Braven speakers support FaceTime, iChat, Skype
Braven, which used to be called Spar, has just introduced a new Bluetooth speaker range that aims to differentiate itself from the others out there thanks to a couple of uncommon features. All three can be daisy-chained to provide stereo or surround sound, and they can also be used to charge phones or other portable devices through their USB ports. The wireless range is Bluetooth's typical 33 feet, and the auxiliary port also allows connecting other sources.
Mac OS X Mountain Lion adds iMessage, Reminders
In a surprise step, Apple on Thursday gave developers a preview version of OS X Mountain Lion, the next significant update to the core OS. The new version is directly influenced by iOS 5 and includes Notification Center, Reminders, Notes, Game Center, and Twitter integration, with iCloud syncing where it's relevant. AirPlay Mirroring is also new to the Mac and shares exactly what's on screen through an Apple TV.
iChat now able to connect to all IM networks
In a surprise move, the team behind the Microsoft Messenger IM network have made the network available via XMPP, an open-source protocol for chat clients that most other multi-IM network programs support, AppleInsider reports. With the move, iChat users should now be able to add MSN or Windows Live accounts as buddies directly without the need of a gateway. The program now directly addresses all major chat networks.
Apple may take more iOS features to Mac soon
An as yet unverified rumor asserts that Apple's "Back to the Mac" philosophy will continue with two more key additions. A 9to5 tip had both AirPlay Mirroring and iMessage in development. Although code references have alluded to iMessage coming to iChat, Apple was supposedly working on both a stand-alone app and an integrated client to determine which was better, possibly the same strategy used for FaceTime.
iMessage may cross-pollinate between Mac, iOS
Calls for iMessage to reach the Mac may have been answered through discoveries made Wednesday. Elements for "timeDelivered" and "timeRead" receipts are in the framework of Lion's version of iChat that aren't needed for iChat's existing support but do reflect what iMessage would need. Although not certain, MacRumors extrapolates to anticipate that iChat will eventually get active iMessage support.
Lion update makes minor changes
Apple is now seeding two important software updates to developers. The first is a new build of Mac OS X Lion, identified as 11A444d. Although the file measures approximately 1.22GB, the code is not marked under a "Preview 3" header, implying that it is instead a third build of Preview 2. No details of changes or additions have been listed by Apple.
Lion does Yahoo audio and video chat
Another finding late Saturday has shown Apple expanding iChat AV to Yahoo Messenger. Marck Unkow has found that users can now sign into Yahoo for both audio and video conversations, much as they could with AIM in the past. The client's only non-AIM support in the past had been for Jabber, which led to support for Google Talk, but only for text.
Skype 5 for Mac goes gold
Skype today caught the Mac up on versions on Thursday with the polished release of Skype 5 for Mac. The new version is the first for Apple's platform to support group video calling and handles as many as 10 simultaneous people in a slightly iChat-influenced full-screen mode. Its interface has also been overhauled and merges everything into a single pane; the overall footprint has been optimized since the beta to better have it work side-by-side on the desktop and show more contacts.
iLife '11 finally close?
FaceTime video call support may soon be coming to platforms outside iOS, rumors cited by a French website suggest. The technology is currently available on the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod touch. Should claims be accurate, FaceTime could soon be available on Macs through iChat, and on Windows systems by way of an unmentioned app or apps.
Apple builds FaceTime for non-iPhone devices
Apple is changing the way FaceTime works to support a camera-equipped iPod touch and possibly the iPad as well, escaped details show. Rather than require a phone number as on the iPhone 4, it will use one or more e-mail accounts attached to an Apple ID, which in turn will be linked to the device. BGR understands that the approach would depend on a new push notification system in iOS 4.1 to handle requests on non-phone hardware.
Unique 10.6.4 patches target new Mac minis
Apple has released Mac OS X 10.6.4, an update long in development for Snow Leopard. The patch fixes several important problems; these include keyboards and trackpads becoming unresponsive, Creative Suite 3 programs failing to launch, and difficulty in copying, renaming or deleting files on SMB servers. Minor bugfixes target fullscreen editing in Aperture and iPhoto, and using Good Quality deinterlacing in DVD Player.
Skype plans multi-user video chat beta
Skype this morning said it would launch a beta of its desktop app that opens the door to 5-user chat. The feature will be one of the few for a mainstream app outside of iChat and is being pitched as a way to simplify videoconferencing. The beta will be available sometime next week and will initially be free, though it may cost extra at a later date.
iPhone may have video-capable iChat
Further clues have been found in the initial iPhone 4.0 beta that Apple will have not just video chat on the next iPhone but also a full-fledged iChat app. Frameworks and strings show many explicit references to "video conference" calls as well as chat rooms, moderation and other features that apply to both text and video. Many of iChat's alert sounds from the Mac app have also been included in the code.
iPhone SDK has hooks for video chat
A discovery in the iPhone 3.2 developer kit suggests Apple is opening the door to video calls on its device. Icons in the Telephony UI framework would cover accepting or declining a video chat invitation; code references alternately make references to "iChat" and (in the video toolbox) "VideoChat." No apps are currently included that would support the feature.
