Apple announces HomePod, AR for the iPhone, iOS 11, High Sierra and Macs

Apple took more than two hours at its World Wide Developers’ Conference yesterday to announce a series of updates and new products, including a speaker called the HomePod; person-to-person payments using Apple Pay; AR developer functionality for the iPhone and iPad; the addition of Amazon Prime video to Apple TV; the launch of iOS 11 and a Mac OS upgrade called High Sierra; plus updated iMacs, iPads, Apple Watches and more.

HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for “deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with incredible directional control and powerful technologies built right in to preserve the richness and intent of the original recordings. Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home. As a home assistant, HomePod is a great way to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. When away from home, HomePod is the perfect home hub, providing remote access and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.”

Apple introduced a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro and a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, featuring “the world’s most advanced display with ProMotion technology and incredible performance with the new A10X Fusion chip. The new 10.5-inch model reduces the borders by nearly 40 percent to fit into an incredibly compact package that still weighs just one pound. Combined with powerful new iPad features in iOS 11 coming this fall, like the all-new Files app, customisable Dock, improved multitasking and deeper integration of Apple Pencil, iPad Pro gives users the ability to be even more productive and creative.”

It previewed iOS 11, “a major update to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, bringing new experiences and hundreds of features to iPhone and iPad. iOS 11 is the biggest software release ever for iPad, with powerful multitasking features, the Files app and more ways to use Apple Pencil. Augmented reality is coming to hundreds of millions of iOS devices with a new platform for developers to build apps that let users place virtual content on top of real-world scenes. CoreML gives developers on-device machine learning capabilities so they can easily make apps that will predict, learn and become more intelligent. Additional features include the ability to pay friends using Apple Pay, Do Not Disturb while driving to help users stay more focused on the road, even more intelligence and a new voice for Siri and new professional capabilities to Photos and Camera. iOS 11 is available as a developer preview today and will be a free software update for iPhone and iPad this fall.”

Apple also previewed a new iMacPro and updated its iMac line with “up to three times more powerful graphics, faster processors, Thunderbolt 3, faster storage options and brighter Retina displays, and added a Retina 4K display and discrete graphics to the £1,249 21.5-inch iMac. With its incredibly thin and seamless enclosure, fast processors and storage and stunning Retina display, iMac sets the gold standard for desktops. iMac delivers powerful performance for 3D graphics, video editing and gaming, and with macOS High Sierra coming this fall, iMac becomes a great platform for virtual reality content creation. Apple also today updated MacBook and MacBook Pro with faster processors, added faster SSDs to MacBook and introduced a new £1,249 13-inch MacBook Pro.”

It previewed watchOS 4, featuring a 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, a groundbreaking technology platform that will offer customers connected workouts with cardio equipment.” And it unveiled the “all-new App Store, designed from the ground up to make discovering apps and games easier than ever before. The beautifully redesigned App Store is packed with original stories and editorial, updated daily in a new Today tab, as well as new Games and Apps tabs. Compelling stories, in-depth interviews, helpful tips and collections of must-have apps and games will showcase Apple’s unique perspective and aim to inform, help and inspire customers every day.” And