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For riff-raff like myself, the process of reviewing the new iPad Pro models will begin tomorrow. However, today was the day for the lucky few in the tech media who got an early look at Apple’s latest goodies. I’m not jealous at all.
That aside, there are several insightful and thoughtful reviews that range from glowing to conservatively positive that hit the web today. The only complaints mentioned were price and practicality, and those are legitimate concerns considering the recent sales struggles of the iPad line. However, as for the hardware itself, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Most are also very upbeat about the iPad’s future thanks to the changes coming in iOS 11.
Here are some of my favorite of the early reviews:
Do you ever feel like your Apple EarPods or AirPods are just going to fall right out of your ears? Or DO they actually fall out on you? I’ve never had this issue, but my wife does, and I have heard from plenty of other users who have problems with this design, as well.
What a week it has been. Apple has definitely made the most of its time in the spotlight, grabbing the media’s attention and showing us that they can still innovate, be aggressive, and even listen to what users are asking for from time to time. While all may not be perfect, and there are still questions to answer, iOS 11 looks REALLY good, and the new iPad Pro features are a huge upgrade. As for the HomePod, let’s reserve judgement until we at lease see it in a closer to final form.
Beyond all the great software and hardware announcements, which I will get into in greater depth soon, there is other Apple news of note to look into. Let’s get to it.
This has been building since Apple’s acquisition of Beats in 2014, but after WWDC, I think things are starting to come into clearer focus. Apple is now transitioning from dominating the declining business of purchasing music to dominating multiple areas in the field. But it goes deeper than that. They are building toward something. I think they are currently moving their chess pieces across the board to set up a final checkmate on the big-label recording industry, which will in turn, squeeze competitors like Spotify in ways they will have difficulty combating.
I love my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, but let’s face it, neither is exactly inexpensive, and not everyone needs or wants this setup. For those with a different model of iPad or an iPhone who would still like to take advantage of a stylus, the Adonit Switch is a superb choice. It is versatile, inexpensive, and far more precise than most standard capacitive styli.
You know the kind I’m talking about. The plastic or metal stick with a kindergarten crayon tip on the end that’s absolutely useless. The Switch’s Precision Disk creates an exact contact point, giving you the same level of precision as a Bluetooth or Active Capactitive Stylus, without the much higher price tag.
As wonderful as it was to get all of the goodies that Apple sent our way on Monday, there are always a few items left off the list, and rumors that don’t come true. The following is a list of some of the more prominent items that Apple didn’t mention during the WWDC Keynote.
In my recent article Taking Siri Seriously, I made the comment that if Apple was releasing a Siri-equipped speaker product into the world, then it would surely be a sign that all is now right with the world’s first mobile digital assistant. They wouldn’t make another “Maps” error. They wouldn’t blindly release another product like that into the world. As the afterglow of yesterday’s WWDC Keynote fades and the reality-distortion dissipates, now I’m not as convinced.
Apple’s massive 2 1/2 hour data dump certainty accomplished goal one of flipping the media’s script yesterday. ALL of the talk today is about what Apple is doing and how they are doing it. They absolutely NAILED that. However, at the end of the day, what did we really learn about Siri in iOS 11?
It’s a Good Day to be an iPad User!
The iPad has been at a crossroads for a couple of years now. Since the original iPad Pro didn’t move the sales needle, it has felt a little like Apple has been marking time while they came up with a Plan B on how to jumpstart things. Part one came with the release of the rolled back, but less expensive iPad this Spring. While it was a solid device that fit a need in Apple’s tablet lineup, it was hard to tell too much based on such a modest start down a different path.
This is just a run-on list of all features and announcements at WWDC today. I will go back later and flesh some of the ideas and statements out, but for now, this is just a text flow of what’s happening in the live feed. If you want a quick and easy list of what was discussed, this should do the job.
If you have questions, hit me up @iPadInsightBlog on Twitter.
- And I’m off to a poor start on my predictions right out of the gate. Apple is on stage talking about tvOS, which I predicted they would avoid yesterday.
- Ok, maybe not so bad. All they talked about was Amazon coming to Apple TV!
- This was front-loaded so it would be forgotten.
1. Watch faces
- A new Siri Watchface with intelligent information and suggestions.
- Uses machine learning to adapt to your routines.
- This could be interesting IF….IF it works well.
- New Kailedesope Face
- New Toy Story Character faces. This shows a nice, tight relationship with Disney.
2. New Fitness Notifications and Coaching
3. Workout App Enhancements
- Easier to launch a workout.
- Swimming tracking enhancements.
- High Intensity Interval Training workouts added.
