WWDC 2017: Apple Announces iOS 11, New Macs and iPad Pro, HomePod, More

Posted on June 5, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in iOS, Music + Videos, Smart Home with 62 Comments

WWDC 2017: Apple Announces iOS 11, New Macs and iPad Pro, HomePod, More

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.

iOS 11

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 But it doesn’t appear that Apple is updating the terribly out-of-date home screen experience.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.

macOS High Sierra

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.

watchOS 4

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.

tvOS

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.

New and improved Macs

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.

iPad Pro

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.

HomePod

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.

More soon

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.

 

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Comments (62)

62 responses to “WWDC 2017: Apple Announces iOS 11, New Macs and iPad Pro, HomePod, More”

  1. Avatar

    PincasX

    Two minor things:


    1. Apple previously sold a 21 inch 4k iMac. The new 21 inch 4k iMac will now had dedicated graphics rather than integrated.
    2. HomePod will pair with any speaker that supports AirPlay 2. It doesn't have to be another HomePod.
  2. Avatar

    polloloco51

    I think $350 is way too much for a digital assistant, bluetooth speaker. Especially when you compare it to the Amazon Echo, that's pretty good, albeit, not the greatest of sound quality. It does have good enough sound to listen to music daily.


    I think Apple should have priced the Homepod at $199, to be competitive! Also, perhaps named it Siri Home, or something else.


    As for the iPad Pro and it's new features like File App. It will still take many years for it to catch up to the usefulness and robustness of the Surface Pro tablets. File management should have been in the iPad from the start!

  3. Avatar

    Bats

    The Homepod represents good news and bad news for Microsoft.

    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...)

    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.

    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.

    Microsoft again, took too long.

    • Avatar

      PincasX

      In reply to Bats:

      While I'm not holding my breath for Microsoft to become a major player in this market, I don't think they are a locked out as you think. They, in conjunction with Harmon Kardon, have announced a product in this market. Amazon was obviously first but they only sell the Echo in three countires (U.S, Great Briton and Germany) and it only supports two languages. Google Home also currently only sells in two countries but will be expanding to more this month. So, the majority of the market is really wide open. If Micosoft gets it together they could be a player. My guess is Google will be the dominate player, Apple will do well at carving out their niche and Amazon will ultimately get sidelined with MS missing out.

      • Avatar

        fbman

        In reply to Bats:

        While I'm not holding my breath for Microsoft to become a major player in this market, I don't think they are a locked out as you think. They, in conjunction with Harmon Kardon, have announced a product in this market. Amazon was obviously first but they only sell the Echo in three countires (U.S, Great Briton and Germany) and it only supports two languages. Google Home also currently only sells in two countries but will be expanding to more this month. So, the majority of the market is really wide open. If Micosoft gets it together they could be a player.


        The only problem, Microsoft still think the US is the entire market, and with that small thinking they will never become a player. The sad thing, MS will properly make something brilliant and the limit it, where its useless outside the US.


        Windows phone is a perfect example, in some countries, they got as high as a 20% market share, because it flopped in the US, the whole idea basically died.



        I saw a video clip where the google box and the echo box were pitted against each other and the echo won hands down.

      • Avatar

        Tony Barrett

        In reply to PincasX:

        I doubt it. You'd have to be wholly invested in MS to get the most of out any Cortana based digital assistant, and many aren't now. Remember, it's all about mobile, and MS don't have that presence to make it worthwhile.

        Apple will sell a small boatload of the HomePod, at whatever price they think they can get away with, just because, well, they're Apple, and the faithful will buy anything with their logo on it. Google and Amazon are where the frontline will be though, and I think if Google can press ahead, their mobile dominance will see them through. Google Home is already way more 'intelligent' than Echo.

        • Avatar

          PincasX

          In reply to Tony Barrett:

          I doubt it as well. I'm simply pointing out how open the market actually is.


          I disagree about Amazon, between the lack of language support, regional avlibility and regional avalibility of services I don't see how they can push back against Google. Amazon just isn't that big of a player outside of the U.S.

        • Avatar

          Jorge Garcia

          In reply to Tony Barrett:

          Exactly right. As a MS "fan" of sorts, it is sad to admit, but this party has begun without MS, and the door is now locked. It's not even 100% MS's fault, there is simply no competing with Google's data. Even Amazon will fall to a distant second once Google consolidates its brand (drop nerdy words like Android, Cast, Chrome). I think they are aware of this, the Pixel almost denies that it runs Android, and things like ChromeCast are becoming Google Cast.

