Parallels 8 virtualization software announced, available September 4, free upgrade to recent Parallels 7 customers

Parallels just announced the availability of its next generation of virtualization software for the Mac. Although details are scant at this point, it is safe to assume it is optimized for Mountain Lion and Windows 8.

Notable: If you purchase/purchased Parallels 7 after July 25 (Mountain Lion’s release date), you are eligible for a free copy of Parallels 8. Not too shabby.

Buy a FULL or UPGRADE version of Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac TODAY and you will receive an upgrade to our next version at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE.

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More on the “TechGuarantee” here…or just download a free trial. Read more

Apps & updates: Things 2.0, Foursquare, Pixelmator, Pomodorable, PDF Expert, more

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On top of a few great game deals, including savings on Shift 2 Unleashed for iPad and the Mass Effect Infiltrator iOS app, there are  a number of noteworthy apps and updates hitting the App Store today. We will update the list, as always, throughout the day.

Things 2.0: One of the leading iOS and Mac productivity apps was updated today to version 2.0 with a ton of new features. Included in the update is “Things Cloud”. It is a cloud service that syncs your to-dos across Macs and the iOS client. A new Daily Review feature makes important to-dos appear when you need them, and a “revolutionary scrolling Date Picker makes selecting dates more natural than ever.” The UI has also been updated along with a new engine that provides “blazingly fast Things Cloud performance.” These and other new features and improvements are included in the Things for iPad app.

Things 2.0 (Mac App Store): In addition to free updates to the iOS versions of Things, the Mac App Store client was updated today to version 2.0. The update includes the “Things Cloud” service mentioned above, allowing you to sync across platforms, while other new features include a “Daily Review” that presents important to-dos for the day, full Mountain Lion support, Retina graphics, full-screen mode, a number of other enhancements.

Pixelmator version 2.1: Popular image editor Pixelmator was updated on the Mac App Store today with a much needed Retina-ready UI and image-editing engine, iCloud support to keep projects up to date on multiple machines, as well as a new effects browser containing “new Vintage, Miniaturize, Black and White, Rain, and Snow effects.” Also included in the update is full OS X Mountain Lion support and alignment guides to “quickly position, align, and evenly distribute objects in your Pixelmator compositions with pinpoint accuracy.”

Tweetdeck version 1.5.3: Today’s massive update to the popular Mac Twitter client brings a slew of user-interface enhancements such as the ability to use the Columns button to quickly jump to any position. Users can also navigate the arrow buttons to scroll left and right several columns at a time, use swipe gestures on the trackpad to scroll, access key user and Tweet actions from the new actions menu, and fit more columns on screen by enabling Narrow Columns in Settings. The update also boasts improved animations for tweets and column management, performance improvements, and many bug fixes.

Pomodorable version 1.0: Released on the Mac App Store today, Pomodorable is a task management app that its developers said takes a “fresh approach to managing to do lists” by taking full advantage of Notification Center, Notes, Reminders, and other Mountain Lion features. While at first glance it might appear to compete with Things, the app actually includes support for Things and OmniFocus. It allows you to view tasks from those apps within the Pomodorable, and the app is 50 percent off for a limited time following today’s launch.

PDF Expert version 4.2: Readdle’s PDF Expert app was updated recently with a new “Presentation Mode” that allows you to connect an iPad to a projector ” and make interactive non-linear presentations” with content from PDFs, videos, and images. The update also includes live annotation tools, new annotation colours, and a number of other improvements.
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OS X Game Center launches with few, yet notable, game titles

One of the big new features in OS X Mountain Lion is the Game Center. This Game Center is cross platform between OS X and iOS. Unfortunately, only a few compatible titles have made their way into Mac App Store for today’s launch. However, some of them are very notable. Some of our favorites include Real Racing 2, Sky Gamblers, and Cut the Rope.

Oh, and don’t forget about… Chess!

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Want to make a Mountain Lion USB stick or SD Card Installer? Here’s how

Apple will not offer a USB or Optical Disk external installer to Mountain Lion (as far as we have heard). That does not mean you cannot sneaker net the install around your home, office or lab like Apple Store employees do (sometimes). Lion Diskmaker has been updated to allow you to make a bootable USB or SD Card installer on a 8GB piece of media.

The process is straightforward:

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Mountain Lion is live at the Mac App Store for $19.99

As Apple previously announced during its Q3 2012 earnings call yesterday, Mountain Lion is officially available for download in the Mac App Store for $19.99. The download is exclusive to the Mac App Store this year, as we mentioned before, because Apple will not sell the OS via USB sticks or optical discs. The $20 price tag is a $10 drop from Lion, however, and the single purchase will is good for up to five macs via the Mac App Stores purchased apps feature.

Unfortunately, for those planning to try Mountain Lion in an Apple retail store before upgrading, we reported last night that some Apple Stores had issues getting the OS on in-store demo Macs. There are also many users reporting error messages when trying to download from Apple’s servers. Before you make the switch to 10.8, you might want to check out the list of compatible Mountain Lion apps to make sure you will not run into any problems.

Apple’s full press release is below:

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RoaringApps tells you what apps are compatible with OS X Mountain Lion, just in time for tomorrow’s launch

Tomorrow, after much excitement, Apple will officially launch OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion for $19.99 to the public on the App Store. A new operating system certainly brings a ton of new features. However, there is always the lingering possibility that your favorite app may not be compatible. Just before the launch of Lion last year, we told you about a website called RoaringApps. As Mountain Lion is unleashed from its cage tomorrow, here is a little reminder on exactly why RoaringApps is so useful.

