Apple WWDC 2017 keynote has come to an end. At its annual developer conference in San Jose, the Cupertino-giant announced a slew of software updates as well as new hardware on Day 1. The company showcased its all-new HomePod – a Siri-powered home speaker that can be used to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather as well as control smart home devices. Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro which runs the A10X Fusion chip was also announced.
With iOS 11, Siri is now smarter, and understands contextual meanings. Powered by machine learning, iOS 11 can offer suggestions in iMessages after a user ends search on Safari. Apps are more intuitive, and Apple Pay has been integrated in to iMessage. Apple also unveiled WatchOS 4 along with MacOS High Sierra, and more. Let us take a look at the biggest announcements from day one of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference.
Apple HomePod speaker
After much hype, Apple finally took wraps off its Siri-powered home assistant – HomePod. The wireless speaker is designed to “reinvent music in the home” and comes with upward-facing woofer designed by Apple. It is powered by custom A8 chip, and features seven beam-forming tweeters, each with its own amplifier.
HomePod works with Apple Music and you can use Siri to wake this up. Siri is now more intelligent and learns from user’s music preferences. The voice-assistant can be used to do advanced searches in music library or create a shared Up Next queue. The speaker, which is 7 -inches tall, will be available starting in December. HomePod can also be synced with appliances, which work with Apple’s HomeKit. So yeah, just like Amazon Echo or Google Home let you control smart lighting in your house, the HomePod will let you do the same.
Apple HomePod will first be available in Australia, the UK and the US and the price is $349. Apple says it will expand this to other countries later.
Apple iOS 11
Apple iOS 11 now deeply integrates machine learning, and there’s focus on augmented reality as well. Siri has a more natural voice and can understand contextual meaning of queries. The voice-assistant can automatically surface recommendations based on user’s interests. Users will be able to search for queries in multiple languages.
iMessage for iOS 11 has been redesigned to include a host of apps. This gives users direct access to stickers, and more. Further, Apple Pay has been integrated in to iMessage, allowing users to make person to person transactions without leaving the message app. iMessage will remain synced with iCloud and any change that users make in iMessage will reflect across all their devices.
iOS 11 is one of the biggest software release for Apple given it will bring new augmented reality (AR) experience to iPhone and iPad. The Cupertino-technology giant introduced ARKit that allows developers to build detailed AR content for gaming, immersive shopping experiences and more.
iOS 11 brings with it a revamped control centre for iPhone, which now shows information in a single page. The lock screen and notifications centre have been integrated as well. Other features of iOS 11 include: new camera features including improvements for Portrait mode, a ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ mode in CarPlay, updated Apple Maps, and redesigned App Store that looks a lot like Apple Music.
Apple watchOS 4, tvOS
Apple’s watchOS 4 has been released for developers as well. The new operating system comes with three new watch faces – Siri-based, kaleidoscope, and Toy Story-themed. Siri-based watch face customises information displayed on the screen based on user’s calendar appointments, routines, behaviour, etc and is powered by machine learning. It updates information each time a user raises his wrist.
Apple Watch is getting new monthly challenges in the Activity app. A new GymKit feature will allow users to exchange workout statistics between gym equipment and an Apple Watch using NFC. This will allow users to keep a better tab on their workout regime.
Apple watchOS 4 supports person to person payments via Apple Pay within Messages or using Siri. There’s a new Music app, which is said to improve the AirPods experience. Users can sync multiple playlists, including those recommended by Apple Music. The updated Workout app can now detect auto-sets for pool swim workouts . There’s a new motion and heart rate algorithms for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts as well.
Apple also announced that tvOS will get the Amazon Prime Video app.
Apple macOS High Sierra
Apple showcased its latest version of desktop operating system called macOS High Sierra. It offers a new core storage, brings support for High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), update to Metal graphics, and other video and graphics technologies. Apple File System (APFS) now comes with support for enhanced performance, as well as security and reliability of data.
HEVC (H.265), on the other hand, lets users video stream and playback 4K video files at high quality. Apple says that Metal 2 is its fastest, and most efficient way to tap into GPU power on the Mac. It has a redesigned API along with an improved performance. It supports machine learning, speech recognition, natural language processing and computer vision.
macOS High Sierra users can now create VR content, allowing developers to create immersive gaming, 3D and VR content on the Mac. Interestingly it also announced that Valve will optimize their SteamVR platform for macOS, and Apple is also allowing enabling of HTC Vive headset on the platform. Finally Unity and Epic will bring their VR development tools to macOS.
Apple iPad Pro
Apple has launched a new 10.5-inch iPad, which comes with A10X Fusion chip and ProMotion technology for display. It will run iOS 11, which brings with it features like a new customisable Dock, multi-Touch Drag and Drop, and an improved multitasking experience. The device features a Retina display with ProMotion technology with anti-reflective coating, and True Tone feature. Apple 10.5-inch iPad Pro is comes with an all-day battery life.
Apple is bringing Apple Pay to iPad as well. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro features a 12MP primary camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), and a 7MP FaceTime HD camera. It comes with an embedded Apple SIM, and supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE Advanced. Additionally, Apple has updated its 12.9-inch iPad Pro to include A10X Fusion chip, and ProMotion technology.
Apple iMac Pro
Apple showcased its iMac Pro, which comes with a 27-inch Retina 5K display, up to 18-core Xeon processors and up to 22 Teraflops of graphics computation. Apple claimed the new iMac is the most powerful Mac ever made. It supports advanced graphics editing, real-time 3D rendering, and lets users create virtual reality content.
Apple iMac Pro has 16GB on-package high-bandwidth memory (HBM2). It also supports up to 4TB of SSD and up to 128GB of ECC memory. Connectivity options include four Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, the new Mac Pro, which is priced at $4999 will only start shipping December.
Apple iMacs, MacBook Pro and MacBook
Apple’s 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro have been updated to include Kaby Lake processor. Processor in the 13-inch MacBook Pro is clocked at 1.3 GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz. It supports up to 50 percent faster SSD. The 15-inch MacBook Pro gets 3.1 GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.1 GHz, and more video memory. Apple has also updated its 13-inch MacBook Air with a 1.8 GHz processor.
Apple’s updated iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are available to order.