Electronic Design

Jobs Shows Off Tiny New Laptop

Apple's Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled a super-slim new laptop that's less than an inch thick and turns on the moment it's opened at the Macworld conference today. Jobs pulled the ultra-thin laptop, the MacBook Air, from a manila envelope. The less-than-one-inch-thick computer (.76 inches at its thickest and .16 inches at its thinnest) has a 13.3-inch screen and a full-sized laptop keyboard. It comes standard with an 80-gigabyte hard drive, with the option of a 64GB flash-based solid state drive as an upgrade. The machine doesn't come with a built-in optical drive for reading CDs and DVDs. Jobs says consumers download music and movies over the Internet instead. A $99 external drive, though, will be available. The $1799 notebook goes on sale in two weeks. Apple now has 8 percent of the personal computer market share, making it the nation's third-largest PC vendor, according to Associated Press reports. Besides computing, Jobs also announced innovations in entertainment. Apple will venture into online movie rentals, as it has signed partnerships with all six major movie studios to offer films over high-speed Internet connections 30 days after they're released on DVD, according to the Associated Press. The service has been launched in the United States and will roll out internationally later this year. More than 1,000 movies for online rental will be available through iTunes by the end of February. Older movies will cost $2.99 while new releases are priced at $3.99. Users can keep the movie for up to 30 days while having 24 hours to finish it once it's started. New features for the iPod touch and the iPhone — which Apple has sold 4 million of in the first 200 days it was on sale — were announced. iPhone users can now pinpoint their location on Web maps, text-message more than one person at a time, and customize their home screens. New models of the iPod touch will be able to process e-mail and perform new mapping functions.

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