WWDC 2017: Apple unveils new MacBooks, iPad Pro and more
Latest versions of iOS and MacOS announced, along with an all-new smart speaker
Apple surprised fans at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last night by announcing a host of new products and hardware upgrades.
While WWDC traditionally focuses on the company's upcoming software releases, this year's keynote saw several hardware announcements, including an Amazon Echo-rivalling smart speaker.
The tech giant has ramped up the performance of its MacBook Pro range by introducing Intel's Kaby Lake processors, while an upgraded version of the iPad Pro now has a larger and higher quality display.
There's also news on major software upgrades for the MacOS and iOS operating systems, both of which are expected to arrive on computers and mobile devices this autumn.
Here are the highlights of this year's WWDC:
MacOS High Sierra and iOS 11 announced
2017 Getty Images
Apple conventionally announces its latest software updates at WWDC and this year is no exception.
The company kicked off its software announcements by unveiling a new version of its MacOS computer operating system that's called High Sierra.
High Sierra "comes with updates to Safari that help block site trackers and autoplaying videos" and "new photo-editing tools like curves", reports The Verge. The update will also support virtual reality headsets (VR) and native file encryption for better security.
iPhone users can expect an automatic "Do Not Disturb" function when driving with the iOS 11 software update, adds the website, which aims to prevent people from using their phone when they're behind the wheel. Apple has also updated the App store with a new feature called "App of the Day" that helps users discover new software on a daily basis.
Both MacOS High Sierra and iOS 11 are expected to launch this autumn.
2017 Getty Images
Fans were surprised when Apple unveiled its iMac Pro at WWDC, given that 9to5Mac had said that it was "unlikely" that an update to the tech giant's desktop range would appear at the conference.
The iMac Pro (not to be confused with the cylinder-shaped Mac Pro) is a powerful all-in-one desktop computer designed to "address the concerns of video editors looking to work with 4K or 8K video that need workstation-level power", The Guardian reports.
It's fitted with a 27ins 5K resolution display, the newspaper says, which is "capable of pushing up to 44m pixels across three screens." The iMac Pro will be powered by an eight-core Intel Xenon processor and can be specced with "up to 16GB" of graphics RAM.
The high-performance desktop launches in the US this December for $4,999 (£3,875).
MacBook Pro updated with Kaby Lake chips
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Apple has fitted its range of MacBook Pro laptops with Intel's Sky Lake processors, which DigitalTrends says "will mean better performance, improved power efficiency and higher turbo boost clock speeds."
The upgraded MacBook Pros will not be available with Apple's new MacOS High Sierra software when they're released, says the site, but High Sierra will be offered as a free update when it launches this autumn.
iPad Pro gets a larger display
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The firm's range-topping iPad Pro tablets have also undergone a hefty upgrade, with the smaller model now boasting a larger display.
Wired reports that Apple has managed to increase the smaller iPad Pro's 9.7ins display to a 10.5ins screen, while retaining "almost exactly the same physical dimensions" as the outgoing model.
The larger screen is "a little brighter" and runs at a "faster refresh rate", which the site says should make physical inputs, such as scrolling, "even better". The new iPad will also make inputs from the Pencil accessory more responsive.
Buyers will be given 64GB of stage as standard – double that of the outgoing model.
Amazon Echo-rivalling HomePod debuts
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The last product announced at WWDC is Apple's Amazon Echo-rivalling HomePod smart speaker, which is due to launch in the US at the end of the year.
The HomePod is driven by the company's Siri voice command system, where users can play music by saying "Hey Siri" followed by a request such as: "Play Muse".
It's "packed with an Apple-designed upward-facing woofer for deep bass", says the Financial Times. The HomePod also has seven tweeters and "room-sensing technology that adapts its sound to wherever it might be placed".
There's no word on UK pricing, or when the Apple HomePod will be released, but ArsTechnica says the product could cost "somewhere between £330 and £370" – making it more than double the price of its Amazon Echo Rival.
Click here to read more about the Apple HomePod.