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Apple’s HomePod Speaker is Discolouring Wooden Surfaces

An Apple Homepod (shown from above)

While Apple Inc may be gaining plaudits for the audio quality of its new HomePod speakers, some users with wooden furniture are finding themselves less than thrilled with their new purchase, due to a surprising issue that has cropped up.

Numerous reports have surfaced online from disgruntled Apple customers that the HomePod's silicone base is leaving pale rings when placed on wooden surfaces. Though tests by Bloomberg News failed to replicate the issue, nor does it seem to be replicable with other materials such as glass, several other websites have backed up the wood discolouration claims.

Although Apple did not originally respond to requests for comment on the issue, it later informed Wirecutter that the company believes the issue is temporary and removing the speaker from the surface should restore the wood colour "within several days". In the event the marks remain, Apple suggested customers “try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.”

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    Ditch QuickTime on Windows – Apple Drop Support for Vulnerable Plugin

    A recent version of the Quicktime logo.

    A recent version of the Quicktime logo.

    Apple are dropping support for Quicktime, a plugin for viewing and streaming video, on Windows on account of no longer being useful.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has confirmed it'll no longer update or support Quicktime 7 for Windows.

    Way back when, QuickTime was a requirement to run iTunes, as the Quicktime code was used in part to provide the music streaming capabilities of the software, which resulted in many people who had iPods – and later, the iPhone – installing the plugin to their Windows PCs when they wanted them to properly work with their computers. As Apple notes on its support page, however, this situation changed in later versions of iTunes, and Quicktime has not been a requirement to run iTunes since October 2011.

    Despite not being relevant for iTunes any more, Quicktime continued to be useful to serve up video on the web. However, with HTML5 encouraging browsers to support video directly as part of the standard language of the internet, having a separate plugin for the ability now appears redundant. The combination of these two factors appears to have encouraged Apple to have made the decision to no longer support the plugin on Windows.

    The announcement comes a week after the Department of Homeland Security recommended Windows users uninstall Quicktime because of potential security holes, making Quicktime potentially vulnerable and use of it on Windows PCs a major security risk (these flaws do not affect the Mac OS version, which remains in support). Given its status as a potential security threat and the lack of any updates coming from Apple, many sources, including us at Technically Motivated, now recommend that Quicktime is removed from all Windows PCs as soon as possible.

    For those who are unsure how to, Apple's official support pages offer a guide for how to remove Quicktime from Windows PCs. Apple have been reached for comment to confirm the Wall Street Journal's report.

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    Acknowledgements: Quicktime and The Quicktime Logo is a more...
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    [Review] Clean and Optimize Your Mac with Free MacClean 2

    DISCLAIMER: The following guest post was written by one or more authors who work for or have affiliations with iMobie, Inc – who are the developers of MacClean 2. While Technically Motivated has taken steps to ensure facts represented in the article are accurate, we take no responsibility for any claims written herein. Furthermore, as Technically Motivated does not engage in any sponsorship activities, the following article should not be seen as an endorsement of MacClean 2 or any other products.

    Apple has historically claimed that Macs don’t need any cleaning or maintenance unlike Windows-based computers, and you can easily clean out anything unneeded from your Mac manually. However, it takes time and energy. Plus there will always be files left behind, such as the leftovers after you uninstall an application. MacClean 2, a free & intelligent Mac cleaning tool makes it easy and smart to optimize your Mac performance.

    MacClean Main Features

    MacClean 2 updates the previous cleaning and combines a bunch of utilities into a single program. It focuses on removing unneeded files and maintaining peak performance for your Mac. MacClean 2 is divided into two sections: “Smart Clean” and “Utilities”. Here’s a quick compendium of each section.

    Smart Clean:

    You’d be surprised at how many junk files are stored in your Mac and how much better your Mac will perform afterwards by performing the Smart Clean. It helps clean out a variety of space-consuming junk files like Internet Junk, User Junk, System Junk, Development Junk, Trash Bin, and Application Junk. It will definitely speed up the Mac after eliminating a myriad of junk files.

    MacClean Smart Clean Overview

    MacClean Smart Clean Overview

    • Internet Junk – Remove cache, cookies, web browsing history, download history, browsing sessions, site preferences and more from Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

    • User Junk – Delete user cache files, user log files, user setting preference, and iOS photo caches to make more room for Mac.

    • System Junk – Clean out system cache files, system log files, and system preferences generated by the Mac operating system.

