The weeks and days leading up to MacWorld '09 were full of speculation about new Apple product and Steve Jobs health. There were rumors of new Mac MacBooks, a revamped Mac mini, and Apple TV. The fact the Phill Schiller would be leading the keynote at MacWorld fueled the rumors that Steve was dying. Of course, Steve let us know that all was well and many were disappointed in that there expectations were met.
I did not attend MacWorld so this posting is no more than a write up on other news reports from around the web.
So what did Apple announced at MacWorld '09? As some predicted (expected) there was a new 17" MacBook Pro. As with the newer MacBook line, this notebook has LED backlighting and all aluminum case. Unlike the other MacBooks this one has a FireWire 800 port and some very interesting battery technology. The battery is not removable but Apple promises that with their sophisticated power management software and new technology that the battery will last about 8 hours and 1000 recharge cycles. Yes, 8 hours! I don't know of any current laptop that gets that kind of battery life. This is a first in the industry and a definitely a win for Apple. I know I want one already.
Before Phil got to the hardware he announced updates to the iLife and iWork suites. Available sometime in January, iLife '09 features enhancements to iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb and GarageBand. GarageBand now has a feature to help Mac users learn to play a musical instrument,such as the guitar or the piano. Users will be able to purchase and download lesson packs from music stars such as Sting, Norah Jones and John Fogerty. I think this feature bring real value ( and entertainment ) to GarageBand for most Mac users. I know my kids love poking around with GarageBand but this provides a inexpensive way to teach.
iPhoto now support two major new features called "Faces" and "Places". One trend in photo technology is face detection. Some of the newer consumer digital cameras are able to detect the faces of people and change their settings accordingly. iPhoto uses face detection to identify faces of people in your photos and tag them. Once you teach iPhoto how to detect Grandma's faces then newer photos of Grandma can be automatically recognized and tagged. I am really looking forward to applying this feature to my family photos.
The Places feature adds geo-tagging using Google Maps and photos can be organized around location. Apple's web site claims that "This feature uses data from GPS-enabled cameras or the camera on iPhone to categorize photos by location and convert GPS location tags to common, user-friendly names."
I don't use iMovie much so I don't quite understand the newer features from the old but here is list:
- replace or insert clips using a single pop-up menu
- Edit audio separately from vieo
- additional options such as cutaways, picture-in-picture, and green-screen effects
- displays a magnified filmstrip that shows exactly where one clip ends and the next begins so you can precisely edit your video.
- new dynamic themes
- animated travel maps
Apple has added some social network features to iLife '09. Users of Facebook and Flickr can submit their geo tagged and face tagged photos directly from iPhoto. Edits in Facebook can then be synchronized back to iPhoto. Users if iWeb can link to a Facebook account and automatically notify friends when they update their web site. I'm a big Facebook user and these new features are going to help me stay in touch with distant friends and family.
Apple also announced an updated iWork with the significant new features being a distraction free full screen edit mode, mail merge, integration with MathType, opening and saving Microsoft Office files directly, and the linking and embedding of content between each application.