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#666: WWDC 2009 Announcements: New Notebooks, iPhone 3.0, Snow Leopard and More


Happy Apple Christmas!

This is always one of the most exciting weeks of the year for us Apple-fanatics, but it’s particularly exciting that so many products were released during yesterday’s WWDC keynote. Speedy new iPhones, a full upgrade of Apple’s portable line, and the release of a jam-packed exciting new operating system!! I couldn’t be more excited (and my bank account couldn’t be more frightened).

Don and Matt are out on the west coast representing Small Dog and getting the skinny on all the new goodies. Check our blog and Twitter for the latest updates from WWDC.

Aside from the booming upgrades at Apple, we were blessed yesterday with a gorgeous reminder that Spring is in full bloom and Summer is on the way. In my afternoon walk with Toby, we passed a woman playing guitar and singing on a rock in the middle of the Mad River while a father and his son kayaked by. There’s a sense of freedom in the Green Mountains that is invigorating and inspiring. I’m really not sure why anyone would choose to live anywhere else.

So, for everyone glued to their computer screens checking the latest updates from WWDC, let this be just a little reminder to take a break and enjoy this awesome season… and then refresh Digg a few more times. ;)

Thanks for reading!


  WWDC 2009 Recap: New MacBook Pros  

With machine gun delivery, Phil Schiller unveiled a whole new paradigm for Apple’s notebooks yesterday at WWDC (World Wide Developer’s Conference). All unibody aluminum Apple notebooks have been substantially upgraded AND are being offered at lower prices—up to $300 less than before.

13” MacBook Pro (formerly MacBook)
The biggest news is that the 13” unibody MacBook will now be known as the MacBook Pro.

Upgrades to the 13-inch MacBook Pro include the return of the FireWire to the smaller notebook size. This will be a FireWire 800 port, which can easily be adapted for FireWire 400 devices, including cameras and hard drives.

Other upgrades include the inclusion of an SD card slot (first time ever for Apple, and a boon to photographers everywhere), a seven hour built-in battery, illuminated keyboards across the board, and an improved LED-backlit display with 60 percent greater color gamut.

The new 13” MacBook Pro can take up to 8GB RAM and has the option to factory install a 7200 RPM 500GB hard drive. The 13” MacBook Pro still uses the 256MB Intel 9400M graphics card.

Prices range from $1,199 to $1,499 in standard configurations.

15” MacBook Pro
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro now features a seven hour built-in battery, an SD card slot, an improved LED-backlit display with 60 percent greater color gamut and 4GB of RAM across the line at an entry price $300 less than before.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is available in three models:

  • A 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system with a 250GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for a new entry price of $1,699
  • A 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system with a 320GB hard drive, and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M and 9600M GT graphics for $1,999
  • A 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system with a 500GB hard drive, and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M and 9600M GT graphics for $2,299

17” MacBook Pro
Meanwhile the, 17-inch MacBook Pro, which includes an eight hour built-in battery, an ExpressCard slot, LED-backlit display, 4GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M and 9600M GT graphics, has been updated to include a faster 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a larger 500GB hard drive.

Price: $2,499, which is $300 less than before.

The current line of MacBook Pros is now more affordable than ever, with some models up to $300 less than the previous generation. These are also the industry’s greenest notebook lineup—every Mac notebook achieves EPEAT* Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements, setting a new standard for environmentally-friendly notebook design.

