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Apple WWDC 2017: Major Updates

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Clocking in at more than two hours, the Apple WWDC 2017 keynote may have been quite long, but that’s because Apple introduced a ton of software and hardware updates. Read on to see exactly what Apple unveiled.

macOS High Sierra

Delivering new storage, video, and graphics technologies, macOS High Sierra offers new and innovative changes to the macOS experience. While previous Mac models utilized the HFS file system, Apple computers running macOS High Sierra will feature Apple File System (APFS), which has enhanced performance, security, and reliability of data. APFS makes common tasks, such as copying and files and directories, instantaneous. It can also help protect data from power outages and system crashes, as well as keep files secure with native encryption. Don’t worry, macOS High Sierra can still read HFS, so your older external hard drives are still compatible.

With support for industry-standard HEVC (H.265), macOS High Sierra enables video streaming and playback of 4K videos that are up to 40 percent smaller than the current H.264 standard. The new iMac and MacBook Pro models can use hardware acceleration to deliver fast and power-efficient HEVC encoding and editing.

Metal 2 improves upon its predecessor with a refined API and improved performance. Developers can help accelerate their apps with support for machine learning used in speech recognition, natural language processing, and computer vision. The combination of Thunderbolt 3 and Metal 2 provides access to powerful external graphics cards.

VR (virtual reality) makes its way to the Mac with macOS High Sierra. Using Metal 2 and the latest Mac hardware, Valve is optimizing its SteamVR platform for macOS and enabling the use of the HTC Vive headset. Unity and Epic are bringing their VR development tools to macOS, and Final Cut Pro X will add support for professional 360° spherical videos later this year.

macOS High Sierra will be available in Fall 2017 as a free software update from the Mac App Store.

iOS 11

You can now make and receive payments with friends and family quickly, easily, and securely with Apple Pay. Send money and get paid in the Messages app. You can even tell Siri to pay someone, using the cards already in the Wallet. When you get paid, the money will be in your new Apple Pay Cash account. The account provides a variety of options, such as send the money to someone else, make Apple Pay purchases in the redesigned App Store, or transfer it into your bank account.

Using the latest advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, Siri now uses voices that are more natural and expressive. It can also translate English words and phrases into Chinese, French, German, Italian, or Spanish (more languages to be added later). Siri also learns from your preferences to provide a more personalized experience.

Using the built-in camera, powerful processors, and motion sensors, Apple introduces AR (augmented reality) with iOS 11. ARKit allows developers to tap into the latest technologies to build detailed virtual content on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design, and more.

With iOS 11, Portrait Mode images can be taken with optical image stabilization, True Tone flash, and HDR. Live Photos have new Loop and Bounce effects that create continuous video loops while Long Exposure can capture time and movement. In the Photos app, Memories can play movies optimized to play in portrait and landscape orientation. Apple also introduces a new technology with iOS 11, called High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) that reduces the file size of every photo taken with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but not the quality.

Don’t drive and text. iOS 11 introduces a new way to drive uninterrupted with Do Not Disturb while driving. With iOS 11, your iPhone will automatically detect when you’re driving and turn your screen off. Notifications will also be silenced. You’ll also have an option to have your iPhone auto-reply with a message stating you are currently driving and will return their texts when you arrive.

iOS 11 will be available, in Fall 2017, as a free software update for iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 2 and later, and iPod touch 6th generation.

watchOS 4

With watchOS 4, Apple introduces new faces for your Apple Watch, including the Siri watch face. The Siri watch face updates the information on your Apple Watch dynamically, based on the time of day, daily routines, and data from other apps, such as Activity, Alarms, and Calendars. In addition to the Siri watch face, there are other new watch faces, such as the Toy Story ones featuring Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear, and the Kaleidoscope one that turns static images into moving patterns.

