Apple unveils MacBook Air, iTunes rentals, Time Capsule, more...Steve Jobs released a flurry of new product offerings in the Macworld Expo Keynote, along with upgrades and updates that touched the entire Apple product lineup from Macs to iPhones and the iPod Touch to Apple TV and iTunes.
Many of the updates and new products were expected, based upon information leaked in advance of the event. However, Apple appeared to successfully deliver across the board, in stark contrast to the industry-wide CES event held earlier this month, where observers complained about the lack of innovation.
Mac OS X
Apple shipped 5 million copies of Leopard during its first three months of availability, making it the most successful launch of Mac OS X ever.
20 percent of the installed base of Mac OS X users have upgraded to Leopard.
Apple released the world's thinnest laptop under the name MacBook Air. Like the existing consumer MacBook, it sports a 13.3" display, iSight camera, full size keyboard, 802.11n WiFi, and Bluetooth. However, the new Air is only .76" thick in the middle, and flattens out to 0.16" at the edges. It also has an illuminated keyboard and a trackpad that supports new iPhone inspired multi-touch gestures for pinching, swiping and rotating. It supports mini-DVI video output for driving projectors, VGA monitors, and DVI Cinema Displays smaller than 30". The new model also makes use of a mercury free LCD display, arsenic free glass, recyclable aluminum, and leads the industry in removing brominated flame retardants, cables wrapped in PVC, and packaging bulk.
An optional USB Air SuperDrive is available for $99, and the mechanical hard drive can be replaced by a solid state Flash hard drive as an option.
Time Capsule is AirPort Extreme-based product designed to ease the data backup process for notebook users. Essentially, it's an AirPort Extreme 802.11n with a server grade internal hard drive. A 500GB version will retail for $299 and a 1TB version for $499.
Apple has sold 4 million iPhones since its launch back on June 29th and is sustaining a daily run rate of about 20,000 units.
In its first quarter shipping, the iPhone grabbed s 19.5 percent share of the smart phone market, making it the second leading smart phone device behind RIM's Blackberry.
Apple is rolling out a new iPhone update with several new features —many of which were previously reported —including Maps with GPS-like functionality, Webclips, customizable home screen, SMS to multiple recipients and a lyrics feature.
In particular, Webclips are Safari bookmarks that can be saved to the iPhone's home screen. Users will be able to save up to 9 Webclips.
The iPhone will also gain chapter options and language capability when running in iPod mode.
The new iPhone software is available today as a free update for all iPhone owners. Meanwhile, iPod touch owners can add five new applications to there device —including Mail, Stocks, Notes, and Weather —for $20 beginning today.
iTunes Movie Rentals
Every major motion picture studio has signed on to Apple's iTunes Movie Rental initiative, including Fox, Warner Bros., Touchstone, Disney, Newline Cinemas, Sony, Paramount, Universal and Lionsgate.
For US iTunes users, over 1000 movies will be available as of today that you can watch on Macs, PCs, iPods and iPhones. International availability will follow. later in the year.
Library titles will sell for $2.99 and new release will fetch $3.99. Apple is also making iTunes movie rentals available in HD for $4.99 a pop.
Users will have 30 days from purchase to begin watching movie rentals and 24 hours to finish watching the flicks once viewing has begun.
A new version of Apple TV will allow you to purchase and watch movies directly from the set-top-box without having to use a Mac or PC to first purchase and download the films from iTunes. Songs can also be purchased directly from Apple TV.
New Photo screen-savers can be generated from from .Mac web galleries.
New Apple TV pricing starts at just $229 and the new version of the software for existing owners will be available in about two weeks.