Apple’s Back to Mac Event: What You Need to Know

Apple’s Back to Mac Event: What You Need to Know

Apple surprised everyone with a live stream of the event. Three major announcements were made today and we will summarize the basic info that you need to know.

Click here to watch the stream of the event.

Apple’s iLife ’11 comes with major updates and new features. Here are the new changes:

iPhoto ’11: Full screen modes, Facebook enhancements, new email templates, slideshow modes, improved Maps, letter press cards and book making abilities.
iMovie ’11: Movie trailers, new audio editing, one step effects, people finder, sports/news themes, improved ways to share your movie (Vimeo, CNN iReport!)
GarageBand ’11: Flex time, groove matching, guitar amps and effects, How did I Play?, New Basic Lessons

I was impressed with the new Movie Trailers in iMovie and how easy it was to make a pretty cool trailer of your videos. iLife ’11 comes free with every new Mac, or as a $49 upgrade–available today.

FaceTime for OS X, Beta Available Today
– FaceTime app for Mac. Allows video calls with iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4th generation units.

Click here to download FaceTime beta.

Preview of Mac OS X Lion

Mac OS X Lion is coming in Summer of 2011. Apple previewed some new features, which they claim were from what they have learned from the iPad.

Mac App Store
– Just like the App Store for iPhones/iPads. One click purchase, automatic updates. App submissions in November, store launches in 90 days. Same 70/30 revenue share with developers

– New homescreen for your apps, just like how it looks on the iPad. Folders, swipe to view pages, apps appear right on the screen after download.
– Full screen apps: now the ability to have all apps in full screen

Mission Control
– this is where you can get an overview of everything running on your Mac such as: Expose, Dashboard, Spaces, full screen apps

Steve’s “One more thing…” surprise–All New MacBook Air with all Flash Storage
– 13″ and 11″ models; unibody design; FaceTime camera included, thinner than camera on the iPhone 4
– thinner design, all Flash memory storage means instant on.
– better battery life: 13″ lasts for 7 hours, 11″ lasts for 5 hours; both have 30 days standby
– larger trackpad
– NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor
– Intel Core Duo 2 processors
– only 13″ has SD card slot

The MacBook Air does not have an optical drive. Apple has included a USB reinstall drive instead!

MacBook Air Pricing:

11″ MacBook Air 64GB, $1049 CDN
11″ MacBook Air 128GB, $1249 CDN
– options: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4/1.6GHz, 2GB/4GB RAM ($100)

13″ MacBook Air 128GB, $1349 CDN
13″ MacBook Air 256GB, $1649 CDN
– options: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86/2.13GHz, 2GB/4GB RAM ($100)

The updates to iLife are pretty much on pace with what consumers expect from Apple. Essentially managing and creating media has been transformed into something almost automatic. I love the movie trailers and added effects to iMovie.

As for the preview of Lion, the introduction of the Mac App Store is something that will make downloading apps even easier for your parents and grandparents. Expect developers to create some amazing apps as this once again lures existing iOS devs into yet another way money through the Apple ecosystem.

FaceTime for Mac is finally here. We’ve been waiting for this and it’s going to bring back video chatting as now mobile iOS devices can now chat with a Mac. Click here to download the FaceTime beta.

The new MacBook Air refresh may not seem significant to some, but the way I see it is the perfect blend for those wanting iPad simplicity and speed along with a keyboard, camera, and OS X. The 11″ design is light enough to rival netbooks and the iPad, but with better quality, battery life and along with a higher price.

More as this develops. Let me know what I missed in the comments.

Have you tried FaceTime with a Mac yet? What are your thoughts on today’s announcements?