MacWorld 2009 re-cap

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The MacWorld keynote was yesterday in San Francisco. As you may have heard Steve Jobs did not give the keynote, instead it was Apple V.P. Phil Shiller. The keynote is always highly anticipated by the Apple community, but yesterday’s announcements were not entirely exciting.
There was no mention of the latest version of Apple’s operating system, OS X Snow Leopard, due later this year. A rumored upgrade for Apple’s low-end Mac mini was also not announced. Nor was there any talk about a tablet computer or “NetBook”. There were four major announcements which we’ll give a brief overview here:
iWork ’09
iWork ’09 is available now for $79/single user and $99/family pack, or you can purchased it at a reduced price of $49 when you buy it with a new Mac.
Now offers full screen viewing of documents, dynamic outlines, and a new mail merge with Numbers, which can now connect with tables and lists in Numbers.
Table categories and over 200 new functions will make spreadsheets easier to understand.
New transitions, chart options. There’s also a new Keynote Remote application for the iPhone and iPod touch to control Keynote wirelessly with a preview of your next slide.
This is a new twist on iWork as Apple will be offering an on-line service to allow for document collaboration. The service will notify other people when you make changes to documents linked to the service. This will be a “paid” service, but fees have not been announced yet.
OS X 10.5 is required to run the new iWork application. Because of this fact Apple is offering a package of OS X 10.5, iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 for $169. This “Mac Box Set” will ship later month when iLife ’09 is also released.
iLife ’09
iLife ’09 will be available later this month. Upgrade costs are $79, with a family pack offered for $99. It will be included free of charge on all new Macs.
iPhoto ’09
– Faces: Addition of facial recognition to events. Photos can be tagged to recognize faces, as in Facebook.
– Places: Uses geo-tagging to find information about the location that the picture was taken. This meta data can be supplied either by cameras that offer built-in GPS, or manually inputed.
– Slideshow Themes: Uses facial detection to properly position pictures in a slideshow. There’s also newly included support for both Facebook and Flickr, a welcomed feature.
iMovie ’09
– Advanced Drag and Drop: For placing video wherever you want it in a movie’s timeline
– Automatic Image Stabilization: Helps reduce camera shake
– Video Effects: Brings back advanced special effects to iMovie
– Dynamic Themes: Context-sensitive menus for clips, along with animated travel maps
GarageBand ’09
– Learn to Play: Teaches how to play an instrument with video instruction from professionals & celebrities. Nine basic lessons included, with additional downloads available for purchase for $4.99 each within the program.
New MacBook Pro 17″ Unibody
Apple announced a new 17″ MacBook Pro which will be shipping later this month. The new 17” MacBook Pro has the same unibody construction as the 15″ MacBook Pro and 13″ MacBook, the 17″ MacBook Pro will be available for $2799.
Apple will also offer a $50 LCD option for a “matte” screen instead of the factory “glossy” screen that comes standard.
Like the 15″ MacBook Pro, the notebook includes both 9400M and 9600M graphic and a glass “clickable” trackpad. 320GB hard drive as a standard option with a 256GB “Solid State” drive upgrade available. RAM can be upgraded to a maximum of 8 GB of memory.
Apple is offering new technology in this unit with a non-removable “Zinc-Silver” battery. This may be the most exciting bit of news that was announced. The technical specs on this say that it will run for 8 hours! Apple claims the battery can take up to 1000 charges and will run up to 5 years. It will be very exciting if Apple brings this same technology to it’s other laptops.
iTunes Plus with DRM free music
A major portion of the iTunes Store’s 10 million songs are now available DRM-free via iTunes Plus. The entire 10 million songs in the iTunes Store library will be offered DRM-free by the end of March ‘09. Apple will also offer an easy to use one-click solution to upgrade currently DRM enabled iTunes music libraries to iTunes Plus for 30 cents per song or 30% of an album’s price.
The iTunes Wi-Fi music store is now compatible with 3G, allowing iPhone users to preview and download the entire iTunes music catalog over the 3G cellular network. Downloaded songs via 3G are the same price and quality as over Wi-Fi.
Also, beginning in April, the iTunes Store will offer pricing in three different tiers ($0.69, $0.99, and $1.29) based on the different prices the music labels charge Apple for their music.
Catch the entire MacWorld Keynote here.
Get more info from CNN at this link.

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