Tag Archives: Mac App Store

OS X “Mountain Lion” Preview

Mountain Lion IconIf you just got used to OS X Lion and how it works, get ready to expand what you’ve learned, Apple has released a developer’s preview of the next cat-themed operating system for the Mac; “Mountain Lion”. Just like the previous version, this new version has taken more bits out of iOS in appearance and functionality. Features included in this revamped OS will include iMessage, Game Center, Reminders and even Notifications right into the operating system.

Starting today, Mac developers are able to begin testing this latest version with an expected public release in the second or third quarter of 2012 – I’m going to guess it will be available in the summer 2012. While price has not yet been established, you can expect this to be readily available for download from the Mac App Store. Considering the OSX Lion was available for $30, I’m going to assume that the upgrade price will be fairly reasonable, if not free for those that already paid for the Lion update seven months ago.

In case you were paying attention in October 2011 when Tim Cook took centre-stage at the keynote address which unveiled the iPhone 4s, he was serious when he said that iCloud will be the company’s strategy for the ‘next decade’, and that’s clearly more evident with the iOS integration of this desktop OSX release.

Mountain Lion on Mac Devices

Here’s a short list of features you can expect from Mountain Lion:

Built-in iCloud integration. Setting up iCloud will be the second thing you do after setting up a new Mac with Mountain Lion. The big new thing in this version will be the ease with which you can access Documents in the Cloud, which will allow your documents created in Pages (or some other third-party apps) to be available on any Mac OS or iOS device.

iMessage on Mac. Many people have been asking for this, and finally we’re going to get it. The Messages app, which will appear very familiar to iOS users, replaces iChat. It’ll let you start a conversation on a Mac and continue it on a different device, like your iPhone or iPad.

Notes and Reminders. Any notes you make on a Mac or iOS device, along with any reminders you set for yourself, will show up on any of your Mac or iOS devices. Both apps can be searched and look easier to navigate with the additional screen space of a desktop. Notes can be “pinned” to your desktop.

Mountain Lion Notification CentreNotifications. Just like the drop-down Notification Center on iOS, the Mac is getting its own version in the top right corner of the screen. All reminders, app alerts, calendar appointments will appear there. And just like iOS, Mountain Lion Notification Center has its own swipe to bring up the window — two fingers right to left from the right edge of the trackpad.

Mountain Lion Sharing OptionsSharing from apps. That sharing arrow that appears in iOS apps? Apple has inserted it in many Mac applications and dubbed it Share Sheet. That button will let you share web pages, notes, videos, Quicktime files, docs and photos via email, Messages, AirDrop, Twitter or post photos or video to Vimeo or Flickr.

Twitter integration in the OS. This is kind of a big deal for Twitter. When you share something via Twitter in Mountain Lion, a Tweet Sheet pops up, which looks like an index card with whatever it is you’re tweeting attached via paper clip.

GameCenter. Apple’s social gaming network comes to the desktop, and brings with it a new opportunity for developers. With a new set of GameKit APIs, game creators can develop games for both Mac and iOS, so players can compete whether they’re on an Apple desktop or mobile device. Current Game Center-compatible iOS games will have to be converted to appear in the Mac App Store.

AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV. Just like an iPad or iPhone 4S, you will be able to mirror your Mac desktop on your TV via an Apple TV (as long as your Mac has an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor).

New security features. Gatekeeper lets users select settings to control which apps can be downloaded to a computer. You can choose to allow all apps, or only apps with a developer-signed ID program (run by Apple) to be downloaded. Or, for the most conservative choice, only apps from the Mac App Store.

Mountain Lion on IMac and MacBook Air

As you can see from all the feature seeing added, the heart of this newest OS X will be iCloud – it doesn’t matter where you start a game or save a document or note, it will be available for you anytime, on any device. Sounds a lot like the iPad or iPhone, now in desktop form. And why not? … This is strategically the way Apple plans to get more and more non-Mac users to make the switch and come on over.

Siri App IconOne glaring omission on this latest release is Siri; the personal assistant unveiled as an iOS standard app for iPhone 4S users, hasn’t been announced as part of this release. Likely since Apple feels like Siri is still in beta mode on the iPhone. I’m going to say that while Siri isn’t ready for a release in OS X yet, she will be making an appearance in the near future.

There you have it. Get ready for all this to be officially announced in March and/or June at Apple’s annual WWDC.

