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Apple's WWDC 2012: New MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iOS 6

clock June 12, 2012 01:09 by author Jeremy

Apple's WWDC 2012 finally arrived at our doorstep, and it didn't disappoint. During their opening keynote earlier today, Tim Cook and other Apple representatives introduced a myriad of goodies in both hardware and software-form.

We start off with an introduction to the latest array of notebooks: the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are getting some great upgrades in every department. The biggest contender here, though, is the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display. That's a 15.4-inch display, 2880 x 1800, with reduced glare. This behemoth can have up to a 2.7GHz quad-core, 16GB RAM, a Kepler GT 650M graphics card, and 768GB of internal flash storage. The battery life is rated at 7 hours, but we'll see if other benchmarks prove that wrong. There's no optical drive, but by trading that away, Apple was able to create this latest MacBook Pro with a thickness of 0.71-inches.

All the latest laptops, however, will include the new MagSafe 2 adapter. This features a new (or old, technically) T-connection tip, rather than the barrel-style that Apple has used previously. A new $9.99 adapter is available at Apple stores to use in conjunction with your old charger, rather than having to buy a new one completely. Also included in all laptops are USB 3.0 slots, and the latest OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Previous customers will be able to purchase this for $19.99, and is upgradable from Lion and Snow Leopard.

On the software side, we'll be getting iOS 6 in the fall, which is available for the iPhone 3GS and up, the 2nd and 3rd-generation iPad (aka the New iPad), and the 4th-generation iPod Touch. iOS 6 includes the following:

  • Siri is now available for the iPad: it can launch apps, and even tell the current scores of sports games. Capable of providing sports fact via search and can place restaurant orders and see reviews via Yelp.
  • Facebook, like Twitter before, is now fully integrated into iOS 6, with its contacts and notifications.
  • A new call-feature has been added that allows text-replies from the call screen via pre-written messages. Do Not Disturb mode allows certain callers while blocking out the rest, and it has an emergency mode that permits a call to go through if two or more calls are placed by the same user within a short amount of time.
  • FaceTime is now available over cellular/mobile. No word on which networks this applies to.
  • Maps have been updated since leaving Google's network, but will feature turn-by-turn navigation.

This is only a small bit of what's available, and Apple says there are over 200 new features.

Last but not least, a partnership with several automobile manufacturers was announced, including BMW, Mercedes, GM, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda, Audi, Jaguar, and Land Rover. These companies will make use of the phone-button built into the steering wheel, making it Siri-compatible. Once the button is pressed, Siri will come up and you can search by voice on your car's microphone. Your iPhone will, of course, have to be plugged into the car, but still a nifty feature nonetheless.

There's still four days left of WWDC, too. What else can Apple surprise us with? While a new iPhone was rumored, it seems unlikely that the 4S will be replaced already.

Source: The Verge (pictures)



D10 Interview with Tim Cook

clock June 1, 2012 01:26 by author Jeremy

Like his predecessor before him, Tim Cook took to the stage on Tuesday night, May 29th, for an inside look as the new head of Apple. The D10 Conference opened up with the classier-than-ever Jane Lynch, accompanied by a full gospel choir and a marching band.

Tim Cook appeared on-stage soon afterwards and sat down with hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. In his interview, he spoke of the late Steve Jobs and what he learned. "You can only do so many things great, and you should cast aside everything else." This, as Cook says, is, "embedded in Apple," and that only the best will suffice. Cook also spoke of the difficulty of moving on from Jobs' passing. "It was absolutely the saddest day of my life when he passed away... I love museums, but I don't want to live in one."

Apple's direction has obviously changed since Jobs' departure. "We're going to double down on secrecy on products," says Cook, while also admitting that Apple will be transparent in other aspects regarding suppliers and environmental impact. When asked if Apple would ever have manufacturing plants in the U.S. (as opposed to their current locations in China), Cook replied, "I want there to be," adding that currently the engines and glass parts for the iPhone and iPad are built in Texas and Kentucky, respectively.

On the topic of the infamous patent wars, Cook claims that our system today is currently broken. "From our point of view, it is important for Apple not be the developer for the world. We just want other people to invent their own stuff." When countered that Apple themselves are suing other companies in the patent wars, Cook replied, "The vast majority of [lawsuits Apple receives] are on standards-essential patents... No one should be able to get an injunction off a standards-essential patent."

