Apple updates iPhoto, Aperture, Airport Utility, Remote Desktop Admin

Posted by at 11:15 am on June 12, 2012

A handful of new software updates have been quietly issued by Apple following the WWDC keynote on Monday — including one for a device that was only announced that day. A few are intended mainly to add Retina graphics support for the new MacBook Pros, and Airport Utility has been updated to handle the new dual-band Airport Express. Some are more substantive and add bug fixes or additional features, from iTunes to Aperture to iPhoto.

Among the apps updated to support the new MacBook Pro are Final Cut Pro X and Motion, the latter of which has been updated to version 1.1 and includes enhanced Motion Templates and library content, including animated vector graphics, backgrounds and still images. As mentioned during the keynote, Final Cut Pro will soon be able to display full 1080p video in the playback window with plenty of room for the timeline and other tools as well, taking full advantage of the new MacBook Pro’s 2880×1800 display. Other apps, including a forthcoming version of Safari and Mail, as well as third-party applications such as Photoshop and AutoCAD, will be updated for the display.

Apple has already issued a new update for the new MacBook Pro itself, labeled MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Software Update 1.0, for a machine that only went on sale on Monday. The company says the update “includes fixes that improve graphics stability, external display support, and USB 3 device support.” The update will appear in Software Update for the few who have already bought one of the new machines.

The introduction of the Thunderbolt-to-Gigabit Ethernet adapter ($29) prompted Apple to issue a Thunderbolt Software Update version 1.2 to all TB-equipped Macs to allow compatibility with the adapter. It’s unknown if a separate update will be required when the announced Thunderbolt-to-Firewire800 adapter ships later this summer.

Apple also took the occasion to update both of its photo-management software packages, iPhoto and Aperture. In a surprise move, the company opted to unify the libraries of the two programs, allowing users to have one library for both programs. The iPhoto ’11 update, which brings the program up to v9.3, lets users open existing Aperture (v3.3 or later) libraries, improves the export options to create subfolders by event, preserves keywords and titles when exporting photos with GPS location data, and now supports AVCHD video in iPhoto. The update also allows the description field to expand dynamically as needed, and lets users flag a photo in the Magnify view.

A new app designed to support older versions of iPhoto was also released. In a rare move, Apple has created iPhoto Library Upgrader 1.0 to allow those with versions of iPhoto older than 5.0 to prepare the library structure so that it can be upgraded to iPhoto 9.3, which now uses the unified Aperture/iPhoto library platform. Those who wish to upgrade iPhoto can purchase it directly from the Mac App Store for $15 if they are running OS X Lion.

Aperture’s changes are far more sweeping, but lead off with the new unified photo library for both programs. For existing Aperture users, no import or export is required; the existing library “just works” in iPhoto (once iPhoto is updated to v9.3). In Aperture (now at version 3.3), improvements include support for camera-generated previews of RAW files for faster browsing, an enhanced Highlights & Shadows tool, a new Auto Enhance option, an improved White Balance tool (which now also includes automatic enhancing options) and a new Manual options for dragging and dropping projects to customize sort order.

In addition, Aperture 3.3 picks up iPhoto’s new support for AVCHD video, the ability to set one’s desktop picture (from the Share menu), a preference for background brightness in the full-screen browser, a new “Recent” option in the Source list, enhancements to the Faces feature, a redesigned monochrome source list and toolbar icons, and a change that shows Facebook, Flickr and MobileMe albums as thumbnails in the main window when the accounts are selected in the source list. Small terminology changes such as “Original” instead of “Master” and “Info” instead of “Metadata” have also been made. The update also “addresses numerous issues related to overall performance and stability” and is recommended for all Aperture 3 users.

As mentioned earlier, Airport Utility was upgraded to version 6.1 for Lion machines and 5.6.1 for Leopard and Snow Leopard machines so that they can utilize the new dual-band Airport Express. The relevant machines will see the updates come through Software Update even if they do not buy the new wireless router.

Apple also updated its Remote Desktop Admin software to version 3.5.2, though no release notes accompanied the download. While the client version is built into recent copies of OS X, the admin software is purchased separately and rarely updated. It requires OS X 10.7.4, suggesting that changes were made to match those of the client software in the recent 10.7.4 update.

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