Macworld says goodbye with DRM-free music, new iLife


7 Jan 2009

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And so the curtains closed on the last ever Macworld, with iTunes finally getting DRM-free music for all four major record labels, while both iLife and iWork received a revamp, and, oh yes, a new unibody 17-inch MacBook Pro with built-in battery for longer life was unveiled. I know, nice touches, but not quite the swan song we expected from the final Macworld.

While some crazy predictions, such as the iPhone Mini or MacBook Tablet, naturally enough never materialised, one no-show that surprised most was the update of the Mac Mini, which will most likely be announced some time later this year.

Back to the digital rights management (DRM)-free music announcement: finally, music bought from the iTunes Store will be free of burn limits and DRM. However, as welcome as this news is, there are now three different price points for single downloads: 69c, 99c and €1.29, as Apple is pricing these according to the deal it has with the different record labels.

This pricing shift was not exactly expected – in fact, many were hoping that reported leaks of a subscription or all-you-can-eat payment model for iTunes would come to pass this year, with these tracks locked down to the particular device they were downloaded to, but with no more burn limits. However, it now very much looks as if this model may never come to pass.

While the only software surprises were fairly predictable revamps of both iLife and iWork, iPhoto got a few cool additions in the form of Faces and Places, in other words, face detection and recognition and geo-tagging, as well as Events, which groups pictures into when they were taken.

There is now also built-in support for Facebook and Flickr on iPhoto, so photos can be published directly to these sites. iLife ’09 will be available later this month with an RRP of €79, including VAT.

The iWork update includes iWork.com, which will be in public beta and will allow iWork users to share documents online, but only from the iWork ’09 package. One of the niftier additions is the Keynote Remote application, available from the iTunes App Store, which lets users control slides from their iPhone or iPod touch. iWork also retails at €79 RRP.

The only new piece of hardware to come out of Macworld this year was the new 17-inch MacBook Pro. This refresh means the 17-incher now has a non-removable battery that gives an impressive eight hours of battery life. The snag is, when it reaches the end of its life, the battery has to be replaced at the owner’s cost. However, Apple has stated that the battery should last for at least five years.

By Marie Boran

Pictured: iLife gets a revamp, as revealed at the last ever Macworld