Apple held its biggest event of the year on Monday in San Jose US. The event – WWDC 2017 – was actually meant for developers and the software like the iOS 11 and macOS was supposed to be the highlight of it. But it was the new shiny Apple hardware – new Mac Pro, new iMac, new MacBooks, HomePod – that stole the show. There were several new gadgets that Apple launched at the WWDC 2017, although yet again it disappointed the fans of MacBook Air as it did not bring out an Air that with a better screen.
Although on the Mac side, there were other announcements including the big surprise of Mac Pro. Other than the major announcements, there were some minor ones too like the redesigned app store. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about all the cool announcements of the WWDC 2017 one by one.
The new Mac Pro was a big surprise at the WWDC 2017. There are two reasons for it. One, it comes years after the last Mac Pro – yes, the same one that had a shiny dustbin like design – was announced. In fact the chatter was that the Mac Pro is dead because the iMac has become very powerful and Apple was anyways not focussing on the pro users. But Mac Pro shows that it is not the case. The second surprise was that Apple announced Mac Pro very early. It will start shipping only in December. This means Apple has announced a product almost six months before its actual launch. Apple usually doesn’t do this but may be a lot of pro users are fleeing the Apple camp so by announcing the Mac Pro at WWDC 2017, the company hoped to entice them.
Coming back to the product, the Mac Pro looks like on fantastic – albeit super expensive – computer. iMac Pro is actually a merger of the Pro line with iMac. The hardware is all what you will see in a Mac Pro. But the design is very close to the sleek and svelte iMac. The computer, which is an all in one, has a 27-inch screen with 5K resolution. Apple says that it will come with 18-core Into Xeon processor, Radeon Pro Vega graphics card, up to 128GB RAM and up to 4TB storage. It also features a number of high-speed ports to transfer data and everything else that the pro graphics and video users may want to transfer.
And yes, the iMac Pro comes in space grey, just so that you can have a workstation where from your iPhone to iPad to the iMac all have the matching grey colour.
iMac Pro sure sounds quite cool. But you know what is cooler? The price of the iMac Pro. In the US it will cost $4,999. In India, expect to pay at least Rs 3,00,000.
As it happens with Apple products, the whole iMac lineup gets updates. It gets faster processor, more storage and similar bells and whistles. Although the big news with the iMac is that the entry level 21.5-inch iMac now has a 4K retina display. This iMac will cost $1299 in the US. Other than improving the entry-level iMac, Apple also announced:
— Support for Thunderbolt 3 in iMac.
— Retina display that now supports 1 billion colours. Also the display is 43 per cent brighter at 500 nits.
— the updated iMac comes with Kaby Lake processors up to 4.2 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz.
— Fusion Drive is now standard on all 27-inch configurations and the top-end 21.5-inch iMac.
— iMac now comes with Radeon Pro 500-series graphics with up to 8GB of video RAM.
New cheaper MacBook Pro (and MacBook Air)
Just like the iMac, the Apple MacBooks too got the updates. Even the MacBook Air gets the update, although it is insignificant. The big new with new MacBooks is the arrival of the entry-level MacBook Pro. This new 13-inch MacBook Pro will not have the touch bar and it has only 128GB internal storage. But it costs $1,299. In other words, in India this will be the MacBook Pro that will sit between the Rs 60,000 MacBook Air and the Rs 1,20,000 MacBook Pro that currently sells here. Other than that, the MacBooks also get:
— Kaby Lake processors up to 1.3 GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz in the MacBook.
— Up to 3.5 GHz Core i7 Kaby Lake processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.0 GHz in the MacBook Pro.
— More RAM and storage options.
— A faster 1.8GHz processor in the MacBook Air.
Apple finally launched a smart speaker to take on the Google Home and Amazon Echo. Although instead of highlighting the smart part of the speaker, Apple is betting that it will woo consumers through its superior music play back capabilities. The HomePod uses Siri to offer smart functionality — you can talk to it — and it has a powerful A8 processor inside it. It also has a big woofer and 7 tweeters. The design is quite cool and the speaker will be available at a starting price of $349, which is quite pricier compared to something like Google Home. Also it will only go on sale in December. in India the HomePod is likely to come next year.
High Sierra and iOS 11
It was WWDC, right? And this was supposed to be an event to showcase software. Well, Apple did show some software. The company announced the iOS 11, which will come to compatible iPhone and iPads in the coming months, and the High Sierra, the new version of the macOS.
Apple is calling iOS 11 as one of its biggest software releases. And rightly. The new iPhone OS is full of new features — DND mode for example, or some new photo tricks through its photo apps — and it is supposed to make the iPhone and the iPad faster, stronger and better. The iOS 11 also brings to the table the Files, a new app that will allow users to manage their files better.
The High Sierra, meanwhile, is low on consumer features but big on behind the scene improvements. “macOS High Sierra offers an all-new file system, support for High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and an update to Metal, Apple’s advanced graphics technology that powers everything from machine learning to virtual reality content creation. macOS High Sierra also includes a number of refinements to the apps Mac users enjoy every day, including Photos, Safari and Mail,” says Apple. It sounds grander than it actually is but still it has to be said that the High Sierra is a big update.
Both the High Sierra and the iOS 11 will be available to users for free.
New iPad Pro
On Monday at WWDC, Apple also announced new iPad Pro 12.9 and the iPad Pro 10.5. In typical Apple fashion the new iPads are faster, brighter and sleeker. The big news with the new iPads is there display that now comes with 120GHz refresh rate. This means while scrolling or working on the new iPad Pro you will see a screen that is very smooth. Apple calls this screen ProMotion technology. The new iPad Pro also has a faster A10X processor that has six cores. The iPad pro with 10.5-inch display features extremely thin bezels. both have a 12-megapixel camera.
The new iPad Pro tablets will come to India by the end of this June.
WatchOS 4 and new app store
The other two major announcements were the Watch OS 4 and the new app store.
Apple says that the redesigned App Store will come packed with stories and editorial, will showcase new good apps in Today tab and showcase new Games and Apps tabs separately.
The WatchOS 4 adds some fitness-related features. It comes with proactive Siri watch face that displays the information users need most throughout the day, personalised Activity coaching and an entirely new music experience. The update features an enhanced Workout app and introduces GymKit.