This year's WWDC is taking place in my home town of San Jose, but I watched the keynote from the comfort of my couch. Despite skipping the usual 30 minute intro of chest thumping and statistics, the keynote dragged on for nearly 2 and a half hours! Here are the highlights.
No Mac Pro, and No Mac Touch
Apple proudly displayed their iMac line up, which now includes an iMac Pro for people who want to blow $5,000 on a non-upgradeable workstation. You'll have to wait until December for the privilege, but even that flagship product fails to include touch support! This begs the question: "What the fucking fuck is wrong with Apple?" They had such a huge lead on everyone with iOS, but Microsoft is eating their lunch, and customer base. If you want an all-in-one with touch support you have no choice but to buy a Microsoft Surface Studio. Apple simply doesn't deign to offer that to their users. This, and the the fact that the iMac Pro won't ship until December, may see a lot of creative studios jumping ship.
iPad Pro 2017
Apple announced the long rumored 10.5" iPad Pro, which is packing in a new A10x Fusion chip with 6 cores. In addition to Apple Pencil support, the new iPad Pro features a 20% larger display over 9.7" iPads and 120hz refresh rate for smooth animations. This will mostly be a games feature, but it is impressive nonetheless.
The announcement also mentioned new Smart Covers with built-in Apple Pencil holders!
The MaxiPad™ 12.9" also received updates with the A10x chip, and improved cameras.
The new iPads start with 64GB of storage, but are cheaper than last year's iPad Pro 9.7" models. You can order one today, and they begin shipping next week. I'm personally quite tempted to upgrade from my iPad Air, but I'll wait for the iFixIt folks to tear one apart and tell us how much RAM it has... because Apple isn't telling.
Apple also made a big deal about the H.265 video codec. They claim it offers a 40% compression improvement over the current standard, H.264. This new codec will be supported across iOS 11 and the new macOS High Sierra. In addition to video encoding, the codec is being used for a new static image file format HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format).
Lest you think that Apple is innovating here, I'll point out that the developer of FFMPEG released a similar, non-proprietary, H.265 image file format back in 2014.
So Many Fucking Dad Jokes
Pictured right are my WWDC notes. Here's a round-up of some of the other non-iPad news, sans Dad Jokes.
- ARKit - a new way for developers to create Augmented Reality apps. They focused on games,
but I'm looking forward to seeing music app developers embrace AR, like we've seen to some extent in AC Sabre.
- App Store refresh - but no mention of subgenres, so finding music "production" apps is still going to be a mess.
- Improved QWERTY Keyboard - They've redesigned the onscreen keyboard in a way that looks nice. There will be less effort to get to special characters and numbers.
- iOS 11 introduces Drag & Drop for copy-paste. It was unclear if this functionality will be opened to third-party apps. They only showed Apple apps doing it.
- iTunes has paid developers $70,000,000,000 to date, and 30% of that was in the last year. While most of this WWDC was pretty meh, this is an important and positive note on the health of the iOS eco-system.
To finish off the presentation Tim Cook tried out a new catch-phrase with his, "One last thing." Tim announced the HomePod, to rival Amazon's Echo and Google Home. At three-times the price of the competition, with a name that's not only ham-fisted but also used already, Apple has RSVPed late to the party. They still haven't arrived, and won't until December.
Rather than show a picture of the product, here is a selfie I took when I realized my face was stuck like this through the whole HomePod unveil.
The iOS 11 details revealed today were all general audience fluff. We'll have to wait for a few days as developers explore it to find out if there is anything interesting going on under the hood, or relevant to anything besides games.