During the kickoff Microsoft keynote that marks the start CES, Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 7 beta is available starting today for TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Nothing too exciting there for the average Joe, we know, which is why we were excited when he also mentioned that the beta would also be publicly available beginning this Friday, January 9th. You’ll be able to grab either the 32-bit version, or the 64-bit version of the Windows 7 beta software if you are one of the first 2.5 million people to hit the download button. You just need to head to the Windows 7 product page to do so. Just be aware that the beta software will expire on August 1, 2009.
As part of the release, Microsoft was also happy to note that Windows Live Essentials, “a free suite of communications and sharing applications that make it easy for people to communicate, share and keep their online lives in sync and in one place with one login,” is now also available on a worldwide scale.
Time to fire up Software Update once again if you’re a Mac owner, as Apple has just unleashed the OS X 10.5.6 update into the wild. This one features a large number of changes, but here are some of the one that caught our eye:
Improves reliability of Address Book syncing with iPhone and other devices and applications.
Improves the reliability of AirPort connections, including improvements when roaming in large wireless networks with an Intel-based Mac.
Includes general improvements to gaming performance.
Includes graphics improvements for iChat, Cover Flow, Aperture, and iTunes.
Includes overall performance and reliability fixes.
Improves Connection Doctor accuracy.
Fixes an issue that could cause messages identified as junk to remain in the inbox.
Fixes an issue that could cause Mail to append a character to the file extension of an attachment.
Addresses an issue that could prevent Mail from quitting.
Improves reliability when printing PDF attachments.
Contacts, calendars, and bookmarks on a Mac automatically sync within a minute of the change being made on the computer, another device, or the web at me.com. (Finally!)
Fixes issues that could cause Time Machine to state the backup volume could not be found.
Improves Time Machine reliability with Time Capsule.
Apple has detailed all changes on the page linked below.
Read More | OS X 10.5.6 update details
Time to fire up Software Update yet again, as Apple has just pushed out the latest update to Leopard, 10.5.5. There’s a lot here, but being the email warriors that we are, seeing all the Mail.app improvements makes us just a tad bit exited. We are also into the MobileMe fixes as well. Gotta love the cloud. In any event, hit the jump to get the full list of updates. If you don’t care, then you can just be assured by this nugget from Apple:
The 10.5.5 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac.
Yeah, didn’t do it for you either? Didn’t think so.
Read More | Mac OS X 10.5.5 release notes
It’s about that time to fire up Software Update again for those of you running Leopard, as Mac OS X 10.5.4 has just been unleashed. Our first thought was that it must be time for MobileMe, but reading the change log, we don’t see it mentioned. However, there are a bunch of iCal fixes, among a few more generic updates, which you can check out after the break.
So, word on the street now is that Apple will be unveiling Mac OS X
10.6 in a mere five days at WWDC. Based on the fact that Steve Jobs said that they wanted to get back on track to releasing just about yearly, I started asking people if they thought the successor to Leopard would show up next week, and they all scoffed as if I were some sort of lunatic. Well, now with the reports that TUAW and Ars have receive, it appears that my hunch was correct. Oh, and what will the successor be named? We all know Apple likes to stick with the cats for OS X, and it appears that this time it is going to be “Snow Leopard.” You see, this release is all about tightening up speed, stability, and security - not so much about dazzling new features like Time Machine. See? They want to take Leopard, and make it white as snow. That’s almost as cute as an iPod nano…
We look to Monday to see what Steve brings us.
Read More | TUAW
Apple has just released the latest batch of stability, compatibility, and security updates for OS X Leopard, all wrapped up in the 10.5.3 update. On my Mac Pro, the update is clocking in at 420 MB, so it’s a hefty one. That is understandable though, because there are quite a few fixes in this one. Some that stand out to us include things like improved Time Capsule reliability, screen sharing fixes, and a few Spaces improvements. We’ve got the full list for you after the break, if you are interested. Otherwise, fire up Software Update to get the latest and greatest.
So, word on the street is that part of the first day of the All Things D conference tonight will be the unveiling of the first time of the Windows 7 operating system by Microsoft. To be clear, we shouldn’t expect Windows 7 any sooner than 2010. That said, what is shown is very much a work in progress. If you can’t wait for the video footage, which we are sure is soon to come, we also have a bunch of Windows 7 screenshots in our gallery.
We see a lot of concepts in these images. An expanded bar at the bottom of the screen, an OS X-like dock, some sort of disc-based nav system that reminds of the OLPC OS, etc. Still, nice to see that things are progressing.
Gallery: Early Windows 7 screenshots
A few days ago we told you that Windows XP SP3 would be released April 29. Well, that just happens to be today, so we felt it was our duty to remind you. This long-awaited update to Windows XP is the last, but seriously, we are expecting this to pretty much be the best currently-available version of Windows out there, so get to downloading. If you aren’t seeing it in Windows Update yet, then just go here to grab it manually.
Man, April is just shaping up to bring us all sorts of goodness - Mario Kart Wii, Grand Theft Auto IV, and now Windows XP SP3. Don’t get me wrong, I sure as hell am not saying that XP SP3 will be anywhere near as enjoyable as two of the biggest console game releases of the year, but seriously, if those rumors about a 10 percent speed increase hold true, that is just one more reason to stick with XP over Vista. Look for WIndows XP SP3 in the Microsoft Download Center, as well as Microsoft Update, on April 29th.
Read More | Microsoft TechNet
So, Windows Vista has been around now for a good thirteen months, and in that time, it has seen much criticism. If you’ve been on the fence about switching or upgrading to Vista, we are sure that Microsoft is hoping that their upcoming price drop will be enough to get you to make the move. The new pricing details will be as follows:
- Windows Vista Ultimate: $320, down from $400
- WIndows Vista Ultimate Upgrade: $220, down from $260
- Windows Vista Home Premium: $130, down from $160
The price drops are expected to coincide with the shipment of the first major update to Vista, Service Pack 1.
Read More | Reuters