The Biggest Announcements of Apple WWDC 2017: iOS 11, HomePod, iMac Pro …

Apple’s WWDC 2017 keynote just wrapped, where key executives Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller, and, of course, Tim Cook, took the stage to announce updates headed to iPhones, MacBooks, Apple TV, and more.

The rumors for this year’s WWDC came in the final hours leading up to the event, with hints of new hardware and, of course, software news for developers to help prep the release of consumer updates in the fall. We were also anticipating the company to finally take Siri up against the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the hardware and smart home front — and it looks like it arrived in the form of the Apple HomePod.

Here are the highlights from today’s keynote.

Apple Announces HomePod Speaker to Take on Amazon Echo and Sonos

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So let’s get the Siri speaker rumors out of the way: it turns out Apple wasn’t quite aiming its smart speaker to go against just Amazon Echo and Google Home, but also the Sonos home entertainment speakers. Called the HomePod, it uses spacial awareness to tune and better fill the room with sound based on the space it’s in. It also has a “Musicologist” feature that works with Apple Music to stream the music you ask the speaker’s built-in Siri to play. You can even ask more complex, music-related questions like “Who’s the drummer in this song?” or “What album came out on this day 20 years ago?”
The HomePod will be available in two colors — black or white — and will integrate Siri in an Amazon Echo / Google Home-like use case. You can ask it to control smart home devices and check the day’s weather and news briefings. Apple priced the HomePod at $349, with plans to ship it in December first to customers in the US, UK, and Australia. It will enter more international markets next year. Check out our hands-on with the HomePod for a first look.

iMac Pro Introduced, Alongside Updated Desktop Specs

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Apple’s introducing updated iMac desktops with improved Retina displays, graphics boosts, Kaby Lake processors, and USB-C. They will also support graphics for VR content creation. During the keynote, Apple demoed this by showing off a VR game featuring Darth Vader, a lightsaber, and TIE fighter.
There’s a new iMac Pro as well, with a 5K display with improved cooling capacity, and 8-core Xeon processor (upgradeable up to 18-core,) up to 4TB of SSD, up to 128GB of ECC memory, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and built-in 10GB Ethernet.

The new iMac starts at $1,099 for the 21.5-inch model, and $1,299 for the 4K model. MacBooks will get upgraded, too; the MacBook Pro starting at $1,299, which includes the updated Kaby Lake processor. The iMac Pro starts at $4,999, and ships in December.

iOS 11 Comes with Improved Siri, Automatic Do Not Disturb Driving Mode, iMessage Features

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The new version of iOS software has some pretty social updates, such as an update to Siri that has improved speech, the ability to help translate sentences into different languages, and on-device learnings that suggest actions based on what you do on your iPhone or iPad. iMessages now live in the iCloud, with synchronized conversations that you can delete from any device you own that are under the same account. You can also pay and receive payments from contacts through iMessage — so no more Venmo or Square Cash if you don’t want to download extra apps.

Photo capture is also improved, with better low-light performance, and the ability to edit Live Photos so you can change the key still image or trim the video. There’s a new control center as well, which relies a lot on 3D Touch and condenses most controls on the lower half of the screen without looking cluttered.

There’s also a new safety feature that recognizes when a user is driving and automatically turns on Do Not Disturb to prevent distractions. When you’re available to be more social, you can now head to Apple Music to see what your friends are listening to and check out shared playlists.

Lastly, the App Store has been redesigned for better discovery and a How To section for tips on how to use various popular apps. Apple’s also bringing back the “App of the Day” section to promote users to open the App Store more frequently.

iOS 11 for iPad Brings Windows-Esque Multitasking Abilities

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On the iPad, iOS 11 improves multitasking that lets users pull up an app from the dock and drag it onto the screen to split the screen. Similar to what you can do on a MacBook, you can use touch to hold and drag folders, files, or photos and drop them in a different app such as Mail or iMessage. Handwritten text from an Apple Pencil will also be searchable from the Notes app. Apple claims it uses “deep learning” to recognize penmanship.

Apple also talked briefly about the Files app that leaked a few hours before the keynote kicked off, which is just a management system that you can use to sort files by size and date, similar to how you’d go through your files on a desktop or laptop.

