Apple unveils Mountain Lion Preview: iOS-ification of OS X continues with Messages, AirPlay Mirroring, Notification Center, Game Center, Twitter and more

It has been only seven months since Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.7 Lion and today the company announced Mountain Lion—the next major update to its desktop operating system. As 9to5Mac first learned in October, Mountain Lion brings even more popular iOS features to the Mac platform. The notion is shared by those Apple invited to a private briefing a few day ago: Mountain Lion is all about putting even more of iOS into the bowels of OS X. Meanwhile, iOS-ification of OS X continues with Twitter integration in Mountain Lion and new iOS-esque apps, such as Messages, Notification Center, AirPlay Mirroring, Notes, Reminder, Game Center, and deep iCloud integration.

With over a hundred million iCloud accounts now in use, Mountain Lion’s setup assistant will now ask you to set up an iCloud account for the Documents in the Cloud and Find My Mac features, as well as to sync contacts, email and chat messages and calendar entries. You can also access your iCloud storage in Finder and drag and drop documents for manual syncing between iOS apps that support Documents in the Cloud and their desktop counterparts.

AirPlay Mirroring is another welcome addition for those wishing to securely beam a 720p video stream of what is on your Mac to a HDTV through the Apple TV. Share Sheets, a new system-wide feature, is accessible from Apple’s and third-party apps for sharing links, photos, and videos. Like in iOS, Twitter integration means you give your Twitter credentials once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and supported third-party apps.

Mountain Lion Beta is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today whilst end-users can upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012. The company also pledged to update OS X once a year from now on. For more information, check out Apple’s new OS X Mountain Lion Sneak Peek page.

The full release, more features and two press shots are after the break.

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Latest Snow Leopard security update breaks popular PowerPC apps like Quicken

As part of the Mac OS X 10.7.3 update released earlier this week, Security Update 2012-001 [release notes] for Snow Leopard broke compatibility with several Rosetta Power PC programs. The issue, as described on Tidbits, MacInTouch and on Apple Support Communities threads (here, here and here), causes some third-party programs to crash unexpectedly under Snow Leopard. This includes popular applications such as Quicken, Filemaker 7, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office 2004 and X. There is a workaround solution that helps alleviate the issue, at least until Apple addresses it with another update, explained right after the break.

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Mac OS 10.7.3 released, includes Safari 5.1.3

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Apple just released Mac OS 10.7.3 via Software update and manual download.  Apple released some peripheral downloads today as well:

Release notes are as follows: Read more

Mac Superbundle deal. Parallels 7 + nine Mac Apps: $49

From 9to5Toys.com:

Nova offers its MacSuperbundle Winter Deal for $49. We are picky about our bundles, but Parallels alone makes this one worth noting.  There are some solid extras here as well.

Valued at over $470 if purchased separately, the nine software titles and exciting bonus app in the new 2012 Mac SuperBundle are available for just $49, an 89% savings, and offer innovative solutions no Mac user should be without. Nova’s biggest bundle to date and best consumer deal yet features the award-winning and #1 selling virtualization software Parallels Desktop® 7 for Mac, (a $79.99 value alone), and includes essential Mac maintenance tools and organizational apps, plus audio, video and digital creativity software and much more. The Mac SuperBundle launches on January 25th, 2012 and will be available for 14 days only.

Other applications include:
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Apple releases OS X Lion 10.7.3 build 11D46 with no known issues ahead of public release

Apple seeded its registered developers last night with a new version of Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3. The software carries a build number of 11D46 and arrives just a week following the 11D42 build. It has no known issues, indicating that public release is around the corner. Developers are asked to focus on iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari. The Delta update weighs in at 996.98MB and combo update is a 1.26GB download. The OS X Lion Server 10.7.3 build 11D46 is also available for download (Delta:1GB, Combo: 1.34GB, Server Admin Tools: 202.59MB). Additional build notes after the break.

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Review: Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac

(We’re offering a $10 discount/free Parallels MacBook Air contest this week)

If you are not new to Parallels, you will already be familiar with its ability to run Windows in a virtual machine within OS X. You might also be familiar with its Coherence view mode that allows you to run Windows and Mac OS applications side by side, rather than a full-blown Windows 7 in a separate window. However, Parallels Desktop 7 takes it to the next level with some of the deepest Windows/OS X integration yet.

The name of the game for the new Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac is definitely OS X Lion integration. Pretty much every new UI feature incorporated into Lion has been integrated into Parallels, and thus Windows 7. We put the new version to the test with both Windows 7 and Windows 8 developer preview on last year’s iMac with 4GB of RAM.

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Apple hires designer Jan-Michael Cart praised for his iOS interface concepts


Apple is hiring dozens of talented people on a daily basis, but this one deserves your attention. Jan-Michael Cart, a mass media arts student from Georgia, is the brains behind a bunch of very insightful iOS interface concepts you’ve likely seen on the web, as noted by iPhoneinCanada.ca. This includes the notification center and application switcher mockup videos below.

As Apple is always on the lookout for young blood, Cart’s work caught the company’s attention and they decided to hire him as an intern, he announced in a blog post:

Soon I will be embarking to California, where I will be interning at a fruit company for seven months. I will be updating this to chronicle my adventures and misadventures in the Bay Area for my family, friends, and followers online. Stay tuned, I leave in less than a month!

