It happened again. The tech world came to a screeching halt as Steve Jobs and Apple made some more announcements from their headquarters in Cupertino, California. Today, Apple unveiled some new products, including iLife 11, FaceTime for Mac, OS X Lion and brand new MacBook Airs.
The presentation began with a “State of the Mac” wrap-up, including revenue numbers and market-share stats. The Mac accounts for a third of Apple’s revenue, and the Mac install base is roughly one fifth of the PC market at just under 50 million users.
For products, Apple showcased iLife 11 – a refresh to the familiar suite of multimedia applications. iPhoto features some new social sharing, slideshow and printing options, and iMovie now includes improved audio editing, quick on-the-fly video effects and a movie trailer storyboarding and creation tool. Garage Band, Apple’s music creation and edition software, now includes groove matching (think auto-tune but for poor rhythm) and improved music lessons.
Next, Steve Jobs announced that Apple has created a desktop client for FaceTime, the video chat technology built into the iPhone 4 and the latest iPod Touch. Now any Mac desktop user can video chat with owners of these devices, and vice versa.
The “entrée” for the presentation, as Jobs calls it, is an upgrade to Mac OS X, dubbed “Lion.” Lion is OS X meets iOS, as enhanced multitouch and the app store are coming to the desktop. One feature, Launch Pad, allows desktop users to quickly access and arrange apps in the same way they do on an iPad, including the creation of app folders.
To wrap up the presentation, however, Jobs unveiled brand new MacBook Airs – yes, two of them – a 13-inch and an 11-inch version. The new Airs are super thin (only .68” at their thickest), feature hi-res LED displays, and no optical or hard drives. They use Flash-based storage to provide and instant-on, and enhanced battery performance (as much as 7 hours “Wireless Web” use, and 30 days of standby).
Prices for the MacBook Air start at $999 for the 11” with just 64GB of storage and a 1.4 GHz processor, and reach as high as $1599 for 256 GB and 1.86 GHz. They are available today.
So will you be buying the new MacBook Air(s)? Personally I’m not completely sold on them. $999 for that little storage/processor speed is a bit disappointing, but there’s no doubt some customers will be attracted by the slim design and battery potential – though who REALLY needs a whole month of standby time?
Let us know your thoughts on today’s announcements in the comments!