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Apple limps away from MacWorld

Apple limps away from MacWorld

Apple's last MacWorld keynote was frankly full of disappointments and no shows - the most interesting news came from outside the keynote arena.

Last night, Apple held what is probably its last MacWorld keynote in the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco and we have to say that we walked away disappointed.

As expected, Steve Jobs chose not to take the stage - something probably related to his poor health - and it was instead left to Phil Schiller to introduce Apple's latest wares.

Schiller introduced new editions of iLife and iWork for 2009. iLife in particular has some interesting new features introduced in the latest version - namely Faces & Places, which uses your iPhone 3G or a GPS-enabled camera to store location data and assign your photos to locations on Google Maps. You'll also be able to create travel books and your friends will be able to view them online.

iMovie adds some new editing features, including Precision Editor, which will enable you to zoom in and make fine adjustments to the video and audio streams. There's also GarageBand, which allows you to learn to play instruments interactively with music lesson videos from acclaimed musicians that can be purchased from the new Lesson Store.

iWork brings some new features to the Keynote application, including a wireless applet - sold separately - called Keynote Remote, which enables you to use your iPod or iPhone to control slideshows.

Next, Schiller introduced the new 17-inch MacBook Pro - it features the much of the same hardware as the smaller MacBook Pro introduced late last year. Nvidia graphics, the new glass trackpad and a dual-core 45nm Intel processor clocked at either 2.66GHz or 2.93GHz. There's up to 8GB of memory available and storage options include a 320GB mechanical drive or a 256GB SSD. Apple also offers both matte and gloss screen options for the 1,920 x 1,200 LED backlit panel. It'll cost you to upgrade to the matte finish, though.

Probably the most disappointing thing about the new MacBook Pro is its battery - Apple, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to enclose the battery inside the casing which means you cannot remove it.

Apple says this means there's room for more cells and with the additional juice, the fruitshake maker says the 17-inch MacBook Pro is good for eight hours of charge. The battery itself can be recharged 1,000 times - better than the rest of the industry, it's claimed - but what happens when you run out? Well, you could find a local Apple store and have them replace the battery, or you can just do without. Bizarre, I know, but never mind.

The final announcement made was in relation to iTunes focusing more on DRM free music - Gareth has covered that off pretty well already, so I won't go over that ground again. Again, there are costs associated with 'upgrading' your iTunes music collection, which you already own.

Frankly, the keynote was all about the no shows and the one thing that kept us awake during Apple's rather limp last stand at the MacWorld Expo was seeing MacRumors' live feed unfortunately getting hacked by a group from the 4chan discussion forums. None of the hype or rumours proved true this time around - there was no new iMac, no new Mac Pro, no new Mac mini and no iPhone nano. We have to say even the die-hard Apple fans will have been a little disappointed with most of the announcements - there was no pizazz or 'wow' to steal archrival Microsoft's failed Vista marketing slogan, but most of it will be forgotten before we get to the end of CES.

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22 Comments

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Shepps 7th January 2009, 14:04 Quote
It was pretty dull.

"Look - new features 8D!"
Tomm 7th January 2009, 14:22 Quote
I guess people use their laptops differently. I've had my laptop 3-4 years now, and the battery has been fixed in there the whole time, except for just after I bought it (I was being nosy). If I could get 40% more life or whatever Apple claim, that would be a brilliant trade-off for me. On the other hand, if you need your laptop for watching DVDs working on transatlantic flights, I can imagine that having a non-replaceable battery might irritate. I reckon the biggest problem is that you can't change RAM/hard drive as easily as on other models. That's a shame for sure.

Presumably it's not that hard to crack the case open and replace the battery anyway? Perhaps for the average user, but I doubt that will affect too many people reading this.
kenco_uk 7th January 2009, 14:37 Quote
I can see GPS-enabled cameras (finally) taking off this year.
bubsterboo 7th January 2009, 14:40 Quote
I can't believe they charge 50$ extra for the matte finish. I mean you're already paying a lot for the computer... Isn't the base model 2800$?
liratheal 7th January 2009, 14:43 Quote
I do love Apple pricing schemes.

"Bend over the table, sir/madam."
DougEdey 7th January 2009, 14:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
I can see GPS-enabled cameras (finally) taking off this year.

My phone camera does that already.
Gareth Halfacree 7th January 2009, 14:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
My phone camera does [geotagging] already.
Arp - same as mine. Nokia N95 8GB, which uses the in-built GPS to add geotagging data to the EXIF information.
Jumeira_Johnny 7th January 2009, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomm
I guess people use their laptops differently. I've had my laptop 3-4 years now, and the battery has been fixed in there the whole time, except for just after I bought it (I was being nosy). If I could get 40% more life or whatever Apple claim, that would be a brilliant trade-off for me. On the other hand, if you need your laptop for watching DVDs working on transatlantic flights, I can imagine that having a non-replaceable battery might irritate. I reckon the biggest problem is that you can't change RAM/hard drive as easily as on other models. That's a shame for sure.

