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stevejobs-wwdc-2008-announcement.jpgIf you have apple-shaped tears, prepare to shed them now. Steve Jobs will not be hosting this year's keynote at Macworld. Soz, and if that one hurt, this one could kill - this will be the last year Apple is going to bother with the San Francisco expo at all.

One of your first fears might be over Jobsy's health but according to an Apple announcement the decision is motivated "more by politics than his pancreas".

"Trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple's Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways."

steve_jobs_macworld_2008.jpgI was hoping to write a glowing report of Steve Jobs' Macworld 2008 keynote presentation yesterday, but (even as an ardent Apple fan) I have found myself disappointed.

Granted, it was always going to be difficult for Apple to eclipse last year's iPhone announcement, but I felt myself wanting more.

Maybe I'm getting too old, but I find myself desiring function much more than form. Perhaps it's not surprising, then, that the product announcement I was most impressed with was the Time Capsule. That's pretty sad in itself, because it amounts to not much more than an upgraded Airport Extreme with a large hard drive in it, and existing software built in to OS X Leopard.

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes... I thought I could rely on Apple so this morning I awoke to disappointment in Steve Jobs after his Macworld announcements yesterday. I was sure he'd launch a new iPhone with either 3G or bigger storage memory, thus annoying the FOUR MILLION people who have now, like cult followers, signed up to the iPhone religion.

But it was a clever move. Save that announcement for a couple of months time, and bring a second-generation device out around a year after the first and no-one can have any complaints... can they? After all, technology is always changing and those of us who spend fortunes on gadgets and gizmos, only to see them bettered just weeks later, are fools of our own making. I do it, as much as you.

So unable to make any real iPhone jibes, I must first start my Macworld reflections by hitting out at the CHARGE imposed on people to upgrade their iPod Touch software. Sure, you're getting new programs but £13 for the privilege when you've splashed out a couple of hundred or so for the player itself a few weeks back is a massive liberty from Jobs. To quote Ricky Gervais in Extras: "Is he 'avin a laugh?'

Macworld Expo 2008: MacBook Air hands on

3 Comments

I'm letting the video speak for itself! Pictures after the jump. Impressions:

- Ridiculously light
- Keypad feels normal and usable (looks slightly odd, but in a nice way)
- Touchpad smooth as ice
- Backlit LED screen beautifully bright and not as small as you might think
- Totally covetable (as if you didn't know)

[via Shiny Shiny]

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The dust is settling from Steve Jobs' Macworld 2008 keynote, which was lacking in new iPhones, but had plenty of other big announcements to chew over. The unveiling of the MacBook Air super-slim notebook was the highlight, measuring just 0.76 inches at its thickest point, but offering a 13.3-inch screen, 80GB hard drive, and Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

Also big news was the launch of iTunes Movie Rentals at $2.99 or $3.99 a pop, although the service won't be available outside the US until later in the year. However, Apple's revamped (and cheaper) Apple TV will offer HD movie rentals with Dolby 5.1. There was also the announcement of Digital Copy for iTunes, which'll include an iPod-friendly digital version on selected DVDs.

There were some iPhone firmware tweaks, including WebClips and location mapping. Jobs also announced the Time Capsule backup system, and boasted about Leopard OS X sales.

Check out our Jobs Keynote Liveblog to see how it all went down.

itunes-digital-copy.jpgApple and Twentieth Century Fox used Steve Jobs' Macworld 2008 keynote to announce a new technology called Digital Copy for iTunes. In short, when you buy a compatible DVD, you'll get a free digital copy of the film, which can be transferred to your iTunes library, and from there played on your PC or Mac, or transferred to an iPod or iPhone.

The first DVD to include the feature will be 'Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest', with more on the way. It works by you inserting the DVD into your computer, typing in a code, and then the transfer process is automated.

Maybe I'm missing something, but this smacks to me of a short-term measure. If you can buy (or rent) movies digitally from iTunes, who wants the DVD? For the moment, it's good to have both - as long as there's not a big price hike - but it'll surely seem a quaint fudge a couple of years down the line - like those VHS/DVD dual players we saw a couple of years ago.

