Everything you need to know about Apple’s announcements today

Siri can now fetch sport scores

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference today with a jam-packed keynote that included product announcements for both hardware and software.

Here are some interesting facts that got the show started:

  • 400 million iTunes App Store accounts
  • 650,000 apps
  • 225,000 iPad-optimised apps
  • 30 billion app downloads
  • US$5 billion cumulative paid out to developers

That last point is important, because just two quarters ago Apple had only paid out US$4 billion, meaning the app business is accelerating dramatically and that cumulative figure has grown 25% in just six months. It also implies that Apple’s cut has been a little more than US$2.1 billion.

Hardware: MacBook Pro with Retina display
Apple updated the specs throughout its notebook lineup, including the traditional MacBook Pro family and MacBook Airs. Intel‘s (Nasdaq: INTC) latest Ivy Bridge chips and NVIDIA‘s (Nasdaq: NVDA) newest Kepler chips are featured throughout (or when a discrete GPU is used, in NVIDIA’s case).

No shockers there, as the inclusion of these chips was practically guaranteed. Advanced Micro Devices is relinquishing its graphics spot back to NVIDIA. Apple is also upgrading to USB 3, which offers faster transfer speeds than the current USB 2.

The biggest hardware announcement today was a new generation of MacBook Pro. Most of the details of this new laptop were pretty much in line with expectations, with no major surprises up Apple’s sleeve. That doesn’t take away from their significance, though.

It only comes as a 15-inch model (for now) that sports a high-resolution Retina display with 2880 x 1800 resolution. That chalks in at a lower pixel density than Apple’s other Retina displays on its mobile gadgets, but it’s still the highest-resolution display for a PC ever.

anImage

MacBook Pro with Retina display. Source: Apple.

Expectedly taking some design cues from the MacBook Air, it ditches the optical DVD drive in addition to traditional hard disk drives, or HDDs, in favour of solid-state drives, or SSDs. Doing so has allowed Apple to make the notebook even thinner than before.

Apple is the only computer maker that’s devoted the R&D dollars and time into pushing the envelope. It uses custom parts for the guts of its notebooks, which allows it to take its engineering to a level that OEMs with smaller margins aren’t willing to follow — or are even capable of following.

Software: OS X Mountain Lion
The software announcements are split between Apple’s desktop OS X and mobile iOS.

Apple now has a Mac installed base of 66 million users, which is pretty minuscule in a global context. I actually see that as a sign of how much room the Mac has to grow. The latest version of OS X, Lion, has sold 26 million copies, representing 40% penetration within nine months. It took 27 months for Microsoft Windows 7 to reach that level, although that’s certainly a much larger installed base to penetrate.

Most of OS X Mountain Lion’s features were previewed several months ago, and there weren’t really any new jaw-dropping additions to show off. Apple is adding voice dictation and a new feature called Power Nap that updates and backs up your computer while it’s sleeping. The OS will also continue getting more features taken from iOS — such as AirPlay mirroring, Game Centre, and Notification Centre.

The operating system will be released next month for just US$20.

Software: iOS 6
iOS chief Scott Forstall took the stage for all things mobile, mentioning that Apple has sold a cumulative total of 365 million iOS devices. By my count, that includes 218 million iPhones and 67 million iPads.

Siri is getting a handful of upgrades, including the ability to fetch sports scores and information, as was suspected. It’s also getting integration with OpenTable and Time Warner‘s Rotten Tomatoes. Siri will be able to launch apps and is getting Twitter integration. Also as rumoured, Apple is bringing Siri to the new iPad.

This is all good news for Nuance Communications, as its relationship with Apple continues to expand when you think of Siri and dictation spreading throughout its devices.

You can now also FaceTime directly over cell networks, which makes you wonder how Apple ever talked carrier partners into signing off on that considering how much it might strain their networks. iOS is also getting a feature called Do Not Disturb and Shared Photo Streams. A new feature called Passbook looks relatively minor at first — keeping track of all your boarding passes, tickets, and gift cards — but also represents how the iPhone is one step closer to becoming your wallet.

Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) is now getting integrated into iOS 6, much like Twitter was integrated last year. The social network will tie into the App Store, calendars, contacts, and everywhere else you’d expect.

Is there a map for that?
Apple unveiled its new in-house maps offering, displacing Google‘s (Nasdaq: GOOG) long-held seat. The offering plays catch-up in some ways with Android’s map capabilities, adding features like turn-by-turn directions and adding small 3-D models onto maps.

The real new feature is dubbed “Flyover,” creating incredibly detailed 3-D models of cities around the world rendered in real time. The models look very similar to what Google showed off last week at its own dedicated mapping event.

My biggest concern for Apple was whether it could compile a database of local business listings sufficient to replace Google’s. Forstall said Apple now has 100 million business listings and is even building its own traffic service.

iOS 6 will see a release later in the year, likely coinciding with the sixth-generation iPhone.

Leading the way
There were rumours that didn’t pan out, of Apple updating more of its Mac lineup, most notably including the aging Mac Pro. That said, I don’t think anyone will come away from the news as “disappointed.” The new MacBook Pros are the most important updates, in my mind, while the software announcements are simply continued evolution and convergence.

If you’re in the market for some high yielding ASX shares, look no further than our “Secure Your Future with 3 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks” report. In this free report, we’ve put together our best ideas for investors who are looking for solid companies with high dividends and good growth potential. Click here now to find out the names of our three favourite income ideas. But hurry – the report is free for only a limited time.

 More reading

The Motley Fools purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article, written by Evan Niu, originally appeared on fool.com

More on ⏸️ Investing

Close up of baby looking puzzled
Retail Shares

What has happened to the Baby Bunting (ASX:BBN) share price this year?

It's been a volatile year so far for the Aussie nursery retailer. We take a closer look

Read more »

woman holds sign saying 'we need change' at climate change protest
ETFs

3 ASX ETFs that invest in companies fighting climate change

If you want to shift some of your investments into more ethical companies, exchange-traded funds can offer a good option

Read more »

a jewellery store attendant stands at a cabinet displaying opulent necklaces and earrings featuring diamonds and precious stones.
⏸️ Investing

The Michael Hill (ASX: MHJ) share price poised for growth

Investors will be keeping an eye on the Michael Hill International Limited (ASX: MHJ) share price today. The keen interest…

Read more »

ASX shares buy unstoppable asx share price represented by man in superman cape pointing skyward
⏸️ Investing

The Atomos (ASX:AMS) share price is up 15% in a week

The Atomos (ASX: AMS) share price has surged 15% this week. Let's look at what's ahead as the company build…

Read more »

asx share price competitions represented by businessmen arm wrestling
Retail Shares

How does the Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW) share price stack up against Nick Scali (ASX:NCK)?

How does the Temple & Webster (ASX: TPW) share price stack up against rival furniture retailer Nick Scali Limited (ASX:…

Read more »

A medical researcher works on a bichip, indicating share price movement in ASX tech companies
Healthcare Shares

The Aroa (ASX:ARX) share price has surged 60% since its IPO

The Aroa (ASX:ARX) share price has surged 60% since the Polynovo (ASX: PNV) competitor listed on the ASX in July.…

Read more »

asx investor daydreaming about US shares
⏸️ How to Invest

How to buy US shares from Australia right now

If you have been wondering how to buy US shares from Australia to gain exposure from the highly topical market,…

Read more »

person reading news on mobile phone
⏸️ Investing

Why Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) might hurt News Corp (ASX:NWS) shareholders

News Corporation (ASX: NWS) might be facing some existential threats from its American cousins over the riots on 6 January

Read more »