world.

The lack of a camera was one of the major criticisms leveled against the first-generation iPad. With the release of the iPad 2, some complained that the camera wasn’t good enough. It remains to be seen whether the camera upgrades made to the third generation will be enough to silence the iPad’s critics.


First unboxing video of Apple’s new iPad surfaces from Vietnam

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 07:16 AM EST (04:16 AM PST)
A first look at the new iPad being unpackaged and handled has surfaced from Vietnam, where users got their hands on an LTE-capable model days ahead of Friday’s official launch.

The new video comes from Tinh.te (via Google Translate), which noted there are not many differences in the design of Apple’s new iPad from the iPad 2. It said the new iPad is still a “very solid machine like the iPad 2, but is somewhat heavier and thicker.”

The main difference was said to be the new 3.1-million pixel Retina display, which boasts a 2,048-by-1,536-pixel resolution. They noted that full-HD 1080p videos played back “smooth” on the new device, powered by an A5X chip with a quad-core graphics processor.

In the video, which is narrated in Vietnamese, it is shown that the new iPad is a 16-gigabyte model with 4G LTE cellular connectivity. The design of the box is similar to previous iPad packaging, with the iPad on top and the AC adapter, charging cable and instruction manual hidden underneath.

The video also includes a hands-on with the device itself, showing off the larger camera on the back of the device, as well as a run through the settings on the new iPad.

The same site has been the source of legitimate leaks in the past, obtaining a 13-inch MacBook last May before it was unveiled, as well as an iPhone 4 prototype. They also obtained a test build of iOS that included an Exposé-style interface for multitasking that Apple is believed to have scrapped.


Apple’s New iPad Gets Its First Unboxing [Video]

Apple’s New iPad Gets Its First Unboxing [Video]

The new iPad doesn’t go on sale until this Friday, March 16, but some lucky so and sos already have their hands on the device. This video, which is believed to be its first unboxing, was published by Vietnamese site

As you’d expect, the clip is in Vietnamese, but it’s still pretty easy to follow. There are really no surprises here — it could almost be an iPad 2 unboxing — but the appearance of that “Enable LTE” toggle within the Settings app proves it’s a third-generation device.

Images accompanying the video on the forum show close-ups of almost every angle, and showcase the new iPad’s stunning Retina display.

I don’t know about you, but after watching this unboxing, I’m even more excited about unboxing mine on Friday.

[via MacRumors]

iOS 5 Beta Shows Off iPad 3’s Retina Display Assets

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also writes for TechnoBuffalo. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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