Apple is holding its annual Worldwide Developers Conference all this week at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Monday featured a string of amazing announcements as every year Apple rolls out more improvements.
Apple CEO Tim Cook led the Keynote event of the 23rd Annual WWDC. He quoted numbers that spoke to the scale of what Apple has been able to achieve: The Apple App Store – “the most vibrant app ecosystem on the planet” – has over 400 million accounts with registered credit cards and one-click buying is the largest store on internet. The App Store sells over 650,000 apps, 225,000 of which are apps built for the iPad display specifically. There have been 30 billion downloads from App Store. Finally the payout to developers has been over $5 billion.
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., announced the most anticipated highlight of the day for new hardware, the new MacBook Pro with a Retina Display. Calling it “the most beautiful Mac we’ve ever built”, the MacBook Pro (pictured above) promises a sublime user experience. It has a 15.4 inch diagonal display, with a picture perfect 2880-by-1800 resolution, at 225 pixels per inch Retina Display like the iPad 3, running quadcore Intel i7 processors, with flash storage up to 500GB, but as thin as a MacBook Air, weighing only 4.65 pounds. Starting at $2199, it ships today with OSX Lion, Apple operating system; but beginning now, all Apple purchases qualify for a free upgrade to OSX Mountain Lion which will ship later this summer.
Other new features announced on Monday:
- Apple Maps signals the end of its relationship with Google Maps, which has been expected. Apple will do its own cartography, instead of using Google Maps or an open source format like OpenStreetMap. Apple Maps directions will be narrated by Siri. Locations will be integrated with Yelp. Apple Maps will offer traffic updates, suggesting new routes if traffic is bad. Apple Maps also have a 3D feature called Flyover – a “3D photographic model of cities all over the world.”
- Apple announced a new upcoming iOS 6, the operating system for mobile iPhones and iPads. This will bundle other announced features including the new Maps, a new upgrade for the voice-activated personal assistant Siri, and Facebook integration. It will include Passbook – a new Apple app that controls coupons, boarding passes, cards and coupons.
- Siri keeps growing up. She’s smarter and wittier. The Siri for iOS 6 does sports scores and stats. She is integrated with Yelp and OpenTable. If you ask her for a good restaurant near you, she will recommend choices based on the Yelp database, and possibly even assist you to make a reservation using OpenTable. Siri will tap into IMDB for movie reviews and information, and Fandango for tickets. Siri is also more multi-lingual, depending on what country you buy iOS 6. Siri will communicate in Canadian French; Spanish for Spain, Mexico and the US; Italian in Italy; and French, German and Italian dialects for Switzerland. Plus in Asia: Korean in Korea; Mandarin and Cantonese in China. Siri will be available on the iPad, as well as from auto makers who will integrate Siri into the dashboard – including BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda. Waiting for a Google response to the lovely Siri, because she is both Muse and Siren, who will lure you to the shores of Apple’s island of mobiles…
- iOS 6 will include Facebook Integration. This is everything that Facebook wants, and needs! Anything you do can (or will) be instantly posted to Facebook. All you need to do is login once from your mobile device and the Apple iOS 6 will post your pics and messages up to Facebook.
- USB 3.0 added to Apple products. This allow for faster performance of your USB 3.0 devices.
- Apple dropped $100 each for the MacBook Air models, while adding USB 3, Intel processors, flash storage up to 512 GB, and a 720 pixel FaceTime video/camera in widescreen format. Starting at $999 and $1199 for 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs, students should gobble up Apples at those prices.
See Apple for the streaming video of the WWDC main Keynote event.
This article was written on a 15″ MacBook Pro (2009) running OSX Lion 10.7.4, with 4GB memory.