Apple unveils new iPhone 3G S, MacBook Pro and a $29 Snow Leopard OS at WWDC; Steve Jobs a no show

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Apple’s iPhone 3G S has speech recognition, an internal compass and faster processing. Credit: Apple.

San Francisco -- The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco was packed with new product announcements today, but Steve Jobs and his mammoth stage presence were noticeably absent.

In standard Apple fashion, keynote speaker Philip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, waited until the end to unveil the company’s most anticipated product -- the updated iPhone 3G S, scheduled to hit stores June 19.


The new iPhone focuses on speed enhancements, and to make you consumers get it, the ‘S’ in its name stands for ‘speed.’ It promises to load applications and graphics-intensive websites up to twice as fast as the current iPhone 3G. It will also support the new and faster 3G broadband Internet when wireless carriers roll out the technology over their networks.

The iPhone 3G S will also come with loads of new features -- some of which will be available to current iPhone and iPod Touch owners in a software update available for download June 17.

Features exclusive to the 3G S include a video camera and voice control, which enables you to dial numbers or pause music using speech recognition software. The iPhone 3G S will cost $199 for the 16-gigabyte and $299 for the 32-gigabyte version. The current 8-gigabyte iPhone 3G will drop to $99 starting today.

Apple also refreshed its line of laptop computers. The 15-inch MacBook Pro has a more vivid color display and seven hours of battery life -- up from five hours in the previous version.

The 13-inch MacBook got a promotion, too. It now carries the name MacBook Pro, like its bigger brother. In addition to battery and ...

... processor speed enhancements, the new laptops get a FireWire high-speed data port and an SD memory card slot.


The 13-inch MacBook Pros start at $1,119, the 15-inch computers at $1,699 and an updated MacBook Air, the thinnest laptop, at $1,499.

On the software front, Apple demonstrated its new operating system called Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Many of the features touted during the keynote were recycled from Apple’s presentation at MacWorld in January.

The operating system’s seamless support for Microsoft Exchange is targeted at business users, while the operating system’s $29 price tag is aimed at pleasing all customers. That price should also provide some headaches for Microsoft, which is preparing to launch its newest operating system, Windows 7, in October -- a month after Snow Leopard.

Despite all of these announcements, the Steve Jobs pizazz was sadly missed. The Apple chief executive had planned to return from a six-month medical leave at the end of June, and some had predicted his return would come as early as today.

As Schiller hesitantly sauntered off-stage a few minutes after noon, when the keynote ended, some in the audience couldn’t help but turn to folks nearby and whisper, ‘No Steve Jobs?’

-- Mark Milian