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Steve Jobs announces iLife ’05, the Year of HD, the Mac Mini, and the iPod Shuffle
Here are my quick notes taken from the keynote speech today – please forgive the abbreviated format and lack of formatting in some descriptions, but I was typing quickly to catch as many details as possible. I’m still at the Expo now (ignoring the Tutorial I’m in right now), and will update this if I find I’ve missed anything after a more in-depth review of the content…
Steve started with a quick retail update to note the growth of the Apple Stores, stating that Apple started with just 2 stores two years ago, and now there are 101 retail stores open around the world. He then described the iMac as the “world’s most beautiful desktop computer” and noted that it has become the most popular Mac that Apple makes.
Steve then spent a significant amount of time talking about Tiger, saying that they are on schedule to ship Tiger in the first half of this year. It has 200 new features, and Steve feels it’s an amazing release. The most important feature is Spotlight, the enhanced search function that allows you to find anything on your system. Steve showed used the Spotlight icon in menu bar (top right) and gave a demo, looking up the term “soccer” in a system with a quarter of a million total files. He inadvertently selected an image he did not want to show (a father swinging his child into the air), and could not exit out of the full screen image. His system made the clunk error sound, and Steve said that he’d found a bug. Then he said, “That’s why we have back-up systems!” and he switched to another system and proceeded with the demo.
Next, Steve talked about a major update to Mail. The interface was revised, most notably with slightly different layout and new menu buttons across the top. Spotlight searches can be done in Mail, and search results can even be saved as a smart mailbox for future reference. Photo attachments can be viewed using slideshow (a new button added has been added in each message with attachments) and can saved to iPhoto directly from the slideshow.
Quicktime will be version 7 in Tiger, with live resizing, 24-channel surround sound, MPEG-4 compliance, and a new codec called H.264 (adopted for next generation of HD DVDs and many other digital formats). Demo of new codec using clips from the House of Flying Daggers movie. This codec is scalable from cell phones all the way up to HD TVs.
Dashboard in Tiger will be a place for widgets to live to get in, get what you need, and get out. Built in widgets include access to your address book, calendar, stickies, and iTunes controller, as well as a world clock, converter, dictionary, thesaurus, stock tracker, language translator, yellow pages, and weather. New widgets appear with a neat water rippling effect as if they were surfacing from water underneath the desktop image. All the nice Apple touches are there – the face of the widget clock turns black when it’s nighttime in the selected city, and the weather widget actually shows the effects of the current weather for the area selected (rain, fog, wind, snow, etc).
iChat has extended audio conferencing to 10 simultaneous participants, added industry’s multi-party video conferencing using H.264 codec. Steve demo’d video conferencing with 3 other participants.
Steve closed this preview of Tiger stating that it will be released “long before Longhorn.”
Steve described that “2005 will be the year of HD video”, and he introduced Final Cut Pro Express HD. It is powerful HDV and DV editing software, with LiveType for animated titling, soundtrack for custom music, seamless iMovie file import, and seamless project integration with Motion. It’s priced at $299 and will be available in February. An upgrade will cost $99.
Steve described iLife ’04 as a huge hit for Apple, and announced iLife ’05 with almost every app with major upgrades: iPhoto, iMovie, iPhoto, Garageband, iTunes. The following is a summary of the upgrades for each application:
iPhoto – better organizing and searching, more formats to be supported, more powerful editing, advanced slideshows, all new books and book design, easier to use than before – added folders, calendar view to select photos by date, MPEG movies can be saved from camera, and stored and played in iPhoto, supports RAW format, an editing dashboard contains controls for black and white points, brightness, contract, exposure, saturation, sharpness, and many other adjustments, which work on jpegs and raw photos. New photo books are available in several sizes, soft covers, and lowered prices.
iMovie – now dramatically faster , non-destructive trimming, more transitions and effects, MPEG-4 video, and Magic iMovie (auto creation of movies from your video camera footage. iMovie now edits HD video.