We have all of the new notebooks sku’d up on our website and ready to (pre)order:

13in MacBook Pro (brand new)
from $1,199.99

15in MacBook Pro (both brand new and closeout models)
from $1,399.99

17in MacBook Pro (both brand new and closeout models)
from $1,699.99

MacBook (both current white model and closeout aluminum unibody models)
from $899.99

MacBook Air (both brand new and closeout models)
from $1,399.99

We’re in the process of reshuffling our categories to reflect all of these new products, too, so bear with us as we try to make everything easier to find!

  iPhone OS 3.0 and iPhone 3G S Announced  

Apple gave us a preview of the 3.0 software a little while back, so essentially, we had an idea of what was coming. Scott Forstall gave us a rundown of the features we’ll see in iPhone OS 3.0 on June 17 (both expected and unexpected):

  • Cut, Copy and Paste: It will appear as a bubble on your screen, and across ALL apps (both Apple and third-party). It will also have “Undo” support to clear that mistake you just made…
  • Landscape Orientation: Now, all apps will be able to use this orientation, giving users a larger keyboard and screen with which to type and view. He highlighted Mail, Notes and Text Messages.
  • MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) Support: This allows users to view photos, hear audio, see contacts and locations all in one app. MMS will replace SMS when AT&T gets their act together later this summer with support on their end.
  • Search: Spotlight is coming to the iPhone/iPod touch. The same search feature that works on the Mac has been developed to work on your mobile device. You’ll be able to search all your apps, and across your device. One cool feature of search is that you will be able to search on your mail server, not just your downloaded mail!
  • iTunes: You can now rent movies, purchase audiobooks, etc. on the fly. There is also support for iTunesU on the iPhone/iPod touch.
  • Parental Support: Added features that limit browsing to only certain ratings of shows/movies (G, PG, etc.) and apps that are age appropriate (7, 9+, etc.).
  • Tethering: You will be able to connect your device to your computer and share the internet connection via USB or Bluetooth. Pretty huge if there’s no WiFi around, and the only access is your cell service. It will work on both Macs and PCs. However, it also requires cell provider support (hello, AT&T), which won’t be available until “later.” (He was deliberately vague, which prompted laughter from the audience!)
  • Safari: Performance improvements, which are partially indicated by the SunSpider benchmark tool that shows a 3x improvement in speed. There’s also support for HTTP streaming audio and video. Also: AutoFill technology has been added (hallelujah) to fill in usernames and passwords.
  • Languages: Added support for over 30 languages. He noted that one of the advantages of the iPhone’s ‘soft keyboard’ is that a multi-lingual user can simply tap the keyboard to change languages “in real time.”
  • Find My iPhone: This was HUGE and got a great reception from the crowd. Essentially, what it does is offer a way for users to locate a lost/stolen phone via GPS technology. It’s a benefit for MobileMe customers—you log in, and it will show you the location of the phone on a map. Then, you can send a message to it with a number to call (the alert sound will play whether or not your phone is in ‘silent mode’) and also remotely “wipe” all of the data off of it! Take that, data thieves!

Also, new Voice Control commands allow you to make calls, change your iTunes music, or even create an on-the-fly Genius playlist via your voice. The addition of a digital compass works with Google Maps to help you orient yourself.

Overall, there are over 100 new features.

And since WWDC is a developer’s conference, the keynote wouldn’t be complete without some demoes from featured developers. Gameloft, AirStrip Technologies, ScrollMotion TomTom, ngmoco:), Pasco, Zipcar and more highlighted their development for the iPhone/iPod touch, which ranged from gaming to medical sciences to education to navigation, ridesharing and beyond (I was really excited about the TomTom app and corresponding car accessory, which we will be carrying as soon as it’s available).

Oh yeah, new models and price points were announced: There is now a 32GB iPhone, and the pricing structure goes like this:

  • iPhone 3G 8GB: $99
  • iPhone 3G S 16GB: $199 (The “S” stands for Speed!)
  • iPhone 3G S 32GB: $299

Among the hardware improvements, the iPhone 3G S includes:

  • Overall faster features—specifically, 2x faster than the iPhone 3G.
  • A built-in video camera to shoot, edit and share videos from your iPhone/iPod touch.
  • A 3 megapixel camera, with an improved lighting sensor for better low-light photos, new macro and focal point features, and more.

iPhones will be available June 19 from Apple, AT&T and other authorized resellers.

