Category Archives: Mac News

Apple Park, Logic Pro 10.3.1, mic discounts, faster typing, Remote Desktop, LG UltraFine


Apple Campus to open in April — [But first of all, sorry there was no news yesterday, I had to get up at 5am and fly to Featherston to record some interviews with a historical TV series.] Apple Park, the official name for Apple’s new spaceship campus, is set to open for employees in April. The campus will hold 12,000 employees, and the on-location theater has been named the Steve Jobs Theater.
It’ll take about six months to move in the facility’s 12,000 employees and construction will continue on campus buildings and landscaping during the transition. The buildings and surrounding land covers 175 acres in down town San Jose, California.

Logic Pro X update — Apple has released Logic Pro X 10.3.1. The update includes a security fix for maliciously crafted GarageBand files. It also improves the way regions perform, edits, and the ability to share 44.1kHz projects to GarageBand for iOS.

Discount on microphones — EditorsKeys has a £10 discount running on all its top-quality mics for newsletter subscribers.

Free site speeds up your typing — One productivity enhancement nobody can argue with.

 Apple updated Apple Remote Desktop to version 3.9 — The update adds support for the Mac Book Pro’s Touch Bar and features the ability to export computer lists, while improving security.

What’s the status on LG’s UltraFine 5K monitor? After receiving reports of connectivity issues related to LG’s new UltraFine 5K monitor, and confirming those problems with LG, Apple temporarily suspended sales of the display earlier this February. With ship times slow to improve, AppleInsider explains what’s going on in a video.

Apple 5th most trusted, thermal printer driver, ad policy

(Image from DesignArch)
(Image from DesignArch)

Apple places 5th on corporate reputation poll, Samsung drops 42 spots — Apple is the fifth most reputable company in the United States, with the results of an annual poll into the public perception of a company putting the iPhone producer ahead of Disney, Google, Tesla, and Netflix in the rankings. Microsoft is at 20 while Amazon came in first. Last year Samsung was 7th, but the Galaxy Note fires and the scandal that has seen the CEO arrested haven’t even helpful.

Peninsula Group launches thermal printer label drivers for macOS — The Peninsula Group has released a series of free macOS-compatible drivers that support thermal printer manufacturers including Zebra, Datamax, Honeywell and Brady with the goal of making it easier to print labels.
Using web based shipping services form companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL is now possible; even Amazon FBA is supported. You can print readable barcodes, text and images from any website or application.

Apple’s marketing efforts to focus more on digital, regional campaigns — According to Adweek, Apple has restructured its relationship with its ad agency, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, to focus more on creating digital and regional campaigns and less on translating, or ‘localizing’, big brand campaigns for global markets.

Touch Bar support for Office for Mac, Sydney bomb threat, Wireless Power Consortium, SoundSource 3


Microsoft rolls out MacBook Pro Touch Bar support to all Office for Mac suite users — Following after a brief beta preview, Microsoft is rolling out support for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar to all users of Office for Mac, with the update providing quick access to functions from the new dynamic display panel.
For Microsoft Word, MacBook Pro users will gain a “Word Focus” mode, which hides all onscreen ribbons and commands on the main display, to help users focus on their work. Formatting tools are instead displayed on the Touch Bar, keeping them available to use, but not distracting the user.

Bomb threat forces evacuation of Apple’s flagship Australian store — Apple’s flagship Australian store was briefly evacuated mid-day on Friday, in what appears to have been a response to a bomb threat, according to local media reports.
The three-floor Sydney outlet, located on George Street, was cleared out just prior to 1 p.m. local time “as a precaution” during a “police operation,” a spokesperson for the police informed Business Insider.

Some implications of Apple joining the Wireless Power Consortium — While the news of Apple joining the Wireless Power Consortium doesn’t offer absolute clarity of Apple’s future plans (besides hinting that the next iPhone will support wireless charging), it does reveal some things to the wireless power industry as a whole.

