Apple announced some great new hardware today – specifically the next-generation MacBook Pro – but the company didn’t stop with that.
WWDC is a developer’s conference, so it only makes sense that software would be a large focus. And sure enough, Tim Cook, along with his software executives, showed off more of OS X Mountain Lion and announced iOS 6. There were plenty of announcements made during the software portion of they keynote, so let’s dive right in!
OS X Mountain Lion
The first piece of software to be shown was OS X Mountain Lion. This is the eighth version of OS X, which was originally announced in 2000. OS X Mountain Lion is basically an enhanced version of the existing version of OS X, Lion. It’s “enhanced” by a lot of features that you’d find in the iPad: Notifications, Game Center, Dictation, and better iCloud syncing.
But when Mountain Lion roars into the Mac App Store sometime in July, it’ll also bring a couple features of its own. If you own a brand-new MacBook Air or next-generation MacBook Pro, you’ll be able to take advantage of Power Nap. This new form of OS X’s Sleep function will allow your notebook to sync emails and other data while it’s sleeping, a feature that is sure to impress the mobile individual.
There’s also GateKeeper, which is basically Apple’s way of giving you an option to go into a “walled garden” scenario – or to stay out of it. Essentially, you can choose one of three options for downloading apps: Mac App Store, Mac App Store and identified developers, or anywhere. If you choose Mac App Store, you will only be able to download and install apps from the Mac App Store; if you choose the second option, you’ll be able to download developers’ apps from their website or their Mac App Store entries; and if you pick anywhere, you’ll be able to continue downloading applications as you have been able to for any previous version of OS X.
OS X Mountain Lion will be available this July for just $19.99 from the Mac App Store. The price includes unlimited licenses to all your Macs.
Apple also previewed iOS 6. It’ll be released later this fall for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the new iPad. That’s right, there’s no love for the original iPad.
iOS 6 was a pretty tightly-kept secret in comparison to other Apple products. For example, I had no idea that Apple was planning to introduce a new app that will help people keep track of their payments: Passbook.. You can consolidate all of your payment cards with it, as well as keep track of your ticket purchases, as well. It isn’t a big deal right now, but this has to be Apple’s answer to Google Wallet. I would be incredibly surprised if the next iPhone didn’t have NFC just for Passbook.
In addition to Passbook, iOS 6 will also include a new Maps app that includes 3D and turn-by-turn navigation (in the US; I’m not sure about other areas); Facebook integration; and an update to Siri. More specifically, Siri is now able to tell you the score or schedule of the Detroit Lions football games (go Lions!), reserve tables at restaurants, and find information about movies at the local movie theater. But most importantly, Siri is learning thee major new languages: Spanish, Italian, and French.
I will say that I was disappointed in Apple’s software announcements. It’s not that they were underwhelming, because I think Mountain Lion and iOS 6 will be awesome; rather, I just think the two operating systems Apple announced should’ve been released today. All of the hardware that was shown off is already available on the company’s online store, so why can’t I get my fix of Mountain Lion today, too?
Oh well. July is only a month away, and fall isn’t too far off, either.