What You Need To Know – WWDC 2017

Expected to be a software-focused conference, Apple has once more surprised us this year by revealing some brand new products and great updates on the existing ones. They finally got involved in the smart home market with the HomePod and even announced a new iMac Pro with great performance that was much needed by the professionals. They also announced the new iOS 11 which is pretty much the same in the UI but has some revolutionary stuff going on in the background. All in all, they got plenty of new stuff and we will try to summarize the most important in the following article.

iMac Pro

After the Mac Pro fiasco, Apple got the time to rethink their workstations. And when we look at what they came up, we can say that they finally did the job right. The combination of hardware and software is a promising start for the more demanding workstation area.

iMac Pro base model specifications:

  • CPU: 8-Core Intel Xeon CPU
  • RAM: 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC
  • GPU: AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB of HBM2 RAM
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Display: 27″ 5k Retina display
  • Price: $4.999

I must confess that the price tag is a little hefty, but the quality of the components in this one is meant for the real professionals that need the computing power. If you go on your own and try to build a PC with the same parts you will end up with a similar price. And if you have extra money to spend, then by some estimations the full-equipped iMacPro with 18 core CPU and 128GB of RAM will cost you about $17.000. Guess we’re going to wait until the official release to see the exact numbers.

HomePod

It took them long enough to came up with something while Google and Amazon took on the smart home market. This ‘Mac Pro’ like speaker has 7  tweeters, an Apple designed subwoofer and several mics that will profound your music experience while enabling you to communicate with Siri from a larger distance. Unfortunately, it only has WiFi so no Bluetooth connections will be going on here.

HomePod specifications:

  • High-excursion woofer with custom amplifier
  • Array of seven horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own custom amplifier
  • Six-microphone array for far-field Siri and room sensing
  • Internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction
  • Direct and ambient audio beamforming
  • Dimensions: 6.8 inches high (172 mm); 5.6 inches wide (142 mm); 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg)
  • Price: $349

iPad Pro 10.5″ model

The newest iPad representative is a replacement for the old 9.7′ model. The 12.9″ still stays the same size and gets the same upgrades as the smaller model. You can say that this model is somewhat an overkill because of the fact the competition is far behind the older model, so far that you won’t need an iPad upgrade anytime soon. It’s planned to be released in September with the new iOs.

iPad Pro 10.5″ specifications:

  • A10X Fusion processor, M10 motion coprocessor
  • 64GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options
  • 10.5-inch display with 2224 x 1668 resolution, 264ppi
    – Support for 120Hz refresh rate, 600nits brightness
  • 12-megapixel rear camera with 4K video recording
  • 7-megapixel FaceTime camera with 1080p HD video recording
  • Four speaker system

Apple File System (APFS)

Although announced last year, this monumental update took place this year. First in March on iOS 10.3.1 and then in June on the macOS 10.13 in beta status, the official release being scheduled for September. For those unaware what kind of changes this file system brings, let me start by noting that the old HFS+ was in use since 1998.  APFS enables features such as snapshots, encryption, 64-bit limits on file sizes and counts, crash protection and crazy performance. And the best part, it’s an in-place upgrade. After just 30 min I had my iPhone ready to go with the new file system in place.

iOS 11

This update brings us a few behind the curtain changes that will revolutionize some aspects of our lives. It’s not so focused on UI changes as is on the implementation of new frameworks.

  • There is the ARKit that is believed to bring the augmented reality to a next level. And it’s not only because of gaming, there are broad business scenarios across advertising, commerce, assistance and more waiting for another way to monetize their goods.

  • The other major framework that was introduced is the Core ML. This framework is an advanced machine learning service that is focused on vision tracking, natural language, and models. The good news is that this framework will be available to the developers to incorporate it into their apps. This might even be a preparation for the introduction of an AI processor, according to IT experts.

The major UI changes were made on the Lock Screen and the Notification Center. Simply put, they merged them together so everything is on your lock screen now.

Another major redesign was made in the Control Centre, returning to the old one-page design.

There are other minor UI changes throughout the system, like the new calculator or phone app, but they are only design changes and don’t affect the functionality of the system.

macOS High Sierra

This is an operating system that is beeing perfected over the course of more than 15 years and is expected that the number of technical improvements is going to be on the lower side. Aside from the Apple File System, this year we can expect most improvements in the video pipeline and the graphic capabilities, enabling us smoother 4K experience and VR support. Other changes are more on the UI side in the apps that we use daily: Safari; Photos; Mail; Siri; iCloud; Spotlight; Notes and Messages.

watchOS 4

This segment doesn’t have much space for groundbreaking improvements. One of the best one is the implementation of machine learning into this system that combined with Siri will hopefully give us customized watch screen tailored to our daily habits. Other changes are mostly UI changes in the Activity, Workout and Music app.

One more thing…
Apple isn’t very pleased with President Trump decision to back up from the Paris Agreement. They talked on numerous occasion on this matter, but now they even made commercial narrated by the famous astronomer Carl Sagan.

They had one hell of a week and honestly speaking they completely nailed it. What they showed at the WWDC expands computing in a couple of ways. Hopefully, they will pursue this path in the future and in Autumn they’ll surprise us at a whole different level.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *