Archive for June, 2008

Adobe Announces Acrobat 9

June 11, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Last week Adobe announced Acrobat 9 and made it available for preorder. There will be three versions of Acrobat 9: Standard, Pro, and Pro Extended. Of these, only Pro appears to be available for Mac OS X. Many of the new features of Acrobat 9 focus on interactivity and multimedia. For example, Acrobat 9 will support embedded Flash content. Acrobat 9 Pro Extended allows you to add video, audio, demos, and more to Microsoft Powerpoint presentations. The big hook for lawyers using Acrobat is the idea of the paperless office. Acrobat 9 does add a few features that should help small businesses work without paper:

  • Create a PDF from the contents of the clipboard
  • Create a PDF from a portion of a webpage, keeping links and interactive content intact (unfortunately, this feature is for Windows and IE only)
  • Compare PDFs and highlight the differences
  • Combine multiple documents into a single PDF Portfolio
  • Create forms and track responses online at
  • Collaborate on a document using
  • Encrypt documents with 256-bit encryption

None of these are “must have” features in my mind. Everything except PDF comparisons can be done adequately in other ways. Still, having a single integrated tool is nice (instead of, for example, having to run PGP for encryption or send multiple documents in a zip file instead of a PDF portfolio).

iPhone Apps Are Coming!

June 10, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

With iPhone 2.0 right around the corner, details are starting to emerge about some of the iPhone applications we can expect to see. Leading off the list is mobile NetNewsWire. I am a little disappointed to not see Apple Briefs in their screenshots. But at least now I know I am not the only one who checks in every day to see how the lolcats are doing. Some GTD-goodness is headed to your iPhone soon via Things and OmniFocus. OmniFocus seems to be a little farther along – The Omni Group has a teaser page up complete with screenshots. Those pencil drawings of Things look pretty good, though (and I really like the idea of using stencils to plan an iPhone app).

WWDC Keynote: A Late Bloomer

June 10, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

The WWDC keynote speech started pretty slowly. Most of the first hour was devoted to things that:

  1. Only a developer would care about (which makes sense consider the venue, but still); and
  2. We already knew

To be more precise, the first hour of the keynote was spent on iPhone 2.0, the upgrade to the software of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Some interesting third-party applications were previewed, but nothing show-stopping. We did learn that the iPhone will support the viewing of Microsoft Office documents. That’s about all I took away from the first hour as a business user.

The new product announcements arrived about an hour into the keynote. They went pretty much according to the script too. Let’s take a look:

3G iPhone

There were plenty of (often contradictory) rumors swirling about the 3G iPhone. So what does the new iPhone have?

  • 3G for faster downloads
  • GPS
  • More battery life
  • A thinner body
  • A lower price (16GB for $299, 8 GB for $199)

Apple has posted the full specifications for the new iPhone on its website. If you took all of the rumored improvements and new features (with one exception), you would basically have the 3G iPhone. The one thing missing was a video camera for video iChat, but that rumor didn’t have a lot of credibility behind it. The new iPhones are nice, but I am not overcome with jealousy and feelings of obsoleteness yet.


MobileMe replaces the venerable and much-maligned .Mac service. MobileMe brings with it new web applications called Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery, and iDisk. Each does pretty much what you would expect based on the name. MobileMe also brings with it push email, contacts, and calendar to the iPhone. Apart from MobileMe, the only way to get the push experience on your iPhone is to use Microsoft Exchange. MobileMe brings push down into the realm of home users. I am hopeful that a future release of Mac OS X Server will allow for push service to iPhones without using either Microsoft Exchange or a email address.

