MacBook Air, Mac Mini, Thunderbolt Display

After the Apple store being closed for several hours, Apple released some new product updates. Also, all the new Macs are pre-loaded with OS X Lion. As the older Macs will also be.

MacBook Air

Price drop.

One Thunderbolt port on each model.

Apple has also added a backlit keyboard which is new to the line of MacBook Airs.

New i5 processors make these MacBooks roar.

Mac Mini

Price drop.

Mac Mini’s now also have a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor which is a nice upgrade from the Core 2 Duo. 500GB Hard drive, Thunderbolt and more.

Thunderbolt LED display

Price drop

Same 27″ with Thunderbolt port.

MacBook (Original Unibody)

The original white unibody MacBook is also not for sale anymore. We can assume Apple’s thought was to have people purchase the low end MacBook Air instead, which does feature better specs then the MacBook (white) did.

OS X Lion is here.

After so many weeks of waiting, Apple’s new operating system, OS X Lion is finally here.

According to Apple there are over 250 new features including Multi-Touch gestures, Mission Control, full-screen apps, and Launchpad.

“The world’s most advanced desktop operating system advances even further.”

If you haven’t upgraded to OS X Lion yet, here’s how:

– Open Mac App Store, from icon on dock (Snow Leopard)

– find ‘OS X Lion’ by searching or looking in the productivity category.  Or, click this link, http://search.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZContentLink.woa/wa/link?path=mac%2fosxlion

– Click buy & install (buy for $29.99)

Here are some key features to note:

Multi-touch Gestures. New gestures are here to enhance the use of trackpads and also make using your Mac a little more productive.

Full screen apps. A system-wide feature. You can now full screen any app you are working in. It is also very easy to switch between them.

Mission Control, Bringing together full-screen apps, Dashboard, Expose, and Space into one new feature that gives you a bird’s eye view of everything going on and running.

Launchpad. This feature gives you instant access to all the apps on your Mac. It is similar to iOS home screen menu.

Resume. This feature resumes your work for you. If you need to do updates, restart your Mac, close apps, whenever you start back up again, everything will be just as your left it. No need to save.

Auto Save. It’s time to stop worrying about loosing your documents. Auto Save saves your work as you do it. Not every 5 minutes. Not every one minute. It’s saving as you type.

Versions, allows you to go back to older version of a saved document. It work’s like OS X’s Time Machine.

AirDrop. Share files between Macs easily by dropping the file on the picture and name of your other Mac.

Mail. A new version of mail that put’s your e-mail into a gorgeous wide screen display view. This is laid out similar to iOS Mail.

Click here for more features.


Time For New Hardware? My Apple Predictions for June 15th 2011

I wanted to quickly give my thoughts and predictions on Apple and what I think might be released or announced tomorrow, June 15th 2011.

Firstly, Apple’s MacBook Air. There is a lot of talk about this and I think it is about time for an upgrade. Here is what I’d like to see in the 3rd generation MacBook Air:

– Higher resolution display
– larger SSD (512gb +)
– backlit keyboard
– upgraded processor (i3, i5)
– option to upgrade to 6GB or 8GB of RAM
– one or two Thunderbolt ports.

I don’t think all of this is a reasonable guess but it is all possible. You never know what to expect with Apple.

One thing to note about the MacBook Air that makes me think they will update before OS X Lion is, in all of Apple’s demo videos of OS X Lion they use not just any MacBook but the MacBook Air. I think the MacBook Air is one of Apple’s favourite computers and the way the future of Macintosh computing might be.

 

It is said to be exactly one year since the last time the Mac Mini was updated. My thoughts for the Mac Mini are quite similar. More RAM, Thunderbolt, better processor (i3 or i5) etc.

I can’t wait to see what Apple announces. I think tomorrow will be an Apple lover’s lucky day.


iPad 2 – What you need to know

Today, March 2nd 2011, Steve Jobs revealed the lighter, thinner, and faster iPad 2 in person at the Apple Conference in San Francisco. Apple is a growing company and with the news about Jobs, Everyone, including many stock holders were all scared and curious about who might be presenting Apple’s newest product.

Below are some major differences & similarities between the first and second generation iPad

In addition to these changes, the iPad 2 is only 8.5mm thick (that’s thinner then the iPhone 4) compared to the 1st generation which was 13mm thick

The iPad 2 is the same price as the older models originally were. With these new features and upgrades, you couldn’t expect much of a price drop. The iPad 1st generation is still available on the Apple website for about $80 cheaper then it was yesterday.

Are you going to purchase the iPad 2, what are your thoughts? Did Apple impress you with the new features or, did they miss something important. Leave you replies in the comment section below.


