Apple wants to alter your reality. Your augmented reality, that is.
The tech giant hosted its annual worldwide developers’ conference (aka WWDC17) in San Jose, California on Monday to showcase new innovations for its key product platforms in the coming year.
Developers create the code for apps and software for Apple’s four major platforms which are Apple TV, Mac computers, the iPhone and iPad, and the Apple Watch. By its own estimates, Apple has 16 million developers worldwide, some 3 million of which have been added in the last year alone.
While the event was a showcase for professional advances, fans of the brand tuned in to see the next generation of eye-popping innovations to favorite products.
Here are highlights for 2017 and beyond:
Highlights from WWDC17
Apple will soon debut High Sierra, a new OS for Mac computers. Updates will include a faster browser experience through Safari, and updates to its photo program, including facial recognition. Also expect more memory, storage and faster processing speeds in new computers.
Coming in December: The new iMac Pro, John Ternus, Apple’s vice president for hardware engineering, dubbed it “the most powerful Mac we’ve never made.” The souped up desktop boasts 18 core processors and includes a graphic chipset called Radeon Vega. It’s also priced $2,000 less than desktops with comparable computing power, he says.
The Apple Watch is getting a Siri update. Siri, whose voice is getting upgraded to sound more natural, will help create a daily feed of activities on the watch face.
The watch will also sync automatically with your music playlists.
iPhones and iPads, and a voice-activated speaker system
The iPhone and iPad operating system is getting an update to iOS11. The popular Apple Pay feature will now let users send cash to each other directly via person-to-person payments, including through the messaging app.
It will also use satellites and the phone’s GPS to track when you’re in the car, so it can put the phone in do-not-disturb mode, allowing you to focus on the road without responding to notifications.
Apple is also releasing a speaker system similar to Alexa/Echo called the HomePod.
The HomePod, Apple’s first new hardware release in three years, lets Siri play music, and perform other Siri-related functions, like checking traffic conditions, messages, and news, as well as potentially control internet-connected devices in your home. It will be available in December.
Virtual and augmented reality
Apple is taking a big bite out of augmented (AR) reality by releasing a toolkit for iOS developers. Alasdair Coull, creative director of WingNut AR—the AR division of Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson’s film company—wowed the crowd by demonstrating via iPad how an augmented reality landscape could be projected onto a tabletop.
One more thing: Amazon is coming to Apple TV, bringing with it the online retailer’s large array of Prime streaming video content.