Apple chief Steve Jobs delivered some of the expected goods at the US MacWorld talkfest, announcing an iPod to challenge flash music player market share, the rumoured US$499 Mac and a slew of features expected for the next version of Mac OS X, codenamed Tiger.
Jobs told Australian media via a video presentation of his San Francisco keynote that the US$499 Mac mini, a stripped down 1.25GHz, 1.3kg box five centimetres tall and about 15 centimetres wide, would be shipped globally from 29 January.
The Mac mini had no keyboard, monitor or mouse but did have FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 ports for plug-and-play with any vendor’s hardware, he said.
It also had 256MB of 333MHz DDR SDRAM, a 40GB Ultra ATA hard drive, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, ATI Radeon 9200 graphics processor with 32MB of memory, a 56K v.92 modem, DVI and VGA support and 10/100 Ethernet, Jobs said.
“It is a very robust computer but it is very very tiny. We supply the computer, you supply the rest,” he said. “People understood the iPod mini and we think they’ll understand the Mac mini as well.”
Wireless 802.11g capability and Bluetooth were optional. The Mac mini was also available in a 1.42GHz version for US$599.
Jobs also showed the latest iPod, a USB key-like music player that can hold about 60 songs or double as flash memory dubbed the iPod Shuffle. Expected retail price would be US$99 when it arrived in Australia in about two weeks, Apple said.
“In January 2005, iPod market share has doubled to 65 percent. Flash music players’ share has been cut to 29 percent,” Jobs said. “We’d like to go after the remaining flash market.”
iPod sales had grown 500 percent year on year and Apple had manufactured its ten millionth iPod on 16 December, he added.
However, Jobs said nothing about iTunes coming to Australia although it had also been rumoured this country’s long wait to enjoy that Apple offering would soon be ended.
Arno Lenior, marketing director at Apple Australia, said he could not confirm whether iTunes would be available here soon. “As soon as we can make an announcement, we will,” Lenior said.
Jobs’ keynote also prefigured expected features of the fifth upgrade of Mac OS X, codenamed Tiger.
In Tiger, a desktop search engine, dubbed Spotlight, would let users comprehensively and quickly fish for cross-referenced data among all kinds of files, thousands of messages and across many mailboxes.
“It enables you to find anything on your system – whether it be inside PDFs, documents, emails or almost anything,” Jobs said. “And it instantly updates when things change, because it integrates right into the operating system.”
Jobs’ demonstration of Spotlight also flushed out a bug. While he was trying to bring up all photos relating to the terms “love” and “sunset”, the screen suddenly froze. Jobs went to backup and the search facility then worked perfectly.
Apple also announced beefed up, shiny and slick versions of iLife, an AppleWorks descendant aimed at taking advantage of newer features in recent offerings such as OS X -- dubbed iWork -- and Final Cut Express HD for high-definition video editing.