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Tradition: Liveblogging the Macworld 2008 Keynote

Since Steve Jobs’ keynote at Apple’s Macworld expo in San Francisco tomorrow is the only thing I’m going to be able to think about, and the only thing most geek bloggers are going to write about, I’m putting this post up as a placeholder for something that’s become kind of a tradition for me – liveblogging the Macworld keynote.

I’m not going to be there, but inevitably, I end up chatting with a few of my geeky friends on Google Talk, Twitter, etc. during the keynote, as we all frantically refresh Engadget, MacRumorsLive, and any other source we can get our hands on during the 1.5 hours in the year that matter most to Mac fans.

Check back during the keynote (9:00 – 10:30 AM PST) on January 15 for updates. Or, if you’re reading this after the fact, enjoy the exultation (and, possibly, disappointment) as Steve reveals the future for the Mac faithful. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, it’s starting. Communications channels are open, agents are in place, and I’m just waiting for the trickle of information to start!

Twitter seems to be down under the load. This is the first MacWorld keynote since Twitter got REALLY popular, so I’m not really surprised. But I’m disappointed, as that’s where most of my personal “connections” are – I know at least a dozen people who are at the keynote, who were posting updates through Twitter. Oh well!

First new product announced: Time Capsule! A full Airport Extreme wireless router with a “server grade” hard drive inside. 500GB for $299, 1 TB for $499. I was about to buy an Airport Extreme to replace a flaky router at home, but something told me “never buy something from Apple this close to Macworld!” Glad I waited, even though my friends said “there’s no way they’ll update the Airport Extreme!” :-) Sure, you can get the same thing with an Airport Extreme and an external USB hard drive, but backing up from Time Machine was never supported, and this is an all in one integrated unit. Kinda spendy, not sure if I’ll get one or not (definitely won’t run out and buy one today – I don’t have the money!). But a cool product nonetheless.

Next up, iPhone! Going over some stats – wow! 4 million iPhones sold, about 20,000 phones per day. I’d say that’s WAY more than the 1 million they hoped to sell by the end of the year. That much sales put them in the number 2 spot in the smartphone market, behind RIM (BlackBerry). Wow. They basically murdered all Windows Mobile and Palm OS smartphones in one fell swoop.

It looks like a new iPhone software release will happen today. Based on the features they’re showing (“my location” in Google Maps, rearrange the home screen, “web clips”), it appears to be consistent with the features we’ve seen in the leaked 1.1.3 firmware. Since I never did a “jailbreak” on my iPhone after my brick fiasco, I’ll happily update to 1.1.3 as soon as its available. The “My Location” in Google Maps, plus the ability to add webclips/bookmarks to the homescreen are definitely worth it to me.

Oh, and apparently they’re releasing new apps for the iPod Touch – Mail, Stocks, Weather, Notes, and Maps. Basically, the apps that the iPhone has but the iPod Touch doesn’t. That’s nice. But wait, what’s this? If you own an iPod Touch and want those apps, you can have them for the low low price of only $20! What a rip off. Doing a jailbreak and adding those apps yourself for free is probably still the way to go if you own an iPod Touch.

Now Steve is talking about iTunes. 4 billion songs sold so far, 20 million on Christmas Day (new record), etc. etc. He’s announcing iTunes Movie Rentals, which pretty much everyone expected was coming, All the major studios, over 1000 movies available, 30 days after DVD release, 30 days to start watching, 24 hours to finish watching. $2.99 per rental, “new releases” $3.99. Kind of lame, but I might feel differently once I get my dream HDTV + Mac mini setup going. Steve also announced “Apple TV Take 2”, with HD movie rentals ($4.99). Yawn. I still maintain that a Mac mini is a much more flexible and powerful home theater PC option, for not much more money. HD rentals are the only really difference. The “take 2” stuff will be available as a software update for existing Apple TV owners in a couple of weeks. Oh, and there’s a nice price drop on the Apple TV from $299 to $229. That makes it a little more appealing, but still not for me, I think.

I get the feeling that Steve was kind of rushing through all of these announcements to get to the “big” one of the show. I sense a new MacBook coming! :-)

The CEO of 20th Century Fox was on stage for a while, blah blah movies blah.

Steve is back on stage. MacBook Air! “A third kind of notebook”, worlds thinnest, etc. Whee! This thing is so thin it fits inside an envelope. 0.16 inches thick at the thin end, 0.76 at the thick end. 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 13.3″ LED backlit display, built in iSight, etc. The MacBook Air has a 1.8″ hard drive, like the iPod Classic and other small computing devices. Which means that it’s really slow. 80GB HD is standard, but 64 GB SSD flash drive is a “pricey but fast” option. Paul Otellini is on stage now, talking about the chip. Shrunk 60% from the first gen Core 2 processor, I’m guessing this is a new Penryn processor, which Intel just released at CES last week. Paul says it’s “thick as a nickel, wide as a dime.” The Air only has one USB 2.0 port, and apparently a brand new video port called “MicroDVI”. Yay, another cable format! It’s got Bluetooth and 802.11n (of course), but apparently no physical Ethernet port for wired network. That’s going to hurt it in corporate environments, but then, I don’t guess that’s where this thing is aimed at. It doesn’t come with an optical drive, but you can buy a USB SuperDrive for $99. It gets 5 hours of battery life, which is about twice what existing MacBooks and MacBook Pros get, but the battery doesn’t appear to be user replaceable, and that’s going to make a LOT of people mad. It does come with 2 GB of memory, though, which is nice. Price is $1799, pre order today, ships in two weeks. They’ve already got some nice pics and a guided tour up on Apple.com.

I really don’t see myself getting one of these, but there’s no denying it’s a lustable computer. If I were computerless, and contemplating a new one, it would take some hard thought to decide between the MacBook ($1099), MacBook Air ($1799), or MacBook Pro ($2000). But, already being spoiled with a MacBook Pro, I just don’t seen room in my life for a MacBook Air.

Unless, that is, Rachel falls in love, and just HAS to have one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, after all of that, it looks like I’ll be updating my iPhone to 1.1.3 as soon as it comes out, and probably buying a Time Capsule soon. I’m pretty happy, and honestly a bit relieved that I don’t have to try to come up with $1800 for a MacBook Air. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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3 thoughts on “Tradition: Liveblogging the Macworld 2008 Keynote

  1. Jamie says:

    How does that work? Do you tell your boss “don’t bother me from 9 am until 11 am. I’m busy with Macworld”?

  2. @Jamie – well, in the first place, my boss doesn’t “bother” me much at all. I’m responsible for getting my work done, and he doesn’t really care how I do it. I meet with him regularly, and we talk about what I’m doing, but he doesn’t try to micromanage how I do things. I know that’s not the case for everyone, and I feel bad for people with micromanager. I know I’m lucky.

    So does he care that I was paying attention to the keynote this morning? I don’t know, but I’d guess not. Part of what I do is maintain expertise and knowledge on what’s going on in the software industry, and Apple’s announcements today were relevant. Also, I’m well known as “a Mac guy”, and our team is probably the most Mac-centric team at Intel (we all use Macs in one form or another, which is an absolute rarity at Intel today). I have expectations of being the guy that knows what’s going on in the Mac world, and I have to live up to that! :-)

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