By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
UPDATED: Apple sent out an email this morning with news the iMac Pro will be available December 14, 2017.
News from June 2017: This year’s Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) pleasantly surprised with refreshes to the iMac, Macbook and iPad, but we also got a great new product with Apple’s HomePod (update: Delayed in 2017). But even without all that, the software updates this year are downright cool.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage in San Jose and announced the theme of this year’s WWDC keynote was “six important things” including updates to TVOS, Apple WatchOS, MacOS, iOS 11, iPad, and Music.
2) WatchOS. WatchOS 4 has some cool new features including a Siri watch face that will display info relevant to you. To access all you need do is raise your wrist. Utilizing machine learning, Siri will provide the most recent event information from your schedule, as well as being able to scroll down your day using the crown. You also get animated Toy Story watch faces.
On the fitness side, Tap and go workouts provide monthly fitness challenges are designed based on your exercise history, so the challenges are achievable and can be built upon. Additionally, you will receive “celebrations” when milestones are reached and instantly play your favorite workout playlists. For runners, there’s a flashlight now through the watch face which also doubles as a blinking light to make you more visible when running or walking at night.
Apple has also added a News app to the watch, which lets you get the latest headlines, and you can save the stories you want to read for later. WatchOS will save them directly to your iPhone. WatchOS 4 will be available in the Fall.
3) MacOS. This year’s MacOS is a refinement of Sierra, so it was a natural to call MacOS High Sierra” after the highest peaks in California. The new MacOS High Sierra has a ton of killer features including a redesigned Apple File System format which uses less space and runs faster. Photos has improvements to the facial recognition feature for more accurate subject ID, as well as the ability to filter by favorites and sync across all devices. There’s also new color tools that enable even more photo editing within the app, and in a cool new development, if you want to go deeper with a third party app like Photoshop or Lightroom, High Sierra will transfer all your edits directly to it.
For video, High Sierra now supports H. L265 and HEVC with 40% better compression. Additionally, H265 support comes to Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Compressor. But what may be the biggest advancement is that through Metal for VR, High Sierra now offers support for Virtual Reality with applications like the game service Steam.
MacOS High Sierra will ship in the Fall as a free upgrade.
To power High Sierra, the iMac line gets a huge refresh that’s long overdue, and which includes displays with 500 nit brightness, 43% over the previous model. Performance wise, the new iMacs will also get the latest Kaby Lake processors, improved graphics and will be available with up to 64GB of RAM, and prices for the new iMacs start at $1299 and they ship today. They also announced a cool new The iMac Pro starts at $4999 and ships in December and editors are going to love it. I’ll get into it deeper with the next article.
Additionally, in a modest update, all MacBooks are getting updates to the Intel Kaby Lake processor as well. Also starting at $1299 and shipping today.
4) iOS11. IOS 11 received some major new features, most of which are just daily benefits including the ability to use Apple Pay through your messages app for person to person payments, natual speaking language translation with audio playback, and on device learning that is synced across all devices. But the killer benefit for mobile content creators is the improved camera app that will now use H.265 HEVC as the main video codec for 4K video. And while I’m not too sure about this one, Apple is also replacing the JPEG still image format with the new HEIF (high efficiency image format) for 2x better compression. Other photo features include the ability to edit Live Photos and pick your favorite primary still, and a cool long exposure effect.
Even cooler, though, with the iPhone 7 Plus being able to gauge depth in Portrait mode, Apple has decided to make that depth information available to developers with the new Depth API. Could we see depth and bokeh coming to FiLMic Pro soon? That would be cool.
Augmented Reality. Apple also announced a new ARKit through iOS 11 which will enable developers to create augmented reality experiencing using the iPhone or iPad camera and add objects in augmented space from iOS. This also includes gaming, and they showed a demo from Peter Jackson’s new AR company WingNuts, which is using Unreal Engine to create an AR game in real time. It was epic.
There were also other improvements to Apple Maps including lane suggestions and speed limits popping up in your directions. As well as a do not disturb while driving feature that will prevent you from interacting with your phone while driving, Finally!
iOS 11 in the iPad also gets some cool new features including a new Files app that allows for interaction between apps with files, a built in document scanner, and save to PDF. So you can scan a document, sign it, and then send it back. Or mark it up and make changes. iOS 11 also has enhanced handwriting recognition that allows for spotlight searches. That upgrade comes in the Fall.
5) iPad. Apple announced a new iPad Pro 10.5” brighter retina display supporting HDR and an adjustable refresh rate up to 120 Hz. Price of the iPad Pro starts at $649 for 64gb and goes all the way up to 512GB. Preorders today, shipping net week.
6) One more thing. Music. Apple announced the HomePod, its answer to the Amazon Echo. Price of the HomePod is $349 and comes in white and space gray. Available in December.
iOS 11. iMac and iMac Pro. Peer-to-peer payments in iMessage. ARKit. iPad Pro hardware & Software updates. HOMEPOD . Sadly, no news on the Mac Pro or Mac Mini, but all in all it was a busy keynote, filled with a ton of cool stuff!