On Monday, Apple held their annual Worldwide Developer Conference in California and despite most of the expected announcements, there was a lot of new stuff that no one saw coming. This years WWDC was a big one for Apple with so many surprises in what’s going to be a big year for Apple with the highly anticipated iPhone 8 expected to be announced this September, on the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone.
One of the big announcements by Apple CEO Tim Cook was the HomePod, something many were calling the Siri Speaker prior to Monday. This is a seven-inch tall speaker with a lot of smarts which it gets from the A8 CPU inside. It adjusts sound based on the shape and size of the room it’s in and can respond to commands via Siri.
Although this will compete directly with the Amazon’s Echo and Google Home devices which have similar functionality, Apple’s HomePod will feature seven beamforming tweeters speaker array system and a massive bass driver to ensure high fidelity audio and a true 360 degree sound. Also, to ensure Siri hears you no matter where you are in the room, it has six microphones. You will also be able to control HomeKit supported smart devices in your home using the HomePod and stream music using Apple Music.
Don’t get too excited just yet, both the Amazon Echo or Google Home speakers and available to buy or supported here in Ireland. The HomePod is due out by the end of this year but not in Ireland. Not even the latest gen Apple TV has got full Siri integration here in Ireland but hopefully, the new HomePod will be available here early next year. It will retail in the US for $349 with pricing and release dates for Australia and the UK later this year.
A much-needed refresh in hardware has finally come to the all-in-one iMac range of computers which haven’t seen an update since 2015.
There will be three new models added to their product line including an iMac 21.5-inch, a 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display, and a 27-inch iMac Retina with 5K display.
The updated iMac the latest generation Intel Kaby Lake processors up to 4.2 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz and supports up to twice the memory as the previous models. Fusion Drive is now standard on all 27-inch configurations and the top-end 21.5-inch iMac. SSD storage options are now up to 50 percent faster, and iMac comes with Thunderbolt 3, the most powerful and versatile port ever.
Finally, the iMac will have great graphical performance with Radeon Pro 500-series graphics with up to 8GB of vRAM. The 21.5-inch model delivers up to three times faster performance and the 27-inch model is up to 50% faster.
The displays are also greatly improved with now being 43% brighter at 500 nits and with support for 1 billion colours, delivering an even more vivid and true-to-life viewing experience which is good news to graphic, photo and video professionals.
The new iMacs are available to order now with prices for the 21.5-inch version starting at €1,349 and starting prices for the 27-inch 5K model starting at €2,199.
The really big news for iMac users is that there will be an iMac Pro which won’t be available until December, but will feature a 5k Retina display, 8-core Intel Xeon processor, 10-core Xeon processor, or 18-core processor, AMD's Radeon Vega graphics, with up to 16GB of VRAM with 22 teraflops of graphics computation.
With that list of hardware under the hood it’s no surprise that it will come with a premium price tag too starting at $4,999.
Apple also updated the MacBook and MacBook Pro with faster processors, added faster SSDs to MacBook, and introduced a new €1,549 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The new 13-inch MacBook features a Kaby Lake processor up to 1.3GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4 GHz, and up to 50-percent faster SSD storage. The 15-inch model goes up to 3.1 GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, and it has improved graphics, better video memory, as well as Apple's new Touchbar system and Retina display.
The standard 13-inch MacBook Air gets a little boost by bumping up the processor to 1.8GHz.
And finally, there’s two new iPad Pro models including a new 10.5-inch model and an improved 12.9-inch model, both of which will feature a new display with ProMotion technology and the new A10X Fusion chip. The new 10.5-inch model reduces the borders by nearly 40 per cent to fit into an incredibly compact package that still weighs just one pound.
The ProMotion display is a new technology that delivers refresh rates of up to 120Hz for fluid scrolling, greater responsiveness and smoother motion content. With ProMotion, Apple Pencil is even more responsive with an industry-best, 20-millisecond latency for even more fluid and natural drawing. ProMotion also improves display quality and reduces power consumption by automatically adjusting the display refresh rate to match the movement of the content.
Prices for the new iPad Pro’s start at €749 for the 10.5-inch and €919 for the 12.9-inch and both are available to buy now.