Apple’s much publicized annual developer’s meet; the World Wide Developers Conference has got off on the right note with quite a few announcements made on the first day.
Here is a lowdown of all the happened on the opening day at San Jose.
HomePod: This was long being rumored and the real thing turned out to be a small chubby device. To be available in color options of black and white, the HomePod isn’t just a smart speaker so to speak. Rather, it can also serve as a great entertainment device as well given that it relies on spatial awareness technology that makes the speaker better aware of the space it is in. This, in turn, enables the speaker to tune the music it is playing to ensure it sounds better than otherwise.
All of these make the new HomePod a viable competitor to say the Sonos speakers, and not just the likes of Amazon Echo or Google Home. That of course is just one part of the story as the HomePod is designed to do more amazing stuff, which includes answering basic queries like the weather report, sports scores and such. You can also set up reminders, or ask more complex queries like what other albums were released the same year when the present album was launched. Needless to say, Siri would provide the AI backbone.
The HomePod would be hitting stores towards the end of the year and is priced $349. It will initially be available in the US, UK, and Australia.
iPad Pro: Apple unveiled a new 10.5 inch iPad Pro device aimed at the professionals. However, unlike previous rumors, the tablet features a home button but will have thinner bezels all round.
The tablet boasts of a new feature called ProMotion that refreshes the display 120 times a second. This ensures the display is more smooth, something that is evident all the more during video playback. In fact, the refresh rate can auto adjust depending on whether it is a video or an image that is getting displayed.
ProMotion also makes the display more responsive with the Apple Pencil latency period reduced to just 20 milliseconds. Besides these, the new iPad Pro will also come with a 12 megapixel rear and 7-megapixel front cam. It will have a USB Type-C port and will have 10-hours of battery life. Powering the device will be a new A10X Fusion chip which Apple claims to provide for a 30 percent performance improvement over its predecessor.
The new iPad Pro is priced $649 and is set to ship from next week itself.
watchOS: Among the new features about to make it to the Apple smartwatch platform include new watch faces, one of which will have the Siri provide you with the information it believes you might need during the time of the day. The watch will also be able to communicate better with your gym equipment. The update will also serve to challenge you to push harder with your fitness goals by way of point systems.
iOS 11: The new version of Apple’s mobile operating system introduces some cool new features. Those include the ability to resize windows to enable you to multitask better. You can touch and hold on to a files and folders and drop them elsewhere, like in another new folder or as an attachment to your Mail. You will also be able to search for your texts from within your notes as well.
Similarly, old photo messages will now be stored in the cloud, thus freeing up more native storage in your device. There is a new Apple Pay feature as well, that will enable you to make payments securely via iMessage.
Another nice feature addition to iOS 11 is the new driving mode that will blank out all notifications, besides also texting out an “I’m driving!” message while you are behind the wheels.
The camera app too is being enhanced so that they take up much less space while storing photos and videos with more efficient software features.
Mac: Apple has refreshed its entire Mac range of hardware which translates to higher performance devices compared to their predecessors. The MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air are Kaby Lake chips. The range topper here is a new iMac Pro that will be powered by an 18 core Intel Xeon processor along with AMD Vega GPU. The device is slated to ship around December and price will start at $4,999. Mention must also be made of the 27-inch display that are 5K ready.
AR: Apple launched a new software development kit named ARKit for developers to create new AR based apps for the iPad and iPhone devices. Apple though stopped short of any AR features that might be built into its own camera app but showcased how the feature can be used to place a virtual object in a real world setting. For instance, a demo was given on how a cup can generate shadow in front of a lamp when it is turned on in Augment Reality. More details about the ARKit is about to get unpacked in the rest of the days of WWDC.