Apple WWDC 2017: Overview

Tim Cook announced updates headed to iPhones, MacBooks and more at the recent Apple’s WWDC 2017.

 

Personally I am most excited about the following 4 updates:

THE NEW MAC OS NAMED HIGH SIERRA

The upcoming version of macOS will be called High Sierra, and it comes with updates to Safari that help block site trackers and autoplaying videos. Apple’s also added new photo-editing tools like curves (helpful for those who don’t have Adobe Photoshop), and it has better filtering tools to sort images by keywords or faces. An updated file management system will be a part of the update as well, which speeds up directory cloning with native encryption. On the graphics end, there’s a second version of Metal, support for VR, and a Metal 2 developer kit that you can order with an AMD GPU to tune apps for external graphics.

HOMEPOD SPEAKER TO TAKE OMN AMAZON ECHO 

 

Apple’s upcoming smart speaker will go against  Amazon Echo and Google Home, but also the Sonos home entertainment speakers. Called the HomePod, it uses spacial awareness to tune and better fill the room with sound based on the space it’s in. It also has a “Musicologist” feature that works with Apple Music to stream the music you ask the speaker’s built-in Siri to play. You can even ask more complex, music-related questions like “Who’s the drummer in this song?” or “What album came out on this day 20 years ago?”

HomePod will be compatible with Apple Music, and will wirelessly access the full library of songs from Apple Music. There’s a six-microphone array, used to access Siri, which has been upgraded with even more capacity when it comes to specific music requests, like “Who’s playing drums on this track?” or “What was the top song on May 5th, 2016?” Apple says that the microphones are good enough to hear commands from far away, even with the music at full volume. The Siri waveform appears on top of the device when the assistant is activated, similar to the LED lights on an Amazon Echo, although the HomePod also features integrated touch controls as well.

Along with the music support, HomePod is designed to work as a home assistant, so you can use Siri for things like unit conversion, news, weather, traffic, sports, reminders, timers, and more. Apple’s own services tie in, too: you can send iMessages through HomePod, or control HomeKit devices. HomePod will also serve as a HomeKit hub to allow you to control smart home products away from your home, too.

iMAC PRO INTRODUCED

Apple’s introducing updated iMac desktops with improved Retina displays, graphics boosts, Kaby Lake processors, and USB-C. They will also support graphics for VR content creation. During the keynote, Apple demoed this by showing off a VR game featuring Darth Vader, a lightsaber, and TIE fighter.

There’s a new iMac Pro as well, with a 5K display with improved cooling capacity, and 8-core Xeon processor (upgradeable up to 18-core,) up to 4TB of SSD, up to 128GB of ECC memory, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and built-in 10GB Ethernet.

ENHANCED SIRI

The new version of iOS software has some pretty social updates, such as an update to Siri that has improved speech, the ability to help translate sentences into different languages, and on-device learnings that suggest actions based on what you do on your iPhone or iPad. Siri will be translating from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, with more language combinations coming soon. Siri will also use “on-device learning” to be more predicative about what you want next, based on your existing use of the digital assistant.

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