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MacBook Air, Apple TV and iTunes Movie Rentals among Macworld Announcements

by January 15, 2008

Steve Jobs called it the world’s thinnest notebook in his keynote today. It’s a 3-pound laptop and the Apple Chief demonstrated just how thin in true showman fashion by pulling it from a manila envelope.

At less than one inch thick, MacBook Air has a 13-inch screen and is made from a recyclable silver aluminum. Green initiatives at Apple were a big part of Jobs’ speech citing that Air contains a mercury free display, arsenic free glass and is made with PVC-free circuit boards.

The size is certainly impressive but it comes at a cost that goes beyond the $1800 retail. Like most of Apple’s sexy devices it’s a closed system. There’ll be no upgrading memory, hard drive or battery replacements with this device. But those are trade-offs the Apple faithful must be used to by now.

I admire Apple taking a forward-thinking risk by not including optical storage. It makes Air’s diminutive stature possible and Apple is promoting it more as a wireless device and less as a computer.

I find it disappointing it includes a mechanical hard-drive instead of solid state flash storage. Micro-hdd is just sooo 2004.

Lastly, since MacBook Air is designed to be ultra-portable so as to benefit the Traveling Wilburys’ among us  - why not include 3G? That would have made it a true wireless and mobile device.

If what Andy Ihnatko says is true the Apple faithful will not only find the $1800 to spend but they’ll stand in line for hours to get one.

iTunes Movie Downloads

It’s been rumored for months but Apple was able to secure a deal with six major studios to sell more than 1,000 movies through iTunes by the end of February. Rentals will be good for 24 hours after you begin viewing and will cost $2.99 for older movies, $3.99 for new releases and one buck extra for high-definition video.

HD movies will be available at a maximum resolution of 720P

Apple TV

Jobs admitted that the Apple TV didn’t work out as they hoped. But Apple will lower the price on the current Apple TV models to $299 within the next two weeks.

Steve Jobs said of Apple TV’s failure:

”We’ve all missed - no-one has succeeded yet. We tried with Apple TV. Apple TV was designed to be an accessory for iTunes and your computer ... that’s not what people wanted. We learned what people wanted was about movies movies movies. So we’re back with Apple TV take two...”

Apple TV take two will not require a computer, but you’ll probably want one to and it has a reworked interface focused around movie rentals. The new iteration of Apple TV will make it easier to interface with iTunes and other Internet content providers including YouTube to download movies and TV shows in full widescreen HDTV and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

I’m still not sure about Apple TV. It seems to try to be an HTPC/media extender for the masses. But I’m not sure the masses are ready for anything more complicated than the set-top-box provided by the local cable company. But if this silly high-definition disc format war doesn’t end soon –Apple might just start to take a slice of Toshiba’s and Sony’s market pie.

About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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Recent Forum Posts:

emorphien posts on January 23, 2008 11:00
I've got a CushTop as well but it's not that great sadly. I wish they had fitted a firm panel in to the top. I find that a lot of laptops when on it for a while sink in enough that they don't have much chance for air to move between them an the CushTop.
birdonthebeach posts on January 23, 2008 10:00
emorphien, post: 362775
A pillow would just help it to get hotter, be careful with that. Use something with a firm top so it doesn't trap even more heat under the laptop. I know someone who stuck larger foam feet on the bottom of his powerbook because of the exact problem of Apple's poor thermal management.

Yeah - thanks. I don't actually use a pillow (for the reason you point out), instead I use my favorite product from CES 2007:

Belkin CushTop

If I don't have it with me, I use a book or magazine….

The point it, Apple needs to figure out the heat issue! WAY too hot….
emorphien posts on January 23, 2008 08:53
birdonthebeach, post: 362754
I assume this can cause problems if you send the unit in for warranty work?

My MBP runs VERY hot. Always has. I have a Core Duo version. Both the MacBooks in our house run hot too. As much as I love our Macs, the laptops run hot - I can't use my MBP without a pillow or something after about 15-20 mins. I could fry an egg on that thing….

A pillow would just help it to get hotter, be careful with that. Use something with a firm top so it doesn't trap even more heat under the laptop. I know someone who stuck larger foam feet on the bottom of his powerbook because of the exact problem of Apple's poor thermal management.
birdonthebeach posts on January 23, 2008 07:58
gus6464, post: 358962
The reason for them running too hot is because the internal fan is set to kick in when the machine is already too hot to begin with. The easiest way to remedy this is to download smcFanControl and set the fan parameters yourself. For Macbooks set the fan to run at 2500rpm as default and for the MBP set each of the two fans to 2000rpm default. After you do this the machine will no longer kick into high speed fan anymore unless you are doing something very intensive and it will keep it very cool.

http://homepage.mac.com/holtmann/eidac/software/smcfancontrol2/index.html

These are one of my unreplaceable apps I install every time I set up a new mac laptop.

I assume this can cause problems if you send the unit in for warranty work?

My MBP runs VERY hot. Always has. I have a Core Duo version. Both the MacBooks in our house run hot too. As much as I love our Macs, the laptops run hot - I can't use my MBP without a pillow or something after about 15-20 mins. I could fry an egg on that thing….
birdonthebeach posts on January 23, 2008 07:54
seansdadj, post: 360432
I don't know why when people need an Apple tablets like crazy, they go and make useless laptop with no optic drive?

sean

They do it just to piss guys like you off….



just kiddin' around….
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