My thoughts on Apple’s 2017 WWDC news

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On Monday, Apple announced at its keynote the latest major product developments and releases at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). Below are my thoughts on the more noteworthy (in my opinion) aspects.

Apple TV

Amazon’s Video app is finally coming to the Apple TV. That gives a bit more platform versatility to the Apple TV.

Apple Watch

Toy Story themed watch faces are coming to the Apple Watch. If wondering, the new faces feature Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear.

macOS High Sierra

The next version of macOS is called “High Sierra.” Among the improvements include:

  • H.265 as the new default for video.
  • The Apple File System (APFS) will replace the longtime HFS file system as the default.
  • Safari will get blocking of auto-playing videos, a welcome development in my opinion. It’s one of the most annoying recent “developments” in web design. Apparently, site creators/advertisers seem unconcerned about the fact most people have mobile data caps.

iOS improvements

iOS version 11’s coming out. Among improvements include a redesigned app store, plus better photo and video compression.

iMac upgrades, plus the new iMac Pro

The iMac Pro at WWDC 2017
Photo by Nobuyuki Hayashi (Flickr / CC BY)

Perhaps to make up for the lack of upgrades to the Mac Pro, the iMac is being beefed up. Upgrades for graphics and RAM are coming, plus Fusion drives for all 27-inch models. The seventh generation Intel processor (“Kaby Lake”) is also coming for all iMacs.

However, the biggest news is the release of the “iMac Pro.” Starting at $5,000, the new iMac is aimed at professional users whose only high-end Mac choice is the now-dated Mac Pro. The iMac Pro ships in December, and comes with various ports.

I’m not sure how well this will actually satisfy those who’re disappointed with the Mac Pro’s state, especially if one already has a separate monitor. On the other hand, it’s better than waiting for a Mac Pro update, and the iMac’s already a popular production form factor in certain circles.

MacBook upgrades

The MacBook line is receiving incremental upgrades, namely faster SSD drives and Kaby Lake processors. The 15″ Pro model will receive improved graphics.

iPad improvements aplenty

iPad in use
Photo by fancycrave1 (Pixabay / CC0)

The iPad received much more attention than the MacBook line, with a lot of improvements announced.

The iPad Pro will now receive a 10.5-inch model, replacing the now-discontinued 9.7-inch Pro. It comes with improved graphics and processor performance. The new base storage amount for the iPad Pro is 64GB. The starting price for the 10.5-inch Pro is $649.

Also coming to the iPad (and iOS) are vast improvements to its working usage. The biggest changes include a dock, an actual File app, and improved drag and drop capabilities.

It’s obvious Apple wants to position the Pro as a laptop replacement, similar to rival Microsoft’s Surface tablets. (They even announced improvements to the Apple Pencil.) The addition of an actual File system app, dock, and drag and drop improvements are clearly aimed at improving the iPad Pro’s usefulness for doing work. Apple had shied away from a File app in the iPad’s earlier days, feeling back then it was mainly a consumption-oriented device.

Meanwhile, the iPad Mini went unchanged and unmentioned. A few tech sites online are thinking it might not be long before the Mini’s discontinued. While it can take awhile for Apple to discontinue some items in its line (see how long the iPod Classic lingered), I wouldn’t be surprised if it does go away.

The HomePod speaker

Finally, Apple’s announced the release of the HomePod speaker. Similar to Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, the HomePod will feature similar Siri-tied functionality. The HomePod costs $349, comes in white and “space gray,” and will initially sell by the end of the year in the US, UK, and Australia. Other countries will come next year. However, it seems odd to not release it to Canada (the country next door) at launch.

Twitter made a lot of snarky (but amusing) remarks about how much the space gray colored HomePod resembles the Mac Pro.

Conclusion

And that’s all. It’s obvious Apple’s putting a lot of effort into its mobile devices. iPad users and MacBook users should be happy, though we’ll see how popular the iMac Pro is among higher-end Mac users.

Do you have any interest in the new Apple devices or upgrades to macOS/iOS?


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