Good and geeky thoughts about the WWDC announcements
So I sat myself down with a cup of tea and a biscuit, as you do when you are a good and geeky bloke. My Apple TV is new since the previous WWDC event last year and so I had to go searching for the Apple events application. It didn’t take too long to have that installed and I was ready to go. The event was late starting so we were treated to pictures of attendees moving around the hall and getting into their seats ready for the start. Apple usually starts on time so I can only assume there were last-minute hiccups. It was a long keynote speech and it started slowly, gradually building up to a really good set of announcements from Apple. To save us all from guessing, Tim Cook told us there were going to be six announcements. With such a long keynote it saved us all from getting fidgety and wondering when the “One more thing!” Was going to come. All in all, a good and geeky way to spend my evening.
Operating systems and hardware upgrades
All of the operating systems got some sort of upgrade. Some more than others. Not so much for the Mac, not a lot for the Apple TV, some changes for Watch OS, a fair old bit for the iPhone iOS and all the best changes which are coming to the iPad version of iOS. It was the iOS for iPad I was most interested in. I had to endure quite a wait before seeing all the goodies in store. Was worth the wait though.
This year I’m in the market for a new iMac and I didn’t really expect an update in this keynote. So I was delighted to see that the iMac range has been updated. I can definitely see a new iMac in my near future. The iMac I have now is still performing extremely well. I had the hard disk replaced at the end of last year and it still does most of what I want it to do. Mostly I need a graphics card with more memory to run a couple of apps for working with photos. I’d really like to have the latest version of Bluetooth so I could enjoy the larger Magic Trackpad. It’s always good to have extra speed with a faster processor and the 5K display would be very nice indeed.
The other big news at the keynote was the introduction of the 10.5 inch iPad Pro. I’m still happy with my large 12 inch iPad Pro and I’m not tempted by the faster processor in the new version. I’m really looking forward to seeing iOS 11 on the devices I have now.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
I will have to admit to a couple of wow moments watching the augmented reality and virtual reality. It looked really cool seeing all those bits and pieces that were not really there appear as if they were on the table. You can see all of this stuff looking through your iOS device, but wouldn’t it be great if we had augmented reality glasses. Maybe we’ll get that one day.
The virtual reality demonstration also looked impressive. I have yet to try out one of those VR Headsets. I have been tempted a couple of times when seeing them at less than €20 on Amazon. The amazing part of the virtual reality demonstration was where the person within the virtual reality was creating the world which she saw in front of her. It was like using laser pointers to position where objects were going to start, move and finish up in the world design. To really get into this sort of work you would need to have the iMac Pro. This was the iMac of the Keynote which starts in price at $5000. It is a complete beast of a machine and if money was no object then I would most certainly buy one. I don’t really have a need for one, but just to say I have one would be kind of sweet.
The Home Pod
This is a competitor to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi speakers such as Sonos more than to challenge Google Home or the Amazon Echo. There are Siri capabilities within the device so I’d be able to control my home automation devices using the Home Pod. There isn’t the diversity of ability in the device because there isn’t a developer kit for creating extra applications as you can so do with Amazon Skills. This is probably why Apple positioned this as a music device rather than as a home assistant. I could only be tempted to get one of these if I was more interested in listening to music. The price of it is more in the realm of a high-end speaker system like Sonos and that’s another reason why I would have to think long and hard about whether I was going to get one. After some thinking about it I can say I will not be getting one because I’m happy with what the Amazon Echo can do for me.
IOS operating system improvements for iPad
For me this was the best part of the WWDC Keynote. Fantastic changes to the way the system works. There’s a dock available at the bottom of the screen, drag-and-drop between applications and saveable spaces with pairs of applications are going to be huge productivity boosts for iPad users. Another huge advance will be the Files application, something we’ve been looking for, for a long time. It has already been possible with applications like Documents by Readdle. This company also just recently gave its users drag-and-drop between their set of apps. They must have seen the writing on the wall. There are new ways to use the Apple pencil better. They’ve made it easy to take a screenshot and to use instant markup with the Apple Pencil. It seems we’ll be able to tap the Apple Pencil on the lock screen and start taking notes immediately. Another addition to the notes application is the scan & sign ability. The document scanner can automatically sense and scan the document. It will crop the edges and to remove any tilt, parallax view or glare. All you have to do then, is to fill in the blanks with the Apple Pencil and share it wherever it needs to go to.
A quick drag down on a key on the keyboard gives access to the secondary character on that key. That will save time having to swap from one keyboard to another for getting numbers and other characters. That won’t make much difference to us iPad Pro 12.9 inch users. We have an extended keyboard already in most apps. There seems to be a lot of sweet little extras that will all come together to give us a much more productive working experience on the iPad. It’s quite likely I’ll be tempted by the beta version of iOS before it is fully prepared for public use. I’ve already wondered if I could get away with it.
How good and geeky was the WWDC event 2017
Even though it was a little bit slow to get started, the overall impact of the keynote from this year was top notch. The best parts were the advances with the iOS operating system for the iPad. iPad owners around the world will be happy with all the new stuff we can do with iOS 11. The new iPad 10.5 and the updated 12.9 iPad also being an extra dollop of icing on the cake. Mac users will be happy enough, due to the hardware improvements on the MacBook Pro, the iMac. Then there is the iMac Pro for the rich few. It’s a shame we’re going to have to wait for so many of the new good things until the autumn or even until December for some items. The HomePod is a welcome addition to the line-up even though it’s got a high price tag. The HomePod will still be useful along with the improvements slated for the Siri interface, even though in some areas it might not be as capable as Google Home or the Amazon Echo in terms of home assistant. Siri is getting a more human sounding voice too. Not sure if that is in all languages though.
For me personally, the improvement to the iMac was something I’d been waiting for. As soon as I have the money ready I’ll be buying one. The other areas of the keynote I found particularly pleasing were the changes to the way iOS works on the iPad. It’ll be cool to create notes on the iPad simply by touching the Apple Pencil onto the lock screen. That’s a great way of jumping quickly to create a new note. It goes without saying that drag-and-drop and the better multitasking are fantastic features I can’t wait to get using.
The best one more thing for artists
It was application I’d been waiting for for some time anyway. I’m a user of Affinity Photo on my Mac and loving it. I knew there was an iPad version coming at some point in time. As soon as the keynote presentation was finished I was in the App Store buying the Affinity Photo for iPad. The demonstration by the employee from Serif, the company who make the Affinity products was probably the best demo of the day. I can’t wait to create more photo art using Affinity Photo on my iPad Pro using my Apple Pencil.
What is your favourite part of the massive WWDC 2017 the keynote?