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So Apple showed off OS X Lion again at WWDC, compared to the last time they talked about it, and the previews we’ve seen since then, they didn’t talk about anything much else - sticking to multi-touch, full screen app’s, mission control, launchpad etc. all of which is exciting to see and a nice refresh to OS X but nothing that we didn’t know already. Since then though they’ve uploaded a new page featuring all of the new features in Lion, here’s some of the small but notable features not addressed in the keynote the really stood out for me as being cool little improvements.

1. Picture-in-picture zoom - The screen zoom feature in Lion features a picture-in-picture view, allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size. Choose to have the window follow the cursor, or keep the window in one place to show only areas you navigate.
Although this feature is categorized under Accessibility and is probably targeted at long sighted users, I could actually imagine it being really powerful and probably great for designers and others alike, it will allow you to zoom in on a certain portion of the screen - like you would with a magnifying glass. I could actually imagine myself using this to read when i’m feeling tired or for design, the fact that it will be system wide makes it even better. A feature that probably wasn’t intended to be awesome, but is.

2. Instant messaging availability - See your buddy’s availability while in Address Book.
As issue Joshua Topolsky has discussed about iOS regularly is that it doesn’t feel “alive”, in that app’s don’t interact with each other, by the looks of it though Apple are addressing this in certain areas in a really great way on the desktop. Where they can integrate services and do it in a valuable way for the user they are. I almost never use Address Book on my Mac, with the update to Lion I think it’s going to become a lot more compelling: now in Address Book if you have contacts associated with an IM account it will integrate with iChat and show you their availability. This kind of idea is actually on it’s way to fulfilling the vision from Chris Ziegler of the universal status indicator, once this is ported to iOS as well I think it will become a whole lot more exciting.

3. Social network profiles - Address Book lets you quickly access the social network profiles for your contacts, including Facebook. Press and hold an email address to select the appropriate profile.
Obviously Address Book is going through several changes with Lion to make it a far more compelling application, integrating with social networks like Facebook and from the look of the iOS preview probably Twitter as well. What’s really intriguing about this as they are really bringing Address Book into the modern age making it the hub to find the best way to contact your friends at any given time - be it via phone, email, IM, Facebook or Twitter, you’ll hopefully be able to find links to all of it in Address Book.

4. Group as folder - Instantly create a folder from selected files by choosing the “group as folder” item from the contextual menu.
In Lion it also seems like they’re taking steps to streamline certain processes to make them that little bit easier and quicker. In the past i’ve had to create a folder, highlight the files I want to put into it and drag them over there, now, i’ll simply have to highlight the files and right click select ‘Group as folder’. Little stuff like this shows true attention to detail.

5. Keep both files - When you attempt to add a file to a folder that contains a file of the same name, the Finder now offers to keep both files, appending the word “copy” to the name of the new file.
Another really well thought out little feature which streamlines a process, i’ll often be presented with the option to ‘Stop’ or ‘Replace’, I don’t want to do either. I think this will also be great for new users, not just new to the Mac, but computers in general, people who have been brought over from the halo effect of the iPad where they didn’t even have to deal with a file system and are now confronted with the option to ‘Stop’ or ‘Replace’. They wont have to deal with that anymore.

6. Service plug-ins - Service plug-ins from third-party developers let you add new chat services to iChat. Installing a plug-in is simple. Once it’s downloaded, double-click it. Plug-ins run in a separate process to help ensure that they won’t damage your system.
Although it will probably go unnoticed this is a fundamentally huge feature with so much potential allowing iChat to support protocols other than AIM, Jabber or Gtalk. As long as someone takes the time to create a plug-in. This not only opens up the gate to finally have MSN in iChat but also beyond that any other protocol someone is interested in making a plug-in for. Where I could imagine this would really come into it’s own is with plug-in’s for cross platform messaging services like LiveProfile or PingChat, maybe even iMessage is someone manages to reverse engineer the service so that even if Apple don’t choose to bring it to the Mac we would have access to it. A really exciting prospect.

