What Apple didn't announce at WWDC
June 11, 2012 at 7:29 PM ET
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Monday was a big day for Apple: a brand new MacBook Pro design, iOS 6, and some new information on Mountain Lion. But there were a few things conspicuously absent, as well; let's go over what items and features we didn't see on stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
- 15-inch MacBook Air: The next-generation MacBook Pro may be thinner and lighter than its predecessors, but it's still no MacBook Air. It weighs two full pounds more than the smaller Air, and of course it doesn't have that tapered shape. Some thought a bigger Air was forthcoming, but Apple clearly wants to keep overlap between the MacBook lines to a minimum.
Devin Coldewey / msnbc.com
- 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro: Again, perhaps not announced in order to keep the lines distinct, but it may also be because the displays aren't ready. A 13-inch version would probably have a 2,560-by-1,600 display (that is, twice the existing 13-inch resolution in both directions).
- 17-inch MacBook Pro: Fans of Apple's biggest notebook must have observed already that there don't seem to be any plans to bring it back in Retina form. With a focus on portability and battery life, there just isn't any room in the lineup for this beast any more. And if you go to Apple's online store, you'll find that it's been removed from the lineup.
- Retina display on the Air: There were rumors that Apple was going to bring those tiny pixels to their tiny notebook. But it wasn't a realistic hope to begin with. First, they would have to raise the price of the Air; those screens aren't cheap. And since the Air is now Apple's bargain computer, they can't be raising the price up again. Second, the new MacBook Pro is meant to be understood as a professional, expensive computer. The Retina screen helps differentiate it from the Air and gives it an air of luxury and helps justify the price.
- Retina Cinema Display or iMac: High-resolution displays are obviously in the cards for Apple's more stationary products — with the OS and apps being built around them, it's only a matter of time. But either Apple wanted to focus on just notebooks for now, or the companies that actually make the displays need more time to perfect and manufacture the larger versions.
- Funky new keyboard: Patents for a totally new kind of keyboard that would allow for thinner laptops — or just more space on the inside for batteries and components. It didn't appear, however: the new Pro has the familiar chiclet keyboard that Apple notebooks have had since 2006.
- Liquidmetal anything: Apple's purchase of the company that makes this versatile alloy set alarm bells ringing in the tech community. So far, the only thing they've used the material for is the SIM card tray in the iPhone. Even its makers say that anything larger is still a long ways off, but that didn't stop people from expecting a whole notebook made out of the stuff.
- Hybrid storage: There were reports of a custom hard drive system, a cross between solid-state and spinning drives, to give the responsiveness of the one and the capacity of the other. But this is looking less and less likely for a number of reasons. It would be expensive to implement and repair, the drive would suck power and take up space, and both flash memory and cloud storage are getting cheaper and faster by the day. If it was ever being researched in the first place, it's probably scrapped by now.
- New Mac Pro: Apple did in fact update the Mac Pros to take advantage of the latest RAM and processors, but with no stage time and no real redesign, it's clear they're low on the priority list right now — or perhaps the big update is coming whenever the iMac and other desk-type computers get theirs.
- iPhone 5: Obviously the new version of Apple's hit phone (likely to be called simply "the new iPhone") was not announced, though a few hopeful souls were thinking it would be a great surprise to bring out or at least tease alongside iOS 6. No such luck; it'll be a few more months for sure before they'll take your money for that particular item.
Devin Coldewey / msnbc.com
- Smaller iPad: Persistent whispers from the supply line and overseas manufacturing community suggest the existence of a smaller iPad with a 7.85-inch screen. WWDC would have been as good a place as any to announce it, but clearly the iPad mini is not ready for prime time — that is, if it exists at all.
- iTV: After a hurricane of leaks, rumors, and speculation earlier in the year, everyone was ready for the Apple-branded television to touch down at WWDC. But aside from an improvement to AirPlay streaming over existing Apple TVs, there was nary a mention of the project Steve Jobs reportedly spent a great deal of time working on toward the end of his life.
- Apps for Apple TV: On that note, it was expected that the Apple TV would be getting apps, or its own special app store, or something to bring it into Apple's lucrative app ecosystem. No go — at least, not yet.
Some of these things may arrive later this year, some next year, some never. But one thing we can be sure about is that they didn't get announced at Monday's keynote.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.