Apple's new MacBook Air and Mac OS X Lion demonstrate that the company is relying on its mobile efforts, especially the iPad, more than ever.
Apple is first and foremost "a mobile-device company," COO Tim Cook
said in February. And over the past several quarters, that assertion
has become increasingly true: first Apple released the iPad, followed
by the iPhone OS 4, and then an updated version of its mobile operating
system designed to buttress the features of both those devices.
Apple's Oct. 20 event may have focused on the laptop and desktop,
but it only increased the company's bent towards mobile. Apple CEO
Steve Jobs announced that FaceTime, a video-conferencing application
previously available only on iPhone 4 and iPod Touch, is becoming a Mac
application. The beta version, compatible on Snow Leopard, is available
in the App Store.
Speaking of applications, Jobs also introduced Mac OS X Lion, which
will ship in summer 2011 and feature a Mac App Store. Lion will support
full-screen apps, and include Launchpad, an iPad-like home-screen for
those those apps. The Mac App Store will be available within 90 days
for Snow Leopard.
"Lion brings many of the best ideas from iPad back to the Mac, plus
some fresh new ones like Mission Control that Mac users will really
like," Jobs wrote in an Oct. 20 statement accompanying Mac OS X Lion
. The company is also introducing iLife '11, with upgrades to iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand.
During the presentation, Jobs' "one more thing" turned out to be a
revamp of the company's MacBook Air. "We asked ourselves, what would
happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?" he said. "This is the
The new MacBook Air models measure 11 inches and 13 inches,
respectively, and leverage SSD (solid-state disk) storage technology.
According to Apple executives, that gives the devices the same "instant
on" ability as mobile devices.
"MacBook Air is the first of a new generation of notebooks that
leaves behind mechanical rotating storage in favor of solid-state flash
storage," Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in another Oct. 20 statement
"We've taken what we have learned with the iPad-solid state storage,
instant-on, amazing battery standby time, miniaturization and
lightweight construction, to create the new MacBook Air."
The 11-inch MacBook Air starts at $999, and the 13-inch at $1,299.
In an Oct. 20 research note, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek termed the App Store for the Mac "the single biggest takeaway."
That could very well be true. But most of Apple's announcements-the new
MacBook Air, the app-related features of Mac OS X-just reemphasized how
much of Apple's spirit is invested in mobile.