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Before the event there was rumblings of a new MacBook Air and iLife. The new operating system codenamed OS X Lion was also set to play a part of the event. When CEO Steve Jobs stepped on stage, all the rumors became true, and demos were held to show off what is new.
It is one thing to say the names of what is announced, but here is an overview of what was a fairly eventful day in Apple land. There is much to be detailed, so check out the scoop below.
New MacBook Air: The iPad meets the Mac, well sort of. Starting at $999 it is available in 13.3 inch and 11.6 inch flavors. Core 2 Duo Processor running 5 hours of battery on the smaller one and 7 hours on the bigger one. Only 0.68 inches at the thickest point, with a durable aluminum unibody chassis. No optical drive, uses SSD like iPad (64GB, 128GB, and 256GB options). Because there is no optical drive, Apple has decided to include a “MacBook Air Software Reinstall Drive” which is essentially a USB stick with the OS reinstall image on it. Very cool way to distribute that.
FaceTime for Mac: Launches as a beta today, it is available for download. It works very similar to the iOS version, you use your email address to let people call you and start a video conference. The window automatically rotates when the other person rotates their camera. Any direction works, so you can have Mac to Mac calls as well. With over 19 million FaceTime devices already sold, and every Mac being sold with a built in camera, this opens the gates even further with ease-of-use video calling between desktop and mobile.
iLife 11: The same applications everyone loves, but updated with some new features. iPhoto gains a new full screen mode where you can literally do everything without exiting full screen. It also gains new slideshows and much better Facebook and Flickr integration including viewing others comments without leaving iPhoto. iMovie now has better audio editing, and a slick new movie trailer template feature which lets you make your own movie trailers. Garageband now has Flex Time and Groove Matching to refine your tracks, and introduces new guitar and piano lessons. It is available for $49 starting today.
Mac OS X Lion: Known as the king of the jungle, but will it be the king of the desktop? Signs of improvements are all around. To start with, Steve Jobs talks about how much they learned from iOS. This translates over to what they are working on in OS X Lion. There is now a Mac App Store that you can launch and be able to instantly buy and download new apps. This includes all the features of the iTunes App Store like Top Charts, App Updates, and Ratings. Following the iOS theme, there is a new feature called Launch Pad which brings up a “home screen” of all your installed apps. It looks and functions identically to the one in iOS. Finally there is Mission Control, which lets you quickly show all your running apps as well as spaces and full screen applications. It is essentially replacing Expose, but with a lot more features. These new features are backed by multi-touch gestures supported by trackpads or the Magic Mouse. Apple hopes to launch Mac OS X Lion in the Summer of 2011.
There you have it, way too much to cover but you can also check out some hands on video of the new MacBook Air over at Engadget and some Mac App Store submission guidelines on TUAW. It seems apparent based on the announcements that Apple is headed in a new direction with the Mac. It is a direction influenced by iOS and it’s touchscreen driven UI. As opposed to making a touchscreen Mac (though not entirely out of the picture) they are keeping the two platforms separate. They still believe that a keyboard and mouse, with a cursor on your screen is the best way to do the Mac desktop. They are just taking good ideas from iOS and working them into OS X. Not a bad way to go if you ask me.