SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicked off Monday with an announcement-studded keynote, in which CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives unveiled the new mobile operating system (iOS 6), a lineup of improved notebook PCs and details of the latest operating system.
Here are some key announcements made during the keynote:
* The much-anticipated Maps app debuted during the keynote, featuring turn-by-turn directions and 3D rendering in a ‘flyover’ mode. As with the iPhone’s previous mapping service, built by Google, the new Apple-created app will include real-time traffic monitoring.
* Facebook is being integrated into the newest version of iOS, allowing users to share directly to the No. 1 social networking site. The App Store will also have Facebook ‘like’ buttons to make the app-purchasing experience more social.
* Enhancements to Siri, the iOS digital assistant, included an expanded knowledge of sports, restaurants and movies. Partnerships with Yelp, OpenTable and Rotten Tomatoes were featured in Siri demonstrations, as well as its compatibility with Maps. Siri will also be expanding its language pool, including Chinese, Korean and Spanish. Siri will also make its debut on the iPad with the latest iOS.
* Apple has been working with car manufacturers to integrate a special Siri button on the steering wheel.
* PassBook, a new app built by Apple, functions as a sort of digital wallet where iPhone users can keep boarding passes, movie tickets, shopping vouchers and other digital tickets.
* The FaceTime video chat service will be enabled on cellular service, no longer limiting its use to WiFi.
* The latest iOS will ship in the fall, but it was opened to developers following the keynote.
* Apple’s next generation MacBook Pro was revealed, boasting retina display, a 15.4-inch screen and an ultrabook-rivaling height of 0.71 inches and weight of 4.5 pounds. The display will have a resolution of 2,880 x 1,800, which equates to more than 5 million total pixels and 220 pixels-per-inch. Apple’s native apps will be updated to take advantage of the retina display, and Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said developers are working on updates for other apps, including Adobe Photoshop. The laptop comes with an HDMI port, an SD card reader, two Thunderbolt ports and two USB 3.0/2.0 ports. The new MacBook Pro will come with up to 768 gigabytes of flash memory-based hard drive space, up to 16GB of memory and an Intel quad-core Ivy Bridge processor chip. The next generation MacBook Pro costs $2,199 and began shipping following the keynote.
* A set of updated MacBook Air laptops were released, costing $100 less than their predecessors. The new models will include Ivy Bridge chips with Turbo Boost, a Thunderbolt port and two USB 3.0/2.0 ports, as well as faster graphics and up to 512GB of flash storage. The base MacBook Air cost $999 for the 11-inch model and $1,199 for the 13-inch model and are available now.
* The current generation of MacBook Pro also received an update, with new Ivy Bridge processor chips and Nvidia GeForce GT650M graphics. The new line of MacBook Pros will include a Thunderbolt port and two USB 3.0/2.0 ports. The price for the updated MacBook Pros is the same as its predecessors, starting at $1,799 for the 13-inch model and $2,199 for the 15-inch model. The 17-inch model of the MacBook Pro was not included in the updated lineup.
* The latest version of the Mac operating system, OSX, will have improved support for Apple’s Internet-based iCloud service, including a document-syncing service for Pages, Keynote, TextEdit and Preview.
* A new Notification Center will display pop-up banner notifications for events, reminders, messages and more. A mute switch will allow users to turn off all notifications.
* The new operating system includes Dictation compatibility that lets users bypass their keyboards to compose emails and launch applications by speaking to the computer.
* A new app, called Power Nap, allows the operating system to update while sleeping.
* Airplay mirroring will allow users to broadcast the computer’s display onto an Apple TV.
* Game Center will be brought to the Mac, allowing cross-platform gaming between iOS and OSX.
* OSX Mountain Lion is set to be released next month with a price tag of $19.99. The update is free on computers purchased after the keynote.
Reporting by Mauro Whiteman; Editing by Ryan Woo