Apple unveils new MacBook Air and OS X update


With 23 percent of Apple's revenue coming from the sale of Mac's, it clearly sees a growth market as consumers wrestle with a growing library of homemade media from their video cameras, digital still cameras and other devices.

Randy Ubillos, chief architect of Apple's video applications, just showed how Mac users with iLife iMovie will be able to create impressive movie trailers, insert special effects into their edited videos, and adjust audio levels, all in real time.

Apple is clearly sending out a message this morning that it's still committed to growing its Mac computer segment, even as its iPod music player and iPad generate the lion's share of its revenue.

Tim Cook, chief operating officer at Apple, rattled off a series of statistics about its Mac business at the start of this morning's media event. The Mac makes up 33 percent of Apple's revenue; that's $22 billion last year. It sold 13.7 million Mac's during its 2010 fiscal year. That's three times more than it sold five years ago.

Steve Jobs is the ringmaster of today's event at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino. However, he's letting the marketing and key leaders in charge of these new products do the talking.

The iLife 11 upgrade for existing Mac user is $49 and is available today. It will come free with new Macs.

The big news Apple is announcing is a major update to its operating system, known as OS X. The newest version is named "Lion," and it will bring to the Mac the innovative features Apple offers on the iPhone and the iPad.

Lion will now have a Mac App Store where consumers can discover, shop and install new applications for their Mac. It will also support FaceTime, the two-way video call feature that is part of the iPhone 4. That means iPhone 4 users can do video calls not just between iPhone 4 users, but also with a Mac laptop or desktop computer user.

Apple says it plans to release Lion sometime this summer.

Saving the best for last, Apple just announced what would happen if you crossed a Mac laptop with an iPad. The result is the new MacBook Air, available today. It incorporates much of the best features of the iPad, such as instant-on, longer battery life, and flash memory. There is no hard drive or optical drive. It also has a high-resolution screen and FaceTime, the two-way video call feature taken from the iPhone 4.

The new MacBook Air will also be the thinnest, lightest Mac ever. The 11.6" version I s 2.3 pounds and will sell for $999 for 64 GB storage or $1199 for 128 GB storage. The larger 13.3" version is 2.9 pounds and will sell for $1299 for 128 GB of storage or $1599 for 256 GB of storage.

Battery life is seven hours for the 13.3" model and five hours for the 11.6" model. Standby time for both models is 30 days.

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