Yesterday at Apple’s annual WWDC conference, CEO Tim Cook, accompanied by other Apple higher-ups, announced the latest major updates to both hardware and software. Announcements included updates to iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS, as well as the new iPad Pro and HomePod. Here’s a roundup of seven products we’re most excited about.
The watchOS4 was the first thing addressed during the keynote yesterday. The most notable improvements to the watch are new Siri clock faces and improvements to the workout app. The clock faces are now designed to display more helpful information based on the time of day and the user’s location. Apple has also added Toy Story themed watch face visuals including Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear. In addition, the workout app has a redesigned menu that allows the user to control their music without leaving the app.
Addressed next during the keynote, in Tim Cook’s words, is the “product that, in many ways, is the heart and soul of Apple,” the Mac. With this, they introduced macOS High Sierra, a perfected version of the previous macOS Sierra. Not only does High Sierra allow Safari to run up to 80 percent faster, there is also now a feature within Safari that gets rid of product-focused advertisements by introducing Intelligent Tracking Prevention. The operating system will also include Apple’s new file system, APFS, which is quicker and can potentially free up space on the user’s computer. However, the most improvements were made in photos. There’s a new filtering system designed to make finding specific photos and videos easier, as well as a plethora of new editing tools.
The iMac line will be getting significant upgrades graphics cards. The graphics are so advanced that they can now power various VR headsets like the HTC Vive with the ability to display 5.5 teraflops. There will also be a memory capacity boost twice as much as the previous generations, as the 21.5 inch can store 32GB and the 27 inch can store up to 64GB. There are also faster storage options with Fusion Drive on all 27-inch macs and SSDs up to 50 percent faster.
However, the most exciting news came when there was a sneak peak of an high end iMac called the iMac Pro. As Apple put it, the computer features “the most staggeringly powerful collection of workstation-class graphics, processors, storage, memory and I/O of any Mac ever.”
Some improvements to the MacBook and MacBook Pro are coming. Apple announced they’re moving to the 7th generation Intel Core processor “Kaby Lake” in their notebooks. The 15-inch standard Pro will receive faster standard graphics, the 13-inch MacBook Pro will go from $1499 to $1299 and the MacBook Air will see an improvement with a bump in megahertz. They are all shipping right now.
5. iOS 11
Cook himself took time during the keynote to introduce iOS 11. A lot of ground was covered regarding the new operating system. The first new feature discussed was the redesigned app drawer within iMessages. The app will also now sync directly with iCloud in order to access messages automatically from all devices. In addition, Apple Pay will see improvements—by the end of the year it will be available in 50 percent of retailers in the U.S. as well as in other apps. The big announcement regarding Apple Pay, though, was person to person payments. And since Apple Pay is accessible from apps iMessages, money can be transferred from person to person through text. Siri is also seeing significant upgrades. Siri’s voice will now sound more natural, and can now translate certain languages. Perhaps most notably, Siri will now get to know its users and use what it learns to suggest content.
The Control Center and the App Store have both been redesigned to provide more control and accessibility to users. This is the first update to App Store since its beginning nine years ago. ARKit was also announced, which allows developers to offer high-end augmented reality built to be supported by the hardware in iPhones and iPads.
Previously only offered in a 9.7-inch version or a 13-inch version, there is now a 10.5-inch retina display iPad Pro. It still only weighs one pound making it easy to carry around. The biggest new feature is ProMotion, which allows the new iPad Pro to double the maximum refresh rate per minute from 60Hz to 120Hz. All motion content will be smoother and more seamless, for example, while scrolling or when using an iPencil. Performance will also be upgraded by using an A10X six-core CPU and a 12-core GPU. The new iPad also supports USB 3 allowing for faster USB transfer and charging. A new 12.9-inch iPad was also introduced featuring all of the same features. Both sizes will have 64GB of storage, double what it previously was.
HomePod is a home music set up that combine wireless listening, amazing sound quality and a smart speaker. The speaker is spatially aware in order to make the music sound great and has a “musicologist” to provide music catered to the listener. The 7-inch tall speaker has “seven tweeters with precision acoustic horns for directional audio, along with a 4in upward-facing subwoofer for bass-free distortion,” according to macworld. The speaker can also answer questions from users and send messages.