Jobs Unveils 'World's Thinnest' Notebook, iTunes Movie Rentals - InformationWeek

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Jobs Unveils 'World's Thinnest' Notebook, iTunes Movie Rentals

Steve Jobs also reported that Apple shipped 4 million iPhones in the first 200 days and 5 million copies of the latest version of the Mac OS X.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs on Tuesday unveiled the "world's thinnest" sub-notebook and launched a video rental service on iTunes, giving the online store an injection of content after last year's defections from high-profile content providers.

In addition, Jobs introduced at the Macworld conference in San Francisco a backup appliance called Time Capsule, and software upgrades for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Apple TV. "All of this in the first two weeks [of the year], and we've got 50 more weeks to go," Jobs said.

In unveiling the MacBook Air, Jobs has introduced a three-pound mini-notebook with a 13.3-inch light-emitting diode (LED) display, iSight Webcam, full-size keyboard, and 80-Gbyte hard-disk drive, which is standard. A 64-Gbyte solid-state drive is available as an option. "It's a little pricey, but it's super fast," Jobs said of the solid-state drive.

The notebook comes standard with 2-Gbytes of memory and an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6-GHz processor, or an optional Core 2 Duo 1.8-GHz chip. It also supports Bluetooth and the fastest Wi-Fi standard of 802.11n, and has a battery life of five hours. "The MacBook Air was built to be a wireless machine," Jobs said.

The notebook's biggest innovation, however, is its size, tapering from three-quarters of an inch at the hinge to 0.16 of an inch at the other side, where the notebook has a magnetic latch. "It's the world's thinnest notebook," Jobs said.

The Air, however, isn't the smallest of notebooks. The Sony Vaio, for example, is available in an 11-inch model.

Apple also added features to the touchpad, such as the ability to tap twice and then move windows around or rotate photos, use three fingers to pan across pictures, or move a finger diagonally to zoom in and out of a photo.

In reducing the thickness of the notebook, Apple worked with Intel, which reduced the size of its processor package by 60% to the width of a dime and the thickness of a nickel, Paul Otellini, Intel president and chief executive, said in joining Jobs on stage.

"When we started this product, we didn't think it was possible," he said. "There were times when we sweated over it, but in time we did what we do best, which is innovate."

One item missing from the notebook is an optical DVD drive. Instead, Apple has added software called "remote disc" that can recognize an optical drive on a PC or Mac computer through a wireless network. Tapping into those machines, an Air user can install software from a CD or DVD. For an additional $99, Apple is selling an external DVD drive that plugs into the Air's USB 2.0 port.

The Air is scheduled to ship in two weeks and will cost $1,799. On the green front, the machine has a recyclable aluminum case and a mercury-free display with arsenic-free glass.

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