Apple limps away from MacWorld

Written by Tim Smalley

January 7, 2009 // 1:01 p.m.

Tags: #09 #17-inch #2009 #apple #disappointment #ilife #itunes #iwork #keynote #limp #macbook #macworld #pro

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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