Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs opened his keynote address for Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco talking about Apple’s retail initiatives. Apple now has 101 stores hosting a million visitors a week — 20 Macworld Expos’ worth of visitors, Jobs commented.
Jobs turned his attention to the iMac G5, which came out last autumn. In its first full quarter of shipping, the iMac G5 became Apple’s best-selling computer, according to Jobs. More details are expected on Wednesday when Apple reports its latest quarterly results.
Mac OS X v10.4 “Tiger” was first announced at last June’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), and Jobs reiterated Apple’s plans to ship the new operating system in the first half of 2005. “That is going to be long before Longhorn,” said Jobs, referring to Microsoft’s forthcoming operating system.
While many Mac users and industry watchers are already familiar with the operating system, Jobs provided a condensed demonstration of specific features of the new operating system, including Spotlight, a new search engine technology used to find content on your Mac’s hard drive. Jobs took jabs at Google and Microsoft, which have both introduced competing technologies which he says don’t have nearly as user-friendly interfaces.
A demonstration of Tiger Mail’s new capabilities drew applause from the crowd, when Jobs showed a new feature that allows users to view attached photos instantly as a slideshow and easily export to iPhoto using an on-screen icon. Mail appears to have much faster search capabilities, along with smart mailboxes, which provide you with instant search results.
The centerpiece of QuickTime 7, which will debut with Tiger, is the new H.264 video codec — a scalable, high-quality technology that scales from cell phones to high definition video. H.264 will be used in both competing high definition DVD video formats — HD DVD and Blu-Ray.
Dashboard’s Widget technology — mini-applications that provide dedicated features and functions — also got some stage time, as Jobs demonstrated currency conversion, yellow pages, eBay auction tracking, and weather reports, complete with OpenGL-based graphics and effects.
2005: The Year of HD Video
Calling 2005 “The Year of HD Video Editing,” Jobs introduced Final Cut Express HD, a new High Definition version of Apple’s mid-range prosumer/professional digital video editing capabilities. It adds LiveType for animated titling, Soundtrack for creating custom music soundtracks, integration with iMovie files, and project integration with Motion. Available in February, 2005, Final Cut Express HD will still cost $299.
Sony President Kunitake Ando took the keynote stage after Jobs lauded Sony’s new $3,499 HDV camcorder. He got laughs from the crowd after he noted that Jobs likes Sony products, but not all Sony products — a sly reference to Sony’s Connect music service, a direct competitor of Apple’s iTunes Music Store.
iMovie, the consumer-grade video editing application included with iLife, also gets the HD treatment — more on that below.
Jobs also introduced iLife 05, a new version of Apple’s consumer application suite, now with upgraded versions of all applications except for iTunes. iLife 05 goes on sale on January 22, 2005 for $79. It will also be included for free on all new shipping Macs.
iPhoto gains support for more formats, including MPEG-4 movies and RAW, an image format used by high-end digital cameras. A new calendar view lets users easily navigate between month, week and day. Photo albums can now be stored in folders. New editing tools include control over color saturation, temperature, exposure and sharpness — all available through a dashboard interface equipped with sliding tools that let you see changes live as they happen. You can also view before and after changes using the Control key. iPhoto also includes a histogram and can straighten images too. New effects and the “Ken Burns” pan effect have been added to slideshows. New book designs and new book sizes have been added. Apple has also cut the price of printing images from iPhoto using a profession service, now 19 cents per print. Prices on books range from $3.99 to $29.99 depending on the size and number of pages.
The centerpiece of iMovie’s new capabilities is its support of 720p and 1080i HD video. iMovie’s performance has been improved. Effects can now be applied to video clips non-destructively, as well. More transition effects have been added, and iMovie now supports the MPEG-4 format.
iDVD gains 15 new themes which add animated drop zones, which display photos and video clips using animated effects. One step DVD creation has been added, and support has also been added for all writeable DVD formats (+R, -R, ±RW, etc.) if you have a drive that supports them.
GarageBand has added eight-track recording, Vocal Transformer, real-time musical notation that records your notes as you play them, and pitch and timing fixing. You can now make your own instrument loops. Popular musician John Mayer took the stage to demonstrate some of the new capabilities — Jobs played with the musical notation capability by dragging notes and chords up and down the scale as GarageBand played them back. Mayer and another musician also did a live song to demonstrate multi-track recording, laying down four tracks that Jobs later fiddled with.
iWork is the successor to AppleWorks, according to Jobs. It includes Keynote 2 and Pages, a new word processor. It’s priced at $79 and will be available on January 22, 2005.
