To kick off its annual World Wide Developers Conference, tech-giant Apple dropped a few long awaited bombs this past Monday. A preview of the sixth iteration of its mobile operating system was shown off, revealing that iOS 6 would come with new Siri features, a GPS app with realtime traffic updates to directly compete with or replace Google Maps, improved Facebook integration, and an estimated 200 other new features. An update to Facetime, Apple’s video chat program, will make the app usable over cellular networks for the first time, freeing it from the WiFi-only restrictions it currently suffers.
The upgrade will be offered for free this Fall for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, the new iPad, and fourth generation iPod touch. Alongside iOS6, owners of the new iPad will also see Apple’s much touted voice-command program, Siri, roll out to their tablets.
While owners of Apple’s mobile units will have to patiently wait for the leaves to drop before they get their fill of progress, users of the still quite portable MacBook line will be able to carry around new and improved laptops this summer. OS X Mountain Lion, the newest version of Apple’s operating system for laptops and desktops, will hit the Mac App Store in July, bringing with it improved Facebook and iCloud integration, Dictation (a voice-command program which allows you to speak text into a document or app), a new iMessage program for communicating and sharing files with friends, and a number of other features.
As new software works its way down the pipeline, some hardware from Apple will also be arriving on the scene. The current MacBook line is being updated in its entirety, adding USB 3 connectivity, stronger processors, improved graphics cards, faster memory, and a few other tweaks. The line will ship with the current OS X version, Lion, installed, but new buyers will have a free upgrade to Mountain Lion when it drops.
The greatest improvement to Apple’s laptop line comes with a brand new MacBook Pro. Measuring in at a 15” screen, 0.71” girth, and weighing less than 4.5 lbs, the new unit falls somewhere between existing Pros and their lightweight, compact alternative, the MacBook Air. Where this newcomer blows all alternatives away, however, is through its assuredly stunning retina display. Harvesting over twice the pixel density of an HD TV, the new screen will be so refined that the human eye cannot see individual pixels when viewed from a normal distance. On top of the crisper picture offered by the MacBook, its screen will provide 29% higher contrast and 75% less reflection (e.g. glare) than last generation’s models. After the latest iPad, this will become Apple’s second device to use a retina display.
Do you use a MacBook or iOS device already? Tell us what you think of it on the Long Island Lounge.