Apple Seeds 5th Beta macOS Sierra 10.12.1

Developers and public beta testers got new bits to play with…

macOS Sierra is one of the biggest updates to Apple’s desktop operating system, likely since the implementation of OS X. Or at least, it will be once the (big) bugs are gone and the new Apple File System gets implemented.

macos sierra

On 2016-10-19, Apple seeded the fifth beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.11 to both developers and public beta testers. Developers can get it from the Apple Developer Center and both developers and public testers can get the bits through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

Version 10.12.1 is a bug fix release that smooths out performance hiccups and addresses other issues that have been reported since the operating systems initial release just a short time ago. The release doesn’t provide much in the “new features” department, however. Though support for Apple’s iPhone 7/ 7 Plus’ Portrait Mode, being introduced with iOS 10.1, is included in the desktop OS’ Photos app.

Other than that, I wouldn’t expect too much more.

Apple recently announced a new media event scheduled to take place on 2016-10-27 where it is expected it will introduce a number of new Macs and MacBook Pros to the market. That’s just eight (8) days away from the time of this writing. I would expect both iOS 10.1 and macOS 10.12.1 to be released to the public by that time. It makes sense to have the new OS version hit the streets the same day as the new computers that will run it. So if you’re a Mac, get ready for a new computer, or at least get ready for the upgrade dance again.

I haven’t upgraded my top of the line, 15″ Late 2013 MacBook Pro to macOS Sierra just yet. I’ve got too many mission critical apps on it that I’m afraid won’t function correctly without major upgrades from their developers. I’m also waiting for a number of the bigger issues to shake out, so I don’t have to deal with them. This is usually when the 10.X.1 release is made available, and most will agree that this is the best time to upgrade, especially if you’re on the early adopter schedule, like me. (Though, to be very honest, jumping on at the X.Y.1 release really ISN’T early adoption…)

Are you a Mac? Have you upgraded to macOS Sierra 10.12 yet? Are you running the 10.12.1 beta? What do you think of the software? Why don’t you join me in the Discussion area below and give me your thoughts?

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Apple Releases Sixth Beta’s of its Operating System Suite

That suite includes iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2 and OS X 10.11.4...

appleBeing in the beta business isn’t always the most glamorous of jobs. On the contrary – it’s often very difficult. In fact, beta testers tend to see not only the good and bad, but the downright ugly.

It’s one of the reasons why, after approximately 20 years of beta testing for both Microsoft (mostly) and Apple (most recently), I’m NOT jumping on that train on any of my production-level equipment. It’s just not worth it any more.

It used to be that when an operating system hit the BETA stage, it was pretty much operational. You could count on that version of (whatever it is) holding its own. While there would obviously be problems, those problems nearly always came with some level of (reasonable) work around that wouldn’t take your PC/ mobile device out of the picture.

That’s not the case now a days. More often than not, you could be taking your PC’s life into your hands if you aren’t careful.

So with this light of caution CLEARLY flashing in our faces, you may be interested to know that Apple has released the sixth beta of iOS 9.3, and OS X 10.11.4, both of which are available to both developers and public beta testers. Apple released watchOS 2.2 Beta 6 to its registered developers only.

This latest round of releases comes just six (6) days after Beta 5 of all three OS’. Prior to that, beta four (4) was released eight (8) days earlier. Everything prior to beta 4 was released on a strict biweekly schedule.

At this point, there are no new features; and while I haven’t had a chance to look at the seed notes for these beta 6 releases, I’d be very surprised if there were any remaining known, open issues. We should be very close to final release.

iOS 9.3 will add such as a Night Shift mode, secure Notes, and extra 3D Touch shortcuts to the mobile operating system, among other things. As of Beta 5, OS navigation via Apple Pencil has been restored to iPad Pro.

OS X 10.11.4 will include the ability to individual encrypt items in Notes and support for Live Photos (from iPhone 6s) in Messages among other things

watchOS 2.2 (when paired with an iPhone running iOS 9.3) will allow users to pair more than one Apple Watch to a single iPhone and also introduces a new look for Maps in Glances.

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Windows 10 is the Last Version of Windows

But before your computer gets its undies in a twist, you need to realize it’s not the end…

I’ve seen a lot of traffic over the past few days with a lot of click bait on the headline that Microsoft won’t produce another version of Windows after Windows 10.

windows10-logo

That’s a total load of crap.

