PC users have been rocking Skype 5.0 for a short while now, and now Mac users can get in on the fun, albeit in beta form. Skype 5.0 beta for OS X sports a retooled interface "that simplifies navigation and provides a more Mac-like experience," Skype announced in a blog post.
Group video calling is part of the deal, as is a new call control bar, the ability to search chat content, offline IMing, personalized contacts (via user profiles), the ability to quickly rejoin calls if your Internet connection hiccups, and floating contacts.
It's a completely different Skype app than what Mac users are accustomed to, and most would argue much improved. Not included, however, is any kind of Facebook integration like what's available in the Windows version.
Before you go feeling sorry for yourself over the slow rollout of USB 3.0 for Windows-based PCs, consider that our brethren over on the Mac side of the pond have it worse off than we do. At least we have NEC filling in the gap.
Much of the holdup is due to Intel dragging its feat, and should Mac users get USB 3.0 support before we do, it would be the ultimate slap in the face. Don't lose any sleep over it. As reported on 9to5Mac.com, Steve Jobs shot down the notion of the SuperSpeed spec coming to the Mac anytime soon.
"We don't see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example," Jobs wrote in an email reply asking why customers can't buy Macs with USB 3.0.
So there you have it. The next time you come across a Mac user, whip out your USB 3.0 flash drive and quote Daniel Tosh.
OnLive's cloud-based gaming service launched in June with Wi-Fi support conspicuously missing from its armory. While OnLive's lack of Wi-Fi support was never really a pressing concern for the vast majority of the world's population, it did matter to both the service's early adopters and detractors, with some admittedly ardent fans even stooping to such abject lows as building Ethernet loopback adapters to pass off their Wi-Fi connection as a wired one.
LaCie has expanded its lineup of USB 3.0-enabled external hard drives (maybe because the Rugged USB 3.0 mobile hard drive it launched in late April had begun pining for siblings). The Minimus and Rikiki are the company's latest USB 3.0-powered HDD offerings. If you believe in love at first sight, then an innate predilection for “sturdy brushed aluminum”will surely boost the odds of you falling for these two drives.
"The Minimus and Rikiki USB 3.0 offer our customers easy and affordable options to access the super speeds of USB 3.0," Philippe Rault, LaCie Consumer Product Manager, is quoted as saying in a release. "Since these products offer backward compatibility with USB 2.0, they will work on any PC or Mac with no worry."
According to Microsoft, Office 2011 for the Mac platform will land on store shelves at the end of October, and while that's a good two months away, Mac users will save a bundle over Office for Mac 2008.
The new version will come in two main flavors, including Office for Mac Home & Student Edition ($119 for a single install, $149 for a three-installation family pack), and Office for Mac Home & Business Edition 2011 ($199 for a single install, $249 for a two-installation multi-pack). By comparison, the latest version for Mac -- Office for Mac 2008 -- runs $149 for the Home Edition and $399 for the Business Edition.
All new versions will include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Messenger for Mac, while the Home & Business and Academic editions will also include Outlook.
For those who just can't wait, Microsoft said that those who purchase a qualifying Office 2008 suite between now and November 30, 2010 will be eligible to download the new version at no cost. See here for terms and conditions.
Apple's latest product is so “magical and revolutionary” that the Cupertino company named it Magic Trackpad. The company, understandably, has a soft spot for multi-touch navigation. Several months after it introduced the Magic Mouse, the company has launched yet another multi-touch pointing device. The Magic Trackpad is essentially a standalone version of the MacBook Pro trackpad. However, it is significantly larger and boasts 80% more real estate than the trackpad on Apple notebooks.
Have an awesome idea for a Skype app? Well get to it! The good news for software developers for both Windows and Mac platforms is that Skype has opened up its SDK to anyone who requests it.
"We are taking Skype into new directions by empowering consumer electronic and desktop software innovators to embed Skype into their products through the availability of our new software development kit (SDK) called SkypeKit," Skype wrote in a blog post when first announcing SkypeKit in June. "We believe that every connected device can become a communication device, with the addition of SkypeKit. Likewise, desktop applications everywhere can now include Skype."
You have to act quick, however, as SkypeKit is a limited, invite-only beta release. It's unclear how many invites Skype intends to hand out or how long the beta will last.
Apple was on the verge of collapse a bit over a decade ago. But the tide began to turn with the launch of the iPod and fate has been like an Apple fanboy ever since. Contrary to what people might have imagined back then, it owes most of its current success to the wildly popular iOS family of devices and not the Mac. But merely churning out “groundbreaking” iOS-toting products every few years will not help sustain the present rate of growth. Instead, the company will need to tap into emerging markets like China.
Lenovo chairman Liu Chuanzhi believes that China will eventually emerge as the most important market for vendors. He is glad that Apple is ignoring such an important market, letting his company go unchallenged there. “We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China. If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble,” Liu told the Financial Times during a rather “relaxed” dinner interview. That said, Liu was all praise for Steve Jobs, whom he called a genius and a “big pearl.”
Two weeks ago AVG announced its LinkScanner software for the Mac platform designed to keep "Mac users safe from increasing intensity and sophistication of Web attacks." Perhaps the Mac faithful didn't take too kindly to the release, as AVG felt compelled to follow-up the announcement with some sobering statistics for Mac users.
"It’s a well known fact that most computer users believe that owning a Mac means that you are somewhat immune to the malicious threats that lurk within cyberspace," AVG starts out. "In fact, this belief has become so strong that many Mac owners do not have, or feel the need to have, antivirus software installed on their machines.
AVG goes on to say that the iServices B Trojan crippled an additional 5,000 machines, and pointed out that other outbreaks, like the Tored-A and Jahlav-C viruses, also cause their share of headaches in the Apple community.
"Flaws were also discovered in the Safari Web browser, iTunes, and PDF program," AVG continues. "Worse still is the fact that last month reports were issued around an unpatched vulnerability in the Safari 4.0 Web browser! So, it would appear that Macs are no longer as shielded as they once were."
Around this time last month, Valve officially opened up its Steam platform to the Mac community, and in doing so helped chip away at the argument that Macs suck for gaming. What they also did was reveal some interesting statistics about the machines their users are running.
As Steampowered forum member and Mac user "90rmbrown" points out, "facts are facts," and according to the latest Steam Hardware Survey, the average Steam gamer running an Apple computer has a beefier system than those running a Windows-based PC, at least in some areas. Mac users, for example, have more RAM (4GB vs 2GB) on average, while half of those running a Mac have an Internet connection of 2Mbps or higher, compared to 28 percent of PC users. Mac users are also more likely to have a dual-core processor running at 2.3GHz to 2.69GHz, or higher.
Before you whip out the pitchforks and light the torches, there are some things to note here. The sample size of Mac users is significantly smaller than that of PC users, so the hardware breakdown is dubious at best. And where it really counts for gaming -- in the graphics department -- PC gamers have more video RAM, and probably beefier videocards as well.
So what can we take from all this? As Sean Portnoy at ZDNet writes, PC gamers are still getting by with older hardware, while the early influx of Mac users with refreshed hardware could benefit from better graphics. Other than that, there isn't a whole lot to say -- we'll still take a PC over a Mac any day, especially when it comes to gaming.
What hardware are you running? Hit the jump and post your specs.