SAN FRANCISCO--At the MacWorld ShowStoppers event Monday night, I got a quick look at Newber, an iPhone app from Freedom Voice Systems that lets you redirect calls made to a new number you give out ("newber," get it?) to alternate numbers depending on your location. If you're in the office at your desk, the app can send calls to your work phone. At home? It rings the house phone. Neither? The call will ring on your iPhone. (See also: Grand Central.) The app uses GPS to suggest call routing, but ultimately you make the routing decision. Sounds … Read more
Macworld--the last Macworld with Apple as a participant--got under way in San Francisco on Tuesday, with Apple unveiling plans to expand DRM-free tunes. CNET News' Greg Sandoval, who broke that story Monday, also talks about Apple's plans to roll out a flexible pricing strategy for selling music.Listen now: Download today's podcast
Pre-Macworld buzz suggested that both a new Mac Mini and a 17-inch unibody MacBook Pro laptop were in the offing from Apple Tuesday on the hardware front.
It seems that the moldy old Mac Mini will stick around for at least a little longer, but the 17-inch MacBook Pro did indeed receive an update to the new all-aluminum chassis Apple debuted on its smaller 13-inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro this past October.
Along with the new chassis, an improved display, and a glass trackpad (all things we've seen before), Apple has brought a few other changes to its highest-end laptop:
Glossy and matte display options The new 15-inch MacBook Pro came with a glossy screen that many people found too reflective. Apple will now offer a $50 matte finish option for the 17-inch MacBook Pro, for those who'd rather do without all of that extra light. We're happy about this option, and we expect that many others will be as well.… Read more
We're posting live updates from Macworld 2009 at San Francisco's Moscone Center, where Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller, is delivering the keynote speech.
8:55 a.m. PST: We're live inside the Moscone Center for Macworld 2009, having braved the elbows of the friendly media hordes and the rather aggressive ushers. The room is fairly full, but the line outside this morning seemed a little smaller than usual, unless IDG did a better job of herding the masses in early. The pre-keynote music is skewing more current than usual before a Jobs keynote, with Death Cab for Cutie and the like, which maybe gives us an idea of what Phil Schiller uses to warm up.
9:03 a.m.: We just got the cell phone warning message, which probably gives us a five-minute window or so. They turned up the volume for Coldplay's "Life in Technicolor," and I'm assuming we're getting close.
9:04 a.m.: The lights dim as the song ends, and Apple's Phil Schiller takes the stage to start Macworld 2009. He appears to be rocking an all-denim ensemble. It's a little hard to tell from here. "I'm so personally excited to be the one delivering Macworld 2009 to you. I'd like to thank everybody for showing up," which gets a chuckle.
9:06 a.m.: Phil's first topic is the general state of Apple, talking about some of the new Apple stores that the company has opened overseas, such as Beijing and Sydney. He's gushing about some of the new store designs. "I can't imagine any other company delivering something like that." Every week, 3.4 million customers visit an Apple store around the world. "That's 100 Macworlds each and every week," a clear pointer to Apple's decision to make this its last Macworld.
9:07 a.m.: Phil's going to start with the Mac, and he seems to be hinting that's all we're going to talk about today. Last year was the best year for the Mac in Apple's history, he said, growing faster than the industry based on what Phil calls Apple's best product line ever. Phil has three new things he's going to cover.… Read more
Some nasty pranksters, likely associated with Web forum 4Chan, have hacked into Apple gossip mainstay MacRumors' live-blog coverage of Tuesday's Macworld keynote. Hosted on a separate domain, MacRumorsLive.com, the site was plagued by offensive messages about Apple CEO Steve Jobs' health and general inanity (i.e. "SEX ME") before finally succumbing to "technical difficulties."
It remains uncertain whether the pranksters actually brought down the site, or whether MacRumors voluntarily took it down to keep things under control.
It's pretty clear, however, that this was the work of 4Chan, which has gained both respect … Read more
I suggested on Monday that Dell should acquire Red Hat to build its software business with open source. While there is a range of valid concerns about such a move, perhaps the biggest complaint was, "What if Microsoft doesn't like it?"
This concern seems to be all-conclusive for some, but I'm not sure why. In case no one has noticed, the days of kowtowing to Microsoft's desktop dominance are, or should be, over. Apple is the best example as to why.
The media is fond of calling out the Mac's rising fortunes against Windows, … Read more
Updated at 11:05 p.m. PST with additional information throughout.
Another Netbook? No, not exactly. Hewlett-Packard's new Pavilion dv2 is an ultraportable, thank you. And the new Athlon Neo silicon inside from Advanced Micro Devices will try to prove that point.
AMD is introducing new chips at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that target the no-man's land between Netbooks and notebooks. Typically, these designs are referred to as ultraportables--the most salient examples being Apple's MacBook Air, the Toshiba Portege, and the Sony Vaio TT series.
So what makes AMD's platform different? In one … Read more
Editor's note: This article was written Monday, before Apple made any announcements about changes to iTunes. You can read the story that followed the company's formal announcement at Macworld 2009 here.
Apple has cut deals that will finally enable iTunes to offer songs free of copy protection software from the three largest music labels, according to two sources close to the negotiations. In exchange, Apple has agreed to become more flexible on pricing, the sources said.
Under the terms of the deal, song prices will be broken down into three categories--older songs from the catalog, midline songs (newer … Read more
By finally deciding to talk about Steve Jobs' health, Apple may have opened a Pandora's Box.
After insisting for months that Jobs' health was a private matter, Apple changed its tack in the face of widespread speculation regarding its CEO's weight loss. On Monday, the company issued a statement that Jobs was suffering from a hormone imbalance that was "robbing" proteins from his body. That news cheered Apple investors, who dreaded far worse news regarding Jobs' health after a report last week that his health was "declining rapidly."
The disclosure was clearly painful for … Read more