This week’s WWDC keynote also saw the unveiling of the next-generation version of OS X — now renamed as “macOS” to match its mobile counterparts (and likely to avoid confusion with iOS 10). macOS Sierra introduced a number of new “Continuity” features to build upon the tight integration between Apple’s Macs and iOS devices. Apple SVP Craig Federighi outlined several new features including automatic unlocking, Universal Clipboard, iCloud Desktop and Documents synchronization, and Apple Pay for Safari, all of which tie a user’s Mac into a closer relationship with their iOS and watchOS devices, and make it possible to work seamlessly across multiple devices. Here’s a closer look at those “crossover” features.
Apple has told The Loop that it will be ceasing development of both Aperture and iPhoto for Mac in favor of its new iCloud-based Photos app that will be coming in iOS 8 and Yosemite. “With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” Apple told The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS.” It seems likely that Apple’s iPhoto for iOS will suffer a similar fate; iPhoto will not launch in current iOS 8 betas, and developers have been told to “edit and organize [their] photos in the Photos app” instead.
This change clearly marks a major shift in Apple’s photo management strategy for iOS devices, and it is unclear at this point what this will mean for other features such as the original iCloud Photo Stream and iTunes-based synchronization of photos onto iOS devices. Apple first introduced photo synchronization in iTunes 4.7 with the release of the iPod photo in 2004, and the feature has remained largely unchanged since, with iPhoto and Aperture commonly used as photo management apps for organizing photos to be transferred onto iPods and iOS devices. The deprecation of these two apps suggests that Apple is moving more strongly toward a cloud-based photo management solution, while also ceding the “pro” photo management space to applications such as Lightroom, which recently introduced its own cloud-based sync along with feature-rich mobile editing apps for the iPhone and iPad.
The 2014 keynote event at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) begins today at 1PM Eastern / 10AM Pacific Time, and a live video stream of the event will be available at this link and via the Apple Events channel on Apple TVs. A number of announcements are expected today for iOS 8, notably including the health-tracking feature Healthbook, an iOS-centric home automation feature and certification program, as well as further developments of the location-based iBeacons notification service. iOS 8 is anticipated to look largely like iOS 7, but feature a number of under-the-hood performance improvements and feature boosts.
Additionally, the new version of OS X for Macs will be shown, featuring a significant visual redesign akin to iOS 7’s. Well-sourced rumors suggest that Apple will also show new hardware, potentially including new Mac 4K displays, while previously-rumored “in development” products such as a 12” iPad could make appearances as well. Here’s what was actually announced, each with its own full article.
No new hardware was introduced during the WWDC 2014 keynote. iLounge’s editors have released a multi-editorial on WWDC 2014’s iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, and more for an opinionated look at today’s announcements.
Although Microsoft’s Office applications were rumored to be coming to the App Store this year, the company now plans on releasing Office in a native iOS version next year, according to reports. Product manager Petr Bobek told Czech site IHNED that Office 2013 would hit the market in the first quarter of next year, and that iOS would be among the included available operating systems for the productivity suite. Although the iOS Office release was apparently confirmed in a press release spotted by The Verge, a Microsoft US spokesperson claimed that the company has yet to announce retail availability for the new Office. [via The Verge]
SuperSync, an iTunes library synchronization and management tool, has been updated to version 5.0. The latest version goes beyond allowing Mac or PC users to view, merge, and synchronize iTunes libraries over local networks or over the Internet: the newest update adds advanced iTunes Match support, helping users to get more matches, upgrade tracks to the highest bit rate possible, and remove iCloud duplicates. SuperSync 5.0 is available now with a two-computer/unlimited iOS device license for $23.
Apple has released Configurator 1.1, the latest version of its mass deployment tool for iOS devices. Configurator enables schools, businesses, and other institutions to configure up to 30 iOS devices at a time, update software, create and restore backups of settings and app data, and more. According to the release notes, version 1.1 improves reliability and ease of use when installing paid apps with Volume Purchase Program redemption codes, adds new preferences to disable the automatic removal of apps or profiles installed by the user when a configuration is reapplied and disable reapplying a configuration each time a supervised device is connected, includes small changes to the profile editor, and ensures that VPP codes are no longer marked as invalid if the App Store is unavailable. Apple Configurator 1.1 is available now as a free download from the Mac App Store.
