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WWDC 2012: Tidbits & Links

Yesterday’s WWDC keynote was packed with new information on Apple’s latest product releases. From updates to its notebook lineup to new developer seeds of Mountain Lion and iOS 6, Apple delivered to the goods to a rightfully excited Moscone West audience, as well as the entire Apple community online – and in the process, it also refreshed its online Store with quite a few “stealth updates” that, however, didn’t go unnoticed.

In this post, we have collected some miscellaneous tidbits and interesting links that we missed or only briefly mentioned in our coverage of the event.

In my iOS 6 overview, I noted Apple didn’t specify on the newly launched iOS 6 webpage just exactly what sports and countries it will support with Siri this Fall. Thankfully, Dave Caolo has compiled a fantastic list of all the features briefly mentioned in the last keynote slides, including sports functionalities.

  • Italian Serie A
  • English Premier League
  • Dutch Eredivisie
  • MLS
  • French Ligue 1
  • Spanish La Liga
  • German Bundesliga
  • MLB
  • NCAA Football
  • NFL
  • Get sports scores
  • NBA
  • NCAA Basketball
  • WNBA
  • NHL

Check out his full post here.

As noted by The Mac Observer, Apple released Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 yesterday, allowing Thunderbolt-equipped Macs to connect to a wired network using the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter Apple also announced yesterday. This is especially handy for MacBook Airs, which don’t have an Ethernet port, but do come with Thunderbolt.

As reported by Adam Engst at TidBITS, however, the Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 is causing boot failures for several users on a variety of Macs.

Although it’s unclear if all Thunderbolt-equipped Macs are affected, a number of people have reported that installing the update causes a variety of strange boot-related problems (kernel panics, getting stuck at the gray boot screen, “Unexpected error” messages, and more). Regardless of the details, in each case, it seems that the Mac is rendered unusable, even thunderstruck. I’ve now heard from some people for whom the update did not cause any problems, but it’s still unclear what the difference may be between those who are and are not suffering boot failures.

At Macworld, Jason Snell has posted his first impressions of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display. In particular, he notes how Apple explains the new Retina resolution in the OS X Display preferences:

The Displays preference pane on this system (running OS X version 10.7.4, build 11E2617) isn’t like those seen on previous Macs. Instead of displaying a list of different screen resolutions, it defaults to a “Best for Retina display” resolution. If you choose the Scaled option instead, you can choose from five presets ranging from Larger Text (which makes all the interface elements on the screen larger) to More Space (which makes everything smaller, feeling more like a high-resolution display on previous MacBook Pro models).

AnandTech goes into more detail of such preference panel:

Apple offers five scaled settings including the default pixel doubled option: 1024 x 640, 1280 x 800, 1440 x 900, 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. Selecting any of these options gives you the effective desktop resolution of the setting, but Apple actually renders the screen at a higher resolution and scales it to fit the 2880 x 1800 panel. As a result of the upscaled rendering, there can be a performance and quality impact. It’s also worth noting there’s no default option for 2880 x 1800, which is understandable given just how tiny text would be at that resolution. I suspect it won’t be long before users figure out how to manually add a zero-scale, 2880 x 1800 option.

At Engadget, editor Tim Stevens has posted a hands-on video with the new MacBook Pro, detailing the machine’s design.

The Verge has published a photo gallery, and MG Siegler has uploaded additional photos of his review unit at TechCrunch. Meanwhile, Apple’s official MacBook Pro promo video is now available on YouTube.

Another good hands-on video by CNET, posted on YouTube.


Speaking of Mac hardware, Marco Arment is less excited about the “silent” Mac Pro update released yesterday.

After two years, the Mac Pro was “updated” today, sort of: now we can choose slightly faster two-year-old CPUs at the top end, and the other two-year-old CPU options are cheaper now.

That’s about it.

No Xeon E5 CPUs, no USB 3, no Thunderbolt. They’re even shipping the same two-year-old graphics cards. Same motherboard, slightly different CPU options from 2010. That’s it.

After much speculation and hope, that indeed doesn’t seem like a considerable upgrade at all. Fortunately for pro users, Tim Cook wrote new products are coming in 2013 – a tidbit that was also confirmed by The New York Times’ David Pogue.

Update: After a bit of confusion as to whether an Apple spokesperson confirmed both Mac Pro and iMac updates are coming in 2013, Apple PR reached out to Forbes to confirm that the Mac Pro will receive new models and designs next year.

Apple said today that it is working on new models and designs for its Mac Pro desktop that will be released in 2013.

Apple also told The Loop an email sent by Tim Cook to a customer asking about the Mac Pro was, in fact, authentic.

Thanks for your email. Our Pro customers like you are really important to us. Although we didn’t have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro at today’s event, don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year. We also updated the current model today.

At AllThingsD, John Paczkowski has a good roundup of the numbers Apple gave out at its keynote yesterday, including:

  • There are 66 million Mac users — triple the number Apple had just five years ago.
  • 26 million copies of Lion have been shipped so far.
  • 40 percent of OS X users are running Lion.
  • Mountain Lion will be the eighth major release of OS X.

TomTom, the mapping and navigation company, has confirmed in a brief press release it has struck a deal with Apple for licensing their technologies, albeit without providing further details at this point.

TomTom has signed a global agreement with Apple for maps and related information. No further details of the agreement will be provided.

As noted by Gary Allen at ifoAppleStore, amidst hardware and software releases, Apple also managed to refresh its retail webpages for the first time since 2008.

The Retail Web pages were last updated in mid-2008, when the retail chain had just 215 stores and few of the customer services that now generate traffic to the stores: One to One, Joint Venture, Personal Setup and Personal Pickup. The new pages now categorize and emphasize those customer services “above the fold” of a standard-size browser window.

Kyle Baxter has a very thoughtful take on Apple’s future plans with Siri and iCloud.

- Yesterday, Google Chrome received a stability update for OS X Mountain Lion.

- Today, iMovie has been updated with “enhancements for the MacBook Pro with Retina display”.

- The “Making a difference. One app at a time.” video that was rolled yesterday on stage can be viewed online here.

- On its website, Apple has posted an updated list of all the new features coming in OS X 10.8.

- At Macworld, Christopher Breen elegantly breaks down the reasons why you should take pre-event Apple rumors with a grain of salt.

- Tait Brown has posted a roundup of the new features of Mobile Safari for front-end developers in iOS 6.

- Stephen Hacketts reflects on Apple’s choice to make the Retina display a MacBook Pro-only feature for now.

Michael Schechter looks at yesterday’s announcement from the average user’s perspective.

- MG Siegler is now uncertain on which Mac laptop to recommend, as the new MacBook Pro with Retina display is a really great option considering its specs and price.

- David Chartier compiles a list of “things Apple announced at WWDC” vs. “things that were rumored, which Apple didn’t announce” yesterday.

Update: More links added.

- Matthew Panzarino notices iOS 6 finally brings a Retina-ready spinner indicator for shutdown. This has been a longstanding minor nitpick of iOS devices since 2010.

- Rene Ritchie explains the factors Apple considered to pick this year’s Design Awards winners.

Sebastien Page catches a fantastic detail of iOS 6’s Music app.

Jordan Golson has put together a comprehensive list of iOS 6 features that aren’t currently supported on older iOS devices.

Lex Friedman rounds up iOS 6 features we might have missed.

- A great finding about the iOS 6 status bar by Max Rudberg.

Storify

We have collected interesting tweets about WWDC 2012 in a Storify bundle.

Charts

With the numbers Apple released yesterday, I have recompiled my App Store charts with new data. Click the images for full-size versions.

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