WWDC

WWDC Part 4: New iPad Pros

Although these days Apple is putting more emphasis on the Mac, particularly for professional use, the company certainly isn’t ignoring pro iPad users. If you’ve been holding off on an iPad Pro purchase, there’s no reason to wait any longer. Apple introduced a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro that’s just a hair taller and wider than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro it replaces, despite having a larger screen that’s 20% larger. The company also enhanced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a variety of new hardware capabilities.

All motion on the screens of both iPad Pros will be smoother and more responsive, thanks to a previously unheard of 120 Hz refresh rate. It will make drawing with the Apple Pencil even more fluid. The screens are also brighter, can display more colors, and have low reflectivity. Both models get new cameras that match those in the iPhone 7: a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and True Tone flash, plus a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera on the front.

Since professionals care about performance, the new iPad Pros rely on Apple’s new processor, the A10X Fusion chip. Apple claims that the A10X is 30% faster than the A9X used by the previous generation of iPad Pros, and it also delivers 40% faster graphics rendering.

You can buy an iPad Pro with 64 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB of storage, significantly more than last year’s models. The 64 GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro with Wi-Fi costs $649; jumping to 256 GB increases the price to $749, and going to 512 GB raises it to $949. For the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a 64 GB configuration starts at $799, with 256 GB at $899 and 512 GB at $1099. Add $130 to any configuration to get cellular connectivity as well.

Although the iPad Pros are available starting this month, you can look forward to them becoming significantly more useful when Apple releases iOS 11 in the fall. That’s because iOS 11 promises to bring a number of iPad-specific features, including:

  • A customizable Dock that holds more than six apps
  • A new App Switcher that includes split-screen app combinations
  • A new Files app for managing documents
  • Drag-and-drop capability for moving data between apps
  • Instant Notes, which opens the Notes app with an Apple Pencil tap on the Lock screen
  • Inline drawing with the Apple Pencil in Notes and Mail
  • Handwritten text recognition so you can search what you write

WWDC Part 2: iOS 11

At WWDC, Apple gave us a peek at iOS 11, due as a free update this fall (which likely means September). Although it offers numerous changes, iOS 11 won’t seem like a huge revision, since most of the changes are refinements rather than new apps or wholesale rewrites.

Perhaps the most noticeable change is Control Center, the panel that appears when you drag up from the bottom of the Lock screen or Home screen. Apple has redesigned it so that the audio and HomeKit controls fit on one screen, even on the iPhone. In iOS 10, you may have to scroll sideways to see all the controls, which is awkward. The new design also takes advantage of 3D Touch to let you do more than toggle settings on and off.

We’re looking forward to the new Messages, which takes advantage of iCloud to sync messages (including deletions!) between your devices. What’s most important about this is that older messages will be stored only in iCloud so they won’t occupy precious storage space on your device.

Siri will receive new voices that sound more natural, and it will also sync what it knows about you between devices to personalize responses better. Siri is also getting smarter, or at least more observant. Thanks to a technology called Siri Intelligence, Siri will better understand your interests and the context in which you’re speaking. So, if you search for information about Paris, the News app may start recommending articles about France, and if you type “bor” in an app, the iOS keyboard may suggest “Bordeaux” as an auto-completion.

Apple will introduce new formats to the Camera app in iOS 11, which should result in photos and videos that take up much less space. iPhone 7 Plus users will also appreciate improvements in the two-camera Portrait mode. If you like Live Photos, don’t miss new features in Photos for trimming and editing the underlying movies — you can even apply looping and reversing effects.

Although Maps may always be playing catch-up with more established mapping companies, we’re still pleased to see Apple adding features like indoor maps of malls and airports in major cities. It will also inform you of speed limits and offer lane guidance on large roads.

If splitting a restaurant bill is awkward, you’ll be able to use Apple Pay in iOS 11 to send money directly to another person. It goes into an Apple Cash Card found in the Wallet app, and money stored there can be transferred to a bank account or used to pay for Apple Pay purchases.

Last, but certainly least, is a potentially life-saving feature: Do No Disturb While Driving. When enabled, it will detect that you’re riding in a car and shut off all notifications to your iPhone. You’ll be able to set an auto-reply text message in case anyone messages you, which the sender can break through by stating that the message is urgent. You can also turn off Do Not Disturb While Driving if you’re a passenger.

iOS 11 requires a 64-bit device, which means that it won’t be available to the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and fourth-generation iPad, but it will run on all other iOS devices Apple has released since 2013.

