Apple introduces MacBook with sharper screen
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Apple kicked off its week-long developers conference in San Francisco Monday with new products, a new generation of its mobile operating system, and a clear indication that someone named "Siri" will be doing more than ever.
WWDC is the annual conference for app developers who create and sell all kinds of software for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and after sitting through a two-hour presentation, they now have a better idea where Apple is headed.
Thousands of developers raced in to get the best seat possible to hear what Apple has up its sleeve, and they were immediately treated to a joke by Apple's intelligent agent, Siri: "How many developers does it take to change a light bulb? None, that's a hardware problem."
She may not be the best joke teller, but Siri is definitely at the center of future products and services announced, such as turn-by-turn navigational commands. Siri has also been boning up sports trivia and movies so users won't have to do an Internet search.
And to keep drivers safe, Apple said over the next 12 months several carmakers will offer a steering wheel button to activate Siri -- a feature called "eyes-free." Analysts tell ABC7 News automakers will climb on board because of Apple's track record of supporting and updating its technology.
"Automakers are just one example of the power of this concentrated ecosystem of the simple few products that are consistently updated on an annual basis," said Forrester Research principal analyst Frank Gillett. "That's really appealing to automakers who want stability and simplicity."
Siri made her debut only eight months ago, but she's here to stay.
"Over 25 percent of consumers are using Siri who own IOS devices," said Nielsen senior vice president Jeff Wender. "They announced today that iPad is going to be adding Siri functionality. Eighty-eight percent of iPad consumers are aware of Siri, so I'm sure they're very anxious to using that technology."
While many of the new features unveiled at the conference were aimed at mobile devices, Apple sent out a clear message that it's not about to abandon laptops in favor of tablets.
"This is our 23rd WWDC," said CEO Tim Cook. "Yes, it's older than many of you are."
Developers, young and anxious to create the next great app, patiently listened as Apple took two hours to show them what's new. One of the most significant is new map software developed by Apple to replace Google Maps. Apple even flew helicopters to get aerial views of landmarks and cities around the world.
Analysts say Apple knows what it's doing.
"Over an hour a month people are spending with maps, and that doesn't include a lot of the new features like turn-by-turn navigation; adding those features is bound to have a very positive impact on how they're using those services," said Wender.
A major focus was on mobile apps. But Apple also unveiled a powerful new 15-inch Macbook Pro that brings the iPad's high-resolution retina display to the laptop for the first time. What this new Macbook Pro says is that Apple really does think there's an important market for laptops, and it's not going away.
The retina display will appeal to video producers and high-end photographers. It's also the thinnest laptop Apple has ever made -- thinner than a finger. Analysts say Apple is sending out an important message.
"We have our PCs, we have our tablets, we have our phones," said IDC consume product analyst Danielle Levitas. "I think it was clear today, based on these announcements, that the Mac and the notebook aren't going away. It's just becoming more portable, more powerful."
Developers learned about the next generation mobile operating system, IOS6, which will have 200 new features when it comes out this fall. That will give them the tools to create new apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The result will be more competition among app developers.
"Yes, it will lead to a lot of apps, and yes, a lot of them won't be experienced by a majority of people, but because the sheer volume and numbers are there, it's on Apple's side," said Chris Ross of Control Group.
There was no mention Monday of a new iPhone, which would be the iPhone 5. But with the new mobile operating system coming out this fall, it's a good assumption that would be the time for a new iPhone release.
apple, tablets, gadgets, technology, david louie
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