This article titled “Boot up: Facebook buys e-book publisher, largest-ever state cyberattacks uncovered, and more” was written by Josh Halliday, for guardian.co.uk on Wednesday 3rd August 2011 13.00 Asia/Calcutta
A quick burst of 7 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
This is a big problem for Amazon: “Amazon’s biggest feature by far, has been their Free App Of The Day promotion. Publicly their terms say that they pay developers 20% of the asking price of an app, even when they give it away free. To both consumers and naive developers alike, this seems like a big chance to make something rare in the Android world: real money. But here’s the dirty secret Amazon don’t want you to know, they don’t pay developers a single cent.”
“Security experts have discovered the biggest series of cyber attacks to date, involving the infiltration of the networks of 72 organizations including the United Nations, governments and companies around the world.”
McAfee said there was just one state behind all of the attacks, but declined to point the finger. A security researcher apparently briefed on the study said that the evidence points to China. Over to you, China.
The most plausible theory is, as ever, that it’s more about the talent behind the product than the product itself.
“Although Facebook isn’t planning to start publishing digital books, the ideas and technology behind Push Pop Press will be integrated with Facebook, giving people even richer ways to share their stories. With millions of people publishing to Facebook each day, we think it’s going to be a great home for Push Pop Press.”
“The Exec summary: An image resizing utility called timthumb.php is widely used by many WordPress themes. Google shows over 39 million results for the script name. If your WordPress theme is bundled with an unmodified timthumb.php as many commercial and free themes are, then you should immediately either remove it or edit it and set the $allowedSites array to be empty.”
Internet Explorer users have lower IQ says study >> BBC News
“The results suggested that Internet Explorer surfers had an average IQ in the low eighties. Chrome, Firefox and Safari rated over 100, while minority browsers Opera and Camino had an “exceptionally higher” score of over 120.
“AptiQuant stressed that using IE doesn’t mean you have low intelligence. “What it really says is that if you have a low IQ then there are high chances that you use Internet Explorer,” said AptiQuant CEO Leonard Howard.”
No, don’t ask him to explain it again.
Health warning: this turned out to be a bogus story.
Points out that Microsoft’s protestations that it’s into Bing for the long term (a good thing, since it really started in 2005; all that’s happened since then has been two rebrandings) don’t mean much if you don’t define “success” or quite when you have entered the “long term”.
You can follow Guardian Technology’s linkbucket on delicious
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
This article titled “WikiLeaks backlash: The first global cyber war has begun, claim hackers” was written by Mark Townsend, Paul Harris in New York, Alex Duval Smith in Johannesburg, Dan Sabbagh, Josh Halliday, for The Observer on Sunday 12th December 2010 03.00 Asia/Calcutta
He is one of the newest recruits to Operation Payback. In a London bedroom, the 24-year-old computer hacker is preparing his weaponry for this week’s battles in an evolving cyberwar. He is a self-styled defender of free speech, his weapon a laptop and his enemy the US corporations responsible for attacking the website WikiLeaks.
He had seen the flyers that began springing up on the web in mid-September. In chatrooms, on discussion boards and inboxes from Manchester to New York to Sydney the grinning face of a Guy Fawkes mask had appeared with a call to arms. Across the world a battalion of hackers was being summoned.
"Greetings, fellow anons," it said beneath the headline Operation Payback. Alongside were a series of software programs dubbed "our weapons of choice" and a stark message: people needed to show their "hatred".
Like most international conflicts, last week’s internet war began over a relatively modest squabble, escalating in days into a global fight.
Before WikiLeaks, Operation Payback’s initial target was America’s recording industry, chosen for its prosecutions of music file downloaders. From those humble origins, Payback’s anti-censorship, anti-copyright, freedom of speech manifesto would go viral, last week pitting an amorphous army of online hackers against the US government and some of the biggest corporations in the world.
Charles Dodd, a consultant to US government agencies on internet security, said: "[The hackers] attack from the shadows and they have no fear of retaliation. There are no rules of engagement in this kind of emerging warfare."
