This Week in App News: 20 – 26 February 2012

This week’s news isn’t quite as populated as last week’s because, as you all know, Mountain Lion made its first developer preview debut last week. However, there was some special news during the week including the Growl developers’ response to Apple’s latest operating system. You see, Growl was once a great notification system on the Mac, but now it seems that Mountain Lion’s Notification Center — which was conveniently ported from iOS — has replaced the small app.

This may come as a disappointment to some since Growl worked so well and had lots of customization, but the developers have responded in a blog post from last weekend assuring that the service is not dead and that the developers are in the process of investigating other options for Growl’s purpose in Mountain Lion. This is great news for the many users out there who’ve been devoted to Growl. Hopefully they will be able to integrate Growl into Notification Center or something in a way.

Check after the break for the rest of this week’s news.

Apple presents Mastered for iTunes content

The new Mastered for iTunes section within the iTunes Store

In a move to distinguish their iTunes music store from all other online music outlets, Apple has introduced a new “Mastered for iTunes” section in the iTunes Store. This new section contains specially processed high-fidelity tracks that attempt to preserve the perfect sound quality that an uncompressed file does.

As noted by Ars Technica, most of the tracks recorded these days use 24-bit samples at either 96 kHz or 192 kHz — this, of course, is contingent on how powerful the recording system being used is. Apple requires that artists first compress their tracks into the iTunes Plus 256 kbps VBR files before uploading them to the store in order to have a file size that’s more optimal for speedy downloading. However, this method removes 97 percent of the data in the original, uncompressed file, making it lossy and not nearly the same quality as a FLAC or ALAC file.

Thankfully, Apple’s new Mastered for iTunes section attempts to reduce the amount of lost data and maintain an audio quality more in the vicinity of the track’s uncompressed counterpart. Their tools will merely subsample the original recording to 44.1 kHz sampling using a 32-bit floating-point mediator file and convert the file to AAC. This procedure will use “every bit of resolution available, preserving all the dynamic range of the 24-bit source file”, as outlined in Apple’s Mastered for iTunes guide.

Check out the new section here. More details on how mastering works here.

The Beatles bring exclusive ringtones to iTunes

iTunes' Beatles ringtone page

The Beatles officially announced that they were bringing a slew of 30-second ringtones to Apple’s iTunes Store exclusively. Some of these ringtones include “Hey Jude”, “Come Together”, “Yesterday”, “Yellow Submarine”, and “Let It Be”. You can view the full list of them on the iTunes Store page here.

Mac App Store sandboxing deadline extended

Apple again extended the sandboxing deadline for OS X apps, this time from March 1st to June 1st, 2012. Sandboxing is meant to avert apps that can be hacked from seizing control of a user’s computer, though it also puts a limitation on certain functionality that users have come to rely heavily upon in desktop computers.

There’s a lot more than just this to sandboxing, though, so you should probably head over to Ars Technica‘s coverage of it for an in-depth analysis of what it means for you as a user or developer.

Other stuff you should read

This article has come to its end, but here’s some other content that I’d recommend reading to stay in the loop:

Thanks for reading and see you next week!