My opinion on the Apple "Back to Mac" announcements

After watching the Apple‘s Back to Mac event (yes you can go download it on iTunes under podcasts), I thought I might give my opinions as well. Once again a person gets the idea that these events are perfectly orchastrated – every single slide and sentence was perfectly in tune with the bigger picture of the day. Steve made it very clear that the technology they perfected on their mobility front has creeped back to the Mac as well, be it software or hardware.
First off – I do not really care about iLife all that much. Sure, its a nice multimedia suite when you buy a new Mac, but it really is aimed at non-pros. iPhoto is still not as good as Picasa, and as long as Apple insists on using its ridiculous iPhoto library file structure, I will not use it. Garageband has also gotten a few improvements, but the true standout of the day was iMovie. You can still do all the same things you did in the past, but this time round they added Movie Trailers. Using simple guidelines a user can make very convincing spoof movie trailers. I would recommend you go look at them.

The event also focussed on the next version of Mac OS X: “Lion”. (Something struck me though – how does a person top the name “Lion” in terms of cats? Maybe its the last cat name prototype?) The biggest change to Lion is that it will take some of the ease of use of iOS back to the Mac. First off – the Mac Appstore. Now I realise people might throw up their arms thinking Steve has also locked down the Mac as well, just like he did with the iPhone. That is not the case at all – users still have the choice of getting their software from other sources as well, but people who don’t want to go trawl the internet looking for a specific app now have a very easy way of searching and installing the app.
The Mac Appstore will work almost exactly the same as on iPad and iPhone, and it gains all the same ease of use features. The Top Apps and Categories buttons are still there, but perhaps more significantly, you will also now have a centralized area to update all your apps with one single click. No more using third party utilities or going into every app and trying to update them.

On the hardware front Steve announced the new Macbook Air – and it’s a beauty. While very similiar to the old Macbook Air in concept, the new version takes a lot pointers from the iPad. The inside is almost all battery,  with Apple doing away with the standard hard drive “shell” convention. They added the flash memory directly to the tiny motherboard. Stand out features are the full unibody construction, instant on, 15 second boot up time and very good battery life. The machine can be used for wireless browsing up to 7 hours on the 13 inch model, with up to an amazing 30 days of standby time while the machine is sleeping. The 11 and 13 inch models both have reasonably high res screens for their size as well.
My only problem is that Apple still gives only 2GB of RAM as standard. You can configure it with 4GB of RAM, but you have to add it as a custom build to order. So dont count on iStore carrying the 4GB of RAM yet. Maybe they will surprise us – because 2GB of RAM is getting a little cramped these days.
The Macbook Air is already available in the US, iLife ’11 is already available and OS X Lion is coming in “Summer 2011” – thats June 2011 for us…