Initial thoughts after today’s Apple Event: Lion, the Mac App Store and the Macbook Air

Lion and the new Mac App Store

The new Lion OSX 10.7, during Mr Jobs’s demonstration, looked, as always, enticingly beautiful and clever. But to my mind, not being a developer, these OS presentations nine months ahead always have an air of unreality about them. The one issue I felt a little uneasy about was the clear shift away from multitasking: the whole point of a desktop computer, for me, has always been the ability to do several things at once and to hop from one to the other gracefully.

Apple’s new Mac App Store, however, is a stroke of genius: like the yet to come Lion, it aligns the Mac with devices running iOS, popularizing a hugely economic model that benefits developers (who gain visibility for their apps) and users (who gain the convenience of a centralized location to look for, store, download and update their apps). I'll bet there will be a storm of criticism accusing Mr Jobs of erecting a further layer on his exiting walled garden: but on the whole, I think that like most of Apple’s moves so far in this direction—with the notable exception of its abysmal failure in the cloud, about which [a very interesting piece] was written today by Shawn Blanc—have been win-win strategic moves. it is strange, though, as mr Blanc notes, that Apple has pushed nearly all its savviest users into the arms of a third party, Dropbox, for all their syncing needs.

One can only hope, though, that it'll be easier to find apps on the new-look Store than it is on the existing one. Finding an app for the iPhone out of the several hundred thousand that have been developed, and most of which are rubbish, is currently a nightmare. Tools exist to list applications and display user comments about them. the best I know is IUseThis. Apple say they'll be launching the new store in ninety days, so I hope they'll think about that aspect too.

The new Macbook Air: why not go for as tiny as you can get?

The big news everyone was waiting for, though, was obviously the new MacBook AirMacBook Air. Because of the better stats on the 13.3" version, I think I'll be getting one, in preference to the 11.6" one that I was initially craving for: I simply can’t fit in all my music and applications on 128GB. This fits into a removable drive, though, so in theory you could purchase an 11.6" device and then ‘upgrade’ the drive to 256GB—providing you got the replacement from Apple of course. The Apple Store says nothing about this issue though.

Another bone one has to pick with the people at Apple is their stinginess on the memory. It’s announced at a ridiculously puny 2GB, although the Apple Store says it’s upgradeable to 4GB [i].

Less, for me, has always been more: I'll sleep it over, but I think that, despite the slower processor, I'm leaning towards 11.6…

  1. On purchase only. After that, you are stuck with whatever you chose.