Apple announces a next-generation MacBook, new iPhone software
ASSOCIATED PRESS June 11, 2012 8:44AM
Attendees enter the Apple Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 11, 2012. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to show off new iPhone software and updated Mac computers and provide more details on future releases of Mac software when he kicks off the company's annual conference Monday. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Updated: June 11, 2012 2:30PM
New iPhone and Mac software and updated Mac computers were among the highlights Monday at Apple Inc.’s annual conference for software developers. The updates include Apple’s own mapping service, better integration with social networks and an improved virtual assistant in Siri.
The Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco runs through Friday. Here’s what’s coming out of the show on Monday.
CEO Tim Cook ends the presentation by touting the company’s ability to deliver on hardware, software and services.
Apple says its mobile devices will get a new operating system, iOS 6, this fall. It will support iPhones released since 2009, as well as last year’s and this year’s iPad models. It will also work with newer iPod Touch devices.
The update will be free, though some features won’t be available on all devices. The iOS 6 software will sport more than 200 new features.
Apple’s mobile devices will have a mapping program built in-house.
In the past, Apple has given prominent billing to Google Inc.’s mapping app. But the two companies have increasingly become rivals as people buy more devices running Google’s Android operating system.
Apple’s map program will be integrated with Siri so that you can ask questions.
It will also include “flyover” images taken by helicopters hired by the company to fly over major cities. Google said last week it’s sending its own planes to produce similar images. Apple showed images of the Sydney Opera House and the Transamerica building in San Francisco as part of its demo.
Don’t want to be disturbed?
Apple’s new software for iPhones gives you more options for preventing messages and text notifications from disturbing you at night, for instance.
You can control how and when you get back to people. If you can’t call someone back right away, you can set a reminder to call that person back later or have a text message sent directly to the caller.
There’s a “call when you leave” feature that reminds you to call back when you are leaving a building and office. The phone can detect when you are leaving.
The new software, iOS 6, will sport more than 200 new features. It also works on the iPad and the iPod Touch.
Apple’s iOS 6 software will have better integration with Facebook. The idea is you enter your password just once, and you can post to Facebook from a variety of apps. You can also post about websites directly from Apple’s Safari browser.
Facebook will be integrated with Apple’s online app store so that you can declare you “like” specific apps there, as well as songs and movies in iTunes.
Events in Facebook’s calendar and birthdays of Facebook friends will also appear on your phone’s calendar.
Apple says iOS 6 will have enhancements to Siri, a virtual assistant that interprets voice commands and talks back to the user.
Since Siri was introduced in October with the iPhone 4S, Siri has been “studying up and learning a lot more,” says Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president for iPhone software.
He demonstrated that by having Siri tell whether LeBron James or Kobe Bryant is the taller basketball player. Siri replies, “LeBron James appears to be slightly taller” as the cards of both players are displayed on the screen.
Apple says it is partnering with Yelp so that Siri can include ratings and prices of restaurants when you ask Siri for places to eat. The company is also partnering with OpenTable to make reservations.
Siri has also learned more about movies.
Siri will now be available in more languages and more countries. It is also coming to the iPad for the first time.
The new operating system for Apple’s Mac computers promises better integration with social networks.
Apple says the upcoming Mac OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” operating system has built-in features to facilitate sharing on Twitter and Flickr. For instance, you’ll get notifications directly from Twitter when you get a direct message or a mention on Twitter.
There’s also a “Power Nap” feature that keeps your Mac up to date even while it’s in power-saving “sleep” mode. It will get your emails, back up your files and download software updates automatically.
Mountain Lion will be available next month and will cost $19.99 — $10 cheaper than what the current system, Lion, costs.
Those buying the MacBook models announced Monday will get the upgrade for free when it’s available. Those models will ship with the Lion version initially.
The new Mountain Lion system narrows the gap between the PC and phone software packages, making Mac personal computers work more like iPhones.
There’s little surprise. Apple already demonstrated most of the features of Mountain Lion in February and said it will go on sale late this summer. Developers are already able to download a version of the software.
Among the features:
— A new Messages app, copied from Apple’s mobile operating system, will replace iChat.
— Mountain Lion will be integrated with iCloud, the new Internet storage service designed for the mobile devices.
— The software will bring dictation to Mac computers, essentially allowing you to type as you talk.
Apple announces a next-generation MacBook Pro model that is less than an inch thick while closed — about as thin as the MacBook Air. It will have a sharper display, akin to what the iPhone and the iPad now have.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, calls it “the most amazing computer we have ever made.”
The “next-generation” model will have a 15.4-inch diagonal display. It will have processors from Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. and promises up to 7 hours of battery life.
The other models announced earlier Monday are largely updates to current models with more memory and better processors. The older models won’t sport the sharper “Retina Display” feature of Apple’s newer devices.
The “next-generation” model will be 0.71 inch thick, compared with 0.95 inches for the updated models. The weight of the new model is 4.46 pounds.
The new model will start at $2,199 and will start shipping Monday.
Schiller appears on stage to discuss changes to the company’s lineup of MacBook laptop computers.
He begins with an update to the ultra-thin MacBook Air and says the devices will have new Intel Corp. processors that sport up to 60 percent faster graphics and up to 512 gigabytes of flash storage memory. MacBook Airs do not have hard drives.
Prices for the version with an 11-inch diagonal screen will range from $999 to $1,099.
The MacBook Pro, which do have hard drives and are thicker, will also get the new Intel chip. Prices for the 13-inch model will be $1,199 to $1,499, while a 15-inch model will be $1,799 or $2,199, depending on the amount of storage.
The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models will start shipping Monday.
A video shown on stage shows an app that helps blind people explore the world. After the video ends, Cook thanks the developer community for building the variety of apps for Apple devices.
Cook boasts of more than 650,000 apps in its mobile store, including 225,000 optimized for the iPad tablet computer. The number of apps made by third parties, which extend the functionality of mobile devices, is one area where Apple has an advantage over Android, BlackBerry and other systems.
The conference opens with greetings from the virtual assistant Siri. A few minutes later, Cook walks on stage to standing ovation and announces, “We have a great week planned for you and some really cool stuff to show.”