Apple CEO Steve Jobs, suffering with health problems, didn't make an appearance Tuesday morning at the MacWorld show in San Francisco. But the company he founded released a slate of new offerings.
-- A 17-inch "environmentally friendly" MacBook Pro that will support up to 8 gigabytes of RAM. The new machine will retail for $2,799 and weighs just 6.6 pounds. It has a high-definition (1920x1200) LED backlit display (and a $50 matte display option). The new machine also has a non-user-removeable battery that Apple promises will deliver up to eight hours on a single charge. The company says the battery is good for 1,000 full charges. There'll be an exchange problem for those needing new batteries. The machine is recycleable, Apple says, and contains no arsenic or mercury.
-- Starting in April, the iTunes store will get an overhaul. There will be three pricing tiers per song: 69 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29. Owners of the Apple iPhone will also be able to download music via the 3G over-the-air network.
Record companies will choose the prices in exchange for Apple getting them to agree to sell all songs free of “digital rights management” (DRM) technology that limits people's ability to copy songs or move them to multiple computers. By the end of this quarter, Apple said, all 10 million songs in its library will be available without DRM.
-- Apple also announced improvements to its movie, music and photo software at the annual gathering of Apple devotees. iPhoto ‘09 can recognize faces and sort photos based on who's in them. GarageBand ‘09 includes videotaped, interactive music lessons given by Sting and other musicians.
Apple's iWork, its version of Microsoft's popular Office software, got a makeover and a web-based application, iWork.com, though it does not allow users to edit documents in a web browser like Google's online document program.
Internet rumors had been speculating about the possibility of a new smaller iPhone Nano, as well as updates to the iMac and MacMini. But Apple made no such announcements.