Mac News Review

Lion Drops PowerPC Software Support, Orphans Core Duo Macs, Beta Requires Online Activation, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.03.04

This week's big news is what's missing from Lion: No more Rosetta to support PowerPC software, no more support for Intel Macs with Core Duo CPUs, and no built-in Java, although Lion will download the latest version from the Internet when it first requires Java. And for the first time in the history of the Mac OS, the Lion beta requires product activation, something we hope will not appear in the reelase version.

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Lion Beta Requires Online Activation

Hardmac's Lionel reports that the dreaded product activation roadblock has been added to the Mac OS X 10.7 Lion beta version, which requires an online activation step to allow installation, although it remains unclear whether the final version will also be encumbered with this limiting protection, thus adopting a most unwelcome Microsoftian gatekeeper policy.

Editors' note: One of the great things about the Mac OS has been its traditional freedom from such aggravation, and this could just be Apple trying to keep the beta from unauthorized users. Here's hoping online activation will not be part of the final release version of Lion. cm/dk

Lion Drops Support for PowerPC Applications

9 to 5 Mac's Mark Gurman reports:

"Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was the writing on the wall for Apple to completely drop PowerPC support. Snow Leopard was the first Mac operating system to not work on PowerPC machines, yet it still ran PowerPC software through Rosetta. Even more, Rosetta was an optional download in Snow Leopard. Now in 10.7 Lion, Rosetta has vanished and Apple's operating system launching this Summer will not support software built for PowerPC Macs."

Lion Preview Orphans First Generation Intel Macs

ZDNet's David Morgenstern reports:

"On its developer page, Apple highlights a few new features in Mac OS X 10.7, a.k.a. Lion. However, in the release notes, a few more details of interest emerge, including Lion Server; a Recovery HD option, which will replace the Installation DVD; and the orphaning of the first generation of Intel machines."

"[T]he Preview notes show that Lion will require a Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better. This orphans the first release of Macs with Intel chips during the first half of 2006, although customers may have purchased these machines throughout the rest of the year."

Publisher's note: We all knew this day would come have been suggesting users avoid Core Duo models for this reason. The Core Duo Mac mini, Apple's last Core Duo model, wasn't discontinued until August 2007. The orphaned models:

Lion Drops Support for Earliest Intel Macs

TUAW's Michael Rose reports:

"In the past two releases of Mac OS X, we've seen the baseline support for legacy machines hiked a notch higher each time; for Leopard, eliminating slower G4s from the working list, and for Snow Leopard dropping PowerPC support entirely in favor of the newer Intel models.

"Now, with the developer preview of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion in the wild, the next frontier for obsolescence is set - the new OS drops official support for Core Duo and Core Solo-based Intel Macs as well."

Mac OS X Lion Installs Without Java

The Register's Cade Metz notes that Apple has removed the Java runtime from its upcoming Mac OS X Lion, according to an AppleInsider report based on firsthand experience with a preview release reporting that the latest developer release of Lion removes both Java and Rosetta, the package used to run PowerPC code on Intel-based Macs, although Lion will reportedly includes a routine for automatically downloading the latest version of Java for the Mac.

Apple in France

MacDirectory's Erwan Barret says:

"You think you know France for its fine wines, rich history, the outrageous accents of its citizens, nuclear testing, taxes, small cars, arrogance, cheese, monuments, boring movies, their temperamental foreign relations, and strikes. What you may not know, however, is that France is Mac country."

Publisher's note: France consistently ranks within the top ten nations from which people access Low End Mac, and French is the third-most-used language by our readers, accounting for nearly 1.5% of our traffic. There is a strong Mac community in France supported by sites such as MacBidouille and MacGeneration.

Products & Services

Apricorn's High Performance Internal SSD RAID Array for Mac Pro

Mac ArrayPR: Apricorn claims its SSD RAID Mac Array is a turnkey solution that will instantly increase your Mac Pro's processing power by up to 10 times.

Pitched as ideal for high performance applications such as video editing and image processing, the Mac Array internal SSD RAID Array takes the Mac Pro to the next level. Bridging the gap between your computer's high capacity, slow hard drive and your system's RAM, the Mac Array's speedy SSD RAID takes over your computer's processing (acting as virtual memory) for a performance increase of up to 10x, according to Apricorn.

