Yesterday Apple hosted their annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), showcasing their updated hardware and software. Here’s the what you need to know.
For those who already own Apple products their software showcase is sure to breathe new life into your devices. 2017’s WWDC showed off the successors to Apple’s current software suite unveiled in the form of iOS 11, watchOS 4 and macOS High Sierra. These updates offer hundreds of refinements, enhanced continuity across the three platforms and, finally, an update to Siri.
As is usually the case, however, the most exciting announcements came from the hardware side. The new 10.5 inch iPad Pro was unveiled, as well as updates to the MacBook and iMac lines, an Alexa challenger in the HomePod and a brand-new iMac Pro – the heir to the brilliant but never updated, trash can Mac Pro. The 2017 WWDC had something for everyone, here are the highlights.
iPad Pro: Perhaps taking cues from the Samsung Galaxy S8, Apple has beefed up the default display size of the iPad from 9.7 inches to 10.5 by slimming down the bevels and pushing the display right to the edges. The display itself has an ultra-crisp 2224×1668 resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth responsiveness in any application and should be usable outdoors with its 600-nit brightness. Internally it has Apple’s new A10X fusion chip, a battery capable of 10-hours use and up to 512GB of storage. More than ever Apple has positioned the iPad Pro to compete with the laptop market. The base model starts at $979.
Macbook Pro: The biggest upgrade to the MacBook line was the introduction of Intel’s new 7th generation processors, offering more speed with less of a dent in battery life, plus faster flash storage. There was no upgrade to the MacBook Air, indicating that the non-touchbar model of the MacBook pro is its successor.
iMac: The iMac also receives an upgrade to its processors and internal storage, while also getting bump in its graphics performance with an update to the Radeon Pro 500 series graphics cards. A very welcome addition for professional video editors working with 4K. It also sees the addition of two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the back for added expansion or use of ultra fast external storage for editing those 4K clips without latency.
iMac Pro: Easily the most enticing new addition to Apple’s product line is the stealthy, all black iMac Pro. Inside the new iMac can be configured with 8, 10 or 18-core Xeon processors, up to 128GB of RAM, AMD’s Radeon Pro Vega graphics and up to 4TB of SSD storage. All of this is overkill for anything but the highest-end professional use, but at least it shows Apple still cares about the pro market. The iMac Pro is expected to be available in December and will reportedly start at US$5000.
HomePod: FINALLY Apple have put their own smart speaker on the market with the HomePod. The speaker has Siri built in and can control your HomeKit compatible devices throughout your house. Siri can perform all of its usual functions such as checking the weather or adding events to your calendar from the speaker, however, it’s still not as advanced as Alexa who can order you an Uber or takeout food. Through future updates and with enough early adopters this support might be added. The speaker will be available in December.
Software: Apple watches will get an update to their software that includes improved Siri integration, an enhanced trainer tailored to the user, better synchronization of Apple Music and several new watch faces. iOS 11 introduces hundreds of refinements with a large emphasis placed on productivity. There’s better support for multitasking, file management and further integration of 3D touch.
The biggest news though is the upgrade to Siri which will hopefully bring it on par with Google Assistant and Alexa. MacOS High Sierra brings with it better support for graphics cards as well as the ability to develop virtual reality experiences for the first time. The file system that has been in use since the early days of the Mac will also get an update to take advantage of the faster speeds offered by flash storage.
Aside from the yearly press conference to announce the new iPhone, WWDC is Apple’s chance to show why they are a world leader in technology. With a perfect mix of products for enthusiasts, professionals, students and existing owners 2017’s WWDC didn’t disappoint.
You can see the full list of updates from the WWDC here.