7. Bind application to a space - You can now bind an application to a particular space or make it available in all spaces right from the Dock. Press and hold the icon in the Dock and make a selection from the contextual menu.
This feature really builds on classic Spaces and goes beyond its functionality to bring it in line with Mission Control, allowing you to pin certain applications to certain spaces. I really think this will be an immensely powerful feature alongside full screen app’s once people figure how to incorporate it into their workflow to make them even more productive and allow them to focus.

8. Capture a region of the screen - QuickTime Player lets you record part of the screen, such as a specific window. It’s perfect for creating a video tutorial of an application.
Although the ‘Apple way’ is typically to add a new feature and do the bare minimum to make it awesome and nothing more1, it’s refreshing to see them build on a small feature like screen recording QuickTime and make it so functional that it will do just fine for the vast majority of people. Saving them a decent amount of money so they don’t have to buy a devoted app.

9. Show clicks on capture - Screen capture in QuickTime lets you show mouse or trackpad clicks, highlighting the pointer each time you click an object on the screen.
Again, a great new feature in QuickTime screen recorder that will go above and beyond what most people need and save them a tonne of money.

10. Improved auto-correction - Auto-correction in Lion displays suggested spellings below the word. Press Return to accept the change or click the X to keep the current spelling.
Another great feature obviously lifted from iOS which i’m really going to appreciate. Listed under Text suggesting it will be a system wide function. I’m terrible at spelling so having the option to correct spelling mistakes in line without having to right click will be useful for me and save me a lot of time. It looks to have been implemented in a really unobtrusive way as well which wont get in your way if you’re just hammering at the keyboard and not paying attention to the screen: Press Return to accept the change or click the X to keep the current spelling.

They’re all tiny little features which probably shouldn’t have been mentioned at the keynote, they wouldn’t have got rounds of applause the way Versioning did. They do though show a precise amount of care that has gone into this OS update, and I highly advise anyone else to read through the other 240 features like I did, because this update is going to be a big one.

Today, fewer than 1% of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners are Instapaper customers, despite Instapaper spending a lot of time (including today) at the #1-paid-app spot in the App Store’s News category for both iPhone and iPad. The potential market is massive, but most people don’t know that they need it yet. When iOS 5 and Lion ship, Apple will show a much larger percentage of iOS-device owners that saving web pages to read later is a useful workflow and can dramatically improve the way they read.

If Reading List gets widely adopted and millions of people start saving pages for later reading, a portion of those people will be interested in upgrading to a dedicated, deluxe app and service to serve their needs better. And they’ll quickly find Instapaper in the App Store.

I was curious to hear how Marco thought Reading List would affect his business, he’d previously speculated that Reading List wouldn’t do much damage, but at that time it was only on the Mac. Now after the grand reveal at WWDC that it would sync with your iOS devices as well, he’s put up another post.

I have to admit I undervalued how many features Instapaper has over the new Reading List, I completely forgot about it’s new social aspect, offline caching1 and social sharing (which I use a tonne to forward stuff to Tumblr and Twitter) all of which is stuff we’ll probably never see added to Reading List because it’s just the Apple way. I started out thinking he would really struggle but now i’m on the opposite side of the fence, I can see where he’s coming from and it might actually hell his business surprisingly even if he does lose some of his existing users to Reading List along the way who opt for the free service instead. You can also hear him talk about it in the latest episode of Build and Analyze.


