MacWorld Roundup

Sorry about the delay but I’ve been at work/class all day and this is the first time today I’ve had time to review all of the announcements from the MacWorld. Everyone has probably already has all the information you want about it but I’m going to sum it all up in a neat little package.

The main attraction at the event, was undoubtedly, the MacBook Air, which is a ridiculously lame name, in my opinion (everyone else seems to like it.)

Specifications (via Apple):
1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo Intel processor
2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
80GB 4200-rpm OR the more tempting but extremely expensive 64GB SSD
13.3-inch (diagonal) glossy widescreen with a dainty 1280 x 800 resolution
Intel GMA X1300 integrated graphics (weak!)
802.11n and Bluetooth 2.0 support
1 audio out port
1 USB port (seriously?)
1 Micro DVI (great…more proprietary…)
5 hours of battery life

Not included:

Optical drive
User replacable battery (You will have to send it into Apple for $129 replacement but the labor is free.)

This is the “thinnest laptop in the world” measuring at 0.6″ in at it’s thinnest point and 0.7″ thin at the thickest point. This laptop is ridiculously thin and I appreciate all the cool new features such as the back lit keyboard, how it can “borrow” an opitcal drive from a networked computer, either Mac or PC and the multi-touch gestures but I’m just not excited about the Macbook Air. It’s sexy, it’s sleek but it’s expensive and I would never buy it. If you think the regular Macbook is too heavy or too cumbersome, then you seriously need to hit the gym. I’m sorry but the regular Macbook is light enough.

What the Macbook Air is is a niche product. For those who are looking for an ultra portable, and have huge wallets, this is perfect because it puts itself in the same class as the Sony Vaio TZ, which I personally have a thing for. The difference is that the TZ is an 11.1″ laptop while the MacBook Air comes in at a huge 13.3″ screen, which arguably puts each laptop in it’s own class.

To me, this is definitely not a mainstream consumer product but more aimed at the power business user. If I were traveling and doing work that only required internet access and word processing, then the MacBook Air would be perfect.

Enough with the MacBook Air. There’s a lot of other announcements we have to cover.

Another interesting announcement was Time Capsule. (image via Engadget)

It is basically network assisted storage (NAS) or the combination of Time Machine and an Airport Extreme. It comes in two flavors; one 500GB and one 1TB which runs for $299 and $499 respectively. I have to say this is not a bad price for NAS and a router. The most interesting thing about Time Capsule is that it works seemlessly with Time Machine, Automatically backing up your system on to the device itself without you ever having to think about it. Everytime you come home with your computer and connect to your network, everything is backed up for you. I have to admit, I was more excited about Time Capsule than I was about the MacBook Air. Time Capsule will be available in February but they are taking pre-orders now.

Since I like Time Capsule, I have to counter with something I don’t that was announced today. Steve Jobs announced today that Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes and Weather was coming to the iPod Touch (finally) but for a price of $20. You are basically paying $20 for something that should have come with the iPod Touch in the first place and which does come on the iPhone already. This is reminiscent of the time when they decided it would be fun to charge people $2 dollars for a firmware update on their notebooks that updated the 802.11n support. Though $20 dollars isn’t that much money for those apps, it bugs me that they are charging people for features and applications that should have been included in the device in the first place. Lame. But knowing Apple, members of The Cult will willingly hand over their monies for this firmware update. (image via Engadget)

On the iTunes front, everyone predicted that there would be movie rentals available and guess what? El Steve-o annouced today that the iTunes Store would start selling movie rentals. Pricing starts at $2.99 for a normal rental and $3.99 for a recently released title. You will be reportedly able to start watching a movie within 30 seconds assuming you have a reasonably fast internet connection. Movie rentals will also come in HD for $4.99 but exclusively to Apple TV users. The catch is that there will be a time limit to watch the movie after you have downloaded it. You have 30 days to watch the movie and once you click play, you have 24 hrs to watch it. This is the exact same model that Amazon Unbox uses which isn’t bad but isn’t good either. This 24HR time limit is ridiculous because there something might come up and you have to pause the movie and when you come back to it the next day, you have to re-rent it. How lame! Anyway, there will be 1,000 titles available by the end of February.

iPhone users will rejoice today because of the release of firmware version 1.1.3 which includes “Google maps with location, up to 9 total home screens, Webclips, the ability to SMS multiple recipients, and more.” (via Engadget) This firmware update will be free for all existing iPhone users (so why not iPod Touch owners??) Noticeably absent was the announcement of the fabled 3G iPhone which we will continue to long and wait for.

The Apple TV finally got a much needed revamp today with the Apple TV Take Two. Improvements include the ability to access the iTunes Store to rent/buy movies, TV shows, etc without the need for it to be connected to a computer. The menu interface has received a face lift and there is support for Flickr and improved YouTube support. Apple has also dropped the price from $299 to $229, which isn’t a bad deal at all. I thought the first generation Apple TV was a dud but Apple might actually be getting somewhere with the Apple TV except for the fact that it still only supports up to 720p! Ridiculous!

One overlooked announcement is the that Fox announced that they would be shipping DVDs with an iTunes movie file that will be ready to play back on your Apple device. Great. You’re allowing me to use the content that I purchased in a restricted manner under your terms and conditions. *coughHandBrakecough*

That’s about it for MacWorld 2008. Was anyone else a little disappointed? Mad Dog (Steve Jobs’ nickname coined by Veronica Belmont) didn’t even have a “one-more-thing” this year.


Until next year, fanboys and girls.

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