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Apple Messages Beta

Get a sneak preview of the forthcoming Messages app in Mountain Lion 

by Nick Peers

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License: Free during beta-testing
Operating Systems: Mac OS X

OS X 10.7.3 or later

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 16 February 2012
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2192
Developer: Apple
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Apple Messages Beta
Messages Beta brings all the fun of iMessage to your Mac.

Apple has announced that the successor to Lion is on the way. Mountain Lion is set for release this summer, and a preview is already available for developers. For us mere mortals, the wait goes on – well, not quite.

Messages Beta is a part of Mountain Lion you can download now – it replaces iChat with the same functionality as found in iMessage on iOS 5 devices such as iPad and iPhone. Features include the ability to send unlimited iMessages to other Macs, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches with iMessage capabilities.

You’ll also be able to start an iMessage conversation on your Mac, then transfer it to your mobile device when you leave the room or house. As with other iOS devices running iMessage, Messages will automatically sync all conversations between desktop and mobile, so you’re always up to date

As with iOS’s version of iMessage, you can send photos, videos, attachments, locations, contacts and more, plus launch FaceTime video calls too, which basically involves linking to the FaceTime app already present on your Mac.

Note that iMessages will replace iChat on your Mac, but iChat services will continue to work as previously. That means there’s still support for a selection of other IM accounts, including AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk and Jabber, for example, while iChat Theater becomes simply Theater.

What has changed, naturally, is the interface. This now more closely resembles iMessage on iOS 5, and consists of a persistent window collating all of your conversations, regardless of which platform they’re on. Conversations are listed in the left-hand pane, and individual ones can be removed by highlighting them and clicking the X button that appears. When selected, the content of a conversation is displayed in the larger right-hand pane, complete with speech bubbles and – crucially – the network you’re conversing on, displayed at the bottom of the window.

Sadly, there are some limitations: you can’t store a list of people you chat with; instead you need to know – and type – their moniker by hand to initiate a conversation with them. And be prepared to hear all your mobile devices beep as you receive messages, which can get quite annoying. But otherwise it’s looking promising – if you buy into the whole iMessage concept, of course.

Note: remember this is a beta release, and may be unstable. The final release will appear with Mountain Lion, due this summer.


Not the most inspiring of new features to demo prior to its launch, but Messages Beta works well enough, bringing iMessage functionality to the Mac. 

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.11

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.11 brings:

• Links that you share or receive will now include a rich preview. When sending a link, you have the option to not include a rich preview.
• Additional 3D Touch features: You can now quickly Peek and Pop chats.
• Redesigned Settings tab. 
• You can now view all your starred messages across all your chats in Settings — Starred Messages.