This week has been a really busy one in terms of app news, what with Apple’s main WWDC announcement on Monday and all the exciting new products that have come with it! If you haven’t already done so, make sure you check out our roundup of the announcements at WWDC and Jacob Penderworth’s in-depth analysis of the new features in OS X Mountain Lion to catch up on all the latest.
Meanwhile, in other news this week…
Skype 5.8 released, bringing back the old-school contact list
Skype for Mac received a slight update on Thursday of this week, bringing it up to version 5.8. The new edition has brought back the old slimline contact list seen in earlier versions in an extra window along with a few other improvements to features such as video calls to and from mobile devices (if the mobile user rotates the screen then the Mac version will automatically recognise this change), better screen sharing and full Mountain Lion support.
When version 5 of Skype for Mac was brought out back in January 2011 it was criticised by many users for being too bulky and too different to previous versions (the Windows version had traditionally received more care and attention than the Mac version). Tony Bates, president of the Skype division at Microsoft, said about the new edition:
You’ve been very vocal with your thoughts about the revamped full-screen user interface we introduced in Skype 5.0 and we’ve been listening intently. For this reason, we’re excited to announce the return of the slim contact list that so many of you have been requesting. Now you can reposition and resize your contact list however you like. We believe this change will simplify your experience.
The new version is available either by going to the Check for Updates section in Skype or via download from their website.
iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie and Aperture receive updates
Just after the main announcement at WWDC on Monday, most of Apple’s default apps received incremental updates, mostly to fix any bugs and provide full support for Mountain Lion. iTunes 10.6.3 fixed a problem with synchronisation with the first-generation iPad and a few other issues regarding photos and playlist deletion and iMovie 9.0.6 and iPhoto 9.3 added support for the new MacBook Pro’s retina display, along with a few other fixes.
However, probably the biggest update seen was Aperture, which was bumped up to version 3.3 and got a whole lot more than just retina-display support. The new version brings in a darker UI, more in line with OS X Lion and iPhoto, a unified library with iPhoto (including any Faces, Places, Albums and Smart Albums), a more advanced white balancing system, improved highlights and shadows, a new professional Auto Enhance mode, which uses powerful image analysis to determine the correct white balance, exposure, highlights, curves and vibrancy and faster browsing.
The updates are all free for existing users can be had by heading over to Software Update on OS X, where they should all be waiting for you.
Google Chrome to receive retina display support
For those of you lucky enough to already have your hands on one of those brand-new retina display MacBook Pros, there’s good news for you. Nico Weber, a software engineer and “Chief Apple Polisher” at Google confirmed on Chrome’s official blog that retina-display support is on the way and even posted a screenshot of the change (shown below) to highlight the massive difference between the two displays.
We have further to go over the next few weeks, but we’re off to the races to make Chrome as beautiful as it can be.
We have unfortunately not heard any chatter regarding a possible release date however judging by the fact that the Chrome development team posted it on their official blog, we can rest assured that it is on its way!
Ping to be killed with the next release of iTunes
Ping, the social network aimed at discovering new music and which has been a feature of iTunes since September 2010, may be axed in the next version of iTunes, version 11, which is due to be released this coming autumn (possibly along with iOS 6). According to John Paczkowski at AllThingsD, Ping will be replaced with deeper Twitter and Facebook integration, which are due to go system-wide in Mountain Lion.
The service has been criticised by some users and CNN rated Ping as one of the ten biggest tech ‘fails’ of 2010, along with the iPhone 4 Antennagate problem, Google Buzz and the Digg relaunch.
No more Messages Beta until Mountain Lion
Apple has officially axed the Messages beta app until the release of Mountain Lion, which is expected next month. Any visitors to the old page of Apple’s website will now be directed to an overview page about Mountain Lion which highlights the new upcoming features. The beta hasn’t received any updates since it was released back in February, which may indicate that something new is planned when Mountain Lion is released officially, however if you’ve got it installed on your Mac, you can of course still use it until the full version becomes available.
Heard anything else?
If you’ve heard anything else exciting that’s happened this week then go ahead and post a link to in the Comments section below for the benefit of our readers!
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