Six key developments from Apple’s developers conference

Macbooks and a 3D maps app were among the announcements made by Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco this week.


Apple chief executive Tim Cook took to the stage to divulge the company’s plans for its upcoming hardware and software releases, promising Apple has some “really cool stuff”.


Here are the standouts:


1. Macbook mania


Apple’s new MacBook Air will be equipped with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge chips, offering up to Core i7 with Turbo Boost, bringing the processor speed up to 3.2GHz.


Apple also unveiled a new line of MacBook Pros, which boast third-generation Ivy Bridge processors and the Nvidia GeForce GT650M graphics.


Apple also showed off what looks like a hybrid of a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air. It comes with Apple’s Retina Display, which is the same screen found in its later iPhones and new iPad.


According to Apple, third-party developers will need to update their programs to ensure they take advantage of the Retina Display.


2. Mountain Lion


Of course, it wasn’t just about hardware. Apple revealed its new version of Mac OS X called Mountain Lion, which will offer as many as 200 new features.


Mountain Lion will automatically sync with your iPad or iPhone to add updates or remove ones you’ve already checked.


Apple’s iCloud storage and syncing service is also a prominent feature. This will make it easy to transfer notes from your iPad or iPhone to a Mac and vice versa.


3. iOS 6


The revamped operating system comes with more personalisation options, allowing users to respond to phone calls with a set message, and set VIP status for certain individuals.


Apple will also consolidate a user’s Apple ID and phone number, so calls and messages can be picked up via the iPhone or iPad.


It will also integrate Facebook into iO6. This will make it easier to sync Facebook contacts and events across Apple devices, and to more easily post content and log into apps from Facebook.


Among the other new features is an app called Passbook, which stores boarding passes, movie tickets, etc.


The beta version of iOS 6 is going out to developers today, and will be available to consumers at a later date.


4. 3D Maps app


In what is a major blow for Google, Apple will now use its own 3D-style map system, which will integrate with Yelp for all of its business listings, instead of sourcing Google Places data.


The new map system has everything Google has, including turn-based navigation and 3D maps.


Real-time traffic updates will also be included, with all the information coming from users. The app will even update your traffic routes on the fly as new information comes in.


5. Smarter Siri


According to Apple, Siri will be able to answer more questions in more languages, find more local businesses, and connect with the mapping app.


Siri is also coming to the iPad and to the car within 12 months.


6. No sign of the iPhone 5 – yet


There were no new hardware changes to any of Apple’s mobile devices, which means no news for the iPhone, iPad or iPod.


Meanwhile, the iPhone 5 is expected to make its debut later this year.


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