This Week in App News

This week has been a busy one in the world of Apple-related news so without further ado, here’s Mac AppStorm’s weekly happenings roundup.

Happy reading!

Microsoft trying to persuade iCloud users to switch over to SkyDrive

Not wanting to be undermined by the competition, Microsoft has set up a page on their website trying to convince iCloud users on why they should switch over to SkyDrive. Microsoft touts the fact that SkyDrive users can access files anywhere (rather than only with programs that are compatible with iCloud), the tight integration with Office and the ability to share notes created in OneNote with SkyDrive.

Microsoft SkyDrive

The post on Microsoft's website, persuading iCloud users to convert to SkyDrive

The competition, although friendly, is great for consumers as they are the ones who get the best of both worlds. For now, there’s no clear winner – both systems have their advantages and disadvantages – but given the tight bond between iCloud and OS X, as well as the fact that the upcoming Mountain Lion release features even better integration, Microsoft’s attempts might not be enough to woo hardcore Apple users to convert. Not yet, anyway.

Rumour: Mountain Lion may be released earlier than expected

According to AppleInsider, an unnamed source claimed that Apple’s European arm has already been training its staff to answer questions about the upcoming release of Mountain Lion – something which the company has traditionally avoided in the past in order to minimise the risk of information leaking.

The availability and release schedule of the Developer Previews of Mountain Lion may also hint towards an earlier-than-expected release date. Unlike Lion, the Developer Previews of Mountain Lion were available to registered developers with Apple up to 25 days earlier than those of Lion and if Apple follows the same schedule as it did with Lion, then the gold master of Mountain Lion would be ready on June 6, with the final product going on sale to the public around June 25 – a mere 10 days after WWDC ’12 is due to end.

This is, of course, pure speculation and Apple is known for its tight secrecy and hushed attitude towards any possible speculation but the clues are there, so we may be treated sooner than we think. The official announcement, however, is likely to come at WWDC ’12 so until then, we’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store.

More Evidence of Retina-Enabled Macs in OS X 10.7.4

Although it was touted as a fairly standard release with a few security patches and bug fixes, the latest release of OS X, version 10.7.4, has even more evidence hinting at upcoming retina-enabled Macs. AppleInsider reported that the icon for Apple’s default text editor application, TextEdit has been increased to 1,024 x 1,024 pixels, double that of the previous version Lion at a mere 512 x 512 pixels, with its size jumping up from 209 KB to 1.7 MB.

TextEdit Retina

The new TextEdit icon in OS X 10.7.4, with a higher resolution of 1,024 x 1,024 pixels

This doubling of the icon’s resolution puts it in retina-quality territory and is another strong hint that Apple is planning to equip some of its computers (maybe even the whole iMac and MacBook series) with higher-quality displays similar to those on the iPhone and new iPad. It does seem that Apple has had this idea for quite some time – the first release of Lion included high-quality versions of the App Store and Launchpad icons and more evidence was found in the various Developer Previews of Mountain Lion however given all these signs, we can be pretty sure that Apple have been planning this for some time and the official announcement will surely not disappoint.

Adobe Lightroom 4 available on the App Store

Lightroom 4, which was announced back in March, is now available on the Mac App Store, making it the fourth Adobe title on the App Store already alongside Photoshop Elements 10 Editor, Premiere 10 Elements Editor and Adobe Revel (formerly known as Carousel). It is priced at $149.99, which is the same price as if you bought it directly from Adobe but seeing as you can get a discounted ($99) version if you buy Creative Suite 6, it doesn’t really seem that much of a deal.

Adobe Lightroom 4

Lightroom 4 on the App Store is priced at $149.99

Lightroom 4 from the App Store clocks in at 388 MB and you’ll need to be running OS X 10.6.8 or higher to be able to use it. Another interesting fact is that although Adobe is a massive company, Apple still charges them the same amount of commission per download, meaning that each copy of Lightroom 4 purchased from the App Store nets them a cool (and easy) $45.

Spotify client refreshed with playlist-based radio and Tumblr support

Spotify’s desktop client received a major update to it on Friday which brought along playlist-based radio, support for the blogging service Tumblr, instant search results and embeddable Spotify Play buttons for use on web pages.

Spotify Playlist Radio

The new Playlist Radio feature in Spotify, which suggests similar songs based on the one you are listening to

The playlist-based radio allows you to listen to similar music based on the song you are listening to by clicking on Start Playlist Radio and the new Instant Search feature means that search results are rendered instantly in the main window.

The update is rolling out to all Spotify users gradually however if you don’t want to wait for it then head over to the Spotify website to download the latest version.