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With final keynote, Apple’s era at MacWorld ends with a whimper …

The speculation that Steve Jobs skipped the last Apple keynote may actually be due to the fact that it was so uninteresting that it wasn’t worthy of his dramatic presentation skills. In the end, the final Apple keynote at MacWorld was about as uninteresting as the next step products Phil Schiller was tasked to “schill.” From the next iLife `09 update to yet another $2700 17” MacBook, there really wasn’t anything introduced that made live blog comments go beyond “this is disappointing,” “boring,” and “what a let down.” No dual port Mac Mini, no iPhone Nano, no Cloud, not even the Beatles catalog on iTunes. But there is some highlights in all the gloom –

iPhoto 09 introduces “faces,” there you can search for pictures by face. It works like a corkboard showing shots of your favorite people. Identify who you want to search for and iPhoto goes and fetches all the pictures of that person. And if it finds a photo with a face iPhoto doesn’t recognize, it will ask you their name and then go find other photos with them in it. That’s pretty cool. Also “Maps,” which uses Google Maps to pin and anchor all pictures taken around that location on the map. It uses geotagging from the 3G data in the iPhone or another GPS capable camera. And if you don’t have the GPS feature, you can enter locations manually in iPhoto for future search. And a Facebook support which allows tagging of pictures on Facebook to be pulled down by iPhoto. Interesting.

iMovie 09 comes with software driven image stabilization to settle down any jumpy home videos you make have taken. Very cool. And another cool clip allows you to create an Indiana Jones traveling line on a globe to transition from one location to another in a video. I like that. Garage Band `09 has help for budding musicians with it’s “learn to play” feature which has 9 custom lessons on how to play both guitar and piano. ASll done by major artists like John Fogerty, Sting and Sarah McLaughlin. And in the future, lessons will be $4.99 and delivered and stored into the Garage Band app. That’s trick.

Then came the new 17” MacBook Pro. $2700 (doesn’t Cupertino know about the ailing economy?) with the expected refinements and here’s something interesting – an irreplaceable battery! That’s right, even though Apple swears you can recharge it three times longer and it’s life is up to 8 hours, if the battery goes belly up, there’s NO replacement. That’s sure to go over like a lead balloon.
The “one last thing” everyone hoped for ended up being a new three tiered DRM free pricing structure on iTunes … .69/.99/1.29, with tunes available over the AT&T 3G network as well. And in since iTunes is DRM free starting in the 2nd quarter, users will be able buy on iPhone and sync back to other Apple devices like another iPod. Not bad.

But that’s it, gang. The Apple Era ends with a whimper, not a bang.

Hat Tip – Technologizer/Cover It Live