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Pound for pound, Macworld outweighs CES

One thing was clear from Steve Jobs’ keynote address yesterday at Macworld: that computer market share isn’t necessarily what it’s all about anymore.
Image: MacWorld, Apple
The super-slim new Apple MacBook Air, which is less than an inch thick, definitely has the "cool factor" nailed. Paul Sakuma / AP
/ Source: contributor

Apple’s new laptop, the MacBook Air, is taking weight off. But that won’t be the case for the rest of us with the company’s latest version of Apple TV.

No, the combination of Apple TV and TiVo guarantees more pounds per square inch on the couch than ever before.

Parents who worry about video games making sloths out of their children have much more to fear here — for themselves as well as their kids.

No one need leave their living rooms anymore — not even to waddle over to the computer to order or download movies and TV shows.

With Apple TV’s new software upgrade, the 40-gigabyte, $229 device takes care of that via your wireless network, downloading everything from YouTube videos to movie rentals from the iTunes Store, and puts it right on your wide…screen.

Apple has about 8 percent of the home computer market, up from 2 to 3 percent several years ago.

But it was clear from Steve Jobs’ keynote address yesterday at MacWorld that computer market share isn’t necessarily what it’s all about anymore.

Certainly, last year, when the company dropped the word "Computer" after Apple, that signaled a sea change.

Apple is definitely in the lead for title of “Most Important Purveyor of Digital Entertainment,” ahead of any movie or recording studio.

And the company’s emphasis on digital entertainment — and ease of use — is what has helped propel its computer sales, three decades after the first Apple fell from the tree.

The company started increasing its focus on digital entertainment in 2001 with the release of the iPod, and with its iLife suite of software, designed to make it easier for home users to deal with photos, video and music.

The iTunes Store has been a phenomenal success.

The cost for movie download rentals, which began yesterday at the iTunes Store, is $2.99 for regular rentals, $3.99 for new releases, and $4.99 for HD titles with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.

If the computer race mattered, the MacBook Air wouldn’t be retailing for $1,799 — and without an optical drive, no less (an additional $99).

The MacBook Air has an air of excitement because of its form factor — 0.16 inches at its thinnest and weighing all of 3 pounds, with a 13.3-inch, LED-backlit display.

Jobs dubbed it “the world’s thinnest notebook,” but the MacBook and MacBook Pro, at 5 and 5.4 pounds respectively, aren't exactly zaftig by laptop standards. They also offer more computer for the money.

Still, the MacBook Air will offer “the cool factor,” one that its siblings — and many rivals — may not have.

Some iPhone fans hoped for bigger news about their beloved gadgets, unveiled a year ago at MacWorld Expo.

There were worthy software additions announced, including the ability to text-message several people at once, as well as to pinpoint one’s location using a Web map.

But there wasn’t a newer, glitzier — and faster (in terms of Web browsing) iPhone.

No matter.

In his hour or so keynote presentation yesterday, Jobs unveiled a host of goodies for consumers.

Pound for pound, it was more substance than was offered during several days of last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, which was dominated by white noise and pink elephants.