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Briefly: Mac OS X 10.6.5, Windows Phone 7, possible worker poisoning

Just three days after the last build, Apple has released another beta for Mac OS X 10.6.5, and Microsoft has released a beta of its Windows Phone 7 Connector syncing application for Mac. Finally, Chinese workers who claim to have worked on Apple products have been hospitalized due to poisoning from chemical vapors.

Mac OS X 10.6.5

Mac OS X 10.6.5 is expected to arrive ahead of iOS 4.2, which is scheduled for a November release and will debut the new AirPrint wireless printing feature for Apple's mobile devices. Given that previous builds of the update have usually come within one week of each other, the latest release, which came a mere three days after the previous beta, could signal that the Mac OS X 10.6.5 is nearing completion.

The Delta Update of the beta, labeled build 10H563, is reportedly a 616.5MB download. There are no known issues with the build, and focus areas for the release include: 3D Graphics, Printing, QuickTime, Time Machine, USB Devices.

Windows Phone 7

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac beta enables users to sync their iTunes and iPhoto media, including "music, photos, videos and podcasts," to Windows Phone 7 handsets, although no mention is made of a contact syncing feature. The 5MB download requires Mac OS X 10.5 or above.

Earlier this month, Microsoft UK executive Oded Ran posted to Twitter "confirming" that Microsoft would be bringing its Zune software to the Mac to sync with Windows Phone 7, but the post was quickly deleted.

"ANNOUNCEMENT: I'm glad to confirm that Mac users would be able to use Zune on their Macs to sync with #WP7," said the tweet. "More details soon."

It is unclear whether Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac is a long-term option for syncing Windows Phone 7 handsets with Macs, or just a temporary solution while Microsoft finishes the rumored Zune for Mac software.

Microsoft unveiled nine Windows Phone 7 handsets on Oct. 11. Early reviews of the new OS and phones were mixed, although reviewers have been impressed by new interface elements from Microsoft.

Worker Poisoning

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. is reporting that some factory workers in southern China have become "seriously ill" after working on what may have been Apple laptops and iPhones. Workers say they were hospitalized after breathing toxic n-hexane vapors in a poorly ventilated factory.

Author Stephen McDonell was unable to confirm whether the factory in question is an official Apple supplier or one of many Chinese factories supplying fake versions of the company's devices. "[The workers] say they were using n-hexane to glue and polish the logos on Apple products - at least they assumed they were not fakes," wrote McDonell.

One of the workers kept logos to "prove that they were working on Apple products," the report notes.

Earlier this year, Apple supplier Wintek came under fire after reports surfaced that at least 62 workers had been hospitalized because of exposure to n-hexane. In May, Wintek announced that it had stopped using the chemical and that all affected workers had been treated.

Apple has ramped up efforts to improve factory and worker conditions by mandating a "Supplier Code of Conduct" in its contracts with suppliers, increasing factory audits and issuing an annual supplier responsibility report.