This Week in App News: 13 – 19 February 2012

Well, as you probably might have guessed, the news this week has been dominated by Apple’s surprise announcement of Mountain Lion, the next reincarnation of their OS X operating system and if you’re lucky enough to be registered as a developer with Apple, you can already try out the beta by downloading it from their website.

Mountain Lion is looking to bring more features inspired by iOS into OS X, yet still keeping them two very distinct and separate operating systems. New features include Messages, a brand new Notification Centre and full Twitter integration. Feel free to join in our “debate” on whether Apple has made the right move here in the comments section of the original post and be sure to read Joel Bankhead’s comments on it over at What’s Hot: Big Cats.

In other news this week…

Messages Beta is released to all

One of the new features of Mountain Lion that was released straight away to the public was Messages for Mac, which allows you to keep in touch with all your friends using iMessage, Apple’s own instant messaging service.

Messages Beta

Messages Beta on OS X (image courtesy of Scott Danielson)

Messages syncs across all your enabled devices, so you can leave a conversation on your Mac and pick it up easily on your iPhone and vice-versa. It will, however, replace iChat on your MacBook (seems like Apple is finally killing it off!) however don’t fear, you can still keep all of your existing accounts if you choose to migrate.

Scott Danielson took a fantastic, in-depth look at Messages a couple of days ago so to find out more, head over to his review.

Link: Messages Beta on Apple’s website

VLC updated to version 2.0, bringing an all-new interface and more

VLC, the media player which seems to be able to play almost any file format you throw at it, quietly received a major update this week which brought along an overhauled interface (which is unique to the Mac version!), full-screen support for Lion and experimental Blu-Ray support for Mac.

VLC 2.0

The new, improved interface on VLC 2.0

Although VLC has been a long favourite with most Mac users, given its support for a wide range of video and audio files, the interface has never been orientated towards the end-user, up till now. The new version also includes several bug fixes and improvements over previous versions and offers support for a wider range of formats and faster decoding times.

Link: VLC 2.0 download (OS X 10.6 and above)

Apple giving away $10,000 iTunes Gift Card

The App Store is ever nearing that magical figure of 25 BILLION app downloads since it started and Apple are celebrating this with a $10,000 iTunes gift card for the lucky person who manages to download the 25 billionth app.

App Store countdown

The countdown to the 25 billionth app on Apple's website

The number is simply staggering when you think it (that’s more than 3 apps downloaded on average by every person on the planet, considering a world population of 7 billion) and the counter on Apple’s website is going up by about 1,000 apps a second. You don’t have to fill out any forms to enter, just download your apps as normal from the App Store (whether for the Mac or your iOS devices) and keep your fingers crossed!

Link: iTunes – 25 Billion App Countdown

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