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August is here and so far it's been a crazy ride this week, with plenty of updates for our favorite gadgets as we start to wind down our summer. Of course, the rumor mill continues to barf up speculation on the next iPhone and the mythical "iPad mini" and now AT&T is being accused of having salesmen discourage customers from buying Apple's handset. So let's get past this hump day with a handful of other news for this wonderful Wednesday, August 1, 2012!
When the new Ivy Bridge MacBooks rolled out at WWDC back on June 11, Apple promised a Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter would join its Ethernet-packing sibling sometime in July. That month has come and gone, but we won't consider it a promise broken since the aforementioned FireWire Adapter has finally turned up for order on Apple's online store. As promised, it carries a $29 price tag and current ship times are showing one to three days at this writing. You'll need this to attach any FireWire peripherals to your new MacBook Pro with Retina Display or MacBook Air, but be sure you install OS X Lion 10.7.4 or later first.
Although Google Wallet hasn't exactly changed the world with its NFC-connected mobile payment platform, the search giant continues to roll out new features for Android lovers. As noted by the Android Official Blog, a new update to the Google Wallet app today finally allows the service to use any credit or debit card from Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover, and the app will even grab existing payment methods tied to your Google account and bring them into the fold without having to add them manually. The Google Wallet app is now cloud-based, so payment cards are securely stored on the company's servers. While that might scare some users, it has the advantage of remote disabling any of your mobile wallet payment methods from the Devices section of your online wallet, so Google Wallet is actually more secure than ever. Here's hoping the rumors of an NFC-equipped new iPhone come true so we can finally get this app on iOS as well...
Another day, another company 'fessing up to a security bugaboo. The Dropbox Blog is following up with a post this week on recent customer complaints about spam being received at email addresses dedicated to the Dropbox service. At first the company denied a breach, but the July 31 post finally clears the air. "Our investigation found that usernames and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a small number of Dropbox accounts," the blog notes. "We’ve contacted these users and have helped them protect their accounts." The cloud storage company is also beefing up its security, adding optional two-factor authentication (which requires two proofs of identity when signing in), a new page for examining all active logins to your account and in some cases, a requirement for changing your Dropbox password. Two-factor authentication won't go live for a few weeks, but meanwhile the company has "automated mechanisms" in place to "help identify suspicious activity" -- and promises even more to come in the future.
MacRumors is reporting that the Apple online store is now offering MacBook Pro with Retina Display buyers more variety when using the build-to-order configuration options when ordering. That means the $2199 base model can now be beefed up with a faster processor, more RAM and bigger flash storage, same as the more expensive model. Shipping estimates are still falling within one to two weeks as Apple continues to catch up to demand. Apple's online store also now gives buyers of the iWork suite the option to have the Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps preinstalled, which is a nice bonus for newbies.
The Google Chrome Blog has announced the availability of a new stable release of the Chrome browser, and it's definitely one that MacBook Pro with Retina Display owners are going to want. In addition to a new getUserMedia API which allows web apps to access your camera and microphone without a plugin, the update adds support for Retina Display screens on the Mac on top of expanded support for gamepads and deeper Google Clound Print integration. Chrome users will want to check out the new Webcam Toy and Magic Xylophone experiments in Chrome Web Lab which take advantage of the new webcam API, but first you'll need to open your Chrome browser and let the update install. But you already knew that, right?
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