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Install OS X Lion on Multiple Machines

OS X Lion IconIf you’re a diehard Apple fan, like I am, you’ll likely have to install OS X Lion on more than one Mac. Since I just picked up my 27″ iMac on Friday, I figured it was time to update the OS on it and my MacBook Pro at the same time. I downloaded Lion through the Mac App Store, but then thought about how I didn’t want to pay another $29.99 when I installed it on my MacBook.

Lucky for me, I didn’t have to.

So I did a little digging and found out that as long as you have the Mac App Store authorized with the same Apple ID on each of your machines, you only need to pay once. Here’s how:

1. Download Lion

Launch the Mac App Store on the first machine. Buy the app and confirm your purchase by entering your Apple ID and password, then just wait for it to download the 3.5 GB installer.

OS X Lion Install Option

2. Install

After the download is complete, follow the instructions and begin the install process. (It took about 25 minutes on my i5 2.7 GHz iMac)

OS X Lion Install Progress

3. Download on Another Machine

Launch the Mac App Store on the second machine that needs the update and make sure you’ve logged in with the same Apple ID as you used for the first one. Follow these steps:

Click “Purchases” along the top of the App Store browser window

App Store Purchases Screen Shot

You’ll see a complete list of all Apps that have been purchased in the App Store with this account and the option to download each of them. In this case, choose OS X Lion and let the download begin (Again the size of the download is 3.5 GB)

Purchased List App Store Screen Shot

4. Install

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Faster and Cheaper Mac Mini Arrives for 2011

The 2011 Mac Mini DesignIn case you missed it. Apple unveiled a brand new (revised) Mac Mini at the same time it was launching OS X Lion through the Mac App Store. The best about about this mini, besides the quicker processor, easy internal access and HDMI ports, is the price tag; starting at $599 US and then going upwards to $799 and $999 configuration.

Now comes the bad news; No more optical drive. (Look again, I know I did) So if you used your Mac Mini to watch DVDs you’ll need to buy an external drive. This major design overhaul also makes installing older software on this mac mini a little more difficult, but not impossible. (It has USB ports so if you’re a pirate you’ll be able to still install your stuff) If you own the discs, you’ll have to create external DMGs and then load them through USB.

The new Mini comes pre-loaded with Apple’s latest OS X Lion (v10.7) and even though it has a few USB ports for using standard peripherals, you’ll likely want to buy Apple’s Magic Trackpad so you don’t have messy wires laying around.

Technical specs of the 2011 Mac Mini:

The 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU inside the $599 model we tested helped the system to feel quite snappy in anecdotal testing. And in our CPU-centric Cinebench test, which stresses all of a computer’s processing cores to measure raw CPU performance, the 2011 Mac Mini’s score of 8,741 was a fair bit ahead of last year’s Mini, which came in at 5,072.

Let’s take a look at the backside and see what kinds of connectivity it has.

2011 Mac Mini Connections

The standard, power, USBs are all there, but there’s new stuff too. The single HDMI port so you can hook this up to an HDTV and skip out on buying a monitor. A Thunderbolt port which allows you to chain up to 6 peripherals and boasts transfer speeds that are up to 20x faster than USB 2.0. And the card reader slot. For getting stuff off your SD cards.

Inside 2011 Mac MiniThe size is incredibly small at just 7.7 inches square and 1.7 inches thick. Ease of accessing the internals makes upgrading memory a breeze. The Mac Mini will come with a standard 500 GB hard drive, but you can opt for a bulkier 720 GB hard drive at extra cost. And you’ll either have 2 GB or 4 GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 ram pre-loaded but you can max out at 8 GB, should you need all that.

If you’re into burning CDs/DVDs and need that option you can buy the external USB-based MacBook Air SuperDrive for $79 US.

You can see that it stacks up nicely against the new MacBook Air and the revamped iMac. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly Mac this would be the one you’re after, but keep in mind of the added expense of wireless peripherals to get the most from the new OS X and likely upgrading the RAM so that it doesn’t get bogged down with heavy web browsing.

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OS X Lion Arrives in the Mac App Store Today

OS X Lion Banner
Today is the day! Long-awaited and talked about OS X Lion (Version 10.7) update has finally arrived. Available for download through the Mac App Store. And guess what? – It’s only $29.99 if you already own Snow Leopard.

I went into detail about what will be available with OS X Lion a while back, but today it’s officially released and ready for the public to dive into head first.

