Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC 2017, Keynote event took place on June 5th, giving us all the latest hardware and software updates the company will be releasing within the next couple of months: everything from iOS 11, Macbooks and iMacs, iPads, and even a competitor for Amazon’s Echo and Google home, the Apple Homepod.
Apple’s Homepod: Apple has now joined the pool of smart speakers, going against the competition of Amazon Echo, Google Home, and even Sonos home entertainment speakers! Being called “Homepod”, one of its features will be that it will use spacial awareness to tune and better fill the room with sound, all based on the space it is in. It will work with Apple Music and include a “Musicologist” feature to stream the music your ask it to play. Using the built-in Siri assistant, you can even ask it complex music related questions, such as “Who is playing the drums in this song?” or even ask it what album came out on this year 20 years ago.
The Homepod activates Siri with the command “Hey Siri”. A visible LED waveform will appear at the top of the speaker to let the user known when the personal assistant is listening. Since Apple believes in privacy, Siri is never actively monitoring or listening until the command is spoken. Additionally, all communication between Siri and Apple’s servers are anonymous and encrypted.
Homepod will be available in both black and white, with Siri integrated to control smart home devices, read off your day’s itinerary, check the weather, and read news briefings. The speaker will be 6.8 inches high and 5.6 inches wide, weighing 5 pounds, with internal components controlled by an A8 chip, making it the most powerful speaker compared to its competitors.
Apple Homepod will cost $349 and is planned to ship out in December for customers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. It will hit the international market at the beginning of next year.
iOS 11: Also announced was the new version of the iOS software. It has some verbal updates, including an update to Siri, who will have a more natural voice and will be more intelligent. Siri will learn your preferences and sync that information across your multiple Apple devices, therefore the personal assistant now knows more about you and can predict what you want, Besides improved speech and on-device learning, she was even given the ability to translate sentences into different languages.
There is an iMessage update that allows your to pay and receive payments from contacts with no need for additional app download. The camera also improved with better low-light performance and the ability to edit Live Photos so you can change the main still-frame or trim the video. There is also a new control center layout which is customizable with a wider range of settings. 3D Touch integration has also expanded to the settings app, allowing you to do more without having to physically go into the app.
They did away with the Notification Center; now, the lock screen has merged with the Notification Center. By Swiping down on the screen, your will be able to access the notifications and bring up the lock screen.
iOS 11 is only available to developers at the moment. However, Apple plans to release the public beta by late June, with a full public release in the fall, along with the new iPhones.
Meanwhile, iOS 11 for iPad gives the tablet a Windows feel with its new multitasking abilities. The improved multitasking lets users pull up an apple from the dock and drag it onto the screen to create a split screen, similar to Macbooks. Your can even hold and drag folders, files, and pictures to drop them into different apps, such as Mail and iMessage. Finally, handwritten notes from the Apple Pencil will be searchable in the Notes app.
The iPad update will have a Files App that is a management system. You will be able to use it to sort files by size and date, similar to how we do so on a desktop or laptop.
iPad Pro: Along with the iOS 11 for the iPad, there was a new iPad Pro announced at the event, which will be available in two different sizes: 10.5 and 12.9 inch options with the 10.5 inch replacing the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, which is slightly bigger and heavier than the previous generation, but offers a larger display with a full sized, on-screen keyboard and a new full-sized Smart keyboard, which is sold separately.
There will be a 12-megapixel camera, just like the iPhone 7, with a 7-megapixel front-facing-camera. The iPad Pro will support USB 3.0 and have a 10-hour battery life.
Its new feature, ProMotion, is a display technology that offers refresh rates up to 120Hz; it will automatically adjust the refresh rate based on what you are watching or scrolling through. It will have better responsiveness, smoother motion, and reduce the Apple Pencil’s latency to 20 milliseconds for more natural drawing and writing experience.
The 10.5 inch iPad Pro will be starting at 64GB and come in Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold, pricing for $649; it is available for order now!
Apple Watch 4: The update for the Apple Watch that is coming will introduce new faces that display different types of information, such as Siri reminders. There is also a fitness-focused update that includes monthly challenges to encourage the person wearing the watch to stay active, pairing with gym equipment, sharing the most accurate calories burned and activity information.