The battle now centres on Washington’s fierce attempts to close down WikiLeaks and shut off the supply of confidential US government cables. By Thursday, the hacktivists were routinely attacking those who had targeted WikiLeaks, among them icons of the corporate world, credit card firms and some of the largest online companies. It seemed to be the first sustained clash between the established order and the organic, grassroots culture of the net.
But the clash has cast the spotlight wider, on the net’s power to act as a thorn not only in the side of authoritarian regimes but western democracies, on our right to information and the responsibility of holding secrets. It has also asked profound questions over the role of the net itself. One blogger dubbed it the "first world information war".
At the heart of the conflict is the WikiLeaks founder, the enigmatic figure of Julian Assange – lionised by some as the Ned Kelly of the digital age for his continued defiance of a superpower, condemned by his US detractors as a threat to national security.
Calls for Assange to be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage will return this week. The counteroffensive by Operation Payback is likely to escalate.
The targets include the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon – already assaulted once for its decision to stop hosting WikiLeaks-related material – Washington, Scotland Yard and the websites of senior US politicians. There is talk of infecting Facebook, which last week removed a page used by pro-WikiLeaks hackers, with a virus that spreads from profile to profile causing it to crash. No one seems certain where the febrile cyber conflict will lead, only that it has just begun.
At 9.15am last Tuesday a thin, white-haired figure left the Frontline Club, the west London establishment dedicated to preserving freedom of speech, and voluntarily surrendered to police. After two weeks of newspaper revelations concerning countries from Korea to Nigeria, and figures such as Silvio Berlusconi and Prince Andrew, a warrant for Assange’s arrest had just been received by British police. It was from Swedish prosecutors eager to question him on unrelated allegations of rape.
The response to WikiLeaks’ cable release had been savage, particularly in the US. Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said those who passed the secrets to Assange should be executed. Sarah Palin demanded Assange be hunted in the same way an al-Qaida operative would be pursued. The US attorney general Eric Holder ordered his officials to begin a criminal investigation into Assange with the intention of putting him on trial in the US. News of his arrest, even on unrelated charges, pleased the US authorities. "That sounds like good news to me," said Robert Gates, US secretary of defence.
Yet even as Assange prepared to appear in a London court last week, an unlikely alliance of defenders had begun plotting to turn on the forces circling WikiLeaks. They were beginning to attack Amazon, which had been persuaded to sever links with WikiLeaks by Joe Lieberman, who heads the US Senate’s homeland security committee; they also hit every domain name system (DNS) that broke WikiLeaks.org’s domain name: Mastercard, Visa and Paypal, which stopped facilitating donations to the site, and the Swiss post office which froze WikiLeaks’ bank account.
Operation Payback was hitting back alongside a fledgling offshoot, Operation Avenge Assange, both operating under the Anonymous umbrella. These are a loose alliance of hackers united by a near-obsessive desire for information libertarianism who congregate on the website 4Chan.org.
The cyberwar did not only involve obvious symbols of authority, though. For days, from their darkened chatrooms, the Anonymous ones had been watching a hacker called the Jester who seemed to be co-ordinating a series of attacks on internet service providers hosting WikiLeaks. They had noticed the Jester’s pro-censorship credentials, deducing he must be receiving help. Speculation mounted that the Jester was a shadowy conduit working at the behest of the US authorities. "We wondered who was really behind his anti-WikiLeaks agenda," said a source.
Attempts to railroad WikiLeaks off the net quickly failed. Removing its hosting servers has increased WikiLeaks’ ability to stay online. More than 1,300 volunteer "mirror" sites, including the French newspaper Libération, have already surfaced to store the classified cables. Within days the WikiLeaks web content had spread across so many enclaves of the internet it was immune to attack by any single legal authority.
In some respects, WikiLeaks has never been safer or as aggressively defended. As Assange was remanded in custody and taken to Wandsworth jail, Anonymous vowed to "punish" the institutions that had axed links with the website under pressure from the US authorities. The websites of Visa, Mastercard and PayPal were brought down; so too the Swedish government’s.
