I was in the Computing in the Cloud Workshop at Princeton University yesterday, but there was quite a bit of buzz at MacWorld as well. The highlights:
Apple takes the concept of a hard drive plugged into the AirPort Extreme base station one more step further and combines the two and call is Time Capsule. These new Airport Extreme base stations are the same form factor and features as the previous model (802.11n, 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports ) but now includes either a 500GB ($299) or 1TB ($499) hard drive. Users will be able to wireless backup any Mac over the network. This easy backup feature is undoubtedly an answer to the prayers of many MacBook users who hated connecting external drives.
Apple TV remix
Apple TV did not do as well as Apple had hoped and did not live up to the expectations of users. This time Apple hopes to get it right. Jobs announced Movie Rentals through the iTunes store as well as revamped Apple TV that will allow users to download standard-def and HD quality TV without the need for a computer. Users can also synchronised content back to any iTunes enabled computer. Of course, content from Mac, Flickr and YouTube can also be provided through the device.
MacBook as thin as Air
The feature story of MacWorld, however, had to be the new MacBook Air. This is a new interpretation of the wildly popular notebook line from Apple. This is a notebook computer that is truly as thin as a notebook. The MacBook Air weighs less than 3 lbs and is just under an inch thick at its thickest point. Apple dropped the width and weight by kicking the optical drive to the curb and even more weight savings are to be had if the user opts for an optional 64GB flash drive instead of the standard 80GB magnetic hard drive. Steve Jobs apparently hates ports because now USB, FireWire and video ports are hidden inside a drop down panel on the side of the machine. The MacBook Air also inherits the aluminum casing of the MacBook Pros. For me those were the major changes that stand out. EDITED: The MacBook Air does not have FireWire, Ethernet, or audio input/output.