Apple kicks off World Wide Development Conference

By Brooks Clarke

Tech giant, Apple Inc. held its yearly keynote address on Monday, June 11 to kick off the 2012 World Wide Development Conference. But something felt just a tad bit different this year. For the first time in it's long and storied history, Apple's annual dev conference took place without Steve Jobs at the helm. Located in San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center, Apple began its 23rd WWDC with several major announcements for its Macbook line of notebooks, OS X, and iOS.

Prior to Monday, rumors of a thinner, lighter Macbook were all but confirmed by various manufacturer leaks, however detailed specifications and pricing still largely remained a mystery. Along with Ivy Bridge spec bumps for its existing Macbook Air and Pro models, Apple unveiled a thinner 15-inch Macbook Pro equipped with a 2880-by-1800 Retina display, up to 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPU and complete flash-based storage. Though the design of the notebook isn't tapered like that of the Air, the new Macbook Pro weighs in at approximately 4.46 lbs, roughly the same weight as the 13-inch Pro. With a price tag starting at $2,200, the new Pro definitely sits on the higher end of the Macbook spectrum.

Apple made just as much news by what they didn't show, however, as the 17-inch Macbook Pro has officially gotten the axe. In addition, major updates to both of Apple's desktop lines - the iMac and Mac Pro - were conspicuously absent.

Along with hardware, Apple also gave a lengthy preview of both its desktop and mobile operating systems. Due out in July, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion sees the addition of iOS features like dictation, improved app content sharing and Messages. Apple is continuing its aggressive pricing structure for OS X, with Mountain Lion costing just $20 through the Appstore. As anticipated, iOS 6 ditches Google Maps, in favor of Apple's own map app. In addition, the iOS update will add much-improved Siri functionality, Facebook integration into apps and better notifications. Look for iOS 6 to drop some time this fall.

Be sure to check back next week for a more in-depth look at Apple's revamped lineup, as well as a full review of the new Ivy Bridge-powered Macbook Pro.

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