Apple today announced iCloud Tabs, a new feature of iCloud that will enable automatic syncing of Safari tabs between Macs running OS X Mountain Lion and iOS devices. The feature was unveiled during a demonstration of Mountain Lion, which also discussed the arrival of Notes, Reminders, and Notification Center on the Mac, as well as Dictation, Airplay Mirroring, and Game Center, all of which were unveiled in February. Apple will release OS X Mountain Lion exclusively through the Mac App Store next month for $20.
Apple has released Configurator 1.0.1, the latest version of its mass deployment tool for iOS devices. Originally debuted in March, Configurator enables schools, businesses, and other institutions to configure up to 30 iOS devices at a time, update software, create and restore backups of settings and app data, and more. According to the release notes, version 1.0.1 improves overall stability and performance, and address a number of issues, including those related to the import and installation of .ipa files, redemption codes, note and bookmark deletion, WPA2 passwords, and backup name editing. Apple Configurator 1.0.1 is available now as a free download from the Mac App Store. [via MDN]
Ambrosia Software has posted a brief look at iToner 3, the latest version of its iOS ring- and alert tone maker for the Mac. According to the company, iToner 3 has been completely rewritten and redesigned, and offers a number new features including compatibility with any version of iTunes, the ability to work with multiple iPhones, compatibility with the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad for notification tones, a new waveform editor, and the ability to grab audio clips directly from an iTunes library. While the company says that, should it be approved, iToner 3 will be available on the Mac App Store soon, it also said that it “could use your help”, and offers a link for those interested in beta testing. Pricing for iToner 3 has yet to be announced.
Apple last week released its new Configurator tool, a spiritual successor to the standard iPhone Configuration Utility. According to the tool’s release notes, it allows schools, businesses, and other institutions to configure up to 30 devices at a time, update those devices to the latest version of iOS, create and restore a backup of settings and app data from one device to other devices, create and install iOS configuration profiles, and enroll devices with a Mobile Device Management solution for remote management.
It also allows for the supervision of devices, including automatic application of common configurations to devices and the importation and syncing of apps, as well as the assigning of devices to users using Open Directory or Active Directory, letting a user check out a device and have their settings and data restores, check in a device and have the data backed up for future use—possibly on another device—and the syncing of documents, among other features. Apple’s Configurator tool requires Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 or later and is a free download from the Mac App Store.
Reflection, a new application for Mac, promises to let users of the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 use AirPlay Mirroring to wirelessly stream their device’s content to their Macs. Features of the software include the ability to add show an iPhone or iPad frame around the streamed content, the ability to run in full-screen mode, force portrait or landscape orientation, and the ability to serve as an AirPlay audio receiver; audio is automatically sent when using Mirroring. Reflection supports OS X 10.6 or later and requires an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 for screen mirroring; it is available now as a free time-limited trial, while a full license sells for $15.
Popular video conversion utility HandBrake has been updated to version 0.9.6. The update brings with it a number of bug fixes and improvements, including audio gain control, improved support for OS X Lion, improved handling of DVD subtitles without Stop Display commands, HE-AAC encoding support, and improved average frame rate detection. HandBrake 0.9.6 is available now as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Apple this morning announced OS X Mountain Lion, the next release of its desktop operating system for its Mac computers. Among the new features debuted by Apple this morning—many of which were based on existing iOS apps, including Notes, Reminders, and Game Center—is AirPlay Mirroring. As the name suggests, the feature will allow users to mirror their Mac’s screen on a HDTV using an Apple TV, making it easy for users to share web pages, videos, lessons, and presentations with others. In addition, the company announced a beta version of Messages for OS X. This iChat replacement mimics the Messages app on iOS, allowing users to send iMessages across both iOS and Mac devices. The app also integrates support for AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Jabber accounts, as well as FaceTime, removing the need for a separate, standalone app. The beta version of Messages is available now as a free download for users of OS X Lion 10.7.3 or later; OS X Mountain Lion is currently available in preview form to registered Mac developers and is slated to ship in late summer.
Mac developer David Stanfill has released AirParrot, a new OS X application that allows users to stream their Mac display to their Apple TV over AirPlay. The application allows users to stream any connected display to the Apple TV in real-time, and offers underscan and video quality adjustments, as well as an option to show or hide the mouse cursor; audio streaming is not currently supported. AirParrot requires OS X 10.6 or later and sells for $10. [via TUAW]
Parallels has updated the iOS companion application for its recently released Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac adding support for remote control of the Parallels host Mac in the same manner as remotely controlling virtual machines. The new version also adds audio support, allowing users to play back music and audio remotely from the host Mac or other virtual machine, and iOS clipboard support for copying and pasting text between the iOS device and the remote computer. Additional improvements in the update include better support for external displays and keyboards, the ability to limit connections to Wi-Fi only, and a number of general stability, performance and usability improvements. Parallels Mobile is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is currently available from the App Store for an introductory price of $5, reduced from the normal price of $20. The app requires Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac or later; remote control of the host Mac requires Parallels Desktop 7.
