WWDC 2012 Notes

Wwdc12

The WWDC 2012 Keynote just ended and I'm doing what I usually do: just running over some of the finer points you may have missed, and sharing my opinion on one or two things as well.

New MacBooks

  • Why would anyone buy a MacBook Pro over a MacBook Air after the new updates today? I just don't get why Apple still keeps them around (especially the 13" model). Asides from a slightly faster CPU, what advantage do MacBook Pros have?
  • Each USB port supports both USB 3 and the usual USB 2.
  • The high-end 11" Air costs only $1099, a significant drop over the previous pricing. I say go with that one over the $999 model. There is little reason not to.
  • The 17" MacBook Pro sure seems to be dead.
  • The new MacBook Pros and Airs are available today.
  • There was no update, nor even mention, of the desktop lineup, which once again shows how much more focused Apple is on portable over desktop computers.

MacBook Pro with Retina Display

  • In terms of how this fits into Apple's product line: Obviously Apple wants this to be the future of their laptops, but realize that it can't be quite yet. What I don't see is why this is so different from past MacBooks. It's faster, thinner, lighter, higher res, indeed. But there is nothing "radical" here. Apple really thought through every little details from the bottom up and made the best darned laptop money can buy. Or as Apple puts it, "It's simply the best computer we've ever made." The only restriction is the price. This is the sort of thing that will become cheaper over time, and be entry level (like the Air is now from where it used to be) in a few years.
  • The biggest selling point, I think, is that Retina display. It's 2880 x 1800 pixels. That's more than my 27" iMac and the MacBook Pro is only 15.4". Thinking about this all, it's amazing how Apple has turned the Retina display into somewhat of a standard now. Only Apple could have thought something up like the Retina display.
  • Photoshop and Coda 2 are already Retina-ready. Everybody else had better get working (that includes all websites, avatars, etc. We are talking a new web here, people).
  • Due to the screen and glass being a single piece and part of the unibody enclosure, Apple claims significant glare reduction. Only question: when will that come to their Cinema displays and iMacs?
  • Even with the asymmetrical fans that should run quieter, I am curious how hot this new laptop will run with all that power in it.
  • It has 2 Thunderbolt ports, and Apple released adapters for Firewire 800 and Ethernet as well.
  • It has an HDMI port too, which is interesting.
  • Apple claims it has the best speakers they have ever put in a laptop.
  • RAM is not user upgradeable.
  • This really seems like the first real professional-grade portable machine. This is the sort of thing that really makes me consider going laptop only (with a Cinema display for at home).
  • It costs $2199. Pricey, especially if you pair it with a Cinema display.
  • It is shipping today.
  • In summary, this laptop shows that you can have true power in a portable machine as well. It is the best laptop money can buy, and is without question the future of all laptops.

Mountain Lion

  • New dock design. Yay.
  • A lot of blue: Blue
  • Dictation, but no Siri. I would assume it's to conserve their servers for Siri on the iPhone. Either way, dictation is hard enough to do. All dictation programs always require some sort of headset mic. Mountain Lion uses the built-in mic.
  • Speaking of, how do you invoke it? Will it be obvious to non-geeks?
  • iCloud tab syncing will be awesome!
  • Browser history will sync and be the same across devices too.
  • Tabview looks nice. It's another iOS-to-Mac feature.
  • Power Nap only works on the new MacBooks. Probably because it requires flash memory. I never sleep my iMac, as I use it for WiFi, so wouldn't help me anyway. For laptops it's certainly really nice though. Again, it should work just like when iOS "sleeps".
  • You can now mirror over AirPlay to OS X. No more quirky hacks.
  • Mountain Lion will be out in July for $19.99.
  • At $29.99, on a yearly cycle, it would be just as expensive as one OS release every 5 years, so the drop in price makes sense.
  • Any new Macs purchased can upgrade for free.
  • I can't wait to (clean) install Mountain Lion...

iOS 6

  • Siri Sports: My father and brother will love that. Great for winning, or losing, bets
  • Siri Movies is way more useful to me. Trailers and Rotten Tomatoes ratings are integrated too. I can't wait to get the next iPhone for Siri...
  • Siri can also now launch apps and Tweet.
  • Eyes Free (a button in cars to activate Siri) now means you need to buy a new car too.
  • I'm hoping that Siri on the new iPad means Apple feels their servers are up to it. From what I hear, Siri actually working all the time would be the biggest new feature.
  • The new Phone app features are way cool should be very useful.
  • WOW. FaceTime over cellular?! Does it use data or minutes? If it uses data, which it no doubt will, we still have data caps, so that won't be über helpful.
  • You can now upload photos from iOS to various websites. I'm curious if the website has to support this, or if it's purely an iOS thing.
  • Apple is finally unifying your phone number and Apple ID.
  • Passbook is a clever idea and is gorgeous. It is perfect and so well thought out.
  • Redesigned stores (App Store, iTunes, etc). Hopefully this will be a true improvement in usability and not just a re-skinning. (Better search, etc.)
  • Per account signatures in Mail.
  • A clock app for the iPad.
  • I cannot believe there is no new homescreen design/springboard features. iOS desperately needs that. It seems to have a new colored status bar, but nothing for the homescreen or quick access to settings.

Other

  • There was no real addressing the issue of of WWDC selling out so quickly, other than acknowledging that it did.
  • New Airport Express that looks just like a white Apple TV.
  • A joke of an update to the Mac Pro.
  • There are a few other "stealth updates" that you can read about here.