Responding to 'Back to the Mac'

Thursday, 21 October 2010

I’m just going to jump straight into a response here to each announcement, if you haven’t seen anything from Apple yesterday you can rewatch the keynote on Apple’s website, or Chris has put a great summary of the Back to the Mac on Geek-Speak today.

So here are my thoughts, lets start with the first big annoyance which I didn’t really explain well yesterday; The App Store. Don’t get me wrong this is going to be great for developers; they get a centralised market to sell their applications and updates happen automagically (thank you Apple). For Apple the 30/70 split means extra revenue for them which they are not going to turn away. For the user base this is mixed bag; quick way of finding programs and automagic updates are all great. However I’m pretty convinced there will be an approval process, which means that some apps won’t make the cut for one reason or another. Secondly, look to the future, not to 10.7 but to 10.8 or maybe to OS 11… Apple create a completely closed operating system where the only way to get applications is through their app store. Currently Apple make fantastic hardware (just look at the new MBA), they make fantastic operating systems however once that is in my hands why do they have the right to police what I as the user put on it… It is why I am not an iPhone owner.

Facetime, well I did say it was coming! It just makes sense doesn’t it! I have to say that I am surprised that they didn’t integrate it with iChat and create a nice Skype competitor, but I’m sure there must be a reason somewhere for that! Another thing I’m surprised about is the lack of Windows version, Apple have shown that they can make software that will run on Windows, and a high number of iPhone/iPod Touch users are Windows users… I guess we will have to wait and see.

I don’t think anyone was unimpressed with iLife, especially iMovie with it’s facial recognition software is worth the £45 price tag (I’ll make a comment about Apple’s exchange rate another day, right now I’ll leave you with $45 != £45). iMovie looks amazing! For those who use GarageBand regularly there was a huge update to the software there, it now teaches you to play the piano and guitar… this thing just gets better!

The new MacBook Air does simply look impressive, I find it amusing how the ‘eye-sight camera’ has been rebranded to the ‘face time camera’, Apple obviously think this is a new big thing! The 7 hour wi-fi on battery life is very impressive, I would love to get that out of my 13" MacBook! I don’t need a new laptop at the moment, however it is good to see that they have made the base range model the same price as the base range MacBook. If they had done this when I bought my MacBook I would of been very torn; for me my MacBook is all about portability and not processing power.

The final announcement; 10.7. I’ll be honest this is the thing that I was least impressed with, I know it is an early beta, however the features they were showing off were not revolutionary; Mission Control (poor name) looks interesting and I’m looking forward to playing with that, LaunchPad seems to be just an extension of the dock which I don’t really need. Full screen apps look fantastic, I can’t wait for a proper full screen experience in things like iPhoto or KeyNote and I’ve already mentioned above my dislike of the App Store. The thing is I’m just not itching to get my hands on the thing, is the distorsion field wearing off on me? The one thing I am surprised not to have seen is iWorks 11… Steve has been using a new version of KeyNote on stage for a while now… there are lots of rumours flying around about it… but we just haven’t seen it yet! Where is it?

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