Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2017 has begun, starting with a keynote packed full of major announcements.
We're not just talking new Macs, we've also had the iPad Pro 2 and even the HomePod (aka the Siri Speaker). We'll be updating this article with every announcement from WWDC 2017, so read on for what's been announced so far and keep checking back here for all the latest news.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple's software-focused conference
- When is it? June 5 - June 9 2017
Apple's long-rumored Siri speaker is here, and it's called HomePod. Siri is built in, so you can speak to it, ask it questions and generally use it as a voice assistant, just like Amazon Echo and Google Home.
And like those devices it's also good for music. HomePod has seven tweeters with beam formers and a four-inch subwoofer, so it should be loud, especially as you can link two of them together.
It's also spatially aware, so it can adapt the sound to the space it's in, and it's powered by an A8 chip, which is apparently the "biggest brain ever in a speaker."
You can't get HomePod yet though, as it's not shipping until December.
iPad Pro 2
We weren't sure it was going to happen, but Apple's announced the iPad Pro 2, and, along with a 12.9-inch model, it's in a new size - 10.5 inches.
That's 20% larger than a 9.7-inch display, but the borders have been reduced by almost 40% and it weighs just 1lb.
That 10.5-inch screen size allows it to display a full size onscreen keyboard and connect to a full size smart keyboard. It's also a True Tone screen, it's bright, it has ultra-low reflectivity, and for the first time on an iPad it supports HDR video.
The new iPad Pro 2 also has a 120Hz display refresh rate for smoother, more responsive content. And that helps the Apple Pencil too, which is now more responsive as well.
It sports a six-core A10X Fusion chip, with a 30% CPU performance improvement and a 40% graphics improvement over the A9X. The iPad Pro 2 also has the same camera setup as the iPhone 7, with a 12MP one on the back and 7MP on the front.
And the interface is improving, with productivity in mind. Notes has a built-in document scanner now for example, and by tapping on the lockscreen with the Apple Pencil you can head straight into the Notes app.
Apple promises 10 hours of battery life and both models are available to order from today, with 64GB now the smallest size.
We knew this was coming, but it still impresses, as iOS 11 is packed full of new features and changes.
Siri, of course, has been improved, and now sports a less robotic voice. The visual menus you get when you ask a question are now more detailed too, and Siri can speak in another language for you, if there's a language barrier with the person you're speaking to.
Siri is also learning to predict what you might want to do next and offering suggestions. And you'll be able to use Siri to control music in your home using AirPlay 2, which will also let you synchronize playback across multiple speakers in your home.
Apple Pay is also getting better, with the addition of person-to-person payments, and the ability to send money through iMessage.
Speaking of iMessage, all your iMessages will now be stored in the cloud, and stickers are getting easier to use.
Your photos and videos will also now take up less space, a long exposure mode is being added to the iOS 11 camera app, and Live Photos can be slowed down and trimmed.
Control Center is getting a redesign too, so that it's now all on one screen, and you can swipe up on the lockscreen to hide all of your notifications.
Apple Maps is also getting better, with lane guidance and speed limits shown when you're on the road, and indoor maps of malls being added, so you'll never get lost inside again.
And Apple Music is improving, as you'll now be able to see what your friends are listening to.
Perhaps the most noticeable change though is to the App Store, which is getting a complete redesign.
Apple's shed some light on watchOS 4, revealing that it's adding several new watch faces, the highlight of which is the Siri face.
This automatically displays the information that’s most important to you, so whenever you raise your wrist the face will dynamically update with relevant information. For example, at noon you might get a reminder to make a call, while in the evening you might see the sunset time.
It will also provide traffic information when it knows you need to travel somewhere, and will bring you news headlines throughout the day.
watchOS 4 is also bringing animated Toy Story watch faces and a kaleidoscope face, which has a symmetrical pattern effect that you can activate by spinning the crown.
You'll also see improvements to the activity app, with monthly challenges being added, while the workout app is getting a new high intensity interval training mode.
Other small improvements are coming too, like the ability to switch between which exercise you're tracking with a single swipe, or track the number of lengths you've done in a pool.
And you can more easily control music, with intelligent playlists based on your workout and native Bluetooth support.
macOS 10.13 High Sierra
The new version of macOS has a name and it's....odd. Say hi to macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
There are a number of updates in this new version of macOS. Photos are going to be easier to sort through, as you can now filter them by tag or order. And the photo editor is also being made easier to use.
Spotlight is being integrated into Mail and will take up 35% less space as a result, and the Apple File System is the new default in High Sierra.
Safari's been improved too, and is apparently 80% faster than Chrome, and graphics performance should be better as well, thanks to Metal 2 (a new developer language), which also includes support for VR.
Overall, macOS High Sierra is seemingly more about polish than new features, and it's available from today as a developer beta and will be launching in finished form this fall.
Apple's updated its iMac line with improvements across the board in a new iMac 21.5-inch and iMac Retina 4K 21.5-inch. We're talking better screens, more RAM, the latest Intel Kaby Lake 7th gen processors, more storage and two USB Type-C ports.
Thanks to Metal 2 they're capable of 90fps VR graphics too.
These are shipping from today, but Apple also announced an iMac Pro that's coming later this year with a 27-inch screen, up to 18 cores in its processor and 16GB of VRAM.
Nothing much new here, but Apple has revealed that it's adding Amazon Prime video to its TV app.
- We're already counting the days until MWC 2018