Paul Sakuma/associated press


Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrates the new AppleTV during his keynote address at MacWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco yesterday.


THE iEAGLE HAS LANDED: Steve Jobs and Apple did a one-two punch yesterday when they announced the debut of not only the anticipated Apple TV unit, but the iPhone that has been rumoured from the company for years. The announcement, at San Francisco’s annual MacWorld expo, probably sucked the air out of the Consumer Electronics Show happening at the same time in Las Vegas, at least for cell phone manufacturers, who’ve at least had a few years to develop their own cell/camera/media player combos before Apple jumped into the market like a sumo wrestler in a lap pool.

I won’t bother telling you how sexy Apple’s phone looks – it was all over the web yesterday, and it’ll be in all the papers today – but suffice to say it has the "gotta have it" factor that Apple practically owns in spades. Pictures of the Apple TV are fewer, but it’s a fair prediction that it’ll be a sleek little white and/or silver box, undeniably tactile yet as mysterious as some hunk of alien technology, with few buttons but a kinetic interface for your TV.

Technical specs are easier to come by: it’ll connect your TV to your computer using the 802.11 wireless standard, requires iTunes to be installed on your computer, pumps out 720 pixel HD video, and comes with a 40 gigabyte hard drive to store shows, music or photos. It will also, if Apple hasn’t done a Microsoft, work right out of the box, with a minimum of technical jiggery-pokery. The Apple TV hits the stores here next month, for the remarkably low price of $349, after which we can all stop sweating and finally trudge ahead with this whole convergence thing.

BACK TO THE MUCK: I thought this whole thing would have blown over by the time I got back from Christmas holidays, but the war of words between the Donald and Rosie is turning out to be like peak oil – it constantly confounds expectations of its longevity. ran a copy of a letter Trump sent yesterday to Rosie, expressing his sympathy for being lied to by her View co-host Barbara Walters.

Rosie reportedly upbraided Walters in the make-up room before Monday’s episode of The View, calling her a "f—king liar" for privately commiserating with Trump over the stress of working with O’Donnell. Trump’s letter disingenuously details just what Walters shared with him, recalling a phone call where she said that "working with her is like living in hell," and advising him to "never get into the mud with pigs."

"In any event, you have a good reason to be angry," Trump told Rosie, with what an alien might mistake for sympathy. "Please give my warmest regards to Kelly!" he added with a notable misspelling, referring to Kelli Carpenter, O’Donnell’s same-sex spouse. In (perhaps) related news, ratings for the season premiere of The Apprentice were the lowest for the show yet, an average of 9.1 million viewers, a drop of 2.5 million viewers from its lead-in, Grease: You’re The One That I Want. I doubt there’s a connection, though.