Yesterday Apple unveiled a slew of updates and new features, including refreshed MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops, Mountain Line (the next version of OS X), and iOS 6 (the next mobile OS release). That’s a whole lot to take in, so here’s a little summary, with a focus on what’s most important for mobile users (Apple, after all, considers itself a mobile devices company).
New Laptops: The super-skinny MacBook Air has been updated with beefed up hardware, including the latest Ivy Bridge processors, faster USB 3.0 ports, and a faster solid state drive (SSD). Yes, it’s all about speed now. The starting price is now $999 ($100 cheaper than before) and starting memory is 4GB.
Big brother MacBook Pro has also gotten a specs boost–and one new model, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, even has stunning retina display with 2880 by 1800 pixels resolution. The top of the line MacBook Pro with Retina Display boasts impressive hardware in a thin (0.71 inches) and relatively light (4.5 pounds) frame: a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 650M video card, a Thunderbolt and two USB 3.0 ports, and 256GB flash storage. Too bad the starting price of $2,199 puts this laptop out of most people’s laptop budget.
The refreshed laptops are great news if you’ve been waiting to upgrade your Mac–or even if you were waiting to see what Apple would offer before deciding whether to buy a PC or Mac. A ton of new Windows-based Ultrabooks and other laptops are headed our way this summer, so now (or soon) you can compare all the newest laptops on the block.
iOS 6: The newest OS for Apple iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches has important updates for mobile users. The biggest of these is a completely new Maps app, now with turn-by-turn navigation that offers estimated travel time and updated routes.
The Siri voice assistant can now open other apps–which is a very useful timesaver when you have your hands full, such as when you’re driving. Siri is smarter too, about researching things like sports, restaurant, and movie information.
In a meeting and can’t answer a call? A new Do Not Disturb feature and lock screen feature can handle your calls for you. Do No Disturb silences all notifications and is customizable by time and contacts, while the lock screen features let you reply to calls with message templates or set a reminder for you to call back.
Passbook is a really cool new mobile wallet app from Apple that saves your airline tickets, receipts, gift cards, and more.
There are about 200 or so new features in iOS 6, which will be available in the fall (just in time for a new iPhone to appear).
Mountain Lion: Finally, the next Mac OS will offer 1,700 new features when it’s released next month at a more affordable upgrade price of $19, which will cover all Macs. You’ll be able to use iMessage through iCloud, dictate straight to Microsoft Word docs, send files while using Screen Sharing, and keep your Mac up to date (downloading emails and social streams, for example) while it’s asleep with Power Nap technology. Power Mac will be available for the new refreshed Macs only, however.
All in all, some nice new features, especially for iOS 6 and, if you have money to burn, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
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