Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macworld 2008 - "There is something in the Air"

The rumour mill has been running full speed in the run up to the Macworld keynote this year, and it's almost unanimous amongst the assembled great and the good that we're looking at some sort of sub-notebook, with slightly more far fetched rumours, based on patent filing, hinting of an ultra-portable combined with a docking station. So with the pre-Macworld banners saying that there was "Something in the Air" we had the Macbook Air. I guess we'll see...

CREDIT: Wired

Update (17:05 GMT): The press is inside the theatre at the Moscone Center and we're waiting for things to start...

CREDIT: B. Lam/Gizmodo


Update (17:12 GMT): Twitter has apparently crashed under the weigh of the keynote traffic.

Update (17:15 GMT): Steve Jobs is on stage and has "four things to talk about today", and is kicking off with Leopard.

CREDIT: B. Lam/Gizmodo


Update (17:21 GMT): First big announcement is called Time Capsule, which is a companion for Time Machine in Leopard. Time Capsule allows you to wirelessly backup all the your Macs. Apple have just gone NAS. I actually talked about the possibility back in 2006 after the release of the Apple TV. Two models on sale, one with 500GB and one with a 1TB drive inside it, at $299 and $499 respectively, shipping in February.

CREDIT: B. Lam/Gizmodo

Update (17:26 GMT): Now onto the iPhone, and a mention of the SDK due out in late February. For today a software rollout for the iPhone (and the iPod touch?) which is presumably the long rumoured 1.1.3 firmware update featuring maps with location, customised home screens and multi-person SMS. This isn't anything new, we've know about this for a while...

CREDIT: B. Lam/Gizmodo

Update (17:35 GMT): Apparently the new firmware is coming to the iPod touch and bringing the missing applications: Mail, Stocks, Notes, Maps and Weather from the iPhone. Apparently it's going to cost $20 to upgrade? That's just silly...

Update (17:38 GMT): Next up, this is the third thing if you're keeping count, is iTunes Movie Rentals. We've known this was coming since December. So this isn't the big news, the big news is that all of the major studios are on board: Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, Newline, FOX, WB, Disney, Paramount, Universal and even Sony. Of course no doubt it's going to be US only, we still can't get movie for sale here in the UK after all.

CREDIT: Engadget

Update (17:41 GMT): There will be a thousand films at launch at the end of February. Movies will be watchable immediately on streaming when you buy them, but you have thirty days to start watching and a day to finish after you make your purchase. Be able to watch the movies from your Mac, iPod or Apple TV. So what happened to owning your content?

Update (17:45GMT): Is this number four or does Steve lump this in with the movie rentals? Either way, next up we have the Apple TV take 2. While it still syncs with your computer, you no longer require one, and you can rent your movies directly and watch them on your HDTV. Can apparently also display your photos hosted on Flickr or .Mac. Not really an amazing bump for the under appreciated Apple TV really...

CREDIT: B. Lam/Gizmodo
CREDIT: Engadget

...although interestingly you can now preview movies from the interface, and see what other users who have rented the same movie have rented. Hmm, that one might have the privacy advocates up in arms unless there is an opt-out in the preferences so that you don't have to share you information.

Update (17:58 GMT): Still talking about the new content for the Apple TV. If Steve doesn't have something big up his sleeve this may count as the dullest Macworld keynote ever...

Update (18:01 GMT): Apparently the new features are a free software update for current owners. There is also a price drop for the Apple TV, from $299 to $229. The new software will be out in two weeks.

CREDIT: B. Lam/Gizmodo

Update (18:04 GMT): Jim Gianopulos, Chairman of FOX, the first people to sign up for the new Movie Rentals service is taking the stage. No doubt he'll say something corporate and dull.

Update (18:07 GMT): Hmm, he said something interesting. Apparently "DVD's will still be with us for a while" but from now on "Digital Copies" will be on the disks. The first example of this is the new Family Guy: Blue Harvest DVD, which will contain an iTunes compatible digital copy. Leaving the stage...

Update (18:09GMT): Okay, here we go... "As you know, Apple makes the best notebooks in the industry. Today, we are introducing a third kind of notebook. It's called the MacBook Air". It's the "The World's Thinnest Notebook".

CREDIT: MacRumors

Update (18:12GMT): Comparing the new Macbook Air to "the competition", the Sonzy TZ which 3 lbs, 0.8 to 1.2 inches and has an 11" or 12" display. The new MacBook is 0.16 to 0.76 inches. The thickest part of the MacBook Air is thinner than the thinnest part of the Sony. It fits inside a envelope. It has a magnetic latch and a 13.3" widescreen display. Hmm, that's an awfully big display. Kind of disappointing, I was hoping for a 12" screen...

Update (18:15GMT): The display is backlit, it has a built-in iSight and a Macbook like keyboard, and here we go, a multi-touch trackpad (the trackpad, not the screen?). You can move a window by double-tap, rotate a photo by pivoting your index finger around your thumb, and of course it has the iPhone's pinch-zoom. Although I'm not sure how intuative it's going to be if it's only the trackpad that's enabled.

Update (18:17GMT): It comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo, 1.6 GHz as standard but there is an option for a 1.8 GHz processor. It also comes with a 1.8 inch 80GB HDD as standard, now that's a surprise, but you can get a 64 GB SSD as an option. Even Steve says that the SSD is "pricy", in Apple speak that means a lot. It comes with a single USB 2.0 port, Micro-DVI and Audio Out.

CREDIT: B. Lam/Gizmodo

Update (18:19GMT): Paul Otellini, the CEO of Intel, is taking the stage. More corporate speak...

Update (18:23GMT): Steve is back on stage. The new Macbook Air also comes with 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1/EDR. As predicted there is no optical drive, but a Superdrive accessory is available (separately) for $99. However it also ships with software that allows you to "borrow" a Mac or PCs optical drive. That's an interesting work around, is that how you install the operating system? Bizarre...

CREDIT: B. Lam/Gizmodo
CREDIT: MacRumors

Update (18:25GMT): It has 5 hours of battery life, which is actually somewhat disappointing. I was hoping for eight. Enough to see me through a trans-atlantic flight. Interestingly (a hint of things to come) it comes with 2GB of memory as standard. Priced at $1799, presumably without the 64GB SDD, and shipping in 2 weeks.

Update (18:28GMT): I guess Apple have taken the criticism from the GreenPeace seriously Steve is talking about the "environmental highlights": fully aluminum case (good for recycling), first fully mercury and lead free display, circuit boards are BFR free, retail packaging are 56% less volume than MacBook.

Update (18:29GMT): He's wrapping up, will there be one more thing? Randy Newman is on stage and playing...

Update (18:36GMT): Although of course as now seems to be the habit, the UK store is still down, the US Apple Store is back up. Looks like we're done here!

Update (18:47GMT): The UK store is now back up. The base model MacBook Air is £1,199 while the high end model with the 64GB solid state drive is a jaw dropping £2,028.00. That's a considerable markup from the US store where the high end model is US$3,098. That's £1,581 at the current exchange rate, and even if you take the UK's 17.5% VAT into account, that's only £1,857 after tax. Which means that the UK model has a £170 markup over the US model. Ouch!

Update (20:37GMT): The Keynote is now online (via TUAW), that was fast...

With thanks to MacRumours, Gizmodo, Engadget, TUAW and UNEASYsilence.

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