Mac ArrayBuilt around four high performance solid state drives (SSDs) on Apricorn's SATA PCIe Host Card, the Mac Array's form factor uses only one internal full length PCIe X4 slot, keeping the other slots and drive bays free for expansion. Fully configurable, the Mac Array can be used singularly or for the ultimate boost - in tandem with a second or even third Mac Array for even greater performance.

The Mac Array comes preconfigured with the Mac BIOS and RAID 0 (striping) for maximum performance and takes just minutes to install. Simply remove your Mac Pro's side panel, slide the Mac Array into an available PCIe X4 slot, replace the side panel, and install the included driver. OS X will instantly recognize the newly installed drives, and with the drives already formatted, you're ready for business.

With image processing performance increases of up to 360%, the Mac Array should be an ideal upgrade for Graphic Artists who need fast image editing.

Apricorn says tests using the Mac Array as a scratch disk showed phenomenal results in image processing. Using Photoshop v.12 to open, rotate 180°, adjust Auto Levels, and save as a Photoshop document a 924 MB TIFF photo the Mac Array showed performance increases of 360% over a traditional 7200 RPM SATA hard drive. Rotation of the high resolution image decreased from 10:45 minutes to just 3 minutes with the Mac Array.

Mac Array performanceWith two Mac Arrays in tandem, Apricorn claims a performance boost of over 18x and says that, tested with Disktester, the Mac Array increased read rates by 10x and write speeds by 6.8x over a traditional 7200 RPM SATA hard drive. And when used in tandem with a second Mac Array, the speeds increased yet again to 18x read speed and 13.5x write speeds.

Drive Features

  • Fast data transfer: Up to 250 MB/s read and up to 170 MB/s write transfer rates per drive allow your system to run faster so you can work more efficiently.
  • Advanced Wear-Leveling: WD's wear-leveling algorithm uses a combination of dynamic and static wear-leveling that writes data evenly over the entire drive, preventing drive wear out and lengthening drive life.
  • Advanced Error Correction: Enables error free data transmission by deploying advanced error correction technologies to detect and correct errors resulting from signal noise or other kinds of interference that causes data distortion.
  • Native Command Queuing (NCQ): Increases the performance of SATA drives by placing read / write commands in the optimal sequential order for the fastest execution.
  • Data Integrity Protection: Prevents data loss from unexpected power loss during write operations to ensure data integrity and availability.

Specs

  • Average Read Speed: With 4x Solid State Drives: 760 MB/sec
  • Average Write Speed: With 4x Solid State Drives: 524 MB/sec
  • Dimensions: PCIe: 4.8 x 12.28
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

System Requirements:

  • Processor: Mac Pro with an available PCI-Express slot.
  • Operating System: Mac OS 10.4.x (or later), 32-bit Kernel Mode required

PCIe board with 4 MLC 128 GB WD SSDs, Total of 512 GB: $1,399

Software

FaceTime for Mac Released

PR: FaceTime for Mac makes it easy to talk, smile and laugh with friends and family on their iPhone 4, iPod touch or Mac. Getting started is quick and easy simply enter your Apple ID and you're ready to go. Whether you're talking to someone on an iPhone or on another Mac, video calls with FaceTime look great. There's no better way to stay in touch with all your favorite faces.

FaceTime for MacSimple to Get Started:

  • Setup is quick and easy - just enter your Apple ID.
  • With just one click, you can make a video call to an iPhone 4, an iPod touch, or another Mac.

Easy-to-Organize Contacts

  • Make calls using your existing Address Book contacts • Add the people you call most often to your Favorites list.
  • Quickly review your past calls with Recents.

High-Definition Video

  • Receive HD video calls at up to 720p on supported, Intel-based Macs.*
  • A Mac with a standard-definition camera delivers up to VGA-quality video for Mac-to-Mac calls.

Elegant Interface

  • Window and playback controls fade away so the focus stays on your conversation.
  • View transitions smoothly when an iPhone 4 or iPod touch user switches from front to rear cameras or from portrait to landscape views.
  • FaceTime's widescreen aspect ratio makes it easy for families and groups to participate in a call.
  • Enjoy your video call full screen, using every inch of your beautiful Mac display.

Ring Anywhere, Any Time

  • Incoming calls ring on your Mac, even if FaceTime isn't running.
  • If you have more than one Mac, incoming calls ring on every one so you can answer on the Mac that's most convenient.