Apple's famous voice recognition program, Siri, received praise from Cook, who noted that Siri has a personality the adds to her likeability. "...there's more that it can do, and we have a lot of people working on this. And I think you will be really pleased with some of the things you'll see over the coming months on this."

To see the entire interview, check out D's interview with Tim Cook in the source link below.

Source: allthingsd (published by Ina Fried)



Apple's WWDC 2012 Sets Official Dates

clock April 28, 2012 00:19 by author Jeremy

Mark your calendars, folk: Apple's famous World Wide Developer's Conference has been announced for June 11 to 15. It'll be 5 days of Apple, Apple, aaaand... more Apple. 

Previous years of WWDC have seen the announcement of new iPods, iPhones, and even iPads. It's sort of like Apple's own personal little CES tradeshow. What can we expect this year? Their press release seems to emphasize more on developers and platforms. "We have a great WWDC plannde this year and can't wait to share the latest news about iOS and OS X Mountain Lion with developers," said Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller.

Now for the long wait - 45 more days to go!

Sources: Apple, ComputerWorld



Apple stays on trail with iPhone 4S, not iPhone 5

clock October 5, 2011 00:24 by author Jeremy

The biggest news to emerge from today's Apple event is, of course, the unveiling of their latest iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 4S. This will come with quite a few new specs, particularly iOS 5. The iPhone 4S itself can be pre-ordered starting Oct 7th and will be available Oct. 14th. Meanwhile, iOS 5 will be released on Oct. 12th. So let's take a look at what we're dealing with, shall we?

The iPhone 4S will have the same retina display and back glass-casing as the iPhone 4, but comes with the brand new A5 chip. This chip is said to be twice as fast as its predecessor and has dual-core graphics. A new battery will provide 8 hours of talk-time, 6 hours of browsing (or 9 if done through WiFi), 10 hours of video and 40 hours of music, all done via the supposed 14.4 Mbps download speeds. And with AirPlay Mirroring, you can view some of these things on a bigger screen, either through a wired or wireless connection.

A new 8 megapixel camera is provided as well, bringing 60% better performance over the iPhone 4; this camera will also take in 73% more light, has 26% better white balance and an IR filter for more accurate colors. Plus, it's faster: a mere 1.1 seconds required to take one picture and only 0.5 seconds to take a second picture.

Perhaps the biggest new feature of the iPhone 4S/iOS 5 is Siri - originally a company that handled a voice recognition app, but was bought out by Apply in early 2010. Finally, Siri is bringing their expertise to the table by becoming Apple's (very intuitive) voice program. Quite a few examples were done at Apple's event today, with various questions/demands being asked: "What time is it in Paris", "Do I need to wear a raincoat today", "Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto", "Wake me up tomorrow at 6 AM", "Search Wikipedia for...". With each command, Siri either responded in kind or brought up the specific app that would help (such as a web browser with a wiki-page open).

Of course, the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 weren't the only news (granted, they were what everyone was waiting for) - the iPod Nano and iPod Touch both got a few touch-ups and price-alterations today. The iPod Nano, which now has a multi-touch display for app-swiping and 16 new clocks (including a Mickey Mouse clock!), will be available for $129 (8GB) or $149 (16 GB). Meanwhile, the iPod Touch, which now has iMessaging - bringing texts from your Apple devices to your iPod - will be for sale at $199 for 8GB, $299 for 32GB, or $399 for 64GB.

Also fresh off the Cupertino-grill is iTunes Match, the long-awaited music service that works with iTunes. This feature will scan your library, find the corresponding songs in iTunes for you and gives you the same benefits that iTunes-purchased-music would. This will be live at the end of the month.

Definitely an exciting day for Apple loyalists, and an exciting day for Sprint customers too - it was officially announced today at the event that Sprint will be getting the iPhone as well.

Oh, and as if all the news above wasn't enough, here's a last piece of joy for you: the iPhone 4S will now be available in white as well.

Sources: 9to5Mac, engadget (pictures)



WWDC 2011 - OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud

clock June 8, 2011 01:27 by author Jeremy

What's the best way to start the week? Probably with WWDC, if you're an Apple fan. In the past few years, we've seen new releases of products each time WWDC came around. Unfortunately, there aren't any new hardware products this time around, but the new software will more than make up for it.

Steve Jobs started us off with OS X "Lion", the latest build for Macs. This upgrade is available from the Mac app Store and can be downloaded straight to your Mac: no need for CD's anymore. It'll come with over 250 new features, but only 10 were previewed at WWDC. Lion will be available for $29.99 in July.

