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WWDC 2017 happened a couple of days ago, and just like every year, Apple unveiled the curtains its newest upgrades to their proprietary software with some hardware to match. Except for this year, we were treated to one extra surprise. Without further ado, let’s get down to all the things Apple announced!
WatchOS is Apple’s OS for their smartwatch: Apple Watch. The 4th iteration of the OS was unveiled on Monday and brought about quite a number of appreciated upgrades, especially the one revolving around Siri. Apple’s AI assistant uses machine learning to keep a track of your routines and patterns, displaying information quite accurate to what you want to see and when you want to see it.
New watch faces were revealed, including Siri, a kaleidoscope and Toy Story’s Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear! Looks like Apple is joining in on the 90s nostalgia bandwagon to attract more customers. Now you’ll be reminded of how old you’ve become and how life isn’t as easy anymore every time you look at your wrist. Thanks, Apple!
Moving on, the Activity app is seeing improvements in the shape of more personal notifications. The app will try to display information more relevant to your activity history and goals you’ve set in hopes of keeping you motivated by your progress. Additionally, some sports and activities are getting updates. Pool swimming tracking will now start your lap the instant you tap the edge of the pool. This allows for High-Intensity Interval Tracking for all the precise fitness jocks.
1. Activity App On WatchOS-4
A new piece of functionality WatchOS 4 brings along is the syncing of fitness data gathered by your Apple Watch with NFC enabled gym gear. All you have to do is bring both devices next to each other and you’ll start to get more accurate fitness tracking data. Finally, the Music app gets some love. Apple playlists will now automatically be transferred to your Apple Watch. The album at the window has been redesigned to pave way for the visual matching of the upcoming redesign in album art.
2. The new Music App
WatchOS 4 will hit all compatible wearables this fall.
3. iOS 11
Ah yes, how can it be WWDC without a new iOS version? iOS 11 brings a ton of new features for iPhone users and even more for iPad ones.
The most popular native iOS app now has an improved applications tray and improved synchronization across all devices. Signing in on one device while being logged in on another will have all your chat logs transferred over. So texting on one device is now kind of like texting at all, huh? But guess what? It goes for deleting too. Delete a conversation/message on one device and it’s gone on them all.
The fact that all your messages can now be on all devices means the messages are being stored in the cloud. Not that it should be much, but now you’ll have some extra memory space to play with. A tiny addition to the features list is the option for one-handed use where the keyboard squeezes itself into the lower corner of the screen, which we’ve seen many times in android already.
The biggest update to Messages is in the form of person to person money transactions. Now you’ll be able to transfer money to the people you’re chatting with via the Messages App. Needless to say, that is if you both have an Apple Pay account.
5. Siri becomes slightly more human
Just like the heading says, the newest update to Siri is in the way she communicates. Now she’ll be speaking to her owners in a more natural tone, parting ways with robotic speech of old. Both the female and male versions of siri are getting this update, obviously.
Additionally, Siri can now translate languages! Although in its beta form, Siri can translate English to Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish with proper pronunciation of whatever word you get her to say.
6. Control Center and Camera
The new redesign in the control center sees the settings separated from one another in boxed widgets to avoid accidental clicks. Force Touch is still supported, giving extra functionality to the settings when pressed with different pressure levels.
New Control Center
The camera App is getting a few upgrades you probably won’t notice right off the bat. iOS 11 switches from h.264 and JPEG video/image encoding to HEVC/HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) for better compressed videos and images respectively. HDR and low-light performance improvements are in tow as well. The photos app gets more visual updates like creating GIF-like images by looping the Live Photos and post editing such as blurring out the background to create a majestic effect on the motion at hand.
7. Do not disturb and Indoor Maps
Do Not Disturb While Driving is a new feature that iOS 11 introduces to prevent you from being distracted by your phone while driving. Unimportant notifications will be temporarily blocked and texts will be automatically responded to with a ‘get back to you’ message.
The cool part about this feature is that it aims to automatically detect that you’re driving via your phone’s sensors and radios and asks if you want to activate the feature. Of course, it’s not a hardcoded one so you can disable it whenever you want. Not that anybody really uses Apple Maps, but now support for indoor maps is included with iOS 11. The feature will initially launch in Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London and New York. Indoor Maps introduced in iOS 11.
8. AirPlay 2, Apple Home speaker support and the new App Store
Apple Home gets an update by adding speakers to its supported devices list. You’d think it’s a coincidence Apple revealed both this and the HomePod on the same day. AirPlay 2 now allows you to create a multi-speaker system in your home with the remote control being you handy dandy little iPhone. Additionally, devices connected to your Wi-Fi can contribute to whatever the speakers are playing. Speaker manufacturers such as Bang and Olufsen, Beats, Bose, Denon and B&W have stated that they’ll support AirPlay 2 in their coming products.
