No Lion: Apple's unveiling of updated OS X takes its cues from Microsoft

Another big Apple event has come and gone and there are a few thoughts spinning through my head.  But there's one thing gnawing at me that I just can't seem to shake: What's up with Lion, the new version of OS X, not being available until Summer 2011?.

Another big Apple event has come and gone and there are a few thoughts spinning through my head.  But there's one thing gnawing at me that I just can't seem to shake: What's up with Lion, the new version of OS X, not being available until Summer 2011?.

I hate to say it but... that was such a Microsoft move.

One of the things I've come to respect about Apple is that it unveils products when they're ready for prime time. Sure, the iPhone 4 had a wait time of something like two weeks and there was a 60-day wait for the iPad on the day it was announced - but that's not a "still baking in the oven" wait time. That's a "sitting on the cooling racks and spreading a sweet aroma" waiting period.

Gallery: Back to the Mac event (photos)

This is more like the my kid saying "Only 199 more days until summer vacation" on the first day of school.

Summer 2011 is easily 8-11 months from now. In fact, Summer 2010 JUST ended. I don't think we're even a month into the fall season yet. How long did we wait for Windows 7? What about Windows Phone 7? New releases of Office? I've come to expect long wait times like that from Microsoft - but not Apple.

With that said, Lion - when it gets here - will be a nice way for Apple to continue blurring the lines between notebooks and tablets. The body designs of the Macbook Air are already doing the blurring on the hardware side - the touchscreen being the exception. The look and feel of Lion - from the full-screen window, Mac App store and the Mission Control dashboard-like experience - just screams iPad.

On the software side, Lion will be a nice baby-step transition from OS X to iOS - for those who aren't using an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

I want to get excited about Lion - but Apple is making it tough.

I wonder if that's why the company devoted so much time - er, way too much time - on the demos for the products in iLife. By the second demo of iMovie, they had pretty much lost my interest - and there was still piano lessons in Garage Band to get through.

Overall, I think the news value of this event was on its way to becoming a bust when Steve saved it with the MacBook Air.

On our live chat analysis of the event, colleagues Jason Perlow, Jason O'Grady and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and I all raised virtual eyebrows over the power of this device - and O'Grady has his own rant on why he believes it's way underpowered for professionals.

Rest assured, however, that the MacBook Air will generate a bunch of mainstream news coverage and folks who are impressed by the under-the-hood power and price point might be compelled to run out and buy one. (I have to admit that, at this point, I may be right there in line with them. After all, O'Grady referred to the new MacBook Air as "the ultimate blogging machine" and I am a blogger - though I suspect he wasn't offering a compliment with that comment.

In terms of iLife, that's really never been a dealmaker or dealbreaker for me. In the first few minutes of the event, Steve Jobs said, "iLife is why some people buy a Mac." I don't know of anyone who has bought a Mac for iPhoto or iMovie - but maybe I'm just hanging around with the wrong people.

When it comes to Lion, though, I just can't shake the wait time. It's too long of a wait to keep anyone from delaying a purchase, which means MacBook Airs should do well this holiday season. At the same time, it's a vaguely short enough window to keep people waiting, to build some anticipation and excitement about its release in June. Or was that July? Or August? Eeeek... September perhaps?

What makes it worse? Jobs said they are "planning" to release then and that, as of now, they're on schedule. Are we being set up for possible delays?

Was that Steve Jobs talking? Or was it Steve Ballmer?

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