- Multiple workouts in a single session.
- 2 Way Real-Time data exchange with certain gym equipment- Really cool depending on how much it will be supported. Sounds good, at least.
4. Apple Music
- Auto sync of music based on your preferences.
- Made to work well with AirPods. SMART MOVE!!
- Can pair playlists with preferred workouts. You can also control the music from within the workout. Spotify can do some if this, but Apple’s ecosystem will allow them to go further.
5. New watchOS Dock
6. The Siri Watchface integrates with Apple News to serve stories you are interested in. This is another smart addition.
7. Bluetooth integrations- Separate Glucose monitoring accessory specifically mentioned. Geared toward developers for integration to apps right now. No mention of any products that Apple is currently developing themselves.
Very much what I expected. Nothing reveloutionary, but very positive and solid fitness-focuses additions. The Siri Watchface could be interesting if Apple delivers on improvements there.
macOS- High Sierra
- Auto play blocking in Safari
- Intelligent tracking prevention- Machine Learning again
- Improved search
- Uses Spotlight
- Split view for the compose menu
- Uses less disk space
- Easier filtering
- Better auto face detection
- Face detection and definitions is now synced between devices
- New editing tools- curve, color, and edits synced from photo tools back to Photos
- Direct print services integrated into the OS.
4. File System
- File system improvements- Apple File System (APFS) is now default
- 4K encoding support and hardware acceleration
- Metal 2
- Up to 10x improvement
- Improved debugging
- Metal is being used for Machine Learning. Interesting.
- Metal is opened up for external graphics through Thunderbolt 3.
7. Pro Content Creation
- Metal for VR. Interesting. The first time Apple has really mentioned VR at an event.
- Steam VR SDK is coming to Mac
- Unreal Engine is coming to Mac for VR, as well.
- It’s interesting to see that Apple is now paying attention to VR.
As always, the update will be free.
Mac Hardware Updates
- 500 nit display. 10-bit dithering with 1 billion colors. This 5K display was already best in class, so its just getting a little bump up here.
2. Kaby Lake Processors
3. Twice the memory as previous models.
4. Fusion Drives standard.
- Making a big deal about graphic improvements.
- Base model is 80% faster than previous.
- Discrete Radeon graphics cards on all 4K models.
- The high-end 27″ model is now geared toward VR creation.
- John Knoll from Industrial Light and Magic on stage now.
- The demo definitely looked good.
- 4K 21.5″ iMac starts at $1299.
MacBook and MacBook Pro
1. Moving to Kaby Lake.
2. That’s pretty much it. No other big announcements other than the processor bump.
Sneak Peak of the iMac Pro
- Looks great in Space Gray
- Ships with an 8 Core Zeon Processor.
- Also available it’s 10 or 18 Cores!
- AMD Radeon Vega Graphics
- 11 teraflops
- Up to 22 teraflops of half precision computing.
- Up to 128 GB of RAM
- Up to 4 TB of SSD
- 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Built in 10 Gigabit Ethernet
- This is a significant update to the 27″ iMac. It is a legitimate pro machine to fill the vacuum until the new Mac Pro becomes available.
- Available in December
- Clocks in a $4999.
- 86% of compatible iOS devices are running iOS 10, compared to 7% on the latest version of Android. No surprise here.
- This Keynote was so packed that there was no time for fluff or bragging about numbers.
- Stickers and iMessage apps are more discoverable. This was a MUST.
- iMessages synced via iCloud across all devices. Includes deletes. Optimizes device storage!!! This is a sneaky good feature.
- Still end to end encrypted
3. Apple Pay
- Available in 50% of the retailers in the US by end of year.
- Direct person to person payments, as predicted. Added through an iMessage app. Smart.
- Venmo has officially been Sherlocked.
- Money is stored on a virtual Apple Pay “card.” Money can be spent using Apple Pay, or transferred to banks, so it won’t be “stuck.” Smart move there.
4. Siri- Here we go
- 21 languages in 36 countries
- New voice for Siri. Male and female versions. The voices definitely sound clearer and more realistic.
- Still cracks jokes.
- The visual interface now goes deeper, for additional answers and queries.
- Siri now offers translation. Good ideal to leverage all those languages.
- SiriKit in iOS 11- Opened up to more types of apps, but no details yet.
- More predictive notifications via machine learning
- ON DEVICE learning specifically mentioned. Apple is still making the privacy a cornerstone of the AI and Machine Learning efforts.
- Nothing revolutionary here. Just extensions of what they are already doing.
- Siri is now synced across devices. I believe that is new.
- I hope that isn’t it.
