Back to The Mac - A Look Into Apple's Conference

Apple has been focussing a lot on mobile devices in all of its recent events - starting with the release of the iPad, followed by the launch of the iPhone 4 at the Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) 2010 [covered in the July 2010 issue], and later, the Music Event that primarily focussed on iPods. Last month, however, Apple held an event titled 'Back to the Mac', especially for Apple's operating system (OS), the Mac OS.

The event's poster, an image of the Apple logo with a lion behind it, prepared people for what lay ahead. Apple had named OS X versions after the family of big cats - from Mac OS X 10.0 to 10.6 titled Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard. Hence, many anticipated the release of a new operating system - and they were close, as one of the biggest news made at the event was regarding a new OS.

The event:

The first Mac product showcased was iLife '11, the latest suite of digital lifestyle applications for Mac. It includes iPhoto (a photo editor), iMovie (a video editor), GarageBand (a digital audio workstation for audio composing and editing), iWeb, and iDVD. In iLife '11, features from previous versions have been redesigned; new features have also been added. Most of the features in iLife '11 are quite unique - never seen before on any other computer application.

The next product was the much-awaited feature (especially for users of the iPhone 4 and fourth generation iPod Touch) -FaceTime for Mac. With the iPhone 4, Apple developed a video-calling software called FaceTime, that allowed video calls from one iPhone 4 to another, using Wi-fi. In the Apple Music Event, held in September, the iPod Touch was upgraded with a FaceTime camera as well; so both, iPhone 4 and iPod Touch users, were allowed to make and receive FaceTime calls.

Understandably, Mac users demanded it as well, especially since Mac computers (iMacs and Macbooks) came with a built-in camera. Wish granted; introducing FaceTime for Mac. It is a separate application, and the beta version can be downloaded from the Apple website for free.

The Mac OS Lion:

The next big news came with the preview of Mac OS X10.7: Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS X. Though it was only a preview, it provides fodder for discussion and speculation among the Mac user community until its actual release in the summer of 2011. It tied in with the event's title, Back to the Mac, which had a deep philosophy behind it. The widely-successful iOS (the OS for devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) has been derived by the Mac OS X. So taking it "back to the Mac" was the purpose behind the development of Mac OS X Lion. There are many features in Lion, which are inspired from the iOS, and several features of the Mac OS have been revised. Some of the features include:

• Fullscreen apps (as with the iPad)
• Mac App Store (like the iTunes store, iOS App Store, and the iBookstore)
• Launchpad (an iOS-type screen for launching apps)
• Mission Control (for switching between apps. It's a combination of Dock, Expose, Dashboard, and Spaces)

One of the iOS' most loved feature is multitoUch, and Apple has attempted to get as close as possible to allowing it on the Mac OS by using the input devices on the Mac products. Apple laptops and notebooks will have a multitouch-enabled glass trackpad, which will allow multiple finger-based actions. As for the desktop, Apple's Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad will do the same job.

One more thing:

Of course, no Apple event is complete without Steve Jobs' trademark phrase, "but there is one more thing...", and saving the best for the last! Since Apple has redesigned the Mac OS to be as sophisticated as the iOS, the hardware also required an upgrade. So, a new and better version of the MacBook Air was released. Two years ago, the MacBook Air was launched, claiming to be the world's thinnest laptop, and measured 13.3 inches. However, along with the software upgrade, Apple introduced the MacBook Air's "younger brother", which measures only 11.6 inches. With the new MacBook Air, its thickness has been further reduced, and its processing power has been increased. It has a unibody structure (similar to other Apple MacBooks), and comes with flash storage integrated on-board, multitouch trackpad, a FaceTime camera (formerly known as iSight camera), and a superb high-resolution display. With a battery time of five hours, the new MacBook Air has an incredible battery life for such a thin laptop. According to Apple, it is the most advanced product they've ever made. Once again, Apple has successfully convinced its users (and many others) to "think different".
 

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