iOS 11, HomePod, and everything else you need to know
June means one thing in the tech world: Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is here. Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the WWDC 2017 keynote speech earlier today in San Jose, California. From the highly anticipated Siri speaker to the new iOS, Cook gave Apple superfans a lot to look forward to in the months to come.
WWDC welcomed developers and attendees from 75 countries around the world in it’s biggest conference yet. Tim Cook and company had six major umbrella announcements to share.
If you couldn’t watch the keynote live or keep up with the live blog, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you missed from day one at WWDC.
Among the most highly anticipated updates from WWDC 2017 was iOS 11. And Apple didn’t let us down. As was speculated, Apple finally decided to bring drag and drop into our iOS lives. In old the days, users had to copy and paste everything between apps. Now, you can simply drag the items you want to come into another app when in Split View.
iOS 11 is also packed with changes to Siri. Siri now uses deep learning to offer more natural male and female voices. There is new visual, Siri can understand your context better, and you speak to the device to be translated into other languages. And anything that Siri learns about you on one device will go on every device.
Some more updates are a unified lock screen and notifications center, a redesigned control center, and and updates to Messages. Finally, Apple Pay will allow you to pay friends and family, much like Venmo. Maps gets indoor maps of malls and airports as well as lane guidance for navigation.
Apple enthusiasts have been wanting their own speaker for quite some time now. At WWDC on Monday, Tim Cook and company introduced just that. The HomePod is essentially Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo, only it’s designed with an emphasis on music. That means HomePod is bigger since it needs to house a four-inch woofer in addition to seven tweeters. Siri is of course built-in so users can interact via voice and it has the new job of “musicologist,” responding to natural-language commands about music (“Play something mellow,” et al.). HomePod will also do common tasks like alarms, timers, conversions, and some web-search queries, and it also works with HomeKit devices.
App Store redesign
The App Store is getting a makeover. First of all, Apple gave the store a completely new design, something that has never been done before. It starts with a brand new tab called Today. This will show the app of the day and game of the day on a daily list. Users can also scroll down to see what they may have missed in previous days.
Games also have their own space. The biggest new releases, what people are playing that week, and tips from game editors will all be available in the Games tab.
When a developer submits and app to Apple, it’ll get reviewed faster than ever before — within 24 hours of being submitted, if not sooner. App listings will also get improved, media-rich cards to help users get the most information on each app they may want to download.
MacBook and MacBook Pro refresh
Apple gave both the ultra-thin MacBook and the MacBook Pro a small but relevant refresh, giving both lines the latest Intel Core chips, the 7th-gen Kaby Lake. Battery life and weight are the same, but the pricing for the 13-inch MacBook Pro (with no Touch Bar) gets its price reduced to $1,299.
On brand with Apple’s environmental friendliness, the new MacBook is free of harmful components and is easily recyclable.
Apple surprised everyone with a new iMac model called the iMac Pro, said to be the most powerful iMac yet. The display will be 43 percent brighter and can now support up to a billion colors, making it more true to real life than ever before. The desktop features monstrous processing power — a Xeon processor with up to 18 cores and discrete Radeon Vega graphics.
The new iMac Pro will have twice the memory of the standard 27-inch iMac, built-in 10Gigabit Ethernet, and a dual fan to better air flow and cooling. It will be available in December starting at $4,999. If you want a beast for editing VR footage, this is your baby.
Apple Music revamp
Apple Music, which now stands at 27 million users, introduced the new “Friends are Listening To” feature, which can be set to public or private to let you see what your friends are into these days. Along with that, Apple announced MusicKit so developers can better integrate Apple Music as a service in other apps.
MacOS High Sierra
Among other updates, photo faces, tags and likes will now be automatically synced across devices. There will also be new editing tools and the ability to create photo books with third parties right from Photos.
The Apple Watch just got a major bump. The first thing announced was new watch faces. With watchOS 4, Siri uses machine learning to show you what you need to know (like what’s coming up on your calendar and when the sun will set that day). You can also choose the Kaleidoscope face or one of the new Disney-inspired faces, which live play whenever the face is raised.
Perhaps the newest update with watchOS is the healthy initiative. The watch gives you monthly challenges based on your past experience and use, visual celebrations for milestones reached, and inspiration with updates on how close you are to goals.
Apple also added a pool swim workout with auto sets and the ability to track multiple workouts in a row by swiping over to the current workout. You can also now track indoor workouts at the gym by exchanging data in real time between equipment and your watch. Even better, you can pick a playlist that automatically starts when you begin your workout and control the music right away by swiping left. More updates, like the blinking flashlight for night runs, continuous monitoring of paired glucose sensors, and calorie-burning data will be available with a free upgrade this fall.
The Apple TV app got a small but very relevant update at WWDC on Monday. Apple TV users will finally get a dedicated app for Amazon video, including Prime. Apple promised more Apple TV updates later in the year.
AirPlay 2 is the next generation of Apple’s AirPlay wireless streaming tech, and it now supports audio in multiple rooms as well as HomeKit devices. It can be used for Apple TV, Siri and music playlists (which can be accessed by multiple people without interrupting sound flow).
Apple finally planted its flat in the world of augmented reality. Apple says its ARKit is the largest AR platform in the world. ARKit includes scale estimation, motion tracking, ambient light estimation, and support for Unity, Unreal and SceneKit virtual environment development tools. It will be available this fall with the new iOS 11.
CarPlay and Do Not Disturb While Driving
If you’re in a moving car, your iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 will automatically go into Do Not Disturb While Driving mode. This will mute all notifications and send your contacts a message letting them know you will get back to them when you reach your destination. Passengers can, of course, simply declare that they’re not driving to get access to their phones.
The update to Photos will give you better image quality, improved low light performance, and depth API. Users can now capture a frame in a live photo to make it the key photo, instead of the one that was originally captured. You can also enjoy photos in the memories app, which uses machine learning to identify sporting events, weddings, and babies. You can use computer vision to create a seamless loop of a photo or add a bounce. Finally, you can now select long exposure to get more movement and effects on your photos, among other updates.
The new iPad Pro still weighs just a pound, but has some serious new updates. It’s supposedly the perfect size for a full-size on-screen keyboard and full-size smart keyboard as well. The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro’s got a 20% larger screen than the 9.7-inch iPad, but its overall dimensions aren’t significantly bigger than the 9.7-inch iPad thanks to 40% slimmer bezels. The display’s not quite edge-to-edge as rumored for the iPhone 8, but it’s still nice to see the bezels get shrunken down. It supports 30 languages and boasts the first Japanese keyboard. It comes with an Apple pencil, uses ProMotion, a new photo-editing app, and so much more.
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