Steve, TVs, and Phones

The Macworld Keynote this morning was definitely an interesting one. The Mac seemed to be oddly absent in the presentation, and Steve Jobs really only focused on two products the entire time (though a third was updated today withoout fanfare).

Apple TV

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The product formerly known as iTV made it’s official public appearance. Baasically, this device acts as a bridge between the media on your computer and your TV. Of course, iTunes is at the center of this media ecology, but, for photos, Apple TV supports iPhoto on the Mac and Adobe Album and Photoshop Elements on Windows. The current model natively supports 480p and 720p TV resolutions. It has a built-in 40 GB hard drive, and it connects to the television using HDMI or componant cables. It can network with your home computer via ethernet or wireless network (including 802.11n).

The list of supported video formats is pretty limited (basically only anything iPod plays), but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you use the device as intended. It’s billed as an HD device, but it does scale down the content if hooked up to a standard TV. I imagine that, like iPod HiFi, Apple TV isn’t going to be a runaway success, but it will carve itself out a healthy niche. It’ll be interesting to see what future versions bring to the table. The Apple TV is available for $299.

Apple iPhone

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I have to admit, after the Other iPhone came out, I was expecting something like “iPod cellular,” but the name isn’t the only surprise in the iPhone. The touch screen interface is just plain elegant in the demos, and it supports multi-touch input – a first for this kind of device. Also, the screen is crisp and clear, and the sensors which detect the device’s orientation are a very nice touch.

The fact that this device is also the first to run a mobile version of OS X is also notable. It makes me wonder if Apple has any other devices in the “pipeline” that will make use of this slimmed down version of their operating system. The iPhone comes with 4GB or 8BG of internal flash memory, a 3.5″ 320×480 screen, and it supports all modern wireless technologies (except 3G). The iPhone will be carried by Cingular and will carry a price-tag of $499 or $599.

Check out the official product page. The iPhone is beautiful, and I am not one to gush about cellular phones. I was seriously skeptical about this product, but Apple has really brought a unique offering into the crowded cell phone market.

The Undercover Updates

  • Airport Extreme was updated today with a new form factor (think Apple TV) and support for 802.11n. I’m also pretty sure it’s cheaper now at $179.
  • Airport Express got a price drop. It’s now $99.
  • All Core 2 Duo Macs and the Mac Pros can take advantage of 802.11n. Via TUAW.

What Wasn’t Announced

Where was the updated look at Leopard? I thought for sure we would get a tour of more new features and perhaps a new interface. iWork and iLife were totally neglected in this keynote, but these may get released alongside Leopard with some cool Leopard-only features to attract potential users. In fact the whole Mac part of this Macworld keynote seemed lacking. Okay, actually it was nonexistant. Regardless, I expect we’ll be seeing some further announcements and product updates coming from the Mothership over the next few days and weeks.

Finally, as food for thought, did anyone else notice the Beatles albums in Steve Jobs’ demos?

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