SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) - Apple threw open the doors of its Worldwide Developers' Conference on Monday, unveiling new hardware and software. While fanboys, journalists and investors didn't get quite everything they wanted, they got plenty to think about. The buzz surrounding the event, held in San Francisco's Moscone Center West, was akin to a rock concert, with tight security, a line around the block, and an atmosphere of euphoria. Apple events are almost always sold out as the masses eagerly anticipate what's next from the tech giant.
Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference starts on Monday
The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm certainly impressed its audience of developers, increasing the pressure on hardware rivals such as HP, Dell, Research In Motion, and Samsung. Here are three of the most important things we learned at Apple's WWDC conference: New MacBook Pro
Many people were expecting a refresh of almost the entire MacBook line, but Apple only refreshed the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines, with the MacBook Pro receiving most of the attention.
The new MacBook Pro features Retina Display, something the iPhone and iPad have. It also sports updated processors, using Intel's Ivy Bridge and NVidia graphics technology. Many are calling this a huge step forward for the line. "It's the most beautiful computer we've ever made," said Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller, during the keynote address. The price on the MacBook Air was lowered, but it did not receive Retina Display.
See what's key from Apple's WWDC
The new MacBook Pro, which features all flash storage and is just 0.71 inches thick, has a 15.4 inch screen. These features will certainly resonate with consumers, according to Brian White, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets who is attending WWDC.
"What Apple showed off today continues to prove that innovation is alive and well at Apple," White said, in an exclusive interview with TheStreet. "Apple is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else." White rates Apple shares buy with a $1,001 price target.
Demand for Apple's MacBook Pro may have strengthened following the announcement, with several developers saying they planned to purchase a new one thanks to the upgrades. "Innovation is still here, clearly," Pierre-Loïc Raynaud, CEO of FunGolf, said during an interview.
"I think the new MacBook Pro is going to bring some people in to the Apple ecosystem," added Scott Jenkins, developer at Options in Focus. Apple sold 4 million Macs in its most recent quarter.
"The Mac is really not dead yet," noted Malcolm Teas, senior software developer at Voalte during an interview. "It's clear the number of developers have shifted from Mac to iOS, but Apple is not ignoring the Mac side. Apple is growing and expanding that." iOS 6
Apple announced a new mobile operating system, iOS 6, for the iPhone and iPad. Included in the new OS are a new map app, which offers 3D mapping and takes the app's back-end away from Google. Apple also announced FaceTime over cellular networks, turn-by-turn navigation, and several other features, including Siri for the iPad, as the company adds functionality to the voice navigation assistant.
"The new maps are going to be a huge thing on the iOS side," said Pierre-Loïc Raynaud, during the interview. "Maps is really something great."
Siri been exclusive to the iPhone 4S before this, but is now available for the new iPad.
In addition to several new languages, Siri can now be used for sports scores, statistics, and be used to launch apps as well.
Apple is bringing Facebook integration for iOS 6, allowing users to "like" apps and send pictures directly to the social network. Last year, the company integrated Twitter into iOS 5. Passbook
Apple announced a small feature as part of iOS 6, known as Passbook, which might be the company's entrance into the digital wallet space.
Passbook is a location-aware app that lets users store discount cards, gift cards, movie tickets and boarding passes. Users can store their Starbucks gift cards, which some believe may transition Apple into the mobile payment space.
"Passbook is going to be a huge thing," noted Pierre-Loïc Raynaud.
"This is Apple's first move towards the wallet," added Calvin Carter, President of Bottle Rocket Apps. "This is massive."
Carter said Passbook will prompt developers to start integrating the location-aware app into apps for large consumer brands.
Apple shares closed lower on Monday, off 1.58% to $571.17, but are still up 40.96% year-to-date. The iPhone maker's shares crept up 0.65% to $574.88 on Tuesday.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in San Francisco
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