Apple's yearly, week-long WWDC event is where it announces the latest updates to the software running on its Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple TVs and other devices.
At WWDC 2017, Apple announced the next major updates to iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS, along with a range of hardware including a new iPad Pro and a brand new Siri-enabled smart speaker dubbed HomePod.
Read on for more information about what was announced at WWDC 2017.
What did Apple announce at WWDC 2017?
WWDC tends to be more about software than hardware - nearly every version of iOS and macOS has had stage time at WWDC. But there have been some highly significant hardware unveilings too, including the second, third and fourth iPhone models, the redesigned Mac Pro and a number of MacBooks.
It was a similar story at WWDC 2017 where Apple announced not only iOS 11, watchOS 4, tvOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, but also a new 10.5in iPad Pro, updates to the iMac range, a new iMac Pro, updates to the entire Mac laptop line and even a brand new Siri-enabled speaker called HomePod.
So, sit back, here's all you need to know about Apple's WWDC 2017 announcement.
WWDC is primarily a software event. This year, like every year, Apple showcased the next major update for iOS for the iPad and iPhone: iOS 11.
There are a few big changes in iOS 11, but we'll stick to some of the highlights here.
Siri has had a facelift: it sounds more natural thanks to machine learning and it'll use on-device learning to improve your iOS experience. It'll learn your interests and suggest related topics in News, or will add related words to your QuickType suggestions, for example.
The Control Center has been redesigned too, a much needed upgrade. It now displays all controls on a single sheet, and features 3D Touch-enabled toggles that provide more control than ever before. The annoying sliders have been redesigned too!
The App Store has also been redesigned for the first time in its 9-year history. It features a design similar to that of Apple Music and offers a Today tab for app discovery, along with dedicated tabs for Games and general apps. The apps on offer will change on a daily basis, making finding new and interesting games and apps easier than ever.
Of course, the headline was AR support in the form of ARKit. The API allows developers to offer high-end augmented reality that relies in part on the hardware built into iPhones and iPads. Even Pokemon GO looks much better running ARKit!
That's not all, though. For all the latest info on iOS, visit our page summarising the latest iOS 11 news.
macOS 10.13, also known as macOS High Sierra, brings improvements to the Mac experience. For starters, Safari offers Intelligent Tracking Prevention that'll stop annoying adverts from following you around the internet. That means that you should stop seeing product-focused adverts after you've bought the product, for example.
Photos has also had a bit of a facelift: it offers new filtering options that make it easier to find the photos and videos you're looking for, along with a range of advanced editing pools including curves to fine-tune the brightness and contrast in images.
Oh, and it'll feature Apple's new file system, APFS. It'll make moving files around your Mac much quicker, while offering enhanced protection and may even free up some space on your Mac like it did when it was introduced in iOS 10.
Read more here: macOS 10.13 latest news
watchOS 4 also had some time on stage at WWDC 2017. It features a new Siri watchface that'll offer you information and complications based on your location and the time of day. The suggestions should get smarter over time as Siri understands how, and when, you use your Apple Watch.
Along with the Siri watchface comes a fleet of Toy Story-related watchfaces. Expect to see Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear on your Apple Watch later this year!
There are also a handful of new exercises in the Workout app, and a redesigned menu that allows you to control your music playback without leaving the app.
Rumours suggest new sports could be added to the Workout app, such as skiing and snowboarding, while glucose monitoring would be a boon for diabetics.
Get the latest info here: watchOS 4 news
tvOS may be the least glamorous of Apple's operating systems, but the Apple TV is a far more important product than in the days when it was known as Apple's hobby.
Although with that being said, tvOS 11 barely got a mention at all. The company highlighted that Amazon Prime Music is coming to the Apple TV, and that was about it!
Read more about the next version here: tvOS 11 rumours
iPad Pro 10.5in
Software is the backbone of WWDC, but more excitingly for consumers watching at home, Apple announced a brand new 10.5in iPad Pro to replace the 9.7in iPad Pro launched in 2016.
It features an A10X chip comprised of a six-core CPU and a twelve-core GPU, along with at least 64GB of RAM. That's not all, either. It features the same True Tone display as the 9.7in iPad Pro with HDR support, and an incredible improved refresh rate - 120Hz, up from 60Hz.
This is great news for Apple Pencil users: the Pencil will seem much more responsive and natural in use on the new iPads.
In the camera department, it features the same setup as the iPhone 7: a rear-facing 12Mp camera with OIS and flash, and a front-facing 7Mp camera with display-powered flash.
There's also a slightly improved 12.9in iPad Pro featuring the True Tone display, an omission from the original that launched back in 2015.
More here: new iPad Pro rumours
The iMac range has had a significant upgrade, and will now feature discreet graphics cards that can provide impressive graphics performance. In fact, it's so impressive that SteamVR and VR headsets like the HTC Vive can be powered by the new range.
The 21.5in iMac gets Intel Iris Plus Graphics while the 21.5in iMac with 4K display gets a either Radeon Pro 555 or 560 with up to 4GB VRAM. The real improvement is with the 27in range, offering a Radeon Pro 570, 575 or 580 with up to 8GB VRAM.
You can read more about the new iMac range here.
There was also a sneak-peek at an ultra-high end iMac coming later this year dubbed the iMac Pro. It comes in a sleek Space Grey finish and offers either an 8-, 10- or 18-core Xeon Processor along with Radeon Vega graphics with up to 16GB VRAM capable of providing up to 11 Teraflops of power.
