Since late yesterday, MacRumors has received a few reports of users who have seen their devices running various beta versions of iOS 5 shutting down and returning to activation mode. The reports have been sporadic, with some users suggesting that earlier beta versions may simply have been expiring and been disabled by Apple.
But according to a report from Karthik.K (via AppleInsider), the deactivations appear to be a concerted effort by Apple to crack down on registered developers who have been selling off extra beta slots to offer non-developers access to iOS 5 beta versions. Developers who have sold off their slots are apparently reporting that Apple has shut down their accounts over the violation of the company’s developer terms, which limit beta iOS installations to the developer’s own devices for testing purposes.
Many of my developer friends have reported that Apple has sent an email warning which said that they have identified the developer to be selling his slots for some users to get early preview of iOS.
And Apple has started closing the developer accounts for selling the slots and also, have flagged the UDIDs associated with that dev account, thus making the iOS 5 device unusable.
Many developers have received this letter and immediately banned their account from the developer’s program.
Once Apple locks your iOS device, the phone will enter the initial setup mode asking you to connect to a WiFi network. And nothing happens more than that.
Apple allows developers to register up to 100 devices to a single developer account, which costs $99 per year. Each developer can submit a list of Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) to be registered under their account, and some users have taken to selling off those device slots to non-developers for $5-10 apiece in order to pay for their own developer access and make a small profit. Going even further, entire websites have even sprung up to facilitate the direct sale of such slots.
As a result of those beta slot sales, access to the iOS 5 has been relatively wide open, facilitating significant disclosures about the next-generation mobile operating system despite many of the details technically being covered by non-disclosure agreements between Apple and its developers.
It is unclear why it has taken Apple so long to crack down on the behavior, as the selling of beta slots has been an open secret for quite some time. iOS 5 is set for a public release sometime this “fall”, with the general consensus being that it should appear alongside the iPhone 5 in September or October.
Users looking to install the free Xcode 4.1 developer tools for OS X Lion released last month have been running into an issue that has caused difficulties with the installation process. During the installation process, users are prompted to quit iTunes if it is running, but the alert does not disappear even after iTunes has been quit and the installation remains stalled.
In Apple’s support document on the issue, the company notes that users also need to quit the iTunesHelper process, which can be found in and exited from the Activity Monitor utility. Once iTunesHelper has been quit, the installation proceeds normally.
Apple today addressed that confusing behavior with the release of Xcode 4.1.1 through the Mac App Store, a small delta update that removes the installation alert that has been causing problems for users. Users who have already successfully installed Xcode 4.1 do not need to install the updated version.
What’s New in Version 4.1.1
This is a delta update to Install Xcode.app that fixes the “Installation Alert” to quit iTunes. You do not need to re-run the installer if you already have Xcode 4.1 for Lion successfully installed, as the included tools are unchanged in this update.
Xcode 4.1.1 remains a free download in the Mac App Store, but does require OS X Lion.
Cult of Mac reports that Apple is planning to discontinue its multi-touch Magic Mouse in the relatively near future, pushing users to adopt the Magic Trackpad in order to make full use of the new gestures included in OS X Lion. According to the source, who is apparently in Apple’s retail arm, Apple is not replenishing inventories of the Magic Mouse at its stores as they run low.
We’ve gotten word from a previously reliable source that Apple is discontinuing the Magic Mouse in favor of the Magic Trackpad. Our retail source has informed us that Magic Mouse inventory is not being replenished for Apple stores, and that Apple is finally phasing out the Magic Mouse.
We find this rumor difficult to believe unless Apple is planning to introduce a new mouse capable of registering the more advanced gestures found in Lion, as significant numbers of users strongly prefer mice to trackpads for their input needs.
Users could certainly turn to third-party solutions for their mice needs if Apple were to indeed move to offer only the Magic Trackpad, but it seems implausible that the company would go as far as to eliminate its packages of mouse-based systems such as the iMac. Apple has begun offering the option of either a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad as part of their iMac purchases, but we believe that many users would be unwilling to either be forced to switch to a trackpad or to have to look for a third-party mouse vendor.
Apple has, however, often been ahead of the curve when it comes to discontinuing features it views as outdated, most recently with the removal of the integrated optical drive from the Mac mini.
It should also be noted that Apple does continue to offer a wired mouse option both as a standalone purchase and bundled with desktop Mac purchases. The Apple Mouse, formerly known as the Mighty Mouse, offers a clickable scroll ball and a touch-sensitive shell, but is not capable of recognizing multi-touch and other gestures. There has been no mention of whether Apple is also planning to phase out its wired mouse.
Update: In a follow-up report, Cult of Mac now says that the Magic Mouse is not being discontinued and is instead receiving a new part number, suggesting that the device may be receiving an update.
Our source in Apple inventory has followed up with us, and it appears that Apple has instead discontinued the Magic Mouse’s old part number in favor for a new one. This move may indicate an update to the Magic Mouse, with the most logical prediction being better integration with advanced gestures in OS X Lion.
