Apple is no stranger to snagging a lot
of media attention with their press conferences, and today is no
exception. Last week, Apple announced that it would get "Back
to the Mac" and the company is appears to be firing on all
cylinders with its Mac portfolio.
33% of Apple's revenue comes from Mac,
and the computers have been showing 27% year-over-year
growth. The company also reports that for the month of August, it
had 20.7% of the retail PC market. So it makes sense that the company
would be focusing on its Mac platform today.
Apple introduced FaceTime with the
4, then later brought it to the iPod
touch (fourth generation). Now, Apple is adding FaceTime calling
to the Mac platform which will allow you to make video calls to both
iPhone 4 and iPod touch users. It's a pretty simple software addition
to the OS X that will be made available today in beta form.
For today's “entree” as Steve Jobs
described, he next jumped into OS X 10.7, “Lion”. Steve Jobs
describes Lion as incorporating the best features of iOS which is
used on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Some of the features that
Steve Jobs highlighted from iOS include:
Steve Jobs described that multi-touch
gestures when used on vertical surfaces (i.e. your laptop or desktop
screen), your arm becomes fatigued after long-term use. This is the
reason why Apple incorporates multi-touch gestures instead to
trackpads on the MacBook/MacBook Pro/MacBook Air, the Magic
Trackpad, and the Magic Mouse.
Next, the App Store is being brought to
the OS X platform with one-click download, free and paid apps,
automatic installs, automatic app updates, and apps will be licensed
to use on all of your personal Mac computers.
Launch Pad can be accessed from the OS
X dock, and it brings up a grid array of apps (think iOS) to allow
one-click access to your favorite apps. Naturally, like iOS, you can
create folders for your apps and flick through them using multi-touch
Fullscreen view is available to apps
now with Lion, and multi-touch gestures can be used to navigate
through the app or between other running applications when running in
fullscreen mode. Apple is also combining Expose, Full screen apps,
the Dashboard, and Spaces into a feature it calls "Mission
Apple plans to release Lion in Summer
2011. However, the Mac App Store will open within 90 days from today
for the Snow Leopard platform. App submissions will begin in
The company also announced its new
iLife 11 digital media productivity package which was leaked earlier
this morning. Steve Jobs highlighted three of the applications in the
software suite (which is included for free on all new Macs, and
available for $49 for upgraders), the first of which was iPhoto 11.
IPhoto 11 features a new fullscreen mode, Facebook enhancements, the
ability to email photos (without leaving iPhoto), new slideshows, and
Next up was iMove 11. New features
include all-new ado editing, "one step" effects, people
finder (can pinpoint individual people from a video stream), news and
sports themes, and the ability to create movie trailers with little
effort (this actually looked extremely cool from the demo presented
The last application from iLife 11
highlighted today was GarageBand 11. The new features include Flex
Time, Groove Matching, more guitar amps and effect, new piano and
guitar lessons, and a new "How did I play?" component. Finally, Steve Jobs announced the new MacBook Air, which is supposed to combine the best of the MacBook and the iPad. The MacBook is 0.68 thin at its thickest point, it tapers down to just 0.11 inches at its thinnest point, and it weighs just 2.9 pounds. It features complete unibody construction, a 13.3” LED-backlit display (1440x900), Core 2 Duo processor, NVIDIA GeForce 320m graphics, 802.11n wireless, two USB ports, full-size keyboard, multi-touch trackpad, and FaceTime. The new MacBook Air forgoes optical and hard drives, and will rely solely on flash for storage. The battery is rated at 7 hours using standard wireless web tests (the previous MacBook Air got 5 hours), and it can run on standby for up to 30 days.
There's also a smaller sibling, an 11.6” MacBook Air which weighs 2.3 pounds. It has a 1366x768 display and all of the features of its bigger brother. It's rated at 5 hours of battery life and 30 days of standby.
The 11.6” model will cost you $999 (1.4GHz, 64GB), $1,199 (1.4GHz, 128GB), while the 13.3” model will set you back $1,299 (1.86GHz, 128GB), $1,599, (1.86GHz, 256GB). MacBook Airs at those prices, unfortunately, only come with 2GB of RAM. However, it appears that the machines can be upgraded to 4GB as a factory option for an additional $100. All variants of the new MacBook Air are available to order today.