WWDC 2012: Apple at its best

I’ve been a hardcore Apple fan for more than a year now. I’ve always found the cult of mac to be quite intimidating. I’ve always thought, “It’s just a computer, what’s a big deal?” Apparently, I was wrong. As I started using Mac, everything turned around. I became an ardent follower of Apple Inc. And today, it was amazing to see how Apple pulls off products.

The event started with SIRI welcoming everyone. It started with some good jokes, then some terrible ones with iPad playing the background music. And there was some Android bashing. One joke was “I am excited about the new Samsung, not the phone, the refrigerator.” SIRI then opens the Stage for CEO Tim Cook by saying “You guys rock”.  The stats are attendees from over 60 countries, and sold out in, wait for it, 1 hour 43 minutes! WWDC 2011 was in 8 days. There will be about 112 session, 125 labs and about 1000 Apple engineers available. Cook then starts with updates on App store. 

App store is now in 120 countries and will reach 150 by the end of the month. Tim then speaks about hundreds of developers using iOS devices to create a huge impact on peoples lives and this is what makes Apple Inc. A video is shown on how some amazing apps are used. Video starts with a blind man walking in forest using Ariadne GPS app. Giovani Luca Ciaffoni (Oh, boy that’s a difficult name), the developer of GPS app, speaks how he wanted the help the blind. He says his app is so widely used that he gets letters thanking him for the amazing app. An elementary school in Mumbai uses an iPad app called 3d4Medical to teach anatomy to kids. A child comes in and says “My class name is responsible champions class, and happiness is our foundation”. Srini Swaminathan, the teacher, shows how brilliant the app is and about 94% of students have understood anatomy because of the app. (An already killer video) The engineers at 3D4Medical show the work behind the amazing app. The airbnb app is shown, the video shows how apps have simplifies our lives, allowing us to cherish each and every moments, bringing people closer. 

That’s not all, iPad apps are a great influence on children with speech impairment.  The video is not about a blind man walking in forests for hours, school children learning anatomy or about travel. It reflects on the philosophy Apple thrives on, the philosophy of using technology in making our lives simpler. Tim announces the ‘exciting’ changes in notebook lineup, iOS 6 and Mountain Lion. This is the part I’ve been waiting for. Not only me, the whole world was waiting for. 

Macbook Updates

Macbook Air was the first to have updates announced. The Macbook Air will now have new processors, Ivy bridge. With  2.0 GHz i7 and with intel’s turbo boosting it can achieve speed of about 3.2 GHz. And upto 8GB 1600MHz of memory and 60% faster graphics. Upto 512GB of flash storage and twice the speed, 500Mbps. USB 3 has been added. And a single port can be used for USB 2 and 3. And Facetime HD camera, this is amazing.

The specs for 11 inch Macbook Air.

  • 1366×768 display
  • 1.7 GHz Dual core i5
  • 4GB RAM
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 64GB and 128 GB Flash storage.
  • $999 for 64GB and $1099 for 128GB 

13 in Macbook Air configuration 

  • 1440×900 display
  • 1.8 GHx Dual core i5
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 128 and 256 GB Flash Storage
  • $1099 for 128GB and $1299 for 256 GB.

One surprise nobody expected, it starts shipping today! 

The updates for Macbook Pro are Ivy bridge with upto 2.7GHz quad core i7, upto 8GB 1600 MHz memory. New gen nVIDIA GeForce 650M graphics, upto 1GB of video memory.

13 inch Macbook Pro

  • 1280×800 display
  • 2.5GHz dual core i5 and 2.9GHz quad core i7
  • 4GB and 8GB Ram
  • Intel HD graphics 4000
  • 500GB and 750 GB HDD
  • $1199 and $1499

13 inc Macbook Pro – 1440×900 display

  • 2.3GHz quad core i7 and 2.6 GHz quad core i7
  • 4GB and 8GB RAM
  • GeForce GT 650M 512 MB and 1GB
  • 500GB and 750 GB HDD
  • $1799 and $2199

Up next is the next gen monster, the Macbook Pro. 

