The public release of Alfred 1.0 is now available and brings with it a multitude of new features as well as improvements to existing ones. For most software developers reaching version 1.0 is a special milestone. I had the opportunity to speak with Andrew Pepperrell, the developer of Alfred, about his thoughts regarding this release and this is what he had to say:

Alfred 1.0 is a meaningful release; it’s more than just the new features. Version 1.0 marks Alfred’s maturity in my own mind, and users will no longer see him as unfinished. To be honest, 0.9 should have been 1.0… maybe even 0.8

I think that sums it up extremely well considering the last couple of updates have dramatically changed the way we use Alfred. The recent addition of extensions was certainly a game changer in my opinion. Now lets take a closer look at this version and see what it has to offer.

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How to Get Apple’s Black Friday Prices All Year Long

The Apple Store’s refurb section features an inexact and unreliable supply. You never know when it’s going to be flush with a bunch of desirable models and when it’s going to be mostly barren. But even so, it can be a lot like hunting for exactly what you want on Craigslist, except with AppleCare backing you up instead of a search for a well-lit, public drop zone. Patience pays dividends, especially if you can’t afford full price—and you can set up an email alert for when new products are added to the store.

Gizmodo’s got good advice. If you want to save a good chunk of cash on a new Macintosh, you won’t be shorted by purchasing a refurbished model. You won’t get the same pretty white box (you’ll get cardboard bulk packaging in its place), but you will get a Mac with often brand new guts and the same warranty you’d get with buying a new computer off the shelf online or at an Apple Retail Store. As explained on podcasts like Mac Geek Gab, Apple is pretty generous when it comes to swapping out parts for new — this applies for repairs and of course the refurbished Macs sold online through Apple. It’s a good thing to keep in mind and share with relatives who’re looking for additional savings if they’re planning on purchasing a Mac as a gift or getting one themselves for the holidays. When it comes time to purchase my next Mac, this is probably the route I’ll take.

Late yesterday Apple released the first beta of iOS 5.1 to developers and over the past few hours a number of people have been digging around to see whats new. A few readers and contributors to 9to5 Mac have found that the new beta includes references to a new Apple TV, a new iPhone and a new iPad.

The unreleased Apple TV that is referenced in iOS 5.1 features an identifier of “3,1″ and a codename of “J33″. As for the iPhone, a new identifier of “5,1″ has been found – that if it comes to fruition, would suggest a new iPhone with major internal changes. Finally, two new identifiers have been found for new iPad models. First there is a “2,4″ model, one that 9to5 Mac suggests could be for a WiMAX Sprint iPad or potentially a TD-LTE model for China. The other new identifier is “3,3″, which follows on from previous discoveries of the iPad “3,1″ and “3,2″ identifiers that have been found earlier this year.

Whilst these references are added purposively, it is important to remember that not all the references will correspond to a device that Apple actually launches in the future. Furthermore, little if any information is revealed about the potential devices by these identifiers – except for the fact they exist to some degree within Apple.

[Via 9to5 Mac (1) (2) (3)]

Nov
29
2011

Sometimes you kids ask me about what writing app is shown off in my iPad screenshots or photos. More often than not it’s iA Writer, and it’s an awesome little thing.

If you can’t live without iA Writer, you should start checking both the iOS and Mac App Stores for an available update that includes improved Dropbox integration, and now iCloud support that works between Mac and iOS.

Here’s how it works. On the iPad side you can save a document to iCloud. Saving and managing documents is a completely enhanced experience: You can move documents between the local iPad, any Dropbox folder of your choice, or iCloud for shared and cloud storage.

When you open up iA Writer on the Mac, a new iCloud submenu appears under the file menu. You can pull your documents from the cloud. Just so we’re being clear — these documents are copied to your Mac in the library folder, but they’re not available in your documents folder. You’ll get a good idea about how iCloud sandboxing works here.

If you want to save a document to iCloud from your Mac, you need to save your document somewhere first. Only afterwards can you move it to the iCloud, where it will be moved out of its original location and into your Library. So technically you’re not supposed to know where these documents exist, but everything works as advertised.

iA Writer is a custom text editor that features FocusMode and a barebones writing environment with a giant blue cursor. Currently, iA Writer is 50% for both iPad and Mac versions — if you want the app, now would be a really good time to pick it up since you can get the suite for around $10.

