So yesterday's Apple event was quite interesting. I read about it afterward and although the Air is really cool, most of my attention went to OSX 10.7 or Lion. Here is my take on the new features.
Basically all the new features are tied together in one theme: how do we make a computer better suited to use with touch? I really, really like the fact that they only want to do horizontal touch, which means they are focusing on every-day use and not some gimmicky interactions. They really want useful stuff you will use everyday because it is just so natural and easy to use.
Apple begins to transition away from applications into tasks with fullscreen applications. They have a ton of experience now from iOS devices and how people use them, so why not apply that. In the pictures it is unclear however how that works with notification and other system stuff. The current time and battery status are still useful, even in fullscreen mode. And does the dock automatically go into hide or does it just disappear?
But fullscreen lets you really focus on your task and talking about tasks... Since we are still talking about a single display with a keyboard, task switching is based around indirect manipulation and I think Apple has some work to do here. Sure, multitouch made exposé so much more useful (2-finger swipes!), but the interface still is very dynamic and requires me to reorientate myself every time I open it. I am still waiting for the killer switcher. I guess the touch area needs to further expand for that, we'll see.
I definitely am waiting to see how they combine dashboard and spaces together in Mission Control because spaces+exposé = real tasks. If I can group my windows into tasks and switch between them easily, they will make a lot of friends, including myself. I noticed that during our task bar presentation at UIST this year; people really want to organise their windows into the tasks they are doing. That is an operation across applications, while Apple until now grouped windows per application. I need a browser window in my thesis-work and in my coding, for me those two windows are completely different from each other. It would also be awesome if I can close that entire group and restore it again. With the expertise with fast-switching apps on iOS, that should be right up Apple's sleeve.
It is definitely the way to go in my opinion. At first, the task bar was just a window bar; then it became an application bar with the dock of OSX or a hybrid with the window-grouping of XP (which turned into the application bar of W7). The next step is going to be a real task bar, where the user can group their windows as they see fit and switch between them.