Apple WWDC keynote: 5 highlights for music makers

Apple's keynote at the WWDC didn't throw up any huge surprises - and, sadly, we didn't get the long-rumoured Logic 9 - but despite the lack of a 'wow' moment, there were some good bits of news for those who make music with the company's products.

The new version of the iPhone grabbed the headlines, but changes are afoot in the MacBook range, and release dates for updated iPhone and Mac operating systems were also announced. Read on to find out why musicians should be interested.

Apple iphone 3gs

Apple iphone 3gs

1. The faster iPhone 3G S

It's not quite the major update that some were predicting, but the S-type (it stands for speed) iPhone certainly improves on the standard model. Apple claims that it's up to twice as fast as the 3G, which should mean that existing music-making apps run better than before and that developers will be able to produce superior ones in the future.

As well as the extra grunt, the iPhone 3G S also benefits from a longer battery life, a 3 megapixel autofocus camera, video recording and hands-free voice control.

It'll be available on 19 June in 16GB and 32GB varieties. These will cost $199 and $299 (UK pricing to be confirmed).

iPhone 3g

iPhone 3g

2. A cheaper iPhone 3G

With the launch of the iPhone 3G S, Apple has taken the opportunity to drop the price of the 3G - you'll now pay $99 for the 8GB model. As such, there's now a more affordable route into iPhone music-making, though you'll still have to pay your monthly bills on top of that, obviously.

iPhone os 3 0

iPhone os 3.0

3. iPhone OS 3.O is coming

The new version of the iPhone's operating system will be available on 17 June via iTunes 8.2, and it'll be free to all existing owners. iPod touch users will be able to get their hands on it, too, but unfortunately, they'll have to pay $9.95 for it.

13 inch macbook pro

13-inch macbook pro

4. FireWire is back on the aluminium MacBook

Apple's 13-inch aluminium MacBook has now been incorporated into the MacBook Pro line and gets a built-in battery (as do the 15- and 17-inch models) and - a big bonus for musicians, this - a FireWire 800 port. It seems that Apple has listened to its customers on this one, so fair play.

Prices for the 13-inch model start at $1,199/£899 - this gets you a 2.26GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. The white MacBook remains on sale, too, offering a 2.13GHz processor, 2GB RAM and a 160GB hard drive for $999/£749.

Snow leopard

Snow leopard

5. Snow Leopard in September

Mac OS X 10.6 - AKA Snow Leopard - will ship in September, offering a raft of improvements. Impressively, this is said to be half the size of Leopard, so frees up 6GB of hard drive space once installed. This is great news for musicians - particularly those who are working on a laptop with a relatively low-capacity drive and need every gigabyte that they can lay their hands on.

Perhaps the best news of all, though, concerns the price: existing Mac users will be able to upgrade for $29.