Apple announces new MacBooks and more at WWDC 2012
Mountain Lion, the newest version of Mac OS X gets a July release with new features including AirPlay Mirroring, in addition to Game Centre from iOS, stronger integration with iCloud for sharing and storing content, and a new Messages app to replace iChat. Plus there will be an app for Reminders and Notes. More excitingly, it will include the voice-to-text Dictation function from the current iPad. The price will be around $30 and will be available for downloaded and installed directly from the Mac App Store.
Coming later in the year is iOS 6 with more than 200 new features for the iPhone and iPad. However, owners of the original iPad won’t be able to download it as the device will not be able to support it, but the iPhone 3GS will.
Apple's star product was undoubtedly their next generation MacBook Pro, which features a Retina display and, according to Time Cook, it pushes the limits of performance and portability like no other notebook, being the most advanced Mac that Apple has ever built. It drops legacy technologies such as ethernet and the DVD drive in favour of are thinner, sleeker form factor, being as thin as Apple's ultra-portable MacBook Airs. New feature "Power Nap" can keeps the new MacBook Pro updated even when it is asleep, so once awake you’ll find new emails, reminders, photos and documents all there ready to go to.
With the iPad becoming increasingly popular with Apple's users, it was revealed that following the release of iPhone 4S, iOS 6 will ensure that Apple’s intelligent personal assistant Siri is also available on the iPad. Sticking with iOS 6, Facebook gets to be built-in across the board, much like Twitter in iOS 5 and is weaved into various aspects of Mountain Lion, allowing you to post updates and pictures and links from different apps and programs with just a click. iCloud gets more advanced and updated version, and in iOS 6 it brings a Shared Photo Stream to create different picture libraries updated instantly as soon as you snap a shot on your iPhone or iPad.
Apple bids goodbye to Google maps with their new mapping app which will feature turn-by-turn navigation and amazing 3D Flyover birds-eye views. It also includes real-time traffic information that can be read out by Siri, who can even suggest an alternative route or give ideas for nearby places to stop, shop, eat and fill up with fuel. However, some of the coolest features such as Flyover and turn-by-turn navigation will only be available on iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or later models, leaving the iPhone 4 and first-generation iPad out-to-dry.
The MacBook Air models received an update 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 making the new MacBook Air twice as fast as the previous model, plus they will come with a pair of USB 3.0 ports and capacity for up to 8GB of RAM. In terms of prices, they start from US$1000 for the base 11in model and all the way up to US$1500 for the top end 13in model.
Apple also quietly updated its AirPort Express base station whose specs include simultaneous 2.4- and 5-GHz bands, support for legacy 802.11 b and g devices, a 10/100 Fast Ethernet WAN port and a 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN port. The new AirPort Express retains the one USB 2.0 port supporting a printer, suitable for laser printers, as well as a 3.5-mm audio minijack for analogue or optical digital sound, but loses it's handy plug-in-the-wall form factor.
As was expected, quite a few things have been revealed from Apple at WWDC2012, but with no news on the Mac Pro can we expect to ever seen an update to Apple's only tower computer, or is it about to meet the end of its days?