It has finally happened, a 2 hour long presentation started and completed by CEO Tim Cook. It was an extremely important day that will certainly set the foundation for hopefully an excellent year from Apple in it’s first public press conference of the year. Apple started perhaps it’s best WWDC in recent years with an inspired video showing us the dependence we have on great technology around us, then fully showing throughout the keynote how they will help propel us into the future with new technology to help make our lives easier, more productive and efficient.
Cook noted in the opening that there were 6 very important things that they wanted to share with us this year. They are:
We finally have Amazon Prime Video! It seems that whoever was holding this deal up finally let it go through. Note, there were no talks of 4K Apple TV models, additional controllers or a redesign of it’s terrible remote (gasp).
watchOS 4 will be released later this year, with new watchfaces from Toy Story, personalized Siri watchfaces, an enhanced workout app (Apple’s workout app, is phenomenal). Additionally, Apple Watch enabled gym equipment will be rolling out that will sync data between watch and the equipment via NFC. Finally, what has long been rumored to come to watch is Continuous Glucose monitoring from Dexcom — it is here.
The latest version macOS High Sierra is all about “deep technologies” that will help propel the OS into the future including refinements to Safari with “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” so that your data isn’t constantly seeping into this information blackhole we know as the web. Updates to Mail, which takes up 35% less space, including a great split view for easier composition. Photos includes updates that allows you to name subjects of found in your photos, which syncs securely across all of your Apple devices. Additionally, Apple is doubling down on VR with full support for external GPUs with a developer kit that can be bought directly from the company.
However, all of mac updates couldn’t end on the software level, right? There is a refresh afoot with updated iMac all sporting new 7th-generation Intel Core “Kaby Lake” processors and top of the line displays. Additionally, the nrefreshed models will have new memory configurations with up to 32GB on the 21.5″ and 64GB on the 27″ models respectively, Apple’s super-fast Fusion drive on 27″ models and all iMac receiving 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Lastly for macOS updates…. iMac Pro — that’s right. This is simply the most powerful Mac ever built (isn’t it always) ;however, in all seriousness, this machine is an absolute monster, starting at $4999 — it is worth it and availabile in December 2017. The machine can be maxed out with an 18-core Intel Xeon chip, Radeon Vega graphics and up to 128GB ECC memory.
iOS 11 will be arriving this fall with a vengeance. This update is poised to answer questions, increase functionality and push the envelope even further for your devices. iMessage in iCloud will allow secure syncing off your messages between all of your Apple hardware. Apple Pay will now support person-to-person payments, something long rumoured — this functionality will live inside of the iMessage app. Changes to Control Center are also afoot, say goodbye to the two page configuration with a new fully customizable Control Center that you access by swiping up from the bottom of the screen like we do today.
Let’s talk about productivity on iPad Pro — this is the most monumental update that iOS has seen and most of the updates reside on the iPad Pro starting with a dock that is similar to macOS, which recognizes apps you use often and brings those into view as well. True drag and drop between applications that has been added, which means that apps will truly be able to interact with each other besides the usual share sheets that are presented to users.
The changes to the OS is exactly what pro users have been clamoring for for years. We’ve seen Android tablets try to make a dent, the Surface from Microsoft does an excellent job; however, it is still laptop first — this is the first instance that we’ve seen a touch first operating system truly because capable of professional grade work. iPad Pro has been taking steps in the right direction here and it is safe to say with iOS 11 — the dream has finally been realized.
Alexa, Google Home — these have been around; however, Apple had to create a speaker of it’s own for the Apple faithful, it is HomePod (it’s a terrible name, let’s just be honest). Touted as being a revolutionary speaker that is encapsulated in the description: “Immersive hi-fi audio. All the music you love. And the intelligence of Siri.” The key here is that Siri has to improve, Apple is touting lots of hardware enabled AI — so fingers crossed for improved Siri, which will greatly enhance this product.
The speaker is music focused with a seven tweeter array and a 4″ subwoofer that is spatially aware so that you get the best sound possible. Siri is also incorporated into the device allowing you to ask questions and more. Additionally, HomeKit enabled devices will be able to be controlled from the device as well from the comfort of your couch.
HomePod, in depth.
Available December 2017 for $249.
My top video synopsis picks follow:
Source: Marques Brownlee (MKBHD)
Source: The Verge
Source: Dave Lee
Source: Krystal Key
Apple’s strategy of creating the entry level device (eg. MacBook, iPad) then creating the more prosumer to professional grade device with enhanced feature-sets (eg. MacBook Pro, iMac Pro and iPad Pro) is showcasing the future of Apple here and giving consumers two clear paths that they can take based upon need.
iOS 11 and iPad are the winners of WWDC 2017.