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Apple is expected to launch new iPads, a standalone Siri smart home device, and more
Apple will open its annual developer conference – World Wide Developer Conference, also dubbed WWDC – in San Jose, California today.
CEO Tim Cook is expected to take to kickstart the keynote, which will see the iPhone manufacturer preview some of its upcoming software updates for iOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS.
iOS 11, the software that powers the company's best-selling iPhone and iPad products, will likely be one of the headline announcements from the show.
The software update could reveal some early clues about what to expect from the next-generation iPhone, which is due to be announced in September and will mark the device's tenth anniversary.
Apple is widely rumoured to introduce a new Dark Theme for its mobile operating system – which some believe hints at the introduction of OLED display technology in the next iPhone.
iOS 11 is also tipped to bring the ability to drag-and-drop documents and files between apps that are running simultaneously in Split Screen on the iPad.
Apple will use its annual developer conference to preview new versions of iOS, tvOS, macOS
To take advantage of this new functionally, Apple is rumoured to introduce a new Files app on iOS.
This will be similar to the Finder on its desktop app, macOS, and will allow users to search and triage through files and folders stored in iCloud.
Apple is bringing iOS closer to its desktop sibling – allowing users to be more productive and use devices like the iPad Pro for tasks that would previously only be possible on a traditional computer.
Elsewhere, a new version of MacOS, which powers Apple's desktops and laptop computers will also likely be demonstrated.
Sources with knowledge of Apple's plans believe this year will not only see software announcements, but new hardware as well.
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Google Home is another voice-activated smart home device
The US technology firm will reportedly unveil a new speaker, powered by Beats audio technology, powered by voice assistant Siri.
The device would be used to control internet-enabled products around home, as well as answer queries and provide news, weather and schedule updates.
Amazon and Google's existing speakers have proved popular with consumers since the Echo launched in the UK in 2016 and Home earlier this year.
The speakers, driven by artificial intelligence and voice-enabled assistants – such as Amazon's Alexa – have become a leading trend in the tech industry and Alexa now boasts support for more than 10,000 apps.
Little is known about the rumoured Apple speaker, although Bloomberg claims top-level Apple staff have been testing the new speaker in their homes for several months.
Amazon Echo is expected to get some serious new competition from Apple
Early reports around the project pointed to Apple potentially including facial recognition sensors into the smart home device, although these rumours have since gone quiet.
The Cupertino-based company was also rumoured to be working on better quality speakers for the device, with the finished product aimed at the more premium end of the market.
Amazon’s Echo currently costs £149 but it seems Apple’s rival will land in homes at a higher price.
Earlier this year, prolific Australian tipster Sonny Dickson claimed Apple had finalised the look of its Siri-powered smart hub system.
"Apple is currently finalising designs for their Alexa competitor, expected to be marketed as a Siri/AirPlay device." he tweeted.
He later added: "It is believed to carry some form of Beats technology, and is expected to run an variant iOS."
It is believed to carry some form of Beats technology, and is expected to run an variant iOS
— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson) April 27, 2017
The inclusion of a skew of iOS suggests the smart home device could have a touchscreen display.
Making the announcement at WWDC make senses for Apple as it would give the company time to enlist developers to build applications for the new device.
Apple already owns headphone and speaker brand, Beats, plus millions of people now subscribe to Apple Music making this an easy win for the technology firm.
The Siri Speaker is excepted to ship to customers later this year.
And that's not the only hardware that Apple is expected to unveil on-stage during the WWDC keynote presentation.
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Tipsters also believe Apple will refresh its entire laptop range during the WWDC conference.
According to Apple Insider, Apple will upgrade its razor-thin 12-inch MacBook with a "faster Intel chip", most likely the Y-series Core i5 and i7 CPUs.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro – which was first unveiled some six months ago, on October 27th 2016 – is also rumoured to get a processor bump.
The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros will purportedly be bumped to Intel's seventh-generation Core (dubbed Kaby Lake) with little external changes to the hardware.
Apple is also rumoured to upgrade the MacBook Air.
WWDC could see Apple introduce a processor bump across its MacBook range
That's a surprise, since many believed the laptop was living on borrowed time and would soon be dropped from the company's product line-up entirely.
Speaking to Bloomberg, one of the insiders claimed Apple had "considered" updating the 13-inch Air with a new processor in response to sales of the ageing machine, which continue to be "surprisingly strong".
There's no mention of a Retina Display or other dramatic hardware shake-ups, which is not surprising.
Apple clearly wants customers to think of the 13-inch MacBook Pro as the true successor to the MacBook Air, which has almost reached the end of its lifecycle.
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It's clear that if the rumours are true, the update to the MacBook Air would be a maintenance update and not a substantial hardware overhaul.
But still, it means those who decide to opt for a MacBook Air this summer would not be buying a £949 laptop that hasn't seen a refresh since March 2015.
Although the 12-inch MacBook would likely fit the needs of most MacBook Air customers – the £300 price difference and lack of USB-A ports and SD card reader might understandably put off a number of potential buyers.
Apple is widely-tipped to refresh the iPad Pro at its annual developers conference, WWDC, next month.
The Cupertino-based company is rumoured to introduce a new variation of the iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch edge-to-edge display squeezed into a physical form factor no bigger than the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro model.
Images that purport to show cases designed for the upcoming 10.5-inch iPad Pro have appeared online, thanks to tipster Shai Mizrachi.
The leaked photographs show the four-speaker design that exists across the iPad Pro range.
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Apple will purportedly shrink the bezels around the display to keep the physical footprint small
However, the leaked cases also appear to show the same vertically stacked camera lens that have been rumoured for the iPhone 8.
Apple will purportedly use this new layout for augmented reality features.
It's unclear whether the latest iPad will also use the layout for this purpose, or if the new vertically stacked camera is simply to bring consistency to the Apple range.
Another feature purportedly shared with the iPhone 8 is the new iPad's razor-thin bezels.
SHAI MIZRACHI • TWITTER • 9TO5MAC
The purported 10.5inch iPad case is only slightly larger than the current generation 9.7inch iPad
Apple is expected to use an edge-to-edge display to fit the larger screen size into the same physical footprint of the 9.7inch iPad.
Leakster Benjamin Geskin believes the iPad will use seven millimetre bezels around the display.
Meanwhile, the next-generation iPhone is rumoured to use four millimetre bezels around its OLED display.
Apple’s new iPads will also incorporate the same static Home Button that debuted on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Some reports have suggested the iPad would ditch the physical button completely, like the next iPhone is rumoured to do.
- WWDC 2017 will kickstart at 10am in San Jose, 1pm in New York City, 6pm in London, 7pm in Paris, 1am June 6th in Beijing, and 3am June 6th Sydney.
- Express.co.uk will be in the auditorium – bringing you the latest announcements as they break.
- Apple will also live stream the keynote for those who want to watch the presentation for themselves.