The entire blogospher is abuzz with all the latest goodies announced by Apple yesterday during his keynote at MacWorld. A few of them are definitely the sorts of things that educators will appreciate! Don’t forget, if you’re at MacWorld, there is an Education strand this year. Stop by and visit Hall Davidson while you check out all the offerings that CUE has organized!
The biggest news of the day was Apple’s release of two computers featuring Intel chips (no, they don’t have the ‘Intel Inside’ stickers on them). The new chips give the Macs a much needed burst in speed.
The first laptop to get the Intel chip is the MacBook Pro, which is the new name for the Powerbook line. The MacBook Pro gets a dual core version of the chip that makes it benchmark at 4x faster than yesterdays model. Yikes! They released a 15" version that also includes a built in iSight camera, perfect for video conferencing through iChat. They dropped the Firewire
400 800 port, but added a great new power cable. It’s held in magnetically which makes it really easy to disconnect. Ever trip over a powercable and watched in slow motion as your computer careened towards the floor? This new power cable should eliminate this problem. If something jerks on the cable, the cable just comes right out! Perfect for those clumsy middle school students (and teachers). Superdrive is now included on all configurations. Base price for educators is $1799, with a faster model going for $2299.
The other computer to get an Intel chip is the new iMac. iMac (they’ve dropped the Gx part of the name) also has a built in iSight camera and Superdrive standard with all models. The new chip makes this computer twice as fast as yesterdays iMac G5 according to benchmarks. The form factor of it hasn’t changed, which makes it still one of the most elegant desktops every built. It’s a pretty decent bargain too. The 17" version starts at $1199 with the 20" model starting at $1599. That’s right, a 20" iMac for $1599. Not too bad at all!
As for software, the iLife suite got the biggest upgrades. They’ve really worked web publishing in throughout the suite, with ton of integration for .Mac users. iPhoto introduces Photocasting, which is essentially a new way for people to subscribe to your photo albums via RSS. iMovie gets a few new themes, new transitions, cinematic real time tilting (looks interesting) and support for videocasting. Garageband 3 finally has a Podcasting studio built into it! I’m dying to get my hands on it, but after the job they did with iTunes I have high expectations. It also has new features for creating iMovie scores, which would be great for those doing Digital Storytelling units. iDVD finally gets support for third part DVD burners as well as the ability to create widescreen DVD’s. The biggest change to iLife is the addition of a new app, iWeb. It is an all purpose program for publishing web sites, blogs, podcasts and more. Looks pretty elegant and simple. While it’s designed to integrate with your .Mac account, you can use it to create independent sites as well.
As for the iPod… Let’s be honest, it doesn’t need an upgrade right now. However, it did get an FM radio reciever that fits between the iPod and your headphones. It only works for the Video iPod and iPod Nano though. Don’t worry if you don’t have those, there are a ton of third party offerings that offer the same functionality. Most are even white!
So as expected, there were some great new additions to the Apple family unveiled. Definitely a few new toys for educators to drool over. Enjoy the rest of MacWorld!