UPDATED: Apple gave its fans a lot of news to chew on — including features coming this fall on iOS 6, applications for the Siri voice recognition system, iPhone maps with turn-by-turn directions, and a light new MacBook Pro with a Retina display. But the company’s presentation at its Worldwide Developers Conference disappointed investors who had hoped to hear more — possibly the unveiling of a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Apple’s share price began to drop once it became clear that CEO Tim Cook and his colleagues had a more modest agenda. Apple users probably will be less churlish about today’s hodge-podge of announcements. One of the most notable is a major upgrade to the maps app that will enhance the iPhone’s ability to act as a GPS. All of the cartography was done in-house. The system is integrated with the Siri voice recognition system and has turn-by-turn navigation. It also has real-time traffic info enabling the system to direct users around accidents and jams. There’s a Flyover view, giving users a 3D look at major cities. The maps app will continue to work from the lock screen, and will be included in the iOS 6.
Siri played a large role in other announcements, including the fact that the service introduced eight months ago on the iPhone is coming to the new iPad. It’s been updated, and Apple’s partnership with Yelp will enable it to offer more information than it had about restaurants. Apple also says Siri can answer additional questions about new movies, including local theater showing times. Siri will be able to launch applications — something that lots of users wanted. It also will integrate with Facebook so people can use Siri to add text feeds and post photos. Siri also will integrate with cars due to a new feature called Eyes Free: Auto makers will add a button on the steering wheel so drivers can ask questions. BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda are participating.
Among other announcements: Apple’s FaceTime video conferencing, now available on WiFi, will also work on cellular transmissions….There’s a new iPhone feature: Passbook. It’ll hold barcodes for tickets (including Fandango movie tickets), store cards, boarding passes, etc. … Apple’s Mountain Lion version of the OS X desktop operating system will include dictation. It also will work in any program, including Microsoft Word. A new feature, Power Nap, will be able to make updates while the computer’s sleeping. Mountain Lion ships in July, and will cost $19.99.
Here’s the information about the light, new MacBook Pro with Retina Display:
PREVIOUS 10:49 AM: Apple’s still presenting to the Worldwide Developers Conference but here’s the first big announcement: a new, light MacBook Pro with a Retina display. The notebook computer is 0.71 inches thick — about the same as the MacBook Air — and weighs 4.6 pounds. But the big selling point is the Retina Display, which Apple says will make this the highest resolution notebook. At a 16:9 aspect ratio, and 15.5 inches across, it has 5.2M pixels or 220 per inch. Battery life up to 7 hours with 30 hours of stand-by time. The MacBook Pro with Retina Display — which seems to be the official name — has up to 16 GB of RAM and up to 768 GB of flash storage. The processor is a quad-core i7 running up to 2.7GHz. Inputs for SD card, HDMI, two USB 3, and two Thunderbolt inputs with adapters for Ethernet and Firewire. It’s available today. How much will it set you back? Entry price is $2,199.
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