Next week, a small army of tech journalists will descend on San Francisco for the annual Apple worldwide developers conference, or WWDC. Apple typically uses the event to roll out a new product or two – last year, for instance, it was OS X Lion and iCloud. Tickets for the 2012 WWDC are already sold out, although Apple has promised to post video from the keynote, a small consolation for diehard fans.
So hey, what does Apple have on tap this year? Almost certainly a rejiggered line of laptops. For months, rumors have swirled around a revamped version of the MacBook Pro, which hasn't seen a significant aesthetic overhaul for years. Signs point to a more svelte machine, with a high-resolution "retina display," and a next-generation processor. And over at CNET, Scott Stein, for one, says it's high time for a new MacBook.
"I own a 2008 MacBook at home: unibody, the first one, an aluminum 13-incher back when it wasn't called a 'Pro.' Place it side-by-side next to one of last year's 13-inch MacBook Pros, and you couldn't tell the difference," Stein writes. "Yes, the performance and battery life have improved, but cosmetically, it's time for Apple's laptop hardware to see some design changes."
Of course, it's possible that Apple will introduce not only a new MacBook Pro, but a new MacBook Air, to boot. The team at Laptop Magazine speculates that a new Air would likely pack the retina display, a new Intel Ivy Bridge processor, and an even more streamlined shape.
"Although the Air is already the best-designed ultraportable we’ve used – and Apple now has a patent on the shape – we wouldn’t be surprised to see the company shrink the footprint of the Air by minimizing the bezel and the area around the keyboard, similar to the Dell XPS 13," staffers at the magazine write. "The idea: squeeze a 13-inch notebook into a 12-inch chassis."
Another possibility: More Siri. Horizons readers will remember that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, recently promised that Apple would "double down" on Siri. Cook also hinted at the future "breadth" of Siri – a hint that Apple is looking to expand the purview of the voice-activated personal assistant.
"Apple's Siri voice assistant is available exclusively on the iPhone 4S," notes Thomas Claburn of Information Week. "That's likely to change, if only because Apple wouldn't have invested in speech recognition as a single product's differentiating feature. Apple sees strategic value in voice input – not just because it messes with Google's search revenue stream –and can be expected to make it more widely available sooner or later."
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