Apple MacBooks: A rumor roundup

With Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on the horizon, those who love the Cupertino, Calif. company are devoting a lot of time to wondering whether the company will release any hardware products this year.

WWDC used to be where Apple showed off its new iPhone and a mix of hardware and software. The company has since changed up its routine, making no new hardware announcements at WWDC 2011 and changing its iPhone announcements to the fall.

But hardware rumors are buzzing again for this year’s developers conference, thanks to some speculation about the next MacBooks coming down the line.

The MacBook Pro is reportedly going to have a retina display in its next iteration, a rumor bolstered by the fact that MacRumors reported that Apple developers have found retina-display icons in previews of Apple’s next operating system, Mountain Lion. Many of Apple’s competitors have launched laptops with HD displays, which are likely becoming an expected feature for anyone looking for a new laptop.

The same goes for good graphics, which are rumored to get a boost in the next MacBook Pro, 9to5 Mac reported, with some mentions of the Nvidia GeForce GT 650 M in the beta code for the next version of OS X. The site also reports that the new laptops will support USB 3.0 in addition to Apple’s own Thuderbolt ports.

The next version of the MacBook Pro also is expected to have Ivy Bridge processors, the latest chip from Intel. Ivy Bridge processors are supposed to improve processing power and reduce power consumption.

Overall, reports indicate that the new MacBooks will be thinner, faster and have better displays.

Other announcements expected out of WWDC are related to Apple’s software. The company is due to not only release more details about Mountain Lion ahead of its summer release, but also to peel back the curtain on iOS 6.

The next version of Apple’s mobile operating system is supposed to have an in-house maps app, Facebook integration and better multitasking, CNET reported. For developers, the new operating system is expected to offer more integration with Siri, Apple’s voice-based assistant program, which currently lacks the ability to launch apps or do things such as make social media updates.

As for Mountain Lion, the next version of Apple’s operating system for the Mac is expected to extend the mobile-like feel of Lion and add iOS features such as Notes, Reminders, Messages, Notifications and the Game Center. Other features Apple has announced include deeper Twitter integration, easier interfaces for sharing and the addition of AirPlay to the Mac.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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