iTunes Movie Rentals, Waifish Macbook In The Air

    January 15, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Well, it’s not going to cause quite the media-wide paroxysm the Jesus phone (iPhone, for the uninitiated or unacquainted with light-hearted sacrilege) caused last year at Macworld, but there’ll probably be sufficient tremulous giddiness about the world’s thinnest notebook computer, the MacBook Air.

iTunes Movie Rentals, Waifish Macbook In The Air

So thin, 0.16 to 0.76 inch, they couldn’t fit an optical drive in it. Luckily, your credit card’s just the right size to add several hundred dollars worth of peripheral equipment to your already $1,800 techno-hipster applephilic geek machine.

You could even open it up to show how the 5-hour battery takes up more than half the space inside – you know, where your optical drive should be. Otherwise, it is pretty sweet.

Since I know it’s killing you, let’s get to the specs Apple CEO Steve Jobs presented in his keynote:

13.3-inch display
Full size keyboard
1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo
1.8 inch 80 GB hard drive (64 GB SSD option)
802.11n standard Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
iPhone-like muti-touch gesture support so you can move stuff with your fingers
MagSafe 45w power adapter
USB 2.0 port
Headphone jack

All that coolness for $1799 plus $99 for a USB-connected optical drive, ready to ship in two weeks.

Jobs had lots of size references: fits in a manila envelope; the size of a pencil; width of a dime; thick as a nickel. It’ll definitely be fun for those who have to have the latest gadget, but again the Mac isn’t going to break the PC’s hold on the general public, who’ll look at the price tag, compare it to a notebook PC at a third of the price and has a way to burn discs.

But Apple seems to betting on the notion that the consumer is moving away from hard discs – even if not completely – and will have more than enough ways to play media on the computer. Jobs recommends an iPod of course, or this year’s reincarnation of Apple TV.

That incarnation is dubbed Apple TV Take 2. Jobs acknowledged that no company last year succeeded in capturing the public mindshare when it came to devices that transfer movies and digital content from the computer to the television.

So another large announcement was that Apple was taking on the world of Netflix and Blockbuster by transforming Apple TV into a movie-rental machine via the introduction of iTunes Movie Rentals.

Jobs says Apple has worked out deals with the major movie companies out there (Touchstone, MGM, Miramax, Lions Gate, Fox, WB, Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony) to rent DVD- and HD-quality movies with Dolby 5.1 surround sound via Apple TV for between $2.99 and $4.99 a piece, depending on whether they are new releases or high definition.

It will also work for YouTube videos, Flickr, and .mac. In addition, Apple lowered the price of the unit from $299 to $229. Viewers who rent a streaming iTunes movie have 30 days to start it and after that 24 hours to finish it before the movie disappears back into the vault. 

In a side announcement, the CEO of Fox announced that all DVDs from this point forward will come with a free digital copy.

Stop yawning.

Other announcements that are less exciting:

  • Introduction of Time Capsule, which allows wireless backup of Mac computers. 500 GB for $299; 1 TB for $499.
  • iPhone SDK for application developers will release in late February.
  • iPhone gets maps with GPS location; ability to SMS multiple people at once; lyrics, chapters, and languages
  • All those additions to the iPhone will be available for the iPod Touch and existing iPod Touch owners can add them for $20.

Today’s announcements also mean that the supposedly leaked keynote that appeared at Wikipedia yesterday was bogus, as nothing listed there appeared in Jobs’ presentation. Better luck convincing us next year.