FaceTime sells for 99¢ and requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later.

* Video calls require a built-in FaceTime camera, an iSight camera (built-in or external), a USB video class (UVC) camera, or a FireWire DV camcorder; and a 128-Kbps upstream and downstream Internet connection. Making HD video calls requires a built-in FaceTime HD camera and a 1 Mbps upstream and downstream Internet connection. Receiving HD video calls requires a supported Intel-based Mac (for a complete list, visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT4534).

BackupGoo 2.0: Backup Your Google Apps Data

PR: BackupGoo is software that backs up of your Google account - backup Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and even Google Contacts.

BackupGoo 2.0 now fully supports Google Apps Accounts. If Google manages your domain, BackupGoo might be the one and only backup software you'll ever need.

Apart from that, BackupGoo 2.0 includes a lot of enhancements for all users.

BackupGoo is still the only application that supports the backup of Google Mail (Gmail), Google Documents, Google Calendar and Google Contacts.

Backup Gmail - Google Mail

  • All Mails are backed-up in eml format (Mime Format).
  • Mails can be viewed and imported in Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird and any standard compliant email viewer.

Backup Google Docs

  • Stores all your Google docs (documents, spreadsheets, presentations).
  • Presentations: pdf, ppt.
  • Documents: doc (Microsoft Word), odt (Open Office), pdf, zip (containing doc, odt, pdf).
  • Spreadsheets: xls (Microsoft Excel), ods (Open Office).

Backup Google Calendar

  • Downloads and backs-up all your events and calendars as iCal files.
  • iCal files can be viewed in any calendar application (Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCalendar, any others).

Backup Google Contacts

  • Downloads all your contacts in the common vcf (vCard) format.
  • All common address books can import and view this file format.

Secure Backup - only one click

  • BackupGoo backs up all your data from Google to your local computer.

Standard compliant

  • BackupGoo's backup uses common file formats. Use your favorite tools to search, view or edit files (e.g. MS Word, MS Outlook).

Secure

  • All connections to Google to retrieve your data are established via secure https connections. Nobody except Google can read or sniff your password. Your password is only used to sign in to your Google account. The only time your password is saved locally on your computer, is when you check the "Save Password" option in the settings.

BackupGoo can work in an automated or scheduled mode

  • You can configure a scheduled mode. This option is available in BackupGoo's preferences which means that BackupGoo performs a backup each X hours.

Free trial - runs anywhere.

  • If you are not satisfied, you do not have to pay anything.
  • BackupGoo is available for Windows, MacOS X and Linux. It is extensively tested under Windows 7, Mac OS X Leopard/Snow Leopard, and Ubuntu.

The first 15 days are completely for free. Simply download the application and it will work fully. The free trial version of BackupGoo includes all features from the premium version. If you are satisfied you can order a license online and can continue to use BackupGoo. If you are not satisfied you do not pay anything.

Price: $12

DiskWarrior 4.3 Disk Utility Released

PR: DiskWarrior is a utility program designed from the ground up with a totally different approach to preventing and resolving directory damage which is the leading cause of Mac instability.

DiskWarriorDiskWarrior resolves existing disk damage by rebuilding your disk directory using data recovered from the original directory, thereby recovering files and folders that you thought were lost. The directories DiskWarrior creates are also optimized for maximum directory performance.

DiskWarrior is not a disk repair program in the conventional sense. It does not attempt to solve all of the possible problems that can occur with a disk. It specializes in eliminating directory errors - the most common problems Mac OS users have with their disks.

DiskWarrior rebuilds your disk directories making them error-free, eliminating any problems the errors would have caused, and recovering lost files.

It fixes any problem with master directory blocks and alternate master directory blocks (HFS), volume headers and alternate volume headers (HFS Plus), volume bitmaps, catalog trees, and extents trees.

This approach has a significant advantage that the others overlook. Other products attempt to repair your directory one step at a time, ignoring the big picture of what is truly wrong with your directory, and risking file information that could be saved. Too often, they will incorrectly begin to "repair" your directory, and then give up when they realize that they have modified the directory to an irreparable state. At Alsoft, we know that the most important thing when you are attempting to repair your disks is getting your data back. That's why the first thing DiskWarrior checks is your directory data, and that's what it uses to create a replacement directory. DiskWarrior continues its rebuild operations unless no directory data can be found.

