Hey, good morning!
Apple's big developer conference had plenty for fans (and frenemies) to chew over. The keynote ran for two and a half hours (don't worry: we made a shorter version), and covered iOS 11, new iMacs, a new iPad Pro and Apple's much-teased smart speaker, the HomePod. That wasn't all. Oh no.
Yep, the "one more thing" during today's WWDC presentation was Apple's oft-rumored living room assistant. As it turns out, the HomePod is differentiating itself from the competition by focusing on audio quality. Inside it holds a four-inch woofer, seven tweeters and one A8 processor (first seen in the iPhone 6 / 6 Plus), and in a demo, it sounded better than the Sonos PLAY:3 and Amazon Echo. We'll find out more about what it can do before it ships in December, but for now, Apple's pitch is focusing on simple home automation and multiroom audio with AirPlay 2.
Apple's original 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with its sheer size and high-end specs, made it a standout of the tablet scene, while the Apple Pencil made to work with it made it a hit with designers and other creatives. Now, just a year after Apple introduced the smaller capable 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the company has replaced it with a new larger model with a 10.5-inch screen. It has a display that's 20 percent larger than its predecessor, squeezed into essentially the same space by reducing the bezels by 40 percent. Perhaps most importantly from a physical perspective is that the tablet still weighs in at just one pound. It's time to reassess the iPad lineup yet again.
It's not the grandest of macOS updates, but Apple's web browser gets some love from the High Sierra upgrade. Senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi claimed that the upgraded Safari tops all desktop browsers in speed: He even went as far as to say it's the world's fastest desktop browser. The browser also features autoplay blocking: It detects sites that shouldn't be playing video and pauses them. With the update, macOS also finally supports VR -- and Apple's external GPU dev kit will be what virtual reality creators will need.
Also: Say hello to Apple File System (APFS). Apple claims that High Sierra is its fastest operating system ever, and Apple File is part of that, offering much better performance and security than before. As Federighi showed on the stage, copying files now runs nearly instantly on Apple File, compared to the now-decades-old HFS filesystem. Along with the speed, APFS supports far more files than ever, letting you put nine quintillion of them on a single volume. Security-wise, it includes multikey encryption, making it tough for bad guys (or law enforcement and spies) to crack even if they have physical access to your drive. That encryption will also work in a unified way across all of Apple's devices.
Apple has another iMac to reveal. The iMac Pro is a powerful, familiar-looking all-in-one, decked in Space Gray -- and the company says it's the most powerful Mac ever. Period. The pro-level computer will ship with up to 18-core Xeon processors as well as Radeon Pro Vega graphics. That's apparently enough for up to 11 Teraflops of single precision (or 22 Teraflops at "half precision") processing power. The 27-inch Retina 5K display lies on top of an all-flash memory architecture with an all-new thermal design, adding 80 percent more cooling capacity to match all that processing power.
The latest version of Apple's mobile operating system features a smarter version of Siri that does a better job of understanding what you need to know and presenting that information when it's relevant. Apple Maps is ready to navigate indoors, new tools will give augmented reality apps like Pokemon Go a boost and the App Store is getting its first major redesign in... ever. Also, a new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature is intended to help people keep their eyes on the road, while iMessage and Apple Pay are teaming up for person-to-person payments.
On iPad, the changes are meant to make you more productive. A new dock will try to guess which app you'll need next and is similar to the same feature on macOS. Meanwhile, Slide Over multitasking makes it easier to use more than one app at once, there's a cloud-connected File manager app and drag-and-drop is ready to move more of the information you deal with on a daily basis like multiple pictures and links. It's a pretty big update, so check out our recap of the new features here.
Apple kicked off its WWDC event by quickly mentioning its wrist- and TV-based platforms, albeit briefly. For now, the only Apple TV news is that an Amazon Prime Video app is on the way, while the Apple Watch is getting another big update with watchOS 4. There's a new Siri-powered watch face that takes a few hints from Google Now with contextual updates (like traffic alerts when it's time to go to work), a revamped dock and improved Fitness features to track all of your workouts. Oh, and there's also some game called Monument Valley 2.