This years WWDC saw lots of new hardware being released but not too much cool new features mentioned. This definitely felt the year that Apple played catch up to Amazon, Google and Samsung.
2 Features that stood out to me, Emergency SOS and Do Not Disturb While Driving. The first allows you to setup an “Auto Call” to the emergency services if the Sleep/Wake button is pressed five times. The 2nd feature will block all notifications, texts and phone calls if the phone detects your driving. Of course you can turn it off if your friend is driving! I think features like this really should get more attention because they can save lives!
This was not mentioned on the main WWDC keynote but thanks to Sean Antony from Digital Products, it was brought to my attention. This is actually a big deal. The idea is that you can just message a business like you would a friend instead of phoning them up, being on hold, listening to terrible music etc. You can even purchase goods directly in the chat.
In simple terms this is Apple’s answer to Google Home and Amazon’s Echo however it’s being marketed as a smart speaker rather than a smart assistant. It designed to deliver amazing audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio, however it costs over twice as much as an Amazon Echo or Google Home Device and requires a Apple Music subscription (sorry Spotify fans). That being said, Apple fans will buy it, and don’t be surprised if high numbers are sold.
New Macbook, iMac and iPad pros all got announced, the one that caught my eye was the new iMac pro, the most powerful machine they have every made, starting at $5000, it should be! I am an Apple fan however you can buy a lot for $5000. The new iPad pros’ support brighter screens , the 9.7” one has put on some weight and is now 10.5” and both offers screen refresh rates of up to 120Hz for better responsiveness smoother motion
MacOS High Sierra
Apple’s new operating system is called High Sierra, I am not sure much effort went into the name (previous version is Sierra). It will finally allows Mac users to experience Virtual Reality (assuming you will need a new Mac) and supports a new file system called Apple File System. Safari will now block autoplaying videos and keep advertisers from tracking Mac users.
Apple TV / Apple Watch
Very minor updates here, Apple TV can act as a HomeKit Speaker and is getting Amazon Prime (Whoop Whoop), Apple Watch got some new fitness stuff, Core Bluetooth support, Toy Story clock faces and a watch face that uses Siri to offer up dynamic suggestions that change based on user preference and time of day.
iOS 11 “The Biggest iPad release ever”
This is what we are truly here for! So iOS 11 for iPad looks to really improve the multitasking ability on a iPad, it allows you to drag and drop things and give you a Mac like dock at the bottom of the screen to. The demo they gave did get me wanting a new iPad. They have also introduced a new Files app which is just their iPad version of Finder / Windows Explorer.
Other new features, Apple Pay now supports person-to-person payments via iMessage, a new framework called ARKit which will make making Augmented Reality apps a lot easier and a new machine learning framework called MLKit which will allow you to take your complex algorithms from other systems and use them on your phone GPU. This will pave the way to more intelligent apps.
Siri is also getting smarter via deep learning and will soon suggest content to its users based on their Safari searches 🙂 iOS 11 also knows when you use an app and so now has a setting to offload unused apps, this is a great feature to save space on your device.
This is a iPad app that allows you to learn to code in Swift. Since its been on the AppStore (just under a year), over 1 million people are using it to learn Swift. Version 1.5 has a host of new features including a framework to talk to robots, drones and robotics kits like the LEGO Mindstorms kit, the Parrot Drone or Dash Robot.