Apple’s news at WWDC today skewed heavily toward its Mac line, with long-awaited updates to its MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and MacBook Air lines, while also providing a first glimpse of the latest version of its iOS mobile operating system.
The event served as a reminder that while Apple’s largest growth drivers are the iPhone and the iPad, its Mac line continues to be an important part of business. To better illustrate the point, Apple unveiled a next-generation MacBook Pro.
That said, the mobile end got its update with iOS 6, which includes 200 new updates, as well as upgrades to Siri.
Apple made the most of WWDC this year, offering up a wave of news. Here’s what got announced (and here’s what didn’t get announced):
App Store update: Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that it has 400 million App Store accounts. In addition, the company has 650,000 apps in its App Store and 30 billion apps have been downloaded so far. As a result, Apple has doled out $5 billion to developers since the marketplace’s inception.
Macbook Air: The new MacBook Airs will be equipped with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge chips, offering up to Core i7 with Turbo Boost, bringing the processor speed up to 3.2GHz.
Hard drive options include a 512GB SSD, while graphics will be up to 60 percent faster. And USB 3.0 will also be part of the package.
Macbook Pro: In addition to the Air, Apple also unveiled a new line of Macbook Pros. The computers also boast third-generation Ivy Bridge processors, as well as the Nvidia GeForce GT650M graphics. The line also includes both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 support. Rumors have been swirling over the last few months that Apple would update its MacBook Pro line with new components.
Apple’s new MacBook Pro line starts at $1,199 for the 13-inch option, but can go much higher. The 15-inch MacBook Pro starts off at $1,799. Both devices are available now.
Next-generation Macbook Pro: That wasn’t all for the MacBook Pro. Apple showed off a major update, which looks like a hybrid of a Pro and an Air. The computer is just 0.71 inches thick, and is being called the lightest MacBook Pro ever made. And for those looking for better visuals, the device comes with Apple’s Retina Display — the same screen found in its later iPhones and new iPad.
According to Apple, the next-generation MacBook Pros’ 15.4-inch Retina Display features “the highest resolution” of any notebook on the market, thanks to its 220 pixels per inch. All told, the device’s resolution comes in at 2,880 x 1,800. To take advantage of that, Apple says that it has updated all of its native apps, including Mail, Safari, and iPhoto. The company’s professional apps will also work with the Mac’s Retina Display.
Apple says that third-party developers will need to update their programs to ensure they take advantage of the Retina Display.
Like the MacBook Airs, the next-generation MacBook Pro doesn’t come with an optical drive. But it will have a SD card reader, HDMI connection, two USB 3/ USB 2 ports, an updated version of its MagSafe power adapter connection, and two Thunderbolt connections. It will have up to 768 gigabytes of hard drive storage.
The new MacBook Pro doesn’t come cheap. At the starting price of $2,199, the base model comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Mac OS X update: Apple wasn’t all about hardware. The company said Mountain Lion, the latest version of OS X, will offer as many as 200 new features, including many more cloud services.
Apple’s iCloud service already boasts 125 million registered users, according to the company. Applications like mail, contacts, calendar, Messages, Reminders, and Notes will all sync up, along with a new feature dubbed “Documents in the Cloud,” which can sync documents from Pages, Keynote, Preview, and TextEdit.
Mountain Lion will be available in the Mac App Store in July for $19.99.
Apple’s Mac user base has grown to 66 million users, and the company has sold 26 million copies of Max OS X Lion since its launch last summer, with 40 percent of its users running that operating system.
iOS 6: The revamped operating system comes with more personalization options, allowing users to turn on a do-not-disturb mode, as well as respond to phone calls with a set message, and set VIP status to individuals whose emails come through as an alert.
Apple will also finally allow Facetime to work over the cellular network; it previously only worked over a Wi-Fi network. Customers may want to watch out though, as video chat burns through data fairly quickly.
Apple will also consolidate a user’s Apple ID and phone number, so calls and messages can be picked up via the iPhone or iPad.
Other new features include the ability to compile an offline reading list, a new photo upload feature, the ability to share photo streams, and an app called Passbook, which stores boarding passes, store cards, and movie tickets.
The beta version of iOS 6 is going out to developers today, and will be available to consumers in the fall. The platform will support iPhone 3GS and later, the 4th generation iPod touch as well as the second and third-generation iPad (Apple drops support for first-generation iPad and third generation iPod touch).
Facebook integration: Apple said today that it would more closely tie Facebook into iOS6. The new setup allows Facebook users to post pictures and video directly to their accounts from iOS 6 without using the Facebook app, and post updates via Siri.
Siri gets smarter: Apple also announced several upgrades for Siri, including a jump to the latest iPad.
Upgrades include better responses, and several integrations: OpenTable, Rotten Tomatoes, Yelp, and sports data. Siri can also launch apps now, post to Facebook and be international.
Apple is also working with automakers to integrate Siri into cars through a “Eyes Free” feature, which will allow drivers to use a button in the steering wheel to activate Siri. The feature is coming in the next 12 months for several car companies, including BMW, General Motors,Toyota, Mercedes, Honda, and Audi.
Apple’s maps: Apple revealed today at WWDC a new in-house 3D Maps app built entirely from the ground floor up. The 3D option isn’t turned on by default but can easily be switched on by the user via a large button logically dubbed 3D.
But 3D isn’t the only cool feature. The app is tapping into the GPS arena by helping drivers who need to navigate their way through traffic. Besides offering turn-by-turn directions, the app includes a new traffic service that shows you the location of accidents, courtesy of crowd-sourcing, so you can try to avoid them.
What do think of these new announcements? Tell us in the comments below :)