Apple Lets Developers Make More Immersive Apps with Arkit

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Just as Lauren Goode predicted, Apple introduced a new ARKit to let developers build augmented reality apps for the iPhone. The kit can help find planes, track motion, and estimate scale and ambient lighting. Popular apps like Pokémon Go will also use ARKit for improved real-time renders.

Rather than requiring external hardware like Microsoft’s HoloLens, Apple seems to be betting on ARKit to provide impressive quality imaging through a device most people already own. We’ll know more on how the quality actually compares when we get to try it out ourselves.

10.5-inch iPad Pro Introduced

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The iPad Pro will now be available in three different sizes, with a new 10.5-inch model introduced today. There’s a 12-megapixel camera, just like the iPhone 7, with a 7MP selfie cam. It supports USB 3.0 and has 10 hours of battery life.

There’s a new feature called ProMotion which reduces the Apple Pencil’s latency to 20 milliseconds. It can automatically adjust the refresh rate based on what you’re watching (fast-moving video versus still image). ProMotion also doubles the refresh rate to up to 120Hz.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro will be available starting with a 64GB configuration at $649; it’s available to order now and shipping next week.

The New MacOS Is Named High Sierra. Yep

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The upcoming version of macOS will be called High Sierra, and it comes with updates to Safari that help block site trackers and autoplaying videos. Apple’s also added new photo-editing tools like curves (helpful for those who don’t have Adobe Photoshop), and it has better filtering tools to sort images by keywords or faces.

An updated file management system will be a part of the update as well, which speeds up directory cloning with native encryption. On the graphics end, there’s a second version of Metal, support for VR, and a Metal 2 developer kit that you can order with an AMD GPU to tune apps for external graphics.

WatchOS 4 Brings New Siri Watchface, Fitness Coaching, and A New App-Browsing UI

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An update for the Apple Watch is coming which introduces new faces that display different types of informations, such as Siri reminders or more visual ones that feature Toy Story characters a la Mickey Mouse. There’s also a fitness-focused update, which includes monthly challenges to encourage the wearer to get more active and NFC-enabled data sharing where the user can tap their Apple Watch on gym equipment to pair the two, sharing the most accurate calorie burn and activity information.
There’s also a new Music app to make finding and playing music via the Apple Watch more visual — you can now use a new dock layout to scroll through recently opened apps.
Original source: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/5/15722994/apple-wwdc-2017-news-highlights-recap.

A Look Back to Apple’s Event about iPhone 6S, iPad Pro and Apple TV

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Apple just dropped a ton of new hardware today, including new iPhones, iPads and a brand new Apple TV. There were a lot of goodies snuck into today’s event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, so here’s a recap of everything Apple unveiled that you need to know about.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

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Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled a duo of new iPhones Wednesday as he lauded that the iPhone brand was now the “most popular in the world.”

The updated new devices sport a ton of new features including 3D touch, which looks to be a major evolution in how users are going to be interacting with their iPhones. Apple also spent a ton of time talking about a new-and-improved 12MP camera that shoots 4K video.

The device sadly still starts at 16GB, but there are some new payment plans to be sure that users can now get their hands on a new iPhone every year.

Some more details on the device:

  • 3D Touch (force touch on steroids)
  • 64-bit A9 chip
  • 12MP back camera with 4K video recording
  • 5MP FaceTime HD and Retina Flash
  • Extra-quick, new Touch ID
  • Supports WiFi up to 866 mbps, with 300 mbps LTE
  • Pre-orders starts Sept. 12, devices launch Sept. 25
  • 6s and 6s Plus still start at $199 and $299 respectively for the phones on a 2-year contract
  • Apple also introduced the Apple Upgrade Plan, which allows consumers the ability to upgrade to a new iPhone each year for a monthly rate, starting at $32/month

Powerful 3D Touch

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Force Touch finally makes sense. Today Apple revealed 3D Touch for iPhone, empowering the devices to sense pressure and give tactile feedback to users. Ultimately, 3D Touch is about saving users taps and getting them to what they want more quickly. You can peek at an email with a deeper tap and hold. And you can access apps without even opening them thanks to 3D Touch.

A Dope New 12MP Camera + Live Photos

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Apple signified in today’s event that it’s really getting serious about photography. Both of the new iPhones are rocking newly improved 12MP iSight Cameras that can shoot 4K video. The company also unveiled a new 5MP HD front-facing camera with a new feature called try-tone flash, which allows users to take some choice selfies in low-light situations.

