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Mac & the Lion Have Been Sleeping with iPad & the iPhone

Users of the new MacBooks will be able to make video calls to iPad and iPhone users

Apple's App Store has done so well - seven billion downloads - and the Mac is now doing so well - the Mac would be #110 of a Fortune 500 list if it was spun out - that Apple figured why not give Mac its very own App Store?

So a Mac App Store should be up and running by mid-January. Apple is going to want its usual 30% of the take. Payment will be through iTunes. Free apps are welcome. Developers can start submitting apps next month. Downloaded apps will auto-install and auto-update. Otherwise software for the Mac will be through the usual channels.

The announcement came at Apple's "Back to the Mac" event Wednesday where it said that the next species of Mac OS X, code named Lion, won't be out until next summer.

Meantime, there's been some cross-breeding going on the Apple labs to see mating iPad and iPhone with the Mac and it seems the pollination's been successful with iPad and iPhone features like FaceTime video chat turning up first in Apple's two new MacBook Air laptops.

Users of the new MacBooks will be able to make video calls to iPad and iPhone users.

The new ultra-light MacBooks, which haven't sold well in the past, borrow iPad's pure flash (memory, that is) instant-on approach so they can power up quicker and store data twice as fast as hard drives. Hard drives have gone the way of CDs and DVDs as far as MacBook's concerned. The laptops' board benefits from the miniaturization lessons Apple learned with iPad and iPhone. The flash drives are on the logic board.

The painfully thin laptops include a smaller-than-usual 11.6-inch (five hour) model and a standard 13.3-inch (seven hour) model that are priced, depending on which Core 2 Duo Intel chip and how many gigabytes, from a cheaper-than-usual $999 to $1,599. Apple says it doesn't care if iPad and MacBook cannibalize each other.

Lion has also been lying down with the iPad and as a result it's going to get up with some multi-touch features - not on Mac screens - touch doesn't work on a vertical surface CEO Steve Jobs said - it wants to be horizontal so the Lion-inspired trackpads will register drag-and-drop gestures.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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