Just in case you haven’t already gobbled up all the news on Apple’s ‘Back to the Mac’ event today via Twitter and all round the web, I thought I’d share just a quick rundown of some of the highlights. Hit the break for the rundown and a few quick thoughts on some of the topics […]
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Back to the Mac Event – Highlights

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Just in case you haven’t already gobbled up all the news on Apple’s ‘Back to the Mac’ event today via Twitter and all round the web, I thought I’d share just a quick rundown of some of the highlights.

Hit the break for the rundown and a few quick thoughts on some of the topics …

What Was Announced

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iLife 11 – A major update for the iLife suite. iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband 11 versions are all packing a slew of new features, many of which look very impressive. I ‘m not a regular user of any of these apps, so look for some better coverage of these later from some of my colleagues.

iLife 11 is free with all new Macs and is a $49 upgrade for current users. It’s available today. You can grab the upgrade here: http://www.apple.com/ilife/

FaceTime for the Mac – the easy, user-friendly video chat app first seen on the iPhone 4 adds ‘tens of millions’ of users in one fell swoop by coming to the desktop. It’s out already (marked as a beta). Get it here: http://www.apple.com/mac/facetime/

Mac OS 10 Lion – coming in the summer of 2011. The next major update to Mac OS X. Steve Jobs stressed that iOS has inspired their OS X development team, and Lion will bring a number of major iOS ideas back to the Mac (hence the name of the event). Some of the iOS features we will see in Lion include: an App Store, multi-touch gestures, app home screens, full screen apps, auto save, and saved state for apps.

Demos of Lion included Mission Control – a way to view all that’s going on on your Mac, and instantly navigate to anywhere and Launchpad – a gesture driven way to see all running apps, dashboard widgets, pages of installed apps, and more. Both of these looked quite promising. They also both looked very reliant on trackpad or Magic Mouse based gestures – wonder how – or if – they’ll work with older hardware.

The Mac App Store – near identical to the iOS App Store we know and love. Due to open in 90 days, and accepting app submissions starting in November.

Two New MacBook Air models – a 13.3 inch model and an 11.6 inch model. Both lighter than ever, no hard drives, all solid-state storage, ‘really stunning and really small’.

Some Quick Thoughts

One thing that seemed very odd to me was the length – and proportion – of time devoted to just iLife 11. Those are some sweet apps, and they definitely added some impressive features, but somewhere near 50 minutes was spent on this.

I think the entire rest of the event wasn’t much more than 30 minutes – and that covered bigger topics, at least for me.

The whole ‘back to the Mac’ concept – with iOS features coming to the Mac, seems a very powerful one to me. iOS is a superb OS and I believe it can offer a lot on the Mac. It should be another big pull towards the Mac for lots of iOS users once they see that they can bring a lot of that iOS goodness to their desktop and laptop experience.

A Mac App Store is a huge win as well I believe. It’s just a great way to deliver apps and to bring them to users’ attention. Users and developers should both be big winners when this new store opens in three months.

The new MacBook Air models look lovely, but I’m not interested in them. I’m more than happy with my iPad and my MacBook Pro – and the MBA is one device too many for my scenario.

And You?

What do you guys think? Excited about any of today’s news? If so, which items are the big ones for you?

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