Apple's Developer Conference: Boring, Beautiful

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) surprised only the terminally inattentive with the new products it unleashed at yesterday's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Some of the more notable news:

  • "The fastest iPhone yet." The new iPhone is called the 3G "S" and is said to be twice as fast as the current 3G model, which means my first-generation phone is now officially a dinosaur. Enhanced battery life and the 3.0 edition of the iPhone operating system highlight the feature list. The now senior 8GB iPhone 3G was immediately reduced in price to $99.
  • New MacBook models. Lower prices, longer battery life. (Noticing a theme here?) In particular, the 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,199 and is loaded with a 160GB drive and 2GB of RAM. 
  • Snow Leopard on the prowl. Possibly the only surprise of the day was the news that Snow Leopard, due in September, will be available as a $29 upgrade for those using the current edition of the Mac OS. Less interesting, but perhaps more important: Apple's engineers have stripped as much as 6GB from the OS, freeing hard drive space. A server version of Snow Leopard will also be available.
  • Safari hunts faster. The latest salvo in the browser wars on the Mac, Safari 4 is "the world's fastest browser," says Apple.

The biggest news here is how Apple is using the new iPhone to attack smartphone rivals Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , and most of all, Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) , whose Pre is now available at stores and directly from Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) . There's much to like about the latest model. The name (e.g., 3G S) isn't one of them -- it sounds too much like the old Mac LC. But if Apple can deliver on promises of better battery life, and if new applications make use of faster search and the phone's new cut, copy, and paste features, this handset should do well enough.

In computers, Apple is zigging as others zag. Take the 13-inch MacBook Pro. With so much horsepower -- and a $1,000+ price tag -- no one will confuse this laptop with a netbook from Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) or Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) .

WWDC was what everyone thought it would be: perfectly predictable, no One More Thing, no oohs and aahs from the assembled throng. Apple merely delivered as we expected it to.

As investors, isn't that exactly what we need right now?

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Nokia at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is calling. Can you pick up?


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2009, at 6:00 PM, Aryabod wrote:

    You can't compare the old iPhone with the Pre, so now you choose to use a future upgraded iPhone with the Pre. Apple knows very well that the Pre is a far superior phone to its iPhone, hence it had to lower its price. We all know that the real price is what you end up paying ATT for a two year contract, which is substantially more than what you pay Sprint to use the Pre. Nevertheless, the iPhone upgrade still lacks multitasking and a qwerty keyboard and the improvements to be made does little to enhance the phone for most users. IMHO the WWDC did little to militate the iPhone's future. All I was able to extract from this conference was a load of spin. Nevertheless I left feeling that Palm had truly toppled the iPhone and it will take Apple a much longer time to emulate the Pre. If anyone was a winner from this WWDC it was Palm.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2009, at 4:14 PM, catoismymotor wrote:

    Apple Shareholders: "What is best in life?"

    Steve Jobs: "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."

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