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Air, Lion and FaceTime

The latest Apple event was labeled by some on Twitter as the most boring since 2006, but I don't think so. It did not set the boring record. Just remember last year's iPod announcement without any sparkle or surprise. This year was different. I will start with the new MacBook Air.

One more thing

New MacBook Air is not a great leap forward in comparison with its predecessor. You will understand it yourself if I enumerate all changes, additions and peculiarities:

  • Air series now features two models with 11″ and 13″ screens, which is quite logical
  • Unibody is cool and all Apple laptops have solid aluminium bodies in 2010
  • 11″ model has the maximum resolution of 1366 х 768, while 13″ offers 1440 х 900, which is not bad
  • 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor is for 11″ model, but 13″ device comes equipped with either 1.86 GHz or 2.13 GHz. There is no performance breakthrough here. The speed has not increased dramatically
  • Dimensions (11″): 1.7 х 29.95 х 19.2 cm (0.66″ x 11.79″ x 7.55″), weight 1.06 kg (35.29 oz). Bigger variant has 1.7 х 32.5 х 22.7 cm (0.66″ x 12.79″ x 8.93″) and 1.32 kg (46.56″). You can easily understand that new Air will heat up considerably. I don't believe in miracles.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics card will not allow watching 25 GB movies on Air
  • Interfaces - two USB (instead of one), one 3.5 mm jack, one SD card slot (this new feature is only for 13″ model), one charger port and one MiniDisplay Port. There is a microphone and a web camera
  • Apple claims up to 5 hours of operation with active WiFi for 11″ device and 7 hours for 13″ model. Curiously, in the standby mode you get up to 30 days.
  • Traditional Apple keypad and a large glass touchpad are handy additions to Air
  • Wi-Fi (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.1 are there
  • Smaller model received 64 GB and 128 GB of memory. Forget about hard drives. 13″ screen means 128 GB and 256 GB.

As a user of all Air incarnations I am enthusiastic about 11″ model. This netbook with an Apple logo aims at those who cannot understand iPad, but are comfortable with laptops and need a proper keypad. I am worried by two things – hopefully new Air will not heat up and work agonizingly slow. This summer Air was impossible to use.

Pricing is an interesting issue. New models fit in between MacBook and MacBook Pro 13 and should be popular among people who carry laptops around and do not need high performance. Some require nice looking typewriters. The smaller Air costs from $999 to $1,199 (depending on memory size). 13″ model fetches from $1,299 to 1,599 (depending on memory size and processor). Prices are wonderful as the smallest and very cute Air now costs only $999. It must be a new experiment to probe which laptops are more popular – with 11″or 13″. In other words, is it worth venturing into a netbook market?

It looks that we should not use this label for a unibody with high a quality keypad, the most convenient OS, Intel Core Duo processor (instead of Atom) and other features. But we have already seen Sony VAIO X and other pricey netbooks. Everything is cool, but slow! May be the new Air will break the stereotype? We will know soon for sure. The model has already hit the shelves and we expect first samples in Russia.


It is logical that Mac OS should get a separate FaceTime version different from that of iPhone 4 or iPod Touch. At the presentation we could see a fast and simple demo. It is a true rival for Skype, because you do not have to configure anything and as far as I understand the beta version is already available. I enjoy FaceTime on iPhone 4 and I hope to get a similarly pleasant experience on Mac. Whether the version for Windows will be available as well remains to be seen.

iLife 11

I will cover this software suite in the near future and see no point in discussing it right now.

Mac OS X Lion

A separate article will be needed here too, because you cannot enumerate everything quickly. The main features covered at the presentation are the following:

  • Key point here is an attempt to transfer iPhone and iPad experiences to Mac, whether it is a desktop or laptop
  • Subsequently, several things had to be done – quick access to necessary apps, which could be seen on one screen or rather one desktop segment with a simple switch to another segment with different software. Apps icons can be joined in folders
  • Some sort of AppStore was announced for Mac, which is a good way to find what you are looking for, update installed apps, etc. This is a very interesting approach and I am curious how this move will influence the price of apps. AppStore has already revolutionized the approach to software on mobile devices and I hope for a new breakthrough
  • Mission Control is a continuation of Expose. It's great to activate icons of all apps with one touch or click and go to the necessary application or process. I adore this feature. You can see here all open windows in Safari and other useful things

Let's wait and see what we get in Lion around the summer of 2011, when the OS should be launched. As far as I understood Mac store will start in 90 days.

The announcement was interesting and new smaller Air will be selling like hot cakes and if the first owners do not cry about heat, noise and slow performance this laptop (netbook!) will have bright future. FaceTime for Mac is great, while users of iLife'9 will benefit from an upgrade to '11, because, for example, I don't like iPhoto, but use iMovie on a daily basis and would like to test the new version. As to Mac OS X Lion it is too early to say and we should wait for the next summer.

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Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 21 October 2010

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