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First Look: Apple's new Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

At its "Back to the Mac" event, Apple emphasized the importance of its Mac business, despite the fact that its desktop and notebook computers now represent just 33% of the company's revenues.

State of the Mac

Chief operations officer Tim Cook pointed out that the 13.7 million Macs Apple sold in the last financial year are now a $22 billion operation, having grown dramatically over the past several years even as Apple has itself grown even faster by adding iPods, iPhones and iPads into the product mix.

If Apple's Mac business were spun off, it would stand by itself as number 110 of the Fortune 500, Cook noted, joking "we have no plans to do that!" to laughter of the audience.

Mac sales have tripled in the last five years, with installed base of Macs is now just short of 50 million users. Cook also pointed out that Mac sales grew by 27 percent over the past year, compared to the industry average of just 11 percent. "This didn't just start happening," Cook pointed out. Macs have outpaced the PC industry in each of the last 18 quarters, Cook said.

Cook also cited NPD's August 2010 consumer market share figures for US retail, which gave Apple's Mac brand a whopping 20.7% of PC sales. "With the share rising, and the units rising much faster than the industry, we have a very vibrant developer community," Cook said, pointing out there are now 600,000 registered Mac developers, with 30,000 new applications per month.

Cook singled out Valve's recent deployment of Steam for the Mac, and its efforts to bring simultaneous releases of new games for the Mac and PC; Autodesk's recent release of AutoCAD for Mac (which Cook said Apple has long coveted), and noted Microsoft's new release of Office 2011 for Mac.

Pushing new iOS technology investments back to the Mac

The technology invested in making a mobile version of Mac OS X to power the iPhone, and in adapting that to serve the iPad, is now coming full circle back to the Mac, Steve Jobs said, as the company now works to fold many of its mobile innovations into the next version of Mac OS X 10.7, codenamed Lion.

Among the mobile-optimized features Apple indicated it will bring to the Mac from iOS are:
  • Expanded multitouch gestures (albeit centered on the trackpad rather than attempting to use a vertical multitouch screen, something the company flatly said it research has colluded "does not work")
  • An App Store for Mac titles (facilitating easy shopping, software updates, and simple installation)
  • App Home Screens which appear from a new LaunchPad Dock icon (making it easy to present an iPad-like array of app icons to choose from and organize into iOS-like Folders)
  • Auto Save features for app documents, so users don't have to worry about manually managing documents, and
  • Apps that resume when launched, carrying ahead the behaviors of iOS apps.

back to the Mac

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