Apple executive Phil Schiller onstage at the keynote event. (USA Today)
SAN FRANCISCO - On Monday, Apple introduced a host of new features with iOS6, the latest upgrade to its mobile operating system for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It also unveiled a new high-end laptop Monday that marries the sharpness of an iPad with the thinness of a MacBook Air.
In stores on Monday, the new MacBook Pro is Apple's thinnest computer yet, with its sharpest display, Apple said Monday at its annual gathering of software developers who create products for Apple devices. While Apple's new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro looks like the Air, it's much more powerful and has a larger display screen.
"It's the most beautiful computer we've ever made," said Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller.
The new MacBook Pro starts at $2,199, is 0.71 inches thin, and has a 15.4-inch screen. It sports the same super-sharp visual technology, known as Retina display, that Apple features on the iPhone and iPad. The computer aimed at photographers, videographers and video editors includes updates to its Aperture photo-editing software and the Final Cut Pro X video-editing software.
Before upgrades, the new MacBook Pro comes with 8 gigabytes of RAM, a 256GB hard drive and seven hours of battery life, according to Apple. It ships with Apple's OS X Lion operating system, and has a backlit keyboard.
The company also introduced new models of its MacBook Air with faster processing chips and lower prices. The entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air computers are $100 less than before, starting at $999.
The new Air, in stores today, has the faster new "Ivy Bridge" processing chips from Intel and a higher-resolution webcam. Apple says the computer will run two times faster than previous models.
New smaller MacBooks also got new faster chips and graphics cards, but at the same price as before, starting at $1,199 for the 13-inch and $1,799 for the 15-inch models.
With the new sharper MacBook Pro, Apple has discontinued the larger-screen 17-inch computer that started at $2,499.
Meanwhile, Apple says iOS 6 offers more than 200 new features, including significant enhancements to Siri, its talking personal digital assistant. With this latest software update, Siri will now be available on the new iPad. Siri will also be more knowledgeable, and be able to talk sports scores and player statistics.
For the iPhone, a new feature adds the ability to text message the caller from the call screen if you can't pick up the call right away.
In its software update, Apple is dumping Google's popular Maps program for its own Maps service, one that features turn-by-turn directions with large graphics and traffic information.
A new feature called flyover is a stunner it features helicopter images shot by Apple that simulate the effect of flying over destinations.