9. Redesigned App Store
The app store has been become more streamlined. The new design features more rich and engaging app descriptions accompanied by images and videos tempting you to click that download button. On opening the app, you’ll be greeted with the Today tab which will showcase all of today’s hottest apps. ‘Game of the day’ and ‘App of the day’ will be updated daily too.
10. iPad productivity goes through the roof!
The first feature on Apple’s bucket list for the iPad is the new redesigned app dock, now accessible from any screen. It now holds more apps than before and keeps your most frequently used on the right. Want to use two apps simultaneously? Just drag it off the dock and drop it next to your open app!
If you have an iPad Pro, you’ll be glad to hear the Apple Pencil is getting new note taking features. Now you can take instant notes by touching the Apple Pencil on the display while the lock screen is showing and everything is saved to your Notes app. To make things more productive, there’s a new document scanning feature! Now, you can take a picture of the document via your device’s camera. The OS will automatically straighten it out for you and you can edit it as you please. Another new feature introduced is the Files app. Can you guess what it does? Nada? Well it’s basically a file manager intended to make easy your file transfers between local devices, with the added functionality of handling online files as well.
11. The new iPad Pro 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch
Not like we didn’t expect it, two new iPad Pro models have been introduced. The 12.9-inch model is the original iPad Pro’s successor while the 10.5-inch model follows suite for last year’s 9.7-inch model. Despite visually sticking to the design pattern of their ancestors’, as successors both models feature significant upgrades under the hood.
Apple is boasting that the displays on the new iPads are “the most advanced displays on the planet”. They can now cap out at a higher brightness of 600 nits coupled with lower reflectivity values, allowing for easily enjoyable HDR content without worrying about unnecessary reflections. The biggest upgrade to the screen is what Apple calls ProMotion. Basically, the screen refreshes at a rate of up to 120Hz. Refresh rates depend on the task at hand, so the battery is not wasted. Functionality with the Apple Pencil also sees an “industry-leading” latency of just 20ms so it’ll be almost as real as writing on a piece of paper with an actual pencil!
The SoC powering the whole show is Apple’s new A10x Fusion chipset, promising an increase of 30% in CPU performance and 40% increase in graphics performance. The A10x Fusion has 6 core configurations similar to the big.Little one we’ve seen in multiple Qualcomm processors. Basically, there are 3 high-frequency cores and 3 low ones, each set is active depending on how heavy the task is. Camera upgrade turns out to be the same setup the iPhone 7 has, meaning all the features the flagship phone has, the new iPads have too.
Battery life is again promised at 10 hours of consistent use. A welcome improvement is an increase in base storage options: the minimum storage option is now 64GB. Sister versions are accompanied with 128GB and 512GB if you have the cash for it.
Base prices for both models will start at $649 and $799 respectively. Memory increases will be an extra hundred bucks per jump. Cellular models will start at $799 and $929 respectively. New accessories include a USB-C to Lightening cable, an SD card reader, and a UDB camera adapter. A to be released accessory is a full-size smart keyboard which supports 30 languages.
12. HomePod: Apple’s competitor to Google Home and Amazon Echo
Apple joined in on the smart speaker bandwagon by revealing a surprise new product: HomePod. HomePod aims to differentiate itself from the competition by providing a superior audio experience and its integration with Siri. The HomePod is designed so its halfway between a wireless speaker and a smart home speaker.
Despite being only 7 inches tall, the little speaker can make some noise! It comprises of a 4-inch woofer, six microphones claiming to be able to distinguish your voice even through loud music, and seven tweeters purposed to direct and focus the sound. Each component is powered by an A8 chip, the one found in the iPhone 6. A nifty feature is spatial awareness. The HomePod can detect free space in a room and adjust its volume accordingly.
At this point, it’s needless to say that Siri is well integrated into the HomePod. However, so is Apple Music! A subscription to Apple Music will allow you to access its entire library and your own of course.
Siri will be retaining all of its current and newly announced capabilities, meaning info about the news and sports can be provided and tasks, like taking notes, creating alarms and even translating speech, are all there. For the HomePod specifically, Siri will be showing off its music-related speech recognition with answering questions like “Who’s singing this song?” or “Play something new”. Pricing of the HomePod is going to be $350 when it launches in December 2017. It’ll be available in space grey and white.
So that’s a wrap with all that happened at WWDC 2017. Another year, another fun-filled day of exciting announcements from Apple! WWDC 2017 happened a couple of days ago, and just like every year, Apple unveiled the curtains its newest upgrades to their proprietary software with some hardware to match. Except for this year, we were treated to one extra surprise. Without further ado, let’s get down to all the things Apple announced!