One Anonymous hacker said: "I’ve rambled on and on about the ‘oncoming internet war’ for years. I’m not saying I know how to win. But I am saying the war is on."
Unsurprisingly, the timing of Assange’s arrest and aspects of Sweden’s initial handling of the sexual allegations prompted his lawyer Mark Stephens to denounce the moves as politically motivated. A computer hacker himself, Assange, 39, achieved both instant notoriety and adulation when WikiLeaks published batches of damaging US files relating to the Afghan war in July. This fame led him to Stockholm a month later to deliver a lecture entitled: "Truth is the first casualty of war." It was a sellout. One leftwing commentator likened it to "having Mick Jagger in town".
That night – 14 August – Assange stayed with the conference organiser at her flat in Södermalm, a former working class area of the city centre that has become Stockholm’s equivalent of London’s Islington. Three days later, in keeping with his habit of regularly changing addresses, Assange stayed in Enköping, a town 100 miles from Stockholm, with another woman who had also attended his lecture on the importance of truth in a war zone.
Assange left Sweden on 18 August and the women went together to the police the next day. According to Claes Borgström, their lawyer, the women did not know each other before going to the police. Initially, he said, the women wanted some advice, but the police officer concluded a crime had been committed and contacted the duty public prosecutor.
In court last week Assange was alleged to have had sex with unlawful coercion with a woman who was asleep and to have sexually molested the other by having sex without a condom.
In Sweden, among the country’s community of hackers and left-leaning political activists, the timing is viewed as coincidental rather than conspiratorial.
"The Americans are very lucky indeed that Assange screwed around in Sweden, a society which takes rape allegations very seriously,” said Åsa Linderborg, culture editor of the leftwing Aftonbladet tabloid. Film-maker Bosse Lindquist, whose WikiLeaks investigation will be broadcast on Swedish TV tonight, and who has spent many hours with Assange over the past few months, said Assange’s attitude to women did not seem in any way striking.
"If you look at the two prosecutors involved in investigating the rape allegations, they are not types you would imagine bowing to any kind of pressure from, say, the Swedish government or the United States.”
A senior civil servant, who requested anonymity, also dismissed allegations of political plotting against Assange, arguing that Swedish culture is often misunderstood. "Swedes do not have an iconoclastic tradition in which you build people up then demolish their reputations. Even when people are celebrities, we accept that they may have questionable private lives. Swedes are capable of seeing the advantages of WikiLeaks while conceding that Assange may have unsavoury morals between the sheets.”
Linderborg, though, says there is a widespread sense in Sweden that Assange’s rise to fame fuelled his libido and ego.
"Plenty of women are attracted by his underdog status and the supposed danger of spending time with him. He has several women on the go at once. One person told me he screws more often than he eats,” Linderborg said.
Of course, given the nature of the web, the allegations have triggered a series of attacks on both women’s characters with lurid claims of "women who cry rape" and "bitches trying to send an innocent man to prison".
Those monitoring the chatrooms used by Operation Payback say its hackers have set aside the sexual allegations, instead concentrating their efforts on amassing greater potency for the next phase of the WikLeaks fightback. The weapons deployed last week were "denial of service" attacks in which online computers are harnessed to jam target sites with mountains of requests for data, knocking them out of commission.
The initial attacks against the Swiss PostFinance required about 200 computers, according to one Anonymous source. Yet within a day hackers were able to recruit thousands more pro-WikiLeaks footsoldiers. By the time the Visa and Mastercard websites were disrupted last Wednesday, close to 3,000 computers were involved.
Anonymous leaders began distributing software tools to allow anyone with a computer to join Payback. So far more than 9,000 users in the US have downloaded the software; in second place is the UK with 3,000. Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, France, Spain, Poland, Russia and Australia follow with more than 1,000. The 11th country embroiled in the attacks is Sweden, where WikiLeaks’s massive underground servers are housed, with 75 downloads.
Sean-Paul Correll, a cyber threat analyst at Panda Security, who has monitored Operation Payback since its conception, said it was impossible to "profile" those involved. "They are anonymous and they are everywhere," he said. "They have day jobs. They are adults and kids. It is just a bunch of people." Middle-class professional members working alongside self-styled anarchists.
