October 20, 2010

Apple Unleashes New MacBook Air, Software Updates For Mac

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs took the stage today for another media event entitled "Back to the Mac," introducing new software features and an updated MacBook Air computer line.

During the event Jobs announced the next step Apple is taking in improving its Mac products.

He started off by announcing the new iLife 11, which is available today.  The software includes updated versions of its popular iPhoto, iMove and GarageBand applications. 

The new iPhoto 11 features a full screen mode with built-in integration for Facebook, as well as new professional-looking slideshows. 

A user will also be able to produce customizable letterpress cards, which are high-quality cards with embossed images, using their own photos.

"I think that's awesome.  This is why we do what we do." Jobs said after a video showing off the letterpress feature on iPhoto 11.

The updated iMove 11 features a new ability to produce move trailers from video a user has taken.  Original soundtracks produced by the London Symphony Orchestra accompany the trailers.

GarageBand 11 will have a new way of teaching a student how to play instruments.  The lessons not only provide a video guide of how to play the piano or guitar, but also show a history of a user's progression since they started to learn.

Jobs said that 5 million people around the world are using GarageBand.

ILife 11 will be available free with every new Mac, and can be purchased for $49 as an upgrade to an existing Macintosh computer.

Jobs also announced a new updated version of its MacBook Air line.  The new MacBook air is 0.68 inch thick at its thickest point, and tapers down to just 0.11 inch at its thinnest point.

The new device weighs just 2.9 pounds and comes equipped with a 13.3-inch high resolution LED backlit display.  It also features 100 percent flash memory, so it is capable of being turned on instantly and stores data two times faster than hard drives.

Jobs said it is a combination of the iPad and the MacBook.

"We asked ourselves what would happen if a Mac and an iPad hooked up," he said.

"It's one of the most amazing things we've ever created.  We think it's the future of notebooks, and we are really excited about this."

The new MacBook Air's construction is made completely out of one piece of aluminum, which provides more durability.

It is available today with 128 GB of memory for $1299, or 256 GB of memory for $1599.  It is launching alongside an 11.6-inch version as well that features 64 GB of memory for $999, and 128 GB of memory for $1199.

Jobs also showed off a sneak peak for its newest operating system OS X Lion, which will be available in the summer of 2011.

"We are inspired by some of innovations in the iPhone, and we would like to bring them 'Back to the Mac'," he said.

Lion will feature multi-touch gestures similar to those seen on an iPhone or iPad, as well as full screen apps, home screens and a Mac App Store.

The new operating system will also contain "Mission Control," which is "a way to view everything running on your Mac and instantly navigate anywhere," said Jobs.

Craig Federighi, vice president of engineering for Mac OS X, showed off the new Mac App Store and said, "With the App store we have taken everything users love about the iPad and brought it to the Mac."

"Installation has never been easier, with just a click I'm running my new application," Federighi said.

He also showed off the new mission control feature on OS X Lion.  During the demonstration, he displayed how by using a multi-touch gesture, a user leaves a full screen application to view a display of all the running applications, the desktop and all open windows. 

By using mission control, a user will be able to go anywhere on their Mac by just one click.

Federighi corrected himself during the demonstration about how he loves using windows, not referring to the Microsoft operating system.

"Of course as a Mac user I also love working with windows"¦ I mean windows, not Windows (Microsoft)," he said.

Apple will be releasing the Mac App Store ahead of its OS X Lion software in 90 days.  Developers will be able to start submitting their applications for the store in November.


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