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For Apple, heart of a Lion

Steve Jobs seems to fancy felines. Today he introduced his Lion to the world, version 10.7 of the Mac OS X operating system. This cat will be let out of the bag in the summer.

I’m happy to see the name Lion, as I had lost track of which cat I was using. Was it Jaguar? Leopard? Snow Leopard? I know it’s one of those fast, hard-to-spot cats I know from the zoo and from too many cable TV shows, but they get jumbled after a while.

For the record, here’s the list of Mac OS X system names in order: Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion.

I wonder what’s next? Saber-toothed tiger? Ocelot? Lynx? Bobcat? (Reminds of a 1970s commercial for a car, the Mercury Bobcat. It went, “Love that Bobcat.” Geez. I’m dating myself … )

The iPad’s success has led to a mash-up of the computer operating system and the mobile operating system — Mac iOs. Jobs and his team gave a sneak peek of the products and updates this morning during a press event at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.

During the show-and-tell session, a smaller, thinner, lighter MacBook Air was shown, along with major upgrades to the iLife software suite (iMovie, iPhoto) and Garage Band sound-editing software. I won’t describe all the changes; you can find details and watch the keynote on the Apple site: (www.apple.com).

Also, Jobs announced that the Mac OS will soon get its own App Store. I’m not surprised, as apps (short for applications) have been important to the success of the both the iPhone and iPad. More than 300,000 iPhone apps exist today. Apps succeed because they’re simple. I tap, apps launch, I do what I came for.

I have more than 100 apps on my iPhone and use at least two-thirds of them very regularly. I rely on apps for weather, sports, news, banking, music, games, searches, movies, calculations, photography and just about anything else I use a computer for. The difference is, I do it all on my iPhone.

I’m eager to see how well Mac fans embrace apps on their MacBooks, iMacs and desktops. Are we seeing the evolution of how people interact with computers? Is this the beginning of the end of the Web browser? Will anyone need to browse if there’s an app for everything?

Stay tuned.

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