Apple’s WWDC 2017 was one of those events that will take some time to sink in. There were so many new announcements though CEO Tim Cook tried to sum them up into six broad categories. As with Apple events in the recent past, most of the speculations did come true in the end, even the one around a smart speaker.
However, the most important takeaway seems to be how Apple has taken a deep dive into machine learning and augmented reality. While Cupertino has opened up its ML and ARKits for developers, the two cutting edge technologies have been fully integrated into the new iOS 11, which will be available for developers from today.
The interesting bit here is how native Apple’s version of machine learning is in the new operating system. As iOS 11 learns more about you, it will end up throwing a lot more suggestions which were not there earlier, and maybe even doing some work for users in the background.
How users take it, might be what we need to see in the coming days given that at least some of them might consider Apple Pay popping up as soon as someone sends you a message asking for money. But right from photos to maps and messages, the operating system will keep learning about you and strive to customise and improvise. Technically, each user will have his/her own version of iOS 11 with a few weeks of switching over.
With augmented reality, Apple seems to have waited for a good reason. Its implementation of the virtual seems to be the best in mobile devices for now. If you were awed by Pokemon GO, then the games new version on iOS 11 will be much more natural and lifelike. It is not just with mobile devices that Apple is going virtual.
It is bringing some great experiences to MacBooks too. The VR experience on the MacBook can be powered by some external graphics and HTC’s Vive hardware is clearly among the best out there now, accentuated by the fact it’s all happening out of a MacBook at the end of the day.
This hunger for power and performance has set Apple apart from the competition over the years. And with the iPad Pro and insanely powerful iMac Pro, it is only becoming starker. Come to think of it, the iPad Pro might relatively be more powerful than Apple’s own MacBook range when you consider how smaller it is in comparison. But to see that a tablet can actually power high-end photo, video editing or usher in new augmented reality experiences that could change gaming forever, is great for computing as a whole.
Finally there was one last thing. It was not the Siri speaker as was being speculated, but the HomePod. Apple’s version of the smart speaker powered by Siri and the intelligence it has about your music listening behaviour. Apple knows it is not first to the game when it comes to smart speakers, so it is using the audio quality as the game changer.
The speaker will be intelligent also when it come to understanding, where it is placed and will play audio accordingly, and this will make it a superior, smarter experience for the listener. Apple has time till the end of the year to work on fine tuning the audio experience, given that the HomePod is not going on sale before December.
Disclaimer: The correspondent is attending Apple’s WWDC in San Jose at the invite of Apple India, which is paying for accommodation and travel.