Be the Sharing Type
Everything that went down at Apple’s latest keynote.
With Apple’s World Wide Developers Convention keynote address now in the book, the next slew of Apple products set to hit shelves have technology enthusiasts around the world buzzing. With some re-iterations of products we’ve seen before and some brand new ones all on Apple’s menu, here’s what we think about what went down on Monday.
1. Leave the pod at home
One of new products announced at WWDC 2017 was the Apple HomePod, a speaker designed to work with Apple Music and Siri to provide a new kind of convince to one’s audio experience. The main marketing ploy of the HomePod is that it is a “smart speaker,” meaning it picks up where it is in a room and adjusts itself to sound the best wherever it is. This is done by sensing walls and other objects around in that may distort how music will sound in a room. While it’s a cool feature, it’s something we’ve seen before from brands like Bose and Sonos. The HomePod will also have the ability to combine with other HomePod units, creating an immersive home theatre experience, something you can already do with Sonos speakers.
The HomePod can also be controlled by Siri, a la the Amazon Alexa model where you can ask the HomePod questions and to take notes, amongst other things. Using Siri, you can also control your Apple Music library through the HomePod, allowing for a hands-free experience for the user. The HomePod also works with Apple Homekit, allowing users to control aspects like lights, appliances and whatever else they have hooked up to the system.
While these are all really cool features, they aren’t new by any means and the $350 price point doesn’t justify the convenience of controlling my music through my phone or computer. I also don’t need to ask Siri what song is playing or what a song is being sampled in the current track I’m listening to. I understand what makes the HomePod good, but at the end of the day it’s just kinda meh from an overall standpoint.
2. iOS 11 eliminates some middlemen
Apple’s idea of giving people the ability to transfer funds directly from their phone may sound a bit sketchy from a security standpoint, but knowing how well they’ve handled the worldwide roll out of Apple Pay and the added protection and security from that makes me feel good about this feature. Making products like the Square Reader almost irrelevant, the feature will help out small businesses, roadside vendors and even everyday transactions between any two parties.
Another feature I’m a big fan of with iOS 11 is the ability to edit photos and video on the fly. Currently, I have multiple apps on my phone I use regularly to make my pictures Instagram worthy. While the new features really don’t tackle that problem fully, it’s still a step in the right direction. Hopefully we’ll be able to see features like adjusting the levels, curves and other advanced settings built into the phone.
3. The iPad is finding a new audience
As the gadget of choice for five year-olds obsessed with YouTube and old people who aren’t tech saavy enough to use computers, the iPad isn’t really the tablet of choice for professionals, with the Microsoft’s Surface holding on to that crown for a while now. Apple recognizes this, and chose to counter with the new iPad Pro. With a 10-hour battery life and revamped mapping technology for the ApplePen, developers are hoping that the iPad Pro will appeal to a new market of people who use the device for work. The iPad Pro also uses iOS 11 in a really cool way that allows for the viewing of apps in split screen windows, allowing for more productivity on the single screen. With new hardware and software available to users, the iPad Pro can be considered a solid work companion.
4. The iMac Pro is cool, but not $5,000 cool
Don’t get me wrong, if you have the money and a good reason to buy the new iMac Pro, then by all means go ahead. It’s a beautiful machine, both internally and externally. The 128GB of memory and 4TB Solid State Drive will be more than enough to help run and load programs with ease, especially those pesky Adobe products that like to drink up every resource your computer has. Apple also upped their display game, with a whopping 27-inch 5k monitor. In order to help balance out all the new bells and whistles, Apple has redesigned the iMac Pro’s cooling system, allowing the unit to rid itself of heat 80 per cent more efficiently. While it is by all means a fantastic machine, Apple’s refusal to allow for changeable parts still kind of irks me. The lack of ability to upgrade or change parts if one breaks is something I should be able to do in 2017. While Apple didn’t fully reveal what they have planned for the iMac Pro, it still bothers me that I don’t have the ability to properly care for my $5,000 computer if I were to buy one.