Apple Announces iOS Changes and new Products at WWDC 2017
Gasia: Apple is taking on Amazon’s Echo, the company unveiling its Homepod smart speaker in San Jose today. The product is more like a solar speaker with a smart assistant built into it, whereas Google Home and Amazon Echo are smart assistants with a speaker.
Male speaker: Just like iPod reinvented music in our pockets, Homepod is going to reinvent music in our homes. The same chip that powers inside of our iPhone is inside Homepod. It’s perhaps the biggest brain ever in a speaker.
Gasia: The Homepod, just one of the items announced today at Apple’s developer conference. So, for more on this conference, I’m joined by KTVU Tech Expert, Ryan Eldridge from Nerds On Call. Ryan, thanks for being here.
Ryan: You’re welcome.
Gasia: First off, give us your thoughts on the Homepod. I mean, is it gonna be a hit if it’s already competing against Google and Amazon?
Ryan: I mean it’s almost a guaranteed hit because the Amazon Echo is so superior right now, but Apple has a much better play in the fact that they have Apple Music which is just an amazing app in terms of it’s just got every darn song you could possibly want on it except for Jay-Z right now. But it’s got just about every song you want, and they have this massive developer movement. People will write apps for like crazy. This is somewhere where Amazon has kind of fallen off a little bit. So, Amazon with their Echo, they write…you write skills. And so, you can get text briefings, play Jeopardy, things like that. But the community hasn’t really grabbed on to it and started really developing apps for it, and so it’s kind of falling by the wayside. On the other hand, though, Siri is dumb. She is just the dumbest, most terrible assistant out there. I hate her so much and …
Gasia: Yeah, tell us how you really feel.
Ryan: Amazon Alexa is fantastic. She answers your questions. You can say, “Hey, you know, what is the mass of the universe?” And she’ll literary answer you. With Siri, all she wants to do is show you a web page. We’ll that’s gonna be interesting how that translates to a countertop device versus a device you’re looking at all the time. Can she answer your questions or is she just gonna, you know, “Well, I should go look that up on Wikipedia?”
Gasia: Okay, we’ll hopefully wait and see. What were some of the other big announcements that came up from today?
Ryan: Well, they did some basic upgrades to their Mac lines. So, their iMac, they got an iMac, an iMac Pro, the Mac Book got a little bit of a bump and upgrade, and the Mac Book Pro all got some size upgrades, a little better quality, a little bit faster, but nothing really exciting.
Gasia: You’re kinda disappointed.
Ryan: Yeah, they kinda missed the boat here because my most hated rival in the world is Microsoft, and along with Apple, and they came out with the Microsoft Studio Surface. And that thing was awesome. It was $399, and it kinda beats this new iMac Pro which, I’m just disappointed in it. It just seems like they didn’t really try on the iMac Pro. But the iPad, the new iPad, the iPad 10.5 inches, basically the same form factor as the 9.7 inch but it’s just got a smaller bezel, so it’s a larger screen, A little more reactive on the Apple Pencil which is great, so for people that are creative or write a lot. And if you take notes on your iPad like I do, you can now index that stuff so you can search it. So, if you write some weird scribble, you know, “Be it fox too, blah blah blah…” You’d actually be able to pull that up in a search. That’s nice.
Gasia: Oh, very cool.
Ryan: Yeah. And then you can drag and drop things with iOS 11. You’d be able to drag and drop things from one app to another. So, for example, if you’re looking at a photo on one app and you go, “Oh, I wanna put that in my email.” You can just drag it and drop it rather than having to do this weird share, click through thing that just has never been very intuitive.
Gasia: Okay, we’ll quickly talk about the iPhone updates as well, because there was this new feature that they say is called The Do Not Disturb function. So, that would be really helpful for teenage drivers, I assume.
