- The Tech Night Owl — Cutting-Edge Tech Commentary - https://www.technightowl.com -

After the WWDC II: Did I Say Cheaper?

You have to hand it to Apple. They sure know how to catch your attention. While their stock began to dip in the run up to the WWDC keynote, and expectations were fairly centered on the iPhone and Snow Leopard, Apple did something few expected, and that was to cut prices on their entire note-book line.

In addition, the artificial line of demarcation between the unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros was eliminated. They are all MacBook Pro now, and only the $999 white version remains a MacBook. What’s more, there were price cuts ranging from $200 to $700. The 15-inch version received Apple’s non-removable extended life battery with an advertised life of up to seven hours between charges and there were various and sundry configuration changes almost across the board. So Microsoft is going to have to alter its irritating laptop comparison campaign real quick, but it’ll still be screwed up regardless of how they mismanage it.

The Snow Leopard demonstration addressed now-familiar ground, covering the enhanced support for multiple core processors, offloading tasks to the graphics chips and providing full support for Microsoft Exchange servers. Although there are a fair number of enhancements, the alleged Marble theme was nowhere in evidence. That was clearly a rumor site fantasy.

Now I said I expected it to ship by the last week of August, but Apple has selected non-specific September release date instead. Oh well, I was close. That puts it, though, roughly a month earlier than Windows 7, and you can expect the marketing engines will be running full steam on both shortly. During the WWDC keynote, for example, Apple continued to disparage Windows 7 as a warmed over Vista with the same fundamental deficiencies, such as DLLs, Registry, Disk Defrag, UACs. If you don’t know what all that means, there’s no reason to be concerned, if you’re a Mac user. Meantime, Apple developers registered with one of their paid programs are getting near-final betas to pound on and make compatible with their own products. The rest of us will have to be content with the final version of the Safari 4 browser, now shipping in both Mac and Windows versions.

And, in keeping with my predictions, Snow Leopard is restricted to Intel-based Macs and will cost just $29 for a single user license and $49 for a family pack upgrade for Leopard users. It appears to me that Tiger users will stay pay the full $129 upgrade price. In any case, Apple boasted that the Mac user base has grown from 25 million in 2007 to some 75 million this year.

On the iPhone front, very little seemed surprising. There are now 50,000 apps on the App Store, and some 40 million iPhone an iPod touches have been sold. iPhone 3.0 has, as previously stated, over 100 new features, and 1,000 new APS for developers to play with.

I won’t repeat what most of you have read about already, such as the long-delayed cut/copy/paste feature, push notification and such. Among those new capabilities, multimedia messaging, or MMS, will require carrier support, so you won’t see it right away. AT&T will have it later this summer. Of Apple’s carrier partners in 26 countries, 29 will support MMS on the launch date.

You will also see tethering support, which means you’ll be able to use your iPhone to share your Internet connection via USB or Bluetooth, but that, too, requires carrier support, and Apple said 22 carriers in 44 countries would let you do it. So start calling AT&T or your local iPhone carrier and get your complaints handy if they are not yet on the list.

One feature that will really help listeners to our two radio shows is support for HTTP streaming audio and video. So at last you’ll be able to click on the Play buttons on our show sites and hear the live or on-demand broadcasts. Way to go Apple!

Another intriguing feature, Find My iPhone, works with MobileMe, and allows you to easily hunt for your lost iPhone. It works by showing you a map of its location, and letting you play a sound by which to identify it. And if it falls into the hands of thieves, you can send a command to wipe your data. Not to worry. When you recover or find the phone, you can easily restore everything via iTunes.

After all was said in done, yes, there’s a new iPhone 3GS coming shortly, sporting the same case design b

Now despite predictions that the iPhone software would be available today, all that’s happening will be the delivery of a Golden Master seed to developers. The actual release is slated for June 17.

As the rumors predicted, the new iPhone 3G S will offer roughly twice the speed as the existing version, adding support for voice commands, including voice dialing, and a 3 megapixel autofocus camera with video capturing capability. There will also be a digital compass and additional battery life.

The form factor is identical, otherwise, to the current model. The price of the 16GB model will be $199 and $299 for the 32GB version and both will be available in black and white. The existing 8GB iPhone 3G is repriced at $99, which is sure to kickstart the market in a major fashion.

The new products will be available beginning June 19, and availability will spread around the world in July and August as, I suppose, networks are upgraded for the 3G S. And, no, Steve Jobs was nowhere in sight and, no, Apple’s stock price didn’t rise all that much upon the conclusion of the two hour event.