Ostensibly, Anonymous is a 24-hour democracy run by whoever happens to be logged on; leaders emerge and disappear depending on the target that is being attacked and the whims of members. Correll said: "This group does not exist with some sort of hierarchy. It exists with a few organisers but these can change at any time. That gives the group great power in that it is impossible to trace and define. At the same time it is also a source of weakness as its actions can be unfocused."
Ideas are floated on internet bulletin boards, whose location moves daily to evade detection. Ultimately a proposal hits a democratic "tipping point" and action is taken.
A major test of Payback’s mounting firepower will be Amazon, given the size of its servers. The attempt to attack the site last Thursday was half-hearted, but nevertheless audacious. Now sources estimate they would need between 30,000 and 40,000 computers to hurt Amazon and there is a growing feeling among hacktivists that it could happen. If it does, the retailer could lose millions of dollars during the Christmas season.
So far, though, most of the attacks have been principally designed to register protest rather than destabilise companies financially, opting for their public websites rather than their underlying infrastructure.
Two of the internet’s most important social networking sites – Twitter and Facebook – are also becoming targets of elements within Anonymous.
Twitter upset hackers last week by removing the Anonymous account – which had 22,000 followers – amid speculation that it was preventing the term #wikileaks appearing on its trending topics. The Anonymous page on Facebook was removed for violating its conditions, a move that has similarly annoyed a cohort of hackers. Both Facebook and Twitter have won praise in recent years as outlets for free speech, yet both also harbour corporate aspirations that hinge on their ability to serve as advertising platforms for other companies.
Their use by Anonymous to direct people planning attacks has, according to many analysts, placed both in a difficult position. Facebook, which still has sites eulogising murderer Raoul Moat and Holocaust deniers, said it drew the line on groups that attack others, a bold move considering the site’s WikiLeaks page boasts more than 1.3 million supporters. Any evidence that both sites yielded to US pressure and the gloves would be off. So too for any organisation that yields to American demands over WikiLeaks.
Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion, a book which argues the internet has failed to democraticise the world successfully, believes the attacks are already viewed by Washington "as striking at the very heart of the global economy".
Another emerging target in the weeks ahead is the US government itself. For a brief time last Tuesday, senate.gov – the website of every US senator – went down. Cyberguerillas claim it is a possible sign of things to come.
The trajectory of the WikiLeaks controversy is almost impossible to predict. On Tuesday Assange will attend his next bail hearing. Although supporters have stumped up £180,000, it is expected bail will be refused, pending a full hearing of Sweden’s extradition request. However his lawyer may also reveal fresh claims of US interference in the saga.
Regardless of the fate of its founder, WikiLeaks will continue releasing declassified cables. At the moment only several hundred of 250,000 cables have been publicised.
Analysts now describe the organisation’s structure as a "networked enterprise", a phrase that has been used in the past in relation to al-Qaida.
For all the US attempts, it is clear the attacks on WikiLeaks have made minimal impact and are unlikely to affect the availability of the information that WikiLeaks has already leaked.
Meanwhile, Senator Lieberman has indicated that the New York Times and other news organisations using the WikiLeaks cables may be investigated for breaking US espionage laws. At present, who will win the "world’s first information war" remains unclear.
Morozov said: "There will be many more people from the CIA and NSA [National Security Agency] hanging out around them."
But the conflict increasingly seems likely to target the real profits of US corporations. Today a 24-year-old from London will ready his weapons for the battle ahead.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
The invite alone sent pundits into a wild tail spin when it was sent out last Wednesday. From 6pm UK time, Apple will fully reveal the impetus behind the peeking lion.
A look at Mac OS X 10.7? Possibly – we’ve heard it from reputable sources – but then it could be a little premature. At the very least, we’re expecting a peek at Apple’s forthcoming operating system.
Apple’s big number is to be a new MacBook Air, so says the received wisdom. (And this MacBook Air-related discussion on Apple.com.)
