Apple has already made waves with its iPod, iPhone, and trendy desktop computers, but last night the company threw out a new challenge to its competitors, the world’s thinnest laptop.

The secretive Silicon Valley company confirmed the launch of the £1,199 Macbook Air, which measures just three-quarters of an inch (2cm) deep – thin enough to fit inside an envelope.


In his Macworld Expo keynote speech, speculation over which has been rife for weeks, chief executive Steve Jobs said Apple would try to take control of the video industry with movie rentals and a revamped Apple TV to stream films direct to television screens.

Until now, iTunes customers have been able to buy movies outright, a business that has not been as successful as Apple’s entry into music. Apple TV, which allows video to be streamed from a computer to a television screen, has struggled to make an impact. But Jobs predicted that a relaunch of the device would mark a significant shift in the film industry.

“On iTunes, we’ve sold 125m TV shows, and we’ve sold 7m movies – it’s more than everyone else put together, but it didn’t meet our expectations,” Jobs said. “I think we’ve got it right this time.

“We’ve all tried to figure out how to get movies over the internet and on to the TV – but we’ve all missed, no one has succeeded yet.

“We tried with Apple TV, but it’s not what people wanted. So we’re back with Apple TV take two – no computer is required. You can rent movies directly on your widescreen TV, and you can rent them at DVD quality, or you can rent them at high definition quality.”

Costing $229 (£116), the system hooks into the company’s plans to offer films to rent over the internet through its iTunes store, also confirmed yesterday. The company said it would join film studios including 20th Century Fox and Sony to allow iTunes users to stream movies direct to their computer or TV for a one-off payment of between $3 and $5. The system will have 1,000 new titles and back catalog films available by the end of February. It will st