Technology

Apple’s “Back to the Mac” event in brief

Steve Jobs at the "Back to the Mac" event
Steve Jobs at the "Back to the Mac" event
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Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled several new products at the “Back to the Mac” special event in California yesterday. Here’s our summary of all the announcements:

The all-new MacBook Air

New 13 inch MacBook Air
New 13 inch MacBook Air

Apple unveiled an all-new MacBook Air, available in a 13.3 inch or 11.6 inch display. The new netbook is just 1.27cm high at its thickest point and weighs as little as 2.9 pounds. It’s interesting to note that the new device includes neither a mechanical hard disk or an optical drive. Instead, the traditional hard disk has been replaced by solid state storage, allowing the device to run completely silently and deliver instant-on responsiveness. The battery lasts for up to seven hours during normal use, and an impressive thirty days on standby. The MacBook Air is available immediately from the Apple Store, starting from €999.

iLife ‘11

iLife '11
iLife '11

A major update of iLife ‘11 has introduced a lot of great new ways to create and share photos, music, and movies. iPhoto ‘11 features more full-screen modes for photos, faces, and places, and some really nice Facebook integration. iMovie ‘11 introduces storyboards and People Finder to quickly create and edit videos. GarageBand ‘11 includes Flex Time and Groove Matching to intelligently synchronise rhythm across all tracks.s iLife ‘11 comes free with new Macs and is available as a €49 upgrade for existing users.

Mac OS X Lion sneak peek

Mac OS X Lion
Mac OS X Lion

Apple gives a sneak peek to some features of Mac OS X Lion, the predecessor to Mac OS X Snow Leopard, that will be released in Summer 2011. The new version of the OS will add more UI improvements that take advantage of the multi-touch capabilities of the Magic Mouse and trackpad.

Mac OS X Lion introduces a lot of features first developed for iOS. Within 90 days Steve Jobs has promised the launch of the Mac App Store. Like the App Store for iOS devices, users can search and download free and paid apps for Mac, with simplified one click installs.

The Launchpad feature gives an iPad style instant access to all your apps. Apps can be arranged by dragging and dropping, and can be grouped into folders.

Systemwide support for full-screen apps has been introduced making them more immersive. Simple trackpad motions bring apps to full-screen mode, and also switch between apps while in full-screen mode.

Mission Control provides an easy way to view everything that’s running on your Mac. it essentially combines Exposé, Spaces, Dashboard, and full-screen apps. Again multi-touch trackpad gestures bring up Mission Control.

FaceTime on a Mac

FaceTime for Mac
FaceTime for Mac

Apple have launched FaceTime for Mac, allowing users to video call other Macs and FaceTime-enabled iOS devices, like the iPhone 4 and iPod touch. The app is fairly basic in terms of features, but as a simple video-calling service it works very well. The beta download is available at Apple’s website now.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.