Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"RAWR!" Is What Lions Say

Well, the Apple event today brought a ton of new stuff to the table. Some of these things good, and others not so good. Without further a do, lets get to it.

OS X Lion: First and foremost is the announcement of OS X Lion, as expected and hinted from previous posts. The point of the new OS is to make the Mac more like an iPad, or the way I see it, easier to use. I am saying this now, I don't like it. iPad is iPad and Mac is a computer, they should stay separate. I know that technology is converging, but this is not what I was hoping for. Anyway, new features include Mission Control, Launch Pad, Full Screen Mode, and App Store for Mac. Mission Control is essentially Exposé renamed and a couple of new things added. When activated, Mission Control shows everything you have open. This means your Apps, Full Screen Apps, Desktop, Dashboard, and Apps with many windows. See the image to the right (courtesy of Gizmodo) to see what it looks like.
  In addition is Launchpad. Once launched, Launchpad will lay out all the applications installed, most of which are managed by the App Store, and you will have multiple pages to scroll through. Just like the iPad, you can create folders to store certain applications. I see no use for this application because I can do this right now, it is called stacks. Sure it takes longer, but why do I need a separate program for it. Just stay organized, and you don't need another program.
  Next there is Full Screen. Not much needs to be said here. All applications will have the ability to work full screen. This is great for PDF documents and book applications like Kindle for Mac. Now although this is nice, what is even better is the fact that you don't have to close full screen to switch application. You can jump between applications without exiting fullscreen. This begs the question "Are windows being eliminated from an OS?". My answer, not quite, but it is on the way.
  Finally, the Mac Store. The Mac Store, or the App Store for Mac, is Apple's "Steam" as I see it. Those of you who use Steam know how it works. For those of you who don't, Steam allows you to buy a game and then install it on any machine you want, as many times you want. The same goes for the Mac Store. You can buy an applications, own it forever, and install it as many times as you wish anywhere you wish.

Facetime: Facetime has been ported to the Mac. It was only a matter of time before this happened. Unfortunately this is a standalone app, which is a shame as I would have like to see this incorporated with iChat as an addition to the Video Calling feature. In a nut shell, you can make calls to your friends who have an iPhone 4 from your Mac. Framerate is limited due to the amount of information the iPhone 4 can process. There are ways through jailbreaking that allow you to get more then 15 fps, but that will of course take up more battery and bandwidth. There is no real way to set up calls without using AIM, Gmail Chat, or what ever instant messenger you use. However, you can receive calls without the app open, and it will even stop your iTunes. If you like, or need this app, you can download it here. Please keep in mind it is a beta.

iLife'11: I see nothing wrong with the current iLife, but apparently things needed improvement. The apps effected by this are iMovie, Garageband, and iPhoto. iMovie allows novice movie editors to make amazing, high quality, movies. You can do anything from crazy effects, to making a movie trailer with the new title screen effect. You can also do detailed audio editing and overlaying. Then, there is iPhoto, who has received an "iPad like" make over.  It has the full screen mode, mentioned earlier, incorporated into it. You can add place tags to where each photo was taken, then use the full screen mode to see a map of the world and where your photo was taken. In addition, you can link your Facebook and Flicker accounts to iPhoto, and it will automatically update with all your new pictures. Full screen mode has made this app very aesthetically pleasing. Finally, Garageband. Nothing really big here, the two major points being the additions of Groove-Matching and Flex-Time. Groove-Matching takes the sound you have recorded, maybe with a band or with some friends, and arranges it to be more synced. Your sound will seem more fluent and less choppy. Then, there is Flex-Time, which allows you to fix timing. You can buy iLife'11 for $50 if your upgrading, although in my opinion it is not worth upgrading.

Macbook Air: As far as rumors go, this one was pretty close. The Macbook Air was refreshed today, now coming in two different screen sizes: 13.3" and 11.6".
  The 11.6" will have a display of 1366x768 and the 13.3" will have a display of 1440x900;thus, the latter of the two has a better display. Plus, the 11.6" weights in at 2.3 lb and the 13.3" at 2.9 lb. And in case you were wondering, yes, they do have speakers. Probably the most impressive addition to the laptop is the battery life. Each can go on standby for up to 1 month. That's right, a month of standby. However, constant use will yield 7 hours for the 13.3" and 5 hours for the 11.6". Each has up to 1000 recharges before you have to buy new batteries. The newest feature, and the one which makes Macbook Air even thinner, is the addition of SSD Card memory. Don't mistake this for SSD, because it is not. SSD card is a RAM shaped stick that acts to as a storage device. The stick has memory bricks on it for storing memory fast, and easily accessing it. This feature allows the Macbook Air to have an "instant boot". One of the downsides to the new Air is the Intel Core 2 Duo was not changed. You would think by now Apple would upgrade to at least an Core i3.

And that is it. That rounds up all the new announcements from Apple. I am not to keen on some of these ideas, but we will see how they play out. What are your thoughts on the new products? 



  1. Dave -Awesome thorough review. Thanks for the

  2. In all honesty, I'm not impressed by the new Macbook Air. It's processor speed is absolutely obsolete. Even though it has a good graphics card, that'll only take you as far as to run video at good speeds. If you wanted to play any games like TF2, I'd say that the processor needs to be faster to run it effectively.
    And I think $1000 dollars is too pricey for what's essentially an 11" netbook.

  3. I do agree, the processor should be out of there. I would have expected AT LEAST an i3. I am using my macbook from two years ago, and it has the same processor. Honestly it is sad. Then again, when you look at it, the product is aimed for people doing just work. It is not aimed for those doing intense gaming like TF2. Plus, I do my gaming on my hackintosh, not on a laptop. All gaming on a laptop does is drain your battery.