WWDC: Cook unveils iOS 6, new OS X, Retina display MacBook Pro

Apple can still generate 'ton of anticipation' about upcoming products without former CEO Steve Jobs, says analyst

Apple CEO Tim Cook and a trio of top executives took the stage today at the company's annual developers conference to outline the new iOS 6, talk up this year's Mountain Lion upgrade for OS X and unveil a new MacBook Pro laptop with a high-resolution "Retina" display.

"The products we make combined with the apps that you create, can fundamentally change the world," said Cook near the end of the keynote. "Really, I can't think of a better reason to get up in the morning."

As expected, Monday's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote focused on software -- the venue, after all, was for developers who build apps and applications for the iOS mobile operating system and OS X on the desktop -- but it also included a large dose of hardware.

Apple refreshed its notebooks today, revamping both its existing MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines but more importantly, introducing a new model in the latter, which the company's head of marketing, Philip Schiller, dubbed "next generation MacBook Pro."

"The next generation MacBook Pro is the most beautiful computer we've ever made," said Schiller, who walked attendees through the hardware refresh part of the keynote. "It's dominated by an amazing, magnificent new display."

As many pundits had expected, the new MacBook Pro features a higher resolution screen than its predecessors. Schiller called it a "Retina" display, the term Apple uses to describe the pixel-dense screens on its iPhone and iPad.

The 15-in. display provides a resolution of 2880 x 1880 pixels, or approximately 220 pixels per inch (ppi). The total number of pixels is four times that of existing MacBook Pros.

"This is the world's highest-resolution notebook display," Schiller claimed.

The next generation MacBook Pro comes stock with a quad-core third-generation Intel processor, the architecture code-named "Ivy Bridge;" Nvidia's newest graphics processor, called "Kepler" but officially designated the GeForce GT 650M; and can be ordered with as much as 768GB of flash-based storage.

The form factor is reminiscent of the MacBook Air, but somewhat thicker, and at 4.5-lbs., heavier. It ships with Lion and several Apple-made apps, including Mail and Safari, that have been updated to show off the higher resolution.

Prices start at $2,199 with a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 CPU, 8GB of memory and 256GB of space on the flash memory-based SSD (solid-state drive). The new model is available today.

"This will bring a lot of excitement back to the personal computer," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, in a Monday interview. "It puts new life, actually buckets of life, into their $2,000-plus tier, which has been pretty moribund of late.

Keith Shaw talks with Computerworld News Editor Ken Mingis about today's Apple announcements at the Worldwide Developer Conference, which included new MacBook Pro hardware, MacBook Air notebooks and updates to OS X and iOS 6.

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