The (Lion) King of Operating Systems

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Apple's "Back to Mac" event kicked off with the normal statistics showing how well their products have done - it's something you always expect from their marketing team. Amazingly it is only 33% of their revenue for the past year that came from the Mac. What is even more surprising was them giving Microsoft a pat on the back for their work on the latest version of Office for Mac. Another interesting fact is that they are #1 for consumer satisfaction by ACSI for 7 years in a row, #1 in Consumer reports for the past decade and #1 from PCWorld for reliability.

So, moving on to their announcements the started with announcing the release of iLife 11 with new iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband (iDVD and iWeb were there but not mentioned). The three applications now all support full-screen views (which they revealed more about later) but have only minor changes to them. iLife 11 features new book making options, new sharing options and new slide shows. iMovie has added a few features such as instant replay, "movie trailers", and new sharing options including the ability to send to Vimeo. The movie trailers feature includes movie studio logos (surprised there aren't any legal issues with this), a new project view, and music tracks performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Garageband 11 has new features to help fix tracks, new training videos, and a "How did I do" feature for seeing how well you're learning to play the guitar or keyboard.

FaceTime has also been released as a Beta for the Mac and will work seamless with iPhone 4 and the latest range of iPod Touch devices. I've downloaded and tried it, but it's nothing special really and by not releasing it for Windows as well it's not as versatile as Skype. 

The event, "Back to Mac", referred to how features from iOS are going to be finding their way back into OS X for version 10.7, titled "Lion". This new version will have "many features" but they've not yet all been announced. The main focus of the announcement was:

  • Multi-touch gestures,
  • App Store,
  • Full screen applications,
  • Application home screens,
  • Auto-save,
  • Resume application on load.

The App Store for the Mac will have free and paid for apps where developers get a 70/30 split. Probably the best feature for App Store is the ability to update all the applications (downloaded from the App Store) on your Mac to the latest versions. To easily see these applications you now have the "launch pad" which is the application home screen in OS X Lion. The paging for Launchpad is pretty much the same as on iOS and support multi-touch gestures and folders.

The dashboard has now moved and can be accessed by swiping to the left, similar to accessing the search page on iOS - with these changes Dashboard, Spaces and Fullscreen are now a unified feature they call "Mission control" (which is basically Expose). The expose view did look a little clumsy to operate using multi-touch gestures and at one point the demonstrator even had slight problems using it.

Their current plan is to release OS X Lion in the Summer of 2011 with more features being revealed over the coming months. The App Store will open in 90 days, but developers will be able to submit applications as of November.

Their "one more thing" was a new Macbook Air which resembled some photos leaked recently - it's small, light weight and features "instant on", a SSD for storage, and 30-day standby time.

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