Revamped SoundSource 3.0.0 brings quick audio source & output switching back to Mac after 5-year hiatus — A pair of old OS X audio routing applications have regenerated, and have merged to form the new SoundSource 3.0.0 by Rogue Amoeba —and AppleInsider takes a look at the offering.

WWDC to San Jose, Fortune’s Most Admired, Setapp, Apple Music lyrics, Luminar deal ends soon


Apple has announced its 28th annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), and it has moved to San Jose — McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, to be exact. The conference, kicking off 5 June, will inspire developers from all walks of life to turn their passions into the next great innovations and apps that customers use every day across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Mac.
Since 2003 it has been held at Moscone West in San Francisco.
To get tickets you need to be a registered Apple Developer Program and Apple Developer Enterprise Program member as of February 16, 2017, by 5:30 AM pacific time. That means if you aren’t already in Apple’s developer programs, you don’t qualify for a conference pass.
The artwork Apple is using for its 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference (above) is based on a poster for a Spanish film festival from 2010; both were created by the same artist.

Apple is Fortune’s 2017 World’s Most Admired company — Every year, Fortune puts together a survey of corporate reputations called The World’s Most Admired Companies. This year, Apple leads the list.

Setapp is like Netflix for apps — The software subscription model is here to stay. Microsoft and Adobe have already embraced it with Office 365 and Creative Cloud respectively. Even apps from smaller independent developers like 1Password and TextExpander are now offered as monthly subscriptions.
Setapp is a new subscription service from MacPaw which provides access to more than 60 Mac apps for US$9.99 (about NZ$14) a month. It’s an ambitious undertaking by MacPaw, best known for popular Mac utilities like CleanMyMac and Gemini, and the company has done a masterful job.

How to view Apple Music lyrics on a Mac (and iDevice and Apple TV) — When lyrics are available (and they’re not for all songs), you can read them in in iTunes on your Mac or PC; in the Music app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch; or in the Music app on your Apple TV.

Luminar deals ends soon — You can still by Luminar for US90 instead of US$161 but the deal is ending soon. Luminar gives you awesome control in enhancing images and it’s really easy to use.

Mac security under threat, Russian hackers, Apple Music Video, SoundSource for Mac


GarageBand update to 10.1.6 patches potentially malicious exploit — Hidden in the Mac App Store updates tab the past day or two has been an update for GarageBand to version 10.1.6. While the update notes state that the new code is to fix “Performance and security issues”, it appears that the primary reason was to shut the door on a vulnerability in GarageBand.
Opening a “maliciously crafted” GarageBand project file could cause “arbitrary code execution”.  {So take note: you have to open a GarageBand file someone sends you to be vulnerable, but still, it shows Apple’s profile is so big now, the malware makers and hackers are finally looking seriously at exploiting us – and read on.]

‘Xagent’ malware arrives on Mac, steals passwords, screenshots, iPhone backups — A Russian hacking group accused of interfering with last year’s US presidential election has evolved its Xagent malware package, known for its ability to infiltrate Windows, iOS, Android and Linux devices, to target Macs, according to a report on Tuesday. The Mac strain of Xagent is similar to its predecessors in that it acts as a modular backdoor for intruders, reports Ars Technica.
Circumstantial evidence suggests APT28, also known as Sofacy, Sednit, Fancy Bear and Pawn Storm, has deep ties with the Russian government. The shift in hacker attention from Windows to Apple products is likely due to the success of iOS, an operating system used by a huge percentage of smartphone users worldwide. [So meantime, be careful downloading any software unless it’s from the Mac App Store or trusted developers like RogueAmoeba.]

Eddy Cue says video is a big part of Apple Music’s future — The future of streaming music is streaming media, according to Apple’s Eddy Cue, which is why the company is behind shows like Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps. The “Apple Music is more than just music” message is one he’s already expressed, and it’s a sign Apple’s competition in the streaming music market is growing beyond Spotify and Tidal to more inclusive services like Amazon Prime.

