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Apple Updates iOS To Fix Location Bugs [4.3.3 Available Now]

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Just seven days after Steve Jobs promised to fix the location tracking bugs in iOS, an update is available now for download through iTunes.

A free download, iOS 4.3.3 fixes three bugs related to location tracking:

  • The cache of location data is limited to just one week.
  • The data is no longer backed up to your computer.
  • The cache is deleted when Location Services are disabled in iOS’s Settings app.

The data isn’t encrypted, but Apple says that will be fixed in the next major update, likely iOS 5, which is expected at WWDC in early June.

The 4.3.3 update applies to the iPhone (4 and 3GS, but not the iPhone 3G); iPad (1 and 2); and iPod touch (3rd and 4th gen, but not 1st or 2nd gen).

There’s a separate 4.2.8 update for the Verizon iPhone 4 (the CDMA phone is still on a different fork of iOS).

Update or no, Apple is still expected to testify at a May 10 Congressional hearing about mobile tracking.

iOS 5 Already In Wide Internal Testing

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We all know iOS 5 will inevitably be revealed at June’s WWDC, but the internal testing of iOS 5 is already in full sway, according to 9to5Mac… with the most conspicuous device absent being the iPhone 3GS (although not the iPod Touch 3G).

Even if iOS 5 does debut at WWDC, it’s likely to not be out for another few weeks, giving developers time to update their apps. What are the features you’d most like to see in iOS 5? Let us know in the comments.

Apple Seeds New Lion Beta: Few Minor UI Tweaks, Not Much Else (So Far)

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Apple has released an update to its Mac OS X 10.7 Lion beta. The 1.24 GB update is third build of the new operating system, which is expected to be shown off at WWDC in June and released to the public in the summer or fall.

The update is available to registered Mac developers running Lion Developer Preview 2. It can be downloaded through Software Update. The release contains no release notes and appears to contain only minor UI tweaks, according to tweets crossing the wire. It’s unlikely to be a big update. That will come with Developer Preview 3.

Did Apple Spend $4.5 Million on iCloud.com for New Cloud Service?

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Apple has reportedly purchased the iCloud.com domain for the new cloud-based storage service it is currently working on, paying $4.5 million to the previous owners who have now rebranded their service. Visitors to iCloud.com are currently redirected to the new service – now called CloudMe – but it is believed Apple will take over the domain when it’s ready.

The report comes from GigaOm, who cites a source familiar with the company:

My source, who is familiar with the company, says that Xcerion has sold the domain to Apple for about $4.5 million. Xcerion hasn’t responded to my queries as yet. At the time of writing, the Whois database showed Xcerion as the owner of iCloud.

MacRumors also received some information on the iCloud rebranding last week, but were unable to obtain enough information at the time to link the change to an Apple takeover.

Apple’s upcoming cloud-based storage service – also dubbed a ‘music locker’ – will purportedly be a solution for storing music and other content online which can then be streamed to internet connected devices, such as the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

The most recent speculation has suggested that Apple is currently in the process of signing deals with all of the major music labels and getting the service ready for launch. An announcement is expected at WWDC in June.

Apple Now Testing iOS 5 with Third-Party Apps

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A crash report received by iOS developer FutureTap reveals that Apple is currently field testing the next major release of its iOS firmware using third-party applications from the App Store. In a message posted to Twitter, FutureTap discloses a crash log from a device running iOS 5.0:

Just received the first iOS 5.0 crash report. MKUserLocationBreadCrumb sounds interesting.

FutureTap followed up the message with a screenshot (above) of the crash log, highlighting the “MKUserLocationBreadCrumb” API. MKUserLocation is part of the iOS MapKit Framework, which is used to find your device’s current location; while the “BreadCrumb” element is said to indicate a new tracking feature.

It’s possible the new feature has something to do with the new mapping technology that Apple revealed it was working on in a press release yesterday, however, this isn’t expected to appear as a finished product for another couple of years.

While there’s nothing major here, this crash report reveals – unsurprisingly – that Apple is readying its iOS 5 firmware for its announcement at WWDC in June. We will probably see its release alongside the fifth-generation iPhone – expected this fall.