First and foremost, Microsoft isn’t abandoning Windows. It isn’t going through the effort of creating Windows 10 for desktop, tablets and mobile devices (meaning phones) only to shelve it after its released. No. Microsoft is going to continue to develop Windows with eyes clearly on both the consumer and enterprise markets. Your operating system of choice isn’t getting ditched.

Instead, Microsoft is changing how it delivers Windows. Windows is becoming a SaaS, or software as a service, product. Now, you also do NOT need to get panicky. This OS as a service thing doesn’t come with any kind of subscription fee. However, that doesn’t mean that Windows as a Service (WaaS) is without its costs.

Windows 10 will be free for a year after its initial release for everyone that has a legitimate Windows XP/ 7/ 8/ 8.x license. Those that have pirated copies may get an upgrade, but will have to pay for activation to make their copy genuine.

Microsoft also recently announced what SKU’s or Windows 10 related products they will be releasing. Like every other release of Windows, Microsoft made this more complicated than it needed to be. Specifically, they are

  1. Windows 10 Home
    This is the consumer-focused desktop edition. It offers a familiar and personal experience for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Windows 10 Home will include the following:
    – Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant; the new Microsoft Edge web browser;
    – Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices; Windows Hello face-recognition, iris and fingerprint login;
    – Universal Windows apps like Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music and Video.
    – Xbox Integration giving games and gamers access to the Xbox Live gaming community, enabling the capture and share of gameplay and giving Xbox One owners the ability to play their Xbox One games from any Windows 10 PC in their home.
  2. Windows 10 Mobile
    Win10 Mobile is designed to deliver the best user experience on smaller, mobile, touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets. Windows 10 Mobile will include:
    – Universal Windows apps that are included in Windows 10 Home,
    – The new touch-optimized version of Office.
    – Continuum for phone, so people can use their phone like a PC when connected to a larger screen.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
    The Pro version is a desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Windows 10 Pro builds upon both the familiar and innovative features of Windows 10 Home, it has many extra features to meet the diverse needs of small businesses, including:
    – Mobile device management supporting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
    – Windows Update for Business, which is the same as the consumer version of Windows Update, but with the ability to reject or postpone the installation of specific updates that may not be fully compatible with an SMB-based hardware installation.
  4. Windows 10 Enterprise
    Windows 10 Enterprise builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organizations. It provides advanced security capabilities, including:
    – Advanced security options to help protect against the ever-growing range of modern security threats targeted at devices, Advanced options for operating system deployment and comprehensive device and app management.
    – Windows Update for Business, which is the same as the consumer version of Windows Update, but with the ability to reject or postpone the installation of specific updates that may not be fully compatible with an enterprise-based hardware and software installation
    – Long Term Servicing Branch as a deployment option for their mission critical devices and environments.
    – Available to Volume Licensing customers only
  5. Windows 10 Education
    This is where things get a bit murky. Windows 10 for Education is really a version of Windows 10 Enterprise, but it has “paths” that will enable schools and students using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to upgrade to Windows 10 Education. I have no idea how it’s going to do that, what the cost will be, or who will have to pay the upgrade charges.
  6. Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise
    Simply put, this is nothing more than Windows 10 Mobile with enterprise related hooks for mobile device management and security policy enforcement.
  7. Windows 10 for IoT
    There will also be versions of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise for industry devices like ATMs, retail point of sale, handheld terminals and industrial robotics and Windows 10 IoT Core for small footprint, low cost devices like gateways.

There’s a lot here. From what I’ve heard and read, there is more than one Win10 IoT version out there, depending on the Thing you’re trying to install Windows 10 on.

So, what’s this whole Windows as a Service “service” thing supposed to be about..? Simply, Microsoft is taking a page from Apple’s playbook here and simply labeling the latest version of Windows as Windows 10 (much like Apple did with OS X…). Each new “version” or “edition” of Windows 10 will carry the Windows 10 label. What Microsoft hasn’t done however, is tell us how we’re going to be able to differentiate between one version and the next.

Microsoft needs to take an additional queue from Apple and give each major release some type of code name. Apple was using cats for years – Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, etc. Now, they’re using California state points of interest – Mavericks, Yosemite, etc. Microsoft needs to pick a theme and hop on here. This will allow people to know and relate to some kind of support tech or family member what flavor they have.

Following this model, like Apple does for OS X, some hardware won’t be able to support the newer versions of the OS, and will get left behind as far as versions of Windows are concerned. Depending on where and when Microsoft kills support for those orphaned versions of Windows 10, they may still need to support them. As such, users will need to call that version of Windows… something. Simply calling it Windows 10 or referring to some kind of version number or number range, isn’t going to cut it. They’re going to create a huge amount of confusion if they don’t slap some kind of label on a given major release of Windows 10.

