Apple's Jobs Debuts World's Thinnest Laptop

The MacBook Air weighs a mere 3 lbs and is 0.76 inches at it widest, tapering down in a wedge to an unimaginable 0.16 inches. The MacBook Air has a full-size back-lit keyboard, a back-lit LED 13.3-inch monitor and a sizeable track-pad that allows for gesture control of functions in the same manner as the iPod Touch and iPhone. The MacBook Air will retail for $1799, fitting it in between Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro lines.

"How did we fit a Mac in here? How did we do it? I'm still stunned that our engineering team could pull this off," said Jobs to the crowd of media and Mac enthusiasts as he pulled a MacBook Air from a manila inter-office mail envelope.

The MacBook Air has a 1.8 inch 80 GB hard drive, which the company has "shipped in tens of millions of iPods and we know them well," Jobs said. A 64 GB SSD hard drive is also available. The motherboard, which has a 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, which can be upgraded to 1.8 GHz, is shorter than a No. 2 pencil with chips that are 60 percent the size of Intel's run-of-the-mill Core 2 Duo processors.

"To fit an entire Mac on this thing was an amazing feat of engineering and we didn't compromise on performance," said Jobs, taking a swipe at what he said was the reduced processor speed available in ultra-mobile notebooks already on the market.

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With up to five hours of battery life, the MacBook Air is 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1 compatible and has no optical drive. A separate optical drive can be purchased for $99, but Jobs said the machine is designed to operate wirelessly and can wirelessly network with the optical drive of any other computer in a network and utilize its drive to download software or play CDs and import the content wirelessly through a feature called "remote disk."

The MacBook Air is also at the forefront of Apple's effort to be more green, said Jobs. The casing is aluminum, which Jobs called "highly recyclable," and the display is Apple's first to use glass that is both mercury and arsenic free. It's petite form also reduces packaging to 56 percent of that which encases a regular MacBook.

In keeping with the wireless theme, Jobs also unveiled the Time Capsule remote backup appliance. Time Capsule is designed to sync using Time Machine, the backup software contained in its Mac OS X Leopard operating system and can be set to create automatic hourly backups.

Leopard has so far been a big seller for Apple, Jobs said.

"I'm thrilled to report that we have delivered over five million copies of Leopard in the first three months," he said. "It is the most successful release of Mac OS X ever and what this has resulted in is almost 20 percent of the Mac OS X install base has upgraded to Leopard. This is unprecedented."

The Time Capsule, which Jobs called "the perfect companion to Leopard," connects to any Mac notebook or PC in a network using 802.11n Wi-Fi, comes with either 500 GB or 1 TB of storage space for $299 and $499 respectively.

Jobs also announced Apple's movie rental services, sold through iTunes and the new incarnation of Apple TV, which connects to media without an intermediary computer.

Apple has enlisted most of the big players in Hollywood, including: 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Universal, Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, Miramax, Touchstone, MGM, Lion's Gate and Touchstone.

"We have every major studio supporting us with iTunes movie rentals, and we're going to have all the great first run films. All the films of this year that are now out on DVD," said Jobs.

"We're going to launch with over a thousand films by the end of February, and we're going to have films from the studios 30 days after their DVD release," Jobs said. Rentals of new releases will cost $3.99 and back-catalog films will rent for $2.99. Users have 24-hours to watch a film once they begin playing it after rental but up to 30 days to begin watching. Films can also be transferred between devices during viewing so that a movie that begins on a notebook can be finished on an iPod. High definition movies are available for $1 more.

In conjunction with the rental services available through iTunes, Jobs launched Apple's second try at the Apple TV by making the product work without needing to connect to a computer.

"This is where we're at with apple TV. I think it's a revolution and certainly we've made some progress since our first try," said Jobs. To help it gain traction Apple is lowering the price from $299 to $229 and offering the new software to all current Apple TV users.

Tuesday also marked the 200th day that the iPhone was on the market, and Jobs said that in that time the company has sold 4 million iPhones. In its first quarter on the market, the iPhone captured a 20 percent market share, and Jobs used MacWorld to launch several new features for the iPhone.

The smart phones are now capable of leveraging Google Maps to allow users to pinpoint their location on a map. While the iPhone contains no GPS device, using Google's cellular capabilities and a Wi-Fi hotspot tracking company called Skyhook, the device can locate itself. Jobs gave the audience a demo in which he first hit a single button on the Maps interface on an iPhone to locate himself, and he was then able to use the program to get directions to a local Apple retail store.

The new iPhone software also allows users to conduct multiple SMS conversations at once, create Web links and embed them in the home screen or doc, and to search videos by chapter and watch with subtitles or in foreign languages.

While the update for iPhones is free, updates to the iPod Touch which give the iPod Apple's mail, maps, stocks, notes and weather applications for $20 via iTunes.

Steve Jobs shows the new MacBook Air at Macworld.