Apple disappointed pundits Monday by failing to unveil a new iPhone at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Instead it launched a new MacBook laptop computer featuring a retina display, as well as the new OS X Mountain Lion for Macs and iOS6 operating system for iPhones.
Each time a new product was introduced, some 5,000 invited guests responded with riotous applause, but Apple shares dropped 1.58 percent as investors were disappointed by the absence of a product to rival Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S3 smartphone.
The new iPhone 5 is now expected to be introduced this fall.
◆ Taking a Jab at Samsung
Apple's Siri voice-recognition program quipped in front of the throngs of spectators at the Moscone Center. "I am a real fan of Samsung Electronics' products. Not its mobile phones, but its refrigerators," it said, taking a jab at the Korean electronics giant, with which is locked in patent battles around the world. At the launch of the iPad 2 in March last year, the late Steve Jobs teased Samsung for being a "copycat."
Then Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage and said there are more than 650,000 Apple apps and the number of downloads surpasses 30 billion. He added developers around the world have made more than US$5 billion from apps.
Unlike Jobs, who liked to stand on stage alone to introduce a new product, Cook let the company's senior vice presidents do that job, apparently to show that the firm is now run by a team.
◆ New MacBook
The star of the day was the new MacBook Pro featuring a retina display already used in the iPhone 4S and the new iPad. The name refers to the high resolution of the display. The new MacBook Pro's 15.4-inch screen has 5.18 million pixels, a resolution four times greater than existing products.
The new laptop also has Apple's trademark sleek design. Weighing 2 kg and 1.8 cm thick, it is more similar in dimension to the mass-market MacBook Air. The sleek body is made possible by using a flash memory drive instead of a hard disk.
Apple said the processing speed and graphics capability has been enhanced 60 percent compared to existing products. With an 8 GB memory, 256 GB storage space and 15.4-inch screen, it costs W2.89 million (US$1=W1,171).
◆ Improved Voice Recognition
The iOS6 operating system to be installed on the new iPhone uses an enhanced voice-recognition program. Apple plans to cooperate with Audi, BMW, GM, Mercedes-Benz and other carmakers to add a function that enables the iPhone to provide voice directions to drivers. The Korean version of Siri will be launched this fall, Apple said.
It also enabled the free videophone service FaceTime for mobile communication networks. So far it has been available only through WiFi networks but could not be used on the move. The new FaceTime service is expected to come as a shock to mobile providers since it offers free video telephony.