  4. Avatar

    dcdevito

    I disagree with what most people are saying. I don't think this was boring, in fact, I'll go out on a limb and say it's their most ambitious iOS update ever. All from one angle: ML.

    We we all know Apple's biggest weakness is their cloud services, but if they can truly make ML come to life on iOS devices locally, all the while keeping all the data private, would be something that will set them up for the long haul.

    I also found the AR stuff really well executed. So the Hololens has been killed off my our iPhones and iPads. Why hasn't anyone said that yet??

    I don't think MacOS or Macs are exciting, it's all about the iPad. It's quickly becoming THE post PC computer for the masses.

    The speaker will be a flop. Apple Watch is already DOA.

    • Avatar

      Stuart Burt

      In reply to dcdevito:

      I disagree with a few things.


      First, I dont think their AR play is a Holo Lens killer. At least for now. I wonder how practical holding up your phone to get AR is. I do think this is all a setup for their glasses or whatever they end up being. Its probably at least two years off. That could be a Holo Lens killer.


      iPad sales have been in decline for the past few years, and I dont see it getting any better. Apple has all but lost it in the education market. The iPad was a fad, but ultimately an intermediary device. The 2-1 is where its at.


      I agree on the HomePod. Terrible name, device, and price. Its already dead.


      All my opinions. Appreciate the discussion.

      • Avatar

        Chris_Kez

        In reply to Stuart Burt:

        In regards to iPad, I believe the sales declines have really been driven by the Mini, not the full size iPad. I think we'll see the iPad forecast improve with the new High/Low strategy. The hardware, software and UI updates make the new iPad Pro more compelling than it was a year ago. At $749 for the 256GB model, I think you'll see more people try it out as a tablet-centric 2-in-1 (or maybe a 1.5-in-1). The iPad is improving as a "laptop" more quickly than Surface or other PC 2-in-1's are improving as "tablets".

        I think Apple could really close the gap if they would just let you use a mouse as a simple pointing device, or include a simplified trackpad-- anything that would let you work in "laptop mode" without requiring you to constantly pick up your hand to touch the screen. But that would cannibalize Macbook sales, so that's probably not happening for a while.

      • Avatar

        ruusterc

        In reply to Stuart Burt:

        The only little thing i would say is don't say its dead because Steve balmer said the iPhone was dead because price and lack of hardware keyboard and was wrong

  5. Avatar

    red.radar

    Looks like a big marshmallow.

  6. Avatar

    Darmok N Jalad

    I'm pretty excited about the 10" iPad Pro and new features coming to iOS on tablets. My Air 2 gets a lot of use, and I'd been on the fence about the 12"er. Might still have a tough choice since I bet gen 1 will get cheaper.

    And why not put the newest camera module on the iPad pro? If they did anything less, they would be criticized for not putting the best mobile specs on the pro model.

  7. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    the only thing I think that Apple did to address what Apple users want is the iMac Pro, although it remains to be seen how good AMD vega is. But it feels like everything else announced was fluff, even the Siri speaker which developers can't quite tap into yet.

    • Avatar

      Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to rameshthanikodi: yet to be seen yes but I'd bet that the top end card would be about a1080 or 1080 ti in speed. If it's faster even better but AMD had been about 6 months to 12 months behind nvidia in the high end and mid to low end about the same. Apple isn't using an open standard though so their metal 2 API is going to be less popular than even the new stuff from the chronis group


  8. Avatar

    irfaanwahid

    The overall event was such a letdown, and really long with no much of an excitement.


    I was hoping for a big overhaul for iOS for iPhone but it was disappointing, except the changes in AppStore there was nothing significant, including Control center which is nice but not earth shattering.


    I hoped they would finally change the Home screen, grid style icons with something more modern, but Apple is Apple it will take them few more years to do that.


    AR was good, and the beauty about Google/Apple products is that their newer features reach the masses. AR being part of iPhone assures millions of people around the world will be able to play with AR, unlike HoloLens which is great and superior by all means but until it is not available to everyone it is of no good.


    Google/Apple are making products and features for now, to be used today and for the masses. Microsoft on the other hand makes stuff either for the niche or too complicated and expensive. A small example is Groove Music, in Kenya we still don't have this service while Apple Music was available right through day 1.

