Monday, June 11, 2012

Apple Unveils New MacBooks, iOS 6 and New Mountain Lion Features

Apple Unveils New MacBooks, iOS 6 and New Mountain Lion Features:

Apple unveiled new Macs, a new version of iOS, and more Mac OS Mountain Lion features at its WWDC keynote Monday. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
It didn’t have the flair and shock factor of an iDevice unveiling, but today’s Apple event still wowed the hardcore faithful.
At its WWDC keynote Monday, Apple unveiled a host of hardware and software updates that confirmed many pre-event reports and rumors. The MacBook line-up was revamped top to bottom, including the introduction of a new slimmer MacBook Pro with Retina display. We also saw new Mountain Lion OS X features, and the world’s first public unveiling of iOS 6.
Below is a quick cheat sheet on the most important announcement details. For a full recap of the keynote, read our live-blog report here.

Thinner, Lighter, Brighter MacBooks

The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro line received some major updates, confirming at least some of the leaks reported last week. The entire line-up has been updated with the third generation of Intel’s “core” processors, aka Ivy Bridge. The new MacBook Airs and the 13-inch MacBook Pro will come with either a dual-core Core i5 or a Core i7 processor, while the 15-inch MacBook Pro features Intel’s Core i7 quad-core processor. MacBooks will now also come with an Intel HD Graphics 4000 processor, two USB 3.0 ports, and a 720p FaceTime HD camera.

The new MacBook Pro with Retina display offers much the slimness of an Air, plus a super-fine resolution, and Pro-level performance. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
But the most impressive and drastic update arrives in a completely new 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is now thinner and lighter to match its Air counterpart. This new MacBook Pro weighs 4.46 pounds and is only 0.71 inches thick. What’s more, this MacBook Pro sports a 2880×1800 pixel Retina Display — that’s four times the pixel density of the previous MacBook Pro model.
The name of this specimen? It’s simply called MacBook Pro with Retina display, but of course.

The new model’s display has a 178-degree viewing angle, and offers 75 percent less reflection and 29 percent higher contrast relative to previous MacBook Pros. Built-in and paid apps, including iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, Aperture and Final Cut Pro X, have been updated for the new Retina Display.
The MacBook Pro with Retina display will also with the third-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, Nvidia GeForce FT 650M discreet graphics, up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM, and up to 768GB of flash storage. And Apple isn’t giving up on Thunderbolt: The new MacBook Pro comes with two Thunderbolt ports, along with two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port.
Both the updated MacBook lineup and the new MacBook Pro with Retina display will be available for order Monday. The 11-inch MacBook Air starts at $1000; the 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,100; the 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,500; the 15-inch MacBook Pro (without a Retina Display) starts at $1,800; and the new and thin 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $2,200.

iOS 6

iOS 6 was one of the most highly anticipated announcements coming out of WWDC, and Apple didn’t disappoint the masses, revealing a bevy of new features. iOS 6 introduces more than 200 new features, including a totally revamped Maps app, new Siri features, Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams, the completely new Passbook app, and Guided Access — a feature made for educational purposes.

Finally! You can pull to refresh your email list, just like in the Twitter app. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
Of the seven trouble spots we wanted fixed in iOS 6, several actually made their way into the new mobile platform. Siri certainly became smarter, capable of speaking more languages and providing information on sports scores and schedules, movie listing, and restaurant reservations.
Facebook will make its way into many of iOS 6′s apps, including Notification center, Siri, Photos, Safari, and Maps. And similar to Mountain Lion, your Facebook friends’ information will appear in the Contacts app.
Apple couldn’t make a new mobile platform without developing totally new apps. And lucky for us, it isn’t just Cards 2. Apple announced Passbook, an app that collects all of your passes — everything from movie tickets to Amtrak passes — in one place.
And iOS 6 will also include the new Guided Access feature. Guided Access makes it possible for parents and teachers to disable hardware buttons on an iOS device, so that the device can be locked into a single app. The aim is to help someone with a disability stay focused on learning within that app.
But one of the largest updates comes with Maps, which now has turn-by-turn navigation, 3D views, and real-time, crowd-sourced traffic information. Apple didn’t outright scream that it ditched Google Maps, but it did say it developed all these mapping features itself. We’re not sure of its direct utility, nut an interactive 3D view that allows you to zoom in on buildings and landmarks was a keynote highlight.
Other new iOS 6 features include an updated Sarafi with iCloud tabs, support for FaceTime over cellular networks, a VIP Mailbox feature for the Mail app, and the ability to decline calls by sending the caller a message, setting a callback reminder, or setting up Do Not Disturb to hold messages and phone calls.

Mountain Lion Features and Availability

Apple showed off a number of new features to expect in OS X Mountain Lion, Apple’s upcoming desktop OS. And as we first saw in February, OS X Mountain Lion will more closely resemble iOS with a new Messages app, Notification Center, Reminders, Notes, and Game Center.

A new Mountain Lion feature called Power Nap updates your computer while it sleeps. Photo: Jon Phillips/Wired
iCloud will also take center stage in Mountain Lion, syncing your apps across all of your devices. And a new system-wide Sharing feature will make it possible for users to share links, photos, videos and files to third-party social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo.
Notably, Facebook received even deeper integration than most other social networks, and now matches the same levels of Twitter integration in Mac OS. For example, Notification Center will come with Facebook and Twitter support — users will be able to update their Facebook status from directly inside Notification Center. And Facebook friends will appear in Mountain Lion’s Contacts app.
Other new features include support for voice dictation, Gatekeeper (a feature that affords users greater control over downloaded apps), AirPlay Mirroring, Safari updates such as Smart Search Field and iCloud Tabs, and new features for Chinese users including Baidu search support.
Apple announced that OS X Mountain Lion will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $20. Developers will have access to a near-final version of Mountain Lion on Monday.
Apple packed a lot into its two-hour event. We’ll have further details on some of the biggest announcements to come. And if you want the play-by-play of WWDC, you can check out our liveblog.

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