Apple's WWDC: All the Exciting New Products and Updates

apple wwdc 2009

So yesterday was Apple’s WWDC conference, and like all major Apple events, quite a show was put on. A whole bunch of new info and products were announced today (here’s a hint on one new product shown off– a NEW iPHONE!). But not only that (the iPhone 3G S to be more specific), Apple also released Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard,” MacBook Updates, and iPhone OS 3.0.

Ok, so we’ll start with info first on Apple Mac OS X, and the major updates coming there.

Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard”

mac os x snow leopard

This is the next major update in the Mac OS X software, following the very popular Leopard. So what’s new here? Honestly, a whole lot, though not all of which is as immediately noticeable like with Leopard– a lot of the updates are “under the hood” to make the OS run even better (Leopard already runs amazingly well in our opinion), like better fonts, even quicker start-up and shutdown times, etc. Other updates include:

  • Faster search with Finder
  • Handwriting recognition with the new MacBook’s with the new trackpad— you know, the aluminum ones that came out late last year with button-less trackpads? This looks to be very cool.
  • QuickTime X– QuickTime finally gets some love again, receiving a new icon, and some new features, including allowing users not only to cut videos but even record them as well as to upload your vids directly to MobileMe or YouTube, also very nice.
  • !Safari 4!— Yup, and Apple is saying this new Safari offers “unparalleled speed.” Now, we’ll need to test this ourselves before we go and give Safari this “fastest browser” title, but you can find out for yourself today, as Apple made it available for both Windows and Mac OS Leopard users. The upcoming Snow Leopard version offers a new feature to Safari, called crash resistance, which means that when your browser locks up when your viewing a web site, all you’d need to do is refresh the web page and everything will be okay. No more restarting entire web browsers and then retracing all your steps. I really like this and hope other browsers add their own variations soon.

There also is 3 and 4 finger multi touch gestures available for the regular trackpads (like those found on the older MacBooks before the all aluminum ones) in the Snow Leopard update, though which version of the MacBooks will get them is still unknown (the recent plastic ones, or the previous metal MacBook Pro’s and Air’s? I think the latter, since they already have multi-touch). A full list of Snow Leopard’s update’s can be found here.

Snow Leopard comes in September, for the ABSOLUTELY AMAZING price of $29 for single computer upgrade, or $49 for 3 computer “family pack” upgrade.

Next, what about new MacBooks? Yeah, Apple came out with updated versions, to pretty much all their current MacBooks.

MacBook Updates

macbook-aluminum

The 2009 version of the MacBooks look the same at first glance, but like Snow Leopard, a lot of the updates are under the hood. For example, the lowest 13 inch MacBook Pro (all unibody aluminum MacBooks, except for the MacBook Air, are now under the MacBook Pro name) now ha:

  • the same irremovable battery with excellent battery life that is found on the 17 inch MacBook Pro
  • an updated Intel Core 2 Duo processor (2.26 GHz)
  • a standard back-lit keyboard
  • the same starting price of $1,199
  • the option to upgrade the RAM to 8 GB DDR 3 RAM, and the hard drive to 500 GB

The MacBook Pro 15 inch also got updates, with the base model now including;

  • a 2.53 Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 4 GB DDR 3 RAM, Nvidia graphics and a 250 GB HDD
  • a $300 price cut– down to $1,699 from $1,999

Both the MacBook Pro 13 and 15 inch also got built-in SD card slot’s in place of their Express Card slot, which is definitely nice for us teens: we can just put in a memory card from a digital camera, for instance. Why Apple needed to take out the Express Card slot, however, (useful for adding things like a Mobile Broadband card from your cell phone carrier) baffles us just a little bit.

Rounding out the MacBook updates is the MacBook Air. with the base model getting:

  • 2 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 120 GB HDD
  • 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • a major price cut that brings it to a much more reasonable starting point of $1,400 (not great, but better than the earlier $1,800 price)
  • a price cut ($700 worth!) for the higher end Air, so if you want some more power in your little machine, you can go for that for only $1,800.

Now let’s move to the phone and OS of the hour– iPhone OS 3.0 and the all new iPhone 3G S (yes S). We’ll start with iPhone 3.0

iPhone OS 3.0

iphone itunes movie store

A screenshot of the new iTunes Movie/TV store for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Not much news came out in terms of new features for the upcoming iPhone OS. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t get any new information.

For example, you can now buy or rent movies or TV shows (as well as buying music videos) straight from iTunes with your iPhone or iPod Touch! This will probably require a WiFi connection, but is still awesome nonetheless. Actually, if you go to the iTunes Store right from your iPhone or iPod Touch, even in 2.0, you’ll start to see a preview of how the new store will work (don’t bother downloading now though- the links are dead and you won’t be able to connect and download your video).

Also was the announcement of MMS and Tethering, something that A LOT of people wanted. MMS is really more for us teens, allowing you to send pix, video, contacts, or audio in a text message like so many other phones do. Tethering allows you to connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC– via Bluetooth or USB — and use your phone’s internet connection on your computer to access the internet. One catch: AT&T is not among the 22 countries to add this immediately when 3.0 comes out, so we’ll need to wait till later in the summer to get them. Better late than never I guess, and hopefully by then AT&T’s network can handle all the new workload.