I also wonder when Digital Copy for iTunes will be extended to Blu-ray (and maybe HD DVD). No news on that from Apple or Fox, at the time of writing. *cough* One of our commenters says it'll work on Blu-ray discs too, but there's no mention of that in Apple's official release.

Check out our Macworld 2008 Keynote Liveblog for the latest news

apple_time_capsule.jpgSteve Jobs today announced a new hardware and software combo designed to make backing up multiple Macs over a wireless network as painless as possible.

The Time Capsule hardware is a revamped 802.11n Wi-Fi base station (Airport Extreme) with a built in server grade hard drive with either 500GB or 1TB capacity.

Introduced by Jobs as a much more convenient way of backing up notebook Macs (no-one wants the hassle of connecting cables to an external hard drive, he said) but usable by any OS X Leopard-equipped Macs.

Software-wise, it utilises the Time Machine functionality introduced in Leopard.

iphone-macworld.jpgThere was a big iPhone-shaped hole in Steve Jobs' keynote speech at Macworld 2008 today. Much of the speculation in the run-up to the event focused around the likely announcement of a new model - either a beefed-up 16GB version, or the all-new 3G edition.

However, Steve Jobs announced neither. There were some new iPhone features, of course - WebClips, location mapping, and multi-person texting. But no new iPhones. Reactions will be mixed from Apple fans, mind. If you rushed out to buy a UK iPhone in November, you'll probably be breathing a sigh of relief that your money wasn't wasted a couple of months before a better version came out.

But for all those who've been holding out for the second-generation iPhone, the wait goes on, with only the MacBook Air for comfort. I reckon Steve'll unleash new models around the time of the iPhone SDK launch next month...

Check out our Macworld 2008 Keynote Liveblog for the latest news

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Live coverage of Steve Jobs' Keynote Presentation at Macworld 2008. All times are GMT (PST +8 hours), most recent entries at top of page.

UK Apple Store now open

UK prices as follows:

* MacBook Air: from £1,199
* AppleTV (hardware) from £199
* Time Capsule from £199

1831: It's all over bar the singing. Stay tuned to Tech Digest for the highlights and more opinion.

1830: Playing out with Randy Newman, Academy Award Winner (no "one more thing" this year folks)

1830: So to summarise: New Mac Pros announced last week, Time Capsule, s/ware updates for iPhone and iPod Touch, iTunes movie rentals, Apple TV s/ware updates, MacBook Air.

1828: Environmental factors

[In an attempt to appease Greenpeace... Ed.] fully aluminium case, good for recycling, fully mercury and lead-free display, circuit boards BFR free, retail packaging 56% less than MacBook.

1825: Pre-orders today, available in two weeks

1819: Otellini speaking

Processor is as thick as nickel and wide as dime.
1809: Something in the Air

Steve back on stage, to announce the "MacBook Air" - Apple's latest notebook (a third kind of notebook)

MacBook Air will be "the world's thinnest notebook"

Most people think of Sony TZ Series as thin: 3lb PC, 11/12-inch display, mini k/board, slower proc. 3lb is good target weight but compromise with other features.

So: MacBook Air is 0.16 inch to 0.76 inch thin - thickest part of the MBA is thinner than the thinnest part of the Sony. Fits inside an envelope (LOL, what kind of envelope, Steve?)

Comes with magnetic latch, 13.3-inch widescreen, LED backlit display, iSight inbuilt, Macbook-like keyboard with ambient light sensor, multi-touch trackpad.

Trackpad sounds like it is based rather on iPhone gestures, and then some. Move window by double-tapping and moving. Rotate by pivoting index finger around thumb. Pinch zoom.

1.8" 80GB hard drive as standard, 64GB SSD ("pricey but fast") as an option. 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo standard processor, 1.8 GHz option.

Intel has shrunk the Core 2 Duo processor by 60%.

