Company unifies different beta programs into single 'Apple Beta Software Program'
On Thursday, Apple released a flood of new betas for various versions of its two main operating systems, including the first semi-public beta of iOS 8.3, and third developer betas for iOS 8.3, OS X 10.10.3, Xcode 6.3 with Swift 1.2, and OS X Server 4.1 Developer Preview. The company has also decided to unify its various beta programs under a single tent now known simply as the "Apple Beta Software Program."
Fully updated for latest OS X and iOS 8 point releases, update adds features
Apple has updated OS X server for Yosemite to version 4.0.3, adding a number of new features and minor improvements to the $20 add-on that provides enterprise-level tools to administer OS X and iOS devices running the latest respective OS releases. The update requires OS X 10.10.1 to run, and iOS 8 on remote iOS devices. The new version promotes SMB3 as the default protocol for sharing files, and updates Profile Manager to support the new features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, such as Handoff.
Update includes iOS 8 support for new management options, more
Following recent releases of developer betas for iOS 8.1, OS X Yosemite 10.10 and Xcode 6.1, on Wednesday the company also released an updated version of OS X Server 4.0 for testing. The new build, 14S323, mostly offers updates and improvements to keep up with the latter betas, but adds SMB3 file sharing to the mix for easier network transfers, as well as refinements to existing components like the server app itself and Profile manager, allowing administrators to work with devices on the latest releases.
Changes so far undiscovered
[Updated with some early changes] Apple is now distributing a seventh developer preview of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, as well as matching betas of Xcode 6, OS X Server 4.0, and Configurator 1.6. Any changes to Yosemite are unmentioned in release notes, but will probably be uncovered within the next few days. The last preview build of Yosemite was released roughly two weeks ago.
Apple TV, OS X Server, Configurator get matching updates
Apple is now seeding its fifth betas of iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, and Xcode to developers, as well as a preview of OS X Server 4.0, and fourth betas of new Apple TV firmware and Configurator 1.7. Relatively little is known about their content so far, although notes for the iOS 8 beta add that "spirometry data types are now available in HealthKit;" spirometry is the measurement of lung capacity. Xcode has received Swift-related improvements involving ranges and easier scripting.
New betas expand areas for developers to test; OS X Server also updated
Two weeks after its initial OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks beta, Apple has sent out a second one for both the client and OS X Server versions. The latest Mavericks developer build, 13E16, expands areas of interest for developer testing beyond the usual graphics drivers and Safari to include Bluetooth, audio drivers, the App Store and Finder. A Safari 6.1.5 beta for older systems was also issued, with requests for testers to focus on general website and extension compatibility.
Server offers Profile Manager improvements, ARD adds Mavericks support
Apple on Monday updated OS X Server, bringing version 3.1 out of beta after a number of developer previews, and updated Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) to version 3.7.2 as well. The Mavericks OS X Server 3.1, which now requires 10.9.2 to run, is available from the Mac Developer Portal or Software Update, and includes new support for a Device Enrollment Program within Profile Manager. The ARD brings support for Mavericks and bug fixes.
Adds support for OS X 10.9.2, tweaks Profile Manager
Apple on Monday released an updated "developer preview" of OS X Server 3.1, which updates support for OS X 10.9.2 (and requires it in order to run) and makes some minor changes in the recent Profile Manager overhaul. The new build is identified as 13S4122, up 21 builds from the previous beta, which was released in mid-February. As 10.9.2 is now officially out, Apple is likely pushing to release the final 3.1 server update soon.
Follows shortly after latest OS X 10.9.2 beta
Apple is seeding a new build of the OS X Server 3.1 beta to developers, reports say. The code is identified as build 13S4101b. So far, any further improvements have gone undiscovered.
More profile manager fixes, general server updates in patch
Apple has deployed another beta release for OS X Server. The new build, 13S4090C, has cleaned up more Profile Manager problems as well as general Server fixes and patches. The new version can only run on the current beta of 10.9.2, which is also only available for developers. The new version focuses on general improvements with the server.
