We weren’t going to post about Apple’s Back to the Mac event, assuming it would be irrelevant to iOS devices… we were wrong! Like never before, Apple are converging their two platforms to bring the user experiences and capabilities closer together. FaceTime for Mac launches today in beta form (yay!), iLife ’11 goes on sale today with a new version of iPhoto that very closely resembles the Photos app on iPad, and an App Store for Mac with the same one-click-install and home screen icons as iOS is coming within the next 90 days. Keep reading for the details.
Possibly the most exciting and immediate development for iPhone 4 / iPod touch 4G owners is the launch of FaceTime for Mac which is available right now in beta form. FaceTime for Mac is a whole new application, not a direct replacement for iChat but seeing as nothing has been mentioned of iChat, our guess is that it will slowly dwindle away and FaceTime will fully replace it.
This is the first time that a true cross-platform video calling app has been available meaning that Mac owners can talk to their friends and family on iOS devices and vice versa. It’s a pity that no Windows version has been announced but you can’t blame Apple for wanting to keep the Mac as inviting as possible for that massive iOS user base. Having said that, as FaceTime is an ‘open’ platform we wouldn’t be surprised if it makes an appearance in a 3rd party application on Windows in the not-too-distant future.
Further down the track but just as exciting is the announcement of an App Store for Mac which is based very heavily on its iOS counterpart. Jobs promises the same buying, installing and user experience with full-screen, resuming apps that can even live on your homescreen in a layout almost identical to iOS, right down to the folders. It’s unclear at this stage whether we will be able to use the same apps as those on the iPhone / iPad but it’s a great concept that we can’t wait to try out. The App Store for Mac will run on the existing version of Mac OS X Snow Leopard and will be out within 90 days. As an aside, we predicted something along these lines back in March in an opinion-piece – interesting to see how close to the mark my terrible Photoshop job was!
As part of this round-up we thought we’d take a quick look at iLife ’11. Now you may be wondering why when we are predominatly an iOS site… well iLife ’11 integrates with your iOS devices and now looks and feels more and more like the apps that you find on your iDevice.
It would appear that iWeb and iDVD didn’t make it into the new iLife, there was no mention of them from the event and there is no mention of them on the iLife 11 site. (Okay so iWeb and iDVD are part of iLife ’11, but don’t appear to have been updated). Interestingly these two haven’t found their way to iOS, because they probably couldn’t, but iPhoto (Photos app) and iMovie (iMovie app) have and we are pretty sure GarageBand will be on it’s way soon, afterall the iPad would be the perfect device for it.
iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand have all had major overhauls and iPhoto now very closely resembles the Photos app on your iPad from the icons, to the album ‘stack’ icons and the new slideshow themes.
Here’s a bit of a breakdown of some of the new things they can do:
- Full-screen views in iPhoto make distractions disappear, so you see what matters: your photos.
- Projects view in iPhoto displays all your photo books and cards for quick, easy access.
- Easy-to-use tools in iPhoto let you make edits with one click and add effects in full-screen view.
- Home video goes Hollywood with easy-to-create movie trailers in iMovie.
- If you can drag and drop, you can make a movie in iMovie. And edit audio, too.
- “How Did I Play?” in GarageBand lets you test your skills while you learn how to play guitar or piano.
- With Groove Matching and Flex Time, GarageBand helps you make a great-sounding song
iLife ’11 is available via the Apple Online Store from today and retails for just $99. If you’ve bought a Mac on or after October 1st, it’s yours for $15. iLife ’11 will be included on Macs sold from today onwards.
Apple also announced a new version of OS X (Lion) and a new MacBook Air, but we’ll leave those to the usual sources such as Engadget and Gizmodo.
So… what’s on your shopping list? Grabbing the FaceTime beta? Ordering iLife ’11 this morning? Counting down to the App Store for Mac? Let us know what you think of these developments in the comments.