Back in Mac: New OS, FaceTime Vid, New Air Notebook

Apple rolls out new software & machines

Not content to sit on sales of phones, laptops, and iPads that tally in the millions, Apple Wednesday rolled out updates to its line of Mac computers.

And those computers are coming fully equipped with a new operating system and FaceTime -- and yes, it happens to look a lot like the iPhone and the iPad.

The new version of of the Mac OS X will be called Lion and it will include a store for Mac software. Think iTunes but with apps for MacBook instead of your iPhone.

Also ripping  a page from the iPhone's playbook, Apple will introduce its popular FaceTime video chatting app to Macs -- which will allow users to have computer-to-iPhone video chats.

Apple will have its computers also impersonate its iPhone by introducing a dashboard filled with widgets that are designed to make users' life easier.

Lion is expected to be released this summer.

Of course Apple can't have a pretty new OS without shiny new computers.

Jobs announced that Apple will also be releasing two new MacBook Air computers starting at $999. The ultra-light computers will mimick the iPhone in the sense that they will not have a hard drive or an optical drive.

Instead they will both use flash memory, like the popular smartphone but the power they will carry on board will be closer to what users have come to expect from the larger MacBooks.

The two MacBook Airs will be different sizes. One will have a 13.3-inch screen while the smaller one will get into netbook territory with a 11.6-inch screen. You can take a look at the new MacBooks in the video below.


* Lion Roars: The new OS is here (again)

* FaceTime: Get your face out there, cross-platform

* Air Mac: Thinner, Faster, Better

10:01a.m.: As Steve Jobs said when he walked out on stage, he announced that  "Today is about the Mac." Check out the Qik video below of Jobs opening the show. 

10:10am: Software-wise, there's a new iPhoto, that lets you organize your slideshows differently, with more themes, and upload to places like Facebook more easily. Also a new iLife, with more features. And new ways to get books, and create greeting cards with your photos.

10:13am: Says Jobs: "I think its awesome. This is why we do what we do."

10:20am: New for iMovie: News and sports themes, ability to create trailers, and more. I must say, if I was an amateur filmmaker, I would be salivating at this. Another example of how technology is democratizing the movie industry. Apple is clearly pushing to put more inside of its Macs, which comes at a time when the company is seeing growth in computer market share.

10:40am: Garage Band update. More amps for your guitar, more lessons, and something called "Groove Matching," described as a spell check for your band.

10:54am: New OSX version is being rolled out. Apple is calling it "Lion." Jobs: "This is Mac OSX meeting the iPad." 10:59am: New apps for the Mac. Available on the "mac app store." You'll be able to put the apps on the Launch Pad screen .. just like your iPad.

11:01am: New app store will open in 90 days. Look for new OS update called "Lion." Jobs says Mac is a 22 billion dollar business - retail market share now at 20 percent.

11:12am: "One More Thing..." Jobs: MacBook meets the iPad: Releases new MacBook Air. Thinner, 2.9 pounds. All Flash, no optical or hard drives. Longer battery life. 13.3 or 11.1 inch screens. Starting at $999, going to $1599. Both available starting today.

Follow NBC Bay Area tech reporter Scott Budman on Twitter; @scottbudman

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