Apple used the WWDC keynote to announce more details of Mountain Lion - the next version of its Mac operating system, which is released next month - and iOS 6, the latest update to the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. But the most groundbreaking announcement was the new MacBook Pro with a 'Retina' display.
What WWDC demonstrated was how, after several years of rapid expansion into new product areas, Apple’s products are now starting to come together again. Mountain Lion and iOS 6 share plenty of features, particularly the iCloud integration that allows content to flow freely from, say, smartphone to laptop.
Meanwhile, Apple’s MacBooks are starting to show the influence of iOS devices in numerous ways, whether it’s gesture controls on trackpads, high resolution displays or the fact that the computers are more likely to be sealed units, not upgradeable by users once they leave the shop.
|Phil Schiller, Apple's product marketing chief, unveils the new MacBook Pro|
Apple is not the first to do these things but it is doing them with an elegance and simplicity that many of its competitors struggle to imitate.
The screen on Apple's new flagship laptop, the MacBook Pro with Retina display, has to be seen to be believed. At 2880 x 1800 pixels, it can deliver double the screen resolution of the previous MacBook Pro and the difference is like putting on a pair of glasses for the first time.
Text looks as if it is printed onto the glass and pictures are extraordinarily sharp. There will be plenty who say that you don't need this kind of resolution but once you have tried it, you won't want to give it up.
Photographers and video editors will find the resolution especially useful. The screen can display a full 1080 video image and still have three million pixels to spare, meaning that tasks that used to require a much larger screen are now practical on a laptop of this size.
The screen has fewer reflections than previous models and offers a wide viewing angle. However, many apps will need to be updated to take full advantage of the new resolution and, as with the new iPad, browsing on this machine quickly reveals the low quality of images on most websites.
It is the screen that will grab the headlines but this is a powerful computer too. Its specifications match, and in some areas exceed, those of the standard 15-inch MacBook Pro and yet it is thinner and lighter than the 13-inch model. I've used an 11-inch MacBook Air as my main computer for a year now so this new machine feels like a cinema display sitting in my lap. But it took just a brief comparison with my old 15-inch MacBook Pro to make me realise just how much the machine has slimmed down.
Conversely, after a few hours using the new MacBook Pro, the 11-inch Air then feels impossibly small. Switching between the two machines, as I've been doing for the last couple of days, can be disorientating.
Apple has changed the way it builds its machines in order to make this new slimline Pro possible. The display is built-in to the unibody construction, reducing weight and thickness, while the cooling system uses asymmetrical fans to reduce noise.
Shared Via: The Telegraph