If you’re keeping track this will be the first ‘true’ test of just how simple the Mac App Store really is and how it will pave the way for Mac users to be able to get large programs/full applications without having to go out and buy the boxes and multiple discs at the Apple Store, which they’re discontinuing anyway.

OS X Lion IconsComfort, speed and ease! No lineups, no busy malls, nothing. To upgrade your Mac to OS X Lion, you don’t need to drive to a store, bring home a box, and install a bunch of discs. All you do is click the Mac App Store icon, buy Lion for $29.99, and your Mac does the rest. Just make sure you have what you need to download Lion to your Mac, so before you head over to the download, make sure your system meets the minimum requirements.

To upgrade today, you’ll need to:

  1. Make sure your Mac can run Lion.
    Your Mac must have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor to run Lion. Find out if your current Mac has one of these processors by clicking the Apple icon at the top left of your screen, then choosing About This Mac.
  2. Make sure you have the latest version of Snow Leopard.
    Get up to date with the latest version of OS X Snow Leopard to purchase OS X Lion from the Mac App Store. If you have Snow Leopard, click the Apple icon and choose Software Update to install Snow Leopard v10.6.8, the latest version.
  3. Download OS X Lion from the Mac App Store.
    Open the Mac App Store from your Dock to buy and download it. Then follow the onscreen instructions to install Lion.

If you’re already using Lion, let me know how you’re liking it in the comments or on Twitter @mac_addiction and let me know your initial thoughts.

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iCloud, oMy!

iCloud Apple IconIn case you missed it, iCloud is coming. I won’t go into a full round up of what that means, but I will say that it will change the way we store and share data with our devices (iOS followers rejoice).

If you’re like me, and have already (sort of) experienced the greatness of using a syncing service, like MobileMe, you’ll be excited about this FREE feature coming to all iDevices in the next iOS update, and OS X Lion.

The added benefit of 5GB through iCloud though, and the reason it’ll be a huge hit, is because of how easy it is to setup, use and update. Actually the updating part won’t even affect you… it happens automatically.

With MobileMe, users paid for a year of service ($99 US) and they could sync email, calendars, notes and contacts across their Apple devices. iCloud will feature that PLUS allow your Apps and stored media to sync as well. COOL!

That’s correct, no more having to download an App on your iPhone, then on your iPad and then on your MacBook when you get home. As soon as you confirm the download on one device, you iCloud will update the other devices to have them available there too when you’re ready to use them. No waiting for it to sync or update … it just ‘magically’ happens.

The in-app data will also sync through iCloud, so if you’re on level 56 in Plants vs. Zombies on your iPhone, when you switch to your iPad, you’ll still be on level 56. No more having to start over or wait until you get back on your iPhone to continue through the levels.

I believe that there’s a hidden intention with the release of iCloud, but I’ll update you on what that is when I get a chance to recap the also-announced iOS 5 coming soon. Let’s just say … Bye, bye, Windows.

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The Sleeping Lion

OS X LionWith all the rumours flying around about the iPhone Nano or pending iPhone 5, iPad 2 and countless other iDevices that are coming, there’s little talk about what we KNOW for sure is coming: OS X Lion (v 10.7) for you Mac.

Last week’s announcement of the latest line ups of the MacBook Pros was great news for anyone anxiously awaiting OS X Lion, due out this summer. And coincidentally enough, it was released for developers beta testing this past Friday, February 24, 2011.

From what I’ve gather so far, all Mac staff has been testing internally for at least the past month, which means that the release should be on schedule. But what does this latest OS mean for Mac users? … It means ALOT! I’ve highlighted some of the key features of what to expect when Lion drops this summer.

First off, if you own and iPad, consider OSX the greatness of the Mac OS combined with the magic of your iPad. The end result is OS X Lion.

Launchpad IconThe greatest new feature of the latest OS, will be known as Launchpad. Instant access to your apps – iPad style. Click the Launchpad icon on your dock and the open windows fade away, replaced by a full-screen display of all your apps. The great thing about navigating the newest OS X will benefit those using the Magic Trackpad …. you’ll be in full control with gestures. 3 and 4-finger swipes and you’re able to setup shortcuts to launch various apps with ease. A quick swipe allows you to see multiple pages of apps, and you can arrange them anyway you like (just like on the iPad)

Preview of Launchpad

Full Screen IconThe Mac App store is also an integral part of OS X Lion, but also you’ll be able to run full-screen apps also! Purchase apps right on your laptop/desktop without running out the local computer store to get your software and when you launch them, they’re not just part of a floating window. They’re full screen, just like any other application you’re running. You enter your iTunes ID and you’re ready to start buying!

