Apple Back to the Mac

So yesterday Apple had it’s 1.5 hour keynote about mac software.  The market reaction was pretty flat and I think in review I’m surprised by that.  I think the stock price should have dipped.

The keynote started with a long description of how great the Mac was by Tim Cook (COO).  I don’t know if was trying to channel Steve Jobs, but he kept saying amazing and fantastic and it sounded very contrived.  It goes without saying that I’m not a big fan of sales numbers and all of the powerpoint mess that they were doing.

Next up was a (long) review of the new iLife version.  I like the apps, but I was not compelled to spend $50 on the software or buy a Mac just to get the new version of iLife.  Don’t get me wrong.  I always think I’ll make a great vacation movie (and the trailer templates were neat), but I lived through the practicality of actually trying to get enough raw video during a vacation.  In short, it’s a pain in the butt.  Maybe video capture on the iPhone 4/3GS makes it easier, but only time will tell.

Fortunately, things got interesting with a demo of Mac OSX 10.7 aka Lion.  I’m really a big fan of full screen interfaces.  I think the one window model has really been invigorated and all apps need to jump on board.  As a developer, Xcode 4 can’t arrive soon enough.  While watching the keynote live, I kept thinking of this other video I saw more than a year ago.  I think there is a big push to focus on one task at a time (which doesn’t preclude multi-tasking).  People don’t like distractions (unless of course they are bored with the focused task, but that’s really an entirely different issue).

Next up was Mission Control.  I think this is a great idea to merge all of the window management concepts.  Again, the video comes to mind.  I never really got into spaces because it was kind of a pain to know what was going on.  Maybe this is the silver bullet to solve window management issues.

Mac App Store.  About time.  Now I run as much beta software as the next programmer, but I like the idea of a standard and vetted apps that get vetted, updated and installed auto-magically.  It really makes sense to have that process be as turnkey as possible.  As a developer it’s great because you don’t have to worry about library incompatibilities of the hardware/os version because the application meta data (and the app installer) will do all of that heavy lifting.  As a developer, I like the idea of a well known marketplace (but I’m still not keen on Apple eating 30% of my lunch).

One last thing: new Air hardware.  I really love the look of the Air notebooks.  I think Apple nailed it with the unibody design several years ago.  I just wish that Apple and I could agree more about the priorities of the devices.

The good:

  • full size keyboard
  • high res screen
  • 2 usb ports
  • re-install software on usb stick (very cool)
  • 4 GB RAM (finally)
  • Flash only storage (with base at 64GB)

The bad:

  • Too heavy
  • Slow processor

I really don’t need a 30 day standby on anything.  This includes my iPad.  Until I never have to plug it in, it will never be long enough.  I would rather have the laptops be lighter (2.3, 2.9 pounds) and give up all of that crazy battery weight.  I can’t believe that they still put in a 1.6GHz processor.  I’m pretty sure that’s the original one from several years ago.  That is just crazy slow.  Especially when the plastic mac book still for sale at $1000 has almost 2x the power.  I know they need to make money, but really it’s a bit ridiculous.  In hind sight, I guess Apple and I agree more than not and time will tell if I get a notebook (to replace the ipad as my home theater remote?).

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