Stay with us as we liveblog what’s going down in Cupertino. In the meantime, let the perennial question linger: What Will Apple Announce? Join in below.
5.45pm: Some light reading. Silicon Alley Insider has pinned its flag to the mast with 10 things we can expect from Apple today. They’d love the click-throughs, so go have a gander, but here’s the top five:
1. A refresh for the MacBook Air – 11-inch and 13-inch screens, longer batter, faster boot time and a lower price tag.
2. Mac OS X 10.7
3. The next desktop OS could be more like iOS
4. An improvement to Mac Mail
5. A refresh for iLife
6.03pm: The store is being updated; soft jazz waves over the Cupertino auditorium. All is well in Apple world.
A reminder: you can stream video of the conference to your Apple device, though here’s the rules:
"Apple will broadcast its October 20 event online using Apple’s industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, which is based on open standards. Viewing requires either a Mac® running Safari® on Mac OS® X version 10.6 Snow Leopard®, an iPhone® or iPod touch® running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad™."
(Is anyone else’s iPad showing just a black rectangle where streaming should be?)
6.06pm: We’re kicking off with some figures about the state of the Mac. There are currently 600,000 Mac developers, growing at a rate of 30,000 a month.
The US market share of the Mac is 20.7% and the machine makes up 33% of Apple’s revenue. 13.7m Macs sold in the 2010 financial year, bringing its revenue to bn.
6.12pm: Steve Jobs on iLife: "[iLife is] widely regarded as the best suite of digital lifestyle apps in the world. You can’t do this on any other computer. We improve it every year or two, coming out with a new version.
Announces iLife 11. A refresh for iPhoto – you can now live screen – and enhancements with Facebook, making it easier to share photos, as well as added slideshows.
6.14pm: Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Apple, on iPhoto update: "You see pushpins on the map from every place I took photos. I can hover my mouse over any pin, I can click on it to go right to my photos, or I can say ’show photos’ and that’s every photo from around that place."
6.18pm: New iPhoto also pulls in images from Flickr, and adds ability to share via email from inside the application. "This is kind of interesting," says Schiller. "It auto-arranges your photos, you know, naturally."
6.22pm: Schiller on iPhoto-Facebook integration: "Here you can see friends on Facebook and what they responded back after I posted it. So that’s sharing photos. Well what if I want to create one of these new books?"
And iPhoto takes on-board the iBooks bookshelf display of photo albums.
6.26pm: Ah, here we are – an iMovie 11 update:
• New audio editing
• One step effects
• People finder
• News and sports themes
• Movie trailers
Randy Ubillos, chief architect of video applications at Apple, takes to the stage.
6.31pm: iMovie 11 will include a realtime preview of audio effects when editing, and you can now select segments of audio, ‘effect macros’ – grouping a number of edits to apply all at once, 15 movie trailers – get a trailer outline sheet to fill in requirements and, hey presto, a home movie is born.
6.35pm: iMovie 11 also allows you to adjust frames-per-second speed and use face detection and close-up technology. Pretty smooth.
6.41pm: Jobs announces Garageband 11: "It has some great new features to help you fix timing in your music, something called flextime, more effects, and new piano and guitar lessons."
Xander Soren, product marketing head at Apple, is next up to walk us (slowly) through the new Garageband. Apparently it’s for bands that can’t play (automatic groove correction): "It’s like an automatic spell checker for bad rhythm."
6.47pm: Flextime for Garageband allows the dragging of waveform lengths, making notes longer or shorter.
New built-in Lessons, doing what it says on the tin – and keeping a record of your past lessons, if you so wish.
6.51pm: So that’s iLife 11, available today – to upgrade your Mac.
Next: FaceTime. Jobs: "The number one request we’ve gotten is, can we please do FaceTime calling with these devices and the Mac? We’re introducing FaceTime for the Mac today."
6.53pm: Mr Schiller is back, sort of. "We’re really excited by this," says Jobs. "So let me give you a demo. On my Mac here we have our FaceTime logo. I double click on it. I go to favorites and here’s Phil Schiller. Hey Phil!"
Released in beta today.