Find My Mac has gone live for developers beta testing Apple’s iCloud service. Find My Mac was officially added to Lion in Developer Preview 4, released after WWDC in June, though evidence of the feature had leaked in prior releases.
Find My Mac is very similar to Find My iPhone, only because the Mac has no GPS functionality, it seems likely the feature relies solely on nearby Wi-Fi networks to determine the computer’s location.
Once it finds the lost Mac, users can send a message, remotely lock the screen, or even wipe out the entire drive. Find My Mac may launch this fall with the general release of iCloud.
Vonage, the home voice-over-IP company, has introduced an iPhone app to compete with Skype. The new app, Time to Call, lets users make VoIP calls over 3G (in the US or Canada) or Wi-Fi (worldwide).
The app doesn’t require an existing Vonage account. All billing is done via in-app purchasing, so users pay for calls using their existing iTunes account. The app is free to download and includes a free 15-minute call to just about anywhere in the world.
Vonage charges for calls in 15-minute increments, though “unused minutes may be used for additional calls to the same country or calling region.”
We compared pricing between Vonage and Skype for a few different countries. Note that a number of countries charge different rates for calling mobile phones versus landline phones. Skype charges different rates depending on what type of phone is called. Vonage does not.
For calling France, for example, Skype charges $0.023/minute to call landlines, and $0.209 to call mobiles. Vonage charges $1.99 for 15 minutes or $0.133/minute for mobile or landline.
A call to China is $0.023/minute on Skype, and is $0.99 for 15 minutes or $0.066/minute on Vonage.
Calls to Russia on Skype are $0.052/minute for landlines and $0.089 for mobiles, though calls to landlines in Moscow or St. Petersburg are $0.023/minute. On Vonage, it’s $1.99 for 15 minutes or $0.133/minute for mobile or landlines.
So, in some cases Vonage is cheaper, but not always. Its main advantage over Skype is in-app purchasing of calling blocks, and users aren’t required to setup an account. Plus, new users get a free 15-minute call just for downloading the app.
Jeffries analyst Peter Misek is gaining headlines today for a new report related by both International Business Times and Forbes, claiming that Apple is planning to harness the power of its forthcoming quad-core “A6” chip to begin merging iOS and OS X as soon as late next year. Misek claims that the merge will be completed by 2016 as 64-bit ARM processors become available to provide sufficient horsepower to run even professional-level OS X applications.
“We expect OS merger to start in 2012-13 and complete in 2016. Our preliminary view is that Apple can use a 32-bit ARM architecture to address the vast majority of the OS X ecosystem’s needs in 2012-13 except for high-end professional devices. When 64-bit ARM is available in 2016, we believe Apple will have a single OS and hardware architecture,” said Misek.
Misek believes that the iOS-OS X merger is being driven by Apple’s cloud ambitions, viewing a unified platform as key for seamless interaction with an online identity and associated content.
“Users want to be able to pick up any iPhone, iPad, or Mac (or turn on their iTV) and have content move seamlessly between them and be optimized for the user and the device currently being used,” writes Misek. “We believe this will be difficult to implement if iOS and OS X are kept separate.”
According to the report, Apple is nearly ready to begin sampling the A6 system-on-a-chip, which is claimed to be making its way into iPad and iPhone models in 2012. Misek notes that a unified operating system and architecture for all of Apple’s products will drive increased economies of scale when it comes to manufacturing and reduce research and development costs over the long-term when compared to the current dual-platform arrangement.
Other rumors of Apple moving to ARM-based processors for its Mac lineup have surfaced in the past, with one report claiming that Apple has developed an A5-powered MacBook Air for testing purposes. We continue to see significant hurdles to such a dramatic shift, particularly over the short-term, and so we consider today’s claims to be highly speculative in nature.
Apple has released two new television ads, sharing “what makes an iPhone an iPhone.”
The first promotes the iPod and iTunes, with the announcer intoning that “if you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPod in your phone. With your music. And your playlists.”
The second ad markets the App Store, with “the world’s largest selection of apps” that are “this easy to download to your phone.” The ad showcases two apps in particular, Fly Delta, showing how easy it is to get a boarding pass, and Starbucks Card Mobile, showing how coffee buyers can use their iPhone as a gift card.
TUAW notes that Skype for iPad is finally available in the New Zealand App Store. The release is expected to roll into other countries over time. A promo video for the iPad version of the app was leaked in June and confirmed to be coming to the App Store.
The app was announced over a month ago in late June, but for unknown reasons its release was delayed until now. The iPad version of Skype supports the same features as the iPhone version, and it seems that all features other than two-way video chat are supported on the original iPad. The iPad 2, of course, will have full support for video conferencing via either of its cameras.
Here’s the original promo video:
We’ll post more when the app becomes available in the U.S. This App Store link will take you to the NZ version for now.