Parallels 8 updated with USB 3.0 support, Windows 8 tablet gestures, more

Parallels introduced a big update today for Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac. It includes new features for Windows 8 users, full USB 3.0 support, and improved Retina display settings. On top of support for Windows 8 tablet gestures, Parallels is including a Windows 8 tile that allows users to access shared Mac apps. According to Parallels, the update also includes faster USB 3.0 performance, an increased limit for virtual machines running large apps, and “Smooth transitions when entering and exiting Coherence mode”:

Now Mac users can enjoy new features including Windows 8 tablet gestures and use a Windows 8 interface tile to access shared Mac apps.  These updates, plus the already deep Parallels Desktop 8 integration of Mac OS X and Windows 8, enable people to also use Mountain Lion’s Dictation feature in Windows applications, add Windows apps to Launchpad and the Mac Dock, enjoy brilliant Retina display resolution for Windows apps and more – making Parallels Desktop 8 an ideal way to run Windows 8 on a Mac without rebooting. 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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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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