Windows Phone 7 Connector 2.0 for Mac Released
Microsoft on Tuesday released an updated 2.0 version of a connector that synchronizes multimedia files between Macs and Windows Phone 7 or Zune HD.
Windows Phone 7 Connector 2.0 for Mac can now be downloaded from Apple's Mac App Store here. The connector works with Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later versions of that operating system and it will work with the upcoming Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" mobile OS when it is released. The connector synchronizes multimedia files via the Apple iTunes library or iPhoto library. Photos and videos captured by Windows Phone 7 can be automatically imported into those libraries. The one caveat is that the system doesn't work with Digital Rights Management-protected files.
Improvements in release 2.0 include "full sync and import support for Apple Aperture software," according to a Microsoft blog post. Aperture is a suite of tools for importing, organizing, modifying and sharing digital images. The imports of files can be accomplished through a drag and drop interface.
Microsoft improved video conversions and improved video metadata-tagging support with the new connector. Podcast synchronization was improved. Microsoft also claims that it has enhanced the backup-and-restore operations with this release.
The connector will add support for Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace when the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS is released through mobile operators. Users will also be able to transfer ringtones between the two platforms when Mango is generally available.
The Apple connector adds to other options Microsoft has enabled with Windows Phone 7. For instance, Microsoft previously issued a release candidate version of connector product that lets users remotely connect their Windows Phone 7 devices with Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. This "Windows Server Solutions Phone Connector Add-in" RC, announced in June and available via the Windows Phone Marketplace, allows Windows Phone 7 users to perform a number of remote server management tasks and to stream media files from the server to the phone.
Microsoft has also described other ways to get streaming media -- not just by using Windows Phone 7, but by remotely connecting to a Windows 7 PC at home. Access can be obtained by using a "remote media streaming" feature of Windows 7's Media Center that works with the Windows Media Player video player. Recorded video can be accessed remotely over the Internet if the feature is set up. However, like other such solutions, it doesn't work with Digital Rights Management-protected recordings.
Other remote multimedia access solutions include setting up "remote desktop" access over the Internet in Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate. The process is described in this Microsoft blog.
Another means of accessing multimedia files remotely is to use Microsoft's free 25 GB of cloud-based storage service known as "Windows Live SkyDrive." Microsoft plans to integrate SkyDrive access into the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango release.
Microsoft recently highlighted some camera control changes and picture-sharing improvements that are expected to be available when Mango arrives, which could be in a month or two. There will be an "autofix" touch-up feature for digital photos, a "tap-to-capture" focusing feature and "sticky settings" feature. Sticky settings will preserve the camera's setup for the next photo session. Those changes and more are described at this Microsoft blog post.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.