  1. An epic shortfall of Reading List. It’s castrated without it.

Cult of Mac and Dom Leca talk Sparrow
Cult of Mac: Sparrow wears its inspiration from Tweetie on its sleeve. What made you think that Tweetie’s approach to Twitter could work with email?
Dom Leca: We contacted Loren Brichter from Twitter (Tweetie at that time) to ask him if he was comfortable with us using his sidebar design. We thought it was both elegant and a faster way to switch between mail accounts. The feedback for users was great and it felt smarter than the usual list of accounts prevalent in most mail applications. We saw it as a way around the most painful part of using Gmail on the web: the process of switching between accounts and logging in and out.
The sidebar design is the main thing we took from Tweetie. The rest of the UI is much inspired by Mail on iPad, me.com, Mail on iPhone and a lot of nice UIs we’ve seen across various native and web apps.
Overall, Sparrow aims to be something in between an email notifier like Gmail Notifier and a full application. Notifiers do their job, but they don’t help you improve your mail flow. Full fledge mail applications do everything you want but they take too much screen estate and you end up with windows everywhere. Sparrow aims at having all the options and features of a full fledge mail client in a small item on your desktop.
Cult of Mac: Does Sparrow draw its inspiration from Tweetie on a merely aesthetic level, or is it deeper? Do you think treating email like Twitter is actually beneficial to productivity?
Dom Leca: With Sparrow, your mail flows almost in real time, but even so: e-mail isn’t like Twitter, or at least not yet. It is still and will remain a more formal way of communicating.
Mail is closer to chat than Twitter. We expect that Sparrow’s UI will evolve a lot in that direction, especially in threaded view as we find new and simpler ways to display threads. We don’t expect it will go as far as SMS on the iPhone, but we hope to integrate some of that philosophy into Sparrow over time.
This is the long term orientation of Sparrow. We want to avoid turning email into something as informal chat, while at the same time allowing people to handle their email quick if they want to. We’re searching for the ‘in between’.
Cult of Mac: On your site, you say that Sparrow is the result of ten years of work that began with Etpan. Can you give us an idea of how Etpan led to Sparrow?
Dom Leca: Etpan is a side project initiated by Hoa Dinh Vie ten years ago. He ended up creating an open source mail engine almost entirely by himself. That project was sufficiently advanced that he joined an iOS development company I co-founded in 2008 as CTO.
Two years later, we ended up leaving that company, and dusted off Etpan after deciding that we were not satisfied with what the Mac ecosystem offered in terms of Mail experience. Hoa tried to join John Gruber’s Letters.app initiative, but that project dissolved.
That’s how Etpan turned into Hermod (a proprietary mail engine layer). From Hermod, Sparrow was born. We launched Beta 1 in October 2010. After that, Jean Marc-Denis joined the team as a designer, and because of the traction that first beta had, allowing us to get some venture capital invested in our company within days, the project really got off the ground very quickly.
Cult of Mac: Sparrow for Mac seems so infused with the DNA of Gmail that it’s hard to imagine it working for other IMAP services, like Yahoo Mail. Still, you promise that version 1.1 will have full IMAP support. How much of Sparrow’s Gmail functionality will be available to other IMAP users?
Dom Leca: We’re convinced that threads makes a lot of sense for users in terms of efficiency and clarity in their mailbox. However, for non tech-saavy users, the Gmail web interface can seem complicated.
When Sparrow integrates general IMAP, all mail from all providers will be displayed in threaded views. Apple has largely participated in making the threaded view more common and acceptable to users, thanks to the interface of the iPhone and iPad.
The ‘Favorite’ category will also stay visible in all accounts plugged into Sparrow when it adds support for other IMAP services.
Cult of Mac: Any intention of supporting more of Gmail’s functionality in Sparrow? For example, contacts management, creation of filters, or Gmail’s priority inbox?
Dom Leca: We’ve put aside a lot of that stuff for the moment as we focus on implementing general IMAP support, which requires a lot of testing and other attention. Still, eventually, Priority Inbox will be there, as well as many additional Gmail features, along with other general enhancements.
Cult of Mac: What’s in the cards after Sparrow version 1.1? What sort of functionality would you like to add?
Dom Leca: Sparrow is meant to designed and improve the mail experience, and we’re already thinking of ways to enhance that. Ideas we have include integrating shortlings and cloud services. We’d also like to expand Sparrow’s compatibility with other Mac applications, integrate Facebook’s new messaging system and take advantage of some of OS X Lion’s new capabilities.
Overall, though, Sparrow has some rough edges that need to be polished and corrected, including the way the app behaves, refinements needed for the user interace, and small bugs to be squashed. We’re going to focus on getting that right before we greatly expand our features.
Looks like The Incident is coming to the Mac. Mind = Blown.
mrgan:

Word to the wise.

