This Week in App News: 26 – 31 March 2012

This week has seen quite a few updates to popular Mac apps, such as iTunes and Safari as well as a sneak preview of some new upcoming Adobe software. As always, here’s Mac AppStorm’s weekly roundup of the goings-on in the world of Mac software.

Apple pushes updates for iTunes, Safari and iPhoto

This week saw updates to two of Apple’s popular program’s, iTunes and Safari. iTunes 10.6.1, which was released on Thursday via OS X Software update, offers fixes for glitches that may cause iTunes to unexpectedly quit when playing videos, changing artwork size in Grid view, and syncing photos to devices.


iTunes 10.6.1 was released via OS X Software Update on Thursday, along with Safari 5.1.5 and iPhoto 9.2.3.

It also corrects an issue in which some iTunes interface elements are incorrectly described by VoiceOver and WindowEyes, and fixes a bug that caused iTunes to become unresponsive when syncing the iPod nano or iPod shuffle. Most of the bug fixes in this release are to patch up errors from iTunes 10.6, released just after the new iPad and Apple TV announcement which brought, among other things, 1080p playback and improvements in iTunes Match.

Apple also pushed out Safari 5.1.5 on Thursday of this week, which corrects 32-bit stability after numerous reports of websites not running properly under 32-bit mode. The new version for OS X Snow Leopard and Lion can be obtained either through Software Update or by heading over to the source link for direct download from Apple’s website.

In a third round of updates, iPhoto 9.2.3 was also released this week as well, which brings overall stability improvements as well as fixes a bug that caused iPhoto to quit unexpectedly on systems with multiple user accounts.

Source: iTunes 10.6.1 (Apple Support)
Source: Safari 5.1.5 (Apple Support)
Source: iPhoto 9.2.3 (Apple Support)

Adobe Previews Illustrator CS6

Since Photoshop CS6 was released last week (and downloaded over half a million times), Adobe has teased us with another sneak peak video of the upcoming Creative Suite 6 software suite on a MacBook Pro, Illustrator CS6.

Illustrator CS6 seems to sport the same dark interface as Photoshop CS6 and one of the main features of this release seems to be a new pattern creation tool, which will make designers’ lives a lot easier. Unfortunately there’s no information about a release date for the public beta (or whether there will ever be one), so until then, feast your eyes on the preview above. We’ll keep you posted about updates to this story.

Source: Adobe Illustrator CS6 Sneak Peek (YouTube)

Google Chrome 18 Released

Google has released yet another new version of its popular web browser, Chrome 18, which patches up nine vulnerabilities as well as boosts the speed of the browser’s hardware acceleration. If you’ve got Chrome installed, then the update should download automatically – otherwise head over to the source link to grab yourself the latest version.


Google Chrome 18 features better graphical capabilities with improved hardware acceleration.

Chrome 18 features accelerated support for Canvas 2D on Mac systems with compatible graphics cards and ensures that multimedia content played inside the browser, such as in-built games, will run smoother and with less jutter. For older systems, the update includes better support for the WebGL 3D standard.

Chrome is becoming an ever-more popular browser for both Windows and Mac users – the latest user statistics put it in second place at 29.84% of global browser usage and on March 21 it briefly became the world’s most popular web browser, surpassing even the mighty reign of Internet Explorer (which is still in top place at 35.75%). Firefox and Safari have remained in third and fourth place respectively, with 24.88% and 6.77% of global browser usage in February 2012.


Google Chrome is now in second place in browser popularity after Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Source: Google Chrome

Autodesk Inc. releases its 2013 suite of software

Autodesk has released a wealth of updates to its popular range of professional software, including new versions of AutoCAD (a powerful computer-aided-design program), Maya (3D computer graphics) and 3ds Max (another 3D graphics software package which is often used in game design).

Autodesk 2013

Autodesk has released the 2013 version for most of its popular software, including AutoCAD and Maya.

New features across the range of software include tighter Autodesk 360 integration, a synchronisation service for your files with improved features brought to each individual programs. AutoCAD 2013 now, for example, gives you the ability to create section views from individual drawing views, allowing a more detailed and thorough view of your technical drawing.

Another great thing about Autodesk is that if you are a student at an educational institution recognised by them, then you can download pretty much all of their software for absolutely no cost at all (including AutoCAD 2013, 3ds Max and Maya). Simply head over to the students section of their website to register and download your software.

Autodesk Education

The education section of Autodesk's website, where students can download most of their software for free.

There is one catch though, all files created with the educational version will bear a digital watermark making it inappropriate for commercial use. However if you simply want to try out this great range of software, then the deal doesn’t seem too shabby, especially when you consider that AutoCAD 2013 retails at $3,995.

Source: Autodesk 2013 products

Over half of American households own an Apple product

And in non-related Mac software news, according to CNBC’s All-American Economic Survey, over half of American households now owns an Apple product, whether it’d be a iPad, iPhone, iPod or Mac computer. That works out at an average of 55 million homes in the United States, and a tenth of the households who currently don’t own an Apple product are planning to buy one sometime in the coming year.

CNBC Chart

Telephone surveys conducted by CNBC showed that half of all American households own at least one Apple product.

The typical Apple owner tends to be young males with a college education. Social demographics also plays a role as well: 77% of people earning over $75,000 a year own an Apple product, compared with those earning under $30,000 a year, where the figure is a mere 28% (no prizes for guessing why).

The figures, which were obtained through telephone polls last week, are encouraging for Apple and will really help in identifying their target market. With more and more younger people turning towards Apple (especially given RIM’s dire financial results from this week), it seems that Apple do know the way to go with their technology: flashy, cutting-edge and, most importantly of all, bling.