Been waiting for Apple to refresh its mobile operating system? Well, the wait is over, as Cupertino has just released iOS 6.0.1 with the promise of improvements and bug fixes. We just grabbed the update ourselves, and among the highlights are: a fix for the iPhone 5′s inability to receive OTA software updates, problems with the phone and the 5th-gen iPod Touch connecting to WPA2 encrypted WiFi networks, and other cellular connectivity issues as well. There’s also fixes for a passcode lock bug, a graphical keyboard glitch and a bug that prevented the 5′s camera flash from firing. Sound good? Go grab the download and let us know how it’s treating you in the comments below.
Update: Thanks to our friends at TUAW, we should point out that iPhone 5 owners will need to download an updater app before they can grab 6.0.1.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “didn’t Skype just get a Windows 8-friendly refresh?” Why yes, yes it did. But Skype 6.0 here isn’t limited to Windows RT slates, instead it’s designed for more traditional Windows systems and even has a similarly numbered OS X counter part. There’s a number of notable changes here, including the ability to sign in directly with your Facebook or Microsoft account. (If you’ve got a Live Messenger, Hotmail or Outlook.com account, then you’ve got a Microsoft account.) The most visible changes, however, will be the “flattened” Don’t-call-it-Metro-friendly UI on Windows and the addition of Retina display support on OS X. There’s a few other minor changes, including some additional localizations, which you can read about at the source. And heck, since you’re already there, might as well download Skype too.
Ubuntu 12.10 launches with web apps and search, Canonical plans for more secretive 13.04 development
An Ubuntu release is always a momentous occasion for a large portion of the Linux community, although it’s coming with a mild share of controversy this time around. Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) is finished and brings with it support for pinning web apps to the Launcher as well as search that includes web results, detailed photo results and quick previews. They’re all appreciated upgrades — what’s raising hackles is the development strategy for 13.04, or Raring Ringtail. Company head Mark Shuttleworth wants a “skunkworks” approach that will silence pre-release discussion of some features outside of key, trustworthy community members. While there will still be open-source code and only a light layer of secrecy, Ubuntu’s progress in the near-term won’t be quite as transparent as we’re accustomed to with Linux. There’s a good chance that most end users won’t mind the difference enough to skip the download.
All signs point toward the impending general availability of Windows 8, what with the upcoming OS launch event, the Surface RT finally hitting the FCC, and Paul Allen letting the world knows what he thinks of it. In light of this, the Redmond company has announced a final update push to the built-in apps you’ll find in Windows 8. The Bing update will be first out the gate tomorrow — it promises richer search results for local content — with the rest rolling out through October 26th. Also of note is Music, which touts “expanded music services” as an update (Xbox Music, anyone?). If you’re itching to know what built-in apps will be updated, you can get the full and extensive list after the break.
Just because your Android hardware hasn’t been upgraded to the most recent (or, next to the most recent) version of the OS doesn’t mean you have to miss new features. Google has shipped a new version of its YouTube app that brings the preloading feature we saw arrive on ICS and above devices back in June to Gingerbread and Froyo. You’ll still have to be online to watch preloaded videos from your subscriptions or watch later list, but they precache while you’re on WiFi and plugged in so you don’t have to wait through buffering to show someone Gangnam Style at the bus stop. Otherwise, the initial Watch page has changed slightly, there are more channels in the Channel Store and you can also queue up videos to play later on any YouTube-enabled TV (Google TV, PS3 etc.) device you’ve paired with your mobile.
Google’s fast-track approach to updating Chrome gives a different theme to each update: last time, it was all about visual acuity. For the just launched Chrome 22 stable version, the focus swings to gaming. Web apps can now lock in the mouse control for first-person shooters, simulations and other 3D content that needs the full attention of the pointer during play. Not keen on action games through the browser? There’s still some fine-tuning in place for those who live on the cutting edge, including Windows 8 users and Retina MacBook Pro owners. The update may already be sitting on your computer if you’re running Chrome; if not, you can get your gaming-friendly fix (and the security notes) through the source links.
While we won’t be seeing the heavily redesigned iTunes 11 until October, Apple has unveiled a new update ready for its roster of new devices, not to mention the incoming iOS 6. The refresh will work with the fresh-off-the-production-line iPod Nano and Shuffle hardware — but that’s the extent of what’s new in the 165MB download. You can grab it at the source below.
You know who’s likely to buy the MacBook Pro with Retina Display? Creative professionals (obviously). So you know what programs should really be optimized for that 2,880 x 1,800 screen? Try Photoshop, or Lightroom. Adobe hears your frustration, and apparently empathizes mightily: the company just posted a blog post promising Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4 and Photoshop Touch will support HiDPI, including the MacBook Pro’s Retina Display, within the “coming months.” (No, this near-term update does not include Photoshop Elements, unfortunately.) While that timetable is on the vague side, the outfit says having a Creative Cloud membership will ensure you get that update sooner. Until then, your frankengadget renders will still look a little blurry, sorry.
Firefox 15 to arrive in finished form on August 29th, promises truly stealthy updates for all (update 2: stand-alone, Android too)
Update 2: It’s now easier to get a stand-alone copy if you’re not updating, since Mozilla just updated the Firefox front page to reflect the new version. Android users are also getting an update through Google Play that brings earlier speed updates to tablets, a personalized start page and a whole host of extra fixes, some of which come directly from the desktop Firefox 15.
