Tech Check

Macworld: The Live Blog Of Apple's Conference And Expo


This is the live blog from today's Macworld event. You can read the posts, starting from the bottom of the page to the most recent here at the top.

1:37 PM EST: Bennett opened with "The Best is Yet to Come." Now he's on to "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." And no Steve Jobs. Event is wrapping now. Thanks so much for reading me!

1:33 PM EST: And what's an Apple event without speculation about Jobs' health: Silicon Alley Insider interviewed the endocronologist quoted in the Wall Street Journal today and he apparently says that the most likely scenario for Jobs' hormonal imbalance is because his cancer has returned. Apple shares immediately turned to the red.

My thoughts: investors ought to tread carefully. Legally, Jobs could be on his deathbed, but as long as he is "in charge" and executing his duties as CEO, the company is in the clear.

Morally and ethically, however, if it turns out he has had a recurrence and Apple and Jobs only released part of the truth and not the whole truth in their letters yesterday, they face a PR backlash from which I doubt they'd ever recover.

So, I'd tread lightly when considering speculation from a doctor not directly connected to Jobs' treatment. For what that's worth.

1:31 PM EST: Wireless downloads available as of today.

Ending on music. Keynote is wrapping up. No sign of Steve Jobs. Introducing Grammy-awad winning (15 of them), two Emmys, 100 albums, 50 million albums sold. "My honor to introduce to you Tony Bennett," says Schiller.

1:29 PM EST: Now introducing wireless music buying, not just on Wi-Fi, but over 3G networks as well. For all iTunes music titles.

1:28 PM EST: Sony   , EMI, and others all sign deal: 8 million songs offered DRM free, and by end of this quarter ALL 10 million iTunes songs will be DRM free.

1:27 PM EST: Starting in April, creating three pricing tiers: 99 cents, 69 cents, and $1.29. More songs offered at 69 cents than $1.29.

Also introducing iTunes+.1:26 PM EST: 10 million songs in the library and 75 million credit card accounts. The number 1 channel for music in the US.

1:25 PM EST: Phil Schiller confirms new iTunes pricing model. Sold 6 billion songs in 6 years.

1:23 PM EST: $2,799 for the new MacBook Pro.

1:22 PM EST: A 60 percent increase in battery life, up to 7 hours, or 3 hours longer than previous MacBooks.

1:20 PM EST: Apple's showing a video now showing how engineers achieved a three-fold increase in the battery life while running on half the energy it takes to power a single light bulb.

1:16 PM EST: Battery life on the new MacBook Pro: the longest battery life ever. A "great new advance" in battery technology.

1:13 PM EST: For the last 8 months running, the MacBook has been the most popular. "Absolutely stunning." 6.6 pounds, .98 inches thin, 17 inch display, 1920x1200 pixel resolution. Best display Apple has ever shipped. Also, an anti-glare option/non-glossy finish for an extra $50.

1:11 PM EST: The Third Thing: a new 17 inch MacBook Pro. A new laptop offering is a surprise since everyone thought today would be about desktops

1:10 PM EST: is free today, in beta, but ultimately will be a fee-based service.

1:05 PM EST: Apple also introducing, an online component that will let you compose documents online, so you don't have to write, and then email what it is you've created.

1:03 PM EST: For the first time, iWork will run $49 if you buy a new Mac and it starts shipping today. $79 if you just wanna buy it alone. $169 for Leopard OS, iLife and iWork.

1:02 PM EST: Incidentally, back to the Journal article on iTunes pricing: a quick check shows that CNET's Greg Sandoval had the story yesterday. Picked up later by AppleInsider. And now it's in the Journal. No official comment from Apple yet.

12:56 PM EST: More on iWork. Showing other features, including "Pages."

12:55 PM EST: Keynote, by the way, can run on the iPhone and then wirelessly sync with a Mac so the presentation can then be displayed. 99 cents on the App Store.

12:53 PM EST: The Wall Street Journal story comes from "people familiar" with the details. Still awaiting some official word or announcement here. I'm also told more clarification from the Journal will come shortly.

12:51 PM EST: Phil's now showing a portion of iWork called Keynote '09 which helps users create professionally looking presentations. He's using it for his speech today so he says that should show you how "rock solid" it is.

12:49 PM EST: Correction: that news on iTunes comes from the Wall Street Journal, and not Reuters. Apologies.

12:48 PM EST: Back to the Reuters story: it says Apple will drop DRM from virtually all its 8 million songs in the iTunes library, and that Apple is set to announce licensing deals that will let consumers buy music wirelessly.

All of this represents key departures for Apple and come as a surprise, given that Steve Jobs has fought strenuously to keep the 99-cent pricing model.

12:46 PM EST: Those helping to teach you to play? John Fogarty, Sting, Norah Jones, One Republic and many others. Wow. Very, very slick!

12:45 PM EST: (Reuters just posted a report that Apple is set to change its iTunes pricing model. Offering songs at 79 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29 depending on popularity.)

12:43 PM EST: Showing new Garage Band '09. He's showing one new feature, a breakthrough. New software, Learn to Play, that will help users learn how to play a new instrument, either a guitar or keyboard.

12:41 PM EST: Randy's done with his iMovie demo and Phil is back in stage. "Isn't that incredible?" (He's sounding like Jobs.)

12:40 PM EST: The animating mapping feature is awesome. My son Jeb is a HUGE Indiana Jones fan, and while he's only 7, he fancies himself a budding filmmaker. He would be ALL OVER this mapping feature.

12:38 PM EST: Still demo'ing iMovie. No question the software is cool, but this is where the presentation needs some Jobs magic. It's starting to drag a little. The demo looks neat. Slow-mo, adjustments, audio fixing, and all of it render-free so you just drag and click. But watching Steve do the demo, or at least join in on it, would add some energy to it.

12: 32 PM EST: Randy Ubilios, the iMovie engineer, is now stage conducting a demo of the new software.

12:30 PM EST: Powerful new precision editing. New timelines with "amazing control" and still "incredibly easy to use." Advanced drag and drop, automatically creates themes, transitions, maps, even credits. Automatic video stabilization as well.

12: 29 PM EST: Brand new version of iMovie as well. New video editing. Completely re-wrote iMovie.

12:22 PM EST: So far, Phil's doing a pretty good job. Same level of excitement and enthusiasm. Moving through the demos. Walking over to the Mac on stage to run through iPhoto. He seems very much at ease on stage. You can tell he's heavily scripted and rehearsed, but not in an uncomfortable way. He's doing well. Not Steve Jobs. But getting the job done.

12:20 PM EST:So now iPhoto has Faces and Places. And now Apple is adding support for Facebook and Flickr. Easily transfer photos from your Mac to Facebook, and your Facebook contacts have access to adding info to your photos as well.