WWDC 2017: All the news and releases recapped

WWDC 2017: All the news and releases recapped

Apple’s annual bash for developers usually delivers a few key software releases, but this year we have a bumper crop, with new iMac, a refreshed notebook lineup and updates to every OS Apple are currently running. Oh, and of course the new HomePod smart speaker system. Let’s start with the hardware…

iMac

With Mac Pro undergoing a complete overhaul after 2013’s redesign, creative professionals have been turning to top spec iMac models to support demanding work. Apple seem to officially acknowledge this with the 2017 iMac models, which boast all-new speedy Kaby Lake processors, boosted graphics (the entry level gets Iris Plus 640, up to 80% faster, the 21” models get Radeon Pro 555 and 560 with 4GB VRAM, up to 3x faster, and the 27” iMac gets Radeon Pro 570, 575 or 580, with 4GB VRAM).

Apple have said the display on the new iMacs is also the best ever on a Mac, 43% brighter with 500 nits and 10-bit dithering which basically boils down to them looking really, really good.

We also got a sneak peek at a brand new iMac Pro, due to ship in December. This new version is going to be a great prospect for video editing, as well as VR content creation, with workstation class performance, new fan architecture, 80% better cooling and quiet operation. Apple announced it would come with an 8 Core Xeon processor, upgradable all the way up to an insane 18 Cores, with Radeon Vega graphics, 16GB VRAM and 11 teraflops. iMac Pro will also come with up to 128GB ECC memory (more than twice that of current iMacs), up to 40TB storage, built-in 10Gb Ethernet and four Thunderbolt ports. Most importantly, it’ll be the first iMac to come in a fetching space grey.

Mac notebooks

In terms of notebooks, there wasn’t anything Earth-shattering to report – MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro all get a bump up to new Kaby Lake processors, as expected, and Apple announced they would also receive faster storage and graphics. They’re also dropping the price of the entry level models.

iPad Pro

iPad users will now have a third size option to choose from: the 10.5″ iPad Pro. Apple are putting that extra screen space to good use, giving you a full size onscreen keyboard with support for more than 30 languages. But don’t worry about it getting unwieldy – despite being 20% larger that the 9.7” iPad, it still only weighs a pound.

The new 10’5” iPad Pro and the updated 12.9” model both sport a speedy A10X Fusion chip powering a six-core CPU, which gives you 30% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphics performance than the previous generation A9X chip. The two leading iPad models have also gotten new screens capable of a 120Hz refresh rate, which combines with a new Pencil to deliver the most responsive iPad Pro performance ever, with just 20 milliseconds latency.

To save you battery life (iPad Pro can still clock up to ten hours on a single charge), the refresh rate is intelligently adjusted based on what you’re doing. If you’re viewing stills, it’ll drop down to the standard 24Hz, play back movies at 48Hz, and then move in to high gear so you can deal with interactive content at 120Hz.

watchOS 4

Good news for anyone rocking an Apple Watch, as watchOS got an update to version 4. Apple showed off new Faces, powered by Siri, which are designed to use machine learning to always display the most relevant information to you and dynamically update the display. Activity and Workout get new features which will appeal to all sports and gym bunnies, but we were most excited by the colourful Kaleidoscope display feature and, oh yes, animated Toy Story characters. They’ve got a friend in us.

tvOS

Apple TV fans rejoice: Amazon Prime Video is coming to tvOS, making it much easier to binge boxsets of the Man In the High Castle and Transparent.

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All the news from Apple’s spring event

All the news from Apple’s spring event

It’s not every spring that we see an iPhone launch, so Apple’s ‘Let Us Loop You In’ event from Cupertino took us a little by surprise, with not only the new iPhone SE on the agenda, but also a new smaller iPad Pro 9.7″. We’ve rounded up all the news on those, plus the latest on iOS 9.3, Apple TV and more below (as well as our over-excited live tweeting…)

Apple iPhone SE

First up, in terms of new product at least, was Apple’s new 4″ iPhone SE. Apple are positioning this as both an option for those users who prefer a smaller phone, and who want a more affordable option, coming in at a modest 4″ and $399. Having said that, it doesn’t skimp on features and specs, matching up to iPhone 6 in most departments, but being more akin to the old iPhone 5 in design.

iPhone SE at Jigsaw24

They’re calling it the most powerful 4-inch phone ever, with a 64-bit A9 chip that’s great for graphics-intensive games and their most advanced camera system – 12MP iSight, Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, Live Photos and 4K video capture, plus a front-facing cam with Retina flash to help you get the perfect selfie. Hey Siri, Touch ID and Apple Pay are all present and correct, with battery improvements and speedy LTE and WiFi.

Read more about Apple’s iPhone SE here.

iPad Pro 9.7″

The other headliner at the event was iPad Pro, with a new 9.7″ model that takes everything great about the larger 12″ iPad Pro and shrinks it down to a more portable form factor. As with the larger version, the main talking point here is the power-efficient oxide TFT display that’s 40% less reflective than iPad Air 2 and 25% brighter, with a wide colour gamut and 25% greater colour saturation. It now sports True Tone technology which measures colour temperature of ambient light and adjusts to match, becoming warmer for more comfortable working.

iPad Pro 9.7" at Jigsaw24

The A9X chip gives great processor and graphics performance, making it ideal for modelling and rendering, and it also features the most advanced iPad camera ever – a 12MP iSight cam with Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, Live Photos and a front-facing 5MP cam too. Then there’s the four built-in speakers which give it twice the audio performance of the iPad Air 2, and support for the excellent Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.

Read more about Apple’s iPad Pro 9.7″ here.

And the rest…

Among the other, smaller announcements, we had new bands for Apple Watch (including a woven nylon strap and new colours), and incremental software releases. tvOS gets an update with improved Siri functionality and new folders system, while iOS 9.3 sees a new Education Preview suite designed for students, teachers and administrators, Night Shift mode which switches colours in the evening to the warmer end of the spectrum to help you sleep better, password-protected Notes and other updates in CarPlay, News and Health.

Apple also showed off a new addition to ResearchKit, with new CareKit, an open source scheme to build apps to enable people to take more active role in their care. And they were keen to stress their green credentials too, mentioning that they are operating with 100% renewable energy in 23 countries, using more and more recycled and sustainable packaging among other good stuff.

As it happened

It’s become a bit of a tradition to unleash our Core Operations Manager Charlotte Barton on our Twitter feed during Apple launches, and this time round was a real stream of consciousness belter, touching on iPad, iPhone, yaks and elbow patches…

 

 

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