Jun 06, 2017

Apple introduces power-packed iOS 11, wireless home speaker

BYPankaj Mishra

Introducing iOS 11, a major update to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, Apple has announced it would bring new experiences and several new features to iPhones and iPads this fall.
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.
Speaking at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) here late on Monday, CEO Tim Cook said this year “it is going to be the best and biggest WWDC ever”.
Apple then introduced a music speaker, its first hardware since Apple Watch was rolled out two years ago.
Called HomePod, the wireless speaker delivers amazing audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio.
Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs, HomePod provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music.
HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, Britain and the US.
“Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of Worldwide Marketing.
The event started with Apple CEO welcoming the audience, praising the Apple developer community which already has 16 million registered developers and added three million last year.
Cook also announced that Amazon’s video app will come to Apple’s TV streaming box later this year. The app will let users stream all the Amazon original hits.
Soon after the announcement, Amazon tweeted, “You asked (a lot). We listened. Amazon Prime Video is coming to the TV App and all Apple TVs this year.”
Apple also announced that watchOS 4, the next version of its smartwatch platform, will arrive in September. It includes new features for watchfaces, such as a new Siri-based watchface.
The Siri watchface uses machine learning to determine what information is most useful to you at a given point in time.
Other new watchfaces include a kaleidoscope and new characters such as Woody, Jesse, and Buzz from the Toy Story movie franchise.
WatchOS 4 will also bring updates to the watch’s fitness tracking, including a new user interface for the workout app and new integrations with gym equipment manufacturers.
Apple said that watch wearers will be able to link their devices with the gym equipment through NFC.
Next up was Apple’s new version of macOS called High Sierra, which was launched with new Safari browser.
According to Apple, it is the fastest browser ever with features like autoplay blocking, intelligent tracking prevention that uses machine learning to block irritating content.
Apple also brought file system and virtual reality (VR) to High Sierra.
The company also announced updates to its entire MacBook line giving its laptops more powerful specifications in the form of the latest Intel chips.
MacBook Pros will be shipped with Intel’s Kaby Lake processors and faster SSDs. The company also launched a new configuration of the 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar that starts at a cheaper $1,299.
The newly updated MacBook laptops are now available.
Apple also showed a sneak peek into a new all-in-one desktop called the iMac Pro. Called “the most powerful Mac ever, the new product will be available from December starting at $4,999.
Apple also made improvements to Siri including making the assistant’s voice sound more natural when responding to users.
Siri will now be able to perform translations in various languages including English, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
The company said its App Store has so far paid out $70 billion to developers, of which 30% was made last year.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.