The cat is out of the bag: Mac OSX Lion (OSX 10.7) is the newest, and possibly will be the last, version of the OSX operating system for Mac. Steve Jobs and the Apple team showed Lion, MacBook Air and iLife â€™11 to journalists during the â€œBack to the Macâ€ event held at Appleâ€™s California headquarters this morning.
OSX Lion brings the innovation of Appleâ€™s iOS, which powers its iPhone and iPad devices, to the Mac, enabling such features as multi-touch gestures and App Store integration on Mac desktop and notebook computers. This move invites speculation as to whether the operating systems will merge, with iOS likely to absorb OSX. The new App Store will be available within 90 days for current Mac users (running Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6)). OSX Lion itself, however, will not be available until the summer of 2011.
FaceTime for Mac. FaceTime, the video-calling feature that has reached 19 million iPhone and iPod touch users within 4 months, will now enable video calls on Mac computers as well. Encapsulating the vision of convergence between traditional and mobile computing and communication â€“ think iPad meets MacBook â€“ the new MacBook Air ultraportable laptops were revealed, each with an integrated FaceTime camera.
Weighing in at 2.9 lbs., the 13.3â€ model is just Â¾â€ thick and is available at $1299 (128GB drive) or $1599 (256GB drive). Real-world battery life (during wireless Web use) is claimed to be 7 hours.
The first-ever 11.6â€ model weighs in at 2.3 lbs. and is available at $999 (64GB drive) or $1199 (128GB drive). Wireless Web battery life is is claimed to be 5 hours.
MacBook Air continues its green pedigree with Energy Star 5.0 certification, toxin-free components (no mercury, arsenic or PVC), and a highly recyclable aluminum case. Full full-sized keyboards, Intel Core2 Duo processors, and 2GB RAM are also common to both models.
Last but not least, the iLife â€˜11 suite was announced. iPhoto enhancements include integration of Facebook and Flickr accounts, and new photo album and photo book creation options. Several welcome enhancements to iMovie were shown, including improved audio editing, new audio effects, news and sports themes, and templates for making your own movie trailer, complete with credits. In addition to pro-level features like time stretching, the new GarageBand features basic piano and guitar lessons, with advanced lessons available for purchase separately.
iLife â€™11 is available as a $49 upgrade for existing Mac users, and comes standard on new Macs.
What do you think of the new Lion, MacBook Air and iLife â€™11? Are you a Mac yet?