- Apple did add full text query capability to Siri. This wasn’t mentioned, but it made the yearly “all the stuff we didn’t mention” slide at the end of the iOS presentation. I mentioned this in my Taking Siri Seriously article, and think it is very important. Evidently Apple doesn’t, but at least it is included!
- HEVC file format for better video compression
- HEIF file format is replacing JPEG image capture. Half the size.
- You can share in JPEGs.
- New depth API for Portrait Mode for developers
- Memories in Photos
- Machine learning to identify more types of events.
- Watch Memories in portrait or landscape. You can switch on the fly.
- Live Photos- Trim and mark the key photo in the group
6. Control Center
- Broken up into many sections across an entire page.
- 3D Touch adds more levels of control
- Get to Music without having to swipe to a different screen
- No mention of customization capability.
7. Notification Center and the Lock Screen have been merged.
- Widgets and the Camera are still on separate pages to the left and right.
- Set Key Photos for Live Photos and Videos
- Looping Live Photos
- Long Exposure effect is interesting.
9. Machine Learning
- More mention of Machine Learning and Siri in regards to Memories.
- Siri will start to surface information in different places, like News, based on Photos or Safari.
- Spelling suggestions, iMessage app surfacing, etc.
- Machine Learning is ALL OVER this Keynote.
- Mall interior directions
- Airport interior directions and mapping, as well.
- Local speed limits shown
- Lane Guidance- Finally
- Do Not Disturb While Driving added for use if CarPlay isn’t available in your vehicle.
- Apple will detect via Bluetooth or WiFi Doppler
- It is a suggestion, not forced.
- It disables most phone capabilities.
- Can send an automatic response to texts.
- Speaker configuration now available.
- AirPlay 2- Adds multi-room audio control.
- Apple Music has an added Shared Up Next that others can add to dynamically.
- Apple TV can be played to as an AirPlay 2 Speaker.
11. Apple Music
- 27 million users- still well below Spotify, but growing.
- Friends’ listening will now be surfaced and shared, if they make their use public.
- MusicKit gives devs full access to Apple Music’s catalogue in apps. Smart.
12. App Store
- Hmmmm. Big News? Interesting.
- Phil Schiller is up. This ought to be good.
- Brief, but obligatory bragging over big numbers, as expected.
- Phased releases added for devs
- App Store being completely redesigned.
- Looks very much like the Apple Music and News re-designs from last year.
- Making Apps more discoverable up front.
- More Feature pages, rather than just raw lists.
- It looks a lot better. It’s all about how it WORKS. We won’t know that for a little while.
- The ability to surface manuals or How-Tos is a welcomed addition.
13. Core Technologies- Machine Learning
- Machine Learning again. Glad to see so much focus on it.
- Core ML
- Adds Machine Learning capability to devs and apps.
- Vision API adds face detection.
- Touted that the iPhone is 6X faster than the Google Pixel using CoreML. Interesting tidbit, considering how aggressive Google is on VR.
- Also touting their privacy combined with Machine Learning.
14. Augmented Reality
- ARKit- This is GOOD!! Getting it in devs hands NOW, rather than waiting for a specific device.
- Looks like there are classes and a test lesson at WWDC covering this.
- The demo looks impressive.
- Touting how the power of the hardware makes AR useful on iOS.
- They think iOS will be the largest AR platform in the world very quickly. That actually sounds realistic once iOS and the next iPhone roll out.
- Showing off a version of Pokémon Go WITH AR KIT. It looks a LOT better. Much more realistic looking.
- Wing Nut AR Demo
- Uses Unreal Engine 4 and real-time rendering. Very impressive demo.
- It looks like Apple is going all in on AR right now.
- Making a big deal about Chinese-specific iOS features again.
That’s it for iOS. No Home Screen improvements.
iPad Pro- Gets its own segment. This is good.
1. 9.7″ model is the more popular version.
2. No mention of the 12.9″. I don’t like that. (False alarm. The 12.9 is still here and has been updated. The 9.7 is going away)
3. Here comes the 10.5!
- Still just 1 pound.
- Can display a full size on-screen keyboard like the 12.9″.
- Can support a full size Smart Keyboard, as well.
- True tone on both Pro models now!
- 600 nit brightness. HDR Video on both Pros now.
- Enhances the display.
- Doubles the max refresh rate from 60 to 120 Hz.
- All on-screen motion will be much smoother.
- Higher refresh also enhances the Pencil.
- 20 ms latency
- First mobile displays that can dynamically adjust display rates. Helps with battery life.
- A10X, not 11. Oh well. Still sounds pretty powerful.
- 12 core GPU.
- 30% faster over the A9X and 40% faster graphics.