Looks like The Incident is coming to the Mac. Mind = Blown.

mrgan:

Word to the wise.

A photo sent in by a reader to Business Insider, allegedly showing Flipboard for the Mac, an app which will launch along with the Mac App Store on January 6th. It sounds like a good prospect and is the kind of app i’d love to see on the Mac taking advantage of the Magic Trackpad.

Supposedly you’ll be able to browse the Flipboard app by flicking your Mac trackpad, sort of how you browse FlipBoard with the iPad’s touchscreen.

However, if something sounds good to be true, it usually is. I’m doubting the validity of this more than i’m doubting the launch of a 7” iPad (it’s not going to happen guys, move on), namely because of the appalling picture quality, why not take a screen shot? You could argue it’s done not to disclose too much about the application, but then we move onto my next point - of all the sites you could leak it to, why Business Insider? Really? You have so many other, Apple devoted, news sites. Then, of course, we have the icing on the cake:

Flipboard didn’t respond to our request for comment, and therefore didn’t verify its authenticity.

If you don’t know its true why would a reputable site like yourselves post it then!? I’m 99% leaning towards this being an obvious publicity-stunt trolling to get more Mac readers, of course, I might be wrong, or I might be right that they’re lying but there is a Flipboard app coming to the Mac. We can dream right? Even if it doesn’t we’ll still get offerings like Tweetmate, Sparrow, Chopper 2, Weet etc. so it’s all good!
Update: An update from 9to5Mac about the situation.


A “leaked” picture of Flipboard for Mac made the rounds this morning and many had their doubts about its legitimacy. Flipboard contacted 9to5mac to let us know the “screenshot” is fake and “is not from Flipboard.” Flipboard also told us:

We definitely believe the desktop is part of our future, but it’s still on the whiteboard and not something we are launching soon. The desktop requires a lot of attention to design and UI and we’d like to take the time to get it right.

So there you have it. Flipboard for Mac is not launching soon and is not coming to the Mac App Store on January 6th.



We may not be getting Flipboard for Mac soon but at least we know it’s in the pipeline now, maybe for release when I finally have an Intel Mac?

A photo sent in by a reader to Business Insider, allegedly showing Flipboard for the Mac, an app which will launch along with the Mac App Store on January 6th. It sounds like a good prospect and is the kind of app i’d love to see on the Mac taking advantage of the Magic Trackpad.

Supposedly you’ll be able to browse the Flipboard app by flicking your Mac trackpad, sort of how you browse FlipBoard with the iPad’s touchscreen.

However, if something sounds good to be true, it usually is. I’m doubting the validity of this more than i’m doubting the launch of a 7” iPad (it’s not going to happen guys, move on), namely because of the appalling picture quality, why not take a screen shot? You could argue it’s done not to disclose too much about the application, but then we move onto my next point - of all the sites you could leak it to, why Business Insider? Really? You have so many other, Apple devoted, news sites. Then, of course, we have the icing on the cake:

Flipboard didn’t respond to our request for comment, and therefore didn’t verify its authenticity.

If you don’t know its true why would a reputable site like yourselves post it then!? I’m 99% leaning towards this being an obvious publicity-stunt trolling to get more Mac readers, of course, I might be wrong, or I might be right that they’re lying but there is a Flipboard app coming to the Mac. We can dream right? Even if it doesn’t we’ll still get offerings like Tweetmate, Sparrow, Chopper 2, Weet etc. so it’s all good!

Update: An update from 9to5Mac about the situation.

A “leaked” picture of Flipboard for Mac made the rounds this morning and many had their doubts about its legitimacy. Flipboard contacted 9to5mac to let us know the “screenshot” is fake and “is not from Flipboard.” Flipboard also told us:

We definitely believe the desktop is part of our future, but it’s still on the whiteboard and not something we are launching soon. The desktop requires a lot of attention to design and UI and we’d like to take the time to get it right.