RoaringApps is a free website that allows you to check the compatibility of your apps with Mountain Lion. The website provides a long table of apps (it is a ton) that displays what apps are supported on the new OS X and whether the app is available on the App Store. If you are planning to upgrade to Mountain Lion tomorrow, this is definitely a website worth checking. The website organizes apps by name, and it has a search function to make things easy. [RoaringApps]

On a related note, how many of you plan to purchase Mountain Lion tomorrow? Is anyone holding off?

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Reminder: Mountain Lion will be free for 30 days for new Mac owners

Update 2: After a brief time online, Apple appears to have taken down the form to request a copy of Mountain Lion. You’ll still be able to request a copy at Apple’s original link following Mountain Lion’s official release.

Update: As noted by MacRumors, Apple’s form to request a free copy of Mountain Lion for new Mac owners is already live on the company’s website. After entering details about your purchase, personal details, and the serial numbers of your new Mac, Apple sends two emails —one with a password protected redemption code and another containing the password— to open it. The redemption code is not yet working in the Mac App Store.

Apple previously confirmed, when it unveiled the new Retina MacBook Pros and refreshed Mac lineups, that Mountain Lion would be available for free to those who purchased a Mac after June 11 through the Up-to-Date program. Since then, Apple has updated its website to confirm the free copy will be available to new Mac owners for 30 days from the release date, which will likely be sometime after tomorrow’s Q3 earnings call. Those who purchase a new Mac following Mountain Lion’s release will also have 30 days to claim their copy on Apple’s website.

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Apple Store overnights happening July 24. Mountain Lion launch the next day?

We’ve heard a few whispers (3 and counting) that Apple Stores both in the United States and overseas have planned overnights for Tuesday, July 24th. With OS X Mountain Lion launching “in July”, according to Apple, we believe that it is sensible to speculate that this overnight may point to a public launch the following day.

This purported launch would be July 25th, a date that we speculated when Apple announced that its Q3 2012 earnings would be announced on the 24th. For OS X Lion’s launch last year, Apple announced the July 20th release at its July 19th Q3 2011 earnings announcement. It appears that Apple may follow that same pattern this year.

This year, Mountain Lion isn’t being launched alongside hardware (last year new Minis and Airs launched with Lion) so there is less setup required and accordingly, we’re hearing that the overnights will be smaller.  One employee tells us that it is basically just a few guys running around with the master image installing it on every Mac.  Notably, some stores we’ve spoken to haven’t heard of any overnight…yet.

On the other hand, Apple often holds Tuesday overnights, so this July 24th overnight may simply be a coincidence, and Apple may not launch OS X Mountain Lion on the 25th. But, there is already under two weeks left in July, and with last year’s launch pattern prime for repetition (launch announcement during the upcoming earnings call), we’d say a July 25th launch is increasingly likely.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will be a $19.99 upgrade which will hit the Mac App Store on launch day.  Developers already have what is likely the Golden Master – build number is 12A269, a 4.34 GB Mac App Store download.

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iOS 6 code points to integration of Apple Maps on Intel-based Macs

Since Apple unveiled its new in-house Maps app for iOS 6, we have discovered bits and pieces of what it has planned for the final release this fall. Apple already showed off Yelp integration, turn-by-turn navigation, and the 3D flyover mode, and it appears to be utilizing a new Avenir typeface. Today, Techpp posted a code dump from the iOS 6 maps app courtesy of developer Cody Cooper who found some interesting evidence of potential Maps integration with OS X:

Our developer friend, Cody Cooper has now stumbled upon an interesting code dump in iOS 6 maps application which hints at the possibility of Apple Maps coming to Macs in the near future.

During his routine investigation of Maps app, Cody found some interesting bits in the file altitude_manifest.xml

In this XML file, there is a reference to a set of Intel based graphics chipsets for which certain features like Shading are disabled.

While this is not solid proof that Apple is working on a full-blown Maps app for Mac, it could hint at possible integration between core apps and features in Mountain Lion and Maps on iOS. For example, location features in iPhoto could integrate with iOS Maps. As noted in the report, the code refers to shading being disabled for older Intel chipsets, which Cooper guessed could likely not support the app’s shading features. We will do some digging, and then update you if we discover anything new. The public release of Mountain Lion is scheduled for this month. Read more

Skype 5.8 for Mac out with redesigned contact list & full 10.8 Mountain Lion support

Skype updated its Mac client today to version 5.8 to add full support for 10.8 Mountain Lion and a number of features that aim to bring the app up to par with the current Windows version. Perhaps the most notable new feature included in the update is a refined contact list that replaces the old floating menu. Accessible from the “Window” menu, the new Contacts Monitor (pictured right) provides a simplified view of your contacts in a window that can be repositioned and resized. Skype said it is meant to be much like older versions, such as Skype 2.8, that users seemed to prefer. The new contact list also has filters such as “Friends” and “Family,” and the ability to right-click to start a call or new message.

Another new feature for Skype 5.8 on Mac previously only available to Windows users is access to group screen sharing. The feature is for premium subscribers, but it supports up to groups of 10 with only one member of the group required to have a premium subscription. You will also now be able to share your video feed simultaneously while screen-sharing with multiple users.

A few other updates we noticed in the latest release:

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Apple announces Mountain Lion ships in July for $19.99

After giving a demonstration for some of the new features in Mountain Lion today, Apple confirmed during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote that Mountain Lion would ship in July for just $19.99. That price is good for Lion and Snow Leopard users who want to upgrade all their personal Macs. Apple also noted it would be free for all developers attending WWDC. Apple will ship a developer preview today.

Stay tuned to our live blog for the latest updates.