Not quite dead yet, Symbian gains a big update

Nokia’s decision to use Windows Phone 7 going forward disappointed many Symbian smartphone fans, but the company continues to support the community, releasing the Symbian Anna software update Thursday. Improvements abound in Anna, even as Belle, the next iteration, was leaked on video earlier this week.

This is what’s new in iOS 5 beta 2

iOS 5 beta 2 arrived late last week for registered Apple developers, and the update did more than just smooth things out. It also brought some changes to the way the OS looks, feels and acts, according to reports. Here’s a breakdown of the major changes.

Did Apple’s Latest Keyboard Update Make Things Worse?

Barely a week into the New Year I wrote an article entitled Magic Mouse Drains Keyboard Batteries. The clue is in the title. According to reports on the Apple Support forum, people were discovering that their diminutive Apple wireless keyboards were suddenly chewing through battery life faster than a first generation iPod in 2010. The Magic Mouse was blamed, and naturally, we wailed and gnashed our teeth.

Well, last night, Apple released version 1.1 of the Aluminum Keyboard Firmware via Software Update. And as a man almost ready to buy Energizer shares (anything to try to win back the cost of paying for high-performance batteries every week) its description sounded very promising.

“This firmware update improves battery performance of the 2007 aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard when used in combination with other bluetooth devices (eg. Magic Mouse, some bluetooth headsets) and addresses an issue with the 2007 aluminum Apple Keyboard and the 2007 aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard where a key may repeat unexpectedly while typing. The update also addresses other issues.”

Promises Promises; the Aluminum Keyboard Firmware Update

I can’t say I’ve ever experienced the “key repeat” problem but I most certainly have watched in dismay as my keyboard greedily depleted — in record time — every expensive battery I put in the thing. (Remember that scene in My Stepmother is an Alien when Celeste sucks the flashlight batteries dry? Exactly the same.) Read More about Did Apple’s Latest Keyboard Update Make Things Worse?

Firmware Update Could Maybe Resolve One of iMac’s Problems, At Least

If you’re having problems with your new 27-inch iMac, you’ll be interested to know that Apple (s aapl) released a fix via Software Update for the machines that’s said to resolve screen flicker issues. Now your expensive new purchase will only disappoint you in two or three other ways.

Many users are also reporting issues with cracked screens and yellow tinting on the displays, with a gradient from cool to warm as you move from top to bottom down the monitor. I had the latter issue on two replacement iPhone 3GSes, too, so I can’t help but wonder if Apple’s increased ability to move product isn’t affecting quality control. Read More about Firmware Update Could Maybe Resolve One of iMac’s Problems, At Least

Apple TV 3.0 Will Support iTunes LP and Extras, Needs More Still

Apple (s aapl) recently introduced two new formats, iTunes LP and iTunes Extras, which deliver additional content to album and movie purchases, respectively. Apple also only just updated the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions agreement, and AppleInsider spotted some key changes in that document that point to an upcoming Apple TV update that will support the new formats.

ituneslp-appletvIt seems inevitable that the new bonus material featured in LP and Extra releases, which includes things like photos, videos, mini-documentaries and commentary, would become accessible on Apple’s home theater device, but this is the first official confirmation that it is in fact on the way. It would seem to suggest that we’ll see the update sooner rather than later, too. Read More about Apple TV 3.0 Will Support iTunes LP and Extras, Needs More Still

Apple Releases Performance Update, Fixes Hard Drive Stalls

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Apple has released what it calls “Performance Update 1.0,” an update to its Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard) operating systems for selected iMacs and MacBooks.

As Apple describes it — in typically brief fashion — in its Support pages, “This update addresses intermittent hard drive related pauses reported by a small number of customers.”

Gotta love those detailed descriptions!

The update may be related to an EFI Firmware Update in June that some MacBook owners suspect was the cause of intermittent crashes and system freezes. This latest update may well put these problems to rest once and for all, except there’s something interesting about the name…that 1.0 suffix hints at the possibility of further revisions to come. A “Performance Update, Update” perhaps? Read More about Apple Releases Performance Update, Fixes Hard Drive Stalls

Apple Issues Fixes for Nagging Bluetooth, Hard Drive Issues

disk utilityPeople with MacBook Pros who opted for the speedier 7200RPM HD customization option can hopefully rest easy today, since Apple (s aapl) yesterday released a software fix to resolve reported problems related to odd noises being made by the drives. It was accompanied by a second update to resolve ongoing Bluetooth quirks.

Back in July, users started posting on support forums and message boards about audible clicking and beeping noises being made by the faster, optional 7200RM drives. While the update seems intended to fix these issues, reading Apple’s official blurb, it would seem like resting easy might actually be a tad premature. Apple Support claims that it “reduces certain infrequent noises.” Just “reduces?” We’ll have to wait and see what effect the update actually has, but it doesn’t sound to me like it will provide a total fix. Read More about Apple Issues Fixes for Nagging Bluetooth, Hard Drive Issues

Public Safety Advisory: How to Downgrade from Time Capsule 7.4.1

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I always upgrade all of my Apple (s aapl) firmware as soon as the updates become available. I’ve never had a problem with any of the new firmwares, and most of the time they improve whatever product I am upgrading. I’ve never had a problem, that is, until I upgraded my Time Capsule to the 7.4.1 firmware.

I use my Time Capsule as a NAS, not a router, so it stores all of my music, movies, documents and photos…all the important stuff. Since my Time Capsule is being used as an external hard drive for all the computers on the network, it is essential to have a fast connection. If you try to stream a movie or even music from a drive that you do not have a good connection to, the media will be choppy and could eventually stop streaming all together. Read More about Public Safety Advisory: How to Downgrade from Time Capsule 7.4.1

Quick Tip: Prolong Your MacBook Battery Life

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Having a laptop battery that drains quickly is one of the most annoying things I can think of. I bought a laptop over a desktop so I could use my computer anywhere and expect the battery to last enough time to get a decent amount of work done. Whenever I find something that can increase my battery life, I get excited. I recently stumbled across a firmware patch for MacBooks that does just that.

The patch was released in March 2009, but I did not find it until just now. According to Apple (s aapl): “This update improves the ability of MacBook batteries to maintain a charge when the system is shut down and not used for an extended period of time. For more information about this update, please visit this web site: About Battery Update 1.4.” Read More about Quick Tip: Prolong Your MacBook Battery Life