Everything you need to know from this year’s WWDC keynote

Apple’s yearly WWDC event is a week-long extravaganza in San Jose, where developers come to learn about upcoming advances in technology so they can get a head-start building apps for the new systems. But for the average user, it’s also home to one of the biggest software and hardware launch events of the year.

Apple’s introductory keynote has just wrapped up, and it was a packed one! New iPads, new Macs, and a brand new product line for starters – and that’s not to mention to huge number of new software features coming this year. We’ll bring you detailed analysis of all the announcements in due course, but for the moments here’s a quick bullet-pointed recap of the most important bits.

Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know from this year’s WWDC.

iOS 11

As expected, Apple introduced the next big upgrade to the iPhone and iPad operating system. There were a ton of cool-looking features here, but notable by its absence was any mention of the much-anticipated “dark mode.” Guess the wait goes on for that one.

There’s a lot to wrap your head around here – some of these features deserve to be examined in full in their own right – but in the meantime, we’ve highlighted some of the most interesting new features:

  • Redesigned App Drawer in the Messages app
  • Person-to-person payments in Apple Pay via iMessage
  • Siri has a new, more realistic voice and improved visual interface
  • It also has improved device-wide Siri recommendations, and live translation
  • Camera uses new systems for up to 2x better image and video compression
  • Lots of improvements to Live Photos, including edits and loops
  • Photos is now better at facial recognition, with improved Memories videos
  • Slick redesign of Control Center to bring it back to a single page
  • Maps now has detailed interior floor plans of malls and airports
  • Other improvements to Maps include live speed limit and lane guidance
  • A new automatic safety feature called Do Not Disturb While Driving
  • HomeKit now supports Bluetooth speakers
  • Apple Music now shows what your friends are listening to
  • MusicKit API opens Apple Music to third party developers like Nike and Shazam
  • The first major App Store redesign since it was launched nine years ago
  • ARKit brings advanced augmented reality tech to developers

All that, and a few more iPad-only features for iOS 11:

  • New app dock with predictive area, that works for switching and multitasking
  • Drag and drop comes to iPad, with multi select and app switching
  • Keyboard keys can now by flicked to quickly get numbers and special characters
  • A brand new app called Files that gives a folder-like view of all cloud files
  • Extensive Markup features for annotating screenshots and documents

Beta versions of iOS 11 are available to developers right away, with a public beta expected later this summer ahead of a full public release in September.

More software

It’s not just the new version of iOS that was announced today. All of Apple’s major operating systems are being refreshed, and we saw demos of the upcoming versions of macOS, watchOS and tvOS. Here’s a very quick recap on those…

macOS High Sierra

  • The new mac operating system will be called High Sierra
  • Safari can now detect and block those annoying autoplay videos
  • Improved privacy comes to Safari with “intelligent tracking prevention”
  • Lots of new editing features in the Photos app
  • Apple’s own file system APFS comes to macOS, with many performance benefits
  • The Metal 2 graphics engine promises amazing GPU performance
  • Virtual Reality comes to Mac with SteamVR support and more

watchOS 4

  • A new Siri watch face with intelligent, proactive information
  • More watch faces: a slowly changing kaleidoscope, and Toy Story characters
  • New personalized activity coaching and monthly fitness challenges
  • Enhanced Workout app with better pool swimming tracking
  • Apple Watch can now communicate with gym equipment via NFC
  • News app now available on the Apple Watch
  • Native Bluetooth now enabled, to connect to gadgets like glucose trackers or smart sports equipment

tvOS

  • Amazon Prime Video is coming to Apple TV “later this year”
  • No other big announcements for TV
  • Seriously, that’s it.

New iPads

The iPad Pro has been a hit since it launched a 18 months ago, with two screen sizes available: the frankly gargantuan 12.9-inch display popular as a laptop replacement, and the 9.7-inch display offering the same power in a more manageable frame. Well, Apple just released a 10.5-inch model to replace the 9.7-inch version. Let’s take a look:

  • The 10.5-inch iPad Pro will replace the 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • Despite a 20% larger display, the body is about the same size
  • This is thanks to a 40% reduction in bezels at the edges of the device
  • New display with improved brightness, color gamut, true tone
  • ProMotion means an energy-saving and “buttery smooth” dynamic refresh rate up to 120FPS
  • Powered by an A10X Fusion chip with 6-core CPU and 12-core GPU
  • That’s over 500x more processing power than the original iPad

  • The same 12MP and 7MP cameras seem on the iPhone 7
  • Storage options now start at 64GB and go up to 512GB
  • Starting at $649 for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • The 12.9-inch iPad Pro will get the same improvements and starts at $799
  • No mention of the iPad mini or iPad air

New Macs

Three updated devices were shown off today, with one in particular that should please pro users:

  • iMac updated with better display and 7th-gen Intel processors
  • Big boosts to GPU and memory capacity too
  • For the first time, a 4K iMac is available from $1299
  • Similar iterative upgrades for the Macbook Pro
  • $1299 also the starting price for a new iteration of 13-inch MBP
  • Both the new iMac and new Macbook Pro are shipping immediately

  • Finally, a completely new model – the iMac Pro will launch this December
  • Frankly ridiculous specifications on this industry-level workstation
  • The space grey iMac Pro will start from $4999

HomePod

It’s been rumored for a while that Apple was working on a Siri-powered smart speaker to rival the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, and the rumor-mongers weren’t wrong. Launching later this year, Apple is indeed launching a smart speaker called HomePod. Here’s the main points:

  • Apple want to “reinvent home music” the way they reinvented portable music with the iPod
  • The smart speaker will combine the audio quality of Sonos with the intelligence of Echo
  • It’s just under 7 inches tall, covered in a 3D mesh fabric

  • Amazing audio technology with 7 precision tweeters and a 4-inch woofer
  • Intelligent spatial awareness to create an audio mix that can fill up any room
  • Siri-powered voice control that understands complex music queries
  • 6-mic array that responds to “Hey Siri” like the iPhone
  • Home assistant tech that can also help with reminders, podcasts, messages, sports, homekit, and much more
  • Homepod will cost $349 and start shipping in December
  • Available to US, UK and Australia at first – more countries in 2018

Phew! We’ll be posting more details on Apple’s announcements throughout the week – stay tuned!