MacBook Air, Mac OS X Lion, and the new app store

The "Back to the Mac" event included some notable announcements, including two new models of the MacBook Air, a Mac App Store, and an overview of features for the new OS coming in 2011. Get the highlights here.

Apple had plenty to announce yesterday at its "Back to the Mac" even, including the updated MacBook Air and the newest version of the Mac OS coming in 2011, Lion,  a big part of which will be the new Mac App Store, where you can download apps, both free and paid, with a click of the mouse — just like you do with the iPhone and iPad.

Mac OS X Lion: What's new?

Multitouch is a little different on the Mac. Apple is convinced that vertical touchscreens aren't ergonomically feasible, so multitouch "gestures" and "swipes" using the trackpad and Magic Mouse will help users to flow more in switching between applications and moving things around on the screen. Launchpad is an idea brought over from the iPad. When you click on the icon, open applications fade into the background to allow you to flip through pages of apps for easier and quicker access.


Mission Control is Apple's way to unify all the stuff that you might have open at one time into a single view. By flicking into MC, you'll be able to see the Dock, Dashboard, Desktop, single-window applications, full-screen apps, and widgets all grouped in such a way that you can see it all at once, although even thinking about this makes my head hurt a little.

Mission Control

Full-screen apps is another idea from the iPad, where all apps open to full-screen without any other distractions. Supposedly, a "swipe" will allow you to move to another full-screen app or head back to Mission Control. Facetime for Mac is now in beta and available for download for Snow Leopard and later. It's pretty straightforward — bringing the video-calling app to the Mac with its already-built in camera. You can use with Mac over Wi-Fi, iPhone 4, and iPod Touch. The Mac App Store will open within the next 90 days for Snow Leopard customers as well as the upcoming Lion users. You'll be able to download and install your chosen apps on all of your Mac systems, if you have more than one.

MacBook Air

Both an 11.6-inch and a 13.3-inch MacBook Air is available, but there is almost unanimous disappointment that the two-year-old Core 2 Duo processor is what powers it. I guess it's good for some things but not for others, depending on your needs. But for a price tag of $999 to $1599 (depending on your model), I'd want it to do some laundry or something.

Check out more of the bells and whistles in the companion MacBook Air gallery.

What are you excited about among the new Mac announcements, and what left you underwhelmed?

Related video demos:


Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

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