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Apple announces MacBook Air, HD movie rentals, Apple TV 2.0
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Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:54 pm Reply and quote this post
Steve Jobs took the stage this morning at the Macworld Conference &Expo to exhort the Mac faithful and announce a handful of new products.

Since when do mac fanboys care about price? I mean, the more expensive it is the better it is, right?

MacBook Air
The rumors were true. Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's latest portable, the$1,799 MacBook Air, which he called the "world's thinnest notebook."Dissing Sony's TX series, Jobs said that other subnotebookmanufacturers inevitably compromise on the display, havemini-keyboards, and run too slowly due to heat issues.
Specs:

  • 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo     
  • 80GB 1.8" Hard Drive standard, optional 64GB solid-state drive     
  • 0.76" thick at thickest point, weighs 3lbs.     
  • 2GB RAM     
  • 5 hours of battery life     
  • $1,799     
  • Full aluminum case     

The MacBook Air is silver, weighs 3 lbs. and has a wedge-shaped profilethat's 0.76" thick at the fattest point and 0.16" thick at its thinnestpoint. There's a full-size keyboard, a 13.3" widescreen display withLED backlighting, and a built-in iSight. The keyboard has an ambientlight sensor similar to that of the MacBook Pro, and the trackpadsupports multitouch gestures for panning, zooming, and rotating.

On the hardware side, the MacBook Air comes standard with an 80GB1.8" hard drive, with a 64GB solid-state drive available. It's poweredby an Intel Core 2 Duo running at 1.6GHz, with an option for a 1.8GHzmodel. According to Jobs, the Core 2 Duo in the MacBook Air is 60percent smaller than standard C2D CPUs.
There's no optical drive or Ethernet port on the MacBook Air. Thenew laptop only includes built-in 802.11n, USB, DVI, and a headphonejack. Software installations can be done remotely using "Remote Disk,"which allows the MacBook Air to access the optical drive of a networkedMac or PC.
Jobs also touted the environmentally-friendly nature of the MacBookAir. It has a full aluminum case, which he said is "highly desired byrecyclers," a bromide- and PVC-free motherboard, and the retailpackaging takes less than 50 percent of the volume of the previouspackaging.
iTunes Store movie rentals
As expected, Apple will begin offering high-definition movie rentalsvia the iTunes Store. Content will be provided by the likes of Miramax,Touchstone, MGM Lionsgate, New Line Cinema, Fox, Warner Bros,Paramount, Sony, and Universal. In short, Apple has all of the majorstudios on board. All first-run titles will be available on the iTunesStore 30 days after the DVD release. There will be over a thousandtitles available when the rental section launches "by the end ofFebruary."
Viewers will be able to watch movies within 30 seconds of starting adownload and will have 24 hours to finish watching a rental once theystart a movie. Once downloaded, users will have 30 days to beginwatching a movie. Pricing is $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for newreleases in standard definition. High-definition titles are $1.00 more.An update for iTunes will be made available to support the feature.
Apple TV 2.0
In a rare admission of an Apple product that hasn't lived up toexpectations, Jobs noted that people "didn't want" the Apple TV. Appleis attempting to address that with the new $229 Apple TV 2.0, whichsports an all-new UI. The new TV box supports buying content directlyfrom the iTunes Store as well as the new rental service. Movies will beavailable in HD with full Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Downloadedcontent will automatically sync with computers on the network.  
Users will also be able to purchase TV shows and download HD videopodcasts directly from the new Apple TV. There's also some integrationwith .Mac, with owners able to pull down .Mac galleries and set them upas screen savers. The original Apple TV will get a software upgrade tosupport the new features, and the new Apple TV should be available intwo weeks.
iPhone and iPod touch
Jobs gave a progress report on iPhone sales, saying that they'vecleared the 4 million mark—that works out to about 20,000 iPhones aday. Using Gartner's data, he said that, while RIM remains on top withabout 40 percent of the market, the iPhone had moved into second placewith 20 percent; none of the next three competitors cleared 10percent.  Jobs also highlighted the impending release of theiPhone/iPod Touch SDK, and announced the features of thepreviously-described 1.1.3 software release. Those include multiple SMSmessaging, Maps with location services using Google's cell tower systemand Skyhook's WiFi system, webclips, and a new UI for Google Maps. Allof these features are available now via a firmware update.
The iPod touch is getting a $20 update. Apple is adding five newapps to the touch: Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes, and Weather. In short,all of the apps that are available on the iPhone. The iPod touch willalso be able to take advantage of locations on Google Maps using theSkyhook system. The new apps will cost $20 for current iPod touchowners.
Time Capsule
After recounting Apple's success with Leopard, Jobs unveiled the firstof the new products. The Time Capsule shares the AirPort Extreme formfactor but contains a "server-grade" hard drive inside. Designedespecially for use with Time Machine, it is capable of backing up allof the Macs in your home, according to Jobs. a 500GB version will run$299 and the 1TB version is $499.

Stay tuned to Ars for the latest developments from the Macworld keynote.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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