I just got done watching the live video stream of Apple's special event: BACK TO THE MAC and jotted down some observations. But, since I've already posted today, you'll be seeing them a day late. And FYI, my notes are in reverse chronological order...
The new MacBook Air is thin. Shockingly thin. Razor thin. So thin that my only remark about it on Twitter (other than "OH GAWD I WANT ONE SO BAD!") was "Wow, you could seriously cut a bitch with the new MacBook Air!"...
This is awesome on a number of levels. But mostly because you could use it as a weapon if the need should arise. Like meeting Jared the Subway Sandwich Whore on the street and needing something to decapitate him with...
Of course I am dying to own one. For the frequent traveler, it's tiny size and miniscule weight is a dream come true. Unfortunately, it's just not "enough" of a Mac for me to justify buying one. Even maxed out, the speed and storage aren't in the ballpark I need to get my work done.
And yet... I still covet the dang thing.
MAC OS X LION!
The real magic behind the Mac is the Mac OS X operating system. The previous OS update, "Snow Leopard" made the Mac faster, friendlier, and even more reliable, but added few new features. The next OS release, "Lion" (slated for release in Summer of next year) builds on this with some interesting and cool new features, a few of which were shared with us at the event...
The idea here is to take some of the things that Apple learned from creating the iPhone's iOS and bring those features "back to the Mac." To sum up... The OS X APP STORE is nice because it makes managing your applications so much easier. Not that it's all that difficult now, but updates are sure better the iPhone way. Of course, that doesn't mean much if companies like Adobe and Microsoft choose not to use it. LAUNCHPAD brings the elegant and easy iOS app launcher to the Mac. I like the look of it quite a lot, though don't know how critical a feature it really is. FULL-SCREEN is a simple technology that makes the current app fill the screen completely. It dovetails nicely with the growing trend of making app interfaces go full-screen. MISSION CONTROL is the feature I am most happy about. It brings several separate technologies (like Exposé, Spaces, and Dashboard) under a single interface (shown in the image above). It's pretty slick, and will make working between apps much more fluid and easy.
Sadly, none of these features are really blowing my skirt up. They're just nice refinements and borderline unnecessary trinkets that aren't really revolutionary in any way. Don't get me wrong... evolution is nice too... but nothing here inspires confidence that Apple is spending many resources developing for Mac anymore (iPhone leftovers?). Granted, there's a lot of time between now and next summer and many things can change or be added, but overall I am pretty "meh" about Lion after this presentation.
Apple made video conferencing dead-simple in the latest iteration of iOS for iPhone and iPod Touch. It's fast, easy, fun, and highly addictive. But there's two problems. 1) It doesn't work over cellular networks, you must have wifi available to use it. 2) You can't talk to people on Macs or PC's, even if they have a video camera. Well, #2 is finally being addressed...
No client for Windows or Linux or other mobile platforms yet, but since FaceTime is supposedly an "open" platform, I'm sure they'll come soon. Still waiting for being able to FaceTime on my iPhone over 3G. Hopefully one day. In the meanwhile, 3G alternatives are starting to appear. Apple better step it up. Soon. Or bitch-slap AT&T if they're the problem here.
The first "new" thing that Apple decided to talk about was their spectacular "iLife" suite of digital lifestyle applications. It comes free with every new Mac, and you can upgrade to the newest 2011 version for just $49... which is astounding if you stop to consider what you get for your money. All the new features are fantastic, once again bringing professional results with minimal effort and an even more minimal learning curve...
The event started out with a lot of talk about the "State of the Mac" and how it's rated #1 in everything... customer satisfaction, support, reliability, usability, blah blah blah. Basically, all the things that makes me buy a Mac in the first place. It was a nice segue into the true highlight of this segment... and yet another area where Apple is clearly #1 around the world: Retail. They have some of the most beautiful, jaw-dropping, amazing stores you'll ever see, both inside and out. During the event, they showed off a few of their latest...
They're all so very different, yet equally stunning. If you have time to kill, I highly highly recommend clicking through their list of stores at Apple.com. So many incredible architectural wonders to be seen.
I'd say "the end" but since this is in reverse order, I gues this is "the beginning?"
Regardless, way to go Apple!
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Good lord! This reminds me of the Futurama episode where MOM takes over the world with the eye phone!!!
When does OS Housecat come out??
