For, Apple headed , dogged by damning comparisons with and over its lack of attention to mixed reality (VR and AR), Siri's absence from your smart home in comparison with smart home hubs like the and and other ways in which Apple seems to have fallen behind. Folks were eager to hear about Apple's plans to catch up in these leading-edge markets.
Even before the conference opening, we began to hear the numbers: iOS app developers(and given Apple's 30 percent cut, that means it made a not-so-paltry $6 billion) and downloads are growing at a nice pace. The company its , a teach-kids-to-code-Swift (its proprietary programming language) app, to support control over robots and drones.
The keynote began with a video showingif we didn't have our iOS apps and the safe and sane App Store.
And in a random announcement, we see a small step for Amazon, a huge leap for enhanced Apple AI technology. Later in the conference, .owners: . And of course, all the inteligence is driven by
Interestingly, Apple positioned its new home speaker as a music experience rather than just the rumored a smart-home hub, ostensibly to "reinvent home music." You can't get it until later in 2017, though. Dubbed the HomePod, it has better audio specs than other hub speakers -- pretty good audio specs in general for its size -- and an A8 chip for processing (the same chip that's in the iPhone). It uses a wide-array mic that supposedly can hear you over the music, and naturally integrates with Apple Music and can control HomeKit devices. It will ship in December for $350.
iOS 11 and apps
The latest update of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 11, has some notable new features:
- Interface: A redesigned app drawer with horizontal scrolling as well as a redesigned control center with more 3D Touch operations. The lockscreen can show all notifications,
- iMessages: Automatic message synchronization across devices via iCloud.
- Apple Pay: Now it supports person-to-person payments across all iOS devices and works with iMessages.
- : She's got a more natural-sounding voice and can translate for you and suggest tasks. Plus there's a new more visual interface. And she knows you across your devices. .
- Camera: New H.265 video encoding for more efficient storage and a new High Efficiency Image Format based on H.265 to replace JPEG. Threre's a new depth API (needed for AR). It will enable the faux defocus mode for portraits, too.
- Photos: Welcome editable Live Photos with GIF-like tools like looping and reversing, and a long-exposure effect. Memories now recognizes pets and supports vertical video.
- Apple Maps: Now with ! Also lane guidance and a mode that senses when a car is moving.
- AirPlay 2: Control multiroom speakers (with supported speakers), and Apple TV.
- Apple Music will show you your friends's suggested picks.
- with a games tab.
- And more, of course.
Though not a feature, Apple also launched an augmented-reality programming interface, better-looking Pokemon Go built using it., so that developers can incorporate AR into apps. It demoed a
MacBooks and iMacs
The 5K model gives you Radeon RX500 series options. That puts them on par with Windows 10 all-in-ones. The 21.5-inch starts at $1,100 and the 5K 27-inch starts at $1,800. A 4K 21.5 inch starts at $1,300.get better displays, better storage options, an improved display and 2 Thunderbolt/USB-C connectors. Also, an update to Intel 7th-generation and the new integrated graphics, plus the Retina 4K incorporates the discrete RX500 series and the
A new iMac Pro will ship by the end of the year, the company's most powerful Mac ever. It has better cooling than a typical iMac, it ships with up to an , , up to 128GB of ECC memory and up to 4TB of SSD storage. when it ships in December.
The MacBooks are refreshed with 7th-generation Intel chips and better graphics, and the 13-inch without Touchbar gets a price drop to $1,300. Thegets a brush-up.
iPad and iPad Pro
Apple adds anmodel with a , thanks to smaller bezels.
Both iPad Pros will get new displays, with True Tone, DCI-P3 gamut, 600-nit brightness and ultralow reflectivity. A new feature, Pro Motion, bumps the refresh rate to 120Hz. Latency drops to 20ms with the Apple Pencil. They're also faster, thanks to the 12-core GPU and six-core CPU Fusion A10X chip. A better camera with 4K and wide-gamut capture is another hardware highlight, along with USB-C fast charging. They both come with 64GB memory and start at $650 for the smaller and $800 for the larger model. They'll be available next week.
There are more iPad-specific features in iOS 11. Swipe up to bring up the dock to switch apps or bring one up and drag-and-drop anything. A newapp brings a more desktoplike file system operation that supports third-party storage providers. There's a special markup mode for use with the Pencil and it does handwriting recognition in Notes.
MacOS High Sierra
The MacOS desktop operating system didn't get a major update, as you can tell from the name, just some refinements. But a lot of the High Sierra refinements are performance-focused, which is always welcome.
The big enhancements:
- Safari: It "helps give you a serene browsing experience." Whut? But now it's faster, with autoplay blocking, intelligent tracking prevention to filter cross-site scripting and so on.
- Mail: Split view for the compose window, smaller storage footprint.
- Photos: New organization and editing tools, filter by keywords and file types, better face recognition, synchronization across devices. The editing tools can now synchronize with other editing tools. And there are new photo book partnerships.
- The file system: This has needed an update for a long time, and now the much more modern APFS is the default.
- Video: Support for hardware acceleration and a software encoder for H.265 video.
- Graphics: An update to its acceleration architecture, Metal 2, with a lot of performance increases. It also supports a new external enclosure for MacBooks, with Thunderbolt 3 and A Radeon RX 580. Metal 2 also adds hooks for VR.
Want MacOS High Sierra and iOS 11 sooner rather than later?.
New to, Apple's watch operating system:
- New faces: A new Siri watch face and a new complication for showing notifications, a Kaleidoscope face based on your image and faces with "Toy Story" characters.
- Fitness: Monthly challenges in the Activity tracker; a new interface and new high-intensity workout in the Workout app, two-way data exchange with gym equipment, and more.
- Music: It integrates better with Apple Music to feed your favorites to the watch.
- A vertically scrolling interface.
- Native Bluetooth to connect to sensors.
It was one of the most fast-moving, packed 2.5-hour WWDC keynotes I've seen in a while. I'm exhausted. See you in a year.
If you want more details about the keynote, read all about it in our live blog, or catch up with all our .
reading•HomePod, iOS 11, iMac Pro: All the news from Apple WWDC 2017
Aug 4•HomePod, Apple's $349 Siri-enabled speaker, hits in December
Jul 8•12 top iOS 11 features on iPhone and iPad
Jun 26•PSA: Don't install the iOS 11 beta on your primary device
Jun 20•How Apple leapt ahead of Google, Facebook and Microsoft on AR