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