[via AppleInsider]

Apple Ends MobileMe & iWork Rebate Programs

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In an internal memo to its employees, Apple has announced the end of its iWork and MobileMe rebate programs with effect from close of business on April 18th. The rebate programs allowed customers to save $30 on MobileMe when purchasing a new Mac or iPad, and $30 on iWork when purchasing a new Mac.

The termination of these programs follows reports that Apple is set to revamp its MobileMe service over the coming months. A new MobileMe service, said to feature a digital “music locker” for streaming content from the cloud to Apple devices – as well as the “Media Stream” and “Find my Friends” features – is rumored to launch either later this month or at WWDC in June.

Though it’s not clear why iWork was also cut from the rebate program, it’s believed this is simply due to the release of iWork 2011 later this year. I think the the Mac App Store could also play a part in this: if Apple has decided to offer future iWork releases exclusively through the App Store as separate purchases, there may be a new way for customers to claim rebates – such as promo codes – or no rebates at all.

[via 9to5 Mac]

White iPhone 4 to Launch by End of April

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Following a long 10-month delay, the wait for Apple’s white iPhone 4 could soon be over, according to three people with knowledge of the company’s plans. The device will be available through both AT&T and Verizon Wireless and will launch by the end of April.

A Bloomberg report on Wednesday cites three people who are familiar with Apple’s plans, while another report published on Thursday by Reuters cites two more who also claim the white iPhone 4 is currently in production.

A bout of manufacturing challenges have delayed the device – which is rumored to have included paint that becomes discolored and peels under heat, light leakage into the camera, and light leakage out of the case – the device that many thought would never see the light of day could finally be released from the Foxconn factory.

Despite a message on Twitter last month from Apple’s vice president Phil Schiller, confirming the white device would be available this spring, the recent removal of any image depicting the device from Apple’s website fuelled rumors that the handset would not be launching.

[via AppleInsider]

Job Listing Reveals Apple is Looking for New Team to Build Cloud Services

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An Apple cloud service has been one of the main focal points for a lot of recent speculation, and a new job listing on the Apple website confirms that the company is currently putting together a crack team of people to build “the future of cloud services at Apple.”

The listing is for a “Cloud Systems Software Engineer” – a full-time role in a “small team” based at the company’s main Cupertino campus. In true Apple style the listing doesn’t reveal a lot of information about this cloud service, however, it does state that the team will be responsible for writing software “which forms the foundation” for some of Apple’s “most exciting new products and services.”

Apple’s only attempt at cloud services so far has been MobileMe, which has left a great deal to be desired for many of its users. Recent rumors claimed that a revamped MobileMe service would soon go live, featuring a digital storage function similar to iDisk which would enable users to store content that could be streamed to iOS devices.

Since Apple has only just started advertising for people to build their new team, it doesn’t look like the cloud service will be launching anytime in the immediate future. It is believed cloud services will be a big part of iOS 5, so the first we hear about it could be at WWDC in June.

Interestingly, since this job listing became famous, it seems to have been removed by Apple.

[via AppleInsider]

Toshiba Unveils New Flash Memory that Could Give iPhone 5 64GB Storage

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Toshiba unveiled its new SmartNAND flash memory on Tuesday with support for flash chips up to 64GB. With a next-generation 24-nanometer process, the new design has a better memory controller that speeds up the read and write process, and is more space efficient – perfect for devices like the iPhone.

It’s possible the new SmartNAND could replace the Samsung flash memory in the current iPhone 4 and allow for a 64GB iPhone 5. Apple has already moved away from the Samsung flash since the launch of the iPhone 4, choosing Toshiba’s NAND flash for both the forth-generation iPod touch and the iPad 2.

The 32GB and 64GB SmartNAND options won’t start being mass produced until at least June, which could be one of the reasons why the launch of the iPhone 5 may be delayed until September – as recent rumors claim.

A 64GB iPhone 4 prototype was recently discovered on the Chinese grey market, and reports at the time ruled out a 64GB forth-generation device, suggesting instead that Apple was testing the larger flash memory for a forthcoming iPhone.

[via Electronista]