It’s the moment many an Apple fan have been waiting for. Or maybe not. Nonetheless, Steve Jobs formally introduced the iPod flash to the masses at MacWorld 2005. It isn’t much. It’s about the size of a pack of gum, and as expected it has no screen. It is obviously based on the random function, and has volume control, play/pause, and previous/next song buttons. Is this thing even worthy of being called an iPod? I kid, I kid. It will probably fly off the shelves like every other new Apple audio player.
The player uses a USB 2.0 connector, and can also be used as a simple flash drive. It will come with lanyard that connects to the device for the chic around-the-neck look. You can expect to get 12 hours per charge from the rechargeable battery, and as with any other iPod, it synchs with iTunes. Since the drives are so much smaller, it uses “AutoFill” technology to automatically create a playlist to synch to the iPod shuffle. As for pricing, it actually looks pretty good. The 512 MB version will run you a cool benji at $99, while the 1 GB model will go for a cool $149. Oh, and it ships today. The iPod shuffle is PC/Mac compatible.
We will update notes as the conference progresses. Go ahead and start refreshing!
- This is the first MacWorld to use HD projection. Apple has exactly 101 Apple Stores, garnering 1 million visitors per week. That is equal to 20 MacWorld Expos’ worth of visitors according to Steve Jobs. I personally have never gone through any sort of turnstile when visiting an Apple Store, but, whatever.
- The iMac G5 debuted last autumn, and has become Apple’s best selling Mac.
- Mac OS X Tiger, which was announced last June, is still on schedule to ship in the first half of 2005, which is “Long before Longhorn.” Again, according to Jobs. This guy loves sticking it to Gates, doesn’t he?
- Jobs demoed the Spotlight feature of the Tiger OS. Since the search is built-in to the core of the OS, it is supposed to be much better than Microsoft and Google’s foray into the desktop search arena. Cool search features, but the program did crash during the demo. Hot damn.
- A demonstration of Tiger Mail’s new capabilities followed, garnering a nice response from the audience when Jobs showcased how photos attached to an email can be instantly viewed as a slideshow, or imported into iPhoto with a single click.
- QuickTime 7 is set to ship with Tiger. The main upgrade here is the H.264 video codec which is scalable from cell phones to high definition TV. QuickTime 7 features 24 channels of surround sound, and live resizing. Using the H.264 codec, you can transcode movies for the PSP.
- Jobs showed of some of Dashboard’s widgets. The apps Jobs demonstrated showed currency conversion, yellow pages, eBay auction tracking, and weather reports. They used OpenGL graphics. Nice effects.
- Steve called 2005 “The year of HD video editing”. That being the case, he introduced Final Cut Express HD. Animated titles, custom soundtracks, integration with iMovie. Available in February at $299 new, or $99 for an upgrade.
- iLife 2005 was talked about, with every app in the package getting an upgrade this year (aside from iTunes). If goes on sale January 22, 2005 at a price of $79. It will be pre-packaged on new Macs for free.
- iPhoto now supports MPEG-4 and RAW images. Nice touch. It has a new calendar view, letting you view photos by day, week, month, etc. New book designs and new book sizes also included. Apple has also cut the price of printing images from iPhoto using a professional service to $.19 per print. Prices on books range from $3.99 to $29.99 depending on the amount of content.
- GarageBand has been updated. Realtime music notation from Garageband. Multrack recording at up to 8 tracks. Pitch & timing fixing. Create your own loops. John Mayer played live, and GarageBand recorded it in realtime, producing 4 separate tracks.
- iWork is the successor to AppleWorks. Now we can talk about it without getting sued I guess. Keynote 2 uses 10 themes designed by Apple, animated text, new animated builds, a presenter display control panel (notes, countdown timer, progress to next slide, etc.), interactive slideshows and autopilot keynote slideshows. Can export in QuickTime and PDF.
- Pages is the word processing program. Includes 40 Apple designed templates. Drag & drop rearrangement of templates text and image placeholders. Phil Schiller came up to demonstrate the new Pages app. Designed by the Keynote 2 team. Pages supports PDF, AppleWorks, and PDF.
- The Mac mini was introduced, and looks very cool. This thing is about as tall as the iPod mini, and about as wide as three iPod mini’s next to each other. It features a slot-loading CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive, USB 2.0, FireWire 400, DVI and VGA connectivity and a headphone jack. Big Steve says the Mac mini is BYODKM: Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard and Mouse for the laymen. The Mac mini works just fine with Apple’s peripherals, or you can use other industry-standard peripherals. The price just blew me away: The 1.25GHz 40GB G4 system is $499, and the 80GB 1.42GHz G4 system is $599. Both include Panther and iLife 2005. You can find them in stores on January 22, 2005. I think we will see a lot more Mac owners in the very near future.
- 230 million songs have been sold through iTunes to date. Steve projects that iTunes will eventually sell 1.25 billion songs per year, giving it a 70% market share of online music sales.