Directory damage isn't the only threat to your data. A physical hardware malfunction can cause intermittent loss of access to any data on the drive. If the malfunction is serious enough, the only way to retrieve the data on the drive is through an expensive data recovery service. DiskWarrior can be configured to automatically check drives for possible drive malfunction, giving you the chance to back up your data before a drive completely fails. The hardware monitoring can also be run manually if you suspect a drive malfunction.

New in version 4.3:

  • This release features ongoing internal enhancements for speed and improved repair.

System requirements: PPC/Intel, Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later

DiskWarrior 4 ships on DVD and requires a Mac with a DVD compatible optical drive. Current iMacs require a USB keyboard to support booting by holding down the C key at startup.

This version does not yet support the Early 2011 MacBook Pros.

$99.95 (upgrades: $49.95)

Wondershare Video Converter for Mac

PR: Wondershare Software Co., Ltd., a professional developer, specializing in multimedia software announces that its product Wondershare Video Converter for Mac is currently hot on the Mac App Store. Wondershare Video Converter for Mac provides Mac users with an easy solution to convert videos into various video/audio formats for importing to sorts of mobile players, applications and websites, such as the latest iPhone 4, iPad, iPod, iTunes, iMovie, YouTube, etc.

"We're excited to bring Wondershare Video Converter for Mac to the Mac App Store, which makes it easier for users to find and install our software," says Echo Huang, Wondershare's Marketing Director. "Focusing on innovation to satisfy multimedia needs of Mac users, we are on it and will never stop."

With Wondershare Video Converter for Mac, users can convert not only SD videos, but also HD videos with editing and real-time preview functions. It also extracts and converts audio track from your video files to WAV, MKA, OGG, 3GP, MP3, M4A, etc.

Highlights of Wondershare Video Converter for Mac:

  • Convert video (including HD video, camcorder video and web video) to all sorts of mobile players, such as iPad, iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, PSP, etc.
  • Import video to popular applications like QuickTime, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, etc.
  • Make videos compatible with YouTube, Google, Yahoo, MySpace, etc. for sharing with others.
  • Support camera/camcorder high definition and standard definition video format.
  • Support simple video editing (trim, crop, merge video, add watermark, etc.).
  • Save time with batch and fast conversion.

Wondershare Video Converter for Mac, licensed for personal use in nonbusiness environment use, is available immediately for $38.99 on the Mac App Store.

Dragon Dictate 2.0.3 Update Released

PR: Dragon Dictate lets you accomplish more on your Mac. Input text just by speaking - up to three times faster than typing - and interact with your favorite Mac applications using only your voice. Built from the ground up for Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Dragon Dictate helps you create reports, email, articles, books, research notes, online content, and more - quickly, easily and accurately, with recognition accuracy of up to 99% right out of the box.

Includes a high-quality USB microphone for Mac as the standard headset with new purchases. Bluetooth microphone option is available. Download version is available, and requires the user provide a Nuance-approved USB microphone.

New in version 2.0.3:

Fixed:

  • Fixed issue that could cause unusually high CPU usage.

System requirements:

  • Intel
  • Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later
  • Internet connection required for product registration
  • MacSpeech-certified noise-cancelling microphone (included with new purchase)

$199.99

Cornerstone Bible 8.6: 15 Bible Translations and Bible Study Tools

Cornerstone BiblePR: Cornerstone Bible has 15 versions and 3 commentaries.

Translations: KJV - NKJV - AMP - ASV - CEV - DBY - LIV - NCV - TNIV - RSV - The Message - Webster's Bible - Young's Bible - Spanish - French One Year Bible, TNIV, Matthew Henry's Commentary - Wesley's Notes - Scofield Reference

Notes:

  • Strong's with Greek and Hebrew Lexicons
  • Encyclopedia - Easton's and Fausset's Dictionary - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge - Names of God - Bible Names

Plus:

  • Devotionals - Bible Toons - Bible Maps and Time Lines
  • 2 Audio Bibles - KJV and WEB (World English Bible)

Download Price: $25 (Shareware)

For a CD by Mail - Price $35

Cornerstone Bible 8.6 for Mac OS X

  • System requirements: PPC/Intel, Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

Cornerstone Bible 8.6 for XP/Vista/Windows 7

  • For Vista and Windows 7 - if Not Set - Program needs to run with Administrative Permissions

Desktop Mac Deals

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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