In a decidedly non-developer-focused WWDC keynote today, Apple announced a slew of new products, including iOS 11, new iMac and MacBook Pros, a new iPad Pro, and a Siri-powered HomePod speaker.
As I do so often, I spent the entire 2+ hour keynote skewering or praising Apple on Twitter as needed—OK, it was mostly skewering—but here I’ll provide a more straightforward rundown of the most important announcements.
Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday — and get free copies of Paul Thurrott's Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (normally $9.99) as a special welcome gift!
"*" indicates required fields
Apple’s flagship mobile platform is getting another major update this year, and while it comes with the usual hyperbole, the iPad-specific features are indeed noteworthy.
On the iPad, iOS 11 will provide new multitasking features that include a new macOS-like dock and intra-app drag and drop and a new app switcher, and a Files app for file management. If you have an iPad Pro, iOS 11 will also enable new Apple Pencil features, including the ability to launch Notes directly from the lock screen.
On all supported devices, iOS 11 is also adding new augmented reality (AR) functionality similar to Google’s Project Tango, person-to-person Apple Pay, Do Not Disturb While Driving, and new capabilities across many (probably most) of the built-in apps. The App Store, in particular, is getting a major refresh.
There’s also a new version of Control Center that looks a lot like the old live tiles interface on Windows phone. But it doesn’t appear that Apple is updating the terribly out-of-date home screen experience.
If you have an iPhone 7 Plus, the Portrait mode feature is being updated with optical image stabilization, True Tone flash and HDR. And live photos will provide new bounce and loop effects.
A public beta of iOS 11 will begin later this month, Apple says.
The next version of macOS is building off the current release, called Sierra, so Apple is calling it High Sierra. (Make fun of this if you want, but it’s no worse than Microsoft using the Fall Creators Update name.) This one appears to be a mix of app updates and low-level improvements.
Starting with the latter, High Sierra will switch to the more modern Apple File System as the new default. And it will add support for the High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, H.265) standard for 4K streaming, external GPUs over USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, and virtual reality (VR).
Plus, Apple is shipping big updates to apps like Photos, Safari, Mail, Siri, Notes, and more.
As with iOS 11, a public beta is expected in late June.
Apple’s most mobile platform is getting a proactive Siri watch face, personalized activity coaching for fitness buffs, improved apps, a new GymKit app, and an improved UI. Nothing all that exciting.
Apple didn’t announce a single new tvOS feature, but Amazon Prime Video is coming to Apple TV. So we’ve got that going for us.
For the first time in years, Apple discussed Mac hardware updates at WWDC. There were a number of announcements.
First, the existing iMac lineup is being updated with improved 21.5- and 27-inch models that add Kaby Lake processors, improved graphics, Thunderbolt 3, faster SSDs, and other improvements. You can now buy a 4K 21.5-inch model for the first time.
Apple also showed off an iMac Pro that won’t ship until the end of the year. This workstation-class device will provide a 27-inch 5K non-touch display, up to an 18-core processor, 32 GB to 128 GB of RAM, 1 TB or more of SSD storage, Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics with 8 GB or more of dedicated RAM, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports. Pricing starts at $5000.
Apple also refreshed its new MacBook Pro lineup and its older MacBook with Kaby Lake processors. The MacBook Air was updated with a new 1.8 GHz processor, too, but I believe it’s still a previous-generation chip.
Apple replaced the entry-level iPad Pro, which sported a 9.7-inch display like all previous full-sized iPads, with a new 10.5-inch model that features smaller bezels in the same form factor. It’s powered by the new A10X Fusion chip and features a redesigned Retina display (2224 x 1668) with so-called ProMotion technology that provides a super-fast 120 Hz refresh rate. It also includes the same camera as the iPhone 7, for some reason.
The iPad Pro 10.5-inch models start at $650 for 64 GB of storage and can be had with a new full-sized Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil as options. You can preorder today, and the device will be available next week.
As for the larger 12.9-inch model, Apple says it has updated it to match the specs in the smaller version. So you get the 64 GB of base storage (previously 32), the ProMotion technologies, the A10X chip, and the new camera. Prices start at $799.
This terribly-named, Siri-powered smart speaker won’t ship until the end of 2017, so you’ll have time to let the sticker shock of the $350 price tag wear off. Yes, it’s yet another personal digital assistant appliance. But it’s one that focuses on music, while providing access to what Apple says are the most commonly-wanted non-music features.
As such, it’s designed to work with a paid Apple Music subscription, though I assume it will work with other services. It features voice control, custom-designed speakers, and room-sensing technologies, and it can form a stereo pair with a second HomePod if you’re rich.
Today’s keynote was incredibly long, but I need to decompress a bit and then watch it again when it is available on-demand. But I am most interested in the iOS 11 features, especially those for the iPad, and in the new 10.5-inch iPad too. I suspect I will have more to say about these products soon.
<blockquote><a href="#122746"><em>In reply to wunderbar:</em></a></blockquote><p>So says the Apple apologists </p>
<blockquote><a href="#122753"><em>In reply to Ben Cassie:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Anyone who doesn't appreciate a good dad-joke should just give up on life, if you ask me. (Or at least register with the "takes life way too seriously" police so that we can all avoid them at parties.)</p>
<p>No mention of a new Mac Mini? Sounds like it's dead. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#122781"><em>In reply to PincasX:</em></a></blockquote><p>Yes, the year's-old Mac Mini design is still available for purchase. I haven't followed Apple's announcements closely, did they commit to releasing a new version in any particular year?</p>
<blockquote><a href="#122817"><em>In reply to polloloco51:</em></a></blockquote><blockquote><em>Quote: "I think Apple should have priced the Homepod at $199, to be competitive!"</em></blockquote><p>Apple and being price-competitive is an impossibility. They have absolutely no reason to be so, as <strong>ghostrider</strong> above surmises "<em>well, they're Apple, and the faithful will buy anything with their logo on it</em>", at any far-fetched price.</p>
<p>The Homepod represents good news and bad news for Microsoft. </p><p>The good news is that the Homepod is another thing for MSFT to look at and attempt to copy and figure out a way to disguise their product as something original and unique (see Bing, Outlook.com, Cortana, etc…) </p><p>The bad news is, with Amazon, Google, and Apple now in the market with their Assistants,….Microsoft's Assistant is pretty much Dead on Arrival now. </p><p>We can expect that Apple fans will go and blindly buy this product, thus shrinking the consumer market for Microsoft even further. With Apple's fanbase, Google's mobile and Amazon online retail dominance, Microsoft needs a "5 run homerun" or a "grandslam +1" to even be given a thought in the market. </p><p>Microsoft again, took too long. </p>
<p>It should be evidently clear from my pseudonym, my standpoint an all things Apple. However, the new features of iOS 11 are extremely noteworthy, particularly the multitasking capability (hence the new app switcher) and a Files app for file management.</p><p>With these features being elementary yet crucial for increased productivity, all older iPads that are upgradeable to iOS 11 shall have a revitalized lease of life.</p><p>Apple are clearly attempting to beef up iOS, with the intention of making it a macOS counterpart for iPads, as has been noted in previous articles at Thurrott.com.</p><p>Hmm, iPad shall no longer be the upmarket tea tray that it once was. <img draggable="false" class="emoji" alt="?" src="https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f604.svg"><img draggable="false" class="emoji" alt="?" src="https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.2.1/svg/1f61d.svg"></p>