- Affinity Photo App Demo
- Wow. Renders faster than an Intel i7 processor Windows machine according to the developer.
- Instant live previews of all edits and additions.
- Uses Apple Pencil to control edits.
- Doing refined selections down to the individual hair strand level to cut and crop images with the Pencil. Very cool.
- App is available today.
- Both models still have 10 hr batt life.
- Same as the iPhone 7, front and back
- 4K video capture
- Fast charging through USB C
- New SmartCovers. Leather is back.
- Starts at 64 GB of Memory, up from 32 GB.
- $649 for the base 64 GB 10.5″. Can order today!!
More iOS 11 on iPad
1. The Dock
- Now holds a HUGE amount of apps.
- Summon the dock from anywhere to help switch apps
- Pull an app out of the dock into SlideOver. SO MUCH BETTER.
- This is a huge productivity enhancement.
2. App Switcher is much more flexible
- Remembers app pairings. Kind of a Spaces-like setup.
3. Drag and Drop
- It looks very flexible in the demo. You can easily move content between apps, even across the App Switcher.
4. New App- Files
- A full file manager
- Similar look and feel to the new App Store
- Includes cloud services in the same app
- Works just how you would expect a file manager to. Cut, paste, drag and drop, multi-select, etc
- Easy to set up favorites in the sidebar.
- Easy to get to recently used files.
We are two hours in and they are still talking ultra-freakin-fast. AHHHHRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!
5. Apple Pencil
- Pencil integrated deeply into Notes.
- Searchable ink! This is a solid new feature.
- Inline drawings with text. Finally.
- Notes has a doc scanner built-in, with Pencil markup built in.
- Markup is also included in Mail.
- Tapping on the Lock Screen with the Pencil goes right to Notes.
- There is a new Screenshot editor, which is a very nice addition. Works well with the Pencil.
iOS 11 Public Beta available at the end of the month. Out for Devs Today.
Music- The New Speaker
1. Music gets a little spotlight separate from what was discussed with iOS.
2. Ahhh. Looks like the Speaker is here.
3. Apple is positioning this as re-inventing Home Music, in juxtaposition to iOS and the AirPods for mobile.
4. The speaker needs to have the necessary volume, spatially aware, be fun to use, and give you assistance (Siri).
1. Lukewarm applause on the name. Meh. I understand cashing in on the old iPod name, though.
- 7 array beam-form tweeter pack on the bottom with directional control.
- 4″ woofer
- Sound is dynamically balanced
- Has an A8 chip- This is one powerful speaker.
3. Spatial Awareness
- It detects the space and models the sound on it.
- Similar to what Sonos does. I’m sure they’re thrilled to be Sherlocked.
- Can use the beam-forming to direct the sound.
- Designed to work specifically with Apple Music
- It sounds like the speaker can work with Apple Music without any device via Siri.
- The Siri capability described is expressly directed at Music only (so far).
- I understand what Apple is doing focusing on music first, but this isn’t going to play well (not the case so far, actually. Media reception has been positive).
- The Siri assistant capabilities were literally mentioned as an afterthought. That is very concerning.
- You can control HomeKit devices using the HomePod.
- The assistant capability is there. It is just being downplayed.
- HomeKit is built in, so you can control remotely, just ,Ike if you have an Apple TV.
- Your data is anonymous and encrypted.
- Price- $349. Not bad at ALL. Could have been higher with those specs.
- Comes in White and Space Gray
- Ships in December.
Wow. Apple got Michelle Obama lined up for WWDC. That’s pretty impressive.
That’s all the news the news that’s fit to print from the WWDC Keynote. It was a LONG one, at almost 2 1/2 hours. They certainly covered a lot of ground. I’ll be back later to start breaking it all down. In the meantime, if you have questions about anything, feel free to comment below, or find me on our Facebook page or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.
I have been anticipating writing an article of final predictions for what we will see at WWDC for a few weeks now. However, as sit here on the eve of Christmas for Apple fans, I find little point in doing so. Not only has every tech site and every Apple blog weighed in on this topic at this point, but pretty much every national medial outlet, as well. What’s the point in one more drop in a very full bucket?
Rather than go the path well travelled, I’m going to take a different look at WWDC and get into more of the “how” than the “what”. Allow me to explain myself. One of the recurring themes I see, especially in several of the articles from larger medial outlets, is a negative slant towards Apple’s current position. Despite their incredible stock performance and profitability, the emergence of new sources of revenue in wearables and services, and the coming release of a sure-fire hit in the next iPhone, the “what’s wrong with Apple” storyline is as reliable as the taxman coming to collect lately.