It is finally time ! Apple has launched its WWDC 2017 edition. Something we haven’t missed in the past 5 years now.
This is the first instalment of what we saw/heard and learn during the conference. Stay tune
The keynote began with a rather quick announcement : tvOS is getting Amazon Prime support soon. A nice feature that a lot people will enjoy.
The apple watch is getting a 4th version of its OS, with new watchfaces like the Siri watchface, a nice way to get relevant information by a powerful machine learning system throughout the day. There’s also the kaleidoscope watchface : a more artistic one. And finally, new and almost as famous characters are making their way as watchfaces (after Mickey And Mini), Woody, Buzz and Jessy from Toy Story !
In addition to all that, the sport app is getting a new interface with, for example, the ability to change the current sport you are practicing during the same training session, or control your music right from the app.
The activity app also gets an update. It’ll now give more accurate advice on how to complete your precious health rings.
The Mac is getting an OS update. Introducing « macOS High Sierra ». Now that’s not really original you may say, but it’s a way for Apple to assert the fact that this version will not bring significant changes but mostly performance improvements.
As you may know, they did it before with « Leopard » and « Snow Leopard » or « Lion » and « Mountain Lion ».
Basically, native applications like Safari or Mail get some new features but also significant speed boost, especially Safari that is now one of the fastest browser in the market with this update.
One really interesting information about changes on the Mac will be the change of File System. HFS+ has been running Apple’s operating system for quite some times now, and they are now replacing it with a new technology built from the ground and fully 64bit compliant : APFS (Apple File System)
Now for the devices announcement, the whole iMac and Macbook pro line has been updated with faster processors, more RAM, better SSDs and better displays. But that’s not all, Apple has also revealed a product that won’t be ready until fall : the iMac Pro, an extremely powerful iMac (it looks absolutely gorgeous as you can see below) that will overpower the current Mac Pro by far. This new computer might also completely replace it in fact sometime after the release.
Along with all this, Macs are also getting support for external GPUs that can be plugged on USB-C ports. This will most likely be used to enhance the Macbook Pro in order to fully support VR development.
iOS 11 is also on the way, with its brand new apple store app that has been redesigned for people to enjoy discovering new apps again. It also includes a new control center that will give us access to more shortcuts. The design of the native navigation bar is also changing, leaving room for a giant « Title » label just below the navigation buttons.
But as there were not that much announcement for functionalities of the OS itself, developers have been spoiled with a lot of new APIs ! Here is a list of the top featured ones :
SiriKit is getting an improvements with new domains supported like « Account Management » for banking apps.
DepthAPI that allows developers to easily access the depth map of a photo taken with a two camera iPhone (eg. iPhone 7+).
MusicKit Access to Apple Music from any application is allowed with this new API.
VisionAPI & CoreML, a brand new Machine Learning API that will allow developers to recognize faces, rectangles, texts and use object tracking. CoreML allows developers to easily add and use Machine Learning Models in their app without specific knowledge required. Models can be imported from pretty much everywhere by converting them with an open-source tool provided by Apple. By adding a model to a project, swift code is automatically generated to wrap the model and make it easy to use.
Metal 2 the new version of the already famous engine getting faster and more powerful than ever. Now supporting VR !
ARKit provides access to an easy way to implement Augmented Reality in an app with iPhone starting from the 6s and iPad Pro. Using this with visionAPI can lead to formidable and unlimited possibilities of AR interactions.
Apple finally declared war to the big borders of its devices, starting with it’s iPad Pro 9.7 inches getting a new 10.5 inches display without getting any bigger ! The whole « iPad Pro » line is also getting a hardware and display boost.
Now, you might think iOS11 was quite disappointing from the announcements above, yet the best is coming with features dedicated to the iPad such as the brand new « File Manager » that will finally allow the users to handle their files the way they would have done on a computer, making the iPad a more credible replacement to a laptop (the file manager will also be available on iPhone)
Along with that file manager comes a real game changer : drag & drop ! This might seem like « déjà vu » with what exists on the Mac, but it’s really taken to a brand new level. You can now drag & drop all kinds of things simultaneously between every compatible apps really easily ! And the new Drag&Drop API allows developers to handle all sorts of data during that process. Drag&Drop will also be available on iPhone but won’t work between apps.
Apple finished its keynote by announcing its brand new smart speaker, with Siri included and environnement recognition that allows it to make the music « Rock ». Available this fall.
Last but not least,
In addition to all theses announcements, Apple has also made a lot of changes to Xcode that now has a brand new code editor build from the ground with a fully functional refactoring system, that is a very big deal right there !
Swift is getting a 4th version that won’t make as much difference as the 3rd . The transitions will be less painful and this version is supposedly faster with a real focus on string management. Along with it, a new build tool is coming too with significant speed boost to the build process.
We’ll be back soon with more on the key features that will make your applications even better !