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News from Macworld

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The annual Macworld Expo opened its doors on all things Apple-related today in San Francisco. This is the final Macworld at which Apple will be exhibiting; the company will not participate in future Macworld Expos. New at the show was iLife ’09, with enhancements to iPhoto, iWeb, iDVD, and iMovie, as well as new built-in Garageband lessons for guitar and keyboard. iWork’s Keynote, Pages, and Numbers were also updated.

Perhaps bigger news for musicians are the three changes to the iTunes Store. First, the Store’s 10 million songs are going Digital Rights Management (DRM) free. Second, there will now be a 3-tiered pricing structure for songs ($0.69, $0.99, or $1.29 per song). Third, iPhone users can now purchase and download content over a 3G connection. (Previously this could only be done over Wi-Fi.)

Finally, Apple unveiled the new 17-inch MacBook Pro, which has the same “unibody” construction as the laptops that were announced back in October. It runs a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor and has 4GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB). A 5,400RPM, 320GB hard drive is standard, along with an 8x SuperDrive, and a 1,920×1,200 LED-backlit display. Expansion options include one FireWire 800, one Ethernet, and three USB 2.0 ports, and an ExpressCard 34 slot. Options include a 2.93GHz Core 2 Duo processor and a 7,200RPM 320GB hard drive or a 128GB or 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD). The new model is highly environmentally friendly – free from arsenic, BFR, mercury, and PVC. A new type of battery is said to offer three times the battery life of other batteries (up to eight hours), and can be recharged 1,000 times. Interestingly, the new battery is not removable. At less than one inch thick and only 6.6 pounds, the new 17-incher should be highly portable.

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