WWDC Part 1: HomePod

 
 

Whew! Did you catch Apple's stream yesterday? It was packed full of new announcements, some of which sound INCREDIBLE! We can't wait to see this stuff roll out; it'll be hard to wait. So much was released, we want to just include a little at a time- it's hard to find the time to read a wordy article. 

HomePod

The much-rumored HomePod is Apple’s answer to the popular Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers. In classic Apple fashion, however, the wireless HomePod speaker is focused first on delivering amazing audio quality that competes with the top Wi-Fi speakers available on the market. Setup will be as simple as setting up AirPods; just hold your iPhone next to a HomePod to configure it.

Physically, the HomePod is a 7-inch high cylinder covered in a 3-D acoustic mesh and available in black or white. Inside, it features a 4-inch Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, and an array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provides pure high-frequency acoustics.

The smarts in Apple’s smart speaker come from Apple’s A8 chip, which powered the iPhone 6. Thanks to the A8 chip and a six-microphone array, the HomePod can optimize its audio quality for its position in a room. If you put a pair of HomePods in the same room, they detect each other automatically and balance the audio to deliver an immersive listening experience.

Those microphones also let you control the HomePod via Siri. It’s designed to work with an Apple Music subscription, and Siri will be able to respond to many more music-related queries and commands. You can also ask Siri for weather forecasts, sports scores, traffic reports, stock prices, and even unit conversions. Thanks to the HomePod’s integration with the Apple ecosystem, you’ll also be able to send messages, make reminders, set alarms and timers, and control HomeKit devices. 

 
 

Because it’s Apple, protecting your privacy is paramount, so the HomePod sends nothing to Apple until you say “Hey Siri,” and even then, what you say is both anonymized and encrypted.

When it ships in December for $349, the HomePod will be more expensive than the Amazon Echo or Google Home, neither of which have particularly good sound, but cheaper than many high-quality wireless speakers. We’re looking forward to listening to our music and podcasts on the HomePod, and to seeing how successfully Siri responds to us.

WWDC13: The Internet Responds to Apple’s Latest Offerings

ios7logoIt’s been one week since Apple developers, fanboys and fangirls left the Moscone Center and WWDC13, hurrying home to download the beta versions of the company’s new operating system, Mavericks, and the freshly redesigned iOS 7. And in the week that has past, the Internet had its chance to debrief. The reviews are in. What did we learn and what did we like?

People aren’t sure what to make of iOS 7’S new icons. 

Across Apple fan sites, a spate of anything-Jony-Ive-can-do-I-can-do-better screen shots of tweaked iOS icons popped up. "Critics are upset with how the new iOS was designed, being a mix of flat with a dash of something else," the design site Enfuzed noted.

But GigaOM tried to put things in context for naysayers and Apple’s chicken littles:

“It’s true that there are some changes that are a bit off-putting, and plenty of details and elements that are not quite right yet — as several designers have told me,” GigaOM’s Erica Ogg wrote. “But remember: it’s been eight months since iOS 6 came out and iOS 7 is a pre-release beta. It’s a good bet that what Apple unveiled Monday is going to be tweaked and adjusted as needed over the next few months.

Apple put more into redesigning iOS 7 than Mavericks.  

Although Mavericks, Apple’s newest iteration of its OSX named after a popular California surfing spot, has roughly 10 new features, it sticks closely to its predecessor for the most part.

“The most interesting thing to me about OS X Mavericks is that it largely sticks with the old OS X design,” observes the Apple Gazette. “Calendar and Game Center are getting upgrades to look more like their iOS counterparts, but the rest of OS X looks the same way it always has. Will OS 10.10 or 10.11 boast a flat design more like iOS 7? I’d bet on it. Apple simply didn’t have time to overhaul both operating systems yet.”

The new Mac Pro tamps down “can’t innovate anymore” talk.

Among the most striking revelations at WWDC 13 was the new Mac Pro (which the world agreed looked like anything but a computer, and closer to Darth Vader’s helmet, for what it’s worth).

Still, the machine’s design, size and computing power—Intel XeonE5 processors, 60 GB of ram—received rave reviews.

"[It’s] much smaller than you'd think — though pulling the cover off reveals that it's absolutely packed inside," said The Verge. "It's one of the tightest packages we've ever seen."

iTunes Radio could be competitive with other online music streaming solutions.

Apple might be late to the web radio trend, but they came out swinging. The new service, which includes no ads for people who already subscribe to iTunes Match and ad-supported free version for those who don’t, is designed to compete with Spotify and Google Play Music.

“iTunes Radio is most similar to Pandora, allowing users to create custom radio stations based on songs and artists, while also discovering new music through "featured" radio stations,” Mashable says.

And they made a cool infographic to compare the features of the most popular streaming services.