As Apple kicked off their WWDC week with an announcement-filled keynote, we got looks at new Apple laptops, the next version of OS X, and the new features that will be included in iOS 6.
The MacBook Air will be getting Ivy Bridge processors, with up to 2 GHz dual-core i7, and up to 8GB of memory with 60% faster graphics, and up to 512GB of flash storage. USB 3.0 will finally make its appearance, with two ports on the Air. Prices begin at $999 and the new Air is available for shipping immediately.
The Pro line also gets Ivy Bridge processors with up to 2.7 GHz quad-core i7 and a turbo boost that will take it to 3.7GHz. Here we have the same potential 8GB memory and 60% faster graphics and all-USB 3.0. Battery life is 7 hours. Optical drives still reside in these machines despite earlier rumors they might be gone. Note that these upgrades are for the 13- and 15-inch models – no mention of the 17-inch that has been the subject of discontinuation rumors. The 13-inch begins at $1199 and the 15-inch starts from $1799.
Next Generation MacBook Pro
To move the Pro line further forward, Apple is introducing what they call the Next Generation MacBook Pro. They’ve trimmed the case down to 0.71 inches and it weighs 4.46 pounds. The display is now Retina class, packing four times as many pixels as the previous model. The display also has improved viewing angles, better contrast and reduced glare. Standard apps have been upgraded to take advantage of the new display as have Aperture and Final Cut. The processor goes up to 2.75GHz quad-core i7, and the new machines can have up to 16GB of memory. Storage is up to a 768GB flash drive. Battery life is up to 7 hours of use or up to 30 days on standby. Ports include USB 3.0, FireWire 800, and Thunderbolt. Pricing on the new machine begins at $2199 and is available to ship immediately.
OS X – Mountain Lion
As we’ve heard before the new version of OS X has over 200 new features. Mountain Lion has built in support for iCloud to make access across devices easier, with iCloud updates to Messages, Reminders and Notes. Also, support for iCloud document libraries in the iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) as well as Preview and TextEdit. Notification are being designed to be less intrusive, and dictation is getting built into the operating system. Safari gets some Chrome-like updates like a unified search field and bookmarks synced across devices. Power Nap takes advantage of the computer’s downtime to do things like backups and updates. AirPlay Mirroring will provide an easy way to get 1080p content from your computer to your TV. Game Center is also getting built into OS X. Mountain Lion is due next month at a price of $19.99 to upgrade any version back to Snow Leopard.
The newest version of Apple’s mobile OS gets some improvements starting with Siri, as the digital assistant works to get you more in depth information on subjects you ask about. A new partnership with Yelp brings restaurant reviews into Siri’s areas of expertise. Also, better info on sports and where movies are playing near you. Siri is now also able to launch apps by voice command. Eyes Free is a system that integrates voice command in the car, with a button right on the steering wheel of certain cars. BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda have all committed to support in the next 12 months. Local search, a US-only feature in iOS 5 is going global in iOS 6 with support for countries around the world. Siri is also coming to the new iPad (the 2012 model).
There’s also new Facebook integration, making it easier to include photos, links, and maps from your iOS device. And watch for the ability to Like apps on Facebook.
Enhancements to the phone function gives you options to text back or respond later to an incoming call that you can’t answer immediately. The phone will also remind you to place a call as you are leaving a location. If you don’t want your phone talking in your sleep, there’s a Do Not Disturb option that will collect all your messages but won’t chime or light up the screen. Built-in call screening is also a new feature.
FaceTime gets a major unshackling as it moves from Wi-Fi-only to functioning when you are on a cellular connection.
Mobile Safari, in addition to iCloud syncing of tabs and history, is gaining an offline reading function so you can download and cache pages for reading when you aren’t connected.
PhotoStream will now let you share your stream with friends.
If there are some people in your address book that you want to give special attention, the new VIP function will let calls and messages from them rise above the rest.
Passbook takes things like digital boarding passes, store cards and movie tickets and gathers them in one place where they are easier to find.
Guided App keeps users on track and in a particular app, such as a museum tour or students taking a test on an iOS device.
We’ve heard a lot about Apple developing a new mapping system, and iOS 6 will see its release. The maps are world-wide and integrate local search. It’s not a 2D world, so you can now look at cities in a 3D view. There’s also Yelp integration, traffic info, and turn-by-turn navigation. Navigation will also be integrated with Siri.
iOS 6 will be available in the fall and will support iPhones from the 3GS, iPads that are 2nd generation and newer, and iPod Touch from the fourth generation on.
What did you think about the day’s announcements? Is there one pice of hardware or software you are most excited about? Let us know in the comments.