At last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple brought big changes to iOS with iOS 10 and gave us macOS Sierra rather than another iteration of OS X.
So, what exactly will be announced at this year’s WWDC keynote address at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose? We’ll be following the action right here at the Rocket Yard, so check back for updates leading up to and during the keynote beginning at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. Until then, check out our predictions and guesses for WWDC 2017.
Updating Your (tv and watch) OS
As in years past, Tim Cook was the first to take the stage where he promised “the best and biggest WWDC ever”. Cook gave an overview of the conference and “dispensed with the [statistical] updates” other than to say “Apple’s doing great!”.
Cook then dove into Apple TV and tvOS, announcing that Amazon is coming to the TV app and all Apple TVs later this year with Prime video. After touching on tvOS, Cook handed off to Kevin Lynch to talk about watchOS. Among the announcements for watchOS were a Siri watch face as well as a new dynamic Kaleidoscope face, and Toy Story character faces. There are also several new workout capabilities coming to watchOS including monthly activity challenges. The Music app also gets a refresh with new playlist and album art functionalities.
macOS High Sierra
Craig Federighi announced that Apple’s intention is to “perfect” macOS Sierra. This led to the unveiling of the latest macOS iteration: macOS High Sierra. First up for High Sierra improvements is Safari. Safari now features autoplay blocking to stop those noisy unexpected videos we run into online. Safari also now has Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which uses machine learning to identify trackers.
Other macOS High Sierra changes:
- Mail now has full-screen Split View
- Photos app has new organizational and editing tools and a new imports view in chronological order.
- APFS: After its announcement at last year’s WWDC, Apple is finally bringing the Apple File System (APFS) to macOS High Sierra as the new default file system on Mac.
- Metal 2: Federighi announced the arrival of Metal 2 with new optimizations and APIs and up to 10x better draw call throughput. Metal for VR will also be brought to High Sierra.
- Available as a developer beta today, public beta available in late June, and free upgrade in Fall.
- Available for all Macs supporting macOS Sierra.
The iMac see several hardware updates including:
- “Best Mac displays ever” with 500 nits, up to 43% brighter with one billion colors.
- Intel Kaby Lake processors.
- Up to 32GB RAM on the 21.5-inch iMac and up to 64GB on RAM on the 27-inch iMac.
- Fusion Drive is now standard on all 27-inch iMac configurations and high-end 21.5-inch iMac. Up to 50% faster SSDs with up to 2TB storage.
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports on the back.
- Next-generation graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 (integrated). Up to 80% faster than previous generation.
- Discrete graphics in 21.5-inch 4K iMac include AMD Radeon Pro 555 & 560 GPUs with up to 4GB VRAM; up to 3x faster than previous generation.
- The 27-inch iMac 5K models get upgraded AMD Radeon Pro chips (570, 575, and 580 GPUs) with up to 8GB of VRAM.
- The 4K 21.5-inch iMac will start at $1299. The 5K 27-inch iMac starts at $1799.
- Mac notebooks also get minor pricing updates; MacBook Air gets “bump in megahertz”. These updates are shipping today.
There’s a brand new addition to the Mac lineup: The iMac Pro. Here are some of the specs of the new Space Gray iMac:
- Greater than 80% increase in cooling capacity yet still “quiet.”
- Workstation-class performance; “The most powerful Mac ever”
- Up to 18 cores.
- iMac Pro is configurable with up to 128GB ECC RAM.
- Up to 16GB of VRAM.
- Up to 400 Gbps of memory bandwidth.
- Up to 11 Teraflops of single-precision computation.
- Up to 22 Teraflops of half-precision computation.
- 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports. Built-in 10Gb Ethernet port.
- Priced at $4999; available in December.
Turning up to iOS 11
Federighi returned to the stage to talk about iOS 11. Here are some of the highlights.
- A new iMessage app drawer for easier app and sticker use
- iMessage will get optimized device storage and smaller and faster backups on iOS and macOS with messages stored and synced in iCloud across devices.
- Apple Pay person to person payments integrated into Messages app. (Related: How to Use Apple Pay for Your MacSales.com Order)
- Siri will get a new voice that’s powered by deep learning techniques.
- Siri gets new beta translation capabilities.
- New Photo features including Depth API for developers and portrait mode features.
- Photo Library will be smarter with new events.
- Control center will now be a single page.
- Notification center merges with lock screen.
- Live Photos and Apple News get new capabilities.
- Maps gets floor plans for malls and airports and lane guidance while driving.
- There is a new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature to prevent distractions while driving.
- AirPlay 2 brings party mixes and multi-room audio.
- App Store gets a redesign.
- Augmented Reality kit introduced.
- Developer preview available today. Public beta available later this month.
The iPad see several hardware and software updates.
- The new iPad Pro now has a 10.5-inch screen with smaller left and right bezels.
- New Smart Keyboard and Smart Covers.
- All iPad Pro models get refreshed display and refresh rate of 120Hz, up from 60Hz in the old models.
- New A10X Fusion chip and 30% better CPU performance and 40% better graphics performance.
- Gets same camera system as iPhone 7.
- Both Pro models start at 64GB of storage.
- Available for shipping next week.
- New dock with more apps available.
- New multitasking features.
- Drag and drop feature.
- New Files app which supports third-party cloud storage providers such as Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive.
One last thing…
Phil Schiller took the stage for the final WWDC 2017 announcement: The HomePod. Apple’s smart home speaker, the HomePod will feature spatial awareness, an A8 chip, 7 beam-forming tweeter array, precision acoustic horns with directional control and an Apple-designed woofer.
The look is reminiscent of the 2013 Mac Pro and will “rock the house”, according to Schiller. It also features six microphones and Siri capabilities. A screen on top indicates Siri is in use.
Were you surprised by any WWDC announcements? Let us know in the comments!
Follow Our Live Tweet of WWDCTweets by @macsales