Apple wins six patents
Apple has been granted six new patents, including an iChat filing and several submissions involving product design. The iChat video patent, titled “Digital image coding system having self-adjusting selection criteria for selecting a transform function," relates to coding digital video images and reducing loss of image information by adjusting parameters in the coding process.
iChat videomail patent
Apple may continue to have an interest in automatic audio or video replies within iChat, a newly-published patent application hints. Under the Apple technology, people away from their computers or simply busy could instruct iChat to play a prerecorded audio or video message to anyone attempting chat. The length of each message could be used-defined.
Mac OS X 10.5.6 update
As anticipated last week, Apple has posted its latest update to Mac OS X, v10.5.6. Available through the Software Update service or direct download, the patch consists mostly of dozens of fixes and performance enhancements, for issues such as sync and graphics. Sync reliability has been improved for Address Book, portable home directories and most notably MobileMe, which should now propagate contact, calendar and bookmark changes within a minute of their being saved.
Messenger for Mac
Instant messaging can be a great way to communicate with friends and co-workers in real-time. While most Mac users rely on iChat, which comes with every Mac, many PC users rely on Windows Live Messenger (formerly called MSN Messenger). Not only does Live Messenger connect to Yahoo’s messaging network, it’s also the default network for Xbox 360 users. If you want to chat with users on any of the above networks, Microsoft's Messenger for Mac 7.01 might be of interest.
QuickCam Vision Pro
Logitech this morning made one of its rare webcam offerings for Macs with the advent of the QuickCam Vision Pro. A close cousin of the QuickCam Pro 9000, the USB camera is targeted at Mac mini and Mac Pro owners whose computers don't already have built-in iSight cameras but who want a better-than-average replacement for iChat, Skype, or other video apps. The Vision Pro not only has true glass optics from Carl Zeiss, rather than plastic, but also has a voice coil motor for autofocusing which is much faster and more fine-grained than the stepper motors on most webcams.
SubEthaEdit 3.1 update
TheCodingMonkeys today announced the release of SubEthaEdit 3.1, an update to its collaborative text editing software, adding a number of different features to make internet collaboration easier. The new version adds automatic port forwarding, allowing users to connect easily without manual setup. iChat invites allow users to drag and drop iChat contacts onto the software to invite users to a session. SubEthaEdit 3.1 is available for €29 (~$45).
iChat Pro interface
Infinis Design recently unveiled iChat Pro, a reskinning feature for Apple's iChat application that simplifies the user interface to be more compact. Designed for users that are comfortable with using right-click contextual menus to navigate the application's functions, iChat Pro removes the somewhat redundant communication buttons at the bottom of the buddy list, and trims extraneous features from the top. iChat Pro is free to install for all users of iChat.
Time Machine patent
Among the flurry of Apple patent applications that surfaced today, no less than 10 filings relate to the company's iChat and Time Machine. The Cupertino-based company's Time Machine-related patents cover methods and a computer program for providing a user interface that includes earlier versions of data, true to the software's ability to 'move through time' to prior versions of documents and files via a graphical user interface. iChat-related patents describe video communication systems and methods, as well as sharing graphical user interface output in a chat environment. Another iChat-oriented patent details sharing application output in a chat environment.
Apple engineer speaks
Former Apple software engineer Jens Alfke has posted a blog entry about his departure from the company, why he did it, and Apple's perceived cultural/operation faults. Alfke initially worked on the now-defunct OpenDoc project, and later moved into social software, which he found Apple to be less-than-enthusiastic about: "I'm fascinated with social software. Apple isn’t. Despite some promising starts, the most I’ve been able to get accomplished in that vein at Apple was iChat [the IM part; I'm really not interested in videoconferencing], Safari RSS, and the "PubSub" [which turned out to be "RSS and Atom"] framework. There were some very promising prototypes of sexier things, but I really can't talk about those, other than to say that they were canceled."
Pleasant Software has released updates to two key programs, Ubercaster and ShowMacster. The former is the company's podcasting tool, which allows users to record, edit and export tracks using only a single utility. Version 1.5 of the software introduces the Autopilot, which displays a list of topics to guide users through their podcasts; the panel can also be used to store detailed notes, in case particular pieces of information are forgotten. Ubercaster now also has an RMS normalizer, support for AU (Audio Units) plug-ins, effect presets and an automatic chapter creation function. The app costs $80, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.4, a 1.83GHz CPU, and 1GB of RAM.