45W MagSafe, 1 USB 2.0 port, Micro-DVI, audio out, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, 2GB memory.

no optical drive, but superdrive accessory available for $99. s/w comes with MBA to allow you to "borrow" PC or Mac optical drive.

5 hrs battery life.

US$1799

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And I mean super slim. Announced at Macworld today, the MacBook Air is 0.76 inches at its thickest point, with Steve Jobs rejoicing in its ability to fit inside an envelope (rest assured, early adopters, that's not how Apple plans to ship the device to consumers).

It's got a 13.3-inch widescreen display, a built-in keyboard, and a multi-touch trackpad. It comes with an 80GB hard drive as standard, although there's a 64GB SSD drive option too. Intel slimmed down its Core 2 Duo processor for the device. You get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but only one USB 2.0 port. There's no optical drive built in, as you may have guessed.

2GB of memory will be the standard amount, and the MacBook Air will offer five hours of battery life. It costs £1,199 in the UK, and is pre-orderable immediately, with the first units expected to ship in a couple of weeks.

Apple also stressed its eco-friendly credentials, since it's the firm's first fully mercury and lead-free display, with less bulky packaging and a fully aluminium case.

Check out our Macworld 2008 Keynote Liveblog for the latest news

macworld-keynote.jpgApple TV hasn't been a roaring success for Apple, but that hasn't stopped the company announcing a second-generation version at Macworld 2008. Apple TV 'Take 2' will let you rent HD movies for $4.99 a pop, with 100 available immediately.

It'll also access video and audio podcasts, browse photos from Flickr and .Mac accounts, and synchronise with your iTunes libary. The HD movies will be available with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, and you'll also be able to buy music from the Apple TV too.

All this is a free software update for existing Apple TVs in a fortnight's time - good news for early adopters. The price of Apple TV has also been dropped from $299 to $229 in the US (that'll be £199 in the UK). It's not clear if the HD movie rentals will be available outside the US then too, though.

macworld-keynote.jpgThis was one of the big rumours in recent weeks, and it turned out to be true. Apple has announced an iTunes Movie Rentals service, working with major studios including Sony, Paramount, Universal, Disney, Fox, and Warner Brothers, as well as Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lions Gate and New Line.

1,000 films will initially be offered through the service, they'll be available 30 days after their DVD releases, and will be playable on Macs, PCs, iPods and the iPhone. Each rental will cost $3.99 for new films and $2.99 for older movies - you'll have 30 days to watch them, although once you start, you'll only have 24 hours to finish.

macworld-keynote.jpg

Apple revealed new software for the iPhone during the keynote, including location-based mapping, and WebClip. The latter lets you add up to nine sites to your Home Screen - users of Leopard OS X will know the idea well.

You can also now text multiple contacts at once, and read lyrics while listening to music. Hurrah! Would this be the point to say that not being able to send multiple texts before was a shocker of an omission? The new software is coming in a firmware update later today. Meanwhile, iPod Touch users are getting five new applications: Mail, Stocks, Maps, Notes and Weather.

macworld-keynote.jpg

Steve Jobs kicked off his keynote speech at Macworld today by shouting about Mac OS X Leopard, which has apparently shipped five million copies in its first three months on sale.

That makes it the most successful release of OS X ever, according to Jobs, with 20% of the OS X install base having already upgraded.

Apple is also keen to stress support from developers, particularly Microsoft, which has just started shipping Office 2008 for OS X. As an opener, it was positive, but everyone was keener to get to the slinky new hardware announcements...

Check out our Macworld 2008 Keynote Liveblog for the latest news

applelogo.pngAccording to a number of Apple fans, the company could be ready to announce a superthin and light portable Mac at Macworld 2008, which starts on 11th January.

This ultra-portable device (UMPC) could weigh in at under three pounds and measure between 15 and 18 millimetres thin.

Some speculate that it could come with a detachable external optical drive, which could be used to install software and use disc media, but would also minimise the weight and size of the main computer, which could then be more easily used on the move.

It could also contain components found on the existing MacBook line of notebooks, such as an iSight camera. It could also potentially sport a Flash drive.

(Via The Telegraph

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