Steve Jobs Reveals All – Air, iPhone, AppleTV, iTunes and the rest!

MacBookAirReleaseThe MacBook Air is now official!

The thinnest laptop ever made.  At its most portley it’s still thinner than the nearest competitor’s thinnest.  That’s small – Size zero in excelsis!

Even if you’re an Apple-hater you should give a round of applause for the engineers who built it.

At its ‘fattest’ edge (towards the rear – aint that always the way!) it’s still only a mere 19.3mm, while at its thinnest its just 4mm!  It’ has a 13.3-inch glossy screen, a full-size backlit keyboard, built-in iSight Web camera, microphone and stereo speakers, and a multi-touch trackpad.

This lets you squeeze and pinch things like photos just like on the iPhone and iPod touch. You can even zoom into areas of the MacBook’s desktop environment with multi-touch and navigate with two fingers, also like on the iPhone.

The standard specifications are:

  • 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU with 4MB of L2 cache
  • 2GB 667MHz DDR2 RAM
  • 80GB 1.8-inch hard disk with Sudden Motion Sensor
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
  • Built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Should you want to, you can upgrade the hard disk to a 64GB SSD alternative.  The CPU can be upgraded to the 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo should you require the extra power. 

    Now, you may have noticed the lack of an optical drive. When it comes to ultraportable laptops, optical drives are rather cumbersome. So Apple got rid.  Instead, a piece of software inside the Air, along with a bundled app for Macs and PCs, lets you connect to another computer’s drive wirelessly. 

    The other way would be to buy the MacBook Air SuperDrive; a correspondingly tiny USB-toting external DVD R/W drive that costs £65.Wired connectivity comes in the form of a single USB 2.0 socket, a single Micro-DVI socket and a headphone socket.  Although there’s a built-in microphone, there’s no socket for plugging in one of your own.

    Prices in the UK start at a rather steep £1,199 for the standard model. The fully tricked-out SSD-boasting, 1.8GHz clocking version costs a breathtaking £2,028. They’re available to order from today.


    iPhone news now.

    New firmware, as expected, was released free of charge and will add better functionality for maps, the ability to send multiple text messages at once, plus some very impressive new tools for use with the phone’s home screen.

    The people’s favourite seems to be the ability to add ‘Web clips’ to the main screen of the iPhone.

    This lets you zoom in on a certain area of a Web site, then bookmark both the page and the level of zoom you’ve applied.  A quick thumbnail is created for that ‘clip’ and is automatically added to the home screen for easy access in the future. Up to nine such home screens can be created, each accessible with a finger swipe from right to left. 

    The iPhone will also now show you your current location on the handset’s maps (as I mentioned before).

    Apple didn’t build GPS into it so how does it do it?  Well, Apple has incorporated a system that triangulates your current position based on your proximity to the three closest Wi-Fi signals or phone masts.

    iPhone videos also now support movies that come with alternate language tracks and/or subtitles. 


    Apple Films on Demand 

    Now for some really big news: Apple has launched on-demand movie rentals. The rental service starts today in the US, with an international launch later this year.

    All the major movie studios are on-board and prices start at $2.99 (£1.50) in the US.  Over 1,000 movies will be available by the end of February, with new titles available in the iTunes Store 30 days after their commercial DVD release.  They’ll work on PC, Mac and all current generation iPods, and of course the iPhone.

    After confirming a rental, you’ve got 30 days to start watching.  Once you start watching you’ll have 24 hours to finish the film. Most films are shorter than 24 hours and repeat viewings are unlimited.

    In the US, prices are $2.99 for library (read: older) titles, and $3.99  (£2) for new releases. Oh, did we mention there are 100 HD movies available for rental, too? We didn’t? Ah. Well, they’ll cost $3.99 for library titles, and $4.99 (£2.50) for new releases. We have no doubt this catalogue of 100 will be greatly expanded in the coming months.  I’ll keep you posted about a UK release of this :0)

    Apple TV – Take 2

    That’s what Steve Jobs began the next bit of news with.


    With the free software update available to Apple TV owners (and of course future owners), you’re able to buy, rent and watch purchased and rented movies from iTunes, from your sofa, without using a computer.  The HD rentals will come with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

    There’s a slinky new interface available to make browsing all this new stuff even easier. Browsing photos from Flickr and .Mac looks terrific, and anything you purchase or download to the updated Apple TV will be synced back to your PC or Mac when it’s next connected.

    In the US, Apple has slashed the price of the Apple TV by $80. There was no mention of a price cut for the UK — the Apple Store still has it from £199.  Still waiting for a UK release date of this as it wont be available here until all the film rental stuff is sorted.