What do you think? Did Microsoft create more versions of Windows 10 than it needed to? Should the Education version simply be part of the Enterprise version without being called out? Should the Pro and Home versions simply be one version, or will SMB’s need options that consumers and their home networks will never, ever need? Do mobile and desktop versions need to be grouped together in a single version of Windows 10, or is it ok to say that desktop and mobile are separate, and are likely to take on different lifecycles? (as it stands now, they won’t… Windows 10 is Windows 10 is Windows 10, if Microsoft’s vision works out.)

Give me your thoughts on all of this. I’d love to hear your feedback in the Discussion area below.

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OS X Yosemite Beta 4/ Public Preview Beta 1: Apple Core Apps

Beta 4 of Yosemite was recently released to the public as a Beta 1 public preview. In part 3 of this 3 part series, I’m going to talk about some of Apple’s Core Apps and I’ll wrap everything up, too.

yosemite

If you remember last time, I talked about Yosemite and iOS 8 integration. Here, I’m going to talk about some of the changes to some of Apples core apps, and will wrap everything up with my opinion of the current state of things in OS X Yosemite Beta 4/ Public Preview Beta 1.

Apple Core Apps
I’m going to hit these very quickly. Most of what you will see here shouldn’t be a surprise. Most if not all of Apple’s Core Apps are in flux and need work.  These should be considered usable for the most part, but also represent a work in progress. Things are still a bit bumpy here…

·    Safari
Everything that I’ve seen of the new Safari is pretty cool. It has a tool streamlined toolbar, and makes better use of screen real estate. The app is also faster and gives you more control over your privacy.  I haven’t had any issues with the app, and I use it for banking on my Mac.  I’ve been pretty pleased with what I’ve seen of Safari so far. It is perhaps the most usable of all the apps that I’ll cover, here.

·    Mail
Mail is one tool that I don’t use very much, if at all.  I could use it with my Gmail account, but since I have Chrome installed on my Mac and use it to work with all of my Google Services (read: Google Apps and Google Drive), there hasn’t been much need to do so.

The new features in Mail, however, let you send larger attachments more easily.  You can annotate documents, fill out forms, etc. right in a Mail message. The app is also supposed to be quicker, too.

The thing that gets me here is that sending attachments, even large ones is not so much mail client dependent, its mail SYSTEM dependent.  This means that regardless of how big of an attachment my mail client may support, the thing won’t send if either my mail service or the recipient’s mail service rejects that large attachment.  Sending any kind of attachment via email is also not secure, so if you send accounting info, or any kind of document with sensitive data, unless you’re using something like PGP on both ends to encrypt and decrypt mail, anyone sniffing packets between you and the destination can intercept and steal your data.

I like that Apple is making improvements to Mail.  I just don’t know how valuable they are in the larger picture of the whole, new, OS.  If you have an opinion here, I’d love to hear it as a comment in the Discussion area, below.

·    Messages
I’ve already given you the lowdown on Messages. You can see that in Part 2 of this series on Mac and iOS 8 Integration.  Messages is a great service and I use it quite a bit. Once Apple gets the inter-OS connectivity issues fixed, things will be much better.  This is going to be a huge gain on the Mac and OS X side of the fence… once things are working, that is.

·    iCloud Drive
When Apple announced iCloud Drive at WWDC, many thought Craig Federighi was describing a service that was very much like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. It’s not.

iCloud drive is similar in that you can store any kind of files you wish to store on it, not just a file that was created by any iCloud compatible app.  You could conceivably store ALL of your documents there, and access them on your Mac, or any of your iDevices. You can even add tags and such, so it supports Finder related functionality for documents stored there.

From what I’ve seen so far, however, documents are transferred there, and then the local copy is removed. With services like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive, that’s not the case.  The local copy remains to allow you to make changes when you’re off line.

If someone out there is having a different experience than I am, please leave me a comment in the Discussion area below. I’d like to hear your experience and perhaps try to troubleshoot a bit…

·    iTunes 12 Beta
I was seriously disappointed here.
The functionality of iTunes hasn’t changed, but the UI has slightly. Getting to the Store is now done via a number of different links available with each media type you are working with in your library as opposed to the current way of crossing a line between your library and the iTunes Store once.  The whole experience is more local library focused, regardless of where you media is actually stored – on your hard drive or in iCloud.  I can see where it makes sense; but it is something to get used to.  Again, you have to think “media type” and not “my stuff” vs. “stuff in the iTunes Store.”