Rogue Amoeba unveils SoundSource for macOS — Rogue Amoeba has unveiled SoundSource, a macOS tool that provides access to critical audio settings. With it, users can instantly change the audio devices used for input, output, and sound effects, adjust the volume levels of those devices, and more.
SoundSource runs on macOS 0.10 and higher. A free fully-functional trial available for download. While in trial mode, SoundSource’s features will disable after 10 minutes of use. The unrestricted full version can be purchased for US$10. Owners of any current Rogue Amoeba application for Mac are eligible for a complimentary SoundSource license. To do that, you enter your email address, name and license code for another Rogue Amoeba product (in my case, Audio Hijack)  on this page and they send you a Sound Source license.

Cindori VR Desktop, Genius Bar revives 30yo Mac SE


Cindori’s VR Desktop lets you use a Mac with some VR headsets — Cindori has introduced VR Desktop, a US$19.99 app that lets you use macOS together with Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. It requires macOS 10.11 or later and Oculus Rift DK2.
According to the folks at Cindori, VR Desktop allows you to:
• Create a giant virtual multi-monitor workspace that works seamlessly with macOS and third party applications;
• Play games and watch movies in custom virtual environments;
• Enhance your macOS experience by loading custom virtual environments with a multiple screen setup.
For now VR Desktop only works with the the Oculus Rift dev kit (DK2). However, Cindori plans to support other VR headsets.

Genius Bar Revives 30 Year Old Mac SE — British Tech Network host Ewen Rankin took his 30 year old Mac SE prototype to a Genius Bar at an Apple Store. With the help of friends he got ahold of Mac OS System 3.3 on floppy disks – the operating system the SE originally shipped with – and then made his way to the Apple Store.
The geniuses were more than happy to help out even though the Mac was older than some of them, and in the end they got it up and running.

Pro apps bundle , record share price, too low, number 4, UltraFine suspended, BeSides information security forum

proappsApple’s Pro Apps Bundle for Education arrives in over 30 more countries — People wanting to take advantage of Apple’s heavily-discounted Pro Apps Bundle for Education can now do so in over 30 more countries around the world, thanks to expanded distribution this week. New Zealand is on the list.
The bundle launched in the US earlier in February, and wraps up all of Apple’s professional audio and video editing apps for the Mac, including Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4, and MainStage 3.
The collection’s $199.99 US pricetag is over $425 less than Apple would normally charge. In the US, all faculty and staff at US educational institutions all the way from kindergarten through college qualify, plus college students. Prices can vary significantly based on factors like exchange rates, though in countries with the euro the software is typically €229.99; it’s $299.99 in Australia and $329.99 in New Zealand. (And while you’re at it, here’s the free Fizz template for Final Cut Pro X and notice the other freebies there on the right.)

AAPL briefly reaches an all-time high share price — The rally for shares in Apple continues, with the stock briefly touching an all-time record share price of $133.82 this morning. It’s now hovering around $133.68.

As investors overlook Apple’s Services business, stock price declared 10% too low — Apple’s Services earnings aren’t being considered strongly enough by investors, one analyst believes, arguing that if the business was properly weighted, the stock company’s stock would be at least 10 percent higher than it currently sits.

Apple is number four on ‘Most Innovative Companies of 2017’ list — Apple placed number four on the Most Innovative Companies of 2017 list from FastCompany. Apple placed fourth on the list; that’s up from seventh place in 2016. Apple has made the list for three years running.

Apple temporarily stops sales of LG’s UltraFine 5K display — This will only add to cries that Apple once again start making its own external displays for use with Mac laptops: the tech giant has temporarily stopped sales of LG’s UltraFine 5K monitor, due to problems associated with a lack of proper shielding from wireless interference. Apple retail staff were told to keep the product on display yet not sell any units if people asked, according to a Business Insider source. [This is turning into a debacle.]

