MacWorld 2008 Keynote: 'MacBook Air' & Much More
Steve Jobs delivered his 2008 keynote this morning at "the Superbowl for Apple fans". We posted a liveblogging roundup as it was happening - and now you can watch the video of the keynote on the Apple site (or over at CrunchGear).
It's interesting to note that, according to a current poll on Mashable, 70% of their readers followed a liveblogger's coverage of the event - compared to only 2% who followed updates from "old media" (Cable News, Radio, Newspaper Site, etc.).
The big announcement of the keynote was Apple's release of the MacBook Air, which is being hailed as "the thinnest notebook in the world". Additional NowPublic reporting is available here.
It's so small and thin that it fits into a standard manila envelope (which Jobs proudly displayed during his speech):
0.76" at its tallest end and 0.16" at shorter end, with a 13.4"display
ships with 80gb flash HD or 160gb solid state drive; 1.6ghz or 1.8ghz Intel Core Duo (and new Intel chip...is 60% smaller than usual core duos); comes with 802.11n and latest Bluetooth; 5 hour battery life; 'Remote Disk' feature will allow you to install software from another computer; Price: $1799
And it's a bit more environmentally-friendly too:
Mercury and Arsenic free LCD and glass, Aluminum frame can be recycled." PVC free on circuitry, and less packaging.
The silver aluminum MacBook Air has a 13-inch screen, a full-sized keyboard and a large trackpad that is sensitive to multi-touch gestures and can be configured to shrink or zoom web pages, or rotate photographs with a finger twist.
“The display is gorgeous,” Jobs said. "It’s an LED backlit display that’s instant-on."
Every element is super sharp, the hidden ports are a thing of beauty, and the backlit keyboard is certainly a nice touch. It's almost silly how light it is, and multitouch is smooth as butter. With the dimensions and curves Apple is playing with, we can almost forgive the lack of removable battery -- almost.
Billions and billions of songs have been downloaded from iTunes to date (with DRM at no extra cost!) and the numbers continue to climb. But now you'll also be able to download and rent movies through iTunes. That's right. And, as always, DRM is included absolutely free!
[Apple plans] to offer movies to rent through iTunes from all the major Hollywood studios
Apple on Tuesday introduces iTunes Movie Rentals, a new feature of the iTunes Store that enables users to download movies and watch them for a short time rather than having to buy them. They will be priced at $3.99 for new releases, $2.99 for "library titles."
Apple's managed to get the support of all the major movie studios, including Fox, WB, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Sony, along with Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, New Line and Lions Gate. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the new service will launch by the end of February with over 1,000 movies. Of particular focus to Apple is to make sure movies are available for rent through iTunes Movie Rentals within 30 days of their DVD release.
The technology is tied to the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology used by Apple for other content purchased from the iTunes store. You can download movies and watch them from a Mac or PC, and transfer them to an iPod or iPhone. What's more, Jobs indicates that you can transfer the movie to another device while you're in the middle of watching it, and pick up where you left off.
Not only is the latest version of iTunes (v7.6 for those keeping count) required to enjoy those brand new movie rentals, but users with 64-bit Windows Vista machines can now look forward to using the software without issue. According to a number of tips, owners of said setups are apparently having no issues with it as of now.
iPhone & iPod
Apple introduced an expanded line-up of features, capabilities, and add-on apps for both the iPhone (4 million sold to the tune of "a 19.5% market share of the US smartphone market") and the iPod Touch. You can view a demo of the new firmware on Gismodo.
[Apple has released a] software update that adds a location finder to the Maps feature, customized home screens, multi-person SMS chats, and Webclips. In addition, video playback on the phone now supports chapters, subtitles and languages, while the music playback adds support for lyrics.
Apple announced a major software upgrade for the iPod touch, adding five more mobile applications—Mail,Steve Jobs Macworld 08 iPod touch Maps, Stocks, Weather and Notes. The iPod touch software upgrade also includes new features such as Web Clips, a customizable home screen and, beginning today, the ability to watch iTunes Movie Rentals. New iPod touch products shipping from the factory will include the software upgrade, but existing iPod touch customers will have to purchase and download the software upgrade for $19.99 from iTunes.
Jobs also announced a new version of the Apple's struggling set-top box, the Apple TV. Jobs said the Apple TV is now a standalone device: It no longer needs to be tied to a computer for storing and synchronizing media. The Apple TV is now $230, down from $300. Current owners will get a free software update for renting movies.
What a great concept: a wireless backup device!
Time Machine is great. The new feature in Mac OS X Leopard lets you run backups without even thinking about it. Unless you have a notebook, that is. Plugging and unplugging cables is so 2007. Time Capsule is a new companion device for the Time Machine software. Essentially an Airport base station with a hard drive in it, the box has four ethernet ports and 802.11n WiFi.
The Time Capsule will be detected by any Mac running Leopard and Time Machine takes care of the rest. It'll come in two flavors: 500GB for $300 and 1TB for $500, both with server grade hard drives.
Liveblogging Issues - Twittered Out
Although Engadget and TechCrunch both did a good job of keeping their sites up (for the most part), popular live-updating software Twitter crashed during the keynote, leaving many users frustrated:
Many Twitter fans have become very much use to following big events via Twitter, its immediate nature and 140 character limit provides key points of what exactly is going on.
Unfortunately for Twitter users, Twitter completely failed during Steve Job’s keynote address at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
From the floor I thought it may have just been my internet connection, but for the brief time Twitter has been up since the keynote (it’s returning errors as I write this) the Twitterosphere is not very happy, particularly those who stayed up late (it was 4am on the East Coast of Australia when it started, and I know plenty of people who were up for it).
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Montreal, Québec, Canada