This week, Apple unveiled some big news during the WWDC keynote. Of course, it was expected that there would be some exciting new additions to their range of products but there were also some improvements of existing devices.
Following the lead of Amazon’s Echo, the Cortana-powered Harman Kardon Invoke speaker and Alexa, Apple have now given us a glimpse of HomePod, their stylish 7-inch tall Siri speaker. The HomePod has a four-inch upward-facing woofer, seven tweeter and like the iPhone, is powered by Apple’s A8 processor. It features real-time acoustic modelling which adapts the music to suit the environment and has six microphones so you can interact with the speaker from anywhere in the room.
You can also use the HomePod to access Siri, who is more than a mere vocal assistant on this device and becomes a kind of encyclopedia of musical knowledge, answering questions about the composition of the music and who plays the individual instruments. HomePod will be arriving in December, will be available in white and space grey and has an RRP of $349.
mac OS High Sierra
Apple also gave us a sneak peak of their most advanced operating system, mac OS High Sierra. It will offer a new file system, support for High-Efficiency Video Coding and an update to their advanced graphics technology, Metal. There are also a variety of refinements to Mac apps such as Photos, Safari and Mail.
Apple File System (APFS) offers enhanced security, performance and reliability. It makes operations such as copying files and directories instantaneous and protects your data from system crashes and power cuts. It will also preserve complete read-and-write compatibility with previously formatted HFS drives. There’s also multikey encryption, making it tougher to crack your drive than ever. This encryption will work across all Apple devices.
High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) will enable high-quality video streaming on networks where in the past the only possible streaming was in HD.
Metal 2 is the quickest way to utilise GPU power on the Mac. With refined API and enhanced performance, it supports machine learning used in speech recognition, computer vision and natural language processing. Metal 2 will also add support for VR content creation, allowing developers to create immersive gaming, 3D and VR content.
Also announced at WWDC was iOS 11, the latest version of their mobile operating system which will be available as an update later this year. This feature many important improvements, such as messages syncing across all devices via the iCloud and Apply Pay allowing cash to be sent via iMessage, which will of course be encrypted. The Control Centre will keep all buttons constrained to a single pane and there will be no more notifications. The up swipe will now return you to the lock screen.
There’s also changes coming for Siri who gets automatic translation native to the voice interface. Siri will also become more like Google’s Assistance on Android. It will monitor your browsing behaviour and find you information relative to your interests.
iOS 11 also features upgraded versions of HomeKit and AirPlay 2 to include speakers while photos will now give better low-light performance and improved quality generally. Apple are also adding HEVC and HEIF compression to shrink images and video clips down. There are also some new effects such as selecting a frame in a Live Photo to publish or keep.
Other changes featured in the iOS 11 update include a Do Not Disturb While Driving mode that is will be sensed when you are in motion. This will respond to any texts received at that time to say you’re driving. Maps will also be acquiring internal navigation for large buildings and the App Store will be redesigned with better visuals.
Apple also revealed the iMac Pro, their most powerful Mac ever. This isn’t a replacement for the Mac Pro which is going to be redesigned in the future but a new device altogether. It has up to 18-core Xeon processors and Radeon Pro Vega graphics, high bandwith memory and a new GPU. This offers up to 11 Teraflops of single precision or 22 Teraflops of half precision processing power.
It also holds up to 4TB of SSD storage and four Thunderbolt ports as well as USB ports. It also comes with a 27-inch Retina 5K display, a new thermal design that brings 80 percent more cooling capacity and all-flash memory architecture.
The iMac Pro is due to go on sale in December and prices start at $4,999.
10.5-inch iPad Pro
This new iPad Pro will replace the smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro released just last year while still being a more compact alternative to the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro released in 2015. This new fast charging device weighs only 1 pound and has a full size onscreen keyboard and a full size Smart Keyboard which is sold separately. There will be a Japanese keyboard available too.
Featuring 64 GB of memory on the most basic model, which is double the amount the beginning model had previously, the new iPad Pro will also have a 12MP camera and a 7 megapixel FaceTime HD camera with optical image stabilization and a high-speed sensor. It features 4K video capture, wide colour capture, a six-element lens and quad-LED True Tone Flash. It also has a 12-core GPU to boost graphics performance.
This is definitely a great tablet to watch movies on since it has True Tone display, wide colour gamut, 600 nit brightness and Ultralow reflectivity.
The new iPad Pro has an RRP of $649 for the 10.5-inch model and $799 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Which of these devices or updates are you most excited about?