Apple integrates Facebook into iPhone software
Fresh off a disappointing initial public offering, Facebook is getting a big boost from Apple, which is building the social network deep into its iPhone and iPad software.
With the next version of Apple Inc.'s software, users will be able to update their Facebook status by talking to their phones.
Users will also be able to "Like" movies and apps in Apple's iTunes store, Apple executive Scott Forstall said in San Francisco at Apple's annual developers' conference.
Siri, Apple's voice-command application, will add a host of new languages, including Spanish, Korean and Mandarin Chinese, Forstall said. "She" will also be able to launch applications and movies. She will also run on iPads for the first time.
Apple says the new software, iOS 6, will launch this fall. It updates the software annually, usually coinciding with the release of a new iPhone.
Even as Apple lends Facebook a hand, it's cutting off one of its links to Google Inc., which makes a rival suite of software for smartphones. IOS 6 will use Apple's own Maps applications rather than Google's. The application will come with traffic reports and turn-by-turn navigation.
Apple also said the new version of its Mac operating system, Mountain Lion, will go on sale next month for $20. The update brings features from Apple's phone and tablet software, like the iMessage texting application, to the Mac.
Microsoft Corp., Apple competitor's when it comes to computer software, is also making Windows more like its phone software, with the release of Windows 8 later this year.
Mountain Lion will also bring dictation to Macs. Users will be able to input text by talking to the computer, in any program. This is already a feature of Microsoft Corp.'s competing Windows software.
On the hardware side, Apple showed off a laptop with a super-high resolution "Retina" display, setting a new standard for screen sharpness.
The new MacBook Pro will have a 15-inch screen and four times the resolution of previous models, Apple executive Phil Schiller said.
Apple already uses "Retina" displays — with individual pixels too small to be distinguished by the naked eye — in its latest iPhones and iPads.
On the phones and tablets, the Retina display is a standard feature. On the MacBook, it's an expensive upgrade. The new MacBook will cost $2199 and up, $400 more than the non-Retina MacBook with the same-sized screen.
Apple's other MacBooks are being updated with the latest processors from Intel Corp.
Missing from Monday's presentation was any mention of Apple's ambition to get into making TVs. Analysts had speculated that Apple would at least update the software on the Apple TV, a small box that connects a TV set to iTunes for movie downloads, as a prelude to perhaps launching a fully integrated TV set.
Peter Svensson contributed from New York.