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RIM set to release Mac-syncing software

Desktop software, to be released as a free download Friday, lets people sync data between Macs and BlackBerrys. Until now, only a third-party tool could do so.

The long-awaited BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac is finally at hand, Research In Motion announced Wednesday.

The new desktop software, designed specifically for Mac users, will be available as a free download on RIM's Mac page, starting at 10 a.m. PDT Friday.

BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac allows people to sync data with Mac apps for contacts, appointments, tasks, and notes. The software also allows people to schedule back-ups, encrypt files, and perhaps most importantly, install software updates for their BlackBerry devices.

RIM's new BlackBerry Desktop Manager. Research In Motion

Apart from the business side of things, RIM said the software features BlackBerry Media Sync, allowing people to sync their iTunes music with their BlackBerry. According to the company, people can choose the playlists they want, and all the included tracks will be transferred to the smartphone.

BlackBerry Desktop Manager requires Macs to be running Mac OS X 10.5.5 or higher. Any stragglers still running Mac OS X Tiger or haven't updated their Leopard installations will be left out. The BlackBerry itself must be running BlackBerry OS 4.2 and higher.

BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac is one of the most anticipated releases from RIM in quite awhile. Unlike iPhone software, which works with both Mac and PCs, BlackBerry Desktop Manager has only been available for Windows users. Until now, a third-party tool has been needed for BlackBerry devices to sync with Macs.