Sony President, Kunitake Ando, was invited on stage at this point to help commemorate the year of HD video. He noted the great Apple software that works seamlessly with Sony video products.
iDVD – 15 new themes, animated drop zones, OneStep DVD creation (immediate DVD creation from video camera footage), new themes, all DVD formats supported (DVD-R, DVD+R, etc.).
GarageBand – Up to 8 track recording, real-time music notation, pitch and timing fixing, recorded tracks are now as flexible as software instruments and loops, create your own loops, vocal transformer added. John Mayer joined Steve to help demonstrate the improvements to GarageBand.
A new JamPack 4 (Symphony & Orchestra instruments) is now available.
iLife ’05 will be on sale on January 27 for $79 and will be free on all new Macs.
iWork is a new product announced today as a successor to AppleWorks. Two applications are included – Keynote 2 (with new features – themes, more animations, animated text, compatibility with a number of formats, including PowerPoint), and Pages. Steve said, “Pages is word processing with an incredible sense of style.” Some features are advanced typography, multiple columns, and 40 apple-designed templates. Phil Schiller was invited on stage to give a demo of Pages, modifying one of the provided templates and showing the ease with which this can be done. iWork will be priced at $79 and will be available January 22.
Getting to one of the big announcements, Steve said he wished he had a nickel for every time someone asked him why Apple doesn’t have a stripped down Mac. Steve then introduced the Mac Mini. It’s a tiny unit, somewhat reminiscent of a cube but much smaller, containing a slot-loading combo drive, Firewire, USB 2.0, Ethernet. Steve introduced the concept of BYODKM – bring your own keyboard and mouse. It can be attached to any industry-standard display, keyboard, and mouse. It comes with Mac OS X Panther and iLife ’05. There will be two models – one with 1.25 G4 GHz processor, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB HD, and Combo drive at $499; and another with a 1.42 GHz G4 processor, 256 MB RAM, 80 GB RAM, and Combo, at $599. It will ship on January 22.
iTunes – 1.25 million songs are being sold per day at the current rate. iTunes now has a 70% market share. Since Thanksgiving, over a million prepaid iTunes cards have been sold. The iTunes Essentials in the Music Store have been completely retooled – this can be a great way to discover the best tracks for a particular genre, era, or artist.
iPod – for the ’03 holiday quarter, 733,000 iPods were sold. For the holiday ’04 quarter, 4.5 million iPods were sold! This is 500% growth year over year. More than 10 million iPods sold in total, of which more than 8 million were sold in 2004 alone. Steve had the 10 millionth iPod with him – it is specially engraved and he has decided to keep it. Apple had announced last year a partnership with BMW in providing in-car adapters for iPods – they are working with BMW on next-generation iPod adapter now, and more automakers will be joining in (Mercedes, Volvo, Nissan, and Scion).
Cell phones – Motorola is putting an iTunes client on their cell phones. They will start rolling out this spring.
Steve segued way to the big announcement by talking about the iPod market share. the iPod now has 65% market share since the release of the iPod mini. “So, what’s next?” asked Steve. The intention is to go after the remaining flash-based market. Today, the iPod Shuffle is being announced. It’s a small, device, and is smaller than most packs of gums. It weighs less than an ounce, and has only a few buttons to control volume, and playing/rewinding/fast-forwarding. It has no LCD display, but has an LED light to show feedback to button presses. There is a USB 2.0 connector on the bottom, it is PC and Mac compatible, and has 12 hours of battery life. It’s supplied with a lanyard and can be hung around your neck. Autofill is a new feature in iTunes to maximize use of the iPod Shuffle – it will fill the iPod with the precise amount of music to fill it completely (manually or automatically). And, hard drive mode can be enabled so it can act as a flash drive as well! The first model has 512 MB and is priced at $99, and the 2nd model has 1 GB and is priced at $149. They will be shipped starting today! Accessories are already available: dock, armband, sports case, battery extender – each will be $29 and will be rolling out in the next 4 weeks.