While Apple didn't spend a huge amount of time talking about the MacBook range, it did get a mention and an upgrade. All existing Mac laptops (MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro) got an upgrade at WWDC 2017, boasting faster SSDs, faster graphics and improved Intel Kaby Lake processors.
The so-called Siri Speaker finally made an appearance too, in the form of the HomePod.
The HomePod looks a little like an old Mac Pro. It's 7in tall, features seven tweeters with precision acoustic horns for directional audio, along with a 4in upward-facing subwoofer for bass-free distortion. Oh, and it's all powered by the A8 chipset.
It features spatial awareness and can intelligently detect the space around it and improve the audio accordingly, and can be paired with an additional HomePod for stereo playback.
While the focus is on the Apple Music support and its library of 40 million songs on-demand, Siri can also handle a range of standard requests like answering queries or sending iMessages.
It's not due until December 2017, and will cost $349 (around £349 in the UK). It'll be limited to the US, UK and Australia at launch, with availability in other countries coming next year.
Read more here: Apple Siri speaker latest news
Podcast: All the announcements at WWDC 2017
The UK Tech Weekly Podcast team dissect the latest announcements in episode 64.
WWDC live blog
Our live blog of the keynote as it happened can be found below.
What has Apple announced at WWDC in the past?
Here are the highlights of every WWDC event since 2006:
- WWDC 2006 (7-11 August, Moscone Center, San Francisco): Mac Pro; revisions to Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' (which had already been announced) and Mac OS X Server
- WWDC 2007 (11-15 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): Feature-complete beta of Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard'; Safari for Windows
- WWDC 2008 (9-13 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): iPhone 3G; iOS App Store; iPhone OS version 2.0; Mac OS X 10.6 'Snow Leopard'; MobileMe
- WWDC 2009 (8-12 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): New MacBook Pro models: a new 13-inch MacBook Pro and updates to the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros; iPhone 3GS; release of iPhone OS 3.0 (which had already been announced)
- WWDC 2010 (7-11 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): iPhone 4; FaceTime and iMovie for iPhone
- WWDC 2011 (6-10 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): Mac OS X 10.7 'Lion'; iOS 5; iCloud
- WWDC 2012 (11-15 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): New MacBooks: updated MacBook Airs and MacBook Pro with Retina Display; Mac OS X 10.8 'Mountain Lion' (sort of - it had previously been announced on Apple's website, but this was its showcase demonstration); iOS 6
- WWDC 2013 (10-14 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): New Mac Pro; New MacBook Air models; Mac OS X 10.9 'Mavericks'; iOS 7; iWork for iCloud; iTunes Radio
- WWDC 2014 (2-6 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): Mac OS X 10.10 'Yosemite'; iOS 8; Swift programming language
- WWDC 2015 (8-12 June, Moscone Center, San Francisco): Mac OS X 'El Capitan'; iOS 9; watchOS 2; Apple Music
- WWDC 2016 (13 to 17 June, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium & Moscone Center West, San Francisco): macOS Sierra, iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10
What else happens at WWDC?
As well as the keynote speech on the first day, there are a series of events run by the company throughtout the following week: developer workshops and training sessions, networking events and so on. Other companies are holding events too, with Apple's blessing: on 18 May Apple posted a list of such events on the Beyond WWDC page of its developer website.
A few highlights:
- Beard Bash 2017, a developers' party with live music. Hosted by Jim Dalrymple, the founder of the Loop website.
- The Talk Show with John Gruber Live. Fairly self-explanatory. In the past Apple execs have turned up and offered insights beyond what was mentioned in the keynote.
- Swift workshops run by IBM.
- AltConf 2017. A few conference for developers.
The best way to keep up with the schedule of events, parties and workshops at WWDC 2017 is to download the WWDC iOS app, which Apple updated on 30 May. As well as extensive news and scheduling information the app will now offer interactive venue maps, curated video playlists and some truly awful emoji-based puns.
How to get tickets
Tickets to WWDC are distributed by lottery. Unfortunately, the ticket lottery for WWDC 2017 closed some time ago.
Registration for the ticket lottery (on Apple's site) opened on Monday 27 March and closed on Friday 31 March. Registration was open to members of the Apple Developer Program or Apple Developer Enterprise Program.
Each year a number of unclaimed tickets are resold after the lottery, but this opportunity has also now passed.
Apple offers free entry to WWDC, and accommodation for the week, to the winners of its WWDC Scholarship program. To qualify for this you need to be in part- or full-time education and be a registered Apple developer, and submit a Swift Playground.
Read more about all of this here: How to get tickets for WWDC 2017.
Why does Apple distribute WWDC tickets by lottery?
Back in 2012, all 5,000 WWDC tickets sold out within two hours of being released. Developers had no prior warning from the company about the event and, understandably, many of those who missed out were far from happy.
In 2013, Apple decided to let developers know in advance when the WWDC tickets for that year would go on sale. But upon release, it took only two minutes for the tickets to sell out, which left even more developers feeling angry. A new approach was needed.
So, in 2014, Apple took a completely different approach to its ticket sales - one that, as we predicted, has become Apple's way of distributing tickets ever since. Instead of issuing tickets on a 'first come first served' basis, Apple offered everyone a chance to win the chance to buy a ticket by registering for a lottery.
How much do WWDC 2017 tickets cost?
Even if your name is drawn in the ticket lottery, you'll still have to pay to attend WWDC 2017. In 2016, those selected to attend WWDC were charged $1,599. (That's around £1,280 at current exchange rates - last year the equivalent was only £1,082...)