Apple tweaks applications, utilities for Lion
In case you hadn’t noticed, Apple released a minor software update to its Mac OS on Wednesday, along with some modest updates to its hardware products. However, the company also released a handful of new updates to its utilities and applications to add support for the new OS.
A newer version of iTunes has also made its way into the wild. Version 10.4 brings compatibility with Lion, chiefly in the implementation of full-screen mode, along with performance improvements and stability enhancements. But its most salient upgrade is way, way under the hood: In Lion, iTunes is now a 64-bit Cocoa application. This means that some existing plug-ins may no longer function; you should contact the plug-in developer to get an updated version.
The app is available for both Macs (running Mac OS X 10.5 or later) and Windows PCs. There’s also a version designed specifically for 64-bit Windows systems. It’s available via Software Update or Apple’s support downloads site.
iWork 9.1 brings support for Lion-specific features such as full-screen mode, Resume, Auto Save, Versions, and the Character picker to Apple’s productivity suite. In addition, Keynote 5.1 adds two new builds: Anvil and Fall Apart. There’s also improved compatibility with Microsoft Office.
There are three ways to download the latest update, depending on how you bought your existing copy of iWork. If you purchased it via the Mac App Store, it’s easy: Just fire up the store and click the Updates toolbar button. On the other hand, if you bought a boxed version or downloaded a trial and upgraded to the full version you have two options: you can run Software Update, or you can download the manual updater from Apple’s Website.
Apple also updated its integrated developer environment, Xcode, to version 4.1. In addition to including software development kits (SDKs) for Lion and iOS 4.3, there are a number of improvements built in, such as support for Auto Layout and new Aqua controls in Interface Builder; full-screen support in the workplace, project, and organizer windows; project modernization that helps find out of date build settings; the ability to customize and assign behaviors to key bindings; source control enhancements for working with remote servers; assistant editor support; and bug fixes and stability improvements.
As with Xcode 4, version 4.1 is available in the Mac App Store as a 2.96GB download. However, unlike its predecessor, for which Apple was charging the most sum of $5, Xcode 4.1 is available for free.
Windows Migration Assistant for Lion
If you are planning to switch from a Windows PC to a shiny new Mac running OS X Lion, this 2.78MB utility lets you migrate all your data to the Mac. Available as a free download from the Apple support website, the assistant is compatible with PCs running Windows XP, Vista, and 7. Apple helpfully notes that the app will launch automatically once it is installed.
Server Admin Tools 10.7
If you’ve installed the server version of Lion, this update brings you the latest version of additional applications designed for the server environment. It includes the newest releases of Podcast Composer, Server Admin, Server Monitor, System Image Utility, Workgroup Manager, and Xgrid Admin. It weighs in at a sizable 193.25 MB but, that’s probably small potatoes compared to the other big download you did today.
Java for OS X Lion
Beginning in Lion, Apple no longer bundles Java as part of the operating system. However, you can manually install Java SE 6 version 1.6.0_26 if you need it by installing this 62.53MB download. Lion will also pop up a dialog box that prompts you to download and install Java if you happen to run a program that requires it.
At $30 for all of your Macs, the only reason not to upgrade to Lion is because you rely on old PowerPC-based apps that won’t run on it. Otherwise, it’s a great price for a major upgrade. Read the full review