Keynote 2 uses ten new Apple-designed themes, animated text, new animated builds, presenter display (which can display notes, next slide, timers and more), interactive slideshows and self-playing keynote slideshows. It also gains Flash output, and exports PDF and QuickTime as well.
Pages is described by Jobs as “word processing with an incredible sense of style.” The new word processing application includes advanced typographical capabilities, multi-column support, text paragraph styles, footnotes and more. It was designed by the same team as Keynote 2.
The centerpiece of Pages, according to Jobs, is the forty Apple-designed templates that show placeholder photos and Greek text; you simply input your own text and drag and drop your own images. Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller offered a demonstration of some of the software’s capabilities, which include the ability to display objects with alpha-channel transparency, automatic text reflow around objects and more.
A Column tool will automatically reflow layouts to multiple columns if the user specifies, and includes Keynote-style table capabilities that let users display visual data like bar graphs and pie graphs.
Encased in brushed metal, the new Mac mini features a square shape with rounded edges and is somewhat similar in appearance to an Apple AC power adapter. It features a slot-loading CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive, USB 2.0, FireWire 400, DVI and VGA connectivity and a headphone jack.
Jobs describes the Mac mini and BYODKM: Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard and Mouse. The Mac mini works just fine with Apple’s peripherals, of course, or you can use other industry-standard peripherals.
The Mac mini comes in two models — a 1.25GHz, 40GB G4 system for $499 and an 80GB 1.42GHz G4 system for $599. Both are coming on January 22, 2005.
230 million songs have been sold via the iTunes Music Store to date. Jobs estimates that at its current run rate, Apple will sell 1.25 billion songs per year. That makes up a 70 percent share of the online music market.
For the holiday quarter 2004, Apple sold more than 4.5 million iPods. That compares to 733,000 iPods during the same quarter a year. A 500 percent year-over-year growth. That means Apple has sold more than 10 million iPods to date — 8.2 million of them were sold in 2004.
“Ten million iPods,” said Jobs emphatically, as he held up the ten millionth unit that rolled off the line. “Thank you.”
Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Volvo and Scion will be introducing iPod adapters for their factory-installed auto stereos in 2005. Alfa Romeo and Ferrari will be doing so as well. Mercedes is an exhibitor at this year’s show, and is showing its SLK and CLS models with iPod controls.
Jobs made passing reference to Motorola’s forthcoming iTunes-equipped cell phone, but no demo was given.
One More Thing — the iPod shuffle
Apple’s latest digital music device, the iPod shuffle, is shaped like a long, thin rectangle with beveled edges. It has a headphone jack on the top. Clad in white with a grey button interface laid out similarly to the iPod and iPod mini’s clickwheel. It measures smaller than a pack of gum and weighs less than four quarters. Available in 512MB for US$99, or 1GB for $149.
“We are shipping them out of the factory starting today,” said Jobs.
A cap on the bottom hides a USB 2.0 connector. You pop it off and plug it in to a PC or Mac’s available port. An optional lanyard lets you wear it around your neck. Apple says the iPod shuffle’s battery lasts about 12 hours per charge.
“Autofill” is a new feature in iTunes that will automatically build a playlist that will fit on your iPod shuffle.
iPod marketshare has doubled since January 2004 from 31 to 65 percent, while flash memory-based players have dwindled from 63 percent to 29 percent. “The iPod mini worked,” said Jobs. And the next step is for Apple to go after the flash market, he added.
“Shuffling” songs is an enormously popular way for portable music listeners to listen to their songs, according to Jobs, hence the name.
Apple is also introducing a line of $29 accessories that include an armband, dock, sports case and 20-hour battery extender. They will be available in the next four weeks.
“We can’t wait to see the reaction and we hope people will love it as much as we do,” said Jobs. He also indicated that Apple’s San Francisco store may actually have some in stock.
With that, Jobs offered kudos to Apple employees, and the audience clapped appreciated. The show closed with Mayer playing two of his songs live for the keynote audience.
This concludes our live coverage of Steve Jobs’ Macworld Expo 2005 keynote address. Please visit MacCentral’s home page for more coverage from the show.