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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

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MWSF: Keynote Highlights
1:06 PM | Eddie Park | 1 comment

The Macworld 2006 Keynote has come and gone, and as always, Steve Jobs has managed to up the bar in several areas once again. Of chief interest to Mac gamers should be the new hardware announcements, including a new iMac and a new laptop. The new iMac sports the much-anticipated Intel Core Duo processor, meaning that all new iMacs from this point forward will be running dual-core processors. Rounding out the hardware specs are 512MB of RAM (expandable to 2GB), a HD capacity of up to 500GB, and an ATI Radeon X1600 PCI-E with 128MB GDDR3. Other features include a built-in iSight and FrontRow w/Remote. Current configurations include a 17-inch 1.83GHz model for $1299, and a 20-inch 2.0GHz model for $1699. Both models are available as of today.

The new laptop, dubbed the MacBook Pro, also runs on the new Intel Core Duo processor. Touted by Apple to deliver as much as 4 times the power of the PowerBook G4, the addition of a 667MHz front-side bus, 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 PCI-E GPU with either 128 or 256MB GDDR3 helps it keep that promise. The 15.4-inch screen is also improved, with a 67% improvement in brightness that brings it up to spec with Apple's Cinema displays. A new power cord, dubbed the MagSafe connector, attaches to the MacBook magnetically, which allows it to pop out safely the next time the dog runs over the power cord. Like the new iMac, the MacBook Pro sports a built-in iSight and FrontRow w/Remote. The current target date for the MacBook is February, though Apple is taking orders as of now.

Apple has also seen fit to create its own FM Tuner for the iPod, dubbed the iPod Radio Remote. Besides allowing iPod owners to tune into FM stations, the device also doubles as an attached remote.

On the software end, updates have been made to both iWork and the iLife suite. Now dubbed iLife '06, this latest version boasts some significant updates in addition to the usual tweaks and theme additions. iPhoto now boasts greatly improved speed and the capacity to hold 250,000 photos. In addition, Apple has introduced Photocasting, which allows for the direct sharing of photo albums via .Mac. A brand new app, iWeb, joins the suite, and gives iLife users the option to create good-looking web pages with minimal effort. iWeb is tightly integrated with the rest of iLife, allowing the importation of photos, movies, sounds, and even Podcasts. A simple drag-and-drop interface helps keep creation easy.

Highlights of the Keynote included Jobs rapidly cutting off a Faith Hill song with a muttered "thank you" when demoing the adding of iTunes store links via iWeb, Intel's CEO Paul Ottelini arriving on stage in a clean suit to confirm the pact between Apple and Intel, and the premiere showing of Apple's new Intel processor ad, which tells a mournful tale of the Intel chip having been trapped in "boring grey boxes, performing boring little tasks," now liberated by its arrival into the Mac lineup (of course). The ad was so well-received it had to be run twice.

MWSF 2006

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