The Activity app delivers tailored coaching and encouragement to help close out those Activity Rings. There are even customized Monthly Challenges tailored just for you. The redesigned Music app automatically syncs your favorite songs to New Music Mix, Favorites Mix, and more, while the updated Workout app now includes new motion and heart-rate algorithms for High Intensity Interval (HIIT) workouts. With GymKit, you’ll soon be able to pair your Apple Watch with your favorite gym equipment to get synced data on your workout, including calories, distance, and more.

watchOS 4 will be available, in Fall 2017, as a free update to Apple Watch, paired with iPhone 5s and later on iOS 11.

iMac Pro

Apple gave a sneak peek of the iMac Pro, an all-in-one desktop workstation designed for pro users who require major performance. The iMac Pro features a 27" Retina 5K Display and up to an 18-core Intel® Xeon processor. With all-flash storage and all-new thermal design, the iMac Pro delivers up to 80 percent more cooling in the same thin design found on the standard iMac, all in a new space-gray enclosure.

The iMac Pro will feature AMD Radeon Pro VEGA graphics cards, which have up to 16GB of high-bandwidth (HBM2) VRAM, allowing for up to 11 teraflops of single-precision computing power for real-time 3D rendering and immersive, high-frame-rate VR. And for half-precision computation, which is ideal for machine learning, the iMac Pro doubles the teraflops up to 22.

The iMac Pro also supports up to 4TB of SSD storage and up to 128GB of ECC RAM. There are also four Thunderbolt 3 ports, which means you can connect two 5K displays and two RAID arrays at the same time. The iMac Pro will also feature a 10Gb Ethernet port. To be notified when the iMac Pro becomes available, please click on the box below and register.

iMac

The 21.5" 4K and 27" 5K iMac models have also been updated to feature faster 7th Gen Kaby Lake Intel Core processors and supports up to twice the RAM as the previous generation. Fusion Drive is now standard on all 27" configurations, as well as the top-end 21.5" iMac. SSD storage options are now up to 50 percent faster, and iMac comes with Thunderbolt 3. The graphics on the 4K and 5K iMac models have been upgraded with Radeon Pro 500-series graphics cards with up to 8GB of VRAM. The iMac also comes with updated displays that can reach 500 nits and support up to 1 billion colors.

The updated iMac models are available today. The iMac Pro is scheduled to ship in December 2017.

MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro

The MacBook now features 7th Gen Kaby Lake Intel Core processors and up to 50 percent faster SSD storage, and supports up to twice the memory. Weighing just two pounds and measuring 13.1mm thin, MacBook is Apple’s thinnest and lightest notebook for all-day, on-the-go computing.

Apple has also updated the 13-inch MacBook Air with a 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5 processor.

The updated 13.3" and 15.4" MacBook Pro models feature 7th Gen Kaby Lake Intel Core processors. The 15.4" MacBook Pro now comes standard with dedicated Radeon Pro 555 or 560 graphics cards. With the Touch Bar with Touch ID, a 500-nit Retina display, Thunderbolt 3, and a portable design, the MacBook Pro is for the pro user who is on the move.

iPad Pro

Available in 10.5" and 12.9" models, the new iPad Pro has a redesigned display and updated hardware to accelerate and enhance upcoming features in iOS 11. First up, the 10.5" model seems to be taking the place of the previous 9.7" one, and has thinner bezels, still weighing just one pound. On the performance side, these iPads are equipped with an A10X Fusion Chip, which consists of a 6-core CPU and a 12-core GPU. This chip is designed to tackle complex tasks effortlessly, such as editing photos and 4K videos, rendering 3D images, and playing games. The iPad Pro also has 7MP front and 12MP rear cameras, a four-speaker audio system, embedded Apple SIM support, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and LTE Advanced. With the release of new iPads are new and updated accessories, such as the Smart Keyboard with layouts for more than 30 languages, a leather sleeve with a built-in Apple Pencil holder, and the Smart Cover.