RIP Apple Xserve

It was 2006 when Apple brought an Intel Xeon Xserve into the running of business and home servers. The beginning of November 2011, Apple decided it was time that the Xserve would be discontinued before February 2011. The replacement would be the Mac Pro Server and the Mac Mini Server which have both been available for a while and are both very strong machines. They differ in price depending what you want to do with them. The Xserve, which was used for a variety of applications, including file server, web server, high-performance computing applications using clustering, and more can now easily be replaced by one or multiple of the current Mac servers.

You can even buy a Mac Mini and pay a short monthly fee for this service, http://www.macminicolo.net, to run “your Mac Mini” as a server for website hosting, files etc.

If you have an old Mac at home running OS X that you want to turn into a Home file / printer server, follow these instructions,  It’s easy!

To all who have an Xserve currently, I hope they are ‘serving’ you well (heehee) and you enjoy your professional ‘server’ while the rest of us turn our Mac into a web or FTP server from home.

RIP Apple Xserve.

Apple Mac App Store Launch

Today Apple released their long awaited Mac App Store, which is available for download via Software Update. The Mac App Store is basically like the iOS App Store for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, but tailored specifically for Mac Apps (apps that run on Mac OS X). There are over a thousand paid and free apps already available on launch day, featuring one-click download and install, and purchased apps will run on all your personal Macs. Here is Apple’s official press release: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/01/06macappstore.html

It was originally thought that the store would ship with Mac OS X Lion (which is slated for release in late 2011), but Apple announced last October at their “Back to the Mac” event that the store will in fact run on the current version of Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6). However, you do need to run Software Update to download a minor OS update (v10.6.6) which installs the “App Store” app onto your machine and places it in your dock.

The Mac App Store is definitely all about app discovery.  Find new and exciting apps by browsing the top charts, featured apps, category lists, or searching by keywords. When you find an interesting app, you can check out screenshots, user reviews and a full description before choosing to buy. The developer is allowed to customize their app “page” in the store, with their own color scheme and background image.

Once you click the buy button, the app is downloaded and installed to your Mac in the “Applications” folder, and appears in your Dock. It is also “linked” to your iTunes account, so you can download the same app on all your other Macs without having to re-buy it. There are of course many free apps in the store as well.

Apps? But I already have apps!

Some are asking why a Mac App Store is needed. The Mac already has “apps”, and has for 26 years. Why do we need a locked down, walled garden app store to “infect” our otherwise open OS? Well, there are several reasons. For one thing, these apps go through an approval process similar to iOS apps, so you know you’re getting a good quality product, tested by Apple. Secondly, these apps install and uninstall themselves cleanly using a centralized process. Meaning, the apps won’t leave hidden files all over your machine when you delete them, and installation is easy and takes only one-click. Also, they’ll auto-update themselves using a centralized process controlled by Apple. And finally, since app purchases are linked to your Apple ID (iTunes Account), if you buy apps on one Mac, you can easily re-download and re-install them on another.

Downsides & Bugs

As cool as the Mac App Store is, there are a couple of downsides. First of all, Apple doesn’t allow developers to post demos or free trials of apps. You must actually purchase an app to try it. This is rather unfortunate, as I have personally discovered countless apps by trying the free demo or trial version first, realizing it was cool, then buying the full app. I might not have bothered if I was forced to buy before trying. Secondly, apps you have already purchased beforehand (such as iLife apps) will not be updated by the App Store. You have to uninstall and re-purchase the apps to get the full App Store benefits such as updates.

We also found a few bugs with the store, which are probably just launch day traffic issues. Several app pages load blank, the first screenshot doesn’t load until you click on others (and if there is only one screenshot, it never loads), and we received errors purchasing several apps. Trying again usually solved the problem. These issues will likely be fixed as traffic subsides, and/or Apple releases an update to the store.

Our App Picks

Here are a few app picks we liked on launch day:

  • Twitter (free, basically “Tweetie 2″ for Mac)
  • The Incident ($2.99, fun retro-style action game which works very well with a keyboard)
  • TextWrangler (free, excellent text editor by the makers of BBEdit, great for editing HTML)
  • MenuPop (free, makes the menu bar available inside any window on any screen via a hot key)
  • And Yet It Moves ($9.99, adventure game with unique art style and lots of fun)

Create Your Own Mac Apps

Apple offers a new Mac App Store Developer Program, similar to iOS, which costs $99 / year and allows you to publish your own free or paid commercial apps. You create apps using Apple’s Xcode development system, and their Cocoa programming language. However, if you prefer web development, I predict that services such as Appcelerator Titanium will soon support creating HTML5 / JavaScript apps for the Mac App Store. As with iOS development, you get 70% of the revenue from your app’s sales, and Apple keeps 30%.

Summary

App stores really are the next big thing, for both mobile and desktop platforms, and Apple knows how to do them right. The Mac App Store is nearly perfect and a welcome addition to OS X.

Rating: 9.5 / 10

Written by

Joseph Huckaby