iTunes 11 support

iTunesYesterday, Apple released iTunes 11, bringing on some changes to the way external applications like Alfred can interact with it. Andrew has been working hard today to make a few fixes to keep your experience with Alfred’s Mini Player enjoyable.

We’d also love to support the iTunes “Up Next” feature, so we’re keeping an eye on whether Apple adds AppleScript support for this!

Here’s what’s changed

We updated the way Alfred sets the tracks you’ve asked him to play, so be sure to keep the Alfred playlist checkbox enabled in the preferences so that your tracks play in a predictable order.

A few hotkeys were also updated; the “random track” hotkey has changed *from Cmd + Alt + up arrow to Cmd + Ctrl + Up arrow), and so were the star hotkeys (from Cmd + Alt + # to Cmd + Ctrl + #)

We also removed iTunes DJ, as this is no longer support by iTunes 11.

Help us test

Release 1.3.2 will go out to everyone through Alfred’s auto-updater once it’s fully tested, but in the meantime, if you’re using iTunes 11 and would like to help us test the changes to the Mini Player, you can download it here.

Gatekeeper: Alfred and the future of OS X

Apple recently announced OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, which contains great new security features to keep your Mac safe from malware. One of these new technologies, Gatekeeper, prevents unauthorised code from running on your Mac.

Gatekeeper – the perfect solution for Alfred

Gatekeeper aims to keep you safe from malware when downloading apps outside of the Mac App Store. By default, Gatekeeper allows you to install apps from both the Mac App Store and from developers who digitally sign their applications with an Apple-certified Developer ID.

The great news is that Alfred 1.2 is already signed with our Developer ID. In simple terms, this means that Alfred and his Powerpack work great on Mountain Lion 10.8 without having to change any security settings, keeping your Mac as safe as possible!

What about the App Store?

Many of you have asked whether we intend to put Alfred’s Powerpack in the Mac App Store. In November, we explained why we planned to keep Alfred out of the MAS due to the new Sandboxing requirements. Today, 1st June, Sandboxing comes into place in the MAS.

In a nutshell, Sandboxing aims to protect users by restricting what an application can do by keeping it in its own “box” and only allowing limited authorised access to specific files and resources on your system. Sandboxing also makes it much easier for Apple to review applications into the store as apps simply can’t do things outside of this “box”.

Meanwhile, Alfred works deep into the heart of your Mac. He gives you very fast access to everything your Mac has to offer, especially with the Powerpack – searching, scripting, file interactions and many more richly integrated features. Thankfully, Apple’s new Gatekeeper paves the way for us to keep Alfred as productive as possible without having to work within the limitations of a sandbox.

On the topic of new features…

You’ll continue to find the free version of Alfred in the MAS, as Apple allows existing apps to remain in the store and receive bug fixes. However, if you’re looking for the big juicy new features, your best bet is to download Alfred from our website. With this version, you can take advantage of the Powerpack and of pre-releases, which give you a sneak preview of new features.

Andrew has also been hard at work on the next release, which brings you the much-anticipated QuickLook, 1Password integration improvements and many more improvements. That’s something to look forward to in the next few weeks!

[Photo credit: Nick Schooley, The Gates at Buckingham Palace on Flickr]

We’re heading to SXSW 2012!

It’s that time of year again: We’re all packed up and heading to Austin, Texas for this year’s South by Southwest Interactive.

It’s not often enough that we have the chance to meet Alfred users face to face so, while we’re looking forward to the SXSW panels and parties, we’re most excited to meet you.

If you’re also attending, look out for us. We’ll be wearing purple Alfred tshirts, occasionally bowler hats and will be carrying very special Alfred stickers and goodies.

We’ll be tweeting throughout the week, so keep an eye out on the @alfredapp account for updates and do come say hi. :)

Happy 2nd Birthday Alfred: 10% discount on the Powerpack this week!

This week, Alfred celebrates his second birthday. And he likes to do it in style!

Hot on the heels of two big releases, we’re offering a 10% discount on the Powerpack so if you haven’t yet adopted the powerful add-on to Alfred’s free version yet, this is your chance. With more useful features than a Swiss Army knife, you’re bound to love this addition to your everyday Mac workflow.