Both versions are built with a Retina display utilizing ProMotion technology, bringing a 120Hz refresh rate to your fingertips. This means smoother interactions and animations, as well as an even more fluid writing and drawing experience when used with the Apple Pencil. When running Apps that don’t require the full 120Hz refresh rate, the display will automatically adjust it to match your content and to reduce power consumption.

The new iPads will be available in a variety of color, storage, and connectivity options.

HomePod

Apple announced HomePod, a wireless speaker for the home that delivers high audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room. Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription and Siri, HomePod features an upward-facing woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters, and a six-microphone array. HomePod will also work with HomeKit devices.

HomePod is scheduled to ship in December 2017, in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. To be notified when the HomePod becomes available, please click on the box below and register.

Discussion 12

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1.  What about the old files the new mac will not let you read them they are blocked out I have ben using a mac from 1994 and i need some of the old files? 

2.  What bird brain changed the procedure that all files have to go to documents and no choice of putting the files elesware like the desktop or EX HD's?  This means that in the middle of a CAD  drawing i have to stop my thinking and thought and open douckments, and put it on the desk top and so forth to continue. All my files go to Ex HD's and are put in there clients a-z format. This is for keeping the goru-desktop free of memery.  also when I down load a file I can find it on the desktop. I like the mac but it is becoming a toy not a great work station that it was. The system woked best on OS 10.6.8 Snow Lepord.   Paul Woolhiser industrial Designer

Hi Paul - 

Apple is not dropping support for old file systems at all. They are just switching to a new file system (AFS - Apple File System) which has many advantages. The new system in no way stops you from using your desktop, or external drives they way you always have. You can have all the same files, folders, etc. You can still use the older file system as well, with the exception of the boot drive.

In the Finder Preferences,  select to see external drives, network drives, and other removable media.

Again, almost completely devoid of any innovation- apart from the Homepod which is simply catch up to Google & Amazon, all the rest is updated internal specs. Steve Jobs must be groaning in his grave how his once mighty innovative company has fallen. As a once loyal apple disciple who bought almost every new bit of gear there's nothing there to entice me at all.

When are we going to stop using passwords?  I am constantly being asked to change passwords and cannot possibly keep up with this.

The new HomePod appears to be a significant new product with tremedous performance and features, especially considering the reasonable pricing.

The new Mac Pro to be released in 2018 is predicted to address the limitations of current "Coffee Can" Mac Pro and will be a larger more flexible and user expandable design.

THANK YOU. I WILL WAIT FOR THIS NEW SYSTEM MAC PRO IN 2018 AS THE CAN HAS BEEN VERY GOOD TO ME!

Th iMac Pro is a huge dissapointment.

For starters, compare the price to current Mac Pros. It is a huge leap up in price for not a lot of extra features.

You even get one less GPU!

It also casts a lot of doubt on any future development of a headless Mac Pro. With desktops garnering an ever smaller slice of the earnings pie, it is hard to justify development of a hardcore iMac and a Mac Pro. You want Xeon->Xeon! you want 32gb+ of ram. We give you that? Adn given that the most recent Mac Pro has no major differences over the iMac aside from display (and user accessiblity of some internals) I find it hard to justify as well, unless they build a headless iMac enclosure which holds the same logic board, sans display.

Personally I kind of like the iMac, but I can see a lot of reasons why a professional might prefer to eschew an iMac with it's glossy, non-height-adjustable display for a monitor or monitors that are matte, adjustable, and have wider gamut.

There is also that Apple stopped making displays. Most folks who run dual displays want them to match.

I was thinking the same things. Apple is no longer at the head of innovation; just cutting through traffic enough to arrive 3 minutes early like a lame kiss up.

So, is Apple getting away from the towers now?

No new towers until next year. 

Well the Mac Pro was a much smaller cylinder, so they've been away from towers for awhile. As I understand it, the iMacPro is meant to address a segment of the pro user base but will not be the top pro choice as they work to develop the next top-pro form factor for release in 2018.

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