Mountain Lion, the successor to Snow Leopard and the ninth major release of Apple’s OS X, is now available. OS X 10.8 comes complete with over 200 new features including Messages, Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration, Notes, Reminders, and Game Center, AirPlay Mirroring, dictation, and iCloud enhancements. Mountain Lion requires you running OS X v10.6.8 or later, 2GB of memory, and 8GB of available space. You won’t find it in stores on-disc; you must download it from the Mac App Store. It costs a low $19.99. Upgrade today. (Note: If you purchased a qualifying Mac on or after June 11, you can receive the new OS for free. Plus all Macs shipping out now will come with Mountain Lion preloaded.)
Update: In typical Apple fashion, the hardware/software company announced that after just a mere four days after putting Mountain Lion on the market, three million copies of the new OS were sold, “making it the most successful OS X release in Apple’s history.” Added emphasis. For more self-congratulatory quotes, jump after the break for the official PR.
At this year’s World Wide Developer’s Conference, Apple spent equal time talking about hardware and software updates. The annual event heated up when the MacBook lineup received a healthy dose of upgraded processors and graphics, among other spec bumps. Also, a brand new “next-generation” MacBook Pro was unveiled. Later, the mobile iOS that powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches was significantly enhanced with the introduction of iOS 6. For all the details, read on.
The MacBook Air was refreshed with the following spec bumps. The thin-and-light laptop now packs the 3rd-gen Intel Core processors, also known as Ivy Bridge; these dual-core i7s can reach speeds up to 2.0GHz (or up to 3.2GHz with Turbo Boost). Memory reaches 8GB 1600MHz, and graphics can perform up to sixty percent faster. Flash storage has been beefed up to 512 GB and is 2x speedier featuring a 500MBps read speed. The Air also includes a USB 3 port and a FaceTime HD camera (720p). There are two 11-inch and two 13-inch configurations, both shipping today and both starting at $100 cheaper than the previous generation. The 11-inch MacBook Air with 64GB starts at $999 and the 13-inch Air with128GB starts at $1,199.
The MacBook Pro was also refreshed and here are the note-worthy spec bumps. Just like the new Airs, the updated Pros now include the 3rd-gen “Ivy Bridge” Intel Core processors; these dual-core i7 processors reach speeds up to 2.7GHz (or up to 3.7GHz with Turbo Boost). Memory reachers 8GB 1600MHz. Graphics are upgraded to NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 650M (based on the graphics chip maker’s new Kepler architecture), with up to 1GB video memory that is up to sixty percent faster than before. USB 3 is on board. There are two 13-inch and two 15-inch MacBook Pro configurations, both shipping today and they start at the same price ranges as the previous generation Pros. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz processor speed starts at $1,199 and the 15-inch Pro with a 2.3GHz speed starts at $1,799.
And now we move onto what Apple is branding the “next generation” MacBook Pro. The company says it’s “the best computer we’ve ever made.” In short, what makes this new breed of Pro so special is that it’s made thinner and lighter and it packs a gorgeous Retina Display. You want hard specs, so here they are. This new Pro measures at 0.71 inches thin (a quarter thinner than the standard Pro) and it weighs 4.4 pounds. The 15.4-inch screen is a Retina Display with an impressive resolution of 2880×1800, packing 4x the number of pixels than the previous-gen Pro. With 220 pixels per inch, Apple crowns this “the world’s highest-resolution notebook display.” Lion has been updated to take advantage of the higher resolution; Mac apps like Mail, Safari, iMovie and iPhoto will be compatible, along with others like Aperture, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Autocad, and the game Diablo 3. Just like they had to do when the Retina Display came to the iPhone, software developers will have to update their apps to make them Retina-ready. Jumping inside, the Pro runs on Intel’s fastest quad-core processors, that is Core i7s up to 2.7GHz (or up to 3.7GHz with Turbo Boost); memory goes up to 16GB 1600MHz; next-gen NVIDIA Kepler graphics GeForce GT 650M; up to 768GB fast flash storage; up to 7 hours of battery life with 30 days of standby time. Across the left-side of the powerful, noticeably thinner lappy you’ll find an SD card slot, HDMI, and USB 3 ports; along the right side there’s a MagSafe 2 port (the new port has been made thinner to fit the design), two Thunderbolt ports, USB 3, and a headphone jack. That’s right, this Pro has ditched an optical drive, FireWire, and Gigabit Ethernet. Apple sells adapters if you require these. Additionally, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display features a glass multitouch trackpad, backlit keyboard, 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, and a new internal fan system that outputs nearly imperceptible sound. Two configurations of the next-gen Pro ship today starting at $2,199. (Click here for more…)
Today Apple announced that their latest and greatest desktop OS will become available tomorrow, July 20. Mac OS X Lion (v10.7) will strictly be available for purchase in the Mac App Store; to reiterate, you will not be able to pick up a physical install disc in stores. The 4GB download costs $29.99. What a steal!
