Hottest gadgets from MacWorld 2008

Quick looks at the coolest new devices for the Apple fans in your life.

  • iTunes Digital Copy. Buy a DVD, get a copy for your iPod. In a deal with 20th Century Fox, Apple announced Digital Copy for iTunes, which lets customers who buy supported DVDs receive a digital version of the movie, which can be transferred to iTunes and then viewed on a PC, Mac, video iPod, iPhone or Apple TV. The first DVD with this available on it is the Special Edition DVD of the Family Guy Star Wars parody, Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest.

  • Apple TV, no PC needed, lower price. The second iteration of the Apple TV device now lets users rent movies from the iTunes Music Store directly to the device connected to a widescreen TV instead of having to be connected to an iTunes-enabled PC or Mac. The new system also comes with a lower price tag (US$229, down from US$299), and support of more than 100 movies in high definition and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.

  • Time Capsule, Wireless backup for your Macs. It may not look like much, but the Time Capsule backup appliance can automatically and wirelessly back up one or more Macs running the Leopard OS. The device combines an 802.11n base station with a hard disk and backup software in one small package. The 500GB model will cost US$299, and a 1TB model will cost US$499.

  • The true consumer electronics show. When Steve Jobs gets on stage in front of an adoring crowd, the excitement and hype rise to astronomical levels. Here is a look at what Apple launched today, as well as third-party devices and Apple-related gear from the MacWorld 2008 show in San Francisco.

  • iPod touch, major upgrade for US$20. New features for the Wi-Fi-enabled iPod touch include the addition of five mobile applications. Mail, Maps, Stocks, Weather and Notes. Like the iPhone upgrade, iPod Touch owners can get the new Web Clips and customizable home screen features as well. The upgrade is now available for US$19.99 for existing Touch owners.

  • MacBook Air, the world's thinnest notebook. Measuring 0.16 inches at its thinnest point, the 13.3 inch notebook has a LED backlit widescreen display, full size and backlit keyboard, built in iSight Webcam and is powered by a 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Wireless, 802.11n, and Bluetooth technologies complement the notebook. Available in two weeks, starting at US$1,799.

  • Luna X2 iPod alarm clock. The new version of the Luna X2 iPod alarm clock and speaker system includes two full-range precision speakers, a power amplifier, and AM FM radio with eight station presets. Dual-alarm clock settings also allow you to wake up to an attached iPod or other MP3 devices via line-in jack. The US$119.95 device will be available in a few weeks from XtremeMac's Web site.

  • iTunes gets into the movie rental business. Hoping to spark a new wave of movie watching on the Apple TV, iPod and iPhone, Apple's new iTunes Movie Rentals feature lets users rent for as low as US$2.99 (US$3.99 for new releases), and even offers high-definition titles (US$3.99 for older movies, US$4.99 for new releases). Renters will have 30 days to begin watching their rentals, and 24 hours to finish a movie once they start watching. Most major studios are on board with Apple, including Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount, MGM, Universal Studios and Sony Pictures.

  • iPhone updates. New maps, software upgrade. The big star of last year's MacWorld gets a few tweaks here and there, including a new version of the Maps application, which can find your location via triangulation from Wi-Fi base stations or cellular towers, still no GPS. Favorite Web sites can now be iconized on the home page via the new Web Clips feature, and multiple SMS text messaging is now supported. Version 1.1.3 of the iPhone software is now available for free for all existing iPhone owners in the U.S., U.K., Germany and France.

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