Apple’s keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2017 just wrapped up in California where CEO Tim Cook and key executives took to the stage to announce updates headed to iPhone, MacBooks, Apple TV and more. Among its swag of new products and software, Apple unveiled a smart speaker and heralded a new wave of smarter augmented reality in iPhones.
1. Augmented Reality
The company unveiled a new operating system for the iPhone that sets the path ahead of the iPhone 8 release later this year.
Apple senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi announced there would be new development tools for app developers, called the AR Kit, to easily add augmented reality images into the next gen of apps. In a demo, Federighi pointed an iPhone at the empty table and then added a coffee cup and lamp, with the shadow of the lamp changing as the AR cup moved around on the table. The AR Kit can help find planes, track motion, and estimate scale and ambient lighting. For consumers, this means there will be a lot more apps like Pokemon-Go coming to the App Store.
With Apple now taking the lead with AR, don’t be too surprised if AR trickles into the real estate world. Apple has been working with some companies in trialling the new tech, including Ikea which lets users add furniture into their house using AR.
2. Apple’s smart speaker is here
The HomePod is Apple’s smart speaker. The speak will use Siri to respond to voice commands and automatically detects the space it is in to give the best sound. The sleek pod has no touch screen and is about 17cm tall. You can ask it to control smart home devices and check the day’s weather and news briefings. It also has a “Musicologist” feature that works with Apple Music to stream the music you ask the HomePod to play. You can even ask more complex, music-related questions like “Who’s the drummer in this song?” or “What album came out on this day 20 years ago?”.
Coming soon to an open home near you, Apple priced the HomePod at $349, with plans to ship it in December first to customers in the US, UK, and Australia.
To help curb slipping iPad sales, the iPad Pro will now be available in a new 10.5-inch model. There’s a 12-megapixel camera, just like the iPhone 7, and a 7-megapixel selfie camera. It has a USB port and 10 hours battery life.
4. Apple Watch
Siri is getting smarter and more fitness focused on the Apple Watch, which will now give you information based on your routines. For example, the Watch will deliver traffic info on your way to work or tell you exactly what you need to achieve your activity goals for the day. The workout app will also allow users to track multiple workouts. Gym Junkies will love the new feature that pairs the Apple Watch with treadmills and other gym equipment so that it sends details of the way you use the equipment, such as pace and incline, to your Watch, giving more accurate calorie burn and activity info.The swimming app also gets an improvement to auto-pause if you rest at the end of each lap and it will detect the type of stroke on each lap.
Plus with three new display faces with Toy Story characters joining Mickey Mouse, what’s not to love?
5. High Sierra operating system
Continuing the tradition of naming their operating system after Californian hiking zones, the MacOS High Sierra will be a free update to the current Sierra system. Apple has announced a slew of updates to the Mac lineup, with higher memory and stronger graphics performance for the new desktops. MacBook and MacBook Pro are also moving to faster processors and hard drives. Apple is also cutting the basic price for the MacBook 13-inch by $300, available for shipping now. Run don’t walk, people. If you’ve had your eye on a new iMac, the company announced an iMac Pro, with a 27-inch screen, that Apple said is: “the most powerful Mac we’ve ever made”.
Coming soon to an office near you, the new iMacs will also support graphics for VR content creation.
6. Apple TV
Tech rivals Apple and Amazon seem to have put their long-time feud behind them, with Amazon Prime video coming to the Apple TV as an app, which will make it easier for people to watch more content.