Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference took place this week, where key executives took to the stage to introduce the newest products and updates. For the most part, this was not a milestone event. Changes overall were incremental, but we’ve included the noteworthy updates below. Here are the eight greatest improvements coming from Apple this year:
The newest iOS version will be released in September, with several updates of note – everything from Apple Pay, to Camera, to Siri, to the Control Center will see improvements, as well as a new Do Not Disturb while Driving feature and a few iPad-specific updates.
The new watchOS will release this fall, and will include new watchfaces, updates to fitness tracking, improved integrations with Apple Music, and more.
iMac & iMac Pro
The iMac’s external design remains the same, but packs major improvements under the hood – higher RAM capacity, 50% faster SSD drives, and high-end AMD graphics cards are all included. The new professional-grade iMac Pro is said to be the most powerful Mac ever, with an 8-core Xeon processor, 5K display, and the option of up to 4TB for SSD storage.
In the unveiling, Apple’s Craig Federighi noted that the team wanted to spend the last year to perfect macOS Sierra. The newest desktop OS, known as High Sierra, is all about deep technologies that provide a foundation for new technologies, Federighi noted. Front-facing updates are minimal, but include a faster Safari web browser, a more efficient Mail app that uses less storage, and a switch to the Apple File System (APFS) as their new default file system, a change that they made to iOS earlier this year.
In what appears to be a direct response to the Amazon Echo, Apple introduced a home music speaker with Siri capabilities. According to Apple SVP of Global Marketing Phil Schiller, Sonos aren’t smart speakers and Amazon Echos aren’t good speakers. The HomePod is intended to combine the best of both worlds, with multi-channel echo cancellation, an Apple A8 chip, and real-time acoustic modeling. It can even scan the room and optimize the audio accordingly.
The new ARKit for iOS was introduced as the “largest AR platform in the world”. This developer API kit will be supported inside iOS 11, and adds new capabilities to the iPhone camera, as it can now measure depth and put objects on top of tables, as demonstrated in the live presentation. Its intent is to help developers bring more high-quality AR experiences to iPhone and iPad apps.
Siri is getting more sophisticated. Updates to the virtual assistant include voice enhancements with a more natural diction, translation capabilities, and the ability to derive context and offer suggestions based on your behaviors and location.
No major updates to tvOS were revealed, but Amazon Prime Video will be available to Apple TV later this year.