Apple held its annual WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) this past week, and during Monday's keynote address, CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives introduced several new products and offered a glimpse into their two newest operating systems: 10.8 Mountain Lion for the Mac and iOS 6 for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch.
New MacBook Pro: They unveiled a new MacBook Pro that is simply the most technologically advanced laptop in existence.
It measures 0.71 inches thin; weighs 4.46 pounds; features a Retina display with 2880 by 1800 resolution, quad-core i7 processor, all SSD storage up to 768 GB and, a first for the Mac, USB 3.0.
For the true nerd to appreciate, it also sports newly designed fans inside that have asymmetrically spaced impeller blades so that they are virtually silent when spinning. Gone are the optical drive, FireWire and Ethernet ports (though you can get Thunderbolt adapters for them) as Apple is once again moving everyone (kicking and screaming) into the future.
Now for the bad news: All that amazing tech will cost you $2,199 just to start.
However, all those features will no doubt become less expensive as time goes by.
Mountain Lion for Mac: OS 10.8 Mountain Lion got some attention as it nears its release date in July. Apple unveiled several features not seen yet, such as Siri-style Dictation systemwide (will I be speaking this column to my Mac next month instead of typing it?!); Facebook integration; and "Power Nap," which lets your Mac update Mail and other notifications, perform backups and download system updates -- all while the computer is asleep.
iOS 6 for iPhone, iPad: But the real star of the show was the iOS 6 preview. Coming this fall, iOS 6 will feature an all-new, designed-from-the-ground-up Maps application (as Apple's war with Google continues) that will provide turn by turn directions (just tell Siri where you want to go!); live traffic conditions; and "Flyover," which shows 3-D vector-based graphics of buildings and streets in a city. Very, very slick.
Also coming in iOS 6 will be a smarter Siri that knows about sports and can open apps (and will finally appear on the iPad); Facebook integration throughout the entire OS; shared photo streams via iCloud; FaceTime over cellular networks (finally!); new options when declining incoming phone calls; and iCloud Tabs in Safari for picking up your Web browsing session right where you left off on a different device.
Most interesting to me was Passbook, an app that keeps things like boarding passes, movie tickets, etc. in one place, and is clearly the first step toward paying for purchases with your iPhone. Some examples they gave were scanning your iPhone to check in for a flight -- should your gate change, the app will alert you. The app is time and location based, so it knows where and when you need it.