Jan 15

Apple announced new products and updates at MacWorld San Francisco today:

Apple TV is now $229, with a forthcoming software update that will let you rent movies from the iTunes Store in “standalone” mode without a host Mac system. Movie rentals (from every major studio) are $2.99 for older releases and $3.99 for new releases, with prices for HD versions at $3.99/4.99.

Time Capsule combines the Airport Extreme wired and wireless router/print server with an integrated 500G or 1TB hard drive that supports wireless operation of the Time Machine backup software. The 500G model retails for $299 while the 1TB model costs $499.

iPhone firmware version 1.1.3 adds Google Maps location finding, multiple-recipient text messages, Web Clip bookmarking, home screen customization, and the ability to play movies rented from the iTunes Store. This is a free software upgrade for iPhone owners. A $20 firmware upgrade for iPod Touch owners will add Mail, Maps, Stocks, Weather, Notes, and iTunes Movie Rental capability.

MacBook Air is the world’s thinnest notebook. It’s less than an inch tall (from 0.76 to 0.16 of an inch), it can fit into a manilla envelope. The screen is 13.3″ with LED backlighting, and the system features a backlit full size keyboard, iSight camera, and multi-touch trackpad. The processor is a 1.6 or 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo, with 2G memory standard (non-upgradeable), 802.11n and Bluetooth wireless, and an 80G hard drive. A 64G solid-state disk is available as an option. Ethernet networking and an external SuperDrive are possible via the system’s single USB port. The MacBook Air starts at $1799.

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