Apple Unveils iOS 11, 10.5-Inch iPad Pro, HomePod Siri-Based Speakers at WWDC 2017: Event Highlights
The annual Apple developer conference, WWDC 2017, has kicked off with CEO Tim Cook on the stage. iOS 11 took the limelight, but there were also other updates such as macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11. Along with this were upgrades to the iPad Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMacs, and a new iMac Pro as well as the new Siri-based HomePod speaker. The updates will be rolled out in the fall, expectedly around September, while the MacBooks start shipping tomorrow; the iMac Pro will start shipping in December.
iOS 11 brings a number of new features, such as deep learning, translation, and a new visual interface for Siri; the digital assistant will also be accessible on more third-party devices using Siri Kit. The new iPhone software update will bring HEVC for video recording that provide better quality videos at lesser size, and photos will be better and lighter too via HEIF. The Control Centre will also get new look with iOS 11. With the new update, Apple Pay gets person-to-person (P2P) payment option, Apple Maps will get lane mapping, and more features.
The App Store is getting a design overhaul as well, and will get separate tabs named Today, Games, and Apps; there will also be App of the Day, Game of the Day, and List of the Day with the new App Store. Augmented Reality (AR) is coming full force to iPhones as well with AR Kit for iOS 11 as well.
iPad Pro got a new 10.5-inch variant that is 20 percent larger, and is powered by a 6-core CPU and 12-core GPU that makes it 30 percent faster than the A9X processor. The device weighs 1 pound, and offers max display refresh rate of 120Hz, double that of the predecessor. iPad Pro now starts at base storage of 64GB for $649, and goes up to 849 for the 512GB variant. The new iPad models come with fast-charging and fast USB 3 transfers, and will come with 10 hour battery life. As for the software, it will come with a new Files app, new productivity features, drag-and-drop, and searchable handwritten (with Apple Pencil) notes, among others.
Apple has launched the HomePod smart speaker that integrates Siri and uses spatial awareness to deliver high-quality audio to wherever the users are seated in the room. The compact wireless speaker is 7-inch in height, and features 4-inch woofer, 7 beam-forming tweeters, and 6 microphones, all covered in a 3D mesh fabric.
The $349 speaker comes in soace gray and white colour options, and will be available in the US, UK, and Australia in December, It will be integrated with users’ Apple Music account to play music from it, and the Siri integration allows it to understand queries posed by the users. It will be able to interact with other HomeKit devices such as lights, thermostat, and read aloud the news, weather, sports, and set reminders, among other functions.
macOS High Sierra
Next up was macOS High Sierra, the update to last year’s macOS Sierra for desktops. The new macOS version comes with faster Safari browser that support autoplay blocking, Intelligent Tracking Prevention that uses machine learning to make your browsing history more private, better photo editing and organisation features, new file system, and improved video compression. The macOS High Sierra public beta will start in June, and free upgrade for all supported devices will begin in the fall.
MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro
The MacBook is getting the new Kaby Lake processor (up to 1.3GHz Core i7, with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz), up to 50 percent faster SSD, and support for up to twice the RAM. The 13-inch MacBook Pro will also receive the Kaby Lake upgrade (3.5GHz Core i7, with Turbo Boost up to 4GHz), while the 15-inch model goes up to 3.1GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz; the latter now comes with more powerful graphics with more video memory.
Apple has also launched the all-new iMac Pro with 27-inch Retina 4K display, up to 18-core Xeon processor, up to 128GB RAM, up to 22-teraflops of graphics computation, and up to 4TB SSD. The base variant of iMac Pro will launch in December at starting price of $4,999.