In case you missed the blanket coverage on technology sites around the globe, Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference overnight with updates on iOS6 and Mountain Lion, as well as unveiling some new MacBook Pros. Here are the details.
Actually, Apple’s entire Macbook lineup got a bit of a kick in the pants at the event, upgrading its entire platform to the new Ivy Bridge processor from Intel. But the real star was the redesigned MacBook Pro, which is a 15-inch superstar boasting an amazing 2880 x 1800 retina display. The new model doesn’t replace the old MacBook Pro, but adds to the range. Also included in the 15-inch Pro + Retina is a 720p FaceTime camera, Ivy Bridge processor with a minimum of 8GB RAM, two ThunderBolt ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI output, the new machine ditches the optical drive in favour of a thinner body and superior connectivity. It’s available now, with prices starting at $2,499.
Apple showed that it’s really sticking to Siri, announcing support for the voice recognition software for the new iPad in iOS6. It’s also going to be a lot more versatile, with the ability to check sports results, movie times and local restaurants based on user reviews. Whether these new features will work in Australia is yet to be seen of course, but the capability will be there.
Facebook is going to be integrated more tightly into the core OS, allowing users to share photos, maps and more from their iPhone or iPad without having to boot up the Facebook app. Siri will also allow you to update your status verbally.
FaceTime will now work over 3G, Safari will sync tabs across multiple devices, Mail has a new VIP option for important contacts and Photo Stream will let you share your pics with other people.
But what’s really interesting about iOS6 are two things: PassBook and Maps.
Apple has ditched Google as the go-to source for mapping, instead launching its own 3D mapping service in iOS6. The new mapping app will include turn by turn navigation (bye bye TomTom) and the ability to do a 3D flyover of a location. It won’t work with pedestrian or public transport info yet, but that should come through third party apps in the not too distant future.
Passbook is another app that may not launch in Australia straight away, but looks good nonetheless. It’s essentially a single app for storing all your rewards cards, boarding passes and movie tickets. Rather than having to search through multiple apps, Passbook keeps them all stored close at hand for easy access. It even syncs in with your location, so can keep your boarding pass on the lock screen as you approach your departure gate, so you don’t even need to unlock the phone to board. Nice.
The iOS-ification of Mac OS X continues, with Game Center, Notifications, iMessage and AirPlay mirroring all making their wayt into the core OS. Just like iOS6, Facebook is also becoming more integrated, while Notes are becoming a part of the iCLoud service for ubiquitous access.
Also worth noting is the addition of Dictation for writing emails using your voice and something called Power Nap, which will update apps and and perform backups even while the Mac is sleeping.
The rumours foretold of an Apple TV SDK that never appeared, and the iMac lacked the refresh it so desperately wanted. But all in all, a pretty impressive lineup of new features, don’t you think?