WWDC Recap: Everything You Need to Know
The first official hint that something big, and hardware-related, was on the cards came in the morning when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed down its online store with a provocative message, but no details. Thankfully, answers were only a couple of hours away. Apple started its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday with a satisfyingly informative keynote address that launched a redesigned MacBook Pro that’s almost as thin as the MacBook Air and includes a Retina display, upgraded its standard MacBook Pro as well as MacBook Air lines, announced additional features for the Mac OS X Mountain Lion, and previewed the mobile software iOS 6.
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Within all the talk and the line of new products and features was the subtext of a partnership with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), an affirmation of Twitter, and something of a rejection of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Here are all the nuggets from Apple’s first big day of revelations:
MacBook Pro with Retina Display
This product is the first of a whole product line from Apple. The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display is a 15-inch laptop that is 0.71 inches thick. Thinner than the standard MacBook Pro, it lacks an optical drive, but makes up in other features. First, and most important, of these is the “Retina” display with a resolution of 2880 by 1800. It also includes the improved Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor, up to 16 GB of 1600 MHz RAM, Nvidia’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) GeForce GT 650M Kepler graphics, up to 768 GB of flash storage, and up to 7 hours of battery life. It also includes SD, HDMI, and USB 3.0 ports, and two Thunderbolt ports, as well as a high-definition camera for FaceTime. The basic model, with a 2.3 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of flash storage, starts at $2,199.
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MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
The older, existing notebook line also received an update. While the design largely remains the same, the new MacBook Air will also get Intel Ivy Bridge processors up to 2 GHz in speed, 60 percent faster graphics, up to 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, USB 3.0, and a 720p FaceTime camera. While the basic models in both the 11-inch and 13-inch version start at the same price, Apple made its higher-end versions $100 cheaper. The new standard MacBook Pro also has Ivy Bridge processors that can go up to 2.7 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, 60 percent faster graphics, and USB 3.0 ports.
The new Mac operating system, launching next month, will borrow several features from the mobile OS, including Reminders, Notes, and Notification Center, include unified search in Safari, and an iCloud Tabs that can sync open tabs across devices. Apple will get rid of iChat and replace it with iMessage. Twitter will also be built in to Mountain Lion. A new feature called Power Nap will update messages, tweets, email, photo stream, and download App Store and iOS updates while the device is in sleep mode. Another new feature is the Gatekeeper security system, which will allow users to limit the programs they install to those signed with an Apple certificate or those from the App Store. Users will be able to override settings on a per-app basis.
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The main big news from the iOS 6 preview was Apple’s announcement of its in-house Maps service that will include turn-by-turn navigation, realistic 3D graphics, live traffic updates, and Siri integration, and effectively do away with Google Maps integration. The company also revealed improvements to Siri, including the ability to launch apps, new languages, and, soon, its integration within vehicles of General Motors (NYSE:GM), BMW, Honda (NYSE:HMC), etc. Siri will also, as expected, come to the new iPad with iOS 6.
The new version of the mobile software will also include Facebook integration in the Contacts list, Calendar app, Notification center, and with Siri. FaceTime video chatting will be allowed on cellular networks instead of just Wi-Fi. The Mail app will now support photo and video attachments, while a new VIP section will let users receive notifications from a selected group of users. Apple also launched a second in-house map on Monday called Passbook, which will keep a record of movie tickets, boarding passes, etc. The software will be made available in the fall.