Mar 24

Happy Birthday, OS X!

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As seen here on TUAW, Mac OS X turned seven years old last Friday – it was launched on March 21, 2001.

A timeline of releases:

* Mac OS X Public Beta (September 13, 2000)
* Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah (March 21, 2001)
* Mac OS X 10.1 Puma (September 25, 2001)
* Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar (August 23, 2002)
* Mac OS X 10.3 Panther (October 24, 2003)
* Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (April 29, 2005)
* Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (October 26, 2007)

Mar 09

(note: I’m willing to do “real world” reviews of iPhone cases if companies would like to send samples of their products for review)

I’ve had an iPhone since they came out last year, and ever since I got the phone, I’ve been on the search for the perfect iPhone case.

I started out with an iPhone Total Body Skin from BestSkinsEver (ShieldZone sells an identical product, at a higher price). This protects the screen, and adds some not-really-needed protection to the back and sides of the phone that gives me some peace of mind.

After that, I added a generic snug form-fitting rubber/plastic case bought off eBay. It was okay (better than nothing at all), but didn’t quite fit right and started to “sag” and get loose after only a month or so.

My second iPhone case was the Incase Leather Fitted Sleeve for iPhone. I bought this one from the Apple online store, using part of the store credit that Apple gave out after the iPhone price reduction. It was in use less than a week; the case didn’t fit properly (too tight) and the stitching started to put little divots/indentations into the screen and body protective film. The port access holes never lined up right, and the leather bits on the sides of the phone would “roll” one way or the other. I eventually just took it off and threw it in a drawer somewhere.

My third iPhone case was the DLO Jam Jacket. This was a big improvement over the generic rubber sleeve case and the leather fitted case. However, I don’t use the iPhone earbuds and don’t need to carry them around, so I used a razor blade to cut the “earbud holder” off the back of the case. I used that case for six months or so; my only real complaints are that the texture and “tackyness” of the rubber used tends to attract dust and dirt and that the holes on the side for volume and mute access aren’t very user-friendly (I often had to pull the top part of the case off the phone when I needed to get to the mute switch).

I was at MicroCenter tonight, and ran across what is, for me, the best case for the iPhone – the XtremeMac Tuffwrap. It’s got the same basic shape and “grip” as the DLO case but without the headphone stuff on the back, and has nicely-formed ports for access to the lock button, side buttons, and bottom dock connector. It came with a TuffShield screen protector, but I’m not using that because the phone already has a protective skin permanently installed.

Other than the generic rubber case I first got off of eBay, the XtremeMac Tuffwrap is also the cheapest case I’ve purchased for my phone, at $19.95. So far, I’m very happy with it.

Mar 07

iPhone SDK and Enterprise features announced

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At a special media event on March 6th, Apple announced availability of the iPhone Software Development Kit and the iPhone Enterprise Beta Program.

The SDK allows developers to write applications that run directly on the iPhone and consists of a new version of XCode (3.1) and an iPhone Simulator that runs on an Intel-based Mac (the iPhone SDK will not work on a PowerPC-based system). Application distribution will be through the iPhone App Store in the next version of the iPhone software/firmware.

The SDK and development environment are available as a free download from Apple’s developer site. For $99, developers will receive a signed key from Apple that lets them sell (or give away at no charge) an application through Apple’s distribution and hosting network. For applications that are sold, Apple will take 30% of the purchase price; free apps will be distributed at no charge other than the cost of the signed key.

The new iPhone Enterprise features consist of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support, secure enterprise-grade virtual private networking, and security features like the ability to remotely wipe/erase a lost iPhone.

Version 2.0 of the iPhone software/firmware is expected to be available to end users in June; certain developers and some companies in the Enterprise Beta program will have access to beta and pre-release versions.

Feb 28

Apple has released new models of the MacBook and MacBook Pro portable systems.

The new MacBook is available in three models including faster processors and larger hard drives; white 2.1 GHz and 2.4 GHz models with 120GB or 160GB 5400 rpm hard drives and a black 2.4 GHz model with a 250GB 5400 rpm hard drive. The 2.4 GHz MacBook models ship with 2GB of memory standard, with all models expandable to 4GB. Prices are unchanged, starting at $1099.