(Oh, and there’s no UK price yet for iLife 11 – the UK store is still down.)
6.54pm: The next Mac OS X will be called Lion!
6.55pm: Jobs: "What is the philosophy about Lion? That’s where Back to the Mac comes from. We started with OS X and we created a new version called iOS – it’s now used in the iPad as well. We’re inspired by some of those innovations. And we want to bring them back to the mac. Mac OS X meets the iPad."
6.58pm: Jobs: "So what have we learned and become inspired by on the iPad? Multitouch gestures… the App Store… why not the Mac too?
"[...]Apps on the iPad auto save, you don’t have to bother saving your data. And when you launch apps, they auto resume… that’d be great on the Mac too. We want to bring some of this stuff back to the Mac."
This from Charles Arthur: "argh! The App Store for the Mac! Terrified some people in April, but multi-touch could be cool. Interesting about multi-touch on computers – nobody thought it could work on vertical surfaces."
7.02pm: Seven billion downloads from the app store so far, Mac OS X Lion will have an app store.
Jobs: "So there’s one other thing we’d like to show you today. We have these four cool things we do in OS X. Expose, Dashboard, full screen apps, and spaces…"
"This is great, but as we’ve added fullscreen apps, you know we have four of these things. Wouldn’t it be great to unify these? And we’ve done that in something we call mission control."
7.07pm: (Charles Arthur taking over..) There are some odd glitches, so if this is behind then it’s because it’s jumped back to catch up on streaming. Onward!
7.08pm: Craig Federeighi, who looks like one of the Winklevoss twins from The Social Network, is demoing "LaunchPad" (basically, folders without having to have folders) and now "Mission Control". Let’s hope this isn’t Apollo 13.
It’s a sort of Exposé that might work wonderfully on a giant screen with a superfast machine. Less sure how it will go on a laptop with a 12" screen. They should really demo them on that. But that wouldn’t be awesome waiting for the CPU to grind through, would it?
7.09pm: First thoughts on the App Store for the Mac: lots of developers are going to KILL AND BRIBE to get their apps into prominent places. It’s going to murder sites which let people download stuff.
Then again, it’s on 10.7, but given that Apple users upgrade pretty fast, that’s likely to be quite fast.
Plan is to release Lion "Summer 2011". Much more that could be shown but which he hasn’t yet. Saving it up for… when?
7.11pm: Oooh hang on – Mac App Store going to open within 90 days, will work on Snow Leopard, devs can go there to find out today, and accept submissions from November.
7.12pm: Jobs reiterating that Mac is a third of revenue (but how much of profit?), consumer retail market share in the US has topped 20.7% (how on earth is that measured???), bn business.
"iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband "even cooler things", FaceTime on Mac so the tens of millions of Mac users can FaceTime with mobile devices, and Lion coming this summer."
7.13pm: "So these are the things we wanted to share with you today… but there is… one more thing."
7.14pm: "We talked about this virtuous circle, where OS X inspires.. brings some of that back to Mac OSX… but just like that philosophy has benefit in our software, it can also have benefit in our hardware.. what if a MacBook met an iPad?"
7.14pm: "iPad has instant-on, great battery life, amazing standby time, solid state storage, no optical or hard drives, and it’s thinner and lighter. These are some great things for notebooks. So we asked ourselves what if an iPad and a MacBook hooked up?" Weird machinima dreams.
7.15pm: "It’s our new MacBook Air and we think it’s the future of notebooks. It’s like nothing we’ve ever created before." I dunno, looks like a laptop to me.
Bevelled keyboard downwards. O.68" thick down to 0.11" at thinnest at the front, weighs 2.9lb.
7.16pm: Aluminium unibody construction – don’t tell the Hungarians – with a glass trackpad.
13" LED, 1440×900. More than on the 15" MacBook Pro. Core2Duo "fast for this class of machine" (huh?), NVidia GeForce 320m GPU.
7.17pm: No optical drive, no hard drive. It’s Flash storage. Why? "Because we know the benefits from the iPad. Up to 2x faster than hard drives. More reliable especially in a mobile environment. And 90% smaller and lighter."