Apple has released an update to iMovie ‘11 for Mac OS X adding support for opening projects imported from iMovie for iOS. Originally debuted with the launch of the iPhone 4 last year, iMovie for iOS was more recently updated to a universal app to add support for the iPad 2. Although iMovie projects could be exported via iTunes and used with the iOS version of iMovie on other devices, one significant limitation has been the inability of these project files to be imported and used in the desktop version of iMovie. In addition to adding support for iMovie for iOS project, iMovie 9.0.4 for Mac OS X also fixes issues related to audio adjustments and performance issues when working with large quantities of video clips or large iPhoto libraries. The iMovie 9.0.4 update requires iMovie ‘11 and can be downloaded directly from Apple Support or via the Mac OS X Software Update tool.
Update (07/18/2011): Apple has posted a support article detailing how to import projects from iMovie for iOS to iMovie ‘11.
Following last week’s discovery that iOS 4 devices have been keeping location records, AppleScript developer Peter Burkimsher has released a utility to make use of this data for geotagging photos. iPhoneGeotag is an open-source AppleScript for Mac iPhoto users that reads the location data file from an iOS device backup and uses matching timestamps to apply geotag information to a user’s iPhoto library. The script is open-source under the Apache 2.0 license and can be freely viewed and modified; location data is not transmitted outside of the user’s own computer and the script does not even require an Internet connection. iPhoneGeotag is free and can be downloaded from the developer’s site.
SuperSync, a iTunes library synchronization and management tool, has been updated to version 4.0. SuperSync allows users to view, merge, and synchronize iTunes libraries over local networks or over the Internet, among other features. Version 4.0 offers users a brand new interface that allows for easier navigation of multiple libraries, improved networking speeds, a duplicate inspector that lets users compare tracks that are or may be duplicates, an iTunes import feature for importing music from another library or from a backup, Smart Playlist export, and built-in Internet search. SuperSync 4.0 is a free upgrade for all current users while new licenses range from $29 for a two-license pack to $49 for a ten-license pack; it is available now for Mac OS X and Windows.
Popular open-source DVD to MPEG-4 converter Handbrake has been updated to version 0.9.5, its first update in over a year. The new version offers a long list of improvements, including new presets for the iPad, iPhone 4, and second-generation Apple TV, support for SSA subtitles, automatic discovery of VLC in the Applications folder (necessary for ripping encrypted DVDs), AC3 encoding support, universal audio downmix support, a peak framerate option, and more. Notably, 0.9.5 drops support for legacy PowerPC-based Macs; a complete list of changes is available here. Handbrake 0.9.5 is available now as a free download for Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Windows 2000 or later, and Linux.
Following Apple’s release of the beta version of FaceTime video calling software for the Mac, a number of iLounge readers reported problems using their Macs to call certain iPhone 4 users, even when those iPhones were on Wi-Fi networks and capable of making outgoing FaceTime calls. After testing with iPhone 4, iPod touch, and Mac hardware, it turns out that a simple but pesky bug is to blame for the problem: the Mac FaceTime application’s handling of telephone numbers with periods, as in 212.555.1212 versus the more traditional use of dashes in 212-555-1212.
Unlike the iPod touch 4G and iPhone 4, which automatically translate your Contacts’ phone numbers in the 212.555.1212 format into 2125551212 for calling purposes, the beta Mac FaceTime software appears to improperly treat the periods as additional characters when trying to initiate calls, resulting in an instant statement by the FaceTime software that the person you’re trying to reach is not available. Yet the same person will remain reachable at the same number using a different FaceTime device such as an iPhone 4 or an iPod touch 4G, and will also be capable of calling you.
Until Apple updates the Mac FaceTime software to properly handle telephone numbers entered with periods as separators, use the Mac’s Address Book application to swap the periods in phone numbers for more conventional dashes, which FaceTime for the Mac handles without complaint. Calls that previously seemed impossible due to instant rejection will suddenly go through without complaint.