“And like that, my time has come — I am now a member of the Apple community”, he confirmed on the front page of his personal web site. Congrats to Cart on his new gig! We sure are looking forward to seeing some of his great concepts implemented in iOS.

Heck, even the BlackBerry maker Research In Motion hired the Astonishing Tribe design shop to make the PlayBook tablet’s operating system aesthetically appealing. Watch Cart’s Dynamic Icons and Speech Recognition user interface concepts right after the break and don’t forget to check out his YouTube channel.

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Apple seeds first iOS 5.1 beta, Xcode 4.3 beta (release notes included)

Apple has just seeded iOS 5.1 to developers, a pre-release version of iOS that runs on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. In addition, Apple has released Xcode 4.3 beta to developers, a required version of Xcode for those wishing to develop and test their applications with iOS 5.1 devices. This iOS 5.1 release is crucial. The 5.1 beta brings along an under-the-hood change for alternative interpretations for Dictation input in different apps. We’re looking into this API change.

We’ve also found some references to a new iPad in the code.

iOS SDK 5.1 provides support for developing iOS applications and includes the complete set of Xcode tools, compilers, and frameworks for creating applications for iOS and Mac OS X. These tools include the Xcode IDE and the Instruments analysis tool among many others.

With this software you can develop applications that run on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.1. You can also test your applications using the included iOS Simulator, which supports iOS 5.1. There are two Xcode iOS SDK 5.1 images, one for installing on a Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.6.7 (Snow Leopard) or later, the other for installing on a Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion).

This version of iOS is intended only for installation on devices registered with Apple’s developer program. Attempting to install this version of iOS in an unauthorized manner could put your device in an unusable state.

Along with the release notes, you can also find some new features we’ve found in iOS 5.1 after the break:

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MacBook Air still starts at $849

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For those who missed out on the Black Friday specials, Amazon still offers the entry level Core i5 MacBook Air for $849.99 plus free shipping.  That’s a significant $150 off of retail and the lowest price available.  This latest MacBook Air includes an Intel Core i5 1.6GHz “Sandy Bridge” dual-core processor, 11.6″ 1366×768 LED-backlit display, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD, AirPort Extreme (802.11n wireless), Bluetooth 4.0, Facetime camera, Thunderbolt port, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

Amazon also still has the lowest prices on the entry level MacBook Pro ($1049).  Other price lows (mostly from MacMall) can be found here.
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Apple seeds OS X Lion 10.7.3 (11D16) to developers

Apple has just begun seeding OS X Lion 10.7.3 (11D16) to developers this afternoon. The set focus areas for this release are iCloud document storage, Address Book, iCal, and Mail. 10.7.3 weighs in at 633MB, and has no known issues right now. OS X Server 10.7.3 is also accompanying today’s update, with the same focus areas and build number.

Release notes after the break:

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How the $300 Mini Hackintosh turned into a $750 beast

I was in New York City for a Samsung event focused on SSDs and gaming on PCs last month.  There wasn’t much in the way of new information, but Samsung gave me one of their SATA III 256GB 830 SSDs to try out.  These are within a few bytes per second of the fastest SATA3 SSDs money can buy, so I was pretty excited to get home and throw it in a Mac.

The problem is that I don’t have a worthy Mac to test it out on.  I’ve been using an Air as my exclusive machine for a year and my wife is tired of me testing stuff on her MacBook Pro.  We have a bunch of old Macs laying around the house but nothing with a SATA III connection.

Luckily, I’ve been in the market for a new Mac desktop since I replaced my MacBook Pro with an Air  last year, but to my surprise, I haven’t really found myself in need of one.  The Air drives my 30-inch display pretty well and most of my media has been offloaded to a Gigabit NAS.  Since I already have a 30-inch display, an iMac doesn’t really appeal to me.  Apple’s headless desktops don’t make sense in my situation either. A Mac Mini isn’t going to be much faster than my Air and the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in over a year and doesn’t even have SATA 3 on board.

I also have some USB3 and eSATA peripherals that I get for testing and can’t use these products on standard Mac hardware.

I decided to give into temptation and build a Hackintosh… Read more

Gassée: Thank God Apple chose Steve Jobs’s NeXT over my BeOS

Jean-Louis Gassée, Apple’s former head of Macintosh product development between 1981-1990, has commented on Apple’s crucial choice of Steve Jobs’s NeXTSTEP as their operating system back in 1996 instead of BeOS, his own creation. Much of NeXTSTEP code would make possible Mac OS X, later adapted for Apple’s mobile devices.

Speaking at a Churchill Club “Steve Jobs’ Legacy” talk event (which is fantastic the whole way through – above) in San Jose yesterday, Gassée remarked (at about an hour in):

Thank god that didn’t happen, because I hated Apple’s management.

BeOS was pretty good, mind you. Positioned as a multimedia platform, BeOS benefited from symmetric multiprocessing, pervasive multithreading, preemptive multitasking and BFS, a custom 64-bit journaling file system known as BFS. It too was developed on the principles of clarity and an uncluttered design.

So why did Apple side with NeXT and acquired the company on February 4, 1997 for  $429 million? In hindsight, even though beOS was pretty good, it was the aquisition of Jobs that was worth to Apple more than the NeXTSTEP software. Or, as Gassée put it, “Jobs’s acquisition of Apple”.

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