Lots in the Air at MacWorld

Ultrathin Laptop, New Updates for iPhone, Apple TV

Automatic Backups Made Easier

Jobs also unveiled a back-up device called Time Capsule that automatically and wirelessly backs up everything on one or more Macs running Apple's Leopard operating system. Time Capsule complements the company's back-up application called Time Machine, which comes
preinstalled in Macs running the Leopard OS.

Time Capsule combines a server-grade hard disk with an 802.11n base station. Using the Time Machine software, users can set up automatic wireless backups for every Mac in their house to the Time Capsule. It will be available in a 500GB model for $299 and a 1TB version for $499.

Apple plans to ship these devices in February.

Software Updates for the iPhone and the iPod Touch

Starting today iPhone users will be able to take advantage of some neat, new software enhancements free of charge. Among them is a useful GPS location feature for Google Maps. The iPhone can now triangulate the handset's location using nearby Wi-Fi base stations or cellular towers. Users can employ this feature as their start or end point for directions or to find local businesses or points of interest.

Secondly, users can now text multiple people in one message–a feature that's available in many mobile phones today, though has been sorely lacking on the iPhone.

Thirdly, users can create Web clips of their favorite sites. This feature lets them save shortcut icons of their most visited Web pages directly on the iPhone's home screen. Additionally, users can now customize the phone's home screen and create up to nine additional icons on the home screen, with the overflow going to a second page.

Fourthly, iPhone plays back movies rented from the new iTunes Movie Rentals. The rentals, however, must be synced from a computer -- they are not downloadable directly to the iPhone. Like a tiny DVD player, the iPhone supports chapter selections, subtitles and multiple
languages if the movie file provides them.

On the iPod Touch, users can now add five applications that have been available on the iPhone: mail, maps, stocks, notes and weather. The add-ons cost $20 for existing iPod Touch users, although they will be built-in on new iPod Touch players.

Rent Movies on iTunes

Also available today is a new section on iTunes that lets customers rent DVD- and HD-quality movies for $3.99 and $4.99 respectively. New releases will be available on iTunes 30 days after their DVD release, Jobs said.

Users must first download a movie to their computer and will be able to transfer them to their iPod or iPhone, using iTunes, for viewing on-the-go. Once you rent a movie, you have 30 days to view it. And once you start a movie, you must finish it within 24 hours. Otherwise, the rental expires. The rental service is available to U.S. customers today and later this year for other countries.

Apple TV, Take 2

At his keynote, Jobs admitted that the Apple TV didn't take off as the company had hoped. So they're trying a new service that lets users download rented DVD- and HD-quality movies and purchased TV shows directly to a television without the use of a computer. The content is also downloaded to the iTunes player on the user's computer.

Users can also stream audio and video podcasts and photos from Flikr and Apple's .Mac server, as well as play iTunes songs directly on a big-screen TV. Apple dropped the price of the Apple TV from $299 to $229 today. Users can download the software update for free in two weeks.--Grace Aquino

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MacBook Air Specs

  • 1.6-GHz Intel Core Duo processor (or an optional 1.8-GHz version)
  • 2GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • 80GB hard drive (or an optional 64GB solid state drive)
  • 13.3-inch, 1280x800 resolution screen
  • built-in iSight webcam
  • backlit QWERTY keyboard
  • trackpad with multi-touch gesture support so users can tap,
    scroll, swipe, pinch, and rotate (the same technology that's used on
    the iPhone and the iPod Touch)
  • 802.11n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) support that allows
    it to transfer data wirelessly at up to 3 Mbps as opposed to 721 Kbps
    with older types of Bluetooth
  • micro-DVI port for connecting to an external display
  • Leopard OS with automatic backup technology called Time Machine