Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote featured more than two hours of non-stop announcements and product unveilings, resulting in the most eventful and jam-packed WWDC.
The biggest announcement of WWDC this year is Apple’s long-rumored smart speaker, officially dubbed the ‘HomePod’
Apple is positioning HomePod as a speaker first, with Home Assistant features as the added bonus. Through voice commands, the HomePod looks to be able to general question answering, calendar adjustment, and timer setting just like a Google Home or regular old Siri can. The details of how far it can go are still fuzzy for the time being.
The HomePod comes in white and grey and starts shipping this December for $350.
macOS High Sierra
The newest version of macOS, dubbed High Sierra, is what Apple is billing as a refined version of regular old Sierra, which came before. The new version of Safari included in High Sierra can automatically block auto-playing video and will also use machine learning in an attempt to minimize the amount of ad-tracking information shared between sites. The Photos app in High Sierra also packs a few new tricks, including machine-learning-powered facial recognition.
High Sierra will also introduce a new, default file system. It’s an under the hood tweak, but one that Apple promises will be able to speed up processes like moving or duplicating files even with the same computing horsepower.
High Sierra will be out as a free update this fall.
The newest line of iMacs come with the latest Intel Kaby Lake chips which will give them a boost in both compute power and graphics capability. They also come with Thunderbolt-capable USB Type-C ports, which brings us one step closer to using the same type of cable for pretty much anything. Though Apple’s iPhones still use the proprietary Lightning Port.
Apple also teased a new “iMac Pro” that will release in December with up to an 18-core Xeon Processor, AMD’s new Radeon Vega graphics and up to 16GBs of video RAM.
In iOS 11, Apple Pay will be able let you send or receive money to and from people, effectively putting a built-in version of Venmo right inside iOS. So long as the people you hang with are all on iPhones.
Siri is also getting some updates. Thanks to machine learning, she’ll now have a more natural-sounding voice with more options for emphasis than before. Siri will also be able to give you translation if you ask her how to say something in say, Chinese, although this will only be a beta feature in iOS 11.
iOS 11 also includes a suite of features aimed mostly at iPad Pro users. The new “Files” app functions basically as a traditional computer file system for the iPad Pro, but also includes files from third-party cloud storage services like Dropbox.
New iPad Pro
There’s a new version of the smaller iPad Pro, with its screen scaled up to 10.5 inches from 9.7 thanks in large part to some shrinking down around the bezels. This modest bump in size is just enough for the new iPad Pro to be able to have a full-size on-screen keyboard and use a full-size keyboard cover. Apple also doubled the refresh rate of the screen on the iPad Pro, effectively increasing the speed at which the screen can update itself.