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

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As another example of the movement toward convergence between iOS and OS X, iOS 6 also lets users tie a phone number to an Apple ID. "So if someone calls your iPhone, you can answer that call on your iPad or even Mac," said Forstall.

Other new features ranged from shared Photo Streams and VIP emails -- the latter automatically display, even on a locked screen -- and something called "Passbook," which Forstall described as a locker for all tickets and boarding passes that are stored in various apps.

"There are a lot of great apps that put your boarding passes and tickets right into the app," Forstall noted. "The problem is, when you get to the movie theater, you have to fumble around to find the app and then the ticket."

Gottheil didn't see one individual element today of iOS 6 that made him swoon, but in the aggregate, he saw a step forward by Apple. "There were many bright objects, but no shining star," he said.

Even so, he called out the Facebook integration and Passbook as two of those most likely to not only have legs, but to impress current iOS device owners and potential customers, too.

"Facebook integration is big -- it's going to make a lot of people very happy -- and I think that Passbook could become very important down the road, as a way to handle all the different virtual slips of paper, not just tickets and boarding passes, that people have on their iPhones and iPads embedded in their apps."

A beta of iOS 6 is available today for developers only, and the upgrade will support iPhone 3GS and later, the second- and third-generation iPads, and the fourth-generation iPod Touch.

Apple was coy about the release date, saying only that it would be available this fall. As it did last year, Apple is expected to launch iOS 6 alongside a new iPhone, perhaps as early as September, but failing that, in October as it did with the iPhone 4S last year.

Not surprisingly, Apple made no mention of a next iPhone, just as it kept quiet last year about a new handset.

Cook, who opened and closed the keynote, did not spend much time on stage, essentially mimicking former CEO Steve Jobs' performance at 2011's WWDC, his second-to-last public appearance.

Jobs died Oct. 5, 2011, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

"What was clear today was that Apple is perfectly capable of generating a ton of anticipation about its products without Steve being there," said Gottheil.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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