The Best of Apple's Latest Announcements

How many software developers does it take to change a light bulb?
None, that's a hardware issue.

Siri warmed up the crowd at Apple's latest keynote at the 2012 WWDC (world wide developers conference) with some appropriate humour.

There were plenty of goodies in there to get me excited again about some tech products. Although, I will need to find a good reason for buying one.

Here's a quick run down on the event and what you have to look forward to.

New MacBook Pro Retina
New MacBook Pro Retina

This little beauty is one powerful machine. It is probably overkill for most people (especially at $2500 Aus) but it sure is sweet. 15" Retina display (means your retina can't distinguish individual pixels) and plenty of guts inside. This was the only completely new product announced during the keynote.

The MacBook Lineup

MacBook Lineup

The rest of the MacBooks have been updated, although aesthetically they are still the same. They are $100 cheaper (at least in the US) and have the new Ivy Bride (3rd Gen) Intel chips. They are worth buying at the moment. Also you can now get up to half a terrabyte of flash storage in a MacBook Air.They also now have USB 3, and faster and larger flash storage.

OS X Mountain Lion

We have been expecting this for some time now and most of the features were already known, like iCloud and Messages integration. Basically your Mac will now sync beautifully with your iOS devices (that's an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) when it comes to documents, calendars, reminders, notes and more. And you can text from your Mac now same as you can on an iPad. This is a real winner.

Facebook sharing on the MacIt also adds Facebook (and Twitter and Messages) sharing throughout the system. This makes sharing your photo's and updating statuses a lot easier.

In my opinion, the best feature of the new Mountain Lion release is AirPlay Mirroring. This makes beaming whatever is on the screen of your Mac to your Apple TV dead easy, and is almost a reason to get a Mac instead of a Windows laptop in itself. I just hope the NBA don't find a workaround for this.

There's a lot more features in Mountain Lion, but it's safe to say it's well worth the $20 upgrade cost. It also makes life with multiple Apple devices a lot smoother. 

iOS 6 - The Main Event

Even more exciting than an all new MacBook is the latest release of the software that drives the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

iOS6 is choc full of features and is expected to be available later this year. I'll give you a quick run down on the biggest winners in my book.

Facebook Integration - You can now share to Facebook the same way you can email something. With Facebook sharing built into the operating system, I can find a photo I like, select share to Facebook, and that's it. No need to launch another app or muck around. You can also easily post a status update from Notification Center or by using Siri (that should be interesting). Even better, your Facebook friends' birthdays will appear in your calendar, as will your Facebook events. If your Facebook friends share their phone numbers and stuff, this will appear in your contacts app automatically. Imagine a world where you change your phone number or address, and all your friends have it straight away. (Could be awkward, come to think of it.)

Apple are releasing API's for Facebook sharing, so that means other apps will be able to share to Facebook even easier than before too.

Do Not Disturb - A really neat setting that stops your messages from lighting up the screen or ringing allowing you to sleep peacefully. You can set it so emergency calls still get through though. So if someone rings you twice within 3 minutes, the phone will alert you on the second call. Too bad if they try ringing you from a different number the second time.

Apple Maps - Google Maps is set to be replaced with Apple's version. I think Apple are trying to get Google out of their lives after the whole "Android" thing. Can't blame them. The new app will include turn by turn navigation (awesome) and a few other cool features like "Fly Over".

Reject With a Message - You can now hang up on someone and text them at the same time. You can also immediately set a reminder to ring them back when you leave your current location. This will be handy and is a great example of how Geo-Fences can be useful.

Siri has New Powers - You can now use Siri to launch apps. This will be a big help. Siri's location based data like finding businesses will now work outside the US. And she can also now tell you a lot about US sports. Works for me as a basketball fan.
Siri will also work on the New iPad. Not sure why that wasn't available at launch, but better late than never. She also now understands a lot more accents and languages too (like Chinese.) Not sure if Apple's servers are gonna cope with all the extra load, but we'll see.

Passbook - It's a new built in app that contains all your electronic tickets and passes, like movie tickets, boarding passes and more. Not many businesses where I live use this kind of thing yet. Heck, the cinema doesn't even have EFTPOS, but the times they are a changing. 

Single App  Mode - You will be able to make the iPad stay on the one app. This will be popular for parents of autistic kids, teachers, and probably any parent that uses their iPhone as a baby sitter (to which I admit being). You can also set areas of the screen that won't respond to touch so the kid cannot leave the app. This will be handy for teachers administering tests on iPads to prevent kids Googling the answers, and other businesses that incorporate iPads for their clients or staff to use. It will also be handy when mounting an iPad to your wall to control your home's lighting and heating too.

LOTS MORE - There's plenty more in iOS6, but most people I meet don't even use half of what their current iPhone can do anyway, so we'll have to wait and see what features end up being home runs.

I expect the Facebook integration to be the biggest hit with iOS 6. Although, if everyone is busy posting to Facebook without the need to actually open their news feed, will anyone actually see each other's Facebook posts?