A handful of resourceful people were able to figure out most of this last week. But it’s still nice to get the official word from Apple and see the demo. The announcement wasn’t all happiness though. With the transition to MobileMe, Apple will be removing its iCard service and web access to Safari bookmarks. I did not use the bookmark feature, but I often used the .Mac iCards because I found them much nicer (read: less tacky) than many of the other services out there. At least I get to keep my email address.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Rumors of a new version of Mac OS X surfaced in the last few days before the keynote. Snow Leopard would mark a departure from Apple’s stated intention to move to a longer release cycle (early versions of Mac OS X were released on almost a yearly basis). Leopard was released last, suggesting that 10.6 would not arrive until late-2009 or early-2010. To my dismay, the keynote came and went without any mention of Snow Leopard. But my disappointment was short-lived. Soon after the keynote Apple confirmed Snow Leopard and released some basic information about this new version of Mac OS X. The press release was followed up with a full-blown preview page with, well, just about the same information (but prettier!).

The press release mentions two new features worth talking about. First, Snow Leopard will include Microsoft Exchange 2007 support in Mail, Address Book, and iCal. This probably shouldn’t be a surprise considering the forthcoming Exchange support in iPhone. But I was still surprised. Second, Safari will include the “fastest implementation of Javascript ever.” Apple may be referring to the recently-announced Squirrelfish Javascript engine for Safari. Javascript speed seems to be one of the new benchmarks by which browsers are judged (with good reason in the age of Web 2.0 applications). But the real reason to check is Squirrelfish is its really cool logo (which longtime readers should know is of major concern here at Apple Briefs).

Apple plans to release Snow Leopard in about a year (suggesting a later release date than the rumors had predicted).

WWDC Rumor Roundup

June 5, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference is next week, and the rumors are flying! Rumored upgrades to three products have Mac and iPhone users on the edge of their seats.


The next version of the iPhone should be arriving soon. Everyone agrees that the new iPhone will be 3G (meaning faster internet access), but that’s about all they can agree on. If you pay attention to all the rumors, the new iPhone is supposed to have a larger screen and a smaller screen, be thicker and thinner, have better battery life and worse battery life, have GPS (or not), and have a video camera (or not). Is Apple coming out with more than one model or are most of the rumors wildly off base? The latter is almost always true with Apple rumors, but we expect to find out for sure very soon.

We’re also anxiously waiting for the software upgrade that will allow third-party applications to run on iPhones. This is no rumor, but we don’t know yet when the new software will be available. The latest word is that we should expect it sometime late June or early July.


An upgrade to .Mac has been talked about for quite some time. It’s easy to see why. The main thing that .Mac has going for it is iLife integration. But that appeals to only a small portion of Mac users, and it’s certainly of little use to business users. With the release of the 10.5.3 update, the prospect of a .Mac upgrade became more likely. Current rumors suggest that .Mac will be renamed to Me (with at least some parts of the service called Mobile Me) and sport many new features, including better online mail, calendar, and address book management. The new service may also have “push” email to iPhones much like the previously-announced Microsoft Exchange functionality that should arrive in the iPhone software upgrade. If the rumors are true, it would make .Mac a much more attractive service for small business owners.

OS X version 10.6

Catching many by surprise are the rumors that a preview version of Mac OS X 10.6 being distributed to developers at WWDC. If the rumors are true, the new version will be called Snow Leopard and will focus on performance and stability rather than features. It sounds more like a Service Pack in Windows-land, but there are technical reasons why Apple would need a major release (10.x) to pull off all the changes the new version is rumored to include. It’s all speculation at this point, but you can read more about it over at Ars.

Apple Posts Leopard Security Guide

June 3, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Our ethical obligations as lawyers makes computer security even more important than for regular computer users. Apple has stepped up with a very thorough Leopard security guide. The guide is not short, at 240 pages. It isn’t for the faint of heart, and reading it is like drinking from the security fire hose. The guide begins with background information about the Unix features that are the basis for OS X security. After that is a stream of recommendations and settings that can be used to improve security. The vast number of suggestions is difficult to absorb, but there are some nuggets to be found. For example, on page 145, the guide explains how to delete all Time Machine versions of a file. That could be important if you ever need to delete privileged or confidential information that you are no longer entitled to possess.

Obviously, the guide is aimed at more experienced Mac users. But, even novices might find the guide useful. Mac OS X is pretty secure right out of the box. But if you’re concerned about security, you might consider checking the guide before changing any of the default system settings to see if Apple has identified any potential security consequences.