NPR logo Apple Brings Mobile Tricks To Macs; Refreshes Air Laptop


Apple Brings Mobile Tricks To Macs; Refreshes Air Laptop

Apple CEO Steve Jobs looks at the new MacBook Air at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Wednesday, Jobs announced the new MacBook Air and the OSX Lion operating system for Mac laptops and desktops. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America

Apple announced a batch of gear and software Wednesday that CEO Steve Jobs says will bring popular elements of mobile devices to the company's laptop and desktop computers. Among them: more ability to "swipe" windows, and improved video chatting.

To accomplish that, the company will release a new operating system — OS X Lion — next year, as a replacement for the current Snow Leopard. Ars Technica has posted a nice roundup of those changes — which will bring more of an "app" experience to Mac laptops and desktops.

The most significant changes to iLife — the company's "lifestyle" software — touch on photo management and movie editing.

For instance, as MG Siegler points out over at Tech Crunch, iPhoto is now far more integrated with third-party groups. The "Share" menu now includes choices for Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube and CNN iReport.

Here's a broad overview of the changes, from the AP (and tweaked a bit by me):

NEW MACS: The new MacBook Air laptops come in two sizes. The larger has a screen measuring 13.3 inches diagonally; it weighs 2.9 pounds. The smaller is 11.6 inches and 2.3 pounds. Both have flash memory only, and longer battery life. Price: $999-$1,599

NEW SYSTEM: Apple is adding FaceTime video-chatting to laptops and desktops, available now on its site. And the upcoming Mac OS X Lion borrows a bit from the iPhone, including swiping between screens. Lion will come out next summer.

NEW SOFTWARE: A new version of iLife for managing photos, editing video and other tasks, has been released. It includes face-recognition within videos, and improved audio editing. It will come installed on new Macs or costs $49 to upgrade existing ones.

The news verified some of the predictions made by Mac fans in the traditional frenzy of ideas that gain currency before any large Apple announcement. Those who had pined for Blu-ray HD capability were disappointed — but it was almost universally expected that Jobs would announce a refreshed version of the Air, the company's ultrathin laptop.

For more pictures, and to get a sense of the overall presentation, Endgadget has archived its liveblog of the event.