    • Development Junk – Clear the development junk files generated during the app installation or debugging process.

    • Trash Bin – Remove the junk files from both your internal and external hard drives.

    • Application Junk – Locate and delete the app leftovers after you uninstall an app as well as the incompatible applications on your Mac.



    MacClean 2 comes with a wealth of OS X utilities that can help maintain the system. The 9 utilities on offer include: old & large files finder, duplicates finder, file eraser, iPhoto clean, language clean, binary junk remover, app uninstaller, extension manager and trash sweeper.

    MacClean Utilities Overview

    MacClean Utilities Overview

    • Old & Large Files – Locates both the large and old files that haven’t been opened for a long time in a specified folder.

    • Duplicates Finder – Helps find duplicate files including documents, pictures, music, movies, etc.

    • File Eraser – Offers you three standards to safely erase unwanted files from Mac to protect your privacy.

    • iPhoto Clean – Clean up your iPhoto Library by eliminating unneeded copies of previously edited images.

    • Language File Clean – Easily remove the unnecessary language files of the multilingual applications on your Mac.

    • Binary Junk Remover – Reduce app size and boost performance by removing unnecessary binaries.

    • App Uninstaller – Uninstall apps without leaving any associated data and files.

    • Extension Manager – View, allow, stop, and remove any plugins and extensions on Mac.

    • Trash Sweeper – Allows you to completely and safely delete Trash files from your Mac.


    If you are not an advanced Mac user and don’t know how to manually optimize your Mac performance, or you want to save some time, this free & all-around system maintenance utility MacClean is what you need. You’ll definitely free up some storage space on your Mac and even boost the Mac speed in no time.


    Apple may be working on a new Apple TV Box with Native Gaming Capabilities

    Rumours by several sources suggest Apple may currently be working on a whole new set-top box as a successor to current Apple TV boxes, with updated hardware and software to support many more types of content and improve the slickness of the whole experience. But a separate report out today from iLounge says that Apple also plans to cater for the growing number of app developers and iOS users using the boxes as pseudo-game consoles, with plans to introduce native gaming support to the Apple TV, along with direct support for game controllers.


    With Apple’s AirPlay technology allowing not just video and music, but also direct streaming of anything that happens on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch onto a TV Screen via an Apple TV box, many users have started taking advantage of the feature to show their small-screen games on TV while they play them on their iDevice. And with Apple allowing iOS app developers to build experiences that employ the Apple TV in specific ways; and iOS games taking advantage of this more and more to provide multi-screen gaming experiences (not unlike the Wii U combining TV and Gamepad), Apple TV is quickly turning into a games console in its own right – but there’s a problem. Streaming games from screen to screen adds a noticeable lag – around a tenth of a second – between the two devices, which for high-action gaming like shooters; or games that require fast reactions like racers, can completely kill the game play. Also, even for games with direct Apple TV support, using controllers other than the iDevice running the game requires those controllers to be paired with the device, not the Apple TV itself, introducing further lag.


    Now though, it’s been suggested that Apple are looking into furthering the ability of Apple TV to play games, with sources such as iLounge claiming that planned software updates will introduce the ability to install games directly on the Apple TV box itself, as well as direct support for game controllers. 9to5Mac, who have a high level of accuracy regarding Apple rumours, claim knowledge that Apple may be planning to directly implement the Apple iStore into a future Apple TV refresh, lending some suggestion as to how the former may be achieved – but stop short of suggesting the updates are anything to do with gaming, instead suggesting the new hardware will be a refresh with a focus on improving the speed and user experience.


    Apple have declined to comment on any of these rumours.


    The current Apple TV last received a significant update in March, 2012, so it’s due for a refresh. Though no date for the supposed new Apple TV has yet been suggested – either by Apple or by rumourmongers – the suggestion from the latter is to expect a launch in Spring or Summer 2014. With Apple generally preferring Autumn for major announcements on the iPhone/iPad side of things these days, that timing would make a lot of sense as a way to keep up interest in Apple throughout the year.


    Parents now allowed to claim compensation for in-app purchases targeted to their children

    After a legal battle lasting several months, on Febuary last year Apple lost a landmark case filed by parents across the United States, which claimed iOS Apps targeted to younger children were often including downloadable content or extra features that required in-app purchases to unlock; for which the apps were actively encouraging the children to purchase the extra content without adequately explaining that they cost actual money. Many of the children were of too young age to understand the concept of in-app purchasing; and the claim by parents that Apple did not offer enough protections to prevent unauthorised purchases by the children of parents who owned iOS devices or explain that they were about to actually purchase items with real money was upheld in court.

