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ExtraBITS for 29 July 2013

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This week in ExtraBITS, Bob Mansfield, Apple’s SVP of Technologies, has left the executive team at Apple, but is sticking around for “special projects.” After over a week of downtime, Apple’s Developer Center is mostly back online, with a new status page to track the availability of individual systems. If you have an old Newton sitting around, we have a guide on how to sync it with a modern Mac. Finally, Apple is reporting that there are now over a billion podcast subscriptions in the iTunes Store — a landmark number for the new medium.

Bob Mansfield Mysteriously Leaves Apple’s Executive Team -- Bob Mansfield, ostensibly Apple’s SVP of Technologies, was suddenly removed from Apple’s leadership Web site over the weekend. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told AllThingsD that Mansfield is no longer on Apple’s executive team, but is working on “special projects,” reporting directly to Tim Cook. Dowling would not say whether Mansfield is still SVP of Technologies. Paul Deneve, former CEO of fashion giant Yves Saint Laurent, joined Apple earlier this year, also to work on “special projects.” Mansfield had announced his retirement last June, but was convinced to stay for at least two more years, taking on a larger role after the ouster of SVP of iOS Software Scott Forstall. It should be noted that Mansfield’s departure is different from Forstall’s, who was placed in an “advisory role” until he left the company at the end of 2012 — Mansfield is set to remain at Apple for the foreseeable future.

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Apple Deploys Developer Center System Status Page -- It has been over a week since the Apple Developer Center Web site went offline, with no indication of when it will be fully back. However, Apple has created a status page displaying an itemized checklist of what services are online. (Alas, you can’t click the icons to bring services up and down!) In email to developers, Apple announced that it is prioritizing the order in which updated systems will be made available. Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles, Apple Developer Forums, Bug Reporter, pre-release developer libraries, and videos will be available first, followed by software downloads and remaining systems. (Most Developer Center systems have since come back online.)

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How to Connect a Newton (Really!) to a Modern Mac -- Writer and developer Matt Gemmell has detailed how to connect an Apple Newton to a contemporary Mac running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Sold by Apple from 1993 until 1998, the Newton was a groundbreaking handheld device that featured handwriting recognition but wasn’t commercially successful. If you have an old Newton kicking around, Gemmell advises acquiring the software and hardware required to connect it to your computer now, as it’s likely to become harder to obtain in the future. And if you’re just Newton-curious, Gemmell discusses some Newton emulators with which you can experiment.

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Apple Celebrates One Billion Podcast Subscriptions in iTunes -- The iTunes Store has reached one billion total podcast subscriptions, spread out over 250,000 separate podcasts. While not every podcast subscription is through iTunes — some are from third-party apps, such as Instacast — it’s still an indicator that podcasting is a booming medium. Despite the iOS Podcasts app having a rocky history and Apple discontinuing the Podcast Producer tool in OS X Server after Lion Server, podcast support remains prominent in many of Apple’s products, including GarageBand, iTunes, and the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Apple TV.

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