- Apple sold 4.5 million iPods last quarter, while they sold 733,000 in Q4 2003. This is a 500 percent increase in sales. The 10 millionth iPod was sold on December 16th, which Steve kept for himself. Selfish bastard. He held it up for all to see.
- Mercedes Benz, Volvo, Scion, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Nissan will be introducing iPod adapters for their factory-installed music systems this year.
- Jobs mentioned Motorola’s upcoming iTunes-enabled cell phone. No hardware was shown.
- iPod shuffle flash MP3 player was introduced. Very tiny (about the size of a pack of gum) with no display screen. Focuses on playing random music. Has a click wheel similar to larger iPods. The rechargeable battery lasts about 12 hours per charge. They are shipping today. 512 MB for $99, 1 GB for $149.
At MacWorld 2005, Steve Jobs announced that in it’s first full quarter of shipping, the iMac G5 became Apple’s best-selling Mac. He even dubbed it the world’s most beautiful desktop computer. Nice.
Many have been waiting to catch the latest from M. Night Shyamalan, The Village, on DVD. Not because it was a good movie or anything, but rather due to the fact that those who saw it in theaters told their friends to wait for it on DVD. You can pick up The Village starting now, along with some nice classics like Leon The Professional and Gilligan’s Island. More new releases after the jump.
Creative has been trying to one-up Apple for a while now in the portable digital audio player game. Usually one step behind the iPod with the Zen and Zen Micro, this time they took a step ahead of the iPod photo with the Zen Micro Photo. The device, which is 3.3” tall, offers a high intensity 262K color 1.5” OLED screen and up to 6 GB of storage to hold about 7,500 JPEGs or 3,000 MP3s. The Zen Micro Photo will come in two sizes, a 5GB for $299 and a 6GB for $349. This is a nice alternative for those who held off on the iPod photo because of it’s size and price tag.
Read More | Techtree
On December 14, 2004 we told you about EA getting an exclusive NFL license. EA has done it again, this time with the AFL. The Arena Football League and Electronics Arts will be producing an AFL video games very soon. Over the next four years, EA and the AFL will be working together to properly market and inform the media of the new AFL games, the first of which will be launched at the start of the 2006 AFL season. What has happened with competition and variety? Seems like these days, its all about getting the license agreements first.
Read More | TeamXbox.com
MacDailyNews has an interesting story about this Time article that talks about President Bush’s iPod, and a recent Baltimore Sun article in which Dick Cheny was found to have received an iPod for Christmas. I knew that the iPod craze was huge like wildfire, but apparantly it is the MP3 player of choice for our Commander-in-Chief! I know that I feel better knowing that our President goes to bed at night listening to the soft sounds of Brown-Eyed Girl, like any other American.
Read More | MacDailyNews
Ubi Soft has released a new trailer of its highly anticipated game, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. The streaming video is available here courtesy of TeamXbox.com. If you prefer to download the trailer, it is available here. If you are not familiar with this title, the following is the story line taken from the official Chaos Theory web site.
“Japan’s creation of an Information Self Defense Force is deemed a violation of international law and of their own Constitution and ignites rising tensions between Japan, China and North Korea. Facing North Korean and Chinese blockades of shipping across the Korea Strait, Japan requests US assistance in accordance with American obligations under Article 9 of the Japanese Post War Constitution.
Mounting evidence gathered by the I-SDF indicates that the devastation of the Japanese economy on the now infamous ‘Black Gold Day’ may have been caused by intentional Information Warfare attacks. As nations begin to mobilize and the United States activates the USS Clarence E Walsh, the world’s premiere Electronic and Information Warfare platform and dispatches her to the region, Third Echelon gets wind of a small and seemingly unrelated incident that may end up having global repercussions…”
The trailer really does a great job at building hype by focusing on the multi player aspects of Ubi Soft’s latest espionage video game. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory will be released March 30, 2005. Be sure to check out. Perhaps I’ll see you online. Or should I say, I’ll see you, but you won’t see me.
Read More | TeamXbox.com
UnderGroundOnline has a new list of the Top 50 DVDs of All Time. Each DVD is accompanied by a short description and what is included on the disk or box set that makes it worthy of a spot on this list. Most DVDs on the list are special editions, as well as a few box sets of trilogies and epic films. The best DVDs on the market often include plenty of easter eggs and hidden features, and have extensive special features or bonus disks. If you are a movie buff, check out the list to see if there are any films that have missed your collection!
Read More | UGO.com
Check out this image from an Italian Apple fansite. Allegedly, this photo was taken at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. It is a snapshot of MacWorld setup, and apparently is a banner for the soon to be announced iPod flash. It makes sense, especially since it has been speculated that the iPod flash would have no screen, hence, the “random” aspect of the music playing. From the site:
We found a new iPod, probably based on a 1 GB flash memory. Here in San Francisco we have seen people mounting the billboards inside Moscone Center. There were images of the new iPod and a slogan: “Life is random!”. Plus the number of the song: 240. Will it be the next “iPod micro”?