Ryan: Oh, not just teenage drivers. Anybody that’s driving on the 24 right now knows that the guy next to him is probably texting on his phone. And so, having that Do Not Disturb feature is great because if that one last distraction from when we’re driving around, but it won’t really stop us from grabbing it, turning that feature off. So, we’ve still gotta be a little cognizant about what we’re doing when we’re driving, but the Do Not Disturb feature certainly brings some attention to something that needs to be done.
Gasia: Alright. Ryan Eldridge, Nerds On Call. We appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us.
Ryan: You’re welcome.
Gasia: And we will be right back after the break.
On Monday, June 5th Apple held it’s 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). At this annual event, Apple announces the new hardware and software updates that are set to hit the market in the coming months. If you own an iPhone or are in the market for an Apple computer or mobile device, here’s what you need to know.
Changes in Store for your iPhone
Apple announced the next generation of its mobile operating system, iOS 11. This new OS will roll out to all Apple mobile devices later this year.
- Do Not Disturb While Driving
This new feature will allow you to automatically engage a “do not disturb” feature when your phone’s GPS determines that you are traveling in a vehicle. It will turn off notifications and send an auto-reply to people that text you, letting them know that their text will be delivered when you arrive at your destination.
You can disable the feature by selecting a button indicating that you are a passenger, and you can give certain contacts the option to send you a break through text in case of emergency.
- Pay Friends through iMessage
iMessage will be integrated with Apple Pay, allowing you to pay people through the messaging app. If Jill sends you an iMessage saying “you owe me $20,” Apple Pay can prompt you to “pay now with Apple Pay.”
- Siri Gets a Voice Change
Siri’s voice has been made to sound more human, and there’s a male voice option as well. She/he will also translate now into Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
- Control Center gets a Makeover
The control center screen that shows when you slide up from the bottom of the screen will get a visual makeover, and a lot more functionality will be stuffed into that panel. Not sure how customizable it will be.
Changes in Store for your iPad
- New Bigger Screen iPad Pro
There’s a new iPad Pro heading to stores with a 10.5-inch screen. While it’s got almost identical dimensions to the iPad Pro 9.7” model and weighs about the same, it has no bezels. This gives you an iPad will all screen on the front. It’s enough space to fit a full-size on-screen keyboard and it has a faster processor. It’ll set you back $649 for a 64GB version.
iOS 11 will allow iPads to split screen and drag-and-drop images, text, etc between applications.
Apple Home Pod Takes on Amazon Echo
Apple announced a new smart speaker to rival Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home. Siri will live in this 7” speaker pod, giving you voice access to weather, your calendar, smart device controls (via Home Kit) and Apple Music.
Speaking of music, with room-sensing technology and sound capability designed to fill the room, Apple seems inclined to put the Home Pod up against home stereo systems like the Sonos.
If Siri already irritates you on your phone, now you can have her in your kitchen or living room for only $350.
More Powerful Macs
Apple announced upgrades to the processors in all MacBooks and iMacs. The all-new iMac Pro is a beast of a machine with processors up to 22 teraflops, memory up to 128GB and as much as 4TB of storage. But at around $5,000 it’s only designed for a unique customer that needs supercomputing power.
Latest MacOS will be “High Sierra”
Apple promises that the Safari browser will run 80% faster and come with built-in autoplay blocking (to stop those annoying auto-play pop-ups). New features in mail will highlight your more important messages and improvements to the Photos application will auto-sort your library of images by event or detect who is in your photos. The new Apple File System will offer file-level encryption and built-in crash protection,
Apple fans are underwhelmed
Even Apple fans were underwhelmed by the announcements in yet-another lackluster rollout by Apple. The loss of Steve Jobs as innovator is never starker than at these events when we get minor upgrades, hardware changes that are more user frustrating than user-friendly, and product releases that no one is rushing out to buy.
Not that Apple won’t still do swift business in the new iPad. They’ll probably even do well with the Home Pod.
But we still hold out hope for a market-changer from Apple as in days of old. It just didn’t happen this time.
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About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.