Apple Announces New iPhone 3GS, Revises MacBook Pros (and More!)
Faster and Cheaper Portables
- Upgraded 15-inch MacBook Pro: The new 15-incher uses the same uni-body construction and non-removable battery as the 17 inch MacBook Pro Apple announced in January. The Pro line gets an SD card slot (finally, a way to capture our images without lugging around camera wires), but at the expense of the ExpressCard slot (this means you will lose the ability to add devices, like an internal 3G data card, to your laptop). On the plus side, the Pro line is getting a $300 price cut -- the 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,699.
- Aluminum MacBook is now the 13-inch MacBook Pro: The sleeker looking MacBook will become a member of the Pro line and get a boost in specs with more RAM and a faster processor (more multi-tasking, better video performance, overall faster computing). The 13-inch MacBook Pro also gains an SD card slot, and gets a price cut to $1,199, down $100 from it's October 2008 launch.
- MacBook Air: The Air is also getting a spec boost, but, more importantly, is seeing a drastic price cut to the tune of $700. The base model with a hard disk (as opposed to the fancy solid state drive) will now start at $1,499.
Max OS X: Snow Leopard
The next version of OS X operating system, codenamed Snow Leopard (AKA 10.6), will be available in September. The upgrade will cost $29 for Leopard users, $149 for upgrades of earlier versions. Amazingly, Snow Leopard takes up 6-gigabytes (GB) less space on your hard drive and installs significantly faster. The Finder, OS X's file browser, has been rewritten for speed and other "little benefits," including:
- Exchange Support: Mail, Address Book, and iCal will now be able to sync data with an Exchange server (the kind used at most offices), finally conquering the last barrier to wide adoption by the business world.
- Hand Writing Recognition: Snow Leopard will now recognize characters drawn on the touch pad, which will be a boon to those who write in languages like Chinese and Arabic, which don't use the western alphabet standard on most laptop keyboards.
The new version of Safari, Apple's browser, is officially out today, leaving the "beta" tag behind. Apple added a cover flow style search so you can easily see your browsing history in a visual display.
iPhone OS 3.0
We've covered iPhone 3.0, the latest iPhone software update before, so you can find out more about it here. Copy and paste is finally coming in the June 17th update, but some other new details emerged at today's event. You'll now be able to rent and buy videos and movies straight from your phone (we assume over Wi-Fi only). Apple is finally adding tethering support, which means you'll be able to browse the Web with your laptop using the phone's 3G connection -- great for when you can't find a Wi-Fi network. The 'Find My iPhone' feature, though, got a great response from the crowd. If you've misplaced your phone, you'll be able to send it a message (from a computer via MobileMe) and it will send out a special ring tone (even if you have the ringer turned off) to help you find it. If the phone is lost or stolen, you'll be able to use iTunes to locate it and send a command to remotely wipe all data on it, keeping your personal information safe. The upgrade is free for iPhone users and $9.95 for iPod touch users.
TomTom for the iPhone
We knew that true turn-by-turn navigation would be coming with the 3.0 upgrade, but today TomTom announced it would be the first to take advantage and will be offering a TomTom app for the iPhone, and an accessory kit for mounting it in your car. No official word on price or release date -- we just know it's coming this summer.
Just two after the 3.0 software update becomes available, new iPhone hardware will be hitting the shelves. The iPhone 3GS will get a faster processor (though Apple didn't specify how fast) and an upgrade to 7.2 megabits per second HSDPA (twice the download speed of the current iPhone 3G). The new iPhone is outfitted with a three megapixel, video-capable camera. It has autofocus, white balance controls, and can record VGA-quality video and upload directly to YouTube. The rumored digital compass will be included into the device and integrated into maps. In case you're still not sold, the iPhone 3GS finally supports voice control, which lets you dial numbers and play music by simply speaking instructions. The 3GS will come in 16 gigabyte and 32 gigabyte models, priced $199 and $299 respectively. Both will be available in black and white.
The iPhone 3G isn't dead yet. Apple is putting immense pressure on its competitors by cutting the price of this still mighty capable handset to $99 for the 8-gigabyte (GB) model. The 16-gigabyte (GB) model is being discontinued. Not all was fun and games however.
With no Steve Jobs on hand, the new Apple announcements lacked their usual flair and drama, and the app demos dragged on more than a little too long. That said, color us excited for iPhone 3.0 software update and the iPhone 3GS. We can't wait to get our sweaty, gadget-addicted hands on both.