Apple Releases First Public Update For OS X Lion

Almost a month after it’s launch, Apple has released the first maintenance update for OS X Lion. Following in the trend of the past, it is available for download via the Software Update utility. The download for my MacBook Pro was only about 16MB, and installed almost instantly. The change log was:

  • Address an issue that may cause system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari
  • Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out
  • Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections
  • Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X

Personally, I am very happy to see this update. I had been having trouble with my MacBook Pro staying on Wi-Fi networks, either secured or open. Hopefully it will stop dropping my connection now that i have updated Lion to 10.7.1.

10_7_1.png

Interestingly enough, there is a separate version of the update available for the 2011 MacBook Air and Mac mini. It brings the above changes, plus a couple extra lines. Those extra changes are:

  • Resolves an issue where MacBook Air may boot up when MagSafe Adapter is attached
  • Resolve an issue causing intermittent display flickering on MacBook Air
  • Resolve an issue that causes the SD card slot in Mac mini to run at reduced speed with SD and SDHC media

While this isn’t a huge change, it’s probably the last we will see before we get the big iCloud update. Developers already have 10.7.2, which is the current beta that has iCloud integration. While we aren’t sure when that update will come, we do know it will happen sometime this fall.

Were you experiencing any issues with Lion so far? Are you excited about iCloud launching soon? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Apple Releases Lion Recovery Disk Assistant

It seems that Apple has finally heard the cries of users who were experiencing the worst side of OS X Lion. Many users, including some friends of mine, were having trouble using the web-based recovery tools built into Apple’s latest edition of Mac OS X. They have released Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, which is designed to let a user create a new Lion recovery partition on an external hard drive or USB drive.

The newly created disk will have all the same features as the built-in Lion recovery system. That includes reinstalling Lion, repairing the disk via Disk Utility, resorting from a Time Machine backup, and browsing the web using Safari. Unfortunately, in order to use this utility, you need an existing Recovery partition for Lion.

While it may seem like it, this does not invalidate the Lion disk making app that I covered last week. This tool from Apple will make it possible for you to restore a system already using Lion. Lion DiskMaker allows you to create a standalone Lion installation disk, which could be used to install Lion on a machine that is running Snow Leopard or an earlier version of OS X.

The Apple support document for Lion Recovery Disk Assistant lists a set of four simple steps to creating a recovery disk. Those steps are:

  1. Download the application
  2. Insert an external drive (or USB key)
  3. Launch the application
  4. Select the drive where you want to install
  5. Follow the instructions

The support document for the new utility does make a point to mention how the new disk will be usable. If it is created on a computer that shipped with Lion, it will only be usable on that machine. If it is made on a system upgraded to Lion from Snow Leopard, it can be used on any machine upgraded that way.

How To Create a Lion Install Disk with Lion DiskMaker

Most of the world is aware that Apple released OS X Lion exclusively on the Mac App Store. While this model of digital distribution guaranteed enough copies for everyone who wanted one, and cut down on the possibility of heat effected lines. However, what this didn’t provide was a physical backup of the install files.

Lion natively creates a recovery partition on any Mac it is installed on. While that will be fine for most cases of simply reinstalling the OS, it has its negatives. If you hard drive becomes corrupted, or physically breaks, you will need to start over from Snow Leopard. That sounds very annoying, but developers have been working hard to make it a non-issue.

While it is possible to create a Lion install disk manually, it can be a little complicated. Thankfully, a French developer has made it a little easier with a free tool called Lion DiskMaker. In order to make use of it, you will need a copy of the Lion install file.

While that isn’t a problem if you have not yet installed Lion, it requires a little trickery to get said file on a machine already running Lion. In order to do so, open the Mac App Store and click the “Purchased” tab while holding the “Option” key. You will then be able to re-download the install file, and thus create an installation disk.

Once you have the Lion installer, you need to download and unzip Lion DiskMaker. Once that is done, you need to put your destination disk into your machine. You can use a DVD or a flash drive of size 4GB or greater. Once you are set up, run Lion DiskMaker. You will notice that the app is written in French, but its still very easy to use.

Step 1. – When you first open the app, you will see this window. If you are using a DVD, click the button that says “DVD.” If you are using a USB thumb drive, click the one that says “USB.”

Step 2 – The next window that pops up will be this one. Click the button on the right, and you will be taken to the selection window shown below. For this example, I used a USB key, so I picked that drive eon my system and hit “Choose.”

Step 3 – Once you choose a disk, the program will begin to run. It will unpack the needed files from the Lion installer, and then proceed to burn them to your disk of choice. This can take up to a half an hour, so be patient.

