Apple: Apple Harvests Light Crop at Macworld

 
 
By Joe Wilcox  |  Posted 2009-01-06
 
 
 

Apple Harvests Light Crop at Macworld

by Joe Wilcox

Apple Harvests Light Crop at Macworld

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For analysis of Apple's announcements at Macworld, please go to Apple Watch.

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Apple's iLife digital content suite got some exciting new features, particularly for Garage Band, iPhoto and iMovie. The software will be available for free on new Macs, and is $79 otherwise or $99 for a five-user Family Pack. Apple will release iLife '09 in late January.

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One of the interesting new features in iPhoto '09, "Faces," utilizes facial recognition search for easier organization of pictures of people.

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Perhaps the hottest new feature of Garage Band '09 is Artist Lessons. Why fumble with the guitar when Sting can teach you how to play "Roxanne"?

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Apple's iWork got some modest upgrades, with the most significant being on the Web. Through iWork.com, Mac users can share and collaborate on documents produced in iWork '09. The service competes to varying degrees with Google Apps and Microsoft Office Live, but Apple won't give anything away for free. The company plans to charge for iWork.com after it stops being a beta.

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In a surprising bundling move, Apple is packaging iLife '09, iWork '09 and Mac OS X Leopard together for $169 as the "Mac Box Set." Leopard normally costs $129 alone. A five-user family pack is available for $229. The software ships in late January.

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The new 17-inch MacBook Pro utilizes the same "unibody" structure as its 13-inch and 15-inch siblings. Some specs: a 17-inch LED-backlit display with 1920 by 1200 resolution, a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB DDR3 (double data rate 3) memory, a 320GB hard drive, a DVD burner and all the expected ports. There also are dual graphics cards: a 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT and a 256MB (shared with system memory) Nvidia GeForce 9400M. Price: $2,799.

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Apple makes an astonishing claim about the 17-inch MacBook Pro that we won't believe before testing: 8-hour battery life. No notebook in this size class packs so much charge. Apple's 17-incher will be trendsetting, if the battery claims prove true.

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Apple has started a transition to a totally DRM-free iTunes Store. On Jan. 6, the store starting offering 8 million DRM-free tracks, with conversion of another 2 million expected by the end of March. On April 1, Apple plans to introduce variable pricing, with songs costing 69 cents, 99 cents or $1.29. Older songs will cost less and newer ones more.

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People with existing rights-protected tracks have the option of paying for discounted DRM-free versions. Single tracks can be upgraded for 30 cents, while most albums cost around $3.00. Apple also now offers music to iPhones over the 3G network, not just Wi-Fi. So iPhone users can now purchase music over the air pretty much anywhere.

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