Apple Introduces Smaller MacBook Air, OS X Lion

Steve Jobs called the new and updated Air laptops MacBook, iPad "hook-ups" at the "Back To The Mac" event, which also introduced Lion OS X and a FaceTime for the Mac beta.
MacBook Air
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MacBook Air
However, the touch screens that have driven the success of the iPhone and iPad won't be moved to Mac computers, Jobs said. The reason is user studies have shown that people don't like touch screens on their computers because their arms get tired after a period of time. "It doesn't work. It's ergonomically terrible," Jobs said. Instead, multi-touch will be confined to the trackpad on MacBooks or Apple's new trackpad for Mac desktops.

The new features demonstrated at Apple's "sneak peek" of the new OS included what the company called Mission Control, which gives a unified view of every application and Window running the Mac for easier navigation.

Lion is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2011, while the Mac App Store is set to open within 90 days. Apple plans to start accepting apps from developers next month.

Despite the popularity and attention given to the iPad and the iPhone, Apple's Mac business amounts to $22 billion, or a third of the company's revenue. The company's share of the U.S. store retail market for computers is 20.7%, according to Jobs.

Apple also announced the release of FaceTime for the Mac beta, making it possible for people to make video calls between another Mac or iPhone 4. Apple was expected to release FaceTime for the Mac, to expand the use of the software among Apple customers.

Apple also introduced iLife 11, a new version of the company's software suite that comes with the Mac. For people who want to upgrade, the software is available for $49. ILife 11 is available as of Wednesday.

Among the more interesting features added include integration between iPhoto and Facebook. Within Apple's software, people can download or post photos to Facebook and see comments made about the photos on the social network. The software also makes better use of location data added to photos in the iPhone and many digital cameras. IPhoto includes maps with virtual pushpins on locations where pictures were taken.

Apple also added a variety of new features for audio and video editing in iMovies. In general, Apple is focused on tools that automate as much of the movie-creation process as possible. One new feature Apple hopes will be popular is the ability to create trailers for home movies.


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