Ok, I was really looking forward to what Apple were to announce at WWDC (World wide developers conference) and they didn’t let me or other Apple fans down.
Probably the biggest shock of all was the announcement of Macbook Pro updates (which weren’t expected or leaked at all!). Whilst most people needing the power of MacBook Pro’s go for the 15″ or 17″ screens many traveling photographers need/love the compact size of the 12″ or 13.3″ form factor. Apple stopped production of the 12″ Powerbook G4 in May 2006 leaving the (then) new polycarbonate 13.3″ MacBook as the only option for ‘size-conscious’ photographers.
The more powerful black polycarbonate version was very well received and was popular until Apple updated this black MacBook to the new aluminum unibody design. Apple left out the FireWire port and included a reportedly inferior quality LED backlit screen. So for snappers and video guys who swear by FireWire (I love my Sandisk Extreme FireWire reader) and NEED a great screen this was a real problem.
A few hours ago Apple announced the MacBook Pro line would now not only include 15.4″ and 17″ models but would extend down to a new 13.3″ model which INCLUDES FireWire 800, an SD card slot, backlit keyboard and (hopefully) the same quality LED backlit display as the larger two models. It’s a bit of s shame about the inclusion of an SD card slot rather than a multi-card slot as the vast majority of pro photographers are using Compact Flash cards. (A full comparison of the MacBook models is at this link)
Awesome start to the WWDC conference (anyone want to buy a 2.4Ghz Black MacBook, 2.4Ghz 4Gb RAM 250Gb HD?)
The other great announcement was the new iPhone 3GS. Forgetting most of the new 3.0 software and other new features I’ll only focus (‘scuse the pun!) on the camera, tethering and video capability.
- The new 3Mp camera with autofocus looks super. I know it seems dumb for a photographer who carries around a 20+Mp camera to be happy about a 3Mp camera in a phone. But in the wise words of a good friend of mine “It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you get!”. A good news/editorial photographer needs a camera with him 24hrs a day. The pics out of this camera really look like the could be very nice! [link]
- The new camera also shoots 640×480 video at 30fps. The footage can be edited on the phone and uploaded to YouTube, a MobileMe gallery, emailed or sent as an MMS message. Could be GREAT for press conferences etc.. [link]
- Tethering! [link] Currently I, like many other snappers, pay for an additional wireless broadband service and use a USB ‘dongle’ to get internet access virtually anywhere (I use ‘Hellstra’ [aka Telstra] and pay $89.95 for 5GB of data per month). The problem is, I have to also pay $29 for 300Mb of data for my iPhone. With the new tethering option the iPhone will be responsible for creating and maintaining an internet connection and will connect via bluetooth to my MacBook at speeds up to 7.2Mbps using a HSDPA network. Therefore, no dongle required and only one wireless broadband fee. A couple of problems however that could rear their head – I travel to quite remote locations quite a bit and rely on an external antenna connected to my USB wireless broadband device. There is no option for extending the range of an iPhone so not sure what I will do in that situation. Secondly – Telstra. Basically they suck and undoubtedly they will try and rip off their customers and increase their prices to combat this. And no surprise, when Apple showed worldwide networks who were ready to provide internet tethering, lo and behold – no Telstra. Australia’s other two carriers Optus and Vodafone were there of course.
Here’s a look at the updated MacBooks and the new Iphone 3GS