Aw, wouldn’t you look at the cute little… wait. Right, there’s a Chrome OS update. At its heart, the upgrade to Google’s cloud-based platform introduces a streamlined app list that both occupies less space and carries an internet-wide search box. It’s also possible to save files directly to Google Drive, and audio can now play through either HDMI or USB. Don’t lie to yourself, however: the real reason you’ll rush to update your Chromebook today is newly added support for custom wallpapers, which guarantees all-day, everyday viewing of your most favorite dog in the whole wide world. Or at least, a nice change of pace from Google’s run-of-the-mill backdrops. Isn’t it so sweet?
First ooVoo opened up four-way video chats on Facebook, and now the video calling service is doing the same for its Android and iOS apps. The company just updates both applications so that you can view up to four video streams at once, though you can carry on text chats with as many as 12 people. That’s true of both platforms, though the Android version is admittedly getting a few more changes. The newest version of the app brings deeper integration with Google services, plugging into the native Android address book to show missed calls, as well as a list of which friends are available to chat. To that end, Android users get not just the app, but also a widget that displays these tidbits at a glance. Rounding out the list of improvements, the updates introduce push notifications as well as the ability to text chat in the middle of a video call.
At Google’s developer conference, the company announced that it would soon offer the ability to download delta updates in its Play Store, and we’re starting to see the promise fulfilled before our very eyes. These delta upgrades, which save time and bandwidth when updating larger apps by only downloading the actual changes (rather than the entire program), were spotted earlier by Android Police and verified by our staff. While it may seem like a minor feature, you’ll likely be happy that you don’t have to think twice about updating your graphically-intense games when you’re not within range of a hotspot. Head below for a video showing the delta updates in action.
You don’t get to unbox anything or have that new-camera smell, so how much does the Canon 7D v2 firmware really transform the now three year-old model? The answer depends a bit on what you do with it, but for most users the Japanese maker deserves kudos from bringing new functionality to the model. Two changes stand out in particular, the first being a bump in the number of burst RAW images from 15 to 25, a boon for action shooters. The other biggie is manual audio level adjustment, saving videographers from the whims of automatic audio levels. Other tweaks include in-camera rating, resizing and editing of images; a max auto ISO setting; GPS compatibility; file name customization; time zone settings; and faster magnification scrolling and control screen adjustment during playback.
To test the burst and audio functions, we got our own mitts on the firmware. Prior to updating, we put the rapid-fire 8 fps camera it through the wringer and grabbed about 16-18 RAW frames in a burst. With the v2 firmware we caught exactly 25 frames before it halted, and did it again numerous times with only an occasional stutter. As for audio, the new manual setting is still a far cry from dedicated sound level dials — on the 7D you’ll need to preset the audio before filming, and are stuck with that level until you hit ‘stop’ again. Still, it beats the previous automatic way, which was so unusable that it forced many pros into buying external audio recorders to get anything decent. A quick test confirmed the new adjustment worked well, giving usable audio in most conditions with both internal and external mics while requiring just a little fiddling beforehand to set levels.
While hardly turning your 2009-era beast into an all-new DSLR, the new functionality brings the software in line with newer models, and still keeps the 7D near the top of the APS-C heap in many categories. Swapping out the sensor would be the only way to bump the one area where it now lags, low-light performance — but you can’t expect everything from a $1,500 shooter.
Here’s a bit of a surprise that slipped under the radar during the Google I/O keynote: Google Earth for Android has been updated to 7.0 to take advantage of the new 3D map technology it unveiled at another special event just a few weeks ago. As a refresher, the visuals are automatically created from 45-degree aerial imagery and can pick up 3D elements as subtle as trees. Before you go racing to your hometown to see how it looks in 3D, be aware that just a handful of cities and regions exploit that dimension. Besides San Francisco Bay, the full coverage extends to Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Lawrence, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Cruz and Tampa in the US, with Rome being the lone international hotspot. If that’s too few places to visit, there’s always the addition of guided tours. Android users can head over Google Play to get the update today; iOS users shouldn’t fret, as they’ll get the new maps soon.
Looking to tame Apple’s Mountain Lion? Step right up, Cupertino’s latest build of OS X is ready for consumption — assuming you’re a registered developer, of course. Following WWDC’s reveals and teases, Apple has released an updated preview of its desktop and mobile operating systems, serving up Mountain Lion Preview 4 and an iOS 6 beta to developers. The rest of us will have to console ourselves with iTunes 10.6.3, which adds support for the mobile and desktop OS’ those fancy devs are getting their hands on. Don’t worry, the updated music management software will be able to make full use of Mountain Lion next month, but you’ll have to wait until this fall to sync with iOS 6. Hit the source link below to get your update.
In addition to all the other new laptops it announced today, Sony refreshed its mid-range S Series with a new look, and consolidated its two 13-inch models, the SA and SB lines, into one model, now called the VAIO S13. (There’s also a more business-oriented version called the S13p, which we’ll tell you about in just a moment). Thanks to a magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber construction, it’s fairly lightweight, at 3.8 pounds. Spec-wise, Sony went with Core i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge processors, though this time around, it’s missing switchable graphics — at least on the S13. That machine now has integrated graphics only, though the business-centric S13p will be offered with an NVIDIA GPU with up to 2GB of VRAM. The S13p also sets itself apart with features the IT guy might appreciate, including TPM, a fingerprint reader and a hard drive accelerometer.
Across the board, the S13 should last up to about seven hours on a charge, or 14 if you add an optional sheet battery. Also, the company will sell an external docking station with a built-in 500GB hard drive and built-in battery — a first for Sony. We’re told the dock will cost $189, and that you can use it even with the sheet battery attached to the laptop. The S13 and S13p will go on sale this month, starting at $900 and $1,200, respectively. Though the more consumer-friendly S13 will be available in black, silver white and pink, the buttoned-up S13p comes in a more staid palette: black, gold and “Gun Metal.”