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Friday, December 24, 2010, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

No contract iPhone in China; Mac App Store search in 10.6.6, iCal alerts on me.com

China Unicom today will begin offering customers the option of a contract-free iPhone 3GS. Meanwhile, Mac OS X 10.6.6 will be capable of searching the Mac App Store for apps to open unsupported file types. And Apple has launched iCal alerts on Me.com.

No-contract iPhone in China

In a bid to compete more aggressively with rivals China Mobile and China Telecom, China Unicom said Saturday that it will immediately begin offering customers the option of a contract-free 8GB iPhone 3GS for 3,999 yuan, or roughly $600 U.S. dollars.

Monthly services plans for the handset will reportedly include between 33 yuan ($5) and 58 yuan ($9) in complimentary phone expenses each month, depending on the customer's choice of service plan.

Mac OS X 10.6.6 Mac App Store search

Apple plans to include some rudimentary integration between its upcoming Mac App Store and the next maintenance release of Mac OS X 10.6, according to discoveries made a MacGeneration forum member.

Mac OS X 10.6.6, due for release in the next few weeks, will offer users the option of searching the Mac App Store for applications when it runs into an unsupported file type for which no application has previously been assigned.

Mac App Store


As can be seen in the French-language screenshot above, attempting to open a file with an ".mkv" extension in build 10J537 of Mac OS X 10.6.6 displays a dialog box which says, "There's no application set to open the document [filename].mkv. Search the App Store for an application that can open this document, or choose an existing application on your computer."

In this case, the ".mkv" extension stands for a Matroska Video File and searching the Mac App Store — due to launch on January 6th — would return applications capable of opening the file, such as VLC player for Mac.

Calendar Alerts Now Available on me.com

Apple announced Thursday that its new MobileMe Calendar web application now includes the ability to set and edit alerts to remind you of upcoming events.

"Like the calendar alerts you can already set on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC (with Outlook), they will be displayed on whichever device you're using to remind you that an event is about to start," the company said. "You will also receive the alerts on the web at me.com as long as you have the Calendar web application opened in a browser window or tab, even if you are viewing another web page."