Macworld 2009 Comprehensive Round-up

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While tomorrow’s headlines might read, “Apple Announces New Products, Steve Jobs Nowhere To Be Found,” we think anyone who knows anything about Apple should applaud Phil Schiller (President of Apple). His presentation at Macworld 2009 was fantastic, and all of us here at Gear Patrol feel he finally deserves some bloody credit.

In terms of new Mac hardware goodies, Apple announced the completely redesigned 17″ MacBook Pro. Software, however, was the primary focus of the event, as significant new features included in iWork ’09, iLife ’09, and iTunes were highlighted and demoed.

Yes, inevitably, some of you will yawn, but to us a DRM-Free iTunes (no ridiculous sharing restrictions and handicapped sound quality) is a major event and finally puts iTunes on the same playing field with competitors like Amazon music. Read our full rundown of what happened this morning after the jump.

iLife ’09

The new iLife ’09 ($79 upgrade, free on new Macs) has been updated with some fantastic new features which we’ve listed below:

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iPhoto ’09 - iPhoto will have Facebook tagging and flickr integration. Additionally, it has some great new organizational systems: Faces which uses facial recognition (we know you love your face), People (get a cork board with people’s snapshots), and Places (which uses GPS enabled cameras or self-entered tags to pinpoint your photos on a map). Sweet.

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iMovie ’09 - Last year’s iMovie was a bit of a debacle for those unfamiliar with the look & feel. iMovie ’09 brings back much of the lost capabilities of older versions, along with some new features such as a precision editor, 2D and 3D maps, video stabilization, themes, and advanced drag & drop.

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Garageband ’09 - The software that made budding artists like Greg Laswell worthy of the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack is back with a big new featured called “Learn To Play.” Basically an instructor (or famous artist: John Fogerty, Patrick Stump, Sting, Sarah McLachlan, Ryan Tedder, Norah Jones..to name a few), the instrument that faces you on screen helps to tutor you on how to play a particular instrument (guitar and piano included, hammer dulcimer… not so much).

iWork ’09

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The new iWork ’09 ($79 upgrade, free on new macs), which is Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office, has been revamped with enhanced productivity in mind. We’ve highlighted the most important changes below.

keynote-09.jpgKeynote ’09 - Keynote (Apple’s presentation software) now sports new features like magic move (which allows for auto rotating and resizing), crane camera transitions, and remote integration with your iPhone/iPod touch.

pages-2009.jpgPages ’09 - Pages (Apple’s word processor) has a fantastic new (creativity enhancing) full screen view for those that consider themselves the next Tolstoy or Clive Cussler, a dynamic outline view to aid in organization, and a couple of new math applications called MathType and EndNote.

numbers-09.jpgNumbers ’09 - Numbers (Apple’s seriously underpowered response to Microsoft Excel) will have 250 new functions, advanced chart options (the charts are pretty sexy), and many other things we imagine Gear Patrol’s finance gurus to be excited about – the rest of us, not so much.

The iWork ’09 suite has now also jumped on the cloud computing band wagon pioneered by Google Docs, and allows for collaboration on documents online at iWork.com. There you can review, edit, and leave notes, all minus the hassle of saving 40 different verisions of the same file . Lets hope it doesn’t fail miserably like MobileMe.

iLife, iWork and Mac Leopard will also be available as a box set for $169 for those of you running older operating systems on your Macs.

Apple 17-inch MacBook Pro

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$2799 – shipping late January 2009

Two words: anti-glare option. Even if it costs $50, Apple is smart to offer an anti-glare option on the new 6.6 lb .98 inch thick 17-inch MacBook Pro”. This lap surfing behemoth is powered by the Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93 Ghz Dual Core processor with 6MB L2 Cache, up-to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, 250-320 GB hard drive, 9400M/9600M GT video cards, and a partridge in a pear tree. The new silky-smooth glass track pad is now also included. The piéce de résistance, however, is a new battery with an 8 hour charge time and 1000-charge life cycle. That’s 3 times the industry standard *cough*.

Apple iTunes Plus

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DRM Free Songs At $0.69, $0.99 and $1.29 – starting today

Aside from bragging that iTunes is now the #1 music retailer in the nation with 6 billion songs sold, 10 million songs available, and 75 million credit card accounts, the music leviathan has now stated that by the end of March 2009, all 10 million songs will be DRM free(!) at 256 kbps AAC encoding (CD-quality, but not lossless). Song price will also now vary from $0.69, $0.99 or $1.29, depending on the label. Last but not least, the mobile iTunes application has now been revamped to ensure that buying songs either through the iTunes music store or the iPhone/iPod touch will be identical. So you can burn holes in your credit card now with even more mobile ease.

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