There also was a new feature demo-ed called “Find My iPhone” which let’s you use MobileMe to track down your lost/missing/misplaced iPhone from your computer and plays a sound – even if you’re on vibrate — so you can find it (good if you left it somewhere around the house and don’t know where, though you could really just use somebody else phone to find yours so no big whoop really). And if, say, you lost it in a place u dont plan on getting it back, like a school or mall, it enables you to wipe everything off it from your computer, so no worries of someone finding your iPhone and getting access to all your stuff, which is a really a nice feature to have.

And there was also my favorite point from the OS 3.0 demo– free apps remain free, meaning that app creators can only charge for updates, like new levels and bonus content,  if you paid for the game initially. This is great because now you don’t have to worry about being suckered into a free app only to find that all the fun, usefull things of the app cost in app purchases (something I was worried could become very widespread and extremely annoying to users).

Everything else on 3.0 you can find out in our previous post here, and you get 3.0 for yourself on June 17th (just over a week away!). It will be a free update for both first gen iPhone and iPhone 3G users, and will cost $10 for iPod Touch users (trust me iPod Touch users, this looks to DEFINITELY be worth the money).

Now to the moment we’ve all been waiting for– the new iPhone 3G S.

iPhone 3G S

iphone 3g s pic 1

iPhone 3G S– showing off Video Recording, Voice Control and Compass

So what is the iPhone 3G S? Well, it is the next version of the iPhone 3G, containing some very interesting features. Design-wise, it looks EXACTLY like the iPhone 3G, actually coming in a tad heavier.The main feature here is the speed of the device (hence the S in the name: S=Speed), with Apple doubling the processor, graphics, RAM and even 3G connection speeds so that everything runs much faster and better (AT&T, by the way, plans on upgrading their 3G speeds this year to 7.2 Mbps– megabytes per second– over the current 3.6 Mbps, so the 3G S should be able to take advantage of the new internet speed). There also is an improved battery giving: 9 hours of WiFi, 30 hours of music, or 10 hours of video, along with 5 hours of 3G talk time.

There also were some other updates including:

  • doubling the storage for both the 8 and 16 GB models
  • 3G
  • voice-activated control -to play music or make a phone call without having to tap around. The music part looks especially cool: you just say a name of a song and your iPhone will play it, and commands like skip, rewind and “make a Genius playlist” work too)
  • a compass (yes, you read that right, a compass)
  • 3.0 megapixel camera with auto focus
  • VIDEO RECORDING! The video recording actually looks pretty awesome (with solid recording quality at 30 frames per second, close to what you see on your TV), and you can even doing a little trimming and editing right on the phone. Furthermore, you can then send it in an email or MMS, or publish it straight to YouTube or your MobileMe account. This is also a very long awaited feature, and hopefully the iPhone’s camera as a regular digital camera got much better as well.

You can see the iPhone 3G and 3G S compared at Apple’s site here.

The iPhone 3G S comes out June  19th in the US for $199 for the 16 GB model, or $299 for the 32 GB model with new 2 year contracts, and is available in either black or white. That price too high for you? Then you should maybe go with the 8 GB iPhone 3G that’s gonna be sticking around– for only $99 with a 2 year contract! That is definitely the deal of the day, and that price cut is EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY!!!

My thoughts on this new iPhone 3G S as a current 3G owner? I definitely like the 32 GB of storage and new features like voice control and video recording with the better camera (video recording and voice control not going to the 3G in the 3.0 update), but since I am in contract, to go to the 32 GB 3G S would cost me $500! If the battery life was significantly better or if there was iChat for video calling, as some rumors had it, I’d be saving up my money and running out to the store on the 19th to pick one up. Right now though, given what’s come out, I’m staying with my 3G for now, though if the upgrade price was cheaper (like, say, $400 for the 32 GB), I would probably jump to the 3G S.

What do you think about today’s Apple news? Snow Leopard or Windows 7 this fall? 8 GB iPhone 3G for $100 or $16 GB iPhone 3G S for $200? Anything you wish Apple showed off? Let us know in the comments.

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Posted on June 9, 2009, in Apple, Cell Phones and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The 3GS is practically the same as the 3G, no hardware improvements, save for a 3mp camera, and hardly any different software improvements (after an upgrade to 3.0)
    All in all, I was VERY disappointed to see this. Considering all the good news about the Pre, you would’ve thought Apple would have at least made an effort. Instead, they just threw out the EXACT same phone with minor updates.
    Also, Snow Leopard seems cool, but none of the new stuff seems like a worthy “upgrade” more like a service pack.
    The Macbook price decrease isn’t big in my eyes either, if Apple really wants to make an impact and get there computers in more hands, they should introduce a lower end model. I mean, look at some spec comparisons, I can go out right now and get a 4GB ram, 500GB hard drive and a 2.2Ghz dual core processor Windows laptop for about $600 bucks. Look at the cheapest Macbook, 2GB of ram? Seriously? Mac’s are overpriced, plain and simple.
    The good thing was 3.0, being an iPod Touch owner, its obvious that its aimed to be an update for the iPhone, but I can’t wait to get it up and running on my Touch. Even tough I have to pay $9.95, I think it’s worth it.

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