    As per the terms of the settlement, Apple were instructed to offer parents worldwide the ability to make claims as individuals for compensation as a result of the negligent practices. Today, Apple sent an email to the press announcing that they will now accept compensation claims made directly to the company from individual parents who have been affected by this case.

    Parents can claim for the total cost of any string of in-app purchases made within 45 days of each other, up to the date where Apple implemented repeat password requests or disclaimers to counteract such activity. Of course, there IS a catch: Claims for under $30 will qualify only for a $5 iTunes Voucher as compensation; however, larger transactions may have the total of all valid disputed transactions refunded as cash. What's more, there's a deadline of January 13th, 2014 for at least some types of claim.

    Were you affected by this case? Or do you have an opinion on Apple's compensation strategy? Leave your thoughts in our comments!


    Apple claim “record-breaking” new iPad launch sales; won’t say which device sold more

    In a rather bullish release yesterday (5th November), Apple announced that in the week of the iPad Mini's launch, both it and the iPad 4 amassed a total of three million sales in just three days, doubling the 1.5 million sales of the iPad 3 in its first weekend in March.

    CEO Tim Cook called the sales "record-breaking", adding: “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis."

    However, close analysis of the figures reveals some hidden details. At the time of the iPad 3's launch, Apple only targeted 12 countries in the launch window; the new devices target 34. Given a near-200% increase in market size from launch, a significant increase in sales is only expected.

    In addition, while the iPad 3's launch was a single device, the iPad Mini's launch introduces two products at the same time. Interestingly, Apple's announcement offers no breakdown of sales for the individual devices, rather treating both as almost a single entity. Many analysts are taking this as a sign that the iPad Mini is, as many had predicted, a slow burner which is not yet drawing much interest; though it is hard to say for sure, as in absence of a breakdown it is impossible to state for certain whether the predicted "1 to 1.5 million" sales of the Mini were in fact achieved – and given the reports of a lack of queues for the new device (unusual for an Apple product launch) and constant rumours of high return rates, there's always the possibility that this is simply an attempt to hide potential embarrassment to the company.

    In all cases, it was the WiFi-only version of the tablet that went on sale. Cellular versions of both products will hit the stores in a few weeks. Given that early Apple customers tend to be those who care more for a device's specifications than its price, in the absence of a breakdown the likely assumption is Apple may be keeping its hold in the top end of the market where the iPad 4 sits, but failing to make a dent in the cheaper 7 inch tablet market where they want to make an impact. What do you think?


    Tweetbot – The iOS Twitter Client made for Retina displays

    With the new MacBook Pro Retina, Apple have gone all out in trying to convince the public that retina displays are the word in high-quality graphics. It’s hard to disagree – in theory, retina displays allow for sharper, crisper graphics with higher pixel counts. But that’s only if developers take advantage of them. Regular apps that are designed specifically for lower resolutions or less sharp screens often end up looking blurry on these better quality displays – as many people downloading apps to their new MacBook are discovering:

    Seriously, Mac developers, you need to get up to speed on your Retina versions, because some of your apps are really bad looking now. – Jesus Diaz, Gizmodo

    One of the apps this is most noticeable on is the official Twitter app for Mac, which on retina displays often becomes blurry to the point of unreadable. Twitter may well already be working on a new version to fix this – but until then, if this is a problem for you, the good folks at TapBots have a solution.

    Tweetbot is a third-party Twitter client by TapBots that’s optimised specifically for retina screens, offering a similar interface to the official client, but with some additional options; and with a much sharper, clearer overall look. Currently in alpha (meaning it may not work solidly all of the time yet), the app is already proving to be a popular replacement to the official Twitter client at this time. Want it? Get it at [Tapbots]!

    Thanks, Lone!


    Apple fined US$2.29 mln over Australian iPad’s inaccurate ‘4G’ claims

    Apple has been fined Aus$2.25 million (US$2.29 million) for "deliberately" misleading Australian consumers about the local 4G capability of its latest iPad.

    The tech giant was also ordered to pay Aus$300,000 in costs by the Federal Court in a case brought by regulators, who said the penalty sent a message to global companies that there were consequences for breaching the law.