Full Screen Preview

Mission Control IconMission Control. It’s like the “task manager” all PC users have been accustomed to, but instead of just holding the alt+tab button, now you can launch this new feature that display a comprehensive look at what’s running on your Mac. With this bird’s eye view of what’s giong on on your Mac, you can quickly jump from one full-screen app to the dashboard with just a click. No more wondering… you control it all!

Preview of Mission Control

Gestures IconGestures and animations also play a huge part as part of the new OS X. To take full advantage of this features you’re going to either have to be on a MacBook Pro or have Apple’s Magic Trackpad. You’re able to swipe from app to app with 4-fingers or forward and reverse in browser windows by using two fingers. You can zoom in and out by pinching and so on. Also all gestures will have a closely mimicked animation, so the action feels very fluid to the user with virtually no delay.

Gesture Sample

Additional features for OSX Lion:

  • Auto Save (Automatic back ups of your OS, so you never lose anything)
  • Versions (Think about the UNDO function, only better)
  • Resume (Pick up where you left off without re-launching an app a.k.a. multitasking on your iPhone/iPad)
  • Mail 5 (A newer, better version of Mail)
  • Conversations come to Mail (Chronological list order of email inboxes to appear as flowing conversations)
  • Air Drop (Send files to any other mac on your network even easier than before)
  • FileVault (A new level of protection, in case you needed it)

..and a slew of other features. For the complete list, you can visit Apple’s website. Developers can start testing here.

Looks like it’s going to be a great summer!

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Boxed Software, No More!

Boxes on Apple Retail Store Shelves

Looks like those bulky software boxes could be a thing of the past thanks to the success of the iTunes App Store and now the launch of the Mac App Store. No more CDs/DVDs to get your software, it’s all heading towards digital distribution.

No more waiting in line at the store to buy your software, or figuring out what to do with all the overpacking that comes with it. Now you can purchase your ‘app’ in the privacy and comfort of your own home and download it directly to your computer any time you wish.

Apple has confirmed that they are working towards eliminating boxed software in their retails stores and focusing on sales through the Mac App Store. When you buy a Mac at the Apple retail store an employee helps you setup your email accounts, walks you through the Mac App Store, setup an iTunes account with you and show you the basic pointers of owning a Mac.

Guiding new customers on how to buy their software from the Mac App Store. Brilliant!

Boxed software takes up too much floor space in stores that could be better used for iDevice accessories. The one hurdle that still needs to be figured out before the boxes are gone for good is how to get the bigger titles in the Mac App Store, like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.

The Mac App Store was introduced as part of the Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard update, but will be a key component in Mac OSX Lion which is due out this summer. I’m sure we’ll hear more about Lion at the WWDC.

Bye bye boxes. See ya!

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Mac App Store “Jailbroken”?

Mac App Store IconNews was fast and furious that the Mac App Store had been cracked just a few hours after it’s launch. (That was fast!) Hackers use a method known as “kickback” to replace the signature files on paid apps with those of free ones fooling the Mac App Store into thinking that the app have been paid for.

Additional reports suggest that the full implementation of this “jailbreak” hasn’t been publicized yet, to allow time for the Mac App Store to become more established without frustrating app developers creating the paid apps. (At least they’re trying to be somewhat courteous?)

The issue with creating content for the web, is that no matter how secure you try to make it, someone will find a way around your securities to get the content out there for free.

An interesting fact about the Mac App Store in case you missed it; there was over a million downloads on the first day of it’s launch back on January 6, 2011.

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Mac App Store Launches Today!

MacAir App Store Screen

Apple fans rejoice! The Mac App Store has finally launched.

What is the Mac App Store? Good question, it’s the same experience as the iOS users have on their iPhones and iPads but now available for your desktop Mac. You download the Mac App Store program and make purchases using your Apple ID (iTunes) username and password same way you would make purchases through the App Store on your iPhone.

The store launches with over 1,000 free and paid apps.

Sample pricing of some of the apps available are Apple’s own iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand for $14.99 each and other like Keynote for $19.99, with Aperture 3 priced at $79.99.

The Mac Store is available by downloading the latest Mac OS X update v10.6.6 or you can browse online at apple.com/mac/app-store

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