So there you have it. Flipboard for Mac is not launching soon and is not coming to the Mac App Store on January 6th.

We may not be getting Flipboard for Mac soon but at least we know it’s in the pipeline now, maybe for release when I finally have an Intel Mac?

Preview of the upcoming Chopper 2 for Mac which is going to be arriving on a Mac near you at the launch of the Mac App Store on January 6th.

It looks pretty good, I really do wish there were more games for the Mac like this, all I have is the original Halo! The 3D visuals are awesome. The interface looks really cool as well, love the watermarks reading ‘Normal’ and text within the actual game, reminds me of WP7 for some reason. Hope thats all actually part of it. Concept seems pretty simple as well so should be easy to get to grips with:

You are flying a helicopter through the skies, going through several obstacles in order to pick up people on the ground. Some of these obstacles include birds, buildings, and of course mercenaries, rockets, and planes shooting at you. 

Only unanswered question is how much it’s going to cost, original was $15 so something around that price bracket - but we never know considering the App Store price politics we’ve been seeing more and more leading up to Christmas…

Going to be beta testing the new version of Bodega, cool app from the guys at Freshcode thats been around for a while and acts as an application store platform for the Mac. The new update features a tonne of bug fixes and updates.

- Added keyboard shortcuts CMD-left/CMD-right for navigating Back/Forward. - Applications counter displays a count of all items requiring attention, including updates and new installs.- Attempting to download previously downloaded software now displays an alert message.- Fixed issue where software that was uninstalled while Bodega was running could not be installed again unless Bodega was restarted.- A selected category displayed in the sidebar is deselected when opening a URL containing bodega://.- Added extra check to handle both encoded and unencoded URL strings- Fixed issue where newly updated software would continue to display the original version until Bodega was restarted.

Haven’t been a regular user of Bodega until now, so going to try it out and see how it squares up to the previews of the Mac App Store since I can’t use the Mac App Store myself because of the limitations of my elderly Mac. Shall try and put a review up soonish.

Going to be beta testing the new version of Bodega, cool app from the guys at Freshcode thats been around for a while and acts as an application store platform for the Mac. The new update features a tonne of bug fixes and updates.

- Added keyboard shortcuts CMD-left/CMD-right for navigating Back/Forward. 
- Applications counter displays a count of all items requiring attention, including updates and new installs.
- Attempting to download previously downloaded software now displays an alert message.
- Fixed issue where software that was uninstalled while Bodega was running could not be installed again unless Bodega was restarted.
- A selected category displayed in the sidebar is deselected when opening a URL containing bodega://.
- Added extra check to handle both encoded and unencoded URL strings
- Fixed issue where newly updated software would continue to display the original version until Bodega was restarted.

Haven’t been a regular user of Bodega until now, so going to try it out and see how it squares up to the previews of the Mac App Store since I can’t use the Mac App Store myself because of the limitations of my elderly Mac. Shall try and put a review up soonish.

Finally gotten the chance to mess around with Reeder for Mac and Weet in college. They’re amazing. Just saying.

Finally gotten the chance to mess around with Reeder for Mac and Weet in college. They’re amazing. Just saying.

Cydia For Mac Will Be Ready “Within Weeks”

Jay Freeman (a.k.a. “saurik”), the mastermind behind Cydia, recently stated that Cydia for Mac will be available “within weeks.” The unofficial app store for the Mac is expected to go head-to-head against Apple’s Mac App Store, which should be released in January 2011.

The news came a couple of days ago, at the 360|MacDev conference. After the huge success of Cydia for iOS (10 percent of all iDevice run Cydia, nowadays), Freeman thought the Mac could benefit from Cydia, too.

At the conference, Freeman criticized Apple’s infamous app restrictions, and noted that they’ll likely appear in the Mac App Store, too. This seems to be one of the key motivations behind Freeman’s desire to make Cydia available on the Mac.