App Store: iA Writer for the iPad | iA Writer for Mac

Nov
29
2011

Apple Releases iOS 5.1 Beta

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Just when you thought it was going to be a relaxing Cyber Monday, Apple has made the iOS 5.1 beta available for download. Developers will find a new Xcode 4.3 developer preview waiting for download as well. The (9B5117b) builds weigh in at 700 MB to 800 MB depending on the iPad or iPhone versions. The 5.1 beta has lots of bugs noted, so we’d recommend holding off if you just want a peek otherwise.

Developers can download the beta in the iOS dev center.

Now back to your scheduled evening dose of online shopping and hot chocolate.

Nov
28
2011

Long story short: An Apple employee at the Apple Store in Palo Alto, California, spills the beans on how they track customers in their stores. Employees armed with iPod touches get notified when customers enter the stores with their location-aware iPhones (for services like in-store pickup or an appointment), or when customers request help using in-store iPads. All the employee has to do is select a customer in a queue, get their position on an in-store map, and voilà! An an employee walks up to the customer and assists them.

While new Apple Store customers may be dazed by the busy store’s atmosphere and integration with technology, experienced shoppers can take advantage of a unique shopping experience tailored for the customer.

We’re basically seeing the map-side of Apple’s in-store toys like Concierge, Scout, iQueue, etc. This isn’t new technology, but as geeks it’s nice to get behind the scenes sometimes.

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Nov
28
2011

I stumbled onto MacLegion earlier this year when they offered their first bundle back in April. They offer very good bundles with quality Mac apps at great bundled prices. Their new bundle is just as great. The MacLegion Winter Bundle 2011 consists of 10 quality Mac apps for $49.99 (a $480 value). We’ve seen a lot of bundles similar to this price point, but this one stands out above many of the others.

As always, MacLegion bundles focus on quality, practical and every-day apps that people enjoy using. The hand-picked line-up ensures that all applications featured within it are the latest versions each developer has to offer. (more…)

Apple Store? What Apple Store? You only need to visit your local Best Buy, America’s most well known consumer electronics store and Apple authorized reseller. Best Buy is going all out this Holiday Season with their “Game on Santa” commercials, this one in particular featuring mom as she shops for the latest Apple products. The latest in the series features FaceTime on the iPad 2 along with a variety of other products on one Best Buy’s Apple tables, with an employee reminding the viewer that they’re a one-stop shop for iMacs, MacBooks, and just about anything else you’d find in one of those fancy Apple Stores. We sell Apple stuff too!

The scene then cuts to Christmas Eve as Santa drops in, mom decidedly looking victorious having beat Santa at his own game. If Best Buy’s representation of a good Christmas is accurate, there’s going to be some seriously happy kids come Christmas morning.

Best Buy can’t give you Apple’s self-checkout shopping experience or expertise from someone at the Genius Bar, but if a jam-packed Apple Store isn’t a good idea of your good time, then Best Buy makes an OK pit-stop to pick up Apple accessories. At the very least, the Game on Santa commercials are entertaining, and you can catch Best Buy’s Apple focused promotion after the break. Gifts Under $100 isn’t bad either.

[AppleInsider via TUAW]

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Tell Me Again How iPad Demand Is Waning

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster surveyed a few Apple stores on Black Friday and found that iPad sales per hour were 68 percent higher than they were a year ago. On average, the stores Munster visited sold about 14.8 iPads per hour, up from 8.8 iPads per hour last year, more than enough to support the analyst’s projection of 13.5 million iPads sold in the December quarter.

If you’re still not convinced that Apple sales are stronger than ever based on Gene Munster’s findings, you only have to look as far as Chris Whitmore from Deutsche Bank whom checked in with over 200 stores on Black Friday. Of around the one hundred Apple Stores he got in touch with, 75% of the stores were sold out of the iPhone 4S by the end of Black Friday. In AT&T and Verizon stores? 50% sold out (Sprint apparently had adequate stock).

According to AppleInsider:

Whitmore also found strong iPad and Mac sales in his own surveys, and in particular noted that consumers showed strong support for Apple’s thin-and-light MacBook Air. He said the entry-level 11.6-inch MacBook Air, aided by a 10 percent discount on Black Friday, was the most popular option in the MacBook Air lineup lineup.

The 11.6-inch MacBook Air, on sale for $898 on Black Friday, is a comfortable size and a great all-around laptop. If you were in the market for a new laptop, the $101 discount on MacBooks was nice to take advantage of. Similarly, iPads starting at $458 (a $41 discount) pushed many of the right buttons for savvy shoppers.