Yesterday at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) event in San Francisco, Apple threw down the challenge to its rivals,  answering a variety of questions...

Yesterday at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) event in San Francisco, Apple threw down the challenge to its rivals,  answering a variety of questions that have been popping up in the press. Questions like “How will Apple survive without Steve Jobs?” and “Is the Macbook Pro notebooks going to be updated” were all answered. It is becoming clear that Tim Cook is the right leader for Apple and that he is not about to change anything on how Apple operates.

At Apple Worldwide Developers Conference many things were announced and in all honesty they all deserve a mention. The iPad was seen as the product that will end the notebook. In actual fact yesterday confirmed that Apple still believe in their notebooks. The MacBook Pro (seen below) and MacBook Air both got updated and they do look tempting.

“The MacBook Pro with Retina display pushes the limits of performance and portability like no other notebook,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With a gorgeous Retina display, all flash architecture and a radically thin and light design, the new MacBook Pro is the most advanced Mac we have ever built.” The retina display I sense will in future be rolled out to more devices as the display quality is unrivaled.

The MacBook Air also got some attention. It is becoming clear that the Air is the notebook that is to be acquired alongside an iPad. Anything that is difficult to do on the tablet can then be done on the Air.  Interestingly enough, it seems Apple are aware of their competitors trying to create similar products.

Apple today updated MacBook Air with the latest Intel Core processors, faster graphics and flash storage that is up to twice as fast as the previous generation. MacBook Air is the ultimate everyday notebook, and with new lower prices it is more affordable than ever. The current generation 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook® Pro have also been updated with the latest Intel Core processors and powerful discrete graphics from NVIDIA. Apple’s popular AirPort Express has been redesigned to include features previously available only in AirPort Extreme.

For me the biggest announcement was related to iOS 6. According to Apple, the following new features will be seen when the software launches later in the year:

Enhancements to Safari, the world’s most popular mobile browser, such as iCloud tabs, offline reading lists, photo uploads and full screen view;

  • support for FaceTime calls over cellular networks;
  • the ability to set up a VIP Mailbox, making it easier to quickly view messages from important people you designate as VIPs;
  • the option to decline incoming calls with a quick message, set a callback reminder and enable a new Do Not Disturb option; and
  • a whole new set of improvements and services specifically for iOS users in China, such as improved text input and built-in support for popular Chinese services including Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku and Tudou.

iOS 6 includes an all new Maps app with vector-based map elements that make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming incredibly fluid. New turn-by-turn navigation guides you to your destination with spoken directions, and the amazing Flyover feature has photo-realistic interactive 3D views.

Immediately, when I saw that last night, I realised that Garmin and TomTom are now also under pressure. Interestingly, the Maps include reviews from Yelp (a location service) which was an acquisition target for Google. Apple has in effect taken Google completely out of the picture with these announcements. That in itself is a huge announcement and highlights the battle between the various big players in the computing world.

The previous iteration of iOS had deep twitter integration. Last nights announcement made it known that iOS 6 will feature deep facebook integration. So the mobile devices that Apple have (iPad and iPhone) will be the only ones that features these. It is a huge win for Apple. Can you imagine the negotiations behind the scenes?

Apple has shown that notebooks and tablets are the future. The Post PC world which they mention refers to desktop computing, and the fact that it’s time is running out. Do these WWDC announcements make you more eager to buy an Apple MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?