The problems I’m experiencing with iTunes 12 Beta aren’t due to the new interface, however. Again, Apple seems to be optimizing and changing code.  The app often freezes and has issues during synchronization with my iPhone 5.  I’ve had to hard reset my device (wake/ sleep button + home button until the Apple logo appears, then release) a couple different times due to either iDevice freeze or iTunes freeze or both.

The only way to get the app to come back on my Mac at that point is to force quit. Even without an iDevice burp, iTunes can still unknowingly lockup. I’ve noticed that the app can prevent my Mac from either restarting, logging out or shutting down if my iPhone is connected via USB cable and I try to do any of those three activities.  Even if you pull the iPhone before actually starting any of those processes, if iTunes is running, it can freeze when you try to restart, log off or shutdown.

You won’t know anything is wrong until you try to do one of those and your Mac just doesn’t do it. There’s work to be done here, and this is one area where I’m certain both developers and consumers will see an update before the app is ready for final release.

·    Spotlight
This is one area where I am really going to have to make a bit of a paradigm switch before I get used to new functionality here.

Spotlight has gone through a number of really big changes.  You click the magnifying glass and you get a spotlight bar in the middle of your screen. When you search for things, you now not only search your Mac, but you search Wikipedia, Bing, Maps and “other source” simultaneously.  This is huge, as Apple has effectively brought the entire internet to your desktop. Instead of having to open Safari or another browser to search for something, you just… search.  Spotlight goes out and fetches everything for you and then presents the results on your desktop.

I’ve never been much on Spotlight. I’ve used it in a pinch here or there, but I come from the old MS DOS 1.x – 6.x days, and I’m used to searching my document store folder(s) for content on my own. I’m very meticulous about how I organize my 3-4 NAS devices (I have over 12TB of storage on my home network) and can figure out where I have things pretty quickly.  However, I am a HUGE exception to the rule.

Apple doesn’t want you to do what I’ve done. That’s why they designed iCloud as they originally did.  They don’t want you to think about where you’ve stored stuff in iCloud (or anywhere else on your Mac, for that reason), they want you to use the right tool to do the job you need done, and your Mac will manage the data.  Spotlight complements this paradigm as it (truly) finds what you need (URL, document, text message, media, etc.) regardless of where it is now.

Conclusion
Here it is in a very clear sentence or two: OS X Yosemite is clearly still in beta at this point. With previous consumer previews from Microsoft for both Windows 7 and Windows 8, the OS was a little more consumer ready in my opinion.

That doesn’t mean that Yosemite isn’t usable at this point. However, the current state of things has me seriously considering reactivating my OS X Developer’s account.  Yes… I installed Yosemite on my only production machine; and yes, I did NOT install it as a VM.  This is what I get when I turn my Mac on and try to use it.  I don’t have an alternative Mac to install this on, and I don’t want to run anything in a VM at this point. That’s not a true use case for me, and honestly, I wouldn’t have gained as much insight as I’ve regurgitated here.

This is not what Apple recommends.  They don’t want you to lose or jeopardize your productivity or your data. I’m a big boy and decided to wing it, anyway. Unfortunately, that means I have to put up with all of Yosemite’s pitfalls and growth points until it’s more stable.

In my opinion, Yosemite Beta 4/ Consumer Beta 1 isn’t ready for the average consumer just yet. If you’re curious, wait for the full release.  Most of the cool stuff isn’t even available yet because it requires an iDevice running iOS 8.  In the meantime, I’ll have updates as things progress.

If you have questions, or are curious about something, leave a comment in the Discussion area, below, and I’ll do my best to answer it or write a full response as a column.

Go back to Mac and iOS Integration

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Apple Reveals 2013-10-22 as iPad 5 Day

apppppleApple will announce a bevy of new iPad and MacBook hardware in time for the 2013 Holiday Buying Season
Apple has recently announced that 2013-10-22 is the day they will unveil a boat load of new hardware for both their iPad and MacBook lines. For those keeping score, that’s twice in two months that Apple will be announcing new products, which is unusual for the organization that prides itself on secrecy and exclusivity. I mean… you don’t usually get this much Apple goodness shoved together. They usually take a while between announcements to allow us to lather ourselves up into a rumor frenzy.

