Apple shows off the next generation of MacBooks and updates to its software lineup
At Apple's annual WorldWide Developers Conference keynote today, CEO Tim Cook took the stage to detail the company's plans for its upcoming hardware and software releases. He opened the show by telling everyone that the company had some "really cool stuff" to show off, and he certainly kept his word. Unfortunately, that cool stuff had nothing to do with the long-rumored iPhone 5.
New MacBooks launching immediately
First on the docket news on a revamped notebook lineup, including an all-new revamp of the MacBook Air, updated with new 3rd generation Intel "Ivy Bridge" processors that are considerably faster than the previous version. The new Air will also offer up to 512GB of flash storage via a solid state hard drive, which means lightning-quick access to programs and other features. All-in-all, the new Air is twice as fast as the previous model.
Apple's line of premium MacBook Pro notebook is also getting a refresh with the new Intel chips and Nvidia graphics technology, offering a 60% speed boost in graphics processing. Prices of the MacBook Pro line will remain the same, while the MacBook Air series will see a $100 price drop across all models.
Then, just as we thought the news on the MacBook line was winding down, Apple revealed an all-new MacBook Pro model, calling it simply the "next generation" MacBook Pro. The new notebook is nearly as thin as a MacBook Air, but includes features not available on other models including Retina display technology. The screen is a ridiculous 2880 pixels by 1800 pixels in resolution on a 15" screen, making it the highest-resolution notebook display ever.
The new MacBook features a solid state drive up to 768GB in size, along with a battery capable of powering the computer for 7 hours on a single charge, or up to 30 days of standby time. There's also the usual MacBook Pro bells and whistles including two Thunderbolt high-speed ports, an SD card slot, and a backlit keyboard. The new Pro starts shipping today with prices starting at $2199.
Mountain Lion creeps closer
Next, the company revealed its new version of Mac OS X called Mountain Lion. The new operating system features some incremental tweaks, but also some pretty cool new features that make connecting with other Apple users a breeze.
If you own an iOS 5 device, you're already probably pretty familiar with the drop-down notification center feature that gathers all your social networking updates, weather info, and other important details into one, easy-to-browse section. Mountain Lion offers that same functionality, and will automatically sync with your iPad or iPhone to add updates or remove ones you've already checked.
Apple's iCloud storage and syncing service will also be a big part of Mountain Lion, making it easy to toss notes from your iPad or iPhone straight to your Mac, and back again. And to make the process of creating documents faster, the new OS includes the same voice dictation technology already proven in the new iPad
On the gaming front, Mountain Lion finally brings Game Center to OS X, allowing you to keep track of scores and achievements of games. You'll be able to use the same Game Center ID that you use on your iOS devices, and also invite friends to play against you using the built-in matchup feature. Mountain Lion will launch in July for $19.99 via the Mac App Store.
iOS 6 brings new features, Siri to iPad
But it wasn't just about the desktop software at WWDC, Apple's iOS is also getting a makeover in iOS 6. The first thing Apple showed regarding the new mobile operating system was more advanced Siri virtual assistant features, including the snarky A.I.'s new ability to find sports scores online. You can simply ask "Siri, what was the score of the Brewers game?" and she'll find it for you.
Siri can also launch apps for you, assuming your library of games is too large to manual browse. Saying the name of a game or app will launch it, making the process perhaps slightly faster than clicking it yourself, though you'd have to be a real productivity nut to find this particular feature useful.
Believe it or not, iOS 6 includes a few new features for — gasp! — the phone application on the iPhone as well. Now, when you receive a call and cannot take it you'll be given the option to reply to the number that called you via text message, or even have your phone remind you later that you missed the call. And for when the sun sets and you're not longer on the clock, a new "Do not disturb" option lets you effectively silence any incoming messages or calls, but will still remind you of them when you awaken.
But despite all the new features, perhaps the biggest news from iOS 6 is that it will finally bring the virtual voice assistant Siri to Apple's new tablet. The newest version of the iPad (3rd generation) will have access to Siri voice commands when updated with iOS 6. Prior to this, the new iPad had voice dictation software, but no actual Siri functionality.
iOS 6 is being made available to developers right away, but won't actually launch on consumer devices until later this year.
iPhone 5 remains elusive
So that's what Apple had to show off today, but what didn't we see? Well, we saw no new hardware changes to any of Apple's mobile devices, meaning no news on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod fronts. There had been rumors that a slightly revamped iPhone 4S might make an appearance, featuring a different back section, or perhaps even the full reveal of the iPhone 5, but alas it was not to be. We still expect to see a proper iPhone 5 sometime this year, but it looks like we'll just have to wait.
This article originally appeared on Tecca
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