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Memeburn’s WWDC software roundup


Ahem. If you’d care to take a couple of minutes out from drooling over the new Macbook Pro, we’d like to tell you about some of the software updates Apple announced today at its World Wide Developers’ Conference (WWDC).

The Cupertino-based tech giant unveiled new iterations of both its desktop and mobile operating systems at the San Francisco event. Here’s the run down.

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OS X

Apple was pretty keen to punt its desktop software at the event, calling Lion “it’s best-selling release ever” with 26-million sales to date.

Today it officially launched OSX Mountain Lion, just four months after the Developer Preview went live.

For the most part, the official release is the same as the preview. Building on the momentum of OS X Lion, Apple continues to bring iOS features to its desktop operating system.

There were however a couple of treats for Mac zealots.

Perhaps the most succulent of them all is the revelation that the company is bringing dictation to the Mac.

“You can talk into Facebook if you want, and even third-party applications, like Microsoft Word,” said Craig Federighi. It’s not Siri, but it’s still pretty damn awesome. If it works that is.

The new iCloud synchronisation also lets you pick up wherever you left it off on any device.

“You just click it and you pick up your browsing right where you left off,” Federighi said.

There’s also something called Power Nap. Your Mac will now update and sync itself when it’s offline. When it’s charging it’ll backup itself. It’ll only work on the next generation Macbook Pro and second gen Macbook Airs though.

Gamers will be happy too. Game Centre, previously only found on iPads and iPhones, is making its way to the Mac. The really awesome part though is that you can play multiplayer games Mac-to-Mac as well Mac-to-iPad and iPhone.

Anyone trying to figure out Apple’s upcoming business strategy would also have been interested in the heavy emphasis on China.

The Cupertino-based giant says it’s introduced new input methods, new dictionaries, eight new fonts, and support for Baidu and other Chinese social networks. It also encouraged developers to get their apps ready for China.

Mountain Lion will retail for US$19.99. That’s US$10 cheaper than Lion and substantially cheaper than any version of Windows 8 will be.

iOS6

According to Scott Forstall, iOS 6 “has more than 200 new features”. Some of the biggest updates have been to voice assistant app Siri.

The biggest announcement is that she’s finally coming to the new iPad. About bloody time, but still disappointing for any iPad 2 owners out there.

Apple’s been integrating its lusciously voiced PA into other apps. So when you ask about apps for instance, Siri knows to open up the Yelp app — allowing you to make a reservation. Or if you’re looking up what movies are showing, she’ll look up the Rotten Tomatoes score or tap on one of the search results to see the trailer.

Oh yes. She can also launch apps now. Bet you didn’t see that coming. And if you’re worried about using her on the road, Apple’s also launched “eyes free”. It’s basically a button on your car’s steering wheel that launches Siri if your iPhone’s docked.

BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda have all integrated a button on their steering wheels. So if you sold your left arm to get your iPhone, this isn’t for you.

Social
According to Forstal, iOS 6 has “the best Facebook integration ever in a mobile device.” Apple’s reportedly been working very closely with the world’s largest social network to make sharing easier.

The new integration means that you can post pictures from Photos, sites from Safari, locations from Maps.

“But we didn’t stop there. We’ve also integrated it with the App Store, so now you can like apps and see which apps your friends like,” said Forstall.

Maps
What? You didn’t think Apple would let Google have all the geographical fun did you? It launched its own Maps app, with features that are, by and large, similar to the newly updated Google Maps.

All Apple developers got a Beta release of iOS 6, with the general public set to get it in the third quarter of the year.

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