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APPLE.GIF The Schiller Keynote: Three New Things (UPDATED)
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, January 6, 2009 - 14:08 EST)

Macworld Expo kicks off with three new things...

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller, in a blue shirt rather than the traditional black mock turtleneck worn by ailing CEO Steve Jobs, gave the Macworld Expo keynote, apparently Apple's last at the event, promising the audience three new things.

For photographers there were two new things: iLife '09 with smarter versions of iPhoto and iMovie and the new 17-inch MacBook Pro, with a non-glare screen option and permanent battery. You might count the collaborative version of iWork that will go into public beta soon if you use Pages or Numbers. iWork.com will permit sharing iLife documents much as Google Docs permits sharing documents now.

The third thing was a new iTunes with eight million DRM-free tunes and 3G accessibility, which was activated today.

Tony Bennett closed the show. Which should count for something.


The first item on the Schiller's agenda was iLife '09. And first in iLife was the new iPhoto. Following last year's introduction of browsing your photo collection by Events, iPhoto can now browse by face and places.

Faces detects a face in a photo, then you identify that face and iPhoto finds other faces it calculates are the same person. iPhoto suggests, you confirm the identities. The illustration shows images arrayed on a corkboard background with faces that have been confirmed.

You can flip the snapshot of any person you've named to add their last name and Facebook ID. And you can create a SmartAlbum based on anyone by simply dragging one or more snapshots to the source list (see the illustration below).

Places uses GPS geotagging to display locations on Google Maps, translating latitude and longitude into the English location name. If you don't have GPS data in your Exif headers, you can enter the event location and iPhoto will add it.

So both new features rely on human intervention to tidy up what they can't quite manage. It isn't a bad approach but it would seem provisional. The intriguing thing is that Apple, unlike other companies we're aware of that have similar technology, thinks it has made it good enough to release.

On the floor later in the day, we spent a few minutes going through the standard demo. The program made some glaring errors identifying people but iPhoto made it very easy to confirm with a click or reject with a double click it's suggestions. And the smart albums based on people were a very nice touch.

iPhoto also includes six Themed Slideshows, including one with a Ken Burns pan-and-zoom effect. The slideshows use the new face detection technology to avoid cropping out the subject of your photo. There's support for music and a filmstrip at the bottom of the screen for navigation. Exports can be played back on an iPod, iPhone or Apple TV.

Joining Facebook, Flickr support has also been added to iPhoto with a new Flickr button. And if you've added locations to your iPhoto images, they appear on Flickr photo maps.

iPhoto automatically creates albums in the source list for images shared on Facebook and Flickr.

Finally iPhoto's editing tools have been refreshed with a Definition slider to "improve clarity and bring out detail," a Retouch brush to detect edges and the Auto Red-Eye tool uses face detection to remove red-eye more efficiently. The Saturation slider has also been improved with a checkbox to saturate everything but skin tones.

iLife '09 and iWork '09 will be available in a Mac Box Set for a 40 percent savings. The products are scheduled for release later this month and require OS X 10.5.


The new unibody 17-inch MacBook Pro will be available at the end of the month in a single configuration for $2,799: a 2.66 GHz CPU, 4-GB RAM, a 320-GB hard drive. You can opt for a 256-GG SDD and for $50 a non-glare screen for the 1920x1200 display. FireWire 800 only, Mini DisplayPort, USB and the glass trackpad are all inherited from the 15-inch model.

It features new battery technology that promises up to seven hours of power using discrete graphics or eight hours with integrated graphics. The battery can be recharged 1,000 times for an 8,000 hour life but it is not removable.

Based on lithium polymer technology, Apple has reshaped the battery from the traditional cells to custom shapes that increase the size of the battery 40 percent at the same weight. The company claims three times the battery life compared to the industry standard.

The new MacBook Pro with the anti-glare screen wasn't displayed in the Apple booth, so we were unable to get a picture of it until today. The illustration above compares the glassy screen with the anti-glare screen on its right. Note that the anti-glare screen is assembled differently, relying on an aluminum frame where the glassy screen uses a single pane of glass across the entire front of the lid.


We'll return to Macworld Expo over the next few days to catch a few presentations. Adobe may not be there but Russell Brown is. And there are always a few O'Reilly authors worth listening to, not to mention the Canon, HP and Nikon booths.

Meanwhile, couldn't resist this modern Moon Over Hernandez of Apple's last booth at Macworld.

2009-01-06 Photos and text
2009-01-07 Photo

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