- iPhone 2.0 and iPod touch 2.0 (direct link to iTunes Store) from Apple update first-generation iPhones and existing iPod touch devices to the latest version of the iPhone operating system. Among numerous improvements, the 2.0 updates enable third-party application software from Apple's App Store (including an App Store application on the device), support for separate calendars in the Calendar application, a search field for the Contacts application, improved Mail handling, and support for MobileMe push syncing. The updates are available via iTunes and require remote activation from the iTunes Store before they can function. (On the launch day, when Apple's servers failed to handle the demand of iPhone 2.0 upgrades and new iPhone 3G activations, people's updated iPhones were unusable for much of the day. We haven't seen the problem resurface, however.) As with previous iPod touch updates that add significant functionality, Apple charges an upgrade fee due to the way the company accounts for iPod income. (Free update for iPhone, $9.95 for iPod touch, 225 MB)
- iTunes 7.7 from Apple adds support for iPhone 2.0 syncing and the App Store. Also added is support for a new Remote application for the iPhone and iPod touch that lets you control iTunes from those devices. Currently the iTunes 7.7 update is available only for Mac OS X 10.3.9, Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later, or Mac OS X 10.5 or later. (Free update, 48.32 MB)
- Apple TV 2.1 from Apple adds support for the new Remote application on the iPhone and iPod touch; on the Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Remotes to set up the device. The update also includes several security enhancements that guard against behavior caused by maliciously crafted video and image files. Apple TV 2.1 is available only on the Apple TV itself (Settings > General > Update Software). (Free update)
- Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2 is an update of Microsoft's tool for connecting to and controlling a Windows PC from a Mac. This version is now a universal application for running on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs; uses the Remote Desktop Protocol 6.0 for better performance with Windows Vista, including Network Level Authentication security; offers the capability to connect to multiple computers simultaneously; automatically reestablishes sessions when the connection is lost; prints from the Windows environment to any printer available to the Mac; and improves screen handling and interface issues. The utility requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later. (Free, 7.7 MB)
- GraphicConverter 6.1.2 from Lemkesoft updates the multipurpose image editor with improved support for EXIF data and bug fixes - but that only describes the latest minor update. GraphicConverter has always been one of the most versatile applications on the Mac for reading and saving image files of all stripes, but in recent versions the program has also become a full-fledged digital photography toolbox. If an image file has you flummoxed, GraphicConverter is likely to be your lifeline. ($34.95 new, free update, 41.4 MB)
- PDFpen 3.4.2 and PDFpenPro 3.4.2 from Smile on My Mac improve performance when using optical character recognition (OCR) to read PDFs such as electronic faxes thanks to better handling of font widths. The updates also squash a crashing bug affecting some bank statements and offer other fixes. ($49.95 new for PDFpen or $94.95 for PDFpenPro, free upgrade, 5.3 MB)
- 1Password 2.6.5 from Agile Web Solutions updates the form-filling and password management utility with improved support for Firefox 3, support for the Safari 4 Developer Preview, DEVONagent, the OmniWeb Sneaky Peek releases, and Flock 2. Localizations were removed for smaller download sizes, credit card filling was improved on a number of sites, and a variety of small cosmetic changes were made. The new version also provides some stability fixes. ($34.95 new, free upgrade, 14 MB)
- Apple Wi-Fi firmware 7.3.2 updates for Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Express has what Apple describes as "bug fixes." Thanks so much for explaining what problems we might have that were solved by this update to the hardware's soul. The update requires that you have AirPort Utility 5.3.2 installed under Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard, Windows XP, or Windows Vista. Launching AirPort Utility causes the program to perform a firmware check of all devices on the local network; you're then prompted to upgrade any applicable Wi-Fi routers. AirPort Utility can be downloaded through the above link for your particular platform.
Mac OS X Services in Snow Leopard
Mac OS X Services let one application supply its powers to another; for example, a Grab service helps TextEdit paste a screenshot into a document. Most users either don't know that Services exist, because they're in an obscure hierarchical menu (ApplicationName > Services), or they mostly don't use them because there are so many of them.
Snow Leopard makes it easier for the uninitiated to utilize this feature; only services appropriate to the current context appear. And in addition to the hierarchical menu, services are discoverable as custom contextual menu items - Control-click in a TextEdit document to access the Grab service, for instance.
In addition, the revamped Keyboard preference pane lets you manage services for the first time ever. You can enable and disable them, and even change their keyboard shortcuts.
Published in TidBITS 936.
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