Step 4 – After the burning is complete, you will see this window. You can click the button on the right to exit the application, or the one on the left to create another disk. Once you are done, be sure to unmount/eject your drives correctly, and place the finished media in a safe place.

As you can see, its easy to create your own Lion install disk. While I hope an English version of this app is available soon, the French version does the job and is very easy to use. if you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments section.

Update:  A version of Lion DiskMaker is  available  in English. You can grab it here. Thanks to  Guillaume Gete for the email and the link to the US version.

Microsoft Updating Office for Mac 2011 to Use Lion Features

No matter how you feel about Microsoft, Office 2011 is still the most popular office suite for Enterprise Mac users. It is simply a matter of compatibility with the rest of the business world. Unfortunately, the current version of Microsoft’s office suite does not currently support any of the new features introduced in OS X Lion.

For the uninitiated, the features I am talking about include Auto Save, Versions (which keeps a history of document changes), and full-screen mode. These are already integrated into Apple’s iWork suite, and they are very useful. It was only a matter of time until Microsoft saw the need to support them as well.

MacNN is reporting that Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit is already doing just that. However, don’t expect to get the new features in the next few days. Pat Fox, a member of the Microsoft Office team, says that the update wait should be “measured in months.” This is a little disappointing, but completely understandable.

Microsoft also made a point of noting that Office for Mac 2004 will never be supported on Lion. This is due to the program being written for PowerPC-based Macs. Lion dropped all Rosetta code, which allowed for PowerPC applications to run on the newer Intel-based machines.

While there was no word on distribution of the upgraded program, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect Microsoft to bring the application to the Mac App Store. The only thing that may stop them is the face that Apple takes a cut of all sales through its digital distribution markets. However, we won’t know either way until the upgrade shows its pretty face.

Apple Sells 1 Million Copies of OS X Lion on Launch Day

Apple announced on Thursday that they have sold a stunning one million copies of thier new operating system, OS X Lion, in the first 24 hours of its lifecycle. The new OS, which was launched via the Mac App Store for $29.99 on Wednesday, is now the top paid app in the digital marketplace. This launch is the most sucessful of any of Apple’s Mac OS launches.

Lion is off to a great start, user reviews and industry reaction have been fantastic, according to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. This is backed up by the above information, as well as the generally posotive response to OS X 10.7.

Personally, I am loving the update to Lion. It was my first major update for my MacBook Pro, and it went flawlessly. It took a little longer to install than I might have liked, but it was still shorter than many Windows installations I have done.

As far as features go, I am loving most of the stuff in Lion. The scrolling was a little strange at first, but now that I have adapated my thinking, it is very natural. Some of the gestures are odd, only because I had gotten used to the ones that were in Snow Leopard.

According to Apple’s press release, Lion is currently avaliable in 123 coutnries via the Mac App Store. The distributioon of Lion seems to be work as planned, with no major hiccups reported at this point. In order to purchase Lion, if you haven’t already, you will need to be running Snow Leopard 10.6.8, have an active iTunes account, and be connected to the internet.

Xcode 4.1 is Free for Lion Users

If you are a developer on the Mac, then you are aware of what Xcode is. If you aren’t a Mac/iOS/Safari Dev, then you may not have even heard of Xcode. That’s to be expected, as it used to be only  available  to those with developer  licenses.

However, when the Mac App Store launched, Apple released Xcode for a mere 5 dollars. I, like many others, picked it up for personal reasons. I wanted it to enable the beta versions of the multi-touch gestures for my iPad.

Now, Apple has decided to give Xcode away for free, given that you have purchased a copy of OS X Lion. This is huge news, because it will save casual developers a hundred bucks a year. If you need an application to write the  occasional  piece  of code, or even just a simple script now and then, you should check out Xcode.

Xcode is constantly rated as one of the best sets of tools for development on the Mac. It sports some of the best formatting and color coding I have ever come across. While I don’t write code for a living, I have done some basic web development, and Xcode makes my life easier when I do.

If you are interested in Xcode, and you have already upgraded to Lion, then I suggest you pick it up. While the price may stick, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple changed the price with an update in the future. Jump on this deal while its  available.

Apple Updates MacBook Airs, Mac Minis, and Cinema Displays, Drops the White MacBook

In conjunction with the launch of OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple has made a few changes to their product line. If you go take a look at the Apple Store, you will notice that a couple of products have the little bluw “new” tags over head, and that the Mac line is one computer shorter now.

Apple is now offering upgraded versions of the MacBook Air and Mac mini, as well has a their first Thunderbolt display in the new Cinema Display. Lets take a look at the Specs for each new product, then we will look at what has gone missing form the Apple Store page.

The MacBook Air comes in two sizes, the 11.6 and 13.3-inch beauties we knew before, but each packs a couple major changes. First, they have been given Intel Sandy Bridge chipsets, like the recently updated MacBook Pros. This brings better overall speed to the SSD-powered ultra portables. They have also been given Thunderbolt ports on the right hand side, which looks to be Apple’s new standard feature.

There were two other predicted upgrades to the Air that have indeed come true. First,  backlit keyboards have returned, bringing joy to all of us who type in dark rooms. Second, the Air will now ship with Lion, making it the first of Apple’s laptops to do so. The cheapest Air is now only $999.

The next product that saw an upgrade on Wednesday is the Mac mini. It received the same basic upgrades as the Air, bringing the Sandy Bridge architecture, Thunderbolt, and Lion to Apple’s cheapest desktop option. Unfortunately, you can no longer get an optical drive with your mini. You can pick up the lowest end option for $599.

There is also a new version of the Mac mini server, which is running the new server version of Lion. It comes packing Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt, and 2 500GB HDDs. You can pick it up in the Apple store starting at $999.

The last product that got an upgrade this morning is the Cinema Display. With the inclusion of Thunderbolt support, Apple has renamed the 27-inch LED powered display the Thunderbolt Display. You can buy it now for $999. Be warned that this new display will only work if your Mac has a Thunderbolt Connector.

The last update to the Apple store is easily the saddest. There were rumors going around the tech community that Apple was planning to end the life of the polycarbonate white MacBook. It seems as tho those rumors are turn, as it is no longer listed on Apple’s website. If you want to buy one of the entry-level notebooks, some are still available in the Apple Refurb store, but there is no guarantee on how long they will last.

Apple Now Accepting Mac App Store Apps for OS X Lion

Apple has started to notify developers  to submit Mac App Store submissions for OS X Lion. Yesterday, Apple sent  out an email to developers  saying that OS X Lion will “soon be available to millions of Mac users around the world.”  They want to ensure that Mac apps are OS X Lion compatible so they can be available on the Mac App Store when OS X Lion ships sometime this month.

OS X Lion dev email

Apple has said that OS X Lion will become available later this month, and rumors have suggested a launch date for the 14th. Once released, OS X Lion will only be available via the Mac App Store.

New MacBook Air and Mac Pro Models Coming This Week?

OS X Lion

Rumors have suggested that a MacBook Air and Mac Pro refresh is imminent. Today, 9 to 5 Mac reports  that a tipster  has revealed that Apple will be releasing new MacBook Air and Mac Pro models this week along with OS X Lion. “Mr.X” is supposed to be a reliable tipster.

According to their tipster,  Apple will be releasing four new MacBook Air models and will match up with the current lineup of two stock configurations each in the 11-inch and 13-inch sizes. The models numbers for these new MacBook Airs are:

MC965LL/A – K21, BETTER, BTR-USA
MC966LL/A – K21, BEST, BTR-USA
MC968LL/A – K78, BETTER, BTR-USA
MC969LL/A – K78, BEST, BTR-USA

The Mac Pro is also expected to get a refresh. Apple is expected to offer three standard stock configurations alongside a dedicated “server” configuration. The model numbers for the new Mac Pros are:

MC936LL/A – J40, ULTIMATE – USA
MC815LL/A – J40, BETTER – USA
MC816LL/A – J40, BEST – USA
MC914LL/A – J59, BEST – USA

Mr.X has not provided a specific release date, but according to rumors a launch date for July 14th is expected.

Apple Retail Stores Making Preparations For OS X Lion and New MacBook Airs Launch Next Week?

A number of reports today suggest that Apple may launch OS X Lion next week. In addition, new MacBook Airs and other hardware updates are likely to follow on or soon after OS X Lion debuts.

9 to 5 Mac reports that Apple has scheduled “overnights”  for July 13th where store layouts and promotional materials are tweaked and store management is briefed on new products. The source offered no information on exactly what will take place during next week’s overnights.

OS X Lion

Also, AppleInsider backs up the claim with its own report by mentioning “overnights” scheduled for next week, however the source  did not offer a specific day for the changes. Also, sources say that Apple is requiring that a number of display machines in its retail stores have their RAM upgraded by this Sunday, possibly for the OS X Lion launch.

Different sources  for the report indicate  that Apple is preparing OS X Lion for a launch next week, with new MacBook Airs possibly set for an introduction the following week. Retail sources have also indicated that  Apple may be inviting some customers to download Lion at their local retail stores next week in order to receive assistance if needed.  No other updates for the Mac lineup is expected since they have been recently updated.