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The Year of Software

April 19, 2011 - Dave Hecei

During the release of the new iPad 2, Steve Jobs announced that this is the year of the iPad. While the iPad 2 is impressive, it is a piece of hardware. From what I hear and see, I think this is going to be the year of Apple software.

This year, Apple should be releasing several software titles and two new operating systems. Apple has already officially announced the next Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion. This will be a major update of the Mac OS with changes to the look and feel of the system. Along with plenty of user interface improvements, Lion is said to include OS X server. If the full server becomes a part of the regular OS, this will allow any Lion compatible Mac to become a powerful home or office server.

Though not officially announced, Apple is hard at work on iOS 5 for mobile devices (the current version is 4.3.2). This is just speculation, but many rumors claim that iOS 5 will appear sometime after this years WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) in June. This expo will undoubtedly be used to show off all the wonderful things in Lion, but will likely be used to show off the next iOS. After all, there should be a new iPhone sometime this summer.

We finally got a new iLife ‘11 last fall, during the Back to the Mac event. It was surprising that it took Apple two years to update such an important part of the Mac system. It’s important because it is included free with every new Mac sold and offered as an upgrade to existing customers. In the past, iLife helped sell Macs. It doesn’t play as big a part today, but having iLife preinstalled on all new Macs makes the out-of-box experience that much better.

What was missing last fall was an updated iWork, Apple office-like suite. It contains Pages (word processing/page layout), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (slide shows/presentations). It was last released around the same time as the last version of iLife. This makes a new version of iWork well overdue.

Just this week in Las Vegas, at the 2011 NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show, Apple gave a pre-release demo of the next version of Final Cut Pro. The latest version is part of the Final Cut Studio 3 suite. This next version is to be a complete reworking of the application to take advantage of new features in OS X Snow Leopard. Apple has named it Final Cut Pro X and it will be available sometime in June for $299 on the Mac App Store.

Other parts of the Final Cut Studio include: Motion, DVD Studio Pro, Color, Soundtrack Pro, Color, and Compressor. It is likely that these will also be updated, but Apple did not mention these other Apps during their presentation. Apple could combine features of these programs into Final Cut Pro X or they may unbundled the suite and allow users to buy just the parts they need on the new Mac App Store. Other Apple software that is overdue for updating is – Quicktime, Final Cut Express, Logic Studio, and Logic Express.

Apple is due to update most all of their software line. If they can do this and release two new operating systems, this will be the year of Apple software.


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