Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off in San Jose, CA. with a product keynote and unveiled new versions iPad, iOS, MacBook, and macOS.
Here are some highlights of those.
1. iPad Pro
The iPad Pro will now be available in three different sizes, with a new 10.5-inch model introduced today. There’s a 12-megapixel camera, just like the iPhone 7, with a 7 MP selfie cam. It supports USB 3.0 and has 10 hours of battery life.
There’s a new feature called ProMotion which reduces the Apple Pencil’s latency to 20 milliseconds. It can automatically adjust the refresh rate based on what you’re watching (fast-moving video versus still image). ProMotion also doubles the refresh rate to up to 120 Hz.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro will be available starting with a 64 GB configuration at $649; it’s available to order now and shipping next week.
2. iOS 11
On the iPad, iOS 11 improves multitasking that lets users pull up an app from the dock and drag it onto the screen to split the screen. Similar to what you can do on a MacBook, you can use touch to hold and drag folders, files, or photos and drop them in a different app such as Mail or iMessage. Handwritten text from an Apple Pencil will also be searchable from the Notes app. Apple claims it uses “deep learning” to recognize penmanship.
Apple also talked briefly about the Files app that leaked a few hours before the keynote kicked off, which is just a management system that you can use to sort files by size and date, similar to how you’d go through your files on a desktop or laptop.
3. iMac and iMac Pro
Apple’s introducing updated iMac desktops with improved Retina displays, graphics boosts, Kaby Lake processors, and USB-C. They will also support graphics for VR content creation. During the keynote, Apple demoed this by showing off a VR game featuring Darth Vader, a lightsaber, and TIE fighter.
There’s a new iMac Pro as well, with a 5K display with improved cooling capacity, and 8-core Xeon processor ( upgradeable up to 18-core,) up to 4 TB of SSD, up to 128 GB of ECC memory, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and built-in 10 GB Ethernet.
The new iMac starts at $1,099 for the 21.5-inch model and $1,299 for the 4K model. The iMac Pro starts at $4,999, and ships in December.
4. MacBook Pro and MacBook
The MacBooks are getting 7th generation Intel “Kaby Lake” processors in place of the 6th generation Skylake chips found in the previous models. The new MacBooks are faster across the board, with new top turbo speed of 4.1 GHz for the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is 300 MHz faster than last year’s model. The top-line Pro models also get more robust graphics, topping out with a 4 GB AMD Radeon Pro 560 for the 15-inch model.
The MacBooks are otherwise pretty much unchanged from their predecessors. Same enclosures, same keyboards, same ports, same trackpads, same screens and same battery life.
The new MacBook starts at $1,299 and MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 and $1,799 (with Touch Bar) for the 13-inch model, $2,399 for the 15-inch model(with Touch Bar).
5. macOS High Sierra
The upcoming version of macOS will be called High Sierra, and it comes with updates to Safari that help block site trackers and autoplaying videos. Apple’s also added new photo-editing tools like curves (helpful for those who don’t have Adobe Photoshop), and it has better filtering tools to sort images by keywords or faces.
An updated file management system will be a part of the update as well, which speeds up directory cloning with native encryption. On the graphics end, there’s a second version of Metal, support for VR, and a Metal 2 developer kit that you can order with an AMD GPU to tune apps for external graphics.
6. watchOS 4
An update for the Apple Watch is coming which introduces new faces that display different types of information, such as Siri reminders or more visual ones that feature Toy Story characters a la Mickey Mouse. There’s also a fitness-focused update, which includes monthly challenges to encourage the wearer to get more active and NFC-enabled data sharing where the user can tap their Apple Watch on gym equipment to pair the two, sharing the most accurate calorie burn and activity information.
There’s also a new Music app to make finding and playing music via the Apple Watch more visual — you can now use a new dock layout to scroll through recently opened apps.
So let’s get the Siri speaker rumors out of the way: it turns out Apple wasn’t quite aiming its smart speaker to go against just Amazon Echo and Google Home, but also the Sonos home entertainment speakers. Called the HomePod, it uses spacial awareness to tune and better fill the room with sound based on the space it’s in. It also has a “Musicologist” feature that works with Apple Music to stream the music you ask the speaker’s built-in Siri to play. You can even ask more complex, music-related questions like “Who’s the drummer in this song?” or “What album came out on this day 20 years ago?”
The HomePod will be available in two colors — black or white — and will integrate Siri in an Amazon Echo / Google Home-like use case. You can ask it to control smart home devices and check the day’s weather and news briefings. Apple priced the HomePod at $349, with plans to ship it in December first to customers in the US, UK, and Australia. It will enter more international markets next year.
8. App Store
Apple’s app store is getting a makeover. The App Store got redesigned.When people now access the redesigned app store, they will be shown a daily update of what’s new on the app store under a new tab called “Today.” Every day, Apple will showcase a game or app that its staff recommends in an article that resembles a traditional news feature created by a media outlet.
Additionally, people will be able to see a list of the day’s updates to various games and apps so they can more quickly buy or download new features as soon as they are released. And Apple will distribute its own editorial content throughout the new App Store, like instructional articles that aim to teach people how to use various apps that they can download from the online store.
Apple also created a dedicated “Games” tab that lets people see Apple’s top recommended video games or choose to see a list of specific gaming genres like role-playing games. Each video game has its own download page where people can watch highlight videos and read user reviews.
For more updates of Apple WWDC 2017, click here.