WWDC 17: iOS 11, Apple Watch updates and… the all-new HomePod.
Across the pond, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2017 event just kicked off, with the first (and perhaps most exciting) event on the agenda being the keynote. If you’ve been wondering what Apple has been cooking up over the last few months, wonder know more. Here’s what CEO Tim Cook and co revealed during the two-hour talk.
HomePod: Amazon’s Worst Nightmare?
Before the keynote, you may have heard rumours that Apple was planning on releasing a connected home device to rival the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Well… that’s exactly what happened.
Meet Apple’s new HomePod, the smart-speaker that is ‘spatially aware’. The core idea is that it can change the sound of a song or, indeed, podcast according to the size and shape of the room that you place it in.
But, of course, HomePod is much more than that. Unsurprisingly, it uses Siri as its AI, which means that you can speak directly to the device, much like you would any other Apple device, and ask it to do certain things. There’s just one catch, though, it only syncs and answers questions about Apple Music. (Um, sorry, Spotify users!).
HomePod will also be able to talk to you, answer your questions, and perform little tasks like reading the news. That’s all we know for now, but there’s no doubt that Apple will be expanding what you can do with the device after it launches.
As for availability, Apple has teased this for a December release. Just in time for Christmas.
iOS 11: A Giant Step for iPhone?
It may feel as though iOS 10 just hit our iPhones, but there’s soon to be a new operating system in town. During the WWDC 17 keynote, a whole load was revealed about what the latest system may mean for users and just how much things are about to change.
One of the areas in which Apple is seriously set to up its game is with its AI software, Siri. According to the keynote, Apple has 100% got this covered — the app will be both getting new voices (yes!) and have the ability to do real-time translation. The latter is sure to be a huge help when you’re travelling to foreign lands.
Other iOS 11 highlights include updates to Live Photos to make them more, well, lively, and the ability to use Apple Pay among your friends, i.e. on a mobile to mobile basis. Nice.
When can you download iOS 11? Well, the public version will no doubt roll out with the next iPhone release, probably mid-September.
iOS 11 on iPad: More Like a Mac
Oh, and there’s even more added extras if you happen to own an iPad. Once you’ve updated your device, your home screen will have a large dock (much like Macs do already) which will allow you to drag and drop things between apps and multitask with ease.
You’ll have the option to create files, too, like you do on your Mac for grouping documents together.
If you’re slick enough to have an Apple Pencil, there are even more upgrades. You’ll be able to draw on screenshots, PDFs, and the like. The Notes app will also have a built-in document scanner, which means that everything will be utterly easy to use, especially if you need to sign docs etc.
Apple TV: Making Friends with Amazon Prime
On a side note, the much-loved Apple TV will now support Amazon Prime videos. That means that you can pretty much use any streaming service on the device now, which is certain to make it far more appealing to people, regardless of their binge-watching preferences.
NEXT: New Macs, a Toy Story Apple Watch face and updates to Apple Music.