(OK, so now show off 10.7 running on that. See how your big screen works there.)
"Silent… battery life: wireless web 7hrs, standby 30 days." (Wow, they should use it for phone calls.)
"PC industry battery test sometimes don’t reflect real-world results. We’re moving to more stringent tests." (Which will favour us?)
7.19pm: Old Macbook Air only got 5 hours, this is now 7.
Now dissecting it. Oh, there are wires flying everywhere. Oh, the robotocity.
Actually not. Basically lots of battery storage. Four big chunks of it. SSD is a tiny thing. Without the battery it would be a single board. "We’ve taken everything we learned about miniaturisation from the iPod and applied it to the Mac."
But it has a younger brother too…
7.21pm: weird – 11.6", 2.3lbs younger brother MacBook Air – is this the netbook everyone talked of? Not quite since that’s a bigger screen. 1366×768 pixels, more than the MacBook Pro at present.
5 hours of wireless, 30 days of standby.
Now doing prices…
7.22pm: "We think all notebooks will be like this one day."
9 for the 11.6" model with 64GB; 99 gets 128GB.
13.3" 128GB costs 99; 256GB .. missed it.
(Jobs is breathing a bit heavily, occasionally; sounding out of breath. A reminder that he’s been very ill, once.)
7.24pm: Both available from today. 2GB of RAM.
Intriguing question is: while it’s pretty much indisputable that in time laptops will only have Flash storage, is it definite that they won’t have optical discs? Is it all going to move to the cloud?
Of course this is the classic "computer as appliance" approach – it will be interesting to see if you can change the hard drive, expand the RAM. You’d need to but it’s tricky on the existing MBAs.
7.29pm: Playing one of those self-congratulatory videos about the new MBAir. Music by Elbow ("Beautiful Day"), so there you go – two successful British exports: Jonathan Ive and the lads from oop north. (How much money have they made from licensing that song?)
Questions unanswered: is Apple going to move to some sort of cloud-based products so that not having an optical drive won’t be a problem?
7.30pm: Winding up – those who made the plane ride will get to fondle the machines. "Thanks very much." Jobs is done. Music a la Mad Men pipes in.
7.31pm: So there we go.
What do we think?
• iLife – that was fairly easy to predict. Plus Phil Schiller demonstrating it: I was worried for a moment that I might live an entire year without hearing Phil Schiller say "Now this new iPhoto feature is really cool, if I just click here…"
• FaceTime for Mac – there was a lot of demand, and the fact it used Wi-Fi to work must have made it relatively easy to do. That’s going to drive a lot of use, though.
• "Lion" 10.7: the App Store for Mac is a bomb let off in a room of crowded developers, and it’s going to galvanise them. For some it’s going to be the making of them; the problem for Mac devs has always been the problem of discovery. Of course as it gets big, it’s still going to be a problem. But you could also see Apple working some sort of social element into it – "people who bought this also bought this", a la Ping (remember Ping?) – to make it very powerful.
That won’t obviate the existing method of downloading and installing, of course. It’s not going to be locked down. This is just an easier way of getting there – there’s already an existing form on Apple’s site, under "recommended software".
• MacBook Air only with solid state storage: the 64GB model seems a bit tight, but don’t forget that prices are roughly halving every year. If you buy a notebook in 12 months’ time, you should consider getting SSD in it, because for a notebook of any age, the SSD won’t cost that much more.
• no optical drives in any future laptops? It’s an intriguing idea. It may be that as we move to the cloud, that’s really where it does go. But that implies that your iTunes library (say) can’t live on your computer.. or maybe it can, because you’re only renting the video on your Apple TV, and your SSD drive is doubling in size every year.
The cloud question seems to me the one that, if Apple can crack it, will finally sort the whole question out. If you can get your documents, and songs, and anything else, pushed into the cloud so that you know they’re there, you won’t care that your computer is an appliance – you’ll just use it. That’s what Google is doing with Chrome, after all.
So: anyone buying a new MacBook Air? Ordering iLife 11? Gagging for 10.7? Do tell.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010