January 16, 2008
This year, the iPhone wasn’t the star of Apple frontman, Steve Jobs’, Macworld keynote. The much rumoured 3G version of the iconic device didn’t make an appearance, which is hardly surprising given that it’s only been available in Europe for a couple of months.
However, Jobs did wax lyrical about the latest firmware update for the iPhone, which goes some way to covering the shortcomings of the device.
Jobs revealed that Apple is shifting 20,000 iPhones per day on average and on the 200th day since the iPhone first went on sale in the US, device shipments topped 4 million.
In the US, Jobs reckons that the iPhone has got 19.5 per cent of the US smartphone market, putting it in second place behind Research In Motion (RIM).
The free update to 1.1.3, allows users to automatically find their location using the redesigned Maps application. With the tap of a button, the iPhone can triangulate a user’s position using nearby wifi base stations or cell towers, circumventing the need for a GPS chip, although it’s not as accurate.
Users can also create Web Clips, which are like shortcuts on the home screen that take them directly to their favourite websites, including to the exact spot users zoomed into. iPhone owners now have more customization options over their home screen as well.
Finally, iPhone owners have the ability to send the same SMS text message to multiple people, as well as getting a history of your text messages and eliminating some of the most annoying aspects of the iPhone.
But the star of the show was the MacBook Air, which at a mere 0.76″ in thickness, must be the much rumoured ultra portable notebook. And wireless technology was high on the agenda here too.
The Air incorporates 802.11n wifi and Bluetooth 2.1 EDR for high speed connectivity. The WiMAX speculation turned out to be just another unfounded rumour. But the device doesn’t feature an optical drive, instead it can wirelessly pair with another Mac and ‘borrow’ its disc drive as though it were present on the Air itself.
The MacBook can also wirelessly sync with Apple’s Time Capsule home backup system with a wifi connection and the ability to store up to 500GB or 1TB of data.
Wireless movie rentals, for both the iPhone and the Air, were also mentioned, with Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lions Gate, New Line, Fox, WB, Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony all on board. New movies will be available for rent over the internet for $3.99 for new releases and $2.99 for library titles.
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