Apple is a contributing sponsor of BeSides information security forum — BSides, a two-day, open forum for discussion and debate for security engineers and their affiliates, has received a public contributing sponsorship from Apple, “underlining the increasing efforts of the company to participate in academic research and publishing related to security, privacy and other research goals.”

Cook Glasgow and AR, higher credit, LG UltraFine delays, self-publishing iBooks

(Image from The Verge)
(Image from The Verge)

Tim Cook Speaks at University of Glasgow for an hour — Tim Cook spoke to the students of the University of Glasgow this week. The hour long event included questions from faculty and students alike. Topics included President Trump’s travel bans on seven muslim-majority countries, the reach of the App Store, the environment, wealth inequality, education, balancing work and life, technology interacting with our bodies, Apple Watch, idealism [which presumably doesn’t include fulfilling tax requirements], Steve Jobs’s influence over Apple today, style and more.
He also said AR is a ‘big idea,’ and likened the tech to the smartphone. This was when The Independent caught up with Cook during a visit with UK-based app developer ustwo, makers of the hit iOS game Monument Valley on the third leg of Cook’s extended European tour.

Apple users have higher credit scores, loan amounts, better rates than Android, Windows users — Think you’re clever for using Apple products? You’re right! A new study says we have higher credit scores, loan amounts and better rates than Android and Windows users.

Delayed shipments of LG UltraFine 5K displays — Apple has delayed shipments for LG UltraFine 5K, a 27-inch model touted as the perfect display for 2016 MacBook Pros, and removed in store pickup options, reports MacRumors. New orders for the LG UltraFine 5K Display will now ship out in five to six weeks with fixes to a reported issue with router. Jeff Butts reckons Apple should just kill it and go back to making its own displays.

Self-publish your books with iBooks — If you’re an author, you can self publish your books on iBooks. You’ll want to leverage multiple platforms to increase your visibility, but don’t forget Apple. As The Mac Observer editor-in-chief, Bryan Chaffin, wrote, Apple’s eBook platform isn’t perfect, but it is worthwhile to use.

iBooks unloved, new Kanex keyboards, Safari memories, Sonnet Thunderbolt, Microsoft malware

Kanex has released a series of Apple-compatible keyboards
Kanex has released a series of Apple-compatible keyboards – most have one-touch switching to share between four Apple devices, for example your Mac, iPad, Apple TV, iPhone.

It’s time for Apple to show iBooks some love — Bryan Chaffin writes that Daniel Steinberg has a great piece on iBooks at his Dim Sum Thinking blog titled ‘I Wish Apple Loved Books.’ He makes the case that Apple doesn’t love iBooks, and that it shows in the way the company has largely let its ebook store languish. He hit the nail on the head – what we’ve seen (not) happen to iBooks is what we’ve seen every time an Apple product stopped being the focus of top executives.
[Like me], Bryan Chaffin loves iBooks, and thinks it offers a better reading experience on his iPad than Kindle. By a lot. It’s not even close. But Apple hasn’t been giving iBooks the love it needs to thrive. And the truth is, this started with the DOJ’s successful antitrust suit against Apple. [Couldn’t agree more.]

Kanex has released a new range of keyboards — These suit Mac and iOS and come in several configurations, including a foldable, travel version.

Star Wars Empire on special — Aspyr’s Star Wars space opera game for Mac is currently on sale in the Mac App store for NZ$14.99/US$9.99. The deal is worldwide, so if you’re somewhere else, click this link.

Safari histories are stored in iCloud for more than a year — According to the CEO of Russian hacking tool creator Elcomsoft, Apple is storing Safari histories in the iCloud going back more than a year, possibly much longer, even where the user has asked for them to be wiped from memory.
It would appear to be a design issue rather than anything suspicious, and is likely to do with the syncing mechanism between iOS, Mac OS X and Apple servers. [So what are you going to do, Russian hacker, sell the details to Trump?]