The new MacBook Pro has up to a 2.6Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB of shared L2 cache; up to 4GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory and up to a 300GB hard drive, plus NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with up to 512MB of video memory. New hardware features including a trackpad with Multi-Touch gesture support, an illuminated keyboard, and an ambient light sensor. Prices start at $1999.

Feb 24

More Updates from Apple

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  • Xsan 2 and Aperture 2 are now available
  • The iPod Shuffle has been reduced in price to $49 for the 1G version, and a 2G version is now available for $69.
  • MacBook and MacBook Pro Keyboard Firmware Update 1.0 fixes a problem with keyboard responsiveness under Mac OS X Leopard.
  • iTunes 7.6.1 fixes a few bugs as usual
  • Feb 13

    Apple releases Mac OS X 10.5.2 and Leopard Graphics Update

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    Apple has released the OS X 10.5.2 Update. It is available via direct download or via Software Update. The Combo edition of the update is 343 megabytes.

    Once 10.5.2 is installed, the Leopard Graphics Update will become available via Software Update. The download is 49 megabytes, and reportedly dramatically improves graphics performance on systems using Intel GMA or Nvidia graphics chipsets.

    Feb 05

    Apple increases iPhone and iPod Touch storage

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    Apple has released an updated iPhone available with 16G of onboard storage as well as a new iPod Touch available with 32G.

    Both new products retail for $499. The older 8G iPhone and 16G iPod Touch are still available for purchase.

    Jan 22

    Apple posts 2008 First Quarter Results

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    Apple posted their 2008 first quarter results today, with the best earnings and quarterly revenue in the company’s history.

    The Company posted revenue of $9.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.58 billion, or $1.76 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $1 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 34.7 percent, up from 31.2 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 45 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

    Apple shipped 2,319,000 Macintosh® computers, representing 44 percent unit growth and 47 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 22,121,000 iPods during the quarter, representing five percent unit growth and 17 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone™ sales were 2,315,000.

    Jan 15

    New Products and Updates from MacWorld 2008

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    Apple announced new products and updates at MacWorld San Francisco today:

    Apple TV is now $229, with a forthcoming software update that will let you rent movies from the iTunes Store in “standalone” mode without a host Mac system. Movie rentals (from every major studio) are $2.99 for older releases and $3.99 for new releases, with prices for HD versions at $3.99/4.99.

    Time Capsule combines the Airport Extreme wired and wireless router/print server with an integrated 500G or 1TB hard drive that supports wireless operation of the Time Machine backup software. The 500G model retails for $299 while the 1TB model costs $499.

    iPhone firmware version 1.1.3 adds Google Maps location finding, multiple-recipient text messages, Web Clip bookmarking, home screen customization, and the ability to play movies rented from the iTunes Store. This is a free software upgrade for iPhone owners. A $20 firmware upgrade for iPod Touch owners will add Mail, Maps, Stocks, Weather, Notes, and iTunes Movie Rental capability.

    MacBook Air is the world’s thinnest notebook. It’s less than an inch tall (from 0.76 to 0.16 of an inch), it can fit into a manilla envelope. The screen is 13.3″ with LED backlighting, and the system features a backlit full size keyboard, iSight camera, and multi-touch trackpad. The processor is a 1.6 or 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo, with 2G memory standard (non-upgradeable), 802.11n and Bluetooth wireless, and an 80G hard drive. A 64G solid-state disk is available as an option. Ethernet networking and an external SuperDrive are possible via the system’s single USB port. The MacBook Air starts at $1799.

    Jan 09

    NetNewsWire releases version 3.1; free for everyone

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    The NetNewsWire 3.1 RSS feed reader is now free for everyone. I’m happy to have been a paying user (and beta tester of 3.1), and am even happier to see that the application is now available to everyone at no cost.

    In addition, NewsGator syncing is available at no charge once you create a NewsGator account. I use a NewsGator account to keep my RSS feeds synced between home and work.