Archive for February, 2012

The Future of SMART Utility

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 | Company News, SMART Utility | Comments Off

This is an update on a post I did about a year ago, regarding SMART Utility and 10.4 support. As the Apple OS landscape has changed, I have solidified the roadmap going forward. I wanted to share my thoughts on that roadmap.

First, let me start with some numbers. SMART Utility collects anonymous system information on an opt in basis. I looked at the OS that SMART Utility was running for users that reported in the last month. Less than 1% were on 10.4. Only 8% were on 10.5. The overwhelming majority(91%) was running 10.6 (42%) or 10.7(49%). Because all development work is trade-offs, I had to decide where to spend the majority of the work. Anything below 10.6 seems like lost time due to the small numbers remaining.

There is also the issue of the development tools. Apple stopped support 10.5 in Xcode 4, and Xcode 3 doesn’t run that well on 10.7. With the release on 10.8, and its requirement to use Xcode 4 to use app signing, that makes the ability to support 10.5 even harder. I want to upgrade to using Xcode 4, especially since Xcode 3 probably won’t even run on 10.8.

So, with those two issues in mind, here is the support roadmap:

  • Active development on version 3.1 is underway now. There will be some major changes, especially to the stability and operation of the user interface. One big new feature is email notifications, a much requested feature. The other big change is that version 3.1 will not run on 10.4. Version 3.0.2 will last version that will run on 10.4. Because development has already commenced on version 3.1, it will still run on version 10.5. Future bug fixes (3.1.1, 3.1.2, etc) will also. Version 3.1 may not be fully compatible with 10.8.
  • Features for version 3.2 are slowing being decided. But one thing that is already decided is that version 3.2 will not run on 10.5 (or PPCs). Version 3.1.x will be the last to run on 10.5. However, version 3.2 will be fully compatible with 10.8. I’m excited to be able to use a lot of the new APIs that were introduced with 10.6 and 10.7.
  • Version 4.0 may not support 10.6, depending on the support Xcode 4.4 has for 10.6.

I hope that all makes sense, and please feel free to contact me with comments and suggestions at mbutch@volitans-software.com.

The Mountain Lion Appears

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 | Opinion | Comments Off

Apple announced Mountain Lion today, the next version of Mac OS X (I’m going to refuse to drop the Mac for now). I’ll get to the actual OS in a bit, but there was a very interesting quote in Gruber’s post on ML when he asks about this pre-seeding to journalists way of releasing OS X:

That’s when Schiller tells me they’re doing some things differently now.

I like that. I like to see they aren’t just thinking WWSJD. Apple without Steve needs to set out on its on path, and this new way shows they are doing that. Remember, Steve didn’t want iTunes on Windows, which is what really let the iPod take off. He wasn’t perfect.

Okay, back to the OS. ML looks real intriguing. The notification center seems like one of those things that isn’t that exciting until you start using it. Its not like in iOS where the need for it was dire. In OS X, it really isn’t needed, but I but its going to be awesome. Same with Airplay- I bet this is going to get a lot of use in schools. The Messages app is pretty nice, and it will be great to finally have one place for all messages.

Of course the iCloud integration is the biggest change. Luckily the old way of interaction with files is still there, but being able to sync to iCloud and access it anywhere is going to be awesome. I wonder what the means for DropBox (who will still be on PCs). But I am excited to see how far document management has come since the iPad first came out. Remember that? Syncing with iTunes to get Pages documents over? This is going to be so much better.

Finally, GateKeeper is scary and cool at the same time. Now, there are three permission levels regarding launching apps on the Mac: only from the App Store, anywhere, and App Store plus signed apps. I think a lot of people are worried that the Mac will be locked down like the iOS, but I have a feeling that its going to go the other way. I’d love to see this migrate to iOS. I like Apple has this right.

I’m excited about Mountain Lion, and of course I’m excited to get SMART Utility up and running on it. Check out the next post for more info on that.

SMART Utility is All Bundled Up for February!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 | Company News | Comments Off

SMART Utility is now available in TheMacBundles! Get 10 apps for just $39.95. The great thing about this bundle is you can choose which apps you want, so you don’t have to get all the apps you don’t want.