MacBooks, iPads, and Lion – Oh My!

As you’ve probably heard, today marked the release of new MacBook Pro models with various enhancements as usual. The machines are turning into quite the little powerhouses, sporting quad-core i7s and spiffy new AMD graphics. Not to mention Thunderbolt! USBB 3.0 had better be on the lookout with Apple and Intel teaming up – these aren’t the days of FireWire when Apple was a tiny minority. Besides, Thunderbolt is in every way a better product (except the fact that it doesn’t use the standard USB jack). I do think LightPeak was a better name, but I’m not Apple’s marketing department.

Unfortunately, I was a little let down by the unveiling (who isn’t after all those crazy rumors). Steve was quite insistent last October when he declared the MacBook Air “the future of notebooks” and declared the company’s intentions to pursue similar designs with its other products. Realistically, it looks like this just isn’t far enough into the future yet. Without an SSD drive, the Pros will just be a bit faster than last year’s, and they aren’t any lighter either. I’m still hoping for a major redesign before I cave and get one of my own.

New laptops not exciting enough? Well, how about an iPad 2 and iOS 5? March 2nd will see Apple at its traditional Yerba Buena venue, talking about “what 2011 will be the year of.” If that doesn’t sound supremely confident, I don’t know what does. An iPad 2 almost goes without saying at this point, but the new model doesn’t thrill me either. Gruber may be on to something with his “iPad 3” theory, since this seems like a minor update to say the least. I can’t really argue with thinner and faster though.  I haven’t seen any leaks about iOS 5, but that might not mean anything. iOS versions are usually previewed right around now, and the release is usually kept safely under wraps until the last second. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a tantalizing new mobile OS revealed next week.

For me, the big story of the day is OS X 10.7 Lion. OS X is really the reason I love Macs so much, and 10.7 is shaping up to be the best release since Tiger. Gestures galore, a new Exposé and Dashboard, full screen apps perfectly suited to smaller laptop screens…all good but old news. There’s a developer beta out now, throwing all secrecy to the wind. I can’t wait to see what everyone uncovers about the update – so far everything I’ve read is overwhelmingly positive. Let’s hope that more details leak onto the internet soon, since I can barely wait for WWDC to see the finished thing. I’ll have to write more about the beta soon because I just can’t fit it all at the end here. It definitely deserves its own post.

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