The iPhone OS 3.0 update will be available June 17 and is free for iPhone users and $9.95 for iPod touch users.

Read more about the iPhone 3.0 software here.
Watch the Keynote here.

  Snow Leopard Coming in September  

At WWDC yesterday, Phil introduced Bertrand Serlet to talk about the Mac OS. He announced that Snow Leopard will be available in late September for Intel Macs with either OS 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard.

Apple highlighted many of the features, including speed, refinements and support for other software.

  • Faster installation process: 45% faster and 6 GB smaller
  • Speed improvements for Mail, Safari 4, Spotlight and more
  • Support for Microsoft Exchange Server to Mail, iCal, and Address Book

Snow Leopard will also be available with unlimited client licenses on Mac, Windows, and Linux for $499.99.

For Leopard Users:

  • Snow Leopard single-user license will be available for $29.99
  • Snow Leopard Family Pack (five-user license), will be available $49.99

For Tiger users:

  • As part of the Mac Box Set (which includes Snow Leopard, iLife ’09 and iWork ’09), the single-user license will be available for $169.99
  • Again, as part of the Mac Box Set the five-user license Family Pack will be available for $229.99
  • Currently, we do not see evidence that a Snow Leopard upgrade is available for Tiger users as a stand-alone piece. However, the price of the Mac Box Set is still cheap, and you get all three!

In addition, for any qualifying new Mac system without Snow Leopard, the Up-To-Date upgrade package will be available to customers between June 8, 2009 and December 26, 2009 for $9.95. Visit for more information.

  Safari 4 Officially Released  

Safari 4 has been in beta for several weeks, and now is officially released.


  • HTML 5 support for offline technologies and support for advanced CSS Effects
  • *First browser to pass the Web Standards Project’s Acid3 test (it examines CSS, JavaScript and XML standards designed for dynamic web apps)
  • Top Sites (I already use this and love it): puts your most-used websites right on a homepage instead of a blank new page/tab
  • Full History Search: search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages
  • Cover Flow: flip through web history/bookmarks
  • 64-bit App Support: Available in Snow Leopard (performance boost of up to 50%)
  • Separate Plug-in Process: Snow Leopard features a way to make Safari more crash-resistant because flash plug-ins run separately

from Apple’s press release

For more features, click here.
To see what else is new in Safari 4, click here.
Download Safari 4 here (price: free).

  Tip of the Week: Hotel Wireless  

Whenever I travel, I make a point of staying at hotels that offer internet access. Most of them offer both wired and wireless connectivity, but very often the wireless is very slow. I tried to email Ed a photo of the Moscone Center here in San Francisco yesterday, but my connection was so bad that mail would time out every time I tried to send the half-megabyte picture.

I know that my hotel has 802.11 a/b/g capability, and also that Apple puts up its employees here. We’re a bandwidth-hungry bunch. With so many people trying to use the wireless network at once, it slowed down to the point of being completely unusable. I looked in a drawer in the room and found an ethernet cable and plugged it into the data port on the room’s phone. I turned off AirPort on my MacBook Pro and was delighted to discover super-fast connectivity!

So, this week’s tip: bring an ethernet cable with you whenever you’ll be staying in a hotel. Odds are the hotel will have a data port you can use if the wireless isn’t good enough. I knew there’s a reason they charge $39 for that cable!

  Higher Ground Ticket Giveaway!  

Higher Ground and Small Dog Electronics are teaming up to bring you ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro to the HG Showcase Lounge on Sunday, June 21.

Read about Jake here.

So… here’s where you need to pay attention: one lucky person will win a pair of tickets to the show, a 1GB iPod shuffle, and a copy of Jake’s new live album. To enter, email

The fine print: The deadline to enter is Wednesday, June 17. One entry per person. Prize package must be claimed in person by the winning contestant the night of the show. Contest will be conducted at the discretion of HG and SD.

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