Presumably it's not that hard to crack the case open and replace the battery anyway? Perhaps for the average user, but I doubt that will affect too many people reading this.
Well, I have 17" MBP and use it fairly hard. Tethered shooting, on location review with clients, rough editing for placement to name a few. And then I am occasionally out of touch with a power socket for a few days, and need my MBP to upload images. So I routinely swap batteries. The loss of FW800 as stock (15") and an encased battery are a shame, it's 2 of the reasons I like my MBP.
DarkLord7854 7th January 2009, 15:55 Quote
Lol.. 8Gbs DDR3 = 1,200$ upgrade. Wow.

Anyone got screen caps of the hacked feed? Sounds much more entertaining than the keynote.

You'd have thought Apple would go down with a bang instead of a whimper.



And although I agree that most people don't remove their laptop batteries, the Pro line is aimed at professionals, and that means they generally use their laptops a LOT and most carry 1 or 2 spare batteries so as to be able to continuously work even in the event they can't get to a wall socket for a day or two.
DougEdey 7th January 2009, 16:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Arp - same as mine. Nokia N95 8GB, which uses the in-built GPS to add geotagging data to the EXIF information.

I've got a fair few cycling programs that use it to upload photos from my route to google.
identikit 7th January 2009, 16:10 Quote
Yep agreeing with the last 2 posters. The 17" is a big seller to Pros who will pay a premium for the best for their job. Having to pay for a matte screen, no FW and the lack of a removable battery kills off so many decent points. Fail!

edit; Doug!! I'm agreeing with JJ and Darklord
GoodBytes 7th January 2009, 16:19 Quote
Actually if you look at Dell new Latitude series 8 GB of RAM option is about the same price (DDR2 (latitude E6500, E6400 and E6400ATG) or DDR3 (latitude E4300, and E4200).

What I don't' get is many people from comments on other site that does this Apple coverage are impressed by the 8 hours. For less expensive, my laptop (Dell latitude E6400) which has 4GB of RAM, Quadro NVS 160M, 5200RPM HDD, Intel wireless N 5100, Vista 64-bit with Aero and transparency, ... has 9 hours of battery life surfing the web (get SSD HDD and apparently you can pass the 9 hours). 8 hours and half at worst, 3 hours and half playing Crysis. The is, of course with the 9-cell battery. And a second battery (12-cell) could be added at the bottom (like a plateau of the size of the machine) for a claimed 19-21 hours of battery life. And its not like you have less features with that laptop. You have a metal alloy base and screen cover lid, ambient light sensor, backlit keyboard, normal Display port, VGA, eSATA, power a device using the specific USB while the machine is off, 4 USB, two mouse setup, anti-glare screen, MINIMUM 3 year warranty with a guy that comes to your place when you what, at the time you want. The one thing I can think off that is not there is the as small PSU and even higher resolution... but it's 17inch than the Dell is a 14inch one. Anyway, my point is that such laptop is just moved away on news, and leave more room to show the less impressive Apple machine. Again, I am talking about in general.
Sifter3000 7th January 2009, 18:10 Quote
Given that this was Schiller's first go at doing a whole keynote - and the first for a very long time with no Steve - I can see the wisdom of giving Schiller a comparatively dull set of products to deliver. It was a soft intro, and all the focus is on the dull (but worthy) updates to the software, not that "ah, Steve would have been so much better."

Plus, had Apple shown off anything amazing, surely questions would have been asked about why it was quitting MacWorld.
Jojii 7th January 2009, 18:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRumors' live feed unfortunately getting hacked
STEVE JOBS JUST DIED:

That laugh was hard to stifle at work.
Lepermessiah 7th January 2009, 18:44 Quote
Apple is pretty dull, in other news, the sun will come up tomorrow.
DarkLord7854 7th January 2009, 19:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jojii
That laugh was hard to stifle at work.

I didn't manage to stifle mine, burst out laughing :)
Dodge 7th January 2009, 22:11 Quote
Rather disapointing tbh. Been waiting to see apple update their mac mini for a while now. Now I have to decide do I carry on waiting or get a pc.
DarkLord7854 7th January 2009, 22:28 Quote
What, you don't think 1.8Ghz Core2, 1Gb RAM, and an 80Gbs HD is worth 600$? :p
harveypooka 8th January 2009, 20:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
I do love Apple pricing schemes.

"Bend over the table, sir/madam."

Indeed.

"The MacBook Pro comes in at one price point - expensive."
GoodBytes 9th January 2009, 01:29 Quote
If you ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.
Horizon 10th January 2009, 05:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
If you ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.

You don't get to ask, only lube or no lube?
GoodBytes 10th January 2009, 06:57 Quote
Words from the wise man! hehe
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