Update: Lion is out now. Offical PR is after the break. Some bits you should know: Lion requires an Intel-based Mac with a Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor and 2GB of RAM; Users who do not have broadband access can download Lion at Apple retail stores; and later this August, Lion will be made available on a USB thumb drive through the online Apple Store for $69. Also, Mac OS X Lion Server is now available for $69 through the Mac App Store. (Click here for more…)
Today Apple brought the house down in San Fransisco’s Moscone Center where they previewed the latest versions of Mac OS X, iOS, and a new service called iCloud. Quote of the day comes from Apple CEO Steve Jobs who introduced the developer event with this: “If the hardware is the brain and the sinew of our products, the software in them is the soul.” The next-gen iPhone was nowhere to be found; today was all about the magical software that keeps Apple’s momentum chugging along at great pace. And now without further ado, let’s dive right in! It’s all after the break. (Click here for more…)
Office for Mac 2008–be gone! This week Microsoft announced that a refreshed version of its productivity suite is finally available for Mac OS X users. The most significant update? Microsoft has trashed Entourage and replaced it with the real thing–Outlook! That’s right, full Outlook integration the Mac. Oh happy day. In addition, the new Office will play nice with Office Web Apps and other cloud-based applications; also, new co-authoring tools “let users edit the same Word document or PowerPoint presentation simultaneously with other people in different locations who are using Office on a PC or a Mac” and users can “quickly share their presentations with anyone who has browser access by broadcasting their presentation.” Pretty neat, huh? And it doesn’t end there; the new version packs a whole slew of new features–and not to mention welcome aesthetic tweaks. There are two version of Office for Mac 2001 available today: the Home & Student version ($149.99) and the Home & Business version ($179.99). They both pack Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, and I think you can guess which one includes Outlook.
Today Steve Jobs hosted an Apple keynote presentation appropriately titled Back to the Mac. In it he demonstrated the new version of iLife ’11, highlighting major upgrades to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand; introduced FaceTime for the Mac; previewed the next version of Mac OS X; and unveiled two new MacBook Air notebooks. It’s breakdown time.
iLife ’11: The latest version of iLife packs the usual suspects–iPhone, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD. The former three have been given major upgrades in functionality.
iPhoto ’11 features a new full-screen mode. With a click of a button (the green [+] located at the top left corner of the window), desktop applications, the menu bar, and other distractions disappear. In full-screen mode you take advantage of more screen real estate when viewing pictures in Events, Faces, Places, Albums, and Projects. Projects is a new way to view your collection of books and letterpress cards on a wooden bookshelf. The ability to create custom letterpress cards is a new feature; 15 distinct themes are at your disposal to customize and order directly from Apple to send to relatives and friends. When you go to create a book or letterpress card, a new dynamic theme browser in carousel style will be presented to you. There are also a bunch of new slideshow themes including Holiday Mobile, Reflections, and Places. Want to email a group of photos to a friend? Now you can create and send an email message within iPhoto; no need to jump out and into a mail client. You can choose from eight themes to customize how you want your pictures to be presented in the email. And lastly there’s Facebook enhancements. Within iPhoto you can now publish photos directly to your wall or to an existing album, and if your friends leave comments on your photos you’ll be able to view them in iPhoto. You can also tag faces and browse all of your Facebook albums in iPhoto; no need to jump out and into a browser.
iMovie ’11 features new audio editing tools. Detailed wave forms are color coded, so now you can see where audio levels are too loud or quiet and adjust them properly. Also there’s a new single-row view that shows you your entire movie project in one horizontal row, making it easier to edit your soundtrack. One-step effects are also at your disposal. Adding visual effects like instant replay, flash and hold, and jump cuts at beats can be done with minimal amount of clicks. The new People Finder feature works similarly to Faces in iPhoto; the software will analyze your video to identify the parts with people in them. It also finds the close-ups, medium shots, or wide angles making it easier to find these specific shots during an edit session. There are two new themes: sports and news. And now you can publish your movies directly Vimeo,CNN iReport, and Apple Podcast Producer in addition to iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, and your mobile devices. Last there’s movie trailers. You can choose from 15 templates to create professional-looking movie trailers out of your clips. Apple commissioned the London Symphony Orchestra to record (in Abbey Road Studios) and perform original tracks for you to use when creating movie trailers. Outline and storyboard views make it simple to put together a movie trailer in no time.
GarageBand ’11 includes two new features called Flex Time and Groove Matching. Flex Time allows you to fix timing mistakes on the fly; you can literally click and drag any part of a waveform to change the timing of a note or beat. Groove Matching is described as ”an automatic spell checker for bad rhythm.” If one (or multiple) instruments appears to be out of rhythm, all you have to do is select the one instrument that has the perfect rhythm (called the Groove Track) and all the other instrument tracks will instantly match it. A new feature called “How Did I Play?” gives you the opportunity to play along with a piano or guitar lesson, record yourself, and test how you’re doing in real time. Like Guitar Hero, the GarageBand lesson will keep track of your performance with a performance meter and show you missed notes in red to help you perfect your skills. A track progess bar will show you how better (or worse) you’re performing a particular song by date. Finally, there’s new lessons for piano and guitar, as well as new guitar amps and stompbox effects.
iLife ’11 is available for purchase today at $49. A family pack, which includes 5 licenses, goes for $79. Keep in mind iLife ships free with every new Mac. (Click here for more…)
Hey Mac users! Now you can finally play a bunch of solid games on your computer! Steam, a games distribution service that’s been widely available on Windows PCs for years, is now available for Mac OS X. Steam is run by Valve, the company behind popular games like Half-Life, Team Fortress, and Left 4 Dead 2. In layman’s terms, Steam is a centralized place where computer gamers can browse, preview, and download a number of titles. It’s also got a bunch of social features like chat, and friends lists. And get this–for a limited time (until May 24) Steam is offereing a FREE download of one of Valve’s most popular and best rated games, Portal. It’s a highly addicting, first-person puzzle game, so get on that before it’s too late. Besides Valve games, Steam for Mac (which looks almost identical to its Windows counterpart) already houses a bunch of third party games like Civilization IV, Bejeweled 2, World of Goo, and City of Heroes: Architect Edition. Click here for the DMG download of Steam for Mac.
Here’s a little Easter Egg embedded in Mac OS X. If you have a Mac, try it out.
Which operating system are you?
*Isn’t that a great picture? Best upgrade [from PC World] —>Mac OS X. Ha!
[Image via Nep Smith]