Apple updates Macs, phone system

Apple updates Macs, phone system

June 12th, 2012 by New York Times News Service in Business Around the Region

An attendee looks at the new MacBook Pro on display at the Apple Developers Conference in San Francisco. New iPhone and Mac software and updated Mac computers were among the highlights Monday at Apple Inc.'s annual conference for software developers.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Apple Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 11, 2012.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Apple...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple on Monday overhauled its family of Mac computers and introduced a new version of its mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads that will bring a host of new features, including three-dimensional maps that let users zoom over an image of a city.

The new maps software is a replacement for Google Maps with Apple's own mapping system, in a sign that Apple is further distancing itself from the Internet search giant that it once considered a close partner.

"We are so proud of these products, as they're perfect examples of what Apple does best," said Timothy D. Cook, Apple's chief executive, introducing the new products on the opening day of the company's developer conference here -- a yearly event where Apple shows off its works-in-progress to entice software developers to continue creating software that runs on Apple's devices. This was the first developer conference that Apple has held since the death of its co-founder and former chief executive, Steve Jobs, in October.

Apple made the boldest changes in its computer line to its high-end laptop computer, the MacBook Pro, which is now one-quarter thinner than the older model and has a high-resolution "retina display" akin to the screen on new iPads and iPhones. Apple was able to slim down the laptop, which will start at $2,200 for a model with a 15.4-inch screen, by eliminating its DVD drive and getting rid of its hard drive in favor of a faster form of storage technology called flash.

Apple's move to drop the DVD drive echoes past moves by the company to drop technologies in its machines, like floppy-disk drives, that it viewed as outmoded, even though some consumers grumbled about the changes initially. The company also updated its ultra-light MacBook Air laptop with a faster microprocessor and improved camera.

Since the introduction of the iPhone, Apple has relied on Google's mapping data to drive the maps software included on the iPhone. Apple's abandonment of Google Maps underscores the heightening tension between the two companies.

Although they began as collaborators, their relationship gradually eroded after Google released Android, its mobile operating system that competes with the iPhone. Now Google's Android is the top mobile operating system in the world, and the two companies compete directly in several markets.