iPads, iMacs, a speaker and everything else Apple announced at WWDC 2017

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Apple’s WWDC 2017 took place last night and apart from a slew of updates to operating systems, the firm also announced a few new products.

First up is the Homepod speaker. The Homepod is a smart speaker that is poised to square off against the likes of the Amazon Echo and the Google Home.

The short and fat sound tube features spacial awareness which is used to tune the speaker to give a better aural experience in the room the Homepod is in.

Homepod also has a Musicologist feature which works with Apple Music so you can stream your favourite tunes and if you aren’t sure what you’re listening to you, Siri is an utterance away from helping you.

The Homepod is expected to ship in December and will intially be available in the US, UK and Australia with a starting price of $349 (~R4400 direct conversion).

What beast is this? Oh, it’s a new iPad Pro

Despite the iPad’s failure to rake in the big bucks last quarter, Apple is releasing an update to the Pro series of slates.

The new Pro will be available in two variants, a 10.5inch and 12.9inch model.

The tablets have some interesting specifications. The Pros are fitted with Apple’s own A10X hexa-core CPU as well as a 12-core GPU. Apple says users should see a 30% increase in processor performance over the last generation.

Big or small, at least we have a choice of iPad Pros this time.

That’s not all users will “see”. Get it? Oh right I haven’t gotten there yet.

The Retina display in the updated iPads is brighter and can reach a peak brightness of 600 nits. But the real star of the iPad show is ProMotion.

iPad Pro 2017 Dollar Pricing
Storage Capacity iPad Pro 10.5inch iPad Pro 12.9inch
64GB $649 $799
256GB $749 $899
512GB $949 $1,099

The tech allows the iPad to deliver refresh rates of 120Hz for what we can only imagine is the smoothest visual experience on a tablet ever.

ProMotion also improves the Apple Pencil’s latency to just 20 milliseconds and according to Apple the tech will adjust the refresh rate when needed to reduce power consumption.

Cool tech but ProMotion is a terrible name.

iMac, now in Pro

The iMac desktops are also getting an upgrade. The new all-in-ones will feature improved Retina displays, Intel Kaby Lake processors and support for USB Type C.

Apple has said that the new iMac will have a 4K edition as well as a standard 21.5inch one with prices starting at $1 299 and $1 099 respectively.

There will also be an iMac Pro shipping in December that will house a 5K display, 128GB of ECC memory, four Thunderbolt ports and an eight-core Xeon processor though this can be upgraded to an 18-core version if needed.

The iMac Pro will be available in Space Grey.

The iMac Pro carries a rather expensive starting price tag of $4 999. Ouch!

iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra

Apple’s operating systems are also getting an update.

The new version of iOS will sport an update to Siri which allows the assistant to translate sentences into different languages.

Users’ iMessages will now be stored in the cloud and users can manage these messages on any device linked to the relevant Apple account.

Apple also revealed that users can send money to their contacts using iMessage.

Perhaps one of the coolest features in iOS 11 is a Do Not Disturb mode that kicks in while you’re driving and should stop you from being distracted by your mates asking for money via iMessage.

On to macOS and the follow-up to Sierra – High Sierra.

Silly name aside the updated OS will feature photo-editing tools and filtering tools that will allow users to sort images by keywords or faces in the images.

High Sierra will also soon support external graphics via Thunderbolt 3 and Metal 2’s introduction. Developers can order a Metal 2 Developer Kit which will allow them to create VR games and apps using Apple hardware.

Eventually users could get an external graphics module to attach to their Mac or iMac and turn Apple’s gear into a VR gaming beast. Valve has announced that SteamVR for macOS is now in beta.

And finally, watchOS

Apple also revealed improvements for watchOS 4. The new OS features faces that can display standard Siri reminders and adjusts to what your schedule is.

Fitness has also been made a key focus of watchOS 4 with NFC data sharing enabled so a user can tap their Watch to gym equipment to get more accurate information about calories burned.

Users will also be given monthly challenges to encourage excercise.

If you were hoping for news on a new iPhone sadly you’ll have to wait until later this year for news on the follow up to the iPhone 7 but we think there’s enough Apple tech to tide you over until then.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.