If you’re already a Powerpack user, be sure to tell your friends to take advantage of this week’s birthday discount code while it lasts! You have until Saturday 3rd March to grab a single or family license at 10% discount.

Also, feel free to bake Alfred a birthday cake, cupcakes or cookies. We lo… ahem, I mean, he loves those very much.

Alfred 1.0: Big statues, awards and the next release

On November 29th, we released version 1.0 of Alfred. We were so excited to finally make this milestone release available to everyone, yet we couldn’t have predicted how much better you would all make December and January for us.

Macworld Editor's Choice Award - Running with Crayons' Alfred

Since the release, Alfred received numerous accolades, including the revered Macworld Editor’s Choice Award. As a Mac user since the late 80′s, I remember thumbing through my grandfather’s Macworld magazines so being recognised as an “exceptional Mac product” by this mainstay of the Mac industry is an honour. Plus, it comes with a gigantic statue. Who doesn’t love a giant statue?

Additionally, a few other publications awarded Alfred recognition as they looked back at 2011:

In addition, at the end of the year, screencaster extraordinaire Don McAllister produced two excellent videos on Alfred’s core and Powerpack features. If you’re trying to convince a friend to switch to Alfred, this video will walk them through in superbly useful detail.

With these being the cherry on top of our 2011, Christmas was spent sitting on cloud nine and feeling that we truly do have the best community in the world.

Since 2012 started, Alfred also received a mention on Forbes and a PCMag Editor’s Choice review. As they say, start the year as you mean to go on! We’ve saved as many of the mentions as possible in our Delicious account, so have a browse if you’re curious. And of course, thanks to everyone who wrote these wonderful pieces.

What now?

Did you really think that now that Alfred has hit 1.0, we’d stop improving this app we love so much? Of course not – you know us too well! :)

Andrew has nearly finished working on version 1.1. As he explains on his Tumblr, it originally was intended to be a 1.0.1 maintenance release, with a few tiny fixes, but it has grown into a full blown release with shiny new features. Expect to see improvements to Contacts integration and Extensions, and see the change log for the full list of changes. As it went into development release today, we hope to roll it out to everyone within the next few weeks.

We also can’t wait to unveil the other ideas we’ve been working on, which we hope to share with you over the course of the year. Until then, keep an eye on Twitter for sneak previews over the coming months!

Cheers,
Vero

Wishing You a Wonderful Christmas!

2011 - How was it for you? For us, it was… epic, in the truest sense. It was a long adventure, filled with fantastic twists and turns and a glorious ending.

Not only have we made tons of new friends, learned loads more about business, but we have been awarded incredible recognition; We were graced with a Macworld’s Editor’s Choice Award, as TUAW’s Best Mac Utility of 2011, one of MacLife’s Top 10 Must-Have Apps of 2011, one of Mashable’s 10 Best Mac Apps of 2011 and have been nominated for MacStories and Cult of Mac‘s awards, to be announced soon.

To each and every one of you, thank you for the support you’ve given us. Even if all you’ve done is told one friend about Alfred, you’ve helped one more person become more efficient when using their Mac. Thank you for the supportive tweets, the hilarious cat and cheeseburger pictures you’ve emailed us and the sock-blowingly brilliant extensions you’ve taken the time to create.

We wish you a relaxing, fun-filled Christmas, complete with great friends and great food. It’s a chance to take a break from the everyday, look back onto last year and look forward to the new year ahead.

2011 rocked and we’re coming back for seconds. Roll on 2012!

Cheers,

Andrew & Vero

Giving to Cancer Research

Lavender ribbon - cancer awarenessOver the course of December, we’ve been giving away all sorts of tips and goodies for you to enjoy as part of our Christmas Calendar. Today, we’ve decided to give differently.

The greatest thing we all have to be grateful for is our health, which gives us the freedom to do what we want and live the life we want. We can now live longer and healthier than ever before. However, cancer is a vicious illness which can affect our loved ones much too easily. My cousin suffered from leukaemia in her teens but came out healthy and strong, and MacStories‘ Viticci is fighting his own battle, as he shared recently.

Unfortunately, there is still much we don’t understand about cancer and some, like Steve Jobs, don’t necessarily win their fight.

We will be donating £1000 to Cancer Research UK this Christmas, hoping that together we can make a difference.