This Macbook will have ultrabooks for breakfast and other notebooks for lunch. An awesome machine. This is what Apple is, building amazing computers. And boy, oh, boy isn’t it beautiful. It’s 0.71 inches thin and weighs 4.46 lbs. It’s the thinnest and lightest Pro ever made! And, wait for it, Retina Display. Absolutely stunning. It’s 15.4″ across, pixel density is 2880×1800, 220 pixels per inch, 5,184,000 pixel. This is the highest resolution notebook ever made. This is the best notebook Apple has done. The new Pro starts at $2200 with 2.3 GHz Ivy bridge, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. The highest spec is2.7GHz Ivy bridge, 16GB of RAM and 768 GB SSD. Well, you see, art always comes at a price. And the Macbook Pro with Retina Display is an art, the price is $3750.(Ouch!) But hell, an amazing piece of machine fellas! It isn’t beautiful from only outside, inside is gorgeous.The fan blades in new Pro are places asymmetrically to spread the sound over a range of frequencies and making it quieter. Whoah, talk about innovation.

So, the Macbook I’m using is officially old and fat!

Mac OS X Updates

Mountain Lion is officially revealed with over 200 new features. Before many tech analysts predicted that Mountain Lion will just be an update with few new features.  Mountain Lion has iCloud built in, apps are synced using iCloud with iOS devices.  There are about a 125 million iCloud users. (I’m two of those 125m) There are three new apps designed specifically for iCloud support. iMessages, reminders and notes. A new feature called ‘Documents in Cloud’ pushes all your documents to iOS devices from your mac. Simply open your iCloud account and choose the document. The documents are arranged by date, so that newer ones are easier to find. Multi touch gestures can be used to toggle between reminders. I’ve been using iMessage for sometime now, it is an awesome tool. It even reads your messages so that you don’t have to open it every time. And the coolest, if you do any changes on your iOS device, it is automatically updated on your Mac. Next, notification center. With this new feature individual apps will not open, but instead have a banner slide down and if you ignore them, it slides away. Notifications can be seen using multi touch gestures.  And dictation is available to Mac, you can dictate e-mails, notes, messages, even on other apps!

The next update is Safari. The search and URL boxes have been integrated, which means you don’t need to open another tab for a search engine. Then there is TabView, which will expose all your tabs. Then there’s Game center , just like iOS, for multiplayer. And that’s Mountain Lion at $19.99 

Okay, I feel cheated. I paid $29.99 for Lion in January and Mountain Lion is that cheap.

iOS Updates

iOS 6 finally here. Siri is all new and powerful. 200 new features. And Siri can do almost everything. Siri can bring up scores, list our movies at local theatres. It can bring stats, even tell how tall an athlete is. It tell Rotten tomatoes score for a movie, play trailers, list out movies done by an actor. And most needed, it can launch apps. This was demonstrated by launching Temple Run. Some languages support has been added to iOS.

iOS 6 will feature Facebook integration, you can like apps and see what your friends like. Enhancements to Phone app, there are some new messages like “I’m on my way” and do not disturb mode. For Facetime, which was wi-fi exclusive, is now on cellular too. So, you don’t need to worry about wifi where ever you go. And iMessage via phone number can be sent to iPad and Mac. WOnderful! And Safari for iOS 6. Through iCloud you can now pick your browsing from where you have left on your Mac. And photo uploads are also available in safari. The VIP feature. You can mark someone as a VIP and emails from them will appear as text messages and will be in a VIP mail box. Our government will love this feature.

Passbook. You can use it for boarding pass, to book reservations, tickets and everything. GuideAccess allows children with Autism have good time learning.Single-app mode is good to conduct tests in schools on iPad. When enabled, no other apps can be switched on. 

The Flyover

Maps, Apple has ditched Google maps for it’s own system. You can have Siri give you traffic updates, locate places on maps, turn by turn navigation. Really awesome. It gives you alternate routes to your destination. Everything works in lock mode, so you can concentrate on driving. And most amazing 3 D maps. You can have 3D viewing, rotate around buildings, fly over cities, zoom in and out. Apple has been flying over the cities to build this amazing 3D maps. These are just some of the features. 

iOS 6 beta is out for developers.

And this concludes the Keynote for WWDC 2012 and my lengthy review too.

That’s right, no iPhone5, no Apple HDTV, no Apple Set top box, no Apple Car or any other wild rumour you have heard are just rumours. I expect iPhone 5 ro be released this october.

Well played, Apple!

Srinivas Arcot

An eternal optimist with volatile cynicism.

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