While details of the event remain on the most part under wraps, the date of the event was uncovered more than a week ago.

ipad-mini-various-angles

Details on the specifics of the event are still a bit sketchy. However, it is anticipated that the iPad 5, iPad mini 2 and updates to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines of Apple’s laptops will be announced. Apple should also announce the general availability of OS X 10.9 Mavericks as well. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and will start at 10 a.m. PT.

I’m still working on my Mavericks review, and I will have it completed before Apple’s alleged announcement on 2013-10-22. Please watch for it on Soft32 as there’s some really GREAT stuff built into the latest version of Apple’s desktop OS.

Additional rumor fodder has the iPad 5 sporting a 64bit processor. This could put additional pressure on the PC market as virtualization apps allow lean-back devices, like the iPad, to make better use of both network and stationary PC resources. It’s going to be a lot easier to connect your iPad to your work network and make use of the office PC through your iPad. With the right kind of keyboard and cover, your iPad 5 is going to give serious competition to ultrabooks and other tablet like PC’s like Microsoft Surface/Pro and Surface/ Pro 2.

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Mountain Lion Day

If you’re going to upgrade your Mac to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, then you’re going to want to take a look at this article that will help you get ready for the upgrade…

Millions of Mac users all over the globe have been patiently waiting for the OS to be released so they can download it and upgrade their supported Mac to the new OS.  That last link is especially important for new upgraders, as it contains all of Mountain Lion’s Technical Specification Requirements, like supported models, RAM, disk space, etc.

A couple-three points on general requirements:

  1. If you aren’t running at least OS X 10.6.8 (the latest version of Snow Leopard) or later on your supported Mac, you’ll need to upgrade to it before upgrading to Mountain Lion. Users of Lion on supported Macs don’t need to worry about this point.
  2. Apple says you need a minimum of 2GB of RAM to run Mountain Lion. 4GB is better, 8GB or more is the sweet spot.
  3. Apple says you’ll need at least 8GB of available disk space.  Mountain Lion is a 4.5GB download. It needs another 3.5GB of temp space to do the upgrade, and the upgrade file eats itself after it executes. Make sure you make a copy of it before it runs so you don’t have to download it again if needed.

Before you get started on your upgrade, you need to do a couple of important tasks. If you don’t do all of these, the world isn’t going to end. You’re still going to be able to upgrade; but if you don’t, and you run into trouble, you’re gonna wish you had.  So, while they may make the task a bit longer, they’re probably the right thing to do.

  1. Bandwidth– It’s going to take a while to download the installer.  4.5GB takes a good while to pull down even on a good day, but ba-zillions of peoples are going to want to download Mountain Lion all at the same time. The best time to download is likely overnight.  So, you may want to wait…If you live in a bandwidth challenged area (like some rural area or back-40), you might want to make a trip to an Apple Store or a Starbucks or other free-Wi-Fi zone.  Apple isn’t going to deliver a Mountain Lion installer on a USB stick, like it eventually did with Lion.
  2. Backups – If you use Time Machine, make sure you have a good backup if you plan to restore applications, music or other content on clean install systems.
  3. Backups – Make a system backup of your boot drive (if you have a Mac with more than one hard drive). Super Duper is my new favorite, and WILL save your bacon if you need to start the upgrade process over again.

Once you have everything ready to go and you start the upgrade, your biggest obstacle is going to be patience.  The upgrade is going to take a while, likely 90 minutes or so from start to complete finish; and it will include three or more reboots, depending on your system.  Give yourself something else to do and let the upgrade run its course.  Rushing things is only going to frustrate you and jeopardize the integrity of your Mac later.

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Take complete control of your hard drive with Hard Disk Manager Suite

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past five to six years of being a Mac, its that hard drive management under OS X is MUCH easier than under Windows.  With OS X, upgrading to a larger, bigger, better, faster, stronger hard drive is as easy as making a copy of your hard. There are some really nice utilities out there that do that very well. With Windows machines, its not even remotely close to being that easy. This is why I really like tools like Hard Disk Manager Suite. It’s a hard drive utility for Windows.

Paragon’s Hard Disk Manager Suite is a serious hard drive tool.  Its advanced weaponry for your Windows system and as such, isn’t for people that aren’t comfortable working under the hood.  It has a completely new engine for all partitioning tasks; and works generically with all modern hard drive technologies, regardless of spindle type, drive size, rotation speed, etc.

You can use it to create, format, delete, undelete, hide or unhide partitions, make partitions active or inactive, set, change or remove a drive letter, change a volume label, etc.  You can separate the OS and your data or different types of data by splitting one partition into two different partitions of the same type and file system.  You can merge or consolidate disk space from two adjacent partitions (NTFS, FAT16/FAT32), into a single, larger partition, redistribute free space, or increase free space on one partition by utilizing unallocated space and the unused space of other partitions.

