Apple used its WWDC developer conference in San Jose, Calif. Monday to introduce and preview a number of new hardware products, including a new 10.5 inch iPad pro as well as revamped iMacs and Macbooks. The company also teased a new Mac Pro, which will be available by the end of this year, and gave press and developers a first look at the company’s Amazon Echo competitor.
Apple’s new iPad Pro features a 10.5-inch display, offering 20 percent more screen estate than the previous 9.7 inch iPad Pro. The display is paired with thinner bezels, keeping the overall size in check, and resulting in a total weight of just 1 lbs.
The iPad Pro also features a screen refresh rate of up to 120 Hz, which should make for faster scrolling and graphics display. The device will be available for ordering today and ship next week, with prices starting at $649. The company is also updating its existing 12.9-inch iPad with the 120HZ refresh-rate display as well as a faster processor. Pricing for that model begins at $799.
Another device that got a lot of stage time at WWDC was the iMac, which is getting a major hardware refresh. The desktop computer is getting a brighter display, a faster processor and more ports to use it with external displays and hard drives. The new iMac became available on Apple.com Monday, with a 21-inch 4K display version starting at $1299.
Apple also updated the processors of the Macbook Pro. Video professionals and VR producers will be able to add some extra graphics processing power with an external GPU unit made by third-party vendors with the launch of macOS High Sierra, which officially launches this fall. This will for example allow developers to build and run VR apps and games on the Macbook — something that was previously limited to high-end Windows PCs.
And there’s more: Apple also teased a new desktop computer for professionals dubbed the iMac Pro during WWDC. The device won’t ship until December of this year, and cost a whopping $5000 at entry-level configuration. However, professionals will be able to use it as a serious power horse, with an up to 18-core Xeon processor. To keep all of that processing power in the iMac’s all-in-one design, Apple completely redesigned the cooling.
Some of the other products and updates Apple announced during the WWDC keynote included:
- Amazon Video is coming to Apple TV. Amazon and Apple have apparently finally made peace, which should also pave the way for Amazon to start selling Apple TVs again. There’s no date on the launch, but the company hinted at more updates for Apple TV later this year, which likely means at the iPhone event in September.
- A new version of watchOS, the software powering the Apple Watch. Version 4 of watchOS will work better with Bluetooth-enabled devices, directly integrate with gym equipment and make better use of Apple’s Siri assistant.
- Apple is updating both macOS and iOS, with the latter making use of machine learning to get better at photo recognition and other “intelligent” tasks. What’s more, Apple is making its machine learning technology available to third-party developers.
- AirPlay, the wireless audio and video networking protocol, is getting a major update to finally support multi-room audio. A number of manufacturers will make AirPlay 2-compatible speakers later this year, and the feature will also come to Apple TV.
- And because WWDC is a conference for developers, there was also some news about the app economy: Apple users have collectively downloaded more than 180 billion apps since the introduction of the app store 9 years ago, and Apple has paid out more than $70 billion to developers.