Goodies Galore At Apple’s WWDC

Photo courtesy Apple

Apple’s much-anticipated Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) 2012 last week revealed many goodies we can look forward to throughout the rest of this year. For starters, an all-new 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display and flash storage graced the stage during Apple CEO Tim Cook’s keynote speech. He called it “the most advanced Mac we have ever built.”

This refresh of the Pro features Intel’s newer Ivy Bridge processors with Intel turbo boosting up to 3.2 GHz (quad Core i7) with 13- and 15-inch models. These laptops feature a stunning Retina display (220 pixels-per-inch – that’s more than your HDTV!), all flash storage (up to 768 GB) and quad-core processors in a radically thin (0.71 inches) and lightweight (4.46 pounds) design. Just to give you an idea about how amazing the resolution actually is – it has more than 5 million pixels (3 million more than a typical HDTV). The pixel density is so high that the human eye cannot distinguish individual pixels from a normal viewing distance.

The Pro’s combined new processor, GeForce GT 650M-based graphics card and up to 8GB of RAM make it about 60 percent faster than the previous generation. Its battery gives you up to seven hours (and up to 1,000 recharges), and other features include a new HDMI port for quick connectivity to your HDTV, FaceTime HD camera, glass Multi-Touch trackpad, full-size backlit keyboard, dual microphone, enhanced speakers, thinner MagSafe 2 power port, and two USB 3.0 ports that are backward compatible.

Additionally, the MacBook Air was updated with the faster processors, faster graphics, updated ports, more flash storage, and runs up to twice as fast as the previous generation. A minor drawback for both MacBook lines is that the MagSafe 2 adapter will not work with previous generations of MacBook products, but you can buy an adapter for $10 that solves the problem. Prices for the new MacBook Pro start at $1,199 (13-inch)/$1,799 (15-inch), and MacBook Air $999 (11-inch)/$1,199 (13-inch). Both will come with the OS X Lion operating system, but when OS X Mountain Lion becomes available, you’ll be eligible for a free upgrade.

Speaking of which, the new Mountain Lion is expected to release sometime next month, and it will cost $19.99 from the Mac App Store. You’ll need Lion or Snow Leopard (OS X v10.6.8 or later) and at least 2GB of memory. More than 200 new features will be added to this operating system, including the allnew Messages app (replaces iChat, can communicate with all devices), systemwide sharing, Facebook integration, AirPlay Mirroring, Game Center, Dictation, Power Nap (updates your computer while it’s sleeping) and more.

Last but not least, Apple previewed the new iOS 6 for you iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. It will be a free update sometime this fall. A few of the main features are an all-new Maps app with turn-by-turn navigation with Siri’s voice, and Flyover views (bye-bye to the current built-in Google Maps app); easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations (integrated with Open Table and Yelp) and movie listings; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar; and Passbook, the simplest way to see all your passes/cards in one place (i.e., airplane boarding passes, movie tickets, Starbucks cards, etc.). No solid dates yet, but the new iPhone 5 may be released in the fall as well.