I welcome our new Apple overlords! 🙂
You know Mac Knives are a real thing? They’re the knives we use at our house. They’re awesome, but can’t really send email that well. 😉
I bought and installed iLife’11 yesterday. I only had iLife ’09 for the past two weeks, so I don’t see many differences. 😉 One thing I really liked is the fact that iLife installed in the language of my system. You see, I stopped by the Apple Store yesterday and picked a copy without thinking about getting one in French (my system is French because my kids are not yet fully bilingual). When I got home, I realized the package was English… I figured that for 49$, I was going to install it anyways and pick a French copy tomorrow. To my surprise, iLife installed in French! Is it like that for all the software?
Sorry for the long comment. 😉
Oh yes… MAC Knives are famous and awesome! I don’t cook enough to make the investment, but I have foodie friends who have them.
Most “good” Mac software is “localized” and will automatically install the correct version to match the OS settings. The actual localization, however, varies in quality. You shouldn’t have any problems with the French though. 🙂
If you had mixed up the order a bit too then it could have been like movies that put things out of order and usually start with the end at the beginning and make you watch them several times before you completely get what is going on and when.
Like “Memento!”… how crazy was that?
After two iPhones, I almost want to buy a mac as my next computer…
ONE OF US! ONE OF US!
Doooo it. Seriously. Do it.
He has no choice. Assimilation is inevitable. Resistance is futile.
I have the 13” MB. Wonder if this would be an upgrade, or should I just upgrade to the MB Pro, as I’d planned? I don’t travel all that often for work, but I do bring my MB home every night and work on it, so I’m thinking the 15” MB Pro would be my best upgrade.
It depends what you do with it. I use Photoshop and Illustrator to work on massive files, which is a resource-heavy task, so I’d go for the 15″ MacBook Pro. But if you’re just going to use the machine for email, web surfing, writing, and less intensive chores like that… then MacBook Air might be perfect for you. I’d recommend going to an Apple Store so you can give it a try and speak with a salesperson… they can take a look at what you’ll use it for and make a recommendation that fits.
This little guy would be perfect for me. I bought a netbook for my husband to use thinking I could take it with me to do some freelance work, but the screen is too damn small to write comfortably.
Now you know what to get me for Christmas. 🙂
I had played with the “original” MacBook Air and thought it was pretty nifty… these take it up to the next level entirely! Small as a netbook, but a lot more powerful!
I’m wondering how I would like moving from my early-2007 MacBook Pro to the 13″ MacBook Air. I’d move the MBP to the study and still use it for most Aperture work, probably with a new 2nd monitor attached, while the Air would be for Quicken (under VMware), streaming TV, and other standard stuff in the family room.
I probably won’t do it as there doesn’t seem to be much advantage without more travel in my future. Plus, I’m pretty happy with just my iPad for most trips, unless I really expect to make time for picture processing, in which case I probably want the 17″ screen of my MBP.
Honestly, with the effectiveness of iPad, the utility of the Air just doesn’t seem to be there. This will only be enhanced when the iPad moves to iOS 4. Now, if the Air would run iOS apps in addtion to MacOS apps, effectively being a direct upgrade from an iPad, that would be a different story. It might need a touch screen to be really compelling, though, and probably a way to use it without the keyboard being in the way.
Seriously considering the new MacBook Air to replace g/f’s netbook.
But still no CD drive in the Air? As much as I’ve become an Apple Whore, I do have to keep reminding myself that they are very good at creating products that REQUIRE us to buy all of them….to get the WiFi, the CD drive, the camera, the the the the the….each of them seems to missing just one simple piece that would create the PERFECT product.
All that talk of decapitating people with the phone and overlords, reminds me of the Deathstar canteen by Eddie Izzard – well worth looking up on youtube (including the lego version) if you’ve not seen it yet.
This one is wet, This one is wet…..
I skipped Snow Leopard on my iMac (used it at work but not home) but I will NEED to get Lion because (duh) I’m a leo. 🙂
And I’m getting iLife 11.
It sure is purty.
Dave, I’m right with you there on the AirBook. But I’m going to hold off (since my MPB is only a year old) and hope that the next iteration has a 500GB solid state drive, an illuminated keyboard, and a faster chip. Once that happens, I’ll be all over that bitch.
I can’t wait until I pay off my credit cards so I can buy a Mac. I want one so much.
I was feeling doubtful that upgrading iLife would be worth it, but now I guess I’ll have to dig a little deeper and learn more to find out if it’s worthwhile for me to do so.
I’m not ready for iLife 11 yet. I’m still very happy with iLife 09 apps. But I’m sure I’ll upgrade at some point.
And I may want to plan better so it doesn’t take me a year to upgrade to OS X Lion after it comes out next summer.
But that sexy new MacBook Air… I WANT!!!