Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macworld Stuff = New Toys!

Some cool new stuff coming from the Mac Expo today. How about a quick eyeball on what caught my attention?

- The new MacBook Air. Ultrathin laptop that still has a 13.3" widescreen and full keyboard. Weighs just 3 pounds, and will fit in a business envelope. No optical drive, but an additional USB DVD writer is available. Has one headphone out jack, one USB 2.0 port, and one Micro-DV port for outputting video to various other formats (DVI,VGA, S-Video, etc). DVI and VGA adapters come with. Has the iSight included, and claims to get up to 5 hours of battery life of wireless productivity. Has the Wireless N and Bluetooth in it, and that Wireless would get a workout as it has no RJ45 jack for ethernet (you can buy a USB-Ethernet adapter if you want). It comes with Remote Disc utility to easily use any DVD drive on another Mac on the Network, which is no surprise.

Can't wait to see this thing for myself, but seeing pics of it in use with peoples hands on it, you can tell just how thin it really is. Wonder what bugs it'll come up with (overheating anyone?). The base config comes with 2GB RAM, the X3100 GMA graphics, 1.6 C2D processor, and 80GB HD (or a 64GB solid state HD).

Here's the kicker - base price Canadian - $1899. Ouch, and you've lost me.

- AppleTV got the big push with all major studios on board with renting movies via iTunes. The new AppleTV software will let you access it right from the AppleTV. Only available in the US of course, but I read something about international rollout in the year. Don't know what that means for sure. Prices are $2.99 (library titles), $3.99US (new) for the rental. DVD quality and possibly HD, though I have to read up more on this. From download, you have 30 days to watch it, and 24 hours after watching before it exprires. You can also export to an iPod. How this all works and what the DRM coating is, I don't know. I'm going to wait until I hear somebody hacks it. Oh, and the price came down - the 40GB model is now $249 Canadian, $229 US. This is obviously what they were thinking the AppleTV was designed for all along. A set top box to get your movies without leaving the house. Suppose to be 1000 titles available by February. Again, only in the states.

I'd be a bit more interested if this was in Canada, but even then not a lot. The whole DRM thing makes it useless, but I'm thinking the masses will gobble it up. I'm thinking the big boys in the hi def DVD wars are not enthused, but they only have themselves to blame. They spent the last two years fighting on a format, and if online dowloads take off, they're out of the market before they were in it. People who will pay to go out and buy something that is only moderately better visually than a standard DVD that they can now download without leaving the couch will be a small group.

- The iPod touch gets 5 new apps, including viewing mail, maps, weather, and taking notes. I'm keeping my eye on this one.

- And the one thing I might just buy: TimeCapsule. An Airport Extreme base station and 500GB HD combo that works with Leopard's Time Machine and wireless backs up all the computers in your house. Plus gigabit ethernet and router and USB printer hookup all in one little device. As long as I can manage the volume size (say 400GB for backups, 100GBs for shared HD), this one I'll be getting. I was thinking of getting a refurbed Airport Extreme and an external hard drive anyway. This doesn't cost me any more than that would have, so I'll be checking it out when it ships in February.

That's it for now, back to the web...

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