This year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was a long awaited one, what with the heavy debate from fanboys about the direction of the brand in the future. Key execs were on hand to show that that very future was still very much in safe hands of course. The event kicked off with a short humorous clip that depicted the apps in our daily lives being wiped off phones due to a careless employee in Apple’s server room, showing how dysfunctional the world would be without apps. The truth is, we have become heavily dependent on our smartphones – more than we realise, and Apple reminded us as such. On highlight this year was the company’s new upgrades and innovations.

For those who missed out on the opportunity to watch the conference, we’ve got you covered with some important highlights of the event.

watchOS 4

The new watchOS 4 has quite a few tweaks that makes it more advanced than its predecessor. To begin with, it has the new proactive Siri watch face that displays more than just the time. It shows you news headlines, reminders, traffic updates, intelligent coaching tailored to help close your rings, and a lot more. Another update to the OS is in its music app. It will automatically sync to My Favourites Mix, a list of music most listened to, all to deliver a better experience. The watch also gives you timely advice. For instance, towards the end of the day, the watch will tell you how much you need to walk in order to close your rings. And in the morning, it will alert you when you are close to earning an achievement.

The most innovative upgrade that comes with the OS is the compatibility of the watch with your gym equipment using NFC. This way, data such as heart beat rates and calories burned will not vary from watch to equipment. You will get standard readings on both and Apple claims these readings are accurate. Other upgrades include a new Toy Story watch face, Kaleidoscope watch face for a trippy effect and most interestingly, person to person payments with Apple Pay.

macOS High Sierra (10.13)

The latest version of the macOS is called High Sierra and will be fully-baked with new features. It promises to be faster, safer and many applications will use less space than ever. In terms of speed, the new safari’s JavaScript performance speeds are speculated to be 80% faster than that of Chrome. Safari will also come bundled with security upgrades like machine learning to identify and block ad trackers – this means a harder time for advertising companies to determine your interests and bombard your screen with more ads. The OS’ mail application will also take up 35 percent less space than it has in the past.

Another area that the OS is getting a slight bump in is its graphics technology called Metal 2. This means that the OS will now be able to support VR. This was depicted by a tasteful demo of Star Wars VR experience featuring the one and only Darth Vader himself. All-in-all, it is a feature packed and promising OS, especially for design professionals that find space-saving on a daily basis an issue.

iOS 11

The new iOS update sees quite a few changes in the design and user interface. To begin with, the control centre has a new look and feel to it. Swipe up from the bottom and you’ll see multiple settings and toggles that take up slightly more than half the screen while the background blurs out. 3D touch functions can be changed here too for more functionality.

A lot has changed for iOS on the tablet front too. On the iPad, the dock now appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen – irrespective of which app you are using. It can also house more apps than before. The noteworthy feature in the update is the ability to operate two apps at the same time on the same screen, with no issues – a feature Android users have been blessed with for a while. iMessage has changed too, with accessibility to other apps while texting and messages being backed up on the cloud so you have access to them on all your devices

These are all just a few as the list goes on. But I don’t do justice to the update without mentioning the revamped App store. A new section sees the day’s most popular apps – giving you a reason every day to visit the store and browse through game reviews and tips with in-app purchases straight from the store.

iMac Pro

“Pros love iMac”, says Apple. This time they revealed the Apple’s iMac Pro spec details and a teaser that got everyone thrilled. The Pro looks dark all the way from the mouse to the monitor – more specifically, space grey. Besides this, the developments in the iMac field are huge. The iMac Pro comes with 18 cores with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 4.5 GHz. 4K video editing, file transfer, and every other function is going to be a breeze. A better graphics chip is installed too. The Radeon Pro Vega can handle almost anything you throw at it with ease and also everything you do will look stunning on the Retina 5K display.

Worried your room will heat up like a furnace after a day’s work on the Pro? Fear not for Apple has a solution for this too. The Mac comes with dual-blowers which promises extra venting. Which means the iMac can handle 500 watts – 67 percent more power than the previous iMac – and stay chill. (yes, we can actually hear designers worldwide drooling)

HomePod

Don’t have an Amazon Echo or Google Home device yet but planning to buy one. Hold that thought. Apple just introduced their new product to knock them out cold. Weighing in at 2.5 kg, 6.8” tall, 5.8” wide, please welcome the Apple HomePod. The HomePod houses a high-excursion woofer, seven-tweeter array, six-microphone array and the tiny, yet a beast of a chip – the A8 chip. The speaker is covered in mesh fabric that feels soft to the touch. In Google Home, Google Assistant responds and in Amazon Echo, Alexa. Naturally, Siri takes up secretarial position for the HomePod.

The USP of this device is the new Apple-engineered audio technology that scans your room and ensures that the audio it produces is aimed towards an optimal direction to make it more than just audible. The audio waves gets steered against the direction of walls or anything else in its way for a balanced sound from almost anywhere in the room. And in case you were wondering, yes, it can help control your home smart devices with just your voice.

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