Tech talk last week centred on Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Fears of sounding like another PR release aside, it's a worthy discussion as the company's iPhone and iPad releases unveiled at this conference revolutionised computing and phone use, and the world.
But does the Jobs legacy live on in this round of announcements? Can CEO Tim Cook and the company change the game again? Let's take a look at the three major announcements of the conference and see what consumers have in store.
MACBOOK PRO WITH RETINA DISPLAY
Apple has brought the screen technology from its iPhones and iPads to its popular Pro notebook range. The new line brags 2,880x1,800 resolution, enabling full 1080p viewing and editing, particularly with the upgraded third-generation Intel Ivy Bridge quad-core processor on board. It also now ships with SSD storage that is more synonymous with MacBook Airs, providing a big overall performance increase. But improvements are in the design also. It's 6.1mm thinner and 517g lighter than its predecessor MacBook (1mm thicker than the Air), and although it doesn't carry the same spec on paper, it will quickly make regular MacBook Pros redundant.
People are calling it the best notebook ever released, and they might be right. It's light, strong and powerful. Most users don't need such a professional-standard workhorse, but the extra performance will eventually become standard as the competitors reach for the now-raised bar.
The MacBook Pro with Retina display is available for 72,900 baht (2.3GHz, 256GB) and 94,900 baht (2.6GHz, 512GB). Visit store.apple.com/th.
Drawing much of the attention for Apple in the notebook stakes has been its MacBook Air. It has evolved from being an underpowered novelty to a desktop replacement since its inception in 2008 and Apple has learned a lot in the interim. This update sees it take on board the same Ivy Bridge processors (but only dual-core) and USB 3.0 ports as the new MacBook Pros, as well as expandable memory and storage, giving it better longevity.
In a bolder move, Apple has dropped US$100 (3,160 baht) off the price tag of three of four models (the cheapest gets a RAM bump instead), which is a real blow to the hopes of competitors.
The MacBook Air is available with an 11in screen for 32,900 baht (64GB) and 36,900 baht (128GB), and 13in for 39,900 baht (128GB) and 49,900 baht (256GB).
The big software news was the announcement of iOS 6, which harbours more interest than the new Mountain Lion OSX release. To ship later in the year, (possibly on the iPhone 5 rumoured for October), iOS6 will get an improved Siri that can open apps among other new tricks, and a Google Maps replacement.
Location-based apps will be pivotal in the future of mobile technology and Apple knows this. Better Facebook integration has been promised too, which is a compromise for Apple, but it has to bring the social element to its game, particularly after Google stumbled with its social network attempts (Buzz, Google+), which all points to a strong and aggressive stance in post-Jobs Apple. With all that on the table, it's up to the competitors to fight back, with hopes being pinned on Windows 8's release, expected later this year.
The new iOS 6 will be available free for iPhones 4S, 4 and 3GS; iPads 3 and 2; and fourth generation iPods.
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