WWDC 2017 – What’s new?
WWDC is over. Apple introduced more powerful hardware, talked about TVOS, watchOS, iOS11, a new file system, and HomePod, Apple’s smart speaker that should function as a speaker first but also is a home assistant like Alexa.
But let’s take it step by step. This is an overview of the most important news.
Amazon is now part of the Apple TV app! So, if you have Amazon Prime, you can now watch all kinds of movies and series right from your Apple TV. No Amazon Fire Stick is needed.
There is a new Siri face on Apple Watch which applies Machine Learning and should theoretically show you the information that you need at this moment (flight, meeting, sunset etc.). There are two more faces: caleidoscope and Toy Story.
You can also do multiple workouts in one session. Simply add more workouts, like first running and then cycling.
They also presented a new music app right on the Apple Watch.
Apple introduced their new MacOS named “High Sierra”. The free upgrade will be available in fall but it is already available in beta now.
Safari will be faster with High Sierra and block auto-played music and purchase tracking. So, you won’t see the same product following you everywhere that you’ve already purchased.
Spotlight search can now be used for search in Mail. You can also use split view to compose your emails and still see the inbox of all your emails at the same time.
Apple also introduced their new file system on the Mac. They showed how quickly it worked to copy several videos. They were almost copied instantaneously.
The iMac will have an amazing screen and better processing power. Also memory and storage have been improved.
Apple announced VR support. With engines for VR, you can build amazing experiences on the iMac and make them (virtual) reality for the owners of VR glasses.
The MacBook and MacBook Pro got hardware upgrades, too and the 13inch MacBook Pro has now the same price tag as the MacBook (1299$).
There are lots of app updates in iOS 11. Let’s have a look:
The app drawer where you can select apps from within iMessage has been re-designed
All iMessages can now be sync’ed on all devices using icloud. I would have said this has been available before but maybe now the older ones are really only stored in the cloud whereas the latest ones are also stored on your iPhone.
Apple Pay can now be used for Person-to-Person transactions, also right from within the Messages app. The users will have an Apple PayCash account where the money goes. It can be used for transactions in the App Store or on iTunes or can be transferred to your bank account.
Siri is already available in 21 languages and in 36 countries. The voice will be more natural and the answers in text will be shown in a better visual interface. Siri can now also speak foreign languages. You say something in English and it can translate into Chinese, German, French and other languages. It speaks the translation out loud which is super practical when you travel as you can really “talk” to people. Siri, as AI, will also learn what you want to do next and give you keyboard suggestions or suggestions in the news if you have searched for something just before.
There will be a better compression, with Apples owns formats, for photos and video. Also, you will be able to select a different frame of a Live Photo if the one that is taken by default is not the optimal one. You can also play around with Live Photos and add effects like loops, bumps and long exposure. It looks really great! You can basically create your own GIFs and also create photos that you would have needed to wait a long time for (with tripod etc.).
With Memories (one of the folders/categories you have in the Photos app), you can have iOS create your own little stories, i.e. of your pets.
Control Center has been re-designed so that all activities fit on one screen. With 3D Touch you can get additional information. If you 3D Touch on the area with Bluetooth and Flight Mode, you also get Mobile Data etc.
Navigation in Maps has been improved. You can now get information about your speed and it shows you lane guidance. Also, it helps you to find your way around at major airports.
Do not disturb while driving
If you get distracted by your phone while driving, you can use the “Do not disturb while driving” app. It stops sending you notifications and would send auto-replies to the people who are texting you informing them that you are driving and that you will get back later. If you want to allow urgent messages then they will get an according message as well and the other person should text you again.
This app automatically detects when you are moving car-like. But if you are not driving because you are on the passenger seat or you are on a train, you can tell your iPhone that you are not driving.
Home Kit comes with new capabilities for speakers. Apple introduced the Multi-Room Audio. It uses AirPlay 2 and you can basically control all your speakers in the house. Friends can also add music to your playlist by being logged into the same wifi.
The Music app now shows what your friends are listening to, if your friends allow it.
The App Store now has 500 million visitors/week and 180 billion apps downloaded by today. Apple paid 70 billion USD to developers. They have faster app review times, usually under 24 hours, sometimes it only takes 1-2 hours.
They did a complete re-design of the App Store as well. There will be three new tabs: Today (showing new apps), Games (only showing games) and Apps (all apps except games).
There will be a new Machine Learning capability that comes with a Vision API and a Language API. The vision API can be used for image recognition and the language API for text recognition. With Core ML, iPhones Machine Learning capabilities will be 6 times faster than the ones of Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy 8.
There will be an ARKit that will allow you to build amazing stuff and visualize it wherever you like – it can be a game on your living room table, IKEA furnitures in your house and much more. They showed in a live demo how 2 objects and a light were placed on a table and according to how the objects and/or the light moved, the shadow would move with it. Pretty smart!
There will be a “normal” sized iPad with a 10.5 inch display. The display will packed with better hardware and also ProMotion which is a higher refresh rate. The refresh rate would alter dependent on what you are looking at. The highest will be 120Hz. This means, writing with Apple Pencil gets even better. There will only be a latency of 20 ms.
They also demoed Affinity Photo on the iPad Pro with finger gestures and the Apple Pencil. It was amazing what they could do. The processing power was great and the iPad can be more and more used as a computer replacement. It will also have the same camera (12 Megapixel) as the iPhone 7.
Talking about the iPad Pro. There is more news on iOS 11 for the iPad!
iOS 11 for iPad
Multi-tasking and drag&drop
They introduced great multi-tasking features like that you can pull up an app slider and then simply select an app from there. The whole app-switching experience has been improved. They also introduced drag&drop!!! This is most likely my favorite feature in iOS 11 for iPad. You can drag&drop around as you like. There are so many different possibilities. You can also use 2 fingers and multi-select and select an image from one app and move it to another (like an email or presentation). Really great! This is something, I have always been waiting for!
They also introduced the file system for the iPad! iCloud and several other cloud systems are available and it works like how you would a file system expect to work. Drag&drop is great here, too!
They also introduced Markup which is a great app you can use with Apple Pencil. You can add Markups to your notes, in an email and on a screenshot. When you take a screenshot it will be available in the bottom corner of your screen as a little thumbnail and you can open it up and make changes with Markup. This is really powerful!
The Notes app got a great upgrade, too and it can now also learn to recognize your handwriting which makes your handwritten notes searchable.
The last thing Apple announced today was HomePod. HomePod is their Alexa or Google Home competitor but they announced it as a very powerful speaker. It would be worth listening to it in person and see how the spatial sound that recognizes the room in which the speaker is located sounds. Siri helps you to answer questions about the music she is playing or is supposed to play. The embedded voice assistant answer question like Alexa and I would hope its general knowledge is a little broader than Alexa’s.
What do I think?
So, my take on the WWDC keynote is that there were a lot of hardware improvements, which is great but which doesn’t make me buy a new device as I am already happy with the hardware I have now. iOS 11, especially on iPad, looks amazing and I cannot wait to try it out!
I am a bit disappointed by the HomePod as I thought Apple would come out with a kick-ass voice assistant that also has a good speaker. It is to see how good it is. Of course, it’s supposed to work great with Home Kit and Apple Music. At the moment, I am using Spotify, though and if it is not open for third party music apps then it will not help me much.
I hope I could give you a good overview. The whole keynote can be seen here.
If you watched it, what is your take on the WWDC keynote?
Have a great week!