Back to the Mac event rollout recap

- October 20th, 2010

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As expected, the Apple event Back to the Mac live from Cupertino, had little to do with the iPhone, iPod or iPad – it was all about the Mac, Apple’s financial and market achievements and new products announced, revealed and released.

State of the Mac

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was pleased to announce that Macintosh now accounts for 33% of Apple’s revenues.  There were 13.7 million Macs sold in fiscal year 2010 creating an install base of just under 50 million units. Jobs also claimed that Apple now has 20% of the US retail market.

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iLife ‘11

After giving us the numbers, Steve usually likes to build up his momentum. He started by announcing the iLife ’11 suite that still, incorporates iPhoto, iMovie and of course, GarageBand.

iPhoto has new features including better FaceBook integration and a full screen mode. Slideshows have been improved allowing for automatic music tracks and better transitions. Themes can have active backgrounds and 3D effects. One theme, Reflection, automatically adds a reflection on photo’s base. Pics can also be shown in 1, 2 or 4 up at a time. You can even create a slideshow based on places or locations.

iPhoto now allows for e-mailing photos right from within the application and a new iPhoto panel view tells you where you’ve shared them. It saves you time, makes it more convenient and easier to track.

iMovie now has something that people, including yours truly, have been asking for years -better in simple audio editing. With iMovie 11, waveform editing can be done right within the application and in segments to boot. For example, you could fade out or increase or decrease the volume of a specific section of audio. You can also now add audio effects, so if you chose to, you could make your voice sound like a chipmunk. There are also new video effects like slow-motion instant replay.

If you think you have the next blockbuster hit and you want to give the world a sneak peak, a theater trailer creation tool with 15 different genres lets you show titles, credits and story just like they do in Hollywood.

They’ve even gone as far as recording the London Symphony Harmonic at the infamous Abbey Road studios in London so you could compliment your next Oscar winner with original symphony scores. And 24 frames per second is now supported.

GarageBand has also been updated with new features, giving users better flexibility easy fixing and enhanced learning capabilities for music hacks like me.

Flex Time allows you to adjust individual notes without affecting the entire recording.  Groove Matching give you the ability to adjust the rhythm of any or all your tracks to a particular track.  There are also 5 new stompbox effects as well as 7 new real-sounding guitar amp effects to choose from.

22 new Music Lessons allows you to learn to play the guitar or piano in a style that makes you think you’re playing Rock Band. The How Did I Play?”  function allows you to record your lessons and play them back and it keeps a history to show your progress.

iLife 11 will be free with all new Mac. Upgrades are $49 CDN or $79 for a family pack of 5 licenses.

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FaceTime for Mac

With over 19 million face time devices shipped, there will now be a whole lot more as FaceTime capability for the Mac becomes available. You can download a free beta today from Apple.com. It does require Snow Leopard and an Apple ID.

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Mac OS X Lion

Jobs gave us a sneak peek at MAC OS X Lion, the 8th major release of the Mac OS X operating system, which Jobs called “ Mac OS X meets the iPad”.

It will offer to Mac User, some of the features current found on the iPad, like multitouch gestures and full-screen access. It will also offer the ability to purchase apps from the new Mac App Store, download directly and install them on their Macs. And like the current app store they’d be notified and easily download updates, as they become available.

Launch Pad will give Mac Users the functionality of the iPad home screen making it easier to find and access any applications. You can group them into folders and simply swipe to move from one screen to another.

Mission Control is a new feature akin to unification of Dashboard, Spaces and Expose allowing you to get a bird’s eye view of your Mac and easily find what you need and where you have to go.

Mac OS X Lion ships in Summer 2011, but the Mac App Store (requires Snow Leoaprd) is expected to be up and running within 90 days.

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One more thing… MacBook Air

With Steve jobs you always know there’s going to be one more thing. Jobs announced a brand-new and certainly overdue MacBook Air. Still a MacBook, but taking a page from the iPad, it’s better and smaller than ever.

Its unibody enclosure is only 0.68” tall at its thickest point and minuscule 0.11” at its thinnest. It has a full-sized keyboard, multi-touch trackpad, a 1440 x 900 display and a FaceTime camera.

What’s unique about the MacBook Air compared to the rest of the MacBook line is that there is no hard drive or SSD drive and like the iPad, it uses the more reliable, smaller and faster solid state flash storage which allows for an instant “on”.

There are 2 models: one with a 13.3” display and as Steve calls it, “A Younger Brother”, that measures 11.6”.

The 11.6” inch model weighs 2.3 lbs., has a 1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 64GB of flash storage. It sells for $1049 and for $1249 with 128GB.

The 13.3” model is slightly heavier at 2.9lbs. It has a 1.86 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 128GB of storage and will sell for $1349.  And the 256GB version will sell for $1649.

All models come stock with 2GB of DDR3 memory and an upgrade to 4GB will cost you another $100. The 256GB model also has a built-to-order option of a faster 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor for also another $100.  All models are shipping today.

All this happened in a period of 90 minutes.

Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg

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1 comment

  1. Chuck LeBlanc | October 21, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Wow! It’s like the old days when the Sears Christmas catalog came out in the fall. I’m gonna sit down right now and make my list for Santa. Thanks for the detail. Great post!

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