    Justice Mordy Bromberg found that Apple misled people with claims in its advertising implying that the "iPad with WiFi + 4G" could connect with fourth generation cellular networks in Australia, when it could not.

    The judgment ruled that the company engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public and contravened Australian consumer law.

    "The conduct concerned was deliberate and very serious," Bromberg said on Thursday.

    "It exposed a significant proportion of Australian consumers of tablet devices to a misleading representation."

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which initiated the proceedings, said it was delighted with the outcome.

    "The $2.25 million penalty reflects the seriousness of a company the size of Apple refusing to change its advertising when it has been put on notice that it is likely to be misleading consumers," chairman Rod Sims said.

    "This decision should act as a renewed warning that the ACCC will continue to take action against traders who take risks in their advertising, regardless of their size."

    Apple offered in March to refund customers who felt they had been duped, and to publish a clarification about the popular tablet's capabilities.

    The product is now advertised outside North America as "Wi-Fi + Cellular" — a change that came into effect on May 12 — with a clear caveat on its Australian site that "it is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE and WiMax networks."

    The iPad's 4G capabilities are supported by some networks in the US and Canada.

    Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property at the Australian National University, said Apple had been "careless".

    "It shows some of the dangers involved in overhyping products and sets a very important precedent," he said, adding that other countries would take note of the outcome.

    Asked if it could open the floodgates to similar law suits elsewhere, he said: "It all depends on the nature of consumer regulations in each country."

    Earlier this month, Apple agreed to settle the case with the ACCC.

    But Bromberg delayed an official ruling until he had details on how many iPads had been sold and were returned under the refund offer and further information on Apple's financial position.

    He said Thursday the risk of contravening Australian consumer law would have been "reasonably obvious" to Apple.

    "In that context, and in the absence of any other explanation, the facts to which I have just referred suggest that Apple's desire for global uniformity was given a greater priority than the need to ensure compliance with the Australian consumer law," he said.

    "Conduct of that kind is serious and unacceptable."

    The iPad was the world's best-selling tablet in the first three months of 2012, outgunning its Android-powered rivals, with sales more than doubling from a year earlier to send Apple's profits soaring.

    Apple was not immediately available for comment.

    [Via Yahoo News]


    Rumourbusters: iPad 3 Reveal

    As expected, Apple announced its latest iPad – merely referred to as the “the new iPad” or the “third-generation iPad”, thus giving no clues as to its final name as yet – at an invitation-only event in San Francisco to a crowd of happy journalists, live-bloggers and business types; and a good bit new about the latest iPad was revealed. But how much of it did the public already call – and were all the calls right?

    For weeks before Wednesday’s unveiling of the new iPad, the rumour mill had been speeding at Bugatti Veyron pace. We at Technically Motivated therefore felt it would be useful to act as our own version of the Mythbusters, and determine how many of these rumours are confirmed or busted.

    So, without further ado, in alphabetical order:

    4G/LTE wireless connectivity: Confirmed. As well as the usual Wi-Fi only models that every iPad generation has had, there will also be an option Read the rest of this entry »


    Hackers expected to focus on Google and Apple in 2011

    As it assesses the forthcoming threat vectors for 2011, IT security giant McAfee is predicting that Internet TV platforms, in particular Google TV and Apple TV, will be high among the list of targets for emerging threats in 2011. In fact, McAfee say that its list comprises 2010’s most talked about platforms and services, including not just Apple TV and Google TV but also Google’s Android, Apple’s iPhone, foursquare, and the Mac OS X platform. These are all expected to become major targets for cybercriminals as they get more popular.

    Focusing on potential privacy leaks from TVs, McAfee says that new Internet TV platforms were among some of the most highly-anticipated devices in 2010. Due to the growing popularity among users and “rush to market” thinking by developers, McAfee expects an increasing number of suspicious and malicious apps for the most widely deployed media platforms, such as Google TV. McAfee believes that these apps will likely target or expose privacy and identity data, and will allow cybercriminals to manipulate a variety of physical devices through compromised or controlled apps, eventually raising the effectiveness of botnets. With Internet-enabled TVs getting close to matching smartphones or low-powered computers in their technical abilities, it’s only a matter of time before they are exploited in some way, and many of the possible vulnerabilities of connected TV and IPTV services have only just begun to emerge. It is likely we’ll learn more about the risks as time progresses.

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