Apple Responds to Market with New Products
By George Rosenthal
New products are on their way from Apple. The tech firm made it clear they have lots of items in their pipeline at their WWDC Conference this month.
First off is the company’s answer to Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home called the HomePod. It is a seven inch device that will integrate Siri into an Echo/Home like case. You can use it to check the news, weather and control your smart home devices.
HomePod will offer an enhanced music experience. A feature called “Musicologist” will work with Apple music and stream the songs you request from Siri. The sound is designed to fill the room and take it to a level beyond what Amazon and Google are offering.
The device will be available in black or white. Price is around $349. The launch date is anticipated in December just in time for the holiday season.
Need a new desktop? Apple is updating its iMac with improved retina displays, a boost in graphics, Kaby Lake processors and a USB-C plug in.
An iMac Pro is also on the way. This high end machine has a 5K display with improved cooling capacity, and 8-core Xeon processor which is upgradeable up to 18-core. It also includes up to 4TB of SSD, up to 128GB of ECC memory, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and built-in 10GB Ethernet.
Pricing is what you would expect from Apple. The new iMac starts at $1,099 for the 21.5-inch model, and $1,299 for the 4K model. MacBook Pro starts at $1,299, which includes the updated Kaby Lake processor. For those with deep pockets the iMac Pro with the Xeon processor starts at a whopping $4,999. Again a December shipping date in expected.
Speaking of “Pros” how about a new iPad Pro? The device will be available in three sizes including a brand new 10.5 inch model. Similar to the iPhone 7 it comes with a 12-megapixel camera and a 7MP selfie cam.
The iPad Pro supports USB 3.0 with 10 hours of battery life. A new feature called ProMotion reduces the Apple Pencil’s latency to 20 milliseconds. It adjusts the refresh rate based on what you are watching and can double it up to 120Hz. The 10.5 inch iPad Pro starts with a 64GB configuration. Pricing begins at $649. You can pick one up now.
Also of note is Apple’s new operating system, iOS11. It is in beta stage and has been released to developers. One area it will improve is multitasking on the iPad. Users will be able to pull up an app from the dock and drag it onto the screen in split-screen version. Like a MacBook you can use touch to hold and drag folders, files or photos. You can even drop them in a different app such as Mail or iMessage. The Apple Pencil will also enable handwritten text to be searchable from the Notes app.
The Apple Watch is also getting a “face lift”. New faces will display new bits of information such as Siri reminders. A Fitness Focus update provides NFC-enabled data sharing with gym equipment. Pair the two and you get the latest calorie burn and activity level.
Apple is letting developers know their tree is full of interesting new products and upgrades. It will be interesting to watch how the public responds in this latest round of Apple picking.