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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Macworld Summary

Macworld News Alert - January 6th, 2009
Breaking news from Macworld - The Mac Product Experts

In what looks to be Apple's final Macworld Expo keynote, the company announced updates to its iLife and iWork suites, while also introducing a unibody version of the 17-inch MacBook Pro.

Instead of the customary keynote from CEO Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, delivered the 98-minute kickoff to the annual Macworld Expo, and has a blow-by-blow account:

Schiller focused largely on updating existing products, such as iLife '09, the latest version of Apple's suite of digital lifestyle applications. Highlighting the changes to the iPhoto photo management and editing application are Faces and Places tools for organizing photos around people and locations, respectively. The Faces feature uses facial-recognition technology to identify the faces of people in the photos you take. iPhoto '09 also adds integration with the Facebook and Flickr social networking sites. 

iLife '09 also includes updates to iMovie, which adds an expanded timeline view for advanced users as well as automatic video stabilization, and GarageBand, which focuses on video tutorials. 

While iLife '09 won't ship until the end of the month, the newly updated iWork suite of productivity applications is available now. All three components -- the Keynote presentation application, the Pages writing and page-layout offering, and the Numbers spreadsheet tool -- get new features.
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Apple also launched a new service,, that lets users share and collaborate with documents online. The service is integrated into iWork '09 as a button in the toolbar of each application. launched Tuesday a public beta. 

In hardware news, Schiller unveiled a new 17-inch MacBook Pro model that replicates the unibody enclosure introduced to the rest of the laptop line in October. The 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of memory, 320GB of storage, and Nvidia GeForce 9400M and GeForce 9600MT graphics. The system costs $2,799 and will ship by the end of January. 

The new MacBook Pro introduces a new kind of battery -- one that isn't removable. Instead of the standard cylindrical AA cells that most batteries utilize, the Macbook Pro's battery uses custom-shaped cells. Apple says it should have three more hours of battery life than the MacBook Pro model it replaces. 

Apple also announced changes to the iTunes Store, highlighted by the news that music tracks will now be free of digital-rights management restrictions. In addition, Apple unveiled variable pricing for music downloads, with prices ranging from 69 cents to $1.29 per download. In addition, mobile users can now access the iTunes Store over 3G networks; previously the mobile iTunes Store had only been available through Wi-Fi. 

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