Apple unleashed a flurry of new hardware and software announcements at WWDC 2017—from the latest versions of iOS and MacOS to new Mac and iPad hardware and its Siri-powered Amazon Echo competitor. Here's a quick summary of the three biggest announcements from this year's WWDC:
1. The iMac Pro
Apple needed to impress professionals in order to keep more of them from fleeing the Mac, and it went for shock-and-awe with the new iMac Pro that can scale up to an 18-core Intel Xeon CPU, 128GB of RAM, and a 4TB SSD drive. However, the base model starts at $4,999 and so this machine could be out of reach for most professionals. Apple would have likely been better off relaunching a high-powered Mac tower that's more modular.
2. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro
Apple replaced the 9.7-inch iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch screen that sports a thinner bezel and so it's roughly the same size but offers 20% more usable screen space. It also upgraded the internal specs of both this new smaller iPad Pro and the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro. And with iOS 11, Apple also unveiled a bevy of iPad-specific features for multitasking, app switching, dragging-and-dropping, and on-screen keyboard tricks.
3. The HomePod
Apple has finally announced its competitor to the Amazon Echo. It's called the HomePod and it does most of the same things as Alexa, but it features high end speakers and Apple claims stronger privacy protection. It costs $349, compared to $49 for the entry-level Echo. We'll see if people are willing to pay that much more for better privacy, nicer speakers, and the ability to stream Apple Music. For professionals, the killer feature might be using it for hands-free calls and audio conferencing, if the quality is that good.
- WWDC 2017: All the news about iOS 11
- Apple unleashes 18-core iMac Pro with 128GB RAM, bumps other Macs to Kaby Lake
- Apple macOS High Sierra kills AutoPlay in Safari, uses machine learning to improve privacy
- Apple's 10.5-inch iPad Pro gets full-size keyboard, 2X storage, and 30% bump in CPU performance
- The Macintosh we deserve: How Apple can win back loyalty from professionals
- Apple takes on Amazon Echo with $350 Siri-powered HomePod
- WWDC 2017: Apple launches augmented reality developer tools with ARKit (ZDNet)
- WWDC 2017: Apple positions Mac updates, Mac OS High Sierra for VR developers (ZDNet)
- WWDC 2017: iOS 11 revealed with more Siri smarts, AR support (ZDNet)
- CNET's WWDC 2017 coverage
Jason Hiner has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.