If you want a clue to what Apple is planning then its WWDC developers’ conference is the place to be.
It’s been taking place in San Francisco and last night Apple boss Tim Cook appeared on stage to deliver his keynote speech outlining much of what the company has in the works.
So what did he say and what do you need to know? Here’s 10 key revelations from WWDC 2012 to bear in mind.
iOS 6 coming this autumn but not for iPad 1
It was no real surprise to see Tim Cook announce the imminent arrival of new operating software for the iPhone and iPad with more than 200 new features. It was after all a conference for developers who will now get to play with the beta version and use it to invent new things. But it was perhaps a surprise to learn owners of the original iPad won’t be able to download it. The device will not be able to support it although the iPhone 3GS will.
Maps is being overhauled – finally
Many would say it’s about time Apple’s mapping app and software got a good going over. So in a bid to go up against Google Maps, this new app will feature turn-by-turn navigation and amazing 3D Flyover birds-eye views. There’s also 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.
Mountain Lion set to roar in July
While we have to wait a few months for iO6, the newest version of the OS X Mac computer operating system will be released next month. It will cost around £20 and can easily be downloaded and installed directly from the Mac App Store.
Major new features include AirPlay Mirroring, the addition of Game Center from iOS, much stronger integration with iCloud for sharing and storing content and a new Messages app to replace iChat and let you send iMessages to iOS devices or other Macs. Plus there’s apps for Reminders and Notes. Even more exciting for many is it will include the voice-to-text Dictation function from the current iPad.
Power Nap for Macs
If you own one of the new MacBook Pro machines (we’ll come on to that in a moment) or the MacBook Air second and third generation, Power Nap can keep your computer updated even when it is asleep. So once awake you’ll find new emails, reminders, photos and documents all there ready to go.
MacBook Pro with Retina Display
Talking of that new MacBook, WWDC 2012 saw the unveiling of a new Pro machine that’s thinner, lighter and has a high quality Retina Display, just like on the new iPad. It’s a 15 inch only model but comes with lots of options for configurations, from its base £1799 price. It may be expensive but it is just 0.71 inch thick, a quarter thinner than before, weighs 4.46lbs and features greater flash storage and quad-core processing for the ultimate power users.
Tim Cook loves the new MacBook Pro
Apple’s CEO said:
“The MacBook Pro with Retina display pushes the limits of performance and portability like no other notebook. The new MacBook Pro is the most advanced Mac we have ever built.”
And with a display that features more than five million pixels, it’s better quality than an HD television. It also has a unibody design and 75% less reflection and 29% higher contrast than the older model, Apple says. Anyone buying one will get a free upgrade to Mountain Lion when it is released.
Deep Facebook integration
Back to iOS 6 and we find Facebook built-in across the board, much like Twitter is now in iOS 5. Facebook is also being weaved into various aspects of Mountain Lion too and both will allow you to post updates and pictures and links from different apps and programs with just a click.
Siri is coming to the iPad
There was no announcement of different voice styles for Siri but Apple did reveal iOS 6 will ensure it arrives on the iPad after its debut on the iPhone 4S. With many iPad users using their tablet device to control many parts of their personal lives and work too – far more than their iPhone does – having the virtual assistant on hand to make life easier could well be a massive bonus and an extremely popular feature.
iCloud to be more advanced
With iCloud in iOS 5, Apple device owners were able to easily sync their content across all the products they owned. The updated version will also ensure this travels across the Mac with Mountain Lion and in iOS 6 it brings a Shared Photo Stream to create different picture libraries for various friends and family to have updated instantly as soon as you snap a shot on your iPhone or iPad camera.
You can also use Documents in the Cloud through iCloud to update and edit anything from iWork, anywhere with any Apple device.
MacBook Air range gets more powerful
New MacBook Air models were the main piece of hardware news at WWDC 2012. The 11 inch and 13 inch versions remain and feature the latest i5 and i7 processors plus more flash storage for faster performance and 60% faster graphics. The FaceTime camera built-in will also capture video at 720p plus there’s USB 3.0 ports. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said:
“We’ve made the world’s best portable family even better and we think users are going to love the performance advances in both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.”
Prices start at £849 for the 11 inch model and £999 for the 13 inch.
What we didn’t learn from Apple’s WWDC 2012
With no news on a iPhone 5 or even the fabled Apple television product the rumours are constantly predicting, there’s certainly room for more big announcements to come from Apple before the summer and 2012 is out.
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