This Week in App News

This week has been yet another busy one in the world of app news so without further ado, let’s get started!

Happy reading!

OS X 10.8.2 and OS X 10.7.5 released

For those of you who aren’t waiting for your brand shiny new iPhone 5 to drop onto your doormat, Apple still managed to provide you with a little treat on Wednesday, as new versions of both Lion and Mountain Lion, 10.7.5 and 10.8.2 respectively, were released for free via Software Update.

The 10.8.2 release brought along Facebook integration into OS X, a feature which was missing from the original release back in July (presumably to tie in with the release of iOS 6, which also occurred on Wednesday). Now, you can sign into your Facebook account directly from System Preferences and update your status directly from the Notification Center, just like you could with Twitter, along with your Facebook notifications as well. Users can also share directly to Facebook from supported applications.

OS X 10.8.2 Facebook Integration

The new Facebook sign-in panel in OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion.

OS X 10.8.2 also brings along a number of other welcome improvements, such as improvements to Game Center, general bug fixes and my personal favourite: the ability to receive iMessages sent to your mobile number on your Mac (and you can also respond to them on your Mac, with any changes being pushed across all your devices). The update is free and weighs in at around 670 MB and is available either via Software Update or as a standalone download from Apple’s support site.

Lion users also didn’t miss out on their share of update love as Apple also pushed out OS X 10.7.5 which, amongst other things, brought along Gatekeeper support. Again, the update is available via Software Update (this one weighs in at just short of 1.2 GB) or from the Apple Support site. Remember before any OS X update to back up your computer fully using Time Machine, just in case anything goes wrong!

Microsoft restructures Office 2011 for Mac pricing and adds retina-display support

It seems like Microsoft have been working hard on Office 2011 for Mac recently, as they have restructured the pricing structure in order to fall more in line with the new Office 365, which is currently in the consumer preview stage. Microsoft seem to be favouring a subscription-based model for Office 2011 for Mac and although you can still get it as a one-time purchase, there now seems to be a push towards a new $100 yearly subscription fee. The software can, however, be used across 5 different Macs.

Office 365

Microsoft are pushing towards a subscription-style service for new Office releases, just like with Office 365.

Not only do subscribers receive the whole array of Office apps, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but they also get access to Microsoft’s new SkyDrive service, which provides them with 20 GB of cloud-based storage and 60 free Skype minutes (as Microsoft own them). Microsoft will update Office 2011 for Mac to include activation for Office 365, their new system and a spokesman has confirmed that they are working on next release of Office for Mac, which will presumably be released either in 2013 or 2014, given their update cycle.

As well as this new pricing structure, Microsoft have also updated the entire Office suite to support the new retina display on the MacBook Pro, despite the fact the company stated back in August that they “cannot comment on any future updates regarding supporting Retina on Word, Excel or PowerPoint.”

The new version (14.2.4) is available via the Updates section in any Microsoft program. For a bit more information regarding this update, head over to Microsoft’s support site. Note that some users have reported the retina display not being enabled after the update – if this is you then make sure you check out Microsoft’s dedicated support article regarding this issue (don’t worry, it’s fairly simple to change).

Growl 2.0 released with integrated Notification Center support

Growl 2.0, which has been in the works for a bit of time now, was finally released on the App Store this week. The new version features full Mountain Lion support and allows applications that use Growl’s own notification APIs to forward any notifications to the Notification Center.

Growl 2

Growl 2 not only brings along full Mountain Lion support but also more customisation possibilities for your notifications.

As well as this, you can also forward notifications to your iOS device by using either Prowl or Boxcar as well as a number of bug fixes and more customisation possibilities for notifications.

To grab your update, head over to the App Store where it should be ready and waiting there for you.

Pixelmator 2.1.1 brings along a new, faster Healing tool

Pixelmator was another one of our favourite apps that received a sizeable update this week, and version 2.1.1 is a bit more than a maintenance release. The developers have added a new Healing tool, allowing the user to remove any blemishes or get rid of unwanted items in an image. The tool fills the selected area with similar image content that is nearby, so no-one will notice the difference and the new Healing tool is, according to the developers, up to 20 times faster than on previous versions (and, interestingly enough, 10 times faster than the one in Adobe Photoshop).

To grab the update, head over to the App Store where it should be ready and waiting for you. And to see the Healing tool in action, check out Pixelmator’s blog post about this new release.

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!