Jobs reveals tiny laptop, confirms iTunes movie rentals

January 15, 2008 11:07:04 AM PST
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs took the wraps off a super-slim new laptop Tuesday, unveiling a tiny personal computer that is less than an inch thick and turns on the moment it's opened. At the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Jobs also confirmed the tech giant's foray into online movie rentals, revealing an alliance with all six major movie studios to offer films over high-speed Internet connections soon after they're released on DVD.

Always a showman, Jobs unwound the string on a standard-sized manila office envelope and slid out the ultra-thin MacBook Air notebook computer to coos and peals of laughter from disbelieving fans at the conference.

At its beefiest, the new computer is .76 inches thick; at its thinnest, it's .16 inches, he said. It comes standard with an 80-gigabyte hard drive, with the option of a 64GB flash-based solid state drive as an upgrade.

Trading was heavy Tuesday in Apple's stock, which fell 4.87 percent to been 170.11 at midday.

The movie-rental revelation capped months of speculation that an Apple movie rental service was in the offing. The service launched Tuesday in the United States and will roll out internationally later this year.

Many of the revelations in Jobs' keynote address reflect the Cupertino-based company's intensifying efforts to push deeper into consumers' living rooms with technologies that blend traditional Internet technologies with home entertainment devices.

Apple will have more than 1,000 movies for online rental through iTunes by the end of February, with prices of $2.99 for older movies and $3.99 for new releases. Users can watch instantly over a broadband Internet connection, or download and keep the movie for 30 days while having 24 hours to finish the movie once it's started.

Apple is partnering with 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal and Sony on the service, which will work on Macs, Windows-based machines, iPhones, iPods or Apple TV set-top boxes.

Jobs also unveiled a string of new features for the iPhone, showing how users of the combination iPod-cell phone-Internet surfing device can now pinpoint their location on Web maps, text-message multiple people at once and customize their home screens.

Jobs also said Apple has sold 4 million iPhones during their first 200 days on sale.

The crowd applauded when Jobs demonstrated mapping upgrades to the iPhone. Other features rolling out Tuesday included the ability to switch around icons on the iPhones home screen. Users also can create up to nine home screens.

Jobs also unveiled new software for the iPod Touch music player. New models will have be able to process e-mail and perform new mapping functions.


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