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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New MacBook Air, iLife 11 and OSX Lion announced by Apple

20

October

Apple held their "Back to Mac" event and although the pre-event leaks stole some of the thunder, they still unveiled some nice surprises.

iLife 11

First up, iLife 11 was demoed with new versions of iPhoto, GarageBand and iMovie. iPhoto 11 includes new full-screen views, Facebook integration, formatted photo layout for email, a new interface for making printed books and new letterpress cards.

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Next up, iMovie 11 features audio editing with more control, one-step special effects, the "People Finder" which finds the people in your video clips and sorts them for easier editing, sports and news themes and integration with Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo. And sure to be popular, iMovie 11 has a "movie trailer" feature with 15 templates for creating typical trailers using your video clips.

Lastly, GarageBand 11 has two new features, Flex Times and Groove Matching, aimed at helping you keep a better beat. Some new guitar amps and effects also are added along with basic lessons for piano and guitar.

iLife 11 is available now for $49 and you must have OSX Snow Leopard to use it.

FaceTime for Mac

If you have an iPhone 4 or one of the latest iPod Touches, you know how cool FaceTime video conferencing is. Well, today Apple posted a public beta of FaceTime for Mac and you can download it now. FaceTime for Mac lets Macs join in on the fun. This seems really cool until you remember that iPhones and iPods can only use FaceTime while connected via WiFi. So no desktop to 3G mobile video conferencing yet, but it's coming.

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Mac OSX Lion

This was a pretty brief sneak peek of the next version of OSX, due to be out in the summer. The event was called "Back to Mac" and while that may seem like a statement about focusing on the Mac, what it really means is Apple plans to bring many of the design and functionality of the iPhone and iPad to the next version of the Mac OS. Features shown were Mission Control, a new view that displays everything running on your Mac; Full-Screen Apps which takes a cue from the iPad and displays any app in full-screen mode with one click; and Launchpad which is an icon-based app launcher on your desktop similar to the iPad.

Of great significance was the announcement of a new Mac App Store, where Mac applications can be easily bought and downloaded in the same way they are for the iPhone and iPad now. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said this new app store would be open in 90 days.

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Oh, and Just One More Thing...

As I said earlier, the leakmeisters sort of ruined this one but the full details are still impressive. Two new models of the MacBook Air were not only announced but are already shipping. Weighing in at just over two pounds, the new Air has no optical drive and no hard drive, depending solely on flash memory for storage. They look wafer thin and come in two sizes, 11 and 13 inches, with a starting price of $999. Battery life is 7 hours on the 11-inch model and 5 hours on the 13-inch with an astounding 30 days of standby time. Maximum flash memory storage is 128GB on the 11-inch Air and 256GB on the 13-inch. 

More to come as soon as I can put my hands on this stuff.

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[Last modified: Thursday, October 21, 2010 3:18am]

    

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