As iCloud, Apple’s new online syncing service approaches its final release, registered Apple developers are getting their hands on three pieces of software designed to integrate with the new service: the OS X Lion 10.7.2 Build 11C40 update, Safari 5.1.1 and iCloud for OS X Lion Beta 8.
iCloud, despite being an online service, deeply relies on client software in order to function. iCloud’s features need to be subtly integrated with Apple’s current software in order to provide a consistent user experience and still deliver the benefits to users. These updates are aimed at bringing iCloud support to Safari and OS X itself.
The Mac OS X 10.7.2 update comes days after the 10.7.1 update which brought significant fixes to several areas of OS X Lion, ranging from Wi-Fi to outputting video. The OS X 10.7.2 update, which has been in testing stages for quite some time, is simply meant to provide a testing environment for the iCloud software, as specified by Apple’s release notes:
This pre-release version of OS X Lion 10.7.2 is being provided solely for testing iCloud and updates the public release of OS X Lion and any earlier seed of OS X Lion 10.7.2.
If you’re already running any previous build of OS X 10.7.2, you must run the included “revisioner” before applying the update. The whole process should take a few minutes.
In order to actually enable OS X Lion to support iCloud, users must install iCloud for OS X Lion Beta 8. This update removes all references to MobileMe, which iCloud is replacing, and adds the necessary integration to its built-in apps, such as Mail and Calendar, making syncing contacts, email and calendar events easy.
Lastly, Apple is also releasing a pre-release version of Safari 5.1.1 today, for developers only. This updated version of Apple’s browser makes syncing bookmarks and the Reading List possible with iCloud. There should be no additional feature changes in this release.
In order to get the three pieces of software above, you must be a registered Apple developer. A developer registration, which will set you back $99 per year, gives all subscribers access to exclusive pre-release software as well as developer-oriented tools and documentation. A developer subscription can be obtained from Apple’s Developer Site.
iCloud, first introduced in June at WWDC, is a new cloud-based service from Apple. It will include features that allow user data to be synced across different authorized machines, extending across several Apple-owned OS X and iOS apps. iCloud is expected to be widely available this fall.