Apple's New Releases
Many things are happening in the Apple world these days. Many of them just occurred, so we will let you know about them in case you have not heard and come back to them in more detail in later issues.
Microsoft has released Office 2011 for the Mac. I just received my copy, and I like it. The interface has improved. It takes a bit of adjustment to find things in the new interface, but it works well. You can order the new software directly from Microsoft’s web store. You can also get it from the Apple store. The Home and Student version lists for $149, and the Home and Business version lists for $279. Microsoft has replaced Entourage with a Mac version of Outlook in this version. The Home and Business version includes Outlook; the Home and Student version does not. Both versions include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Expect a review in the near future.
Apple has announced a new and upgraded MacBook Air coming in two sizes, 11" and 13", with 4GB of RAM flash memory; drive options of 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB; a second USB port; and an SD card slot (13" size only). The MacBook Air uses the Core2 Duo processor. The MacBook Air introduces FaceTime to the laptop and allows you to use the software with other MacBook Air users as well as iPhone 4 and iPod Touch users. Pricing starts at $999. You can get the new MacBook Air at the Apple store now. Apple has information about it on its website. Expect more information and a review in a later issue.
Apple released iLife ’11, with major improvements to its iPhoto, Garageband, and iMovie applications. Apple includes the new software with all new Mac computers. You can purchase it from the Apple store for $49 for an individual license and $79 for a family pack.
Apple upgraded its iPod line, creating yet another physical shape for the Nano (it’s square now). It has taken away its camera and given it a clip to facilitate its pedometer functions. It comes with FM radio built in and a multitouch-style display with four icons (apps don’t run on it yet). It comes in an 8GB ($149) and a 16GB ($179) version. Apple claims the battery will power 24 hours of uninterrupted music. You get your choice of seven colors: red, pink, orange, green, gray, silver, and blue.
Apple has clearly anointed the iPod Touch as its premier iPod, adding camera capabilities and FaceTime to the iPod Touch, while at the same time making it more svelte. The new iPod touch is just enough smaller and thinner that it swims in a case built for the last generation of the iPod Touch. The iPod Touch comes in 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions, costing $229, $299, and $399, respectively. The new iPod Touch uses Apple’s iOS4 and its own A4 processor, which make it faster and give it longer battery life. Apple has put its retina display into the new version, giving it a noticeably improved screen by comparison to its predecessor. The iPod Touch now has a camera, allowing you to shoot HD video. FaceTime has also been introduced.
The Shuffle remains in the lineup with the return of the click wheel as a controller and an 18 percent size increase for easier handing. You get your choice of pink, orange, blue, green, or silver with your 2GB of memory and a built-in clip for $49.
The iPod Classic remains a current model with no changes, available in black or white with 160GB and selling for $249.
Apple released a new version of Apple TV. It contains no hard disk, is about 80 percent smaller than its predecessor, and only costs $99. This version works by streaming video and lets you connect with the iTunes store as well as Netflix.
Along with the new iPods, Apple released iTunes 10 for the Mac and Windows. It remains a free download. The most significant changes in this version are the improvement of the sync operation and the replacement of the right side of the screen with a screen devoted to iTunes Ping, a social networking setup for music. You can also rent television shows through the iTunes store for $.99 an episode.
Apple also released Safari 5, a major upgrade to its browser program. Safari 5 includes Safari Reader, which lets you view online articles without ads that may have found their way into the picture. It adds improved HTML5 support for better performance as well. Enhancements to the Nitro engine make the browser work faster and better. Safari 5 also gives you built-in Bling search capabilities. The ability to accept and use extensions makes the program easily modifiable in terms of adding features and functions. Apple has created a special extensions gallery to let you download available extensions. You can explore all the new features on Apple’s website at http://www.apple.com/safari/whats-new.html.
Apple, AT&T, and Verizon have announced that AT&T and Verizon will both sell the iPad at their stores. Verizon will package iPads with its MiFi cellular broadband wireless router that will give you a mobile hotspot to connect to using the iPad’s WiFi capabilities. The rumor that Apple’s iPhone will be available on Verizon’s network early in 2011 continues to persist and grow in momentum. The sale of the iPad in the Verizon stores does seem to make the rumor more credible.