Hard disk Manager Suite will let you optimize the performance of your hard disk during partitioning/copy operations and restoring a backup image to new hard drives, though not all operations are supported.  You can convert basic MBR to basic GPT disks and enjoy all benefits of the newest partitioning scheme with minimal effort.  The app also allows you to perform NTFS and FAT defragmentation, MFT defragmentation and shrinking, low free space defragmentation and can fix most system boot problems that result from human or program error, or a boot virus activity.

read full review | download Hard Disk Manager Suite

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OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3

There’s a lot of iOS based improvement going into Apple’s newest Operating System, OS X 10.8, code named, Mountain Lion. Let’s take a look at how it and iOS are converging.

There’s been a lot going on in Cupertino since February of this year. Apple has been hard at work pulling together the latest version of its new desktop operating system, OS X 10.8, code named Mountain Lion. Apple is, at least in some sense, converging their two most successful platforms – iOS, which it uses to power all of its mobile devices; and OS X, which powers all of its desktops and laptops. With the iPad parked squarely between the two platforms (but powered by iOS), Apple is trying to build synergy between the two platforms so that users can easily use both without a experiencing any jarring transitions.

The effort is commendable. There are a great many Apple customers who own not only an iPod Touch or iPhone, but an iPad as well as a desktop/laptop Mac. Bringing the two together was something that Steve wanted to do. Let’s take a look at where the two converge and the value they provide, if any.

Messages Beta
Byte covered Messages Beta, and the features it brings to the desktop, in an extensive deep dive. Messages Beta is available for download on Mac’s running Lion, and will be usable until the new OS is officially available for purchase in the App Store. At that point, Messages will stop functioning in Lion, and those users who wish to keep using it will need to upgrade to Mountain Lion.

Notifications
Applications like Growl have been providing system notifications in OS X for quite some time. Apple has finally brought the same kind of functionality as you see in Growl, to Mountain Lion by integrating system wide notification into the operating system. The actual implementation takes its queues directly from iOS. They share a similar tray background, look and feel.

When system or app events occur on your Mac, those notifications will appear in the upper right corner of your screen, in a self-hiding event tray that slides out on the right side, as opposed to coming down from the center of the screen as it does on your iPad or iPhone. System event notifications disappear after a few moments have passed. Other notification types need to be dismissed by the user.

How, if at all, this will work or conflict with notification apps like Growl is yet to be known or understood. Growl is a long standing, value added application that many have used for YEARS simply because OS X didn’t support this type of functionality. It’s quite possible that Growl may be out of a job…

Reminders
Combining Reminders with Siri on the iPhone 4S is pretty awesome. All you have to do to set one on your iPhone is to ask Siri to, “remind [you] to do ‘X’ [at] ‘Y’, ” with X being the thing you want the reminder to remind you to do, and Y being when you want the reminder to go off. In Mountain Lion, Apple brings the Reminders app to the desktop, but without Siri. You get everything you’ve got on the iPhone (again, minus Siri) as well as a couple other cool additions.

On the desktop, Reminders allows you to create a task or to-do list, set the date and time you want the reminders to go off and the ability to push them to all of your iDevices. Having this on your Mac also means you get the ability to search through your reminders and view them on your calendar.

The one feature that Reminders doesn’t do on your Mac is “remind [you] to do ‘X’ when you get to ‘Z’,” with X again being the thing you want to do, and Z being the location where you want to do it. For example, again on your iPhone, “Siri, remind me to call home when I leave the office.” Location services aren’t built into Mountain Lion, so reminders on the desktop aren’t location aware.

iCloud Integration
Mountain Lion is the first edition of OS X that includes built in iCloud integration from its initial release. Yes, Lion has it; but it’s an update introduced add-on. With Mountain Lion, Apple gives you access to cloud-based sync services for Notes, Reminders and Messages/iMessage between your Mac and your iDevice.

Documents and changes to those documents stored there will also sync back and forth between your Mac and iDevice. An additional feature coming for documents in the cloud is Document Library. Aside from giving you access to the latest revision of any document created with an iCloud supported app, Document Library also gives you the ability to create folders by dragging one document on top of another, as you do with shortcuts on an iDevice home page, today. Document Library will also support file sharing, making it easy for you to share stuff with those you know via Mail, Messages and AirDrop.

Continue reading…

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