Summary: Apple previews OS X Lion, updates iLife and MacBook Air

Philip Michaels
21 October, 2010
View more articles fromthe author

The next major version of OS X took centre stage at Apple’s Back to the Mac press event, but it wasn’t the only Mac-centric news to come out of Cupertino. In addition to previewing Mac OS X 10.7 – which Apple calls “Lion” – the company also released an updated version of iLife, rolled out a desktop version of its FaceTime video-conferencing application, and revamped its MacBook Air lineup.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs called Mac OS X Lion the “entrée” of the press event, though the company didn’t offer extensive information about its next major OS X update. Lion is slated to arrive mid-2011.

The central focus of the Mac OS X update will be to bring many features of the mobile iOS operating system to the desktop, including the ability to use full-screen applications and a Launchpad for launching all of the applications on your Mac. A Mission Control feature will expand on Exposé, giving users a view of open full-screen applications, the Dock, and the desktop.

Mac OS X Lion will also introduce a Mac App Store similar to the mobile App Store for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. Users will be able to download Mac applications from the store, though Jobs stressed that developers would still be able to sell their offerings as they do now. A Mac App Store will open in 90 days for use with Mac OS X 10.6.

Get more information on Mac OS X Lion.

The event also saw a revamp to the MacBook Air lineup. Apple’s newest laptops are a cross between the old ultra-thin Air model and the company’s iPad tablet.

The MacBook Air comes in two sizes – a 13.3in configuration as well as an entirely new 11.6in offering. Neither laptop has a hard drive, relying instead on flash storage.

The new 13.3in model, with a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processor, will cost $1599 for a model with 128GB of flash storage and $1949 for one with 256GB. The 11.6in model, which has a 1.4GHz processor, will cost $1199 for a 64GB model and $1449 for 128GB.

Get more information on the new MacBook Air models .

Apple also unveiled the latest version of iLife, with iMovie stealing the show. Apple’s entry-level video editor will feature improved audio editing capabilities as well as “one step effects”, which provide instantly rendered visual compositions. Other highlights in iMovie ’11 include easy-to-build templates, original scores, and a face-detection capability called People Finder.

Apple also spent time going over the new features in the iPhoto and GarageBand updates for iLife ’11. iPhoto will feature an iOS-like full-screen mode for editing and viewing photos and social sharing enhancements, among other changes. Highlights to GarageBand include new recording and instrument tools.

iLife ’11 costs $69. It will come preinstalled on all new Macs.

Get more information on iLife ’11.

Apple also rolled out a desktop version of its FaceTime video-conferencing tool – the same one already available to the iPhone 4 and iPod touch. Currently available as a beta, FaceTime on the Mac will let you place video calls to other Macs and Apple mobile devices.

Get more information on FaceTime for Mac.

Leave a Comment

Please keep your comments friendly on the topic.

Contact us