They also unveiled a super bizarre feature called live photos, which are (apparently) not quite videos as much as they are high-def 12MP stitched photo bursts, with audio. I know, it’s a bit odd. Also, how large are these file sizes going to be?

iPhone Upgrade Plan

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Apple just introduced a new way for you to pay for your iPhone (well not exactly new, as carriers have been trying out payment plans like this for the last several months). What Apple showed off was a monthly payment plan that lets users upgrade to the new iPhone every year starting at $32/month and including AppleCare+.

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Apple dropped a redesigned Apple TV Wednesday and while the box itself hasn’t changed much, with a new app store, OS and multitouch remote, it’s obvious that the company is fully revisiting its “hobby” device.

Tim Cook says that Apple believes the future of TV is apps, so they spent most of Wednesday’s event talking Siri and OS as opposed to the hardware. Apple unveiled tvOS with some insanely powerful Siri support. Want to see “that one Modern Family episode with Edward Norton”? Well, now Siri can find it.

Apple is putting more of an emphasis on casual gaming than ever with the new Apple TV. They showed off a few couch-friendly games. These obviously aren’t going to be tackling console gaming anytime soon but the new remote has some Wiimote-style motion controls (thanks to a gyroscope and accelerometer) that look to add a new dynamic to iOS gaming.

  • Starts at $149 for a 32GB version
  • Ships in October

Versatile New Apple TV Remote

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The hardware star of the new Apple TV is definitely its new Siri-powered touch surface remote. The bluetooth 4.0-powered remote allows users more advanced control thanks to its variety of inputs.

The iPad Pro

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Apple unveiled the ultimate powerhouse tablet today with the iPad Pro, starting at $799. This behemoth sports a beautiful high-def 12.9″ screen with enough screen real estate to allow split, “full-screen” multitasking. Apple also introduced a couple of wild new hardware peripherals for the iPad Pro. 

Some more details on the device below. 

  • 12.9″ screen rocking a 2,732 x 2,048 display
  • 6.9mm thin, weighs 1.57 lbs
  • Starts at $799 for the 32GB model, comes in
  • Powerful new A9X chip that’s 1.8x than the A8 before it.
  • 10-hour battery life
  • 8MP iSight camera
  • Touch ID
  • Powerful four speaker audio

Apple Surface iPad Keyboard

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Unlike past iPads the iPad Pro is really gunning to be a content creation machine, to do that Apple wanted it to have a physical keyboard to handle text entry. What they dropped today is pretty much a Microsoft Surface keyboard clone. Apple was relatively light on details but said the keyboard utilizes new Apple dome switches (?) and also takes advantage of the new magnetic connector on the iPad Pro. It costs a whopping $169!

Precise Apple Pencil

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Apple devoted much more time to talking about their new $99 stylus for iPad, which they dubbed the Apple Pencil. It’s loaded with a crazy amount of precision, which Apple says is accurate “to the pixel.”

The Forgotten iPad mini 4

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Apple didn’t give a shit about discussing the changes to the new iPad mini 4. At the event they brushed over that they’ve updated the mini’s internals and that the device is now rocking the same power as the iPad Air 2.

New Apple Watch Stuff

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The Apple Watch was not forgotten at today’s event, in fact, the device gained some new gold and rose gold finishes for the Apple Watch Sport, stylish new designer bands from Hermes and others, and a host of new apps.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/09/everything-you-need-to-know-from-todays-massive-apple-event/

More Tips for Apple Fans Regarding iTunes Movies, Audiobooks

For users of Apple’s products, especially the iOS or Mac users, you might like to use other Apple services, too. Here we are talking about the iTunes store which sells online digital content, including music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, etc. If you like to buy iTunes movies, you may have been frustrated with the DRM protection which is embedded in the movies to prevent you from copying them to non-Apple-approved devices for watching. Worse still, if you rent a movie from iTunes store, you only have 24 hours to finish watching it due to the DRM lock. So in this case, if you want to remove the DRM from iTunes movies rented or purchased so that you can keep the movies on your iOS devices or other platforms forever, then you can use TunesKit DRM M4V Converter for Mac/Windows to get it done. It’s a specially developed iTunes DRM removal tool dedicated to stripping DRM off from iTunes movie rentals and purchases by changing the protected M4V format to common MP4 at 20x faster speed with lossless quality. You can check the following tutorials to see how to use it to remove DRM: