Yesterday, after its iPad event, Apple released an updated version of GarageBand for iOS that includes a few new features. First is Smart Strings. Similar to the other smart modes, Smart Strings makes it easy to control a set of string instruments and to have them work together to create music on the fly. There's also a new note editor, as well as iCloud integration that allows you to push a track to iCloud so you can then access it from your other iOS devices. Lastly, Jam Sessions allows multiple iOS devices to all play together, mimicking a live jam session. Pretty neat. You can download the update now from the App Store, or buy it for $4.99.
Continuing the plethora of Apple updates today, iPhoto has been updated to version 9.2.2. the big change here is that now you can delete pictures from your iCloud Photo Stream, a feature that was also released in iOS 5.1 today as well. You can get the download through Software Update, or through the Mac App Store.
This morning Apple announced OS X Mountain Lion, and alongside the announcement they've also made available the first Mountain Lion Developer Preview. Anyone with a Developer Account can log into Apple's Dev portal to download the first build (12A128p) of OS X 10.8, which will be available to all later this summer.
Read More | Mac Developer Portal
Ever since iMessage was introduced as part of iOS 5, we've been waiting impatiently for Apple to bring that goodness over to the Mac. With OS X Mountain Lion, announced earlier this morning, it will be a reality. In Mountain Lion, Apple will be replacing iChat completely with a new app called Messages. We've installed Mountain Lion and have been playing with it a bit, and what we've basically found is that Messages is everything that iChat was, but with the addition of iMessage and FaceTime rolled in (still no MSN Messenger support.) Apple has actually released Messages in beta, so you don't need to wait for Mountain Lion to get in on the fun, as long as you're running OS X 10.7.3. Head on over to Apple's Messages page to download it.
Apple Airport Utility 6.0 brings iCloud, fixes to Time Capsule, Airport Extreme, and Airport Express
Apple has been on fire these last few weeks rolling out all kinds of updates. Most recently Apple updated its Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule base stations to include iCloud support for Back to My Mac and a few bug fixes with the 802.11n wireless network problems.
Also included with this update is the ability to wirelessly access your backed up data on these devices. It should be noted, however, that in order to take full advantage of the remote access included in this update you will have to be running OS X Lion. Run Software Update to grab the new hotness.
During its Q1 2012 earnings call where Apple announced a record-breaking holiday quarter, CEO Tim Cook also announced that there are now 85 million iCloud accounts. What's impressive there is that iCloud is just three months old, coming in as a replacement for the aging MobileMe, so that's a tremendously positive number as it pertains to user adoption. In fact, that 85 million number is 50 million more than iPhone 4S units sold.
Today my brother asked me how he could access his MobileMe iDisk now that he had upgraded to iCloud. I told him that he should just look in this Finder, without realizing that iDisk is gone for many MobileMe users who've migrated over to iCloud. However, there's still a way to get to your iDisk (at least, until Apple pulls the plug on MobileMe for good next year!):
- Open Finder and press ⌘K (Command + K)
- Enter 'https://idisk.me.com/yourMobileMeName' as the Server Address (without the quotes)
- Click the Connect button
Your iDisk should mount in the Finder, although it may ask you for your MobileMe password first, if it isn't saved to your Keychain.
The first member of Apple's iCloud family that requires separate payment is here: the $24.99-a-year iTunes Match. The service will store any and all music in your computer's iTunes library up to Apple's servers and make it accessible to any of your iOS devices or computers running iTunes.
Though the free iTunes in the Cloud has existed since the launch of iOS 5 on Oct. 12, that service only covers music you've bought through the iTunes Store.
Apple's iTunes Match examines your song collection and determines whether Apple's servers contain a copy of each tune, in which case no upload on your part is required, and you can download a high-quality 256 Kbps AAC iTunes Plus version of the songs onto any device or computer you've signed into using the same Apple ID.
But for those who still have lingering questions about iTunes Match, here are a few more details:
I belong to the MP3 generation. Mine was the first to confront the choice between an $18 CD filled with marginal tracks and free MP3 downloaded from Napster in minutes. It was a test of character, and like many of the MP3 generation, I failed. But my days as a copyright violator, music pirate, and intellectual property profiteer ended long ago, and after enabling iTunes Match, previous guilt is gone.
To be fair, I haven't actually stolen music in years. I actually have multiple music service subscriptions, mostly because I am too lazy to cancel when I switch. So I have access to Rdio, Zune Pass, Rhapsody, Slacker, and Spotify Premium. But the truth is, I have a 32GB music collection sitting on my home PC that was built illegally downloading from services like Napster, Limewire, and BitTorrent. But now Apple is offering me amnesty for just $25 a year.
Apple's iTunes 10.5.1 launched yesterday, and it includes the much-anticipated Match feature. Install the software and it will scan your hard drive for music and make high-quality, 256-Kbps AAC versions of every file available to you in the cloud. The kicker is that this includes not just songs you purchased through iTunes, but any music file on your system, no matter where or how you got it. It will cost $25 a year to maintain access to this newly rebuilt and legal library, but for that price you can have access to up to 25,000 songs. Apple will pay the labels a small fee for the rights, but all you pay is the $25 per year. For those of us in the MP3 generation, this is library liberation.
Apple his finally released iTunes Match, alongside the iTunes 10.5.1 update, which allows subscribers to store their entire iTunes music library in iCloud, accessing it from any Apple device that they're signed into. The release comes about two weeks later than excpected, as Apple had announced that the feature would go public before the end of October. You're limited to 25,000 tracks, although iTunes purchases don't count towards that limit in any way, and all your music will be upgraded to DRM-free 256 kbps AAC files. Who's signing up?