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6/11/2012
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Big News From Apple: MacBooks, iOS 6, And More

Apple's WWDC 2012 keynote on Monday was full of product announcements, most of which have been rumored for some time now. They included a new, thinner MacBook Pro with a Retina Display; a MacBook Air update; and iOS 6 with a smarter Siri and new mapping app, among other enhancements.

iOS 6

iOS 6, which arrives this fall, will add several new features to Apple's mobile operating system.

New Maps app


This was heavily reported and rumored before the announcement. Apple is getting away from Google Maps and introducing its own Maps app. This one offers turn-by-turn navigation, a feature that was missing from the previous maps application. There is Siri integration, so you can ask it something along the lines of "Are we there yet?" and it responds with an approximation of the estimated arrival time.

The maps are vector-based, which makes zooming in and out faster and cleaner. Say farewell to pixelation. The new Maps app also adds a 3D mode.

FaceTime over cellular


Back when FaceTime was announced on the iPhone 4, Steve Jobs said that it would work only over Wi-Fi through 2010. Nothing was said about cellular. However, Apple has now announced FaceTime over cellular. This might also be an indication that it will soon be releasing a 4G LTE-capable phone--at least in time for iOS 6. That's not to say it can't work over 3G, but 4G has plenty of speed.

PassBook


PassBook is something of a digital wallet. It stores things such as movie tickets and airplane tickets. It's also location based. This means that, for example, if you have movie tickets stored on it, and you drive to the theater, PassBook will put the ticket up on your lock screen.

For travelers, it will notify you of any changes in your flight schedule.

Enhanced Siri


New Siri features include telling you game scores, or player stats. It will also let you make reservations through OpenTable, check out places through Yelp, or ask what movies are playing at the theater.

One of the biggest updates would have to be app launching. Siri will now launch apps for you. Siri will also be integrated into cars, which will help keep drivers' attention on the road.

Facebook integration


Facebook integration is also part of the new iOS. For instance, events and birthdays will be added to your iOS calendar if you link your device to Facebook. This is done by logging into Facebook on your iOS device, much like you do with the Twitter integration.

Call back later


You can set your device up to ignore incoming calls, but remind you to call those people back later. This is especially useful for driving or meetings. You can also respond to someone directly by SMS, rather than having to call them back.

Pull to refresh in email


This new feature gives you the ability to pull down while in your email app to refresh the screen, and see if you have received any new messages. This is similar to hitting the refresh button at the bottom-right corner of the current email app.

They also made a quick mention of these additional features, but didn't take the time to highlight them: better privacy settings, a feature in Game Center called Challenges that lets you send a message to a friend challenging them in a game, and something called Lost Mode, which sends a phone number to your device, and when someone finds it, they can tap to call it back and help you recover your iOS device.

Compatibility and availability


iOS 6 ships this fall, and will work with the iPhone 3GS and later, as well as the iPad 2 and the third-generation iPad. The original iPad doesn't get this update. Developers can get their hands on the beta today.

Now the wait for the iPhone


The laptops were the only hardware addition to the Apple line of products. There were mentions of Apple's long-rumored HDTV or even a sneak peak at the next iPhone. Chances are it's not going to happen. However, with iOS 6 coming this fall, it gives us all a pretty good idea of when we can expect Apple's next handset to arrive.

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