Back to the Mac: Part II

It doesn’t really matter whether or not you were impressed by Apple’s “Back to the Mac” event yesterday, or if you were excited about the prospect of making your own Hollywood-style movie trailers in a couple of clicks, or perhaps even disappointed that Lion’s won’t be lounging on your desktop until next Summer, because there can be absolutely, positively no disputing that 20.10.2010 was a significant day.

As anticipated, most of what was demonstrated by Apple was evolutionary – iLife ’11 adds some nice bells and whistles alongside some pretty nifty new productivity-enhancing features, and the sneak-peak at OS X ‘Lion’ confirmed the integration of multi-touch gestures and iOS DNA on the desktop.

However, the AppStore is – or at least has the potential to be – revolutionary. From a consumer perspective, the AppStore will allow us to browse, buy and install software with only a few clicks, as well as keep all our software up to date.

From a developer perspective, the AppStore is huge – simply put, it provides an effective way of connecting those who create applications with those who will potentially use (and pay) for them. The prospect of showcasing your applications to every single Mac user will surely encourage both new and existing developers to the platform. That’s a good thing.

But there’s more – 20.10.2010 also marks the day that Apple killed the CD. OK, so maybe that’s a touch melodramatic, but if the launch of the Mac AppStore wasn’t enough to get you thinking, witness the newly announced MacBook Air, which has no optical drive (which in itself is nothing new), and included in the box is a USB restore stick.

These two developments signify a seismic shift towards how we will consume our Mac software in the future. Don’t believe me? Think History. The introduction of the original iMac effectively killed the floppy disk, and as applications have grown, the relatively limited capacity of the humble CD has seen it superseded by DVD’s in many instances. These days, if the content will fit on a CD, it could be posted online and downloaded relatively painlessly, which brings us neatly, full-circle, back to the Mac AppStore. Apple have proved with the AppStore on their mobile devices that the distribution model is effective and lucrative – the time is right to ditch the disc.

I for one am looking forward to embracing the AppStore when it arrives on my desktop in a few months. Heck, I might even get round to developing my own applications, which is something I’ve been considering for quite some time. I also hope that that unassuming little USB restore stick is only the beginning – suites like Final Cut Studio with multiple DVDs full of content are realistically far too big for AppStore download, but could easily be supplied on a USB stick with significantly reduced packaging. Surely that would be more efficient, cost effective and ‘green’?

Get ready for a breath of fresh Air…..

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