WWDC'17

Okay, that was impressive. I was surprised that there were this many hardware updates, and I’m very sad that the Mac mini didn’t get a refresh (at all), moderately impressed with the new iMac Pro and slightly miffed that my almost brand new laptop is now obsolete, but the new iPad Pro and the new features coming in iOS 11 pretty much stole the show.

Federico Viticci’s prophetic video completely nailed it (well, except for the idea of a “shelf”, which I found pretty interesting but that Apple seems to do away with by making cross-app drag and drop easier) and I think this year’s WWDC has the potential to be a turning point as far as the iPad‘s usefulness as a professional device is concerned, with one exception – development.

Even if I’m typing this on a iPad mini (another apparently dead product, although to be fair it might still have a chance) that is essentially my primary personal computer (for all my e-mail, personal docs and a lot of other stuff) and that I actually use to code on (mostly through remote sessions at this point, even if brilliant apps like Working Copy and Pythonista do exist), it’s pretty clear that the iPad Pro is still far from being a developer-friendly machine – and a Surface can not only run most of the tools I need but is roughly in the same ballpark after you add all the accessories on either side, so… the future is unclear.

Still, there were a few other doodads I liked – such as external GPU support, which all the cool kids have been playing with, except that they have better taste than Apple and are using NVIDIA. Why Apple is sticking to Radeons I cannot fathom (well, control and price are certainly prime reasons, but still). And the refreshed iMacs are cute, even if I still think that the all-in-one design is both dated and inflexible.

As far as the HomePod is concerned… well, no. Just no. I just don’t see the point, and if I ever want to play around with AI assistants I have cheaper, more open (and rather less trustworthy) options.

Software-wise, and discounting iOS 11 and the wonderful new world of… filesystems (of all things), I’m quite interested in figuring out what kind of APIs CoreML actually exposes and how to make use of them (even if, again, an iPad Pro still isn’t developer-friendly…). However, I can’t get over the High Sierra pun. But at least they’re taking a sensible approach and making this a cleanup/improvement cycle.

Most of all, though, for the first time in a couple of years, things are looking up in the Apple world, even if they probably need to design a better teleprompter for next year.