Each June the Apple WWDC conference generates a number of announcements, some traditionally more exciting than others. While WWDC 2017 didn't shake the market by announcing Apple is launching satellites to power its own internet service or introducing its own self-driving cars, the company made several announcements that will begin impacting businesses, some immediately.
SEE: The Macintosh we deserve: How Apple can win back loyalty from professionals (TechRepublic)
macOS High Sierra Apple File System
Apple's new macOS, High Sierra, will introduce the Apple File System (APFS), which leverages 64-bit architecture and is designed for flash-based drives. The result is a faster-responding file system business users will especially appreciate when copying files and performing other common disk actions.
The file system also possesses built-in encryption with more flexibility than the older macOS file system it replaces, improved protection against data loss resulting from system crashes, the ability to dynamically resize partitions, and support for restoring read-only snapshots, a welcome addition for IT departments in the never-ending fight against malware.
SEE: How to download macOS High Sierra and which Macs are compatible (TechRepublic)
iOS 11 Files app
Apple's new iOS 11 release will include a Files application. Long missing from iPhones and iPads, the Files interface will better enables users and technical support staff to more effectively administer these devices. Using the Files app, users and administrators can more easily browse, search, and store files. File management improvements don't just apply to locally stored files, but to cloud-based services as well. This file management improvement is a feature mobile business professionals and others will immediately appreciate when iOS is released. For example, in addition to providing access to locally stored files, the Files app will permit managing files stored in the cloud, including in Box, Dropbox, and iCloud.
SEE: iOS 11: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
New 10.5-inch iPad Pro
The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model provides business professionals a potent tablet possessing a Retina display and full-size onscreen keyboard but in a package possessing easier portability than larger 12.9-inch models. Boasting an almost 20% larger display than previous 9.7-inch iPad models, the 10.5-inch model packs more power than many common PC laptops but weighs almost a half-pound less than its 12.9-inch sibling, a factor important to consider when moving between patient rooms, across a factory floor, or in and out of airplanes and cabs. Offices seeking to reduce the number of assets they must manage may be pleasantly surprised to find the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro can replace many users' need for a separate iPad and laptop—the new iPad Pro may well fulfill the role of both devices.
Faster processors accelerate multiple Macs' performance
Numerous Macs are receiving processor upgrades, accelerating performance in many common models businesses frequently deploy. iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pro models all receive faster processors.
Apple announced updated iMacs feature faster seventh-generation Kaby Lake Intel processors up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz. MacBooks will now pack Kaby Lake processors up to 1.4GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, while MacBook Pros feature Kaby Lake CPUs up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz. Apple also noted iMac and MacBook SSD models' drives are up to 50% faster.
SEE: Apple's first employee: The remarkable odyssey of Bill Fernandez (PDF download) (TechRepublic)
New iMac Pro
WWDC's new iMac Pro announcement was one that likely caught many organizations by surprise. Apple's Mac Pro was previously established as the go-to machine for demanding computing applications. The capacity of the new iMac Pro, due in December 2017, almost requires a quick double-check: The machine features a 27-inch Retina 5K display, your choice of 8-, 10-, or 18-cores 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory standard and up to 128GB capacity, a 1TB SSD standard and up to a 4TB SSD option, Radeon Pro Vega graphics and support for extended desktop and video mirroring options, not to mention 10Gb Ethernet.
The new workstation is a beast. Apple's aiming the system squarely at audio and video producers, animators, scientists, and others requiring demanding performance. Whether rendering or editing high-quality video, compiling code, crunching numbers and scientific calculations, or modeling 3D environments, the new iMac Pro is far more than a pretty desktop adornment; Apple states the new iMac Pro features "the most staggeringly powerful collection of workstation-class graphics, processors, storage, memory, and I/O of any Mac ever."
- WWDC 2017: The 3 biggest product announcements (TechRepublic)
- Apple's WWDC 2017: The big takeaways for technology pros (ZDNet)
- Apple WWDC 2017: Eight things you probably missed (ZDNet)
- WWDC 2017: Apple announces new iMac range, powers up the MacBook (ZDNet)
- Apple's 10.5-inch iPad Pro gets full-size keyboard, 2X storage, and 30% bump in CPU performance (TechRepublic)
- Apple unleashes 18-core iMac Pro with 128GB RAM, bumps other Macs to Kaby Lake (TechRepublic)
- Mac users, meet APFS: macOS' new file system (ZDNet)
- Job description: iOS developer (Tech Pro Research)
- Special report: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.