Requires Mavericks 10.9.2 beta, fixes Profile Manager issue
Just days after its latest update to the forthcoming Mavericks 10.9.2 beta, Apple has also released an updated OS X Server v3.1 for developer testing. The new build, 13S4076F, is said to address a problem with the Profile Manager in which syntax errors appear in migration SQL. The new version can only run on the current beta of 10.9.2, which is also developer-only.
Promotional offer meant to encourage use of app-building 'bots'
Apple is offering free copies of OS X Server for 10.9 Mavericks to iOS developers in the hopes of encouraging the use of Xcode bots, which take advantage of the new "continuous integration" in the latest version of Xcode to automate some of the app-building process, specifically testing apps on a remote machine. The use of bots allows developers to see the test reports on their development machines running Xcode rather than split their time between testing and correcting issues.
New version bring full compatibility to OS X 10.9
Adding to the plethora of Apple software updates today, Cupertino has upgraded Xcode, OS X Server, and Apple Remote Desktop as well. Xcode has been incremented to v5.0.1, with Apple Remote Desktop being boosted to version 3.7. OS X Server with the Mavericks core is now at v3.0.
Continuing updates reinforce commitment to fall deadlines
In addition to the iOS 7, Apple TV and iTunes 11.1 betas issued earlier today, Apple has also updated the forthcoming Xcode 5, OS X Server and Remote Desktop betas for developers. The Xcode update (Developer Preview 4) fixes a number of crashing bugs and polishes up the interface, with OS X Server update (also at Developer Preview 4) offering much the same in the way of changes. Apple Remote Desktop 3.7 was also updated, but with no reported changes apart from a lack of any known major issues.
Rolls in security changes present in just-released 10.8.4 update
As expected, Apple has issued Security Update 2013-002 for older versions of OS X that are limited to the security-oriented changes present in the latest Mountain Lion update, v10.8.4, which was issued earlier today. Updates for Snow Leopard (10.6), the OS X Server version of Snow Leopard, the OS X Server version of Lion (10.7) and the client version of Lion are all now available through Software Update or Apple's own Support Downloads page. Issues were found and patched for OpenSSL, QuickTime, Ruby and SMB among other areas.
Corrects bugs, enhances features, adds speed, Retina support
Apple has issued a minor update to its OS X Server app for Mountain Lion, now at version 2.21. The $20 program allows anyone with a Mountain Lion install to turn the OS into a server OS utilizing a suite of utilities included in the application. The update improves the speed of downloading Mac App Store software through improved caching, adds Time Machine service monitoring, brings Retina display support for the Wiki Server, adds the ability to use Active Directory groups in Profile Manager and more.
OS X Server weak on authentication, say experts
Security experts who have gathered in Las Vegas this week for the Black Hat conference admit that Macs can often be more resistant to the initial stages of wide-scale, sophisticated enterprise-level hacking attacks -- such as those seen with Operation Shady RAT -- than Windows machines. But the same experts point out that once a network has been compromised, Apple's server version of OS X offers little to stop further intrusion, according to a report from IT World.
Using BSD-licensed PostgreSQL instead
Apple has removed access to a built-in MySQL installation in the new Lion Server, released last week, and replaced it with PostgreSQL -- along with dropping a handful of other tools previously supported under Snow Leopard Server, which has caused some server admins much consternation, according to posts on Apple's support forums. Users do still have multiple options to use MySQL, however.
Responded to customer query on server's future
Yesterday, rumors began floating around the Mac community, initially published by HardMac, that Apple was in the process of deciding whether to phase out all of its "enterprise" offerings, eliminating the XSan and Final Cut Server products as it had done the XServe hardware (which will be discontinued as of this month). The report went on to speculate that OS X Server itself may be cut. By coincidence, a customer had asked Jobs in an e-mail in December if OS X Server was on the chopping block, and received a single-word answer: "No."