This Week in App and Apple News

Hot and fresh off the presses, here’s Mac AppStorm’s weekly news roundup.

Enjoy!

Parallels Desktop 8 update brings enhanced Windows 8 support

Parallels have released a major update to their popular virtualisation software, Parallels Desktop which brings along enhanced Windows 8 support, including access to Windows 8 tablet gestures when the operating system is running virtually under OS X and the ability to add Windows applications to the Launchpad.

Parallels Desktop 8

The update to Parallels Desktop allows you to add Windows applications to Launchpad on the Mac dock.

There is also better support for retina displays, including the new MacBook Pro (13-inch) and full USB 3.0 support for faster connections to peripheral devices. The update is free to all existing Parallels users and can be grabbed via the application itself.

OS X 10.9 may already be in development

Although (yet) unannounced by Apple, several Apple-based websites are already seeing the new operating system “OS X 10.9″ popping up in their weblogs, suggesting that Apple may be internally testing the new version of OS X. Apple Insider reported this on Tuesday of this week and the Czech website Letem světem Applem also noticed a spike in the number of visits from machines supposedly running OS X 10.9 as well (the report is in Czech).

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Apple Insider has seen a spike in visits from machines running “OS X 10.9″ recently. Other websites have reported similar results.

Although these statistics may not be true, it does fit the timescale quite well. In February of this year, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was announced quite unexpectedly, so with Apple beginning beta testing now in November, it does tie in with a possible February announcement of the new version. Let the rumours begin…

Apple considering transition away from Intel chips

Since we reported back at the start of October that Apple may be considering moving away from Intel chips, there have been fresh rumours, this time from Bloomberg (who cited people that are familiar with the company’s research and development processes), that the planned transition is still under consideration. Engineers at Apple are confident that the company’s own range of A-series chip designs (such as the Apple A5, A6 and A6X which power most of the company’s iOS devices) can be used in their own computers as well.

The move is still a few years off yet as Apple is currently tied down to Intel products however a shift to their own proprietary chip designs is inevitable, especially given the success and power of the chips in their iOS devices. Apple reportedly also has a dedicated team to the transition with engineers that envision a lineup of machines that share a common chip design, much like the current iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Borderlands 2 available on November 20th

The game that was described by the developers as a “four-player cooperative shooter-looter that combined intense first-person mayhem with role-playing gameplay”, Borderlands 2, will be released onto the Mac on November 20th, after previously being released on Steam for Windows and the Xbox 360 back in September. The game has received rave reviews and has been called a “winner” by the British newspaper The Guardian.

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Borderlands 2 will be available on the Mac from November 20th.

There has been no official word on pricing however we can presume that it will be priced similarly to the PC version, which currently retails for $59.99. Borderlands 2 will also allow you to play online with drop-in, drop-out capabilities and will be released in both a digital download and physical (i.e. a DVD) format.

The release of Borderlands 2 for the Mac also heralds a new age of Mac gaming, and shows that the platform certainly isn’t underrepresented with regard to big games. Now, given the rise of popularity of Macs, developers are now writing both PC and native Mac versions of popular games, rather than simply porting the game to the platform.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom now enhanced for retina displays

This week, Photoshop Lightroom became yet another Adobe app to add retina display support, along with a number of bug fixes and support for new cameras (including the new Nikon D600). Strangely enough, there has still been no chatter about the Creative Suite being updated for the new retina display – Adobe is presumably waiting until the devices increase in popularity before committing to the update.

RIP, Windows Live Messenger

OK, so it’s not really Apple news but seeing as I was a big user of the service until Facebook Chat came along, I thought that it was worth mentioning here. Microsoft has revealed that it will retire Windows Live Messenger (previously known as MSN Messenger) at the start of 2013, except in mainland China where Skype is blocked. Users will have until the first quarter of 2013 to merge their Microsoft account with their Skype account, and users can still communicate with their contacts via Skype (the update to version 6 a couple of weeks ago).

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Windows Live Messenger has been ditched in favour of Skype.

Over the past couple of years, Windows Live Messenger has declined in popularity – mainly due to competition from other instant messaging protocols, such as Skype (which is in turn owned by Microsoft), Facebook Chat and smartphone-based services such as iMessage and WhatsApp. I will certainly be quite sad to see the service retiring, especially as I spent so much time on it when I was younger but it seems that Windows Live Messenger was inevitable to die sometime, especially given the tough competition.

Heard Anything Else?

If you’ve heard anything else exciting that’s happened this week then go ahead and post a link to it in the Comments section below for the benefit of our other readers!


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