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One More Thing

October 21, 2010 - Dave Hecei
Yesterday, October 20th, Apple held a press event where they showed off some new products and software. Much of what had been rumored came true during this event. However, there were a couple of nice surprises.

There are plenty of sites that have poured over the event so I won't go into great detail. A quick rundown of the event, from start to finish, is as follows.

1. Numbers - Jobs gives a bunch of stats on how many Macs they've sold and how much money they've made. Apple Retail Stores are doing great. Macs are strong and so is Apple.

2. iLife '11 - Apple's suite of media programs available now for $49. It will ship free with all new Macs. Major improvements to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand. iDVD and iWeb were not mentioned during the show but should still be part of the package.

3. FaceTime - FaceTime was introduced on the iPhone 4 and later on the new iPod Touch. It is now a beta program for Snow Leopard Macs and will be part of the next OS X.

4. OS X Lion - The next revision of OS X 10.7, is code-named Lion. Jobs went over some of the big new features coming next summer - tech speak meaning September/October. He stated that they looked at what they did and are doing with iOS 4, the OS for Apple's mobile devices, and added some things back in to OS X 10.7 for Macs. This means more gestures, a Mac App Store, Full Screen Apps, Auto Save features, Launchpad (pages of App icons), and Mission Control (Expose on steroids).

5. One Last Thing - Jobs had to use his famous catchphrase. This time it was well placed and following it was the new highly rumored MacBook Air refresh. This was more than a refresh but a complete rework of the Air. They took some of what they learned about making iPhones/iPods/iPads and married it to the sub-notebook Air. They came up with a super small, super light, super solid new MacBook Air. It ships almost immediately with either an 11.6 or 13.3-inch screen.

The Air might remind one of a cheap netbook, like the ones from Acer, Dell, or Asus, but the Air has a true laptop processor and much better video systems. The Air has the same GeForce 320M graphics chip as the MacBook. It still does not have an optical drive, but that is what makes it an Air. The smaller 1.4GHz Air weighs only 2.3 pounds, the bigger 1.86GHz Air is only 2.9 pounds. Battery life is great, 5 hours on the 11 and 7 hours on the 13.

The iPad part of the Air is with the power system. Unlike a traditional laptop, the Air does not really fully power down plus there are no moving parts inside. There is no hard drive. The Air uses flash memory for storage, meaning that the Air pops up from sleep almost instantly and can cold boot in about 14-16 seconds.

The biggest surprise is the pricing of the Air. Past models have been priced at a premium. The 11.6-inch Air starts at only $999, and the 13.3-inch starts at $1299. The previous Air (13.3-inch only) started at $1499 with a traditional spinning hard drive, while the SSD, flash memory, drive model started at $1799.


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