WWDC 2017

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!

Business Chat

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.

Hardware updates

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.

Swift Playgrounds

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.  


WWDC 2015 Keynote highlights

This years WWDC was divided into 4 key areas.  The overall keynote felt more of improvements to current systems / apps instead of anything ground breaking.  This is not a bad thing if it improves the user’s experience.

iOS 9

  • Apple News app allows you to get all the latest news in a very rich way (pictures, animations etc). I been told by others it’s like Flipboard,  sad times for Flipboard.
  • Apple Pay is coming to the UK and Apple Wallet allows you to group your store / credit cards together.
  • Maps now show Transit routes for major cities.
  • New iPad only split screen / multitasking modes that allow you to use 2 apps at the same time.  Looks super fun and cool but the best parts are only supported on a iPad Air 2.
  • Swift 2 announced and is going open source.
  • iOS 9 installation size will be a lot smaller than iOS 8!

WatchOS 2

The biggest announcement from a developer’s point of view was WatchOS 2

  • Native Apps.  This is the big change, you now have access to the watch hardware (sensors and buttons).  The watch can now do stuff without being connected to the phone.
  • Third-party complications.  Complications are basically watch face widgets that you can create.  You could create a Complication that shows your heart rate as part of your watch face.
  • Better health and fitness performance
  • New Siri capabilities.  You can now ask Siri to start a 5 mile run, or go for a 300 calorie bike ride

OSX El Capitan

Lots of small improvements however it felt like a maintenance release instead of a new big shiny thing.  The support for split screen for apps is cool, but Windows 8 has had that for a while.  Mac gets the 3D engine called Metal which iOS got in iOS 8

Apple has merged it iOS and Mac developer program which is a good move, the Mac app store is a bit of a graveyard.

Apple Music

This was Apple’s big announcement.  In summary, imagine Sportify + a 24 hour radio station managed by Zane Lowe.  $9.99 a month or $14.99 for families (up to 6 people)