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The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference kicked off on Monday with a keynote speech featuring top executives unveiling a plethora of updates for several Apple products. The 5-day event is held every year for Apple to present its newest technology to software developers, and this year’s conference sold out with a total audience of over 5,000. In case you missed it, here are the 6 biggest announcements of the night.
1. Introducing Amazon Prime to Apple TV
Apple’s tvOS already has 50 sponsors integrated into its application, and now Amazon is joining the club. Prime Video will soon become available on Apple TVs, iPhones, and iPads everywhere, including thousands of movies and TV shows, along with original Amazon content.
2. The Apple Watch Gets an Upgrade
Some of the biggest new features highlighted with watchOS 4 focus on the fitness and health capabilities of the Apple Watch. A new user interface for the Workout app increases data input precision while users are swimming, running, or playing other sports. A new series of partnerships also allows for two-way data transfer between the Apple Watch and gym equipment so that workout information matches up and provides accurate analysis. Additionally, machine learning techniques make the display faces more personalized and contextually relevant for users, with reminders, photo memories, wallet passes, and more. Other updates include a new Music app that allows better integration for users’ playlists, and even an addition of Toy Story characters to the new interface.
3. MacOS High Sierra, A Powerful Supercomputer, and more Mac updates
The new MacOS High Sierra has several useful features, from video autoplay blocking to intelligent tracking prevention to protect users’ privacy. Other updates include highly improved photo editing tools, a new file management system, and high-efficiency graphics technologies with support for VR.
Next up is the iMac Pro, “the most powerful Mac ever.” With a 5K display and an 18-core xeon processor, this supercomputer supports workstation class performance and will be available for $5000 in December 2017. The rest of the iMac and MacBook series get an upgrade as well, with Intel’s 7th generation “Kaby Lake” core processors, twice the memory capacity of the previous generation, and next generation high-quality graphics.
4. iPad Pro and Apple Pencil Improve Performance
The iPad Pro will have a full-screen keyboard available with more than 30 languages, a slightly larger 10.5-inch screen, and the introduction of ProMotion, a faster and more dynamic display refresh rate. With an A10X fusion chip, the same camera as the iPhone 7 (and the ability to shoot 4K video), double the memory capacity, and improved photo editing software, the iPad Pro has upgraded significantly from its predecessor.
Additionally, the iOS 11 update offers a significantly new design. A dock of apps at the bottom of the screen allows users to switch between apps easily, and open several apps at once with a split-screen view. The new drag and drop feature lets users move text, pictures, and URLs across different apps, with the multi-select option adding even more functionality. Apple is also introducing Files, which supports other cloud services such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox.
Apple Pencil brings Markup to the iPad, letting users scan and sign documents or edit screenshots and pictures by writing on them. Another cool feature includes handwriting recognition–as a result, users can digitally search through their notes, combine typed and handwritten notes, and insert inline drawings into typed text notes or emails.
5. The Long-Awaited HomePod
Apple finally announced the release of a home speaker, with a built-in smarthome hub. Similar to Amazon’s combination of Echo and Alexa, the HomePod connects to Siri and can draw from users’ playlists from Apple Music; Siri can also detect users’ preferences and answer interactive questions. Additionally, the HomePod can control other smart devices around the home. With its spatial awareness sensors, the speaker can adjust its sound settings to its environment. The HomePod is listed at $350 and will be available to the public in December 2017.
6. iOS 11: A New Chapter
Apple’s new iOS contains several updates to some of its core apps, including a revolutionary redesign of the App Store. With a new tab just for games, and a tab highlighting popular apps and their stories, the App Store is undergoing a full renovation. Another huge change comes with the integration of Apple Pay into iMessage, making person-to-person payments now available and easy to use. Siri proves to be more intelligent in iOS 11, with the ability to translate across 6 of the world’s most common languages and more to come. Additionally, her improved ability to use context integrates with Apple’s heavy emphasis on machine learning across their product lines. Other iOS 11 updates include a redesigned control center, the ability to make gifs from live photos, introduction of an AR app, and a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature to suggest better car safety. The iOS 11 update will be available for free in fall 2017.