Apple uprooted themselves for the week to deliver this year’s World Wide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Yesterday they delivered the iconic Apple keynote speech. Fans of the company and their ever-popular products know that Apple’s keynote is where all of their latest releases are announced, and yesterday’s was no exception.
Apple has had an incredible year with new products like the new iPad, Siri and iPhone 4S, iOS and many other updates to their App Store. They touted their achievements to date, like how they’ve had more than 30 billion downloads from the App Store and how they’ve paid app developers more than $5 billion dollars. The real announcements were the new product lines: new versions of Apple’s popular MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, the release of OS X Mountain Lion, their newest operating system for computers and laptops; and iOS 6, a feature-rich update for mobile devices.
MacBook: More Power, Same Slim Design
The 13” MacBook Air is getting a brand new set of upgraded hardware options, including better processor packages and up to 512GB of flash storage instead of a conventional hard drive. Base models start with 4GB ram, 128GB storage space, and 7 hours of battery life, all for $1199. The Air’s low cost and tiny size has made it Apple’s best entry-level offering.
MacBook Pro laptops are also getting the same improved hardware options as the Air, and have larger hard drives as well as better graphics processors. They share the same 7 hour battery life, and offer a wider range of configurations, with the lowest price starting at $1199. This wasn’t the only improvement, though.
The new “next generation” MacBook Pro was also announced. This new model features the best hardware options Apple has to offer, and packs up to 768GB in flash storage, up to 16GB memory, a high-quality nVidia graphics processor, and a powerful new Intel Core i7 CPU. The body is as slim as an Air and is one of the lightest MacBook Pro models ever. It’s all topped off with a 15.4” Retina display with a whopping 2880×1800 pixel resolution.
The new MacBook Pro models start at $2199: power doesn’t come cheap.
OS X Mountain Lion: Cloud Sync, iMessage, and Direct Dictation
Apple’s newest operating system was detailed yesterday too: Mountain Lion. Apple has fully embraced the cloud and has added improvements into their successful iCloud service line. Documents can now be saved to the cloud and accessed or updated in real-time from any Apple device. All of your important office documents can be saved from your computer and accessed from your iPad or iPhone. Here are quick rundowns of some of the other new features:
Reminders is a new app that does exactly what you would expect: it lets you remind yourself to do things later. iMessage is fully integrated into the operating system, so you can send messages to iPhone users from your desktop. Notifications puts all of your app messages and updates into one place on your taskbar. Dictation is a new speech-to-text feature that lets you talk into your computer instead of typing, and can be used across all apps. Safari has been updated for performance and usability, and opened tabs can be synced in iCloud and opened on other devices. Power Nap keeps your computer updated in sleep mode. AirPlay Mirroring lets you mirror your computer’s display wirelessly with projectors, TVs, Apple TV and more.
These are just a few of the 200 new features coming to Mountain Lion, and the upgrade will only cost $20 for Macs running Snow Leopard or Lion. New Macs will also get the upgrade for free when it launches.
iOS 6: Better Siri, Maps and Navigation, Car Sync, Advanced Call Features and More
Siri opened the show by telling a few jokes in her robot-esque tone, and Apple is proud to announce that she’s been “studying up and learning a lot more.” Siri can deliver in-depth sports information, look up restaurants with direct Yelp and OpenTable integration, interpret 15 different languages for international users, and can look up movies with reviews and details. Major car manufacturers are also including Sync buttons in their cars that will activate Siri on plugged-in iPhones. Siri is now available on iPad as well.
Call management is much more robust in iOS 6. If you’re caught in a situation where you can’t answer a call, you can reply to the caller with a pre-written text message with the push of a button, or remind yourself to call them back when you’re free. Call reminders can also be localized, meaning you won’t see the reminder until you leave the room or the area. A new Do Not Disturb feature blocks phone notifications and calls, but allows calls to get through if the caller dials you repeatedly—leaving you happily disconnected over a break or overnight, unless it’s serious.
Passbook is a new app that manages air and rail tickets, special participating retailers’ membership cards, and just about anything else you need to track. Guided Access offers special accessibility services for anyone and everyone.
Maps is Apple’s biggest new feature. They’ve painstakingly done their own mapmaking and have worldwide 2D and 3D map coverage and turn-by-turn navigation built in to iOS 6. Mapping will reroute you if traffic is bad, and can display multiple routes simultaneously and let you follow the best one.
I haven’t listed even half of all the features they announced yesterday. The new MacBook models are available now and Mountain Lion is coming soon, as well as iOS 6. Spot anything you have to have?
Photos and coverage courtesy of gdgt: http://live.gdgt.com/live-wwdc-2012-keynote-coverage/
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