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Steve Jobs' performance: The big takeaways

Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave his latest performance to the faithful and a few items stood out. He was in good form as usual, and his friends from Google, including CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin, as well as Chad Hurley and Steve Chen (YouTube founders), were in the front rows watching the master.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave his latest performance to the faithful and a few items stood out. He was in good form as usual, and his friends from Google, including CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin, as well as Chad Hurley and Steve Chen (YouTube founders), were in the front rows watching the master.

Here's a look at the more interesting moves Apple made and what they mean.

The Mac still rules the roost. My initial reaction to the MacBook Air was--I want one. With a decent price point of $1,799 this thin notebook is likely to inspire some gadget lust. The MacBook Air should extend Apple's product cycle through 2008. What is also notable is that Intel whipped up a compact chip for the Air. That Apple partnership with Intel is paying off big time (see the play by play, gallery and Techmeme). One issue: The Air doesn't have a user replaceable battery. Engadget describes this as a major minor issue. Hard to argue with that take. Is that a deal breaker for you? Apple is creating quite an annuity business with its sealed batteries. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has more on the MacBook Air.

The proud father shows of his latest creation, the MacBook Air

Watch the video of Jobs introducing the MacBook Air

Apple has Hollywood in its corner. But does the DRM strike the right balance? Perhaps the most significant announcement outside of the MacBook Air was the movie rental service on iTunes. Apple has lined up all of the major studios with plans to offer titles for rent on all of its devices. This is a big move and could make Apple more of a video player. The pricing is on par with other services and iTunes could dent Netflix. I wonder about the DRM though. If you rent a video you have 30 days to start watching it, but once a movie start you have 24 hours of viewing. My question: Is that enough time? I don't have a strong opinion either way, but that 24 hour window seems skimpy. An on-demand cable rental operates the same way, but stuff happens and you may need some more viewing time.

Apple TV 2.0: Can it make a market? The second iteration of Apple TV sounds like a nice upgrade. You can rent movies from iTunes, watch high-definition video and get surround sound. Apple also cut the price to $229 from $299. But the big benefit is that Apple TV doesn't need a computer. The problem: My set-top box doesn't need one either. Apple TV still has an uphill climb finding a market.

The new applications for the iPod touch shouldn't cost existing users $19.99. Apple added five new applications for the iPod touch, but is charging for the upgrade. That's weak. Very weak. New buyers of the iPod touch have the new applications included.

Time Capsule may be underrated. Apple launched Time Capsule (video), a product that wound up being a mere footnote in Jobs' speech. Time Capsule is a Wi-Fi base station and server grade hard drive. The general idea is that you can back up all your Apple gear in a 500 GB to 1 TB box. That's a fine idea--especially if it requires little work.

Video: 

Jobs launches Time Capsule

Jobs demos maps feature and customizable home screen

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