7 things you might have missed at WWDC 2017

It’s fair to say that there’s been a lot of stuff that happened at WWDC 2017 - imagine trying to live blog it for 150 minutes straight.

However, our tired, aching fingers were your gain, with our launch catch-up documenting the entire thing for you.

But hang on a minute - nobody’s got time to scroll through that much prose, no matter how well-written and not at all insane it was. You need the nuggets, the juicy bits that the headlines might have missed but will be big for Apple in the coming years.

So if you’re looking for a one-stop shop of the things from WWDC you should know about that will impress your less-informed friends, you’ve come to the right place as we’ve got seven of ‘em.

1. Augmented reality

The iPhone 8 has been rumored to be running with augmented reality for a while, as Apple beavers away on a plan to rival Google’s Project Tango.

The launch of AR Kit, the software development tool to really make use of augmented reality on the iPhone and iPad, is a massive step towards that.

The demo from Wingnut (the company owned by Hollywood’s Peter Jackson) was pretty awesome indeed - if this is the kind of interactivity kids of the future will have, being able to look into fantastical worlds through their phone… we want in.

2. The Apple Watch and fitness

Come on, we all know that the Apple Watch is quickly becoming a fitness device, but with WatchOS 4 it’s clear that there are two things that the next model is going to embrace: ease of use and fitness.

Siri is more a part of things than ever before, but fitness-wise Apple just cranked things up a notch again. 

High intensity interval training (HIIT) from the Watch and the ability to connect it to all the major gym equipment with a single tap? That’s the sort of thing that shows Apple wants the Watch to be the go-to device for working out.

Plus you can connect glucose meters directly to the Watch as well, something that’s strongly believed to make up a key part of the Apple Watch 3.

3. App Store gets usable

Maybe it’s just us, but there are times when you want to search for something on the App Store and the thing won’t load for ages.

Or you’ll get to categories easily enough, but search will hang for a while. Hopefully these issues have been solved with the complete App Store redesign, which makes it look far more like the News and Music app aesthetics that came on board last year.

It means more featured apps, dedicated spots for apps and games lists, and more curation generally. Given Apple makes a steady stream of cash off the App Store without really needing too much to it, it can’t mess with a formula unless it believes it’s going to get it right - and the new store certainly looks a lot more impressive.

4. Apple Music everywhere in your phone

One of the reasons that Apple Maps is so well-used is because it integrates very easily into third-party apps, so many don’t even realize they’re using it over Google’s option.

The small tweak to Apple Music’s API means that other apps will be able to use your subscription as part of their apps - Nike+ Run Club, for example, will let you add a playlist right into the app, and other titles like Anchor and Shazam will be able to get hold of the music too.

While it doesn’t seem like much, it’s a smart way of Apple trying to get more people to subscribe to the service and make having an Apple Music subscription as vital a part of owning an iPhone as getting your news through the dedicated page by the home screen.

 5. There are two new iPad Pros, not one

It wasn’t made abundantly clear by Apple on stage, but the Cupertino firm has in fact launched two new iPad Pro 2 tablets.

The 10.5-inch version was given all the attention though, as it boasts a new screen size for Apple making it larger than the 9.7-inch slate it replaces.

However, in the background and also boasting the improved screen technology, A10X chipset, additional storage and cameras from the iPhone 7, was the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 - which sticks to the same dimensions as its sizable predecessor.

6. iOS 11 is coming to the iPhone 5S and iPhone SE

One of the big announcements at WWDC 2017 was iOS 11, although Apple didn’t actually say which devices it would be coming to.

No fear though, as we’ve managed to dig out the details and the findings are thus: All iPhones down to the iPhone 5S will get a free upgrade to iOS 11 this Fall.

That means anyone still using the iPhone 5, iPhone 5C or older won’t be inline for the latest software goodies later this year.

7. HomePod is more than an Amazon Echo rival

It’s easy to dismiss Apple’s new HomePod speaker as an overpriced competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home, but the fact is it offers more functionality than both of these smart speakers.

Sure it has Siri build in to provide you with a voice-enabled assistant, and yes you can play music through the built in speaker - just like Echo and Home - but HomePod goes further with its music management.

As TechRadar's Senior Home Ents Editor, Nick Pino explains "see it as the evolution of the connected Wi-Fi speaker – loaded to the gills with a seven beam-forming tweeter array, a 4-inch upward-facing woofer and a library of 4 million songs."

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.