Top Newsmaker: Apple Canada’s Wendy Hayes

During a previous interview with CDN, Wendy Hayes, managing director of Apple Canada (Nasdaq: AAPL), wasn’t kidding when she said the company’s priority for 2008 was to continue to deliver innovative products that will suit its customers’ needs.

That’s why at this year’s MacWorld Conference and Expo held in San Francisco, the company kicked off the year with news of Apple’s new MacBook Air. The small-enough-to-fit-in-a-manila-envelope notebook was what Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs deemed is the world’s thinnest notebook.

The MacBook Air, which began shipping at the end of January, measures only 0.16 – 0.76 inches thin and weighs just three pounds. The notebook also features a 13.3-inch LED backlit display screen, a full size keyboard, and a large multi-touch trackpad. Initially, the MacBook Air, at its base configuration, came with a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor along with 2GB of memory. Now, the company has introduced a new MacBook Air with a new integrated graphics processor. The new notebook now features Nvidia’s GeForce 9400M chipset, which Apple says provides end-users with up to four times the performance over the original MacBook Air. The MacBook Air also comes with a 120GB storage hard drive, or comes with a 128GB solid-state drive for users who don’t want any moving parts. The MacBook Air is available through Apple’s reseller channel, through retail, and through the company’s own stores.

Mary Percat, national reseller sales manager at Apple Canada, said in a previous interview that the MacBook Air will open up new market opportunities for partners in the notebook space.

“It’s a great opportunity for our resellers to go to their existing customers and to find new ones because it’s another product to add to their offerings,” Percat said.

Following the MacBook Air news, Apple announced that the iPhone would finally make its way into Canada, almost a year after its U.S. introduction. Back in June, Jobs unveiled the new iPhone 3G (third generation) device at the company’s Worldwide Developers conference.

iPhone news

At this time, Jobs also announced that the long-anticipated iPhone would be coming to Canada on July 11. To make the iPhone more affordable, Apple slashed its prices so that the 8GB version sold at U.S.$199 and the 16GB model sold for U.S.$299. In Canada, the iPhone is available through Rogers’ High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) wireless network, and through the company’s GSM/EDGE network.

Although Apple has seven stores in Canada, with the latest store opening up in Montreal over the summer, Canadian Apple stores are not carrying the iPhone. The company has a store in Alberta, one in British Columbia, three in Ontario, and another in Quebec.

According to previously published reports, Apple stores were not stocking the iPhone because the company was “disgusted” with the pricing plans which are currently being offered by Rogers. In addition to Rogers, the iPhone is also available through the Fido store as well. Along with being available in the U.S. and in Canada, Jobs also mentioned the iPhone will eventually be available in 70 countries, including China and India, and Australia, to name a few.

The new iPhone 3G is thinner and sleeker than its original form and also now supports faster broadband wireless networks. The iPhone also comes with built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) functionalities as well. The new phone also has a 3.5-inch screen and is said to have a better battery life this time around, with five hours of talk time and 300 hours of stand-by time. Jobs also said the phone can handle six hours of high-speed browsing, 20 hours of audio, and seven hours of video.

Laptop Macs

Two months ago, the company unveiled a new lineup of laptop Macs, which are all built based on a manufacturing technique that was designed for the MacBook Air.

According to Apple executives, the company currently has over 17 per cent of the overall U.S. retail notebook market.The newly announced notebooks include a new MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, all of which are carved from blocks of aluminum. The company chose aluminum for its strength and durable-nature and as a way to also help lower costs because it requires fewer parts than earlier Apple notebooks.

The new MacBook comes with the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M chip that the new MacBook Air has, and also has an LED backlit display with a multi-touch glass trackpad.

The new MacBook Pro notebooks also feature one of two Nvidia chipsets, the 9400M, or the GeForce 9600M.

Up next for Apple, is its new version of its Mac OS X, code-named “Snow Leopard,” which is an upgrade to its current operating system, Leopard. The new Mac OS X is reported to be scheduled for release sometime in the first quarter of 2009.

It is said that Snow Leopard will also have built-in support for Microsoft’s Exchange 2007 software as well.

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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