WWDC 2017 Keynote highlights 6/5/17

By Chris Johnson

Today at WWDC, Apple announced a boatload of software updates and three new hardware products. These are my notes arranged by platform and appearance in the keynote:

TV

The Apple TV didn’t get much love, but I am pleased Apple and Amazon made a deal to bring Amazon Prime Video to the Apple TV. It was a minor annoyance having to switch from the Apple TV to my Playstation to watch Prime Videos.

Watch

The Watch didn’t see much love either, but it is getting a Siri watch face that tries to surface information you need depending on your location and time of day. It’s basically Apple’s take on Google Now. I’m willing to give it a shot, but I’m skeptical it will do much beyond increase my anxiety.

Mac

The software story for the Mac seems to be non-existent, but Mac users can look forward to some new hardware: faster iMacs, faster laptops, and new souped-up iMac Pro starting at $5,000.

Apple recently revealed that they are working on new displays and a new standalone Mac Pro, both of which cast a shadow on the new iMac Pro. The new Mac Pro will certainly be faster, and might even allow for hardware upgrades which will be nearly impossible with this iMac Pro.

iPhone

The iPhone is getting a new App Store modeled after Apple Music. Amazingly this new store seems to have even lower information density than the last version. Being one of the top couple apps in a list is going to be even more important than ever.

The new App Store

Apple added some welcome tweaks to Control Center allowing for customization of the icons and keeping everything on one screen instead of the weird paged Control Center we have now.

Augmented reality (AR) got a lot of stage time. Apple is doing the hard work to make it possible for apps to easily offer AR features in their apps. I’m not sure how useful AR will turn out to be, since at this point AR requires awkwardly holding an iPhone or iPad in front of your face, but the demos looked fun.

iPad

Apple replaced the 9.7" iPad Pro from last year with a 10.5" Pro. It’s only slightly bigger than the 9.7" Pro but has a much larger screen thanks to smaller bezels. Apple stressed that the new screen refreshes at twice the speed of the old screen which will make it look “buttery” smooth. Since my iPad died last year, I’ll probably end up getting one of these unless reviews reveal some kind of showstopping design flaw.

Apple also announced huge upgrades to iOS targeted at iPad users. The iPad now gets a MacOS like dock, the ability to drag and drop between apps, three app multitasking 1, and a Files app reminiscent of the MacOS Finder. These changes will make professional work much easier on an iPad, but I’m doubtful it will be enough to bring more professional class apps to the iPad. Apple may need to start developing their own, or bribe Adobe to make it happen.

HomePod

Apple also announced an Amazon Echo competitor called HomePod for $350. It has Siri built in and ties in to your Apple Music account. An Echo costs just $180, so Apple is justifying the $170 price premium with claims of superior sound quality. I have trouble believing that enough people care to cough up the extra dough especially since Siri and Apple Music don’t have great reputations. It’ll be interesting to see how it ends up selling.

Decide for yourself

If you’d like to watch a condensed version of the event, this video from the Verge is great:

The full video is available here from Apple.


  1. Technically four apps if you count picture-in-picture video.