No new iPhone, but Apple announces MacBook, iOS updates

Despite what most observers were hoping, the keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) did not include any information about the upcoming iPhone 5. However, the event included some other key updates: 

1. iOS 6

Though a new iPhone wasn’t unveiled, Apple did show off the upcoming version of its mobile operating system. And this update has a lot of changes in store, including big improvements to Siri, the smartphone’s voice-recognition feature. Siri will now be able to read turn-by-turn driving directions, give sports scores and statistics, and allow users to post to Twitter and Facebook using voice commands.

The mobile OS will also ditch Google Maps in favor Apple’s own map application. It will also include a “Do Not Disturb” feature that lets users control what calls they can receive, as well as a “VIP” function that groups messages and emails from certain contacts into a dedicated section.

The beta version of iOS 6 is being released to developers now, and it’s scheduled to be available for consumers in the fall.

2. New MacBooks

Apple did announce an update to one of its product lines: its MacBook laptops. The ultra-thin MacBook Air will get a significant upgrade, with the upcoming models including 720p cameras, new Ivy Bridge processors from Intel, up to 8 GB of memory and 512 gigabytes of flash storage. The new Air models will be priced starting at $999 for the 11-inch version.

The MacBook Pro line also got a big update. Starting at $2,199 for the 15.4-inch model, the new MacBook Pro is Apple’s thinnest computer yet, at just 0.71 inches. It also features the same display technology as Apple’s iPad and 60% faster graphics processing compared to previous models. The new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro were made available immediately.

3. Updated Mac OS X

Like the mobile operating system, Apple’s laptop and desktop OS will also get an update. The next version, dubbed Mountain Lion, will feature about 200 new features, Apple said, including more cloud integration. For example, many more applications will be updated to allow syncing with Apple’s iCloud service.

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