We’ll be reporting on Cydia for Mac when more news becomes available.

I cannot wait for this! Just hope its available for PowerPC Mac’s. I’m a big fan of Cydia for iOS and I can kind of see how it could be successful. Though, I must say I don’t get how it’s going to solve the problem of the Mac App Store having restrictions, if someone gets their app rejected they can just distribute it online, like they always have.

What I see Cydia for Mac as is a platform to download tweaks and UI themes which you can easily apply on your Mac, at the moment it’s difficult having to go into the Package Contents etc. if Cydia implemented a Winterboard style way of doing this on the Mac, i’ll be wow-ed. Of course though, if Cydia for Mac is an alternative Mac store, it’s not all bad - like one commenter said ‘any venue to promote apps is for a good cause’.

Damn it why must I have a PowerPC Mac!? I can live in hope that when it reaches it’s final release Reeder for Mac will have PowerPC support - but I doubt it. It’s just getting so annoying, I understand its more effort to code the application for PowerPC as well but I just feel so left out. I’ll probably give in soon and fork out god knows how much for an Intel Mac off of ebay. Though I can’t review it myself, do try out Reeder for Mac: it looks BEAUTIFUL. Draft 1 of the application is free here so it’s at least worth a try. People say RSS is dead, but I think applications like Reeder and Pulp - which present the content in such a innovative way - are proof it’s alive and kicking.
onethingwell:

Reeder, the preeminent feed reader for the iOS has arrived on the Mac.
As the ‘draft’ status of the app suggests, it’s not yet ready for everyday use—there’s no way to manage feeds or download enclosures, and it doesn’t stay in sync with Google Reader very well. But it’s close, and the iOS version’s seamless integration with third-party services like Instapaper and Pinboard is in place.
It’s also interesting to see an iOS app transfer to the Mac, which as Patrick points out gives Reeder a distinctly Lion-like feel. Some of these iOS-ish elements translate well to the desktop, like the subtle animations triggered by switching from feed to feed. The realistic paper backgrounds, I’m not so sure about: they seem apt on the touchy-feely iPad, but look out of place on the Mac (for now?).
One quick tip: Reeder defaults, oddly, to showing an icon-only view of your feeds and folders in its leftmost pane, which makes it completely impossible to find the feeds you want to read. Widening that column a bit gives you a much more sensible text label view.

Damn it why must I have a PowerPC Mac!? I can live in hope that when it reaches it’s final release Reeder for Mac will have PowerPC support - but I doubt it. It’s just getting so annoying, I understand its more effort to code the application for PowerPC as well but I just feel so left out. I’ll probably give in soon and fork out god knows how much for an Intel Mac off of ebay. Though I can’t review it myself, do try out Reeder for Mac: it looks BEAUTIFUL. Draft 1 of the application is free here so it’s at least worth a try. People say RSS is dead, but I think applications like Reeder and Pulp - which present the content in such a innovative way - are proof it’s alive and kicking.

onethingwell:

Reeder, the preeminent feed reader for the iOS has arrived on the Mac.

As the ‘draft’ status of the app suggests, it’s not yet ready for everyday use—there’s no way to manage feeds or download enclosures, and it doesn’t stay in sync with Google Reader very well. But it’s close, and the iOS version’s seamless integration with third-party services like Instapaper and Pinboard is in place.

It’s also interesting to see an iOS app transfer to the Mac, which as Patrick points out gives Reeder a distinctly Lion-like feel. Some of these iOS-ish elements translate well to the desktop, like the subtle animations triggered by switching from feed to feed. The realistic paper backgrounds, I’m not so sure about: they seem apt on the touchy-feely iPad, but look out of place on the Mac (for now?).

One quick tip: Reeder defaults, oddly, to showing an icon-only view of your feeds and folders in its leftmost pane, which makes it completely impossible to find the feeds you want to read. Widening that column a bit gives you a much more sensible text label view.