Our Take: Apple's "Back To The Mac" Event

It’s been an eventful day all around. All but the most outlandish rumors we’d heard were confirmed, including the marriage of OS X and iOS, FaceTime coming to the Mac, a revamped iLife, and a pair of new MacBook Airs with iPad-like flash storage. We’ve gotten our hands on both the new Air and Facetime, our impressions of which you can read separately, but here are our blurb-sized weigh-ins on the new today’s event and the new Apple products.

Devin: It’s impossible to say anything substantial about Lion at this point, since there are still lots of unknowns and we can’t go hands-on with Mission Control and all that, but it could make for some elegant computing. I’m concerned that power users are being left out in the cold, here, but at the very least this update only adds functionality, it doesn’t (as I see it) lock anything down. I really like the idea of the 11.6″ MacBook Air, since now I can offload my serious photo work onto my PC with Lightroom. The portability and convenience of this little guy (underpowered as he is… no Core i3, really?) are really unmatched right now in the notebook/netbook space. It’s not the most cost-effective device, but it will promote some serious Mac envy down at the coffee shop.

John: I’ve been looking for a new MacBook Air for a long time. I was very excited about the first model and when I got it I was sorely disappointed. I literally just pulled the trigger on a 4GB 13-incher with 256GB storage in hopes that this maxed out machine will finally let me do what I need it to do while on the road. As for Lion, the presentation was very confusing and it’s abundantly clear that they only wanted to talk about the App Store to convince folks to submit apps. A 70/30 split on apps is pretty good for Apple and currently they have a 100/0 split with app devs, so this is an interesting business move. Summer ’11 is way too far ahead to say anything interesting on Lion.

Nicholas: I was reasonably satisfied with Apple’s announcements today. I guess the biggest news is the new MacBook Air, but I’m really not sure how much I’d look forward to buying a brand new computer in 2010 that has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor — those things came out four years ago! (Now you know why Apple is able to start the MacBook Air at $999.) Another thing that struck me: for a while now we’ve been reading that you can’t try to put a desktop operating on a mobile device, but now we have Apple trying to put parts of a mobile operating system on a desktop. I’m not saying it won’t work — the Mac App Store looks nifty, indeed — but I wonder if anyone else will have noticed this. iPhoto looks great, as always, and Garage Band’s new “learn an instrument” could be quite useful to any number of kids who’ve been playing Rock Band or Guitar Hero and now want to move onto the real thing. The iMovie “create a trailer” feature looks fun, but I can definitely see getting tired of it after one or two trailers. All in all, what Apple showed today wasn’t too shabby at all. The design of the MacBook Air is obviously great, and I suppose that for a “MacBook + iPad” its specs are sufficient, but I’m typing this on an overclocked behemoth of a desktop PC — I’m pretty clearly not who Apple is going after with the Air.

Kyle: With the intro of Mac OS X Lion and iLife ’11, it became very apparent to me that Apple is gunning, again, towards the non-computer-literate crowd—and I’m okay with that. I won’t mind seeing cool videos pop up on Facebook or neat slideshows from iPhoto, or even some budding rock stars making beats on Garageband. Apple just wants people to have fun and showcase their ideas in new ways, even if others will also have the same limited themes. As for the Macbook Air(s), it’s nice to see some really small computers — quite an engineering feat. I’m not sure who buys them, since personally, I’d rather have more power from newer components.

Matt: I want a Mac again just for the new iPhoto. Windows 7 is great and I enjoy using it on a daily basis, but there is nothing like iPhoto on Windows. I still keep an old iBook around just for iPhoto but it will be replaced by a 13″ MacBook Air. It seems like the perfect secondary computer: long battery life, sufficient power for iPhoto and Farmville, it’s tiny and not that expensive. I’m sold. It will soon be my new couch computer.

Obviously we’ll have more to share once we’ve had a little more time with the products. You can expect a full review of the MacBook Air and iLife shortly, and we’ll keep you posted on 10.7 as soon as anything develops. How about you guys? Has anyone already ordered one of those sweet little 11.6″ Airs?