  • Multi-touch Gestures: How can you go wrong with this? Feel free to zoom, scroll and swipe to your heart's content. From what we saw, you can use up to 3 fingers for different commands and functions.
  • Full-screen Apps: Fairly self-explanatory there. Not only can you run the apps full-screen though, you can also swipe on your trackpad to switch between apps.
  • Mission Control: This will show all currently running apps or open documents in a sort of windowed-array. You can assign certain sections of your screen to hold specific windows in different sizes, and even zoom in on specific apps and windows for a preview.

  • Auto-Save: This feature can be toggled on/off, but when left on, it will not only automatically save your documents, but also load up your document to exactly how you left it. Auto-Save also includes the capability to see past "versions", allowing you a sort-of "timeline" of your file.
  • AirDrop: Files kept in this section can be shared with other nearby users running AirDrop. No need for flashdrives or cables, and no need to set up any programs. Simple!
  • Mail: A new version of Mail includes a favorite-folders section, which allows for easy viewing and searching. Speaking of searching, the search-bar can filter by people, subjects, or even dates. Mail can be viewed as a conversation, so that all messages show inline.

Next up, iOS 5 was introduced for all the iPhone fans out there. Features include:

  • Notifications: Hate those pesky push-notifications that constantly interrupt what you're doing? Then say goodbye to them. Apple is adopting an Android-like method of notifying users: a swipe-down menu can now be accessed from the top. During games and videos, a small animation appears up-top that disappears shortly after. Clicking on the animation will take you straight to the app, or you can ignore it and carry on. Notifications also appear while the screen is locked, and swiping to a particular notification will open up that app directly as well.

  • Reader View: Ever browse a website and the words are too small, or you have to keep swiping left and right to see everything? With Reader View, the OS will re-organize the screen to make everything readable in one scrollable page.
  • Reading List: Now you can save that website you're browsing for later without adding it to the bookmarks or leaving the window open! Just add it to the "Reading List", which can be accessed across devices (more on this later).
  • Reminders: This will allow you to set reminders based on the date or location. Feel like being reminded to stop by the bank the minute you leave your house? Just set it up accordingly, take one step out the door, and you're set.
  • Camera: The camera's been upgraded to include a button on the lock-screen for easy access. Also, the volume-up button now serves as a capture button, and you can edit your pictures directly (reduce red-eye, crop, rotate, etc).

  • Mail: Addresses can be dragged-and-dropped (from the To/From fields, for example). You can flag individual pieces of mail as unread, and search the contents of the messages from the search bar. Rich text formatting is finally included, as well as indentation control and a built-in dictionary (which, actually, works for all apps bought through the app store).
  • Game Center: For the gaming-enthusiast-on-the-go! This app will keep track of high scores made by you, your friends, and even your friends' friends. You can recommend games to them through here, and vice versa. Or, play a turn-based game with your friends from this app.
  • PC Free: Brand new devices can now be activated straight from the device: no need to go to a PC anymore. Software updates are OTA, and you can even sync iTunes without the wires! Which brings us to...

The iCloud! The long-awaited solution to everyone's hopes and dreams...at least when it comes to cross-device synchronization. And that's assuming all your devices are Apple products. But hey, brand loyalty pays, right? The iCloud is a free service that Apple is offering, which will hold all your content in Apple storage facilities. All of your content can then be pushed to your other devices.

So, what kind of content, you ask? Just about anything from your documents to your music, from your pictures to your videos. There are slight limitations though: for example, photos only last in the cloud for 30 days, but your devices can hold the last 1000 cloud-shared photos. Obviously, your PC/Mac can hold save these for as long as you want.

The music you bought is automatically uploaded to each device as well, assuming you have the capacity for it. And speaking of music...

iTunes Match was probably the most exciting news (for me, at least). This will scan your library and attempt to match your songs to anything in the iTunes Music Store's database. Songs that are matched are upgraded to 256Kbps AAC without DRM That's right folks: all those torrented CD's you've been listening to are now somewhat legit. iTunes Match is $24.99 per year, but Jobs promises that the matching-and-moving will take minutes, not weeks (which seemed like a swing against competitors Amazon and Google's music services).

So, no iPhone 5. Can't say I'm shocked, but it doesn't mean I'm any less excited. And you should be excited too! Don't you have some files to go prepare for the cloud?

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