  9. Avatar

    Jorge Garcia

    Even though it's targeted at a different audience and is coming out of the gate a bit crippled and overpriced, Google should still see the HomePod as a big threat. If I were Google I'd be calling up Bose or somebody like that (better, probably) and releasing a wider variety of Google Homes that are more high-end than the current one-size-doesn't-fit-all air-freshener thing. At the same time, if I were Google, I'd ALSO be partnering with quality TV makers to make full-on Google Assistant TVs. Sure, assistant is coming to Android TV soon and blah, blah blah, but honestly, until Google drops the Android name and starts selling things under the direct "Google" brand...a large swath of "normal" people will refuse to buy in.

  10. Avatar

    chaad_losan

    A lot of catch up IMHO. They are finally bringing some hardware to kaby lake. The iMac pro is an insane, non upgradable computer, The new iPad Pro with macos features seems one more step to get rid of the low end laptops like the Air. The HomePod is over priced. But people spend $300 on one SONOS speaker all day long. So I'm not surprised about the price. The saddest thing was apple TV with their hey we have amazon now! Well I've had amazon on my TV and my xbox one since I bought them. It's nice that they lowered then lowest cost by a few hundred. But they could have lowered the entire line by that much, but they didn't. And the poor mac mini still not invited to the party. Poor thing.

  11. Avatar

    Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Hmm, iPad shall no longer be the upmarket tea tray that it once was. ??

  12. Avatar

    nbplopes

    One the reasons I like WWDC is that there is very little speculation, talk about vision, demos show the real thing and still manage to be quite surprising at times

    I dislike the price bump on the iPad Pro. Lately year over year Apple has been rising the prices of devices that have updates, with exception of stuff that do not have updates. This leads to a higher cost of entry with the obvious consequences between the haves and have nots. For a company that touts "changing the world" I find it a bit cynical, yet t does have good financial results for the time being.

    What I really like is attention to detail, transparency up and across devices down to the pricing (that price will be that and no other), the talk about what the devices can actually do right now and how. I think - this idea that if you do something that looks simple very well does more for the future than something that looks sophisticated yet does not really work - its special.

    I think its becoming more obvious than ever that mobile will be the consumer Augmented Reality platform in the short term.

    Apple's bet on smart speakers is music and sound as expected. I like the fact its not a silo, it talks with any other Airplay device (attention. to detail).

    The new iOS feature for iPad Pro. I like the approach of Apple in keeping the mouse or track pad at bay and focus on taking the touch language to the limit. Still, its quite clear that to use touch comfortably, one needs to be "on top" of the tablet, not in the front. This is very, very clear, I noticed it with Surface Pro this also. Sor me, unless Apple solves this impariment the iPad will always be a companion device.

    Still I find it impressive that it can outperform a Surface Pro like device, even with a core i7 in graphics performance and with no fans.

    Updates on the Mac line went has excepted with the exception of the new iMac Pro. For which I have no interest in, but its good to gave options.

    Also Apple is looking to support external graphics cards ... this seams to be just the start of it. Will see.

  13. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    I just watched the section on iOS 11 enhancements for iPad. There were a lot of times I thought "Wow, that is a pretty smooth 'touch-first' approach". And each time I also thought "Someone please give Craig Federighi a mouse."

  14. Avatar

    quick_razor360

    Apple could always license their OS to OEMs.... Oh wait APPLE isn't a software company so guess they cant..

  15. Avatar

    Stuart Burt

    I keep watching these things every year, hoping that Apple will come out with something innovative. Each year, they get worse. It seemed like today's keynote was a random smattering and did not convey any true vision.


    Disappointing.

  16. Avatar

    Oasis

    $350 for a roll of string???

  17. Avatar

    RobertJasiek

    The keynote is on demand at Youtube.

    The File App might be extremely great and important if it offers

    • local-only file management
    • general file management for ALL file types (at least of user files)
    • file exchange with all apps (maintaining whichever security is needed)
    • as before for transfer from / to Windows devices via USB and / or WLAN
    • independence of iTunes Windows services (which behave as malware)
  18. Avatar

    Ian Wilson

    HomePod (terrible name) looks like a white Nokia Play Bluetooth Speaker that I've had for years. That pairs with a 2nd unit for stereo too. Cost about £100 for the pair.

  19. Avatar

    VancouverNinja

    What is up with Apple and Google? Both of them have released really ugly smart speakers. Would it really have been hard to release something pleasing to look at?