Sonnet announces Mac-compatible Dual-Port 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) Thunderbolt 3 adapters — Sonnet Technologies has announced Mac compatible Twin 10G Thunderbolt 3 Edition Thunderbolt 3 to Dual-Port 10GBASE-T 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) adapter, and the Twin 10G SFP+ Thunderbolt 3 Edition Thunderbolt 3 to Dual-Port SFP+ 10GbE adapter. These will be available in New Zealand through MacSense.

Mac malware discovered in Microsoft Word document with auto-running macro — A second example of malware targeting macOS users has surfaced this week, with the discovery of a Word document that attempts to use an automatically-running macro, one that tries to download a hazardous payload to infect the target Mac. [Years ago, Microsoft simply deleted macros abilities in  Word for Mac because of this problem.]
You can only get this infection by downloading a specific Word document called “U.S. Allies and Rivals Digest Trump’s Victory – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace” and the payload it led to has since been disabled.

New Mac malware, Luminar update and discount, Intego deal, Kaby Lake, $10 optical suit, Argentina traffic, Microsoft Office Touch Bar

Wow, remember these? Owners of Macs made between 2003-2008 are eligible for US$10 rebates due to an optical drive class action suit.
Wow, remember these? Owners of Macs made between 2003-2008 are eligible for US$10 rebates due to an optical drive class action suit.

A macOS malware agent dubbed MacDownloader has been found — A macOS malware agent, named MacDownloader, was observed ‘in the wild’ as targeting the defense industrial base, and reported elsewhere to have been used against a human rights advocate, according to Iran Threats, a website run by Claudio Guarnieri and Collin Anderson that analyses online threats from Iran. MacDownloader attempts to pose as an installer for Adobe Flash, and as the Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool. Apple Insider has more info.

Luminar update — Luminar, the software that sensationalises pretty much any photo, has an update which adds support for photoshop smart objects and actions, improved batch processing, better crop angles, enhanced colour temperature filter, speed improvements and a rotate image tool. If you already have Luminar, launch it, click the Luminar men and select Check For Updates.
To celebrate, MacPhun is bundling bonuses along with the latest version of Luminar. Bonuses include: The Guide to Family Portraits, the 25 Romantic Getaways ebook, a brand new set of beautiful sky overlays, and a new Vivid Presets pack. Please note, bonuses are limited in quantity, so check out this deal now if you’re interested and save 50%.

Intego deal gives you 70% off Mac Premium Bundle X9 — and that this rare deal ends today. Use coupon code ‘SaferInternet‘ at checkout to get 60% off Mac Premium Bundle X9 right now. The discount only applies to households, limit 10 Macs per customer. Regular renewal rates apply. This offer expires on Wednesday, February 8 at 11:59PM USPST.

References to possible 2017 MacBook Pro with Intel Kaby Lake CPUs found in macOS Sierra beta code — Examination of the beta code for macOS Sierra 10.12.4 has revealed a trio of Kaby Lake processors referenced, which has pointed to specific processor substitutions for a possible MacBook Pro refresh using Intel’s new processor line.
Kaby Lake features faster CPU clock speed changes, a new graphics architecture which improves performance in 3D graphics and 4K video playback and supposedly provides enhanced battery life and security features. MacBooks with Kaby Lake would also support up to 32GB RAM instead of topping out at 16GB.

Owners of 2003-2008 Macs with optical drives can claim US$10 per machine thanks to a lawsuit settlement — A class-action suit filed against four optical drive manufacturers alleging illegal price fixing has been settled, with previous owners of computers – including Macs – equipped with CD or DVD drives between 2003 and 2008 eligible for $10 per computer owned during that period, reports AppleInsider.

Apple Maps now provides real-time traffic conditions to Argentina customers — Apple Maps for macOS, iOS and watchOS now provides real-time traffic conditions to people in Argentina, according to Apple’s refreshed iOS Feature Availability webpage.

MacBook Pro Touch Bar preview hits Microsoft Office for Macs — Microsoft is now testing a beta version of MacBook Pro Touch Bar support in Office 2016 for Mac.