Unless you have been living in a cave for the past 9 months, you cannot help but know that the iPad is a huge success, from New York to London and Paris to Shanghai. Last fall, when Apple revealed its new MacBook Air lineup, this product line claimed its place as heir to the iPad, becoming the new benchmark for all things Mac in the upcoming year.
First, the hardware: The new MacBook Air models have built-in flash storage, not to be confused with the Solid State Drives that are now so 2010! Like the iPad, the MacBook Air provides features that we have been wanting for a long time, but that were not readily available due to the high cost of the components that allow today’s feats: no moving parts, quick start and app launch, instant resume from sleep, and extra-long hibernation period—up to 30 days! The iconic 12″ PowerBook of yesteryear finally has a more than worthy heir in the super sexy 11″ MacBook Air. Amazingly, that machine with its low clock rate processor still manages to outperform the previous generation Air. See those benchmark results .
Now, about the iPad legacy for the software: Apple is playing a complete “echo-system” where each product’s “halo” is glowing upon the next. First, the Mac’s robust OS gave the iPhone its revolutionary capabilities. Then those features were expanded in the user-friendly screen of the iPad. And now, they should come back full-circle to the Mac this July, in the latest iteration of our favorite operating system, code-named Lion. You may have already heard about the upcoming Launchpad app launcher and Mission Control’s extensive display of your work, but my favorite new addition may already be on your computer: the App Store for Mac. There is a lot to like in this new tool: simpler app purchase, installation, and above all, straightforward unified license terms tied to your Apple ID—on any machine.
Contrary to common wisdom, the Mac does not lack applications in comparison to the PC. In fact, a quick search on macupdate.com  could show you a plethora of very well designed apps for all your needs at very affordable prices—most of them, IMHO, superior to apps for Windows since they were built with superior tools. Case in point: Pixelmator (http://www.pixelmator.com), a very capable application along the lines of Photoshop, but more powerful than the dumbed-down version of Photoshop for the consumer market, and even cheaper and more fun.
Now my secret wish as a translator is that the App Store for Mac will, sooner rather than later, bring the dawn of the killer Mac TEnT. Grafting the Mac technologies over a good translation memory engine would almost guarantee the best and most affordable app on the market for the freelance translator. Developers, start your engines! WWDC is less than 6 months away—please make us dream of a Windows-less future.
In the meantime, all translators on a Mac—or wishing to be on a Mac—come meet us at our next TransMUG meeting, prior to the NCTA February Annual Meeting, at 11:30 am at Out the Door, in the Concourse Level of the Westfield Center of San Francisco. YA