  20. Avatar

    Patrick3D

    There wasn't anything new announced that solves any issues I currently have with Apple's products. The only thing I am looking forward to is Amazon on AppleTV since ATV is my preferred streaming device and I want to get more value out of a Prime subscription. Notably absent today: Mac Mini, AirPort, and iPod.

  21. Avatar

    Lars lalaa

    Apple really delivered imo. I didn’t expect that.

    -iOS 11 has tons of new features on both iPhone and iPad. Great new store design too.

    -iMac Pro just wow. Up to 18 core Xeon, Vega, 128 GB, up to 4 TB SSD, 10G Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3 with support for 4 UHD Displays and external graphics. That‘s just crazy. Compare that with Surface Studio. It has touch, which basically nobody really needs on a desktop workstation, but other than that. If People spend 3 or 4 thousand on an all-in-one, they will put some on top of it. This thing is just way more powerful.

    The show was packed with consumer stuff. For older and cheaper devices up to pro hardware. I really liked it. Better than last years, for sure.


    • Avatar

      rameshthanikodi

      In reply to Lars lalaa:

      Isn't it funny how the iMac Pro is more desirable than the Mac Pro now? :)

      anyway the Surface Studio is for artists, it's a large canvas for drawing. The iMac will never be that. End of story/comparison. The Surface Studio has also actually has some decent specs so it's not far behind in terms of speed either. It definitely lacks the core count but it isn't designed for that type of use anyway.

  22. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    $749 for the new 10.5" iPad Pro with 256GB storage. This is clearly the model they're expecting people to actually walk out the door with. I'd been holding out hope for a refreshed Surface 4; boy does this look like a possible alternative.

  23. Avatar

    EnterMegatron99

    But Paul...Apple showed us what a great value the HomePod is...I mean...$400+$300 = $700...so pricing the HomePod is like 50% off! (And is the HomePod inspired by Charmin? Is Mr. Whipple going to scold us if we try to squeeze it?)

    You do get easier access to your sticker pack...so...we've got that going for us! What a terrible release.

    (Am I the only one who noticed that the AR demo lady tripped during that demo?)

  24. Avatar

    Narg

    Apple iOS 11....

    AR - zzzzzzzz

    Do not disturb while driving - good, but I'd prefer the Android Auto thing where the phone becomes auto friendly while driving.

    person-to-person Apple Pay - Love Apple Pay, won't use this though.

    Maps updates look good but hoped for me.

    The App Store, in particular, is getting a major refresh - zzzzzzz


    The majority of the show was snore worthy. Yep, Apple's dying again...

  25. Avatar

    Ben Cassie

    Awful wwdc, literally nothing of note and a total snoozefest. Fully grown adults cheering cartoon watch faces and dad jokes. Apple really have run out of ideas.

  26. Avatar

    ibmthink

    Yawn. What a drag.

    A speaker for 350 $...really?

    The same goes for the iMac Pro for 5000 $. You thought the Surface Studio prices were outrageous? Well, you thought wrong!

    Apple, you should think different.

  27. Avatar

    SDreamer

    Those iPad iOS updates made me think I was watching a Microsoft keynote... but I was like wait this stuff actually looks like it'll work and be thoughtfully integrated.

  28. Avatar

    Ugur

    For the iPad related iOS updates on one side it's laughable it took them until 2017 to get such features in, on the other side it all seems like a thought out well done implementation, better than some of these things are done on other platforms, have to try it for a while to give a more definitive judgement. Really disappointed the macbook updates are so lame though.

  29. Avatar

    skane2600

    No mention of a new Mac Mini? Sounds like it's dead.

    • Avatar

      PincasX

      In reply to skane2600:

      earlier this year when Apple announced that the iMac would be updated this and the Mac Pro would be next year they said the Mac Mini would also stay in the line up. So, not dead.

      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to PincasX:

        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?

        • Avatar

          PincasX

          In reply to skane2600:

          I don't remember the exact quote but when asked about it they said something like "We see the mini as continuing to be an important part of our mac line up but have nothing to announce today." The announcement was largely around desktops for pro users. If I was asked to guess I'd say possibly later this year? Or maybe next year when the new Apple displays come out? But I'm just guessing wildly.

  30. Avatar

    rbryant

    I assume it will work with other services


    Yeah, I'd be wary of assuming that Apple products work with anything.

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