Map app is star of Apple’s latest unveiling show

June 18th, 2012 by Amrinder Leave a reply »

Apple Inc. is mapping a course that it hopes will help it sail past smartphone rival Google.

Come fall, new iPhones and iPads will have new features, including a souped-up mapping feature that will give spoken directions to drivers and let users simulate flying over three-dimensional versions of cities they’re navigating.

Apple executives showed off the new Maps app, along with a smarter version of Apple’s robotic assistant, Siri, and a line of new Mac laptops and software, during the company’s developer conference last week.

The company said nothing about an Apple television set, a product that Apple will not acknowledge but which is rumored to be in the works in the company’s secret development labs. Observers had speculated that Apple might invite software makers to start brainstorming applications for a future television product.

Nor did the company unveil a new iPhone or iPad tablet — its two hottest-selling devices. Most analysts believe the next iPhone will be announced around October.

Still, Apple spent nearly two hours on the many new features of its touch-screen mobile devices and line of Mac computers. Its MacBook laptops — the Pro and Air lines — received a standard speed upgrade, with faster computer processors and graphics chips. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is available for $1,800, while the 13-inch Air starts at $1,200.

Apple also added a next-generation MacBook Pro to its lineup, a more expensive $2,200 model that is much lighter and thinner and sports the high-definition “retina” screens that Apple developed for its iPhone and iPad.

The Macs will have a new operating system, called Mountain Lion, that will borrow many features from its younger cousin, iOS, the company’s iPhone and iPad software.

Users will be able to send text messages and store e-mails, notes and documents in the cloud, so data does not exist only on the user’s local computer. The new software will be available in July for $20.

Apple will release the newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, in the fall. Its new Maps application will replace Google Maps, among the iPhone’s most popular features since its debut in 2007 and a feature that allowed Google to own a valuable part of Apple’s best-selling phone.



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