The WWDC 2017 Keynote

People expected a lot from Apple this year and they really delivered. This WWDC wasn't just long, rambling presentations about software that's months away, as they unveiled a lot of new hardware.

WWDC Keynote

The rumours were all true, as new Macs, iPad Pros and a connected speaker appeared.

This is my reaction to everything that was announced and I'll also try to work out what's really worth your attention. You'll have to wait a while for some of these new devices though, as there were quite a few sneak peeks.

Despite being a little late to the stage, Tim Cook promised us six announcements and his team put on quite a show as they explained everything.

TvOS and watchOS

After announcing he didn't have time for company updates, Tim moved on to the Apple TV and Watch. As the presentations were pretty brief, and kind of unremarkable, I've grouped them together, but there was one thing that got my attention.

As expected, Amazon are now on the Apple TV.

I think this is huge news and it's the reason I need other devices to watch TV. It finally puts everything in place, but they're going to have to do something special with the hardware before I consider upgrading my old model. There's no news on that yet, but at least we didn't gave to put up with people cheering them announcing folders for it.

The Apple Watch got a little more attention but there were no spectacular announcements. I wasn't that impressed with the new faces with Siri or the kaleidoscope if I'm honest. Some people may like the new Toy Story faces though.

Apple Watch

It became clear that they still consider The Apple Watch a fitness device when they announced achievements, a flashlight and gym equipment integration.

The music updates were also unexciting and again, they seemed to be aimed at runners. Apple News on the watch should be good though and for a minute, I thought we'd also get it on Mac OS but it wasn't to be.

Mac OS

It's a year of evolution ahead of us as we get High Sierra and as its name suggests, it build on its predecessor. It was funny when the audience presumed this was a joke at first, as Craig Federighi looked more than a little embarrassed. I guess he should have expected this though after his previous teases.

Mac Sierra

The great thing about this new OS is that it will run on all the machines compatible with Sierra, so no one gets left behind.

There wasn't that much to comment on in terms of new features, except that Safari will now stop annoying adverts tracking your browser history and block autoplay. The main talking points seemed to be about how it will support advanced hardware, with enhanced graphics capabilities and virtual reality support announced. They quickly showed us why they were doing this as well.

The New Macs

Although it was disappointing not to see a new design, I like the way they refreshed the iMac range. It really needed a boost as it was looking a little tired, and these new machines won't disappoint anyone. The Star Wars VR demo was also spectacular.

Anyone who brought a new MacBook will be relieved that they only received a spec boost.

The MacBook and the MacBook Air (yes it's still there) were refreshed as well and like the iMacs, I think this really demonstrates how Intel have been holding them back. 

The big news for me was the cheaper, cut down non-Touchbar MacBook Pro. I'm actually a little bit frustrated, as this clearly should have been there when it was released.

Apple then announced the iMac Pro and took everyone by surprise. 

It looks amazing, but it's clearly not aimed at the average consumer. Although they didn't make it clear if this was their replacement for the Mac Pro, I feel sorry for anyone who needs to get one before this new all-in-one arrives. 

The only thing that concerned me is that pro users may resent having to use the built-in screen, as many of them are sure to have bigger and better alternatives. It's also a bit weird that they announced this so early on, as it's got to hurt sales of their current lineup.

iOS 11

After the evolutionary Mac OS update, Tim Cook proudly announced that they were going to 'turn it up to eleven'. The new dock alone will make it look a lot different and there were some great new features.

iOS 11

I'll personally appreciate messages in the cloud, so I don't lose them all when I restore.

They also pretty much put Paypal out of commission with Apple Pay transfers. The biggest focus seemed to be on multitasking and drag and drop though, which will really make things easier and a lot more professional. The new compression formats for high-end videos and photos should also make a difference on these devices.

Apple Music will be more social in future as well and this should help them move people away from Spotify. There are also advanced maps for malls and airports on the way.

I'll be very interested to see what they do with the App Store, as they spent a lot of time previewing the new version. I just hope they remember the smaller developers instead of squeezing them out as the big names sell extras.

The most significant thing about all of this for me though were the new augmented reality features.

This not only takes the fight to Microsoft, as it opens up a whole new world when it comes to gaming. I expect to hear a lot more about this in future.

They also gave people some new hardware to take advantage of all these features. The only slight disappointment for me is that the trusty iPad 2 won't be able to run it after holding on for so long. 

The New iPad Pros

I don't think anyone was surprised to see a new 10.5 inch iPad Pro, as all the rumours had called this one. Despite expecting it, the screen design was something that impressed me and I can't wait to see one of these in action.

It wasn't about one new device though, as the whole range received a much-needed memory boost and display update.

I think this will really help them in the UK, as their 'Brexit tax' price rises made a 32GB device extremely underwhelming. The full-size keyboard configuration should make the new model very attractive as well and keep people away from the Surface.

It was also great to see the Affinity Photo demo and I can't think of a better way to show off an iPad Pro.

It's just a shame that you'll have to wait until later in the year to see if iOS 11 really lets you work on these devices now. There is of course the Beta option, but would you want this early on and on a brand new iPad Pro?

HomePod

It's away great to hear Tim Cook tell us he has one more thing. Although the rumours had called this one as well, I wasn't quite sure until I saw it. 

It was true, Apple have created their own connected speaker.

I don't think anyone can deny that this device looks amazing and the price point seems very sensible. My only concern is that they actually highlighted the potential problems with it in the presentation, and that was Amazon and Sonos.

Firstly, at this price it's not something you're going to get your parents for Christmas like you would an Echo. I think you also need to ask yourself how many of these users would expect high-end audio in a device like this? Amazon will probably start offering crazy prizes when the HomePod appears as well and should even have a model with a screen by then.

I think it's safe to say that most people buy an Echo for Alexa, as it's way better than Siri at the moment.

They probably shouldn't have mentioned Sonos either, as you can buy a similar speaker to the HomePod and then add others later to build up a serious system. I actually just see this as something Bose should be concerned about.

That said, I expect the HomePod to be sold out when it's released and I can't wait to hear what it actually sounds like.

Overall, this was a great event for Apple and as these